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

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Zorbo



We close this Let’s Read with a magic koala. This entry’s first paragraph is so glorious that I simply have to quote it:

More than one traveler has been lured to his death by mistaking this creature at a distance as a cuddly, black-and-white koala bear. Such a mistake becomes painfully obvious when the mature attacks. They are semi-intelligent; only those able to communicate with bears can communicate with them.
Firstly, one has to speak bear to be able to communicate with the semi-smart murdering koala? Is there a universal bear language I wasn’t aware of? Secondly, I’m pretty sure even common koalas are not to be played with. Correct me if I’m wrong, but cuddling with wild life never seems to be a good idea. Especially if said animal has ogre fangs and claws like Freddy Krüger.

But on to the zorbo’s main shtick: Its absorption ability. The zorbo can rub itself against something hard and gain an object’s armour class. There is even a small table with various materials and their armour class bonus.

And now the scary part: The absorption damages only magical items (others can be absorbed, but remain unaffected themselves), which then disintegrate without saving throw. Also, gold has a better armour class rating as wood and "rock crystal" (whatever that might be).

The zorbo is carnivorous and likes to eat humans and demihumans. Zorbos are mostly solitary, sometimes found in family units and rarely form communities. Such communities (10 - 60 zorbos) like to attack trespassers en masse.

Bears apparently hate zorbos and attack them on sight. Magical items made of of zorbo hide get a +1 saving throw bonus.

Bottom line: The zorbo represents everything classic D&D monsters stand for: No explanation where it comes from, frustrates players by destroying their stuff and is needlessly violent.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
That's it folks, the zorbo was the last monster in the Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. II. I hope you enjoyed the Let's Read. Stay tuned for the next one!
 

fluffykins0

Bringer of Adorable Doom
Validated User
Please be sure to let us know in this thread when you start the next one! I usually end up missing that you've started another one and have to play (an enjoyable) catch-up.
 

CaliberX

Registered User
Validated User
I was going to say hooray for this thread's reemergence, but looking back it seems it's been going all along while I was just not getting email notifications. Weird.

Anyway, I'm reminded of MtG's Yak-Men, who I think also had slaves maybe? They're a magical using shamanistic society at the least. I wonder if they had the same mythological roots?
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
You two are most welcome. Let's hope the next thread has functioning notifications.

Anyway, I'm reminded of MtG's Yak-Men, who I think also had slaves maybe? They're a magical using shamanistic society at the least. I wonder if they had the same mythological roots?
That's a good question. I'm not aware of mythological yak-kin, but the idea is not too far fetched (as there are a ton of such races) and the link to Tibet/Himalayas is rather non-surprising.

Regarding the next Let's Read: I'll make poll on it soon, but feel free to post suggestions here.
 

junglefowl26

Registered User
Validated User
Many thanks for this thread! Nothing quite as good for a laugh or some plot bunnies as these old monsters.

I especially appreciate how you take the time to put up the images.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Okay, before I start the poll, here are some books I consider Let's Reading. Feel free to add more. :)

Al-Qadim Monstrous Compendium Appendix
Lots of desert-type monsters. 1001 Nights flavour.

Kara-tur Monstrous Compendium Appendix
Asian monsters. Nut sure how mythologically accurate this one is.

Monstrous Compendium Appendix - Fiend Folio Appendix
The Fiend Folio, this time as a collection of loose sheets. Not as fiendish as it sounds, but with good artwork.

Monstrous Compendium Appendix III - Forgotten Realms Appendix
The third MCA and the first FR one. Mostly high fantasy.

Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. III
The third one of the series. Sees a bit more interesting that Vol. II at first glance.

Monstrous Compendium Appendix
The very fist one. Contains almost exclusively classic monsters.

Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix
Very colourful. Lots of animal hybrid monsters. Slightly fairytale-like touch.

Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix
The Gothic MCA. Scary monsters. Grim artwork. Everything wants you dead - just like everywhere else in D&D land.


I'm not sure about Dark Sun, as my knowledge of the setting is rather limited. I'm reluctant about Planescape, as I never played that and outsiders tend to bore me in the long run.
 

fluffykins0

Bringer of Adorable Doom
Validated User
OOHHH OHHH! Do Al-Qadim Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Do Al-Qadim Monstrous Compendium Appendix! I liked the flavor that we saw on the Al-Qadim monsters.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
Finish the series first and then whatever takes your fancy. To not do so seems weird to me.
 

junglefowl26

Registered User
Validated User
I have to admit, I am curious about Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix. It is a setting I often forget about entirely, and I am curious what unique flavor its monsters have.

About Dark Sun - I think the creatures are cool enough that one can appreciate them without knowing about much about the setting. Especially since Dark Sun seems to focus more on dangerous wildlife than undead or outsiders. Though I could have sworn we already did a let's read on Dark Sun monsters.
 
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