Sunday, March 31, 2013

Come fly with me

Page X20 of the 1981 D&D Expert rules includes a section titled "Traveling by Air", which includes this neat section rating who can ride what by hit dice.  For example, human-sized characters can ride (or be carried off by) all the canonical BX dragons because all those winged lizards have at least 6 hit dice, the minimum required to lift a human.  My favorite part is that flying creatures rated from 3 to 5 hit dice can carry halfling-sized riders.  (Pegasi and hippogriffs fall in this hit die range, but are specifically granted an exception allowing them to carry bigger folk.)

So I thought I'd look through the BX monster sections to see what sort of flying monsters a band of pint-sized aerial adventurers could ride.  Here's what I found:

gargoyle - a mount immune to normal weapons will probably get you into more trouble than you want
harpy - might require ear plugs or larynx removal
lizard, draco - goblins on dragon lizards sounds pretty cool
cockatrice - illogical, unfeasible but imagine a halfling sheriff enforcing law from the back of one of these
hawk, giant - sounds cool
pteranodon - maybe you'd think a dinosaur with a 50' wingspan could carry a fullsized human, but with only 5 hit dice that isn't the case, still I'm imagining cave halfings on these babies and that sounds cool
wraith - If you see a halfling wearing a necro-harness and riding the back of a wraith, run.  Just run.

The Erol Otus illo at the top of the post is from the page with the Travelling by Air rules.  I've often wondered about that hippogriff-rider.  Is that a cyclops with a ponytail wearing a crown?  And the woman on the flying carpet looks like she has horns on her head, which contributed to my theory that maybe elves or some elves or elf-women or at least some elf women had horns.  See also this Bill Willingham piece from the inside cover:

Triple badass threat.


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  2. I have a great image of draco lizard-mounted goblin paratroopers in my head now. :-)

  3. Got a player whose favorite use of their flying carpet isn't travel or maneuverability or anything, it's flying 5 feet above the heads of the enemy and kicking battle-goats off the carpet onto the bad guys, like living screaming bombs with knives lashed to their heads.

  4. Halflings get by far the best selection of flying mounts! (Possibly a heretofore unnoticed advantage of the class.)

  5. Regarding Horned Elves, see the "Elves of Alfheim" cover, which shows a horned male elf (you could posit it's a horned helmet, but I gather it's open to artistic interpretation).

  6. I have always wondered what that horded woman was. Whatever she is, I would like to play something like that, then the usual cookie-cutter Tolkien races. Plus, what guy would say no to a "horny" lady? ;)

  7. That speculation about cyclops reminds me of old Fiend Factory scenario One Eye Canyon that had the Cyclops monster that was quite a bit different from standard AD&D one, it was usual Minotaur, Fimir etc. style creepster monster that needs human women to breed and kills the woman after child is born. There is one strange line though about some of the cyclopses being born as human looking with cyclops eye and having hidden civilization of their own and they were called Griffon Riders.