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[Lets read] Monstrous Compendium Mystara Appendix

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
Well, as I promised in Noism's epic level Lets read the Monstrous Manual thread, I am throwing my proverbial hat into the ring and reading the Mystara Appendix cover to cover, having finally gotten a PDF of it.

Why this PDF? A couple of reasons:

*Its one of the few Appendixes which is stand alone, without multiple volumes to it.
*Although its set in Mystara, all of the entries are fairly setting neutral. The only thing that may throw people is that on Mystara Gods are called "Immortals", but you can catch on fairly quick.
*Its full of really weird, awesome monsters, which is what I feel epitomizes second edition.
*It may not be my first post Monstrous manual compendium, but it is one of my favorite.

So without further ado, lets read the Montrous Compendium: Mystara appendix.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
Actaeon

The first entry in the book, and honestly I can't think of a monster that better epitomizes what this particular book is about: a 9 foot tall, dear headed humanoid with a breath weapon that turns people into animals. I mean really, that's like....darts at a dictionary random.

They can also summon monsters as well, calling on 1d6 random beast (either a bear, a boar, a centaur, a Griffon, a Chameleon (!) or a treant), which makes them even more badass. So its not just the Deer guy who can turn you into an animal, its the deer guy and his six treants or griffons. If that wasn't enough, it says that some Actaeon are druids up to 8th level.

The habitat and society is fairly straightforward: It mainly talks about how they are solitary until their mating season every three years, fawns born in Autumn, stay with mother during winter to learn survival, yadda yadda.

The Ecology goes on to describe how Actaeons live in the same area as Centaurs and dryads and are considered heroes by these creatures, and how they often work together with druids to protect their homes.

I personally like neutral monsters because they can be played as either heroes or villains depending on what kind of adventure you like to run; If you want the Actaeon to be an enemy, have the PC's hired by a logging company to kill it, or just have it show up in a forest, assume the PC's are bad, and polymorph them into animals (which should make for a fun adventure: Bunnies and Burrows meets DnD). To have it as an ally, just have it contact the teams druid or ranger with warning of an impending evil in the local forest. Its like a monster for all seasons.
 

blizack

ghostmode
Validated User
*Its full of really weird, awesome monsters, which is what I feel epitomizes second edition.
Not to be nitpicky, but most of the monsters in that book saw life in "basic" (BECMI) D&D modules and supplements before they were written up for AD&D 2nd edition.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
Not to be nitpicky, but most of the monsters in that book saw life in "basic" (BECMI) D&D modules and supplements before they were written up for AD&D 2nd edition.
I know. Alot of these guys can be found in the creature catalog.

But as I said, this is the sort of thing I love about the older editions: weird, insane monsters with random powers.
 

Celisasu

The donuts speak to me!
Very weird creatures indeed. I have the Mysteria Compendium(book, not PDF) and I wondered as I looked through it about some of the monsters. I personally am not a fan of the Actaeon. It never even made it up for consideration for a game let alone getting a spot in one but then again a lot of druidish type monsters have that honor(or lack thereof) so it's not completely the Actaeon's fault.
 

Mejiro

I think I'm a Drow now
Validated User
Actaeon

They can also summon monsters as well, calling on 1d6 random beast (either a bear, a boar, a centaur, a Griffon, a Chameleon (!) or a treant), which makes them even more badass. are bad,
Is that like, regular chamelons? Because that's some damn thankful players if they get that result. Having to fight either small lizards or bears isn't a hard decision!
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
Is that like, regular chamelons? Because that's some damn thankful players if they get that result. Having to fight either small lizards or bears isn't a hard decision!
Actually its giant chameleons.

I think it refers to the horned chameleons statted later in the book (since they're the only Chameleons statted in this book, or anywhere else in the DnD world), but it could just be a regular giant lizard described as a chameleon.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
Its breath weapon is nasty- automatic transformation into a small mammal or bird and the save determines if the target stays in that form or returns to normal 24 hours later.

The ecology in Dragon is the first time I read of them and they are perfect for their role in killing despoilers of nature. You know- adventurers, orcs, woodcutters, evil druids and such. Put them together with treants who can summon nature elmentals (from one of the annual MCs), and their forest will be left untouched.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
Agarat

The Agarat is a ghoul variation and kind of what I consider a "gateway undead"; the main feature of the Agarat is that it lacks a ghouls paralyzing power, but it can drain levels by screaming. The unique thing being that the level drain of the Agarat isn't permanent; it goes away after a few turns. Even if you get all your levels drained you don't die, you just go unconscious (course, considering they're usually mixed in with Ghouls or Ghasts, its still a death sentence). Basically the Agarat is for DM's who want to inflict level drain on their PC's but are too wussy to make it permanent. The Agarat also have a special aura that prevents ghouls from being turned unless they are turned first, which is pretty handy, especially since they are turned as specters. they can also only be hit by magic or Iron weapons (which can be a pain if you were expecting a Ghoul and brought silver or blessed weapons).

Greater Agarats are a bit more hardcore: They have double hit die, do more damage, have paralyzing touch and Ghast stench, can only be harmed by +2 or better weapons, and their scream takes two levels (still not permanent though). In addition, they are smarter and some Greater Agarat have the powers of a 5th level wizard, and they're turned as special undead.

Habitat and society wise Agarats behave like common ghouls: they hang out in graveyards and places of death, eat corpses, and often serve as lackeys for top tier undead like Vampires and Liches.

Adventure wise, Agarat are basically minion fodder. like it says above, Agarats are generally henchmen for real undead, or the leader of a pack of ghouls or ghasts. Still, its pretty fun to spring a Agarat on a party that's just expecting normal ghouls or ghasts.
 
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