Friday, May 15, 2009

A glimpse at the original Monster Manual II

Look out! A giant crane! I guess a giant crane could be scary, but not in dungeon land. Considering some of the creatures put in the second manual they had trouble filling the slots. Originally, I was going to make fun of the MMII, but I decided that it being Friday I will take a positive spin on it. There are some gems in there we just have to dig around. That means we will have to bypass the entire Mordon section.

The Bodak is killer cool. I believe this beauty first appeared in S4, The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. S4 had a mini monster manual included. The body count potential these guys can create is scary. Those milky oval eyes glaring out of the darkness as player after player drops to the ground. The Bodaks are a star in the MMII.

Oh boy, just saw stats for a cat. And the Cat Lord. He's just too ridiculous to comment on.

Speaking of stars, this skull needs no introduction, star of S1's Tomb of Horrors, the Demilich. This badass requires no stinking arms or legs or flesh of any kind. There is enough magical power in this skull that it can blow a hole in the prime material plane. Oh, it's a 'ch' at the end. Not a 'ck'. So please don't call it a demilick.

Driders reminded me of a creepier version of the centaur. One of Lolth's creations. As long as they aren't on a spider spaceship. These creatures are primed to have a society built around. The religion is built in.

Wow. There are a lot of bird pictures in here.

Gibbering Mouther
The pictures of these guys screams Cthulhu. That's enough to put them in the cool category. I'm not sure if I ever used them in any of my dungeons, but I noticed during editing of Points of Light 1 and 2, that Rob has used them to represent creatures of Chaos.

Stats for a goat. Not very monstery.

Obliviax (Memory Moss)
I'm probably going to get flack for liking this one, but I do. They are a great trap monster. They sip the memories out of a player's head then casts the spells at the person they stole it from. Now that's fun for a DM.

Stats for a squirrel? Okay, how many of you out there have ever, ever needed the stats for a squirrel? Please raise your hand if you have. The RPG police will need to take away your DMing license. Next thing you'll want is tables for the chipmunk prestige class.

This is the Godzilla of the MMII. I've always had a great affection for giant reptiles. Plus he reminds me of the critter in Revenge of the Jedi. There is something about having that unique creature, so massive there is little hope to kill it. Impending doom. Inevitable disaster. Whatever you want to call it, one appearance by this guy can alter a campaign world in a hurry.

The last monster in the manual is the Zygom. The penis looking fungi. The picture looks like five naked guys died close to one another.

So this concludes my foray into the forgotten Monster Manual. It has some gems, but they wasted a lot of space with non-monsters and variations of already established monsters. Did we really need the Juju Zombie? My selections are ones I have used to populate my dungeons. I'd like to hear which monsters you used in your campaigns. And one last thing, despite the lack of quality monsters within MMII there was no lack of quality artwork. Except maybe for the penis mushrooms.


  1. A lot of the original MM contents (including MM1 - FF) were filled with what comes across more as filler or niche choices. Still, as you point out, there are some very evocative classics in there.

    MM2 of all the original covers was my favorite because the giant is pretty bad ass.