Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mightiest Monsters: 1st ed. Monster Manual

I finally figured out to move the graphic out of the way of the list.So here's all the creeps of 10 hit dice or more from the first edition Monster Manual. I've omitted unique entities. You don't need me to tell you that Asmodeus is a badass mofo.

Whale (12 to 36 HD)
Dinosaurs (3+3 to 30 HD)
Titan (17 to 22 HD)
Roc (18 HD)
Golem (9-18 HD)
Aerial Servant (16 HD)
Elementals (8-16 HD)
Purple Worm (15 HD)
Giant Shark (10-15 HD)
Giant Turtle (10-15 HD)
Giants (8-15 HD)
Beholder (45-75 hp, ~14.5 HD)
Balichitherium (14 HD)
Dragon Turtle (12-14 HD)
Remorhaz (7-14 HD)
Pit Fiend (13 HD)
Mammoth (13 HD)
Giant Rhinoceros Beetle (12 HD)
Ki-Rin (12 HD)
Mastodon (12 HD)
Giant Slug (12 HD)
Giant Squid (12 HD)
Titanothere (12 HD)
Trapper (12 HD)
Eye of the Deep (10-12 HD)
Roper (10-12 HD)
Neo-Otyugh (9-12 HD)
Sphinx (8-12 HD)
Naga (7-12 HD)
Treant (7-12 HD)
Dragons (5-12 HD)
Hydra (5-12 HD)
Lich (11+ HD)
Type IV Demon (11 HD)
Ice Devil (11 HD)
Elephant (10-11 HD)
Manta Ray (8-11 HD)
Black Pudding (10 HD)
Type III Demon (10 HD)
Efreeti (10 HD)
Ettin (10 HD)
Ghost (10 HD)
Lurker Above (10 HD)
Wooly Rhino (10 HD)
Shambling Mound (8-10 HD)
Giant Sea Snake (8-10 HD)
Mimic (7 to 10 HD)
Lizard, Giant (3+1 to 10 HD)

Holy crap! This list is long! The power creep from OD&D to 1st edition Advanced is pretty obvious, given how beefier the opposition gets here. Dinosaurs and Titans sitting next to each other kinda makes my head spin. How do creatures from 63 million years ago fit into the same world as the titans of Greek myth? I love that these sorts of obvious contradictions are part of the implied setting of D&D. A foolish consistency is the low hitdie humanoid of little minds.

N.B. Even as early as this book, the first Advanced tome published, the direct relationship between hit dice and raw power is starting to come unraveled. The Type VI demon, the Will O' Wisp, and the Rakshasa don't make the 10 HD cutoff for this list, but would you really expect them to have much trouble dispatching a Giant Lizard or a Hydra? Special Ability Creep is a particular bugaboo of mine, as I have tons of trouble tracking all the abilities of demons and such when DMing. And as editions develop, more and more creatures are little more than a pile of special abilities.


  1. I'll be fascinated to see if Whales maintain their supremacy in later lists, since they're the new star player in the last two lists ...

    And their once-tied-for-first partner, the mighty pachyderm-nabbing Roc, has fallen behind in the power-creep race to 75% of the whale's average HD (18d/24d).

    I'm a big fan of Rukh/Roc type monsters, so I'm secretly hoping the big birds will stage a comeback.

    Ha! Big Birds, eating elephants. It's a whole new spin on the Mr. Snuffleupagus relationship ...

    Low on sleep :)

  2. The only thing more mind-warping than Titans next to Dinosaurs:

    Titans RIDING Dinosaurs!!! Wanna scare the be-geezus out of your Cinder players? try adding that...

  3. Taylor, I like the way you think!

  4. Once assaulted my players with a clan of Ninja Brownie's that rode battle-trained house cats.

    Gotta keep those players on their toes...