Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mightiest Monsters: Mentzer & general commentary

So there aren't a whole lot of differences in the monster lists going from Moldvay Basic and Cook/Marsh Expert to the Mentzer version of the game. The big dogs in the Basic rules remain unchanged. Mentzer Expert actually drops three monsters from the list, the Titanothere, the Whale, and the Dragon Turtle.

If memory serves, sea travels are given more screen time in the Companion rules, so I bet the latter two reappear later in the BECMI sequence. But I can't say for sure. I haven't owned the Companion, Masters, or Immortal rules in a long time. I do have the Rules Cyclopedia and that will get its own entry in this series.

Also absent from the Mightiest Monsters listing will be the 2nd edition of Advanced. I don't presently have any monster books for it. I really need to get a Monstrous Manual one of these days. That always struck me as a great critter book. I wish the Wizards had kept the Monstrous format for 3e. It was much cleaner and more user-friendly, in my opinion.

Just to let everyone know, I plan on covering the MM2 for 1st edition, the Rules Cyclopedia, and the Monster Manuals for 3e and 3.5. And maybe I'll offer a final general commentary post on this little project. I dunno.

In the Fiend Folio entry Gameblog reader jer left the following comment:
So, as a companion piece to these, have you thought about doing a comparison of the low-level monsters in each of the books (3HD or less)? I'm going to have to break out my Fiend Folio and see what a group of starting adventurers would be fighting in a campaign where it's the primary monster book (as opposed to "running away from in terror", which is what these posts have been showing).

Does that interest anyone else? Sounds like even more work than the present deal, but it might yield some interesting insights.


  1. I think my next campaign will in fact be fantasy (running Steampunk now) and I was hooked by your "Fiend Folio as main Monster book" idea.

    So low level comparisons and evaluation would be pretty awesome (no rush, mind you).

  2. Actually, I'd find the low-level stuff more interesting. In 3e, especially, there are no end of high-powered opponents. There are tons of high-CR monsters, and you can add class levels or HD to just about anything to make it sufficiently nasty.

    The range of opposition for a low-level party, though, seems much more narrow. I don't remember it always being this way... but maybe it was?

  3. I'd find the low-level stuff more interesting as well.

  4. You can never have enough scrubs in D&D. I get a lot more enjoyment throwing 30 goblins at group than I do from a single tough-as-nails whalosauridragonotitanabear. It's five FIVE beasts in one!

  5. I initially misread Tom's post at the top, which made me think he said his next campaign would be a Steampunk world with Fiend Folio monsters as the primary beasties.

    Man, I'm really liking that idea.

  6. Nthed. Low-level critters = more interesting.

    My friend is liquidating his ebay inventory of Star Wars miniatures, and has kindly given me free access to his commons. With that in mind, I just grabbed all the remaining Old Republic and Sith Troopers to fill out gigantic battle scenes for the Old-Republic-era Star Wars campaign I'm imagining, so once the characters are good enough, I can have Heavenly-Blade-style gigantonormous fight scenes with a handful of Jedi amidst hordes of Sith minions, scattering them left and right like so much cauterized chaff.

    (Incidentally, best part of Heavenly Blade? The fact that your screen displays "Kills" and "Kills Remaining".)

  7. I agree with szilard; it's more interesting—and challenging—to put together an encounter for lower-level PCs.

    Whilst there's not much in the SRD, a number of third-party 3e/3.5 producers have realised the lack of low-CR opponents. I went through my collection a couple of months ago, and came up with a list of around 600 critters of CR 1 or less.

    (Initially, I was thinking of listing them in a blog entry, but then I realised just how much work I'd have to put in updating Section 15 of the OGL on my blog. Especially for the beasties in Tome of Horrors, which require Section-15 entries for each individual monster. Ouch.)

    Still, it'd be good to see the history of the little guys.

    Incidentally, if you need any research done, let me know. (My email address is davidmichaeljacobs-at-gmail-dot-com.)

    I can't remember where my OD&D stuff is, but I have every AD&D1 hardback, the Monstrous Manual and every Monstrous Compendium (except , I think, the Field Folio appendix) sitting in boxes in my garage, amongst others.

  8. wulfgar7:17 AM

    Huh, I thought Tom said he was going to run a Steampunk campaign using the Fiend Folio too. I had to go back and read that again.

    I think my misread is a good idea though. Wasn't there an Amazing Engine game something like that?

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