Saturday, October 25, 2008

No, seriously. What's attacking us?

One of my favorite old D&D books is The Dungeoneer: The Adventuresome Compendium of Issues 1-6, sometimes referred to simply as the the Dungeoneer Compendium. The Dungeoneer was Paul Jaquay's early D&D fanzine (later issues talked about other games, too). The adventure/mini-campaign in the back of the Compendium, "Night of the Walking Wet" a.k.a. "The Realm of the Slime God" is one of the purest expressions of wild-and-wooly old school adventure design you'll find. But that's not what I'm talking about today. Instead I want to share some of the awesomely ridiculous monsters in the Compendium's "Monster Matrix" feature. I've already posted about the Tinfoil Monster. Here's three more critters created and illustrated by the same guy, Mark Norton.

The DNA Monster

No. Appearing 2-20
Armor Class
Hit Dice 3
% in Lair 80
Alignment Neutral
Damage Strike/1-8 25% poisonous

This creature is a huge, enlarged DNA Molecule. It is semi-intelligent but does not speak. This creature has no regular treasure but instead, some atoms in its structure will be gems. The occurence of gems in the DNA creature's body is 15 Percent.

[I'd love to know more about the origin of this creature. Did Mark Norton get creamed on a pop quiz in biology? Is this a commentary on the inhuman nature of our genetic imperatives? Was he high?]

Smoke Creatures

No. Appearing 1-100
Armor Class 7
Movement 18" flying
Hit Dice 2
% in Lair 20
Alignment Chaotic
Damage Suffocation 1-6/turn

These are monsters made of pure, living smoke. Only magic weapons will work against these creatures since the magical weapon is solid on the same plane that these creatures actually exist in. Normal weapons will pass through these creatures and not harm them in the least.

[These critters could be pretty dang scary, appearing in huge numbers and immune to normal weapons. But its a little hard to get too worked up by them given the silly illustration, isn't it? I love the adventurer in the pick. He looks like an ordinary dude with a crappy helmet and some campaign gear. "Oh, crap! My sword don't work on this guy!"]

The Ibem

No. Appearing 1-10
Armor Class 7
Movement 4"
Hit Dice 3-1
% in Lair 40
Alignment Hungry
Not Intelligent
Damage Tentacle 1-6, Bite 1-4

This monster of many arms, many eyes and of course many mouths. It has 4 eyes, 8 tentacles, and 4 mouths. It will attack a maximum of 3 times from any given side that it is attacked from or facing. It will not bite unless its prey is ensnared in its tentacles.

[Because you can never have too many slobbering tentacled horrors.]


  1. Those are fantastic. Thanks for that! I love the light coming through the window in the DNA Monster picture.

  2. Should the Ibem be pronounced the "I-B-M"? I'm going to say yes.

    The smoke monster seem like they could be very lethal, provided you could arrange circumstances for the party to hang around for the many turns that it takes to die. Or should that 1-6 damage/turn be round?

  3. These monster write-ups are old enough that they could go back to the time before rounds and turns were clearly differentiated.

  4. Anonymous7:56 PM

    I also love the breakfast monsters in Judges Guild's Field Guide to Encounters.

    Yes, you can be attacked by bacon, eggs, a cup of coffee, and a cigarette.

  5. Or, to look at its name with modern eyes... the iBEM. Bug Eyed Monster, by apple.