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ON MONSTERS

THE MONSTERS AND THE MAN

To me the monster is that Man
Whose spirit we cannot
Unwrap from evil in the womb
That ferments as it rots

To me the monster is that Beast
Whose tearing maw will bleed
With uncanny ichors hot
To digest what it breeds

To me the monster angelic
Who fell to Daemon’s pit
Broods on murderous revenge
With septic, cold intent

To me the monster prodigal
Like a Titan strides
To grind upon the red shorelines
Where terror does abide

Yet in me Monster curls and sleeps
Hibernating long
Dreaming when he will awake
To sing his monstrous song

So knowing this, and monsters well
I keep him drugged and bled
So he will never wake in me
To do what I most dread…

__________________________

To me there are four types of monsters in this world: The Evil, Unrepentant Man, the Naturally Savage Beast, the Supernatural Daemon, and the Unrelenting Prodigy/Prodigal.

And then there is me…

THE MONSTER MANUAL

A quick first review of the new 5th Edition Monster Manual

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Despite the ending of the summer and the lull after GENCON and PAX PRIME, the excitement at the release of the new 5th Edition Player’s Handbook last month is still going strong! And by all accounts, the new adventure arc Hoard of the Dragon Queen is doing quite well, with many D&D fans enjoying the new organized play activities presented each week in stores around the country.

But now, D&D enthusiasts have a new release coming up at the end of this month – the D&D Monster Manual goes on sale this Friday the 19th of September in select stores, and for general retail sales on the 30th! As the second core rulebook for the new 5th Edition of D&D, the Monster Manual is an absolute essential purchase for any Dungeon Master looking to create their own worlds and adventures.

Don’t Miss: Review of Hoard of the Dragon Queen | Review of the Player’s Handbook | Review of the D&D Starter Set

So how does this new D&D Monster Manual compare to its predecessors? Read on and find out!

D&D Monster Manual (5th Edition)

  • Lead Designers: Mike Mearls & Jeremy Crawford
  • Monster Manual Lead: Chris Perkins
  • Stat Block Development: Chris Sims, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee
  • Story Development: Robert J. Schwalb, Matt Sernett, Steve Townsend, James Wyatt
  • Cover Art: Raymond Swanland
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Year: 2014
  • Media: Hardbound (352 pages)
  • Price: $49.99 (Available for pre-order on Amazon.com for $29.97)

SPEAKING OF MONSTERS

Monster Manual Gallery

 

ESSAYS ON GAME DESIGN: THE BLOOD OF UNCANNY MONSTERS – PART TWO

Essay Twelve: The Blood of Uncanny Monsters* – Part Two (continued)

Synopsis: The Blood of Monsters is far more than the blood of simple animals, or the nerveless sap of tree limbs. The blood of the monster is a deep, potent, ancient, terrible thing, capable of warping the world, and either wondrously enabling, or viciously crippling and killing, the Hero. Beware the blood of the monster, and do not easily discard the tremendous potential it encloses within itself.

Essay: In this section I shall discuss some of the more actual mechanical and physical and pragmatic properties that the Blood of Uncanny Monsters will possess, or should possess.

With that in mind I am going to suggest some effects that will result from the injury, death, or shedding of the blood of uncanny monsters. Some of these effects will be light, some dramatic, some wondrous, and some terrible. Feel free to add your own ideas. This is an Interactive Essay on the notion of “Monstrosity.”

The Corpus Dejecti: First of all, let me speak about the remains or parts of a monster’s body (whether or not the creature itself has survived as a result of loss of these assets). The remains or parts of a monster are valuable because of the unique properties they bestow both upon the monster itself, and anyone else either fortunate enough, or unfortunate enough, to gain control of or contact such remains. To that end let me detail just some of the possible parts of a monster’s body that could be invaluable, a treasure in itself, or horrifically disastrous, an unshakeable and lifelong curse.

The Blood
The Brains
The Eye or eyes
The Third Eye or the Secret or Invisible Eye
The Tongue
The Horn or horns
The Scales
The Claws or nails
The Heart
The Liver
The Lung
The Glands
The Tears
The Ichor
The Tail
The Foot
The Hand
The Paw
The Snout
The Jaw
The Ear
The Tendril or Tentacle
The Wings or feathers
The Fin
The Bile
The Stolen Part
The Flesh
The Muscles
The Excretions

The prized and blood or ichor stained possessions of a monster
Each of these parts might render some beneficial aid to the possessor, or might render some monstrous curse. In the case of especially powerful or weird monsters, it might very well render both, and/or multiple effects.

In addition such tissues or remains can be prepared, modified, presented, and intentionally used (with the right knowledge) for other employments, such as:

Creating inks and parchments
Creating Book materials
Creating unique potions
Creating unique magical items
Creating technologies, machines, artifacts, and devices
Creating unique traps and tricks
Creating illusions
Creating unique spells and powers
Disrupting other things, objects, places, or events
Dispelling magics
Enhancing or disrupting miracles
Augmenting or disrupting mental or psychological powers
Augmenting or disrupting physical capabilities
Augmenting or disrupting spiritual capabilities
Invention, Design, and Craft
Summoning or turning away other monsters
Summoning or turning away the undead
Summoning or turning away demons and devils
Foreseeing possible futures
Solving puzzles
Overcoming obstacles
Developing new scripts, ciphers, and codes
Gaining control over, or freeing other creatures
Gaining control over, or freeing spirits
Communicating secretly and/or over a distance
Creating Glammors
Creating powerful blessings or curses
Making objects tough or nearly indestructible
Destroying other objects
Extending or shortening life
Curing or causing disease
Creating or controlling intense emotional states
Charming others
Exciting Love, or Hate
Allowing flight
Healing or preserving health

The Effects – I will divide effects into obviously beneficial and obviously malignant effects. Some effects may seem to fall into both categories. Some effects can be viewed as blessings, others as curses. These effects can occur on the level of the individual, or on the cosmic level (effecting the world at large), or both, when the blood, tissues, and other remains or parts of a monster become exposed to a hero or the world through direct contact. These effects are not intentionally controllable but occur as a result of the unique properties of the monsters interacting with the unique nature of the individual or circumstance to which the blood or remains of the monster are exposed. These effects can also be acute, immediate, temporary, chronic, delayed, or life-long and permanent (unless somehow brought under control or removed).

Beneficial Effects:

Magical powers increase
Sensory Capabilities improve
One can read the thoughts of others
One can know the hearts of others
New capabilities are gained
One becomes stronger
One becomes wiser
One becomes more intelligent
One becomes more charismatic
One becomes more resilient
One becomes faster or more dexterous
One’s flesh becomes invulnerable to certain things
One rarely tires or rarely needs to sleep
One needs little food
One needs little water
One becomes powerfully intuitive
One becomes prophetic
One becomes clever and ingenious
One can speak with monsters

Malignant Effects:

Magical powers decrease
Sensory capabilities become clouded, restricted, or confused
One’s own thoughts become scattered, confused, and open to suggestion
One becomes unable to understand the motives of others
Old capabilities are lost or diminish
One becomes weaker or feeble
One becomes more foolish, reckless, or unwise
One becomes denser, slow-witted, or more stupid
One becomes repugnant or repulsive to others
One becomes drained, lethargic, or inflexible
One becomes slow of body and reflex
One is easily injured or sickened
One exhausts easily and often, or is chronically anemic
One becomes uncontrollably gluttonous
One becomes a drunkard or an addict
One becomes uncontrollably arrogant and prideful
One becomes uncontrollably envious and covetous
One becomes uncontrollably lustful
One becomes uncontrollably angry, petty, and ill-temperate
One becomes uncontrollably greedy
One becomes uncontrollably despairing and cynical
One becomes uncontrollably slothful and lazy
One becomes uncontrollably bloodthirsty and vicious
One becomes easily duped and made fool of
One becomes blind
One becomes deaf
One becomes unable to smell
One becomes unable to taste
One becomes leprous
One becomes mute
One contracts a chronic and perhaps incurable disease or condition

Blessings:

Good fortune is enjoyed
Crops become plentiful
Good and pleasant weather
Enemies avoid invasion or warfare
Water supplies are clean and plentiful
The earth is enriched, plants and animals thrive
The natural environment becomes filled with beneficial magic
Wealth increases
New resources are discovered, old ones are easier to exploit
Miracles occur
The Gift of Tongues – other languages can be understood, or the language of other creatures can be understood
Powerful and beneficial creatures or allies rein habit the area
Trade prospers
Resistances to malignant forces develop

Curses:

Water becomes polluted, fouled, and poisoned
The air becomes poisonous and retched
Foul, dangerous, catastrophic, violently stormy weather
Natural disasters abound
Plagues become common
Droughts develop and wild fires break out
The earth becomes weak, polluted, unyielding and unproductive
The natural environment becomes resistant to beneficial magic or open to malignant magic or other influences
Wealth decreases and resources become depleted
Treasures corrupt or corrode
Misfortune multiplies or lingers
Confusion and misunderstandings of speech and language
Malignant serpents, insects, and other creatures spring from the ground
Warfare and Civil warfare erupt
Vulnerabilities to evil develop

The Death Curse of the Monster: Sometimes at or near the moment of their death particularly powerful, intelligent, and malignant monsters might curse an individual, a party of people, or even an entire region or nation with an especially effective and malicious curse. In such cases extreme and immediate counter-measures must be taken, sometimes even involving the undertaking of a complicated Quest, it order to nullify or reverse this curse. Otherwise, if the curse is not counteracted it may very well unfold as prophesied in a most destructive and devastating manner.

Conclusion: Make use of monsters, their blood, and their remains in a far more interesting, productive, potent, and imaginative way to reflect their real and inherent potential for creating both endless wonder, and appalling desolation.

* I use the term uncanny poetically. I do not mean to imply that a monster must be supernatural (in the gaming or mythological sense) for its blood to have weird or powerful effects.

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