[Let's Read] AD&D 2e Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. II

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Vizier's Turban



The vizer's turban is a really interesting hybrid between creature and sentient magical item. It is an entity that looks like a turban with gem eyes, but can also change it shape to a veil or another type of clothing (to suit females - the turban is progressive and liberal!).

The turban has genius-level INT and drains up to ten hit points permanently if goes into symbiosis with a wizard. However, the wizard gets free spells and magic resistance in return, depending on how many hit points he is willing to sacrifice. A full ten hit points grants one extra spell for each spell level up to level 5 plus 25% magic resistance, which is quite a lot.

Also, one hit points for each level the caster gains may be given to the turban, so it develops together with its host. It can also communicate telepathically. And it looks kind of cute. Genie-based shair wizards cannot wear a turban for unexplained reason. The turban itself is pretty sturdy and immune to ALL mundane and magical weapons. It can only be damaged by spells, and even then it gets a saving throw.

Rumour says the turbans are actually some lesser form of genie or a familiar-like magical item. They are not controlling their host and will give advice only if specifically asked. When two vizier's turban meet, they simply greet each other.

Keenly curious, a vizier‘s turban is always happy to travel with its host to see new places and things. It is very observant, though it reacts to stimuli with a never-ending sense of wonder rather than logically.
That's kind of cute. Also, a turban gets depressed if separated from its host too long. Vizier's turbans are probably immortal.

Bottom line: The vizier's turban is a very interesting creature, even if not a classic monster. If I ever use one, I will ad actual mind-controlling turbans a well. And undead turbans!
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Wall-Walker



Here is another Dark Sun bug: The wall-walker. This time, however, it's not a lobster/spider hybrid, but a spider/reptile one. They were apparently named by the dray (Dark Sun dragon-kin) "who observed the wall-walkers’ climbing ability and named them accordingly". That made me chuckle. Has anyone else played Age of Wonders II, where all the Draconian units had simplistic names as well?

Anyway, why is wall-walker written with the hyphen? Not that it bothers me all that much, it just seems counter-intuitive to me. Is "counter-intuitive" written with a hyphen?

Like all sentient (?) Dark Sun creatures, the wall-walker has psionic abilities. I kind of skipped over the fact that the wall-walker has low INT and is Lawful Evil because I immediately assumed it was an unintelligent bug. My bad. The wall-walker mostly has support powers like Catfall or Feel Sound, but also Mind Blank, which can be quite nasty in my experience.

Thanks to psionic powers and grey scales, the wall-walker is another stealthy opponent. Stealthy monsters seem to be this book's undead guardians.

The wall-walker shares one ecological nice with the kalin, the aforementioned lobster/spider mix.

Bottom line: Like many animal/vermin-like creatures, the wall-walker is neither bad nor really interesting.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Webbird



The webbird looks just wrong. Look at that freakish facial expression. And that leg coming out of its chest, that is just wrong! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The webbird is actually not a bird, but "closer to an arachnid or insect in its biological make-up". It has a wing span of only thirty centimetres, which is smaller than I expected. But that fits the half hit die it has and the fact that it only deals a single point of damage. Then again, webbirds appear in swarms of 12d4 individuals. I hope you have more than one d4, otherwise enjoy rolling that, hehe.

The webbird is afraid of fire and won't attack torch bearers. And you better have a torch, otherwise, the flock will immobilise youwith webs and injecting eggs into your body with the chest appendix while you are still alive. That's just gross!

Anyway, if there are too many Hilariously Absurd Deaths at your table, this monster gives you the opportunity for an Unforgettable Horrifying Death.

The feather of a webbird can be used for the Web spell. They often live together with stirges and rumour says dark elves us them to get rid of cadavers.

Bottom line: If you need a low-level freak bird, here you go.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
Another of the aliens from Barrier Peaks.

And insects laying eggs into living hosts is nothing new (heck there is a bird from the 1e FF that does it). I prefer those that leave their hosts alive, but weakened, after emerging. Plays up the horror angle so much better for PC IMO.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Wraith-Spider



And because you can't have MCA without undead guardians, the third-to-last monster here is the wraith-spider. With a hyphen. Contrary to what you might think (and to what I thought), the wraith-spider is not a spider-turned-wraith, but an artificially created undead.

The wraith-spider has low overall strength, but the feared level drains and a 25% chance to raise someone it killed as another wraith-spider. They apparently speak dark elf. Wraith-spiders also have a ghostly web, but otherwise aren't that interesting mechanically.

If you wonder what the point of the wraith-spider being a spider is, the habitat and ecology sections give two hints: Wraith-spiders are employed by dark elves with their spider fetish and rumours says that a spider or giant spider killed by a wraith-spider turns wraith itself. Or maybe not.

Bottom line: I don't like level-draining monsters, so I'll safely skip the wraith-spider.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Yak-Man



There are already a lot of anthropomorphic animals, but the as yak are rather uncommon, this monster is welcome. And the illustration looks pretty cool.

The yak-men, also called Yikaria, are super-smart (obviously) and Neutral Evil (not obviously). They live in hidden fortified cities in the mountains and have a ton of slaves. I wonder how those cities survive, as they seem to have more than 10,000 inhabitants. Where do they get all their food from?

Yak-men have 10% magic resistance and stuff, but their main shtick are a number of racial power: They can use all kinds of magical items, have clerical leaders and - most importantly - can use a special version of Magic Jar and have control over dao genies.

The Magic Jar practically means that a yak-man can just take over someone else's body, which is used for infiltration. The control over the dao is apparently the result of the yak-men's Forbidden God having defeated the dao leader. Afterwards, he forced the dao leader into his service for a millennium. A dao can never attack a yak-man.

Bottom line: The yak-men are the usual slave-taking supremacist race that wants to take over the world. They do get some interesting background information, though. Were they used in an adventure module?
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
Validated User
Bottom line: The yak-men are the usual slave-taking supremacist race that wants to take over the world. They do get some interesting background information, though. Were they used in an adventure module?
I think they are from al-Quadim.
 
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