WTF D&D ... But, minus another half point to that blog for confusing "player skill" with "dick-DM monsters."A good DM would somehow telegraph the existence of that hill, leaving a clue or rumor to give the players a fighting chance. That's right. Telegraph Hill.
I'm guessing the Monster Dexterity was a leftover from Holmes?
@Roger... hey, I calls 'em as I remember playing 'em. Games back in my High School were an eternal battle of "gotcha" monsters and player paranoia, and things like the hill and the mana muncher are good examples of how desperate DMs would try to up the ante on players who had such Monty Haul characters that they'd have a bag full of Mjolnirs (from killing Thor in multiple alternate realities). The "high entropy" games that Arduin, B&B, etc, embodied were pretty much the antithesis of the gritty, more focused and tactical style that OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, etc, encourage. The DM "telegraphed" things like the hill by killing you with it. Next time, you knew to take a pike and stick it in the ground, hard, before you slept. (We never encountered that monster, but there were similar things, like trappers/lurkers above, which you'd have to check for explicitly in various ways. Hence my very real, no exaggeration, example of the player who never left his portable hole if he could help it.)Yes, we were munchkins in my school. Utterly and completely, and if the DM wasn't a dick, he'd be steamrollered by the players. @Scott ... possibly, need to dig out my Holmes to check. I don't remember it, but that proves nada.
Great review of a great monster book. Of all published books of actual monsters (as opposed to monster-generators), it's probably my favorite.And I think Scott is right. In the 1977 D&D Basic rulebook edited by J. Eric Holmes, initiative isn't rolled. Instead, highest dexterity score gets to go first.
For those who are interested, Part II is up -- Creatures Of The Sea!