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

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Hello and welcome to my next Let's Read. We continue with the third Monstrous Compendium Annual and monsters that are funkier and more colourful than ever before!



And a cover that makes everyone look evil.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Alaghi



I already reviewed the alaghi from the Complete Book of Humanoids, but that was a player character race, not a monster. This time, we get a coloured illustration. The alaghi, though still True Neutral, looks even more Chaotic Evil, especially with all those spears, the prominent teeth and horns and the bush of hair covering his schlong. Or vulva, this might be a female without me noticing.

Alaghi are still sentient forest yetis. Interestingly, alaghi are “shy and peaceful” and “kill only for food”. What kind of prey requires you to take it down with half a dozen javelns? And those are probably not even needed, as the alaghi is super-stealthy by the power of exception-based rules.

Anyway, the text divides the alaghi into nomadic and sedentary alaghi – only to state that they are semi-nomadic two paragraphs further down. And then in th ecology it says that they nomads during the summer and cave-dwellers during winter. And after that in the sedentary alaghi special section, it says that 15% of the alaghi are permanently settled down. But not 15% of all alaghi, only 15% of the “encamped group”. Whatever that means.

Let me put it like this: If finding out where the heck the hairy wood yeti (which will be murdered by the PCs in less than a minute anyway) actually comes from takes more time that the actual fight, something is wrong.

The last type of alaghi are the druid-style hermits. Their paragraph speaks for itself:

They are vegetarian-philosphers with 11 Hit Dice and the powers of 11th-level druids. Though shy, they are curious and helpful – they love riddles and games of strategy, such as chess, which they play mentally.
Vegetarians that play with themselves mentally. I see what you did there, TSR.

Bottom line: Despite the entry being a convoluted mess of information nobody will ever use, I really like the alaghi.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
I think what they meant by the populations is those without building any structures (they live in or under trees as they wander around), those that build multiple camps and nomadically wander between them and town dwellers.

I can see the druids hanging out with treants playing games. I don't use the extremely slow ent style treant so it isn't like a round takes a week in these games.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
I can see the druids hanging out with treants playing games. I don't use the extremely slow ent style treant so it isn't like a round takes a week in these games.
You can even play a alaghi druid! However, the requirements are STR 12, CON 12, INT 15, WIS 12 and CHA 15 and you start with a -2 INT malus. That 0.016% if you roll 3d6 straight, as someone smart calculated.
 

Crowqueen

Corvus Sapiens
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I find the notion of a purple nerd pony drinking coffee in front of a computer... amusing. :)
I use telekinesis to hold the cup, and typing with hooves is really hard. Thankfully, I have an adjusted keyboard: each key is as big as a coaster ;).

As for the Alaghi, I will have to go and look him up in the CBoH at some point. It's not one of the ones I remember.

Leonaru said:
Let me put it like this: If finding out where the heck the hairy wood yeti (which will be murdered by the PCs in less than a minute anyway) actually comes from takes more time that the actual fight, something is wrong.
OTOH, this, like many 2e books, is why I like them over the later edition books. With the exception of the various DMGs, they have extra value as books to read as opposed to books for playing from. While that might not have been the best marketing strategy, it's why I miss going into a gaming shop and saving my pennies to buy the latest book. I have much more disposable income now but spend far less on gaming books as a result.
 

CaliberX

Registered User
Validated User
Ah, that cover takes me back. If I wasn't A) up to my eyeballs in stuff to do and B) my house wasn't in the eye of an ever expanding cyclone of distruction that only a 2 year old can create, I'd go dig my copy out and read along. I do like the forest yetis as well, although I don't recall them ever being used in a game.

Well, I take that back. I do remember someone playing one from the CBoH one time, before eventually being killed by the other party members for his pelt. At least, I think he was one of these; he was a sasquatch type monster at any rare. We were a pretty bloodthirsty pack of murder-hobos, as young boys tend to be.
 

Dorchadas

一期一会
Validated User
Holy crap, it's the Dashkin from the Brackenwood universe! :eek:

I really like the image of two of the guys from that picture playing chess with each other.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Alhoon



How does one make scary monsters even scarier? Make it undead! Because nothing strikes fear into the heart of players like "level drain" and "instant paralysis".

The alhoon is the mind flayer version of the lich. It's also called "illithilich", which sounds a bit cartoonish to me. "Ilithid lich" would have been just fine. The alhoon looks most like a common ilithid, but has dry skin. To prevent the skin from becoming even more dry, alhoons drink "water, soup, alcohol, and other liquids". Alcohol? That's remarkable. Is the ilithid skin slime like booze?

Combat-wise, the alhoon is mostly like a common ilithid, but also has 90% magic resistance and a couple of spells as well as some psionic abilities. It has all undead advantages, but no undead weaknesses like being turned or weakness to holy water. The alhoon has no lich touch, though.

In comparison to the fascist/communist live ilithids, the alhoon is a loner and lives like an isolated wizard. It has everything you need for a villain: Mind control, slavesas well as undead, magic and psionic powers and hunger for power. Also, its brain can be used to enhance mind-controlling magical items.

Bottom line: I like the alhoon. It seems less overpowered than the psionic lich. However, I would also like to see a zombie ilithid. Ilithids are already brain eaters to begin with, after all.
 
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