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[Let's Read] AD&D 2e Dragonlance Monstrous Compendium Appendix

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#1
Heiho, welcome to my next Let's Read. This time, we take on the Dragonlance Monstrous Compendium Appendix!



The cover features a dragon, a draconian and an undead, which I guess is appropriate. It's motto: Creatures of Krynn! Ready for play in a 3-ring binder! Well, if that doesn't sell it on you, I don't know what will.

Anyway, the special thing about this Let's Read is that it'll be done in co-operation with Crowqueen - which actually know stuff about Dragonlance.

So, I hope you are in. I will mostly judge the monsters in a general fashion, as I don't really know Dragonlance beyond the original trilogy and the adventure model, so comments and stories about your experience are always welcome.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#2
Giant Anemone



We start with the moderately exiting giant anemone. Dragon had a rather similar monster, though that was the giant sea anemone. Totally different. This one has the same premise: Large non-sentient plant-like creature.

The anemone has paralysing poison, which denies the victim all actions for 3d6 rounds. So let's hope your buddies are there or you can breathe underwater, otherwise ten minutes are a tad long for most creatures to hold their breath.

The anemone also uses its tentacles to drag victims into its mouth and digests them with "acidic juice". That must be one hell of an acid if the dilutive effect of water is not enough to render it useless. Or the mouth seals so tight that absolutely no water comes in.

Other than that, the anemone isn't really special. It's most a mix between the paralysing tentacle monster and the fight-from-within swallowing monster. One thing worth mentioning is that it has a movement rate of one quarter, the slowest rate I can thing of short of monster that are fully immobile.

Bottom line: As a hazard, the anemone does its job.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
#3
What makes this a Dragonlance monster? I can see it in a generic book or if it had some special ability or description that tied it to the setting, but doesn't seem to have either.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#4
Well, from what I get, the Dragonlance MCA simply collects monsters that appeared in the books or modules, even if they are generic. That's and issue with all generic fantasy settings (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Mystara, Greyhawk). There are very few monster that are really setting-tied, like the Greyhawk dragon or the draconians. Most of them have a general theme at best (like the anthropomorphic animals from Mystara). Funny enough, the MCA Vol. III with all its Zhent and Red Wizard monsters seems to have more Realms-specific monsters than the actual Realms MCA. :D
 

Crowqueen

Corvus Sapiens
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#5
Anyway, the special thing about this Let's Read is that it'll be done in co-operation with Crowqueen - which actually know stuff about Dragonlance.

So, I hope you are in. I will mostly judge the monsters in a general fashion, as I don't really know Dragonlance beyond the original trilogy and the adventure model, so comments and stories about your experience are always welcome.
...I know a bit :D. Seriously, looking forward to this.

Regarding the 'generic' monsters, the TOTL box-set has a few more words on things like the anemone but there are some very definite thematic concepts there. Don't forget Ansalon is a fairly small continent as D&D settings go and the Cataclysm turned much of its coast into island chains. There are things like the mariner class and pirate barbarians which try to give seafaring adventure a little more relevance. The TOTL manual on this subject makes it clear that aquatic versions of many monsters exist in some form. So, while the anemone could be elsewhere, there's a maritime side to DL that's made clearer in the boxed set but not terribly obvious to casual observers.
 

Crinos

Be inspired!
Validated User
#6
Ah Dragonlance. The home of Kender, Gully Dwarves (I actually once played a Gully Dwarf thief for one adventure.), and the ancient progenitors of all life on Krynn: The Ogres.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#7
Ah Dragonlance. The home of Kender, Gully Dwarves (I actually once played a Gully Dwarf thief for one adventure.)
Because a setting really needs three small-sized comedic relief races. And a wacky Gandalf knock-off with AD.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#9
Ice Bear



Today's monster is the ice bear, a mix between polar bear and cave bear. Interestingly enough, "ice bear" is what the polar bear is called in quite a number of languages (though my dictionary lists "ice bear" as a very rare term used for "polar bear"). "White bear" is also popular.

Anyway, the ice bear is rather smart and has low intelligence, which is outstanding for an animal. With a length of about four metres, it is as big as the cave bear, but smaller than the ridiculously huge D&D Land polar bear, which is more than five metres long. Real polar bears are less or slightly over three metres tall, by the way.

Its mass, on the other hand, seems to be slightly lower than the maximum for a real-life polar bear. But let's not get too deep into that. Ice bears are also immune to cold and cold-based magic because this is D&D and things work that way.

Combat wise, ice bear have the usual claw/claw/bite routine with the occasional bear hug. The "bear hug" always sounds so positive, like cuddling with a huge fluffy teddy bear. Also, the ice bear fights on for 1d4 rounds after beign brought to naught hit points, so watch out.

Bottom line: The ice bear brings nothing terribly new to the table, but I like the idea of an ice-themed cave bear.
 

Crowqueen

Corvus Sapiens
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#10
The Russian name is biely medved', white bear.

The thanoi use polar bears as cavalry, which is something I really want to put in a game, so I agree, unless from your stats polar bears are 'ordinary bears' and not kind of 'magical', immune-to-cold bears like ice bears. Granted, there's nothing wrong with covering both types in the idea of a polar bear, but it might be a distinction that saves the PCs' lives if they can hurl Cone of Cold at a phalanx of thanoi cavalry and not just get a casual shrug and then their faces ripped off. However, I would imagine that a magical world would have animals resistant to cold magic. Either they would absorb natural radiation, or this is a creationist existence where the gods created bad-ass monsters with resistances to the elements in which they live, rather than just evolved protective fur, blubber and other bodily development assisting survival. When you can have white dragons, you can have bears immune to cold. So in general, if PCs go to the polar regions of any D&D world, packing Fireball makes much more sense than gambling on Cone of Cold actually working - particularly because those monsters immune to cold are often susceptible to fire.
 
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