Sunday, December 4, 2022

D&D Companion: Aerial Servant to Xorn

Here's a working list of monsters for a D&D Companion supplement (a work in progress, so please feel free to comment upon monsters you think should/shouldn't be included):

Aerial Servant - from AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Companion Set

Beholder - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Companion Set

Catoblepas - from The Strategic Review #7/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Nekrozon" in Master Set

Illustration from Deities & Demigods (1980)

Couatl - from Eldritch Wizardry/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Demon - from Eldritch Wizardry/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Master Set

Demon Rulers (Orcus, Demogorgon) - from Eldritch Wizardry/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Master Set

Djinni (Greater)/"Pasha" in Companion Set

Dolphin - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Companion Set

Dragon (Crystal, Onyx, Jade, Sapphire, Ruby, Brown) - from Companion Set

Dragon Rulers (Pearl, Opal, Diamond; The Great Dragon) - from Companion Set

Eel - Electric, from AD&D 1e Monster Manual/X7; Giant, from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/X7; Weed, from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/AC9 Creature Catalog

Efreet (Greater)/"Amir" in Companion Set

Elf, Aquatic - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/AC9 Creature Catalog

Eye, Floating - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Frog - Giant, from Blackmoor/AD&D1e Monster Manual; Killer, from AD&D 1e Monster Manual/DA2; Poisonous, from AD&D 1e Monster Manual/AC9 Creature Catalog

Gas Spore from AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Blast Spore" in Companion Set

Ghost - from The Strategic Review #3/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Companion Set

Golem (Rock, Silver) - from AC9 Creature Catalog

Hag - Black, from Master Set; Sea, from Blackmoor/Master Set

Hippocampus - from AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Homonculous - from the Greyhawk errata/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Illustration by David S. LaForce

Ixitxachitl - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Devilfish" in Companion Set

Jellyfish, Giant (Marauder, Man-O-War) - from Blackmoor/X7

Ki-rin - from Eldritch Wizardry/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Lamia - from AD&D 1e MM/"Lamara" in AC9 Creature Catalog

Lammasu - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Lich - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Master Set

Locathah - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Kna" in AC9 Creature Catalog

Manta Ray (Normal, Giant) - from Blackmoor/X7/Companion Set

Masher - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/AC9 Creature Catalog

Mind Flayer - from The Strategic Review #1/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Morkoth - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Mesmer" in AC9 Creature Catalog

Naga (Water, Spirit, Guardian) - from The Strategic Review #3/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Nightmare - from AD&D 1e Monster Manual/AC9 Creature Catalog

Ogre Mage ("Oni") - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Phase Spider - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Spider, Planar" in Master Set

Phoenix - from Master Set

Rakshasa - from The Strategic Review #5/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Randara" in AC9 Creature Catalog

Illustration by Erol Otus, from the AD&D 1e Rogues Gallery (1980)

Roper - from The Strategic Review #2/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/XL-1

Sahuagin - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Shark-Kin" in AC9 Creature Catalog

Sea Horse - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/X7

Sea Serpent (Greater) - from X7

Shambling Mound - from The Strategic Review #3/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Shedu - from Eldritch Wizardry/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Slithering Tracker - from The Strategic Review #5/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Slug, Giant - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/Master Set

Sphinx - from AD&D 1e MM/Master Set

Strangle Weed - from Blackmoor/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/AC9 Creature Catalog

Su Monster - from Eldritch Wizardry/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Titan - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Triton - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/X7

Umber Hulk - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Hulker" in AC9 Creature Catalog

Will O' Wisp - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual/"Wychglow" in AC9 Creature Catalog

Wind Walker - from The Strategic Review #3/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Xorn - from AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Saturday, December 3, 2022

D&D Companion: Monsters

The monster section in the Moldvay Basic rulebook has 70 entries, while the Cook/Marsh Expert rulebook has 67, so a Companion supplement should include a comparable number.

The AD&D 1e Monster Manual introduced the concept of magic resistance, similar to spell immunity as described in the Companion Set rules/anti-magic effects in the Master Set rules.

The Master Set rules also included guidelines for changing monsters, intelligence of creatures, spell casters (non-human), and undead lieges and pawns.

Illustration by Erol Otus, from the AD&D 1e Fiend Folio


All of the monsters in Monsters & Treasure are listed in B/X.


Monsters not included in B/X include druids, tritons, ogre magi, titans, will o'wisps, liches, the metallic dragons (brass, copper, bronze, silver), the platinum "king" and chromatic "queen" dragons, lammasu, beholders, umber hulks, phase spiders, giant tics, giant slugs, homunculi, and golems (flesh, stone, iron).

I would include most of these in a Companion supplement, except the druid (available in other sources), the metallic dragons (the brass dragon was included in Holmes), platinum "king" and chromatic "queen" dragon rulers (those in BECMI are different), giant tic (included in Holmes), and golems (B/X has its own versions).


Monsters not included in B/X include giant frogs, giant beavers, giant otters, giant wasps, fire lizards, minotaur ("monitor"?) lizards, elasmosaurus, mososaurus, giant eels, lamphrey, sea horse, and the Portugese man-of-war.

Those attributed to Steve Marsh include dolphins, aquatic elves, pungi ray, manta ray, water spiders, weed eels, sahuagin, floating eyes, ixitxachitl, locathah, morkoth, and mashers.

Eldritch Wizardry:

I would include demons, which appear in the Immortals rules.  I would also include couatl, ki-rin, shedu, and su-monsters, as well as mind flayers (from The Strategic Review #1), but not brain moles, cerebral parasites, intellect devourers, or thought eaters (created to counter psionics).

AD&D 1e Monster Manual:

The AD&D 1e Monster Manual collected all of the creatures in OD&D + supplements, most appearing in The Strategic Review + early editions of The Dragon, and included some new monsters, as well.

Among these, possible candidates for a Companion supplement include the aerial servant, catoblepas (from The Strategic Review #7), gas spore, hippocampus, lamia, naga (from The Strategic Review #3), nightmare, rakshasa (from The Strategic Review #5), roper (from The Strategic Review #2), shambling mound (from The Strategic Review #3), slithering tracker (from The Strategic Review #5), sphinx, wind walker (from The Strategic Review #3), and xorn.

D&D Companion Set:

The Companion Set rules included some original monsters (mostly those from other planes), but also many creatures who appeared previously in the new monster section of various modules.

D&D Master Set:

The D&D Master Set rules included many original monsters, in addition to some reskinned from OD&D (ie. the ixitxachitl as "devilfish"; and catoblepas as "nekrozon").

Sunday, November 27, 2022

D&D Companion: The Encounter

"Part 5: The Encounter" should include rules for underwater movement and actions, including combat and spell casting.

Illustration by Jim Roslof

Underwater Encounter Distance

When determining encounter distances underwater, two factors need to be taken into account: sight and hearing.

Sighting enemies: To determine the distance at which approaching creatures are first seen, roll 3d6 and multiply by 10 to find the distance in feet.  If the number rolled exceeds the current visibility distance, the encountered creatures are seen only when they enter the range of visibility.

Hearing enemies: Underwater, sound carries farther than light.  It is quite likely that characters will hear approaching creatures before they actually see them, particularly when operating at great depths.  Assume that characters can detect approaching creatures out to a range of 180' (3d6 x 10') on a successful Hear Noise roll.

Underwater Combat

Unlike most normal fights, underwater combat almost always takes place in three dimensions.  Once the distance has been determined, the plane of attack needs to be considered.  This may involve attacks from above or below, as well as attacks from the back or sides, or even a combination of the two.  The diagram below is a handy way of determining the plane of attack:

The "0" represents the position of the adventurers.  To discover the height of the encounter and its direction relative to the adventurers, roll 1d8 and consult the diagram.  A roll of 1 = an attack directly from above; 2 = from behind and above; 3 = an attack from behind; 4 = from behind and below; 5 = an attack from below; 6 = from in front and below; 7 = from directly in front; 8 from in front and above.

Underwater Movement and Actions

A normal person cannot move or fight as well underwater as he can on land.  He is -4 to hit with any weapon such as a sword or axe.  Missile weapons are only -1 on hit rolls, but they have only half their normal range.

Underwater Spell Casting

It is impossible to speak clearly underwater.  Unless a cleric or magic-user has waterbreathing (either through the spell or a magic item), he cannot cast spells underwater.

Even if a cleric or magic-user can breathe underwater, some spells will have strange results or side effects underwater (as described in module X7 "The War Rafts of Kron")

Saving Throws

Expanded tables for higher level characters.

Combat Tables:

Expanded tables for higher level characters.

Missile Fire Ranges:

Reproduced with heavy crossbow and composite bows.

Variable Weapon Damage:

The Greyhawk supplement introduced variable weapon damage for both man-sized as well as larger opponents, which could be included as a way to differentiate between the new weapon options, instead of using the Weapon Mastery system from the D&D Master Set.

Unarmed Combat:

The Cook/Marsh Expert rulebook describes a simple approach to striking (characters who engage in combat without a weapon will do 1-2 points of damage plus any strength adjustments for a successful attack).

A method for grappling/wrestling may be derived from Gary Gygax's Combat Example from The Strategic Review #2.  (Revised approaches to both striking and wrestling are presented in the D&D Companion rulebook, for those preferring the BECMI approach.)


Rules for jousting in D&D based on the system in Chainmail were described by Jon Pickens in The Dragon #17 (August, 1978).  (A simpler system is described in the D&D Companion rulebook.)

Mass Land Combat:

The Cook/Marsh Expert rulebook suggests using the Swords & Spells supplement for large scale battles.  Gary Spiegle's War Machine rules* are better, although I would not feel the need to reproduce them.

*see also "War Machine revisited" in The Dragon #109 (May, 1986)

There are basic rules for sieges in Swords & Spells, based on Chainmail.  These appear to have been revised in the AD&D 1e Dungeon Masters Guide, although the Siege Machine rules in the D&D Master Set are more playable.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

D&D Companion: The Adventure

"Part 4: The Adventure" in Moldvay Basic describes encumbrance, (new equipment is introduced in Cook/Marsh Expert, for which values for encumbrance are not provided).

A Companion supplement should include the encumbrance of new ("optional") equipment, such as new types of armor, the heavy crossbow, bastard sword, and other weapons.

Molday Basic covers the dungeon environment, while Cook/Marsh Expert describes the wilderness.  The Companion Supplement should cover new environments.

Illustration by Rebecca Guay

Underwater Adventures:

Underwater adventures were first covered in the Blackmoor supplement.  Module X7 "The War Rafts of Kron" (1984) by Bruce Nesmith provided several new rules for underwater adventures, which could be used as the basis for material in the Companion supplement.*

*see also PC3 "The Sea People" (1990) by Jim Bambra


If a character cannot breathe, he suffocates and dies.  A character can hold his breath for three rounds if he is active.  If he takes no actions, the character can hold his breath for six rounds.  After that he begins to drown and in three more rounds is dead.  However, his body has suffered no points of damage.

Underwater Movement

Module X7 has an Underwater Movement Table showing the speed characters may move underwater.  The table has a Sink/Rise column which shows how fast a character sinks or rises underwater.  If a fighter with plate mail, a sword, and a shield falls into the ocean, he sinks 20 feet per round because he has 660 coin weight of encumbrance.  If he removes his armor and shield, he rises 10 feet per round.

Underwater Movement Table, from X7 "The War Rafts of Kron" (1984) by Bruce Nesmith

If a character is swimming, add or subtract the swimming speed from the sinking or rising speed.  For example, a person carrying 350 coin weight of encumbrance sinks 10 feet per round if he does nothing.  If he swims, he can either stay even by swimming upward or swim downward 20 feet per round.  If he swims horizontally he will sink 10 feet per round while moving 10 feet per round.


Seeing underwater is more difficult than seeing above water.  Just under the surface of the water a person can see 500 feet with natural lighting.  For every 100 feet below the surface, the range of vision is reduced 50 feet.  A person 1,000 feet or more under water is in complete darkness.

A light or beacon can be seen only half as far away as normal and can illuminate an area only half as large as normal, regardless of the depth of the water, (ie. a light spell would illuminate only a 15' diameter area; a continual light spell a 30' diameter area).


Noises travel farther underwater than in the air.  All sounds should be much louder and a little distorted if characters are underwater.  Navigators quite often use sound instead of light for navigation underwater.

Writing Underwater

Normal ink smears underwater.  Normal documents and writings become indecipherable in two turns.  This includes maps, but not magical writings.  If the party wishes to map the areas they investigate underwater, they must use a different system of mapping.

Extraplanar Adventures:

For information concerning adventures on the ethereal or astral planes, see Part 9: Special Adventures

Experience Points:

An expanded table for giving experience points should also be included.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

D&D Companion: Magic-User and Elf Spells

A D&D Companion supplement should include a complete list of magic-user and elf spells to level 9 (see also Cook/Marsh Expert: Magic-User and Elf Spells).

Illustration by Bill Wililnghamn.

The Cook/Marsh rulebook includes complete lists to level 6.  Magic-user spells for levels 7-9 in the Mentzer Companion and Master Sets are listed, below:

Seventh Level Magic-User Spells:

1. Charm Plant - from Greyhawk "Charm Plants"
2. Create Normal Monsters - from Greyhawk "Monster Summoning V"
3. Delayed Blast Fire Ball - from Greyhawk
x. Limited Wish - from Greyhawk
4. Lore - from AD&D 1e "Legend Lore"
5. Magic Door* - from Greyhawk "Phase Door"
6. Mass Invisibility* - from Greyhawk
7. Power Word Stun - from Greyhawk
8. Reverse Gravity - from Greyhawk
x. Simulacrum - from Greyhawk
9. Statue - from AD&D 1e
10. Summon Object - from AD&D 1e "Drawmij's Instant Summons"
11. Sword - from AD&D 1e "Mordenkainen's Sword"
12. Teleport any Object - similar to AD&D 1e "Vanish"

I'm sorry to see "Limited Wish" and "Simulacrum" go, although many lower level spells from OD&D + Greyhawk were similarly excluded from B/X.

Eighth Level Magic-User Spells:

1. Clone - from Greyhawk
2. Create Magical Monsters - from Greyhawk "Monster Summoning VI"
3. Dance - from AD&D 1e "Otto's Irresistible Dance"
4. Explosive Cloud - from AD&D 1e "Incendiary Cloud"
5. Force Field - similar to AD&D 1e "Wall of Force"
6. Mass Charm* - from Greyhawk
7. Mind Barrier* - from Greyhawk "Mind Blank"
8. Permanence - from Greyhawk "Permanence Spell"
9. Polymorph Any Object - from Greyhawk
10. Power Word Blind - from Greyhawk
11. Symbol - from Greyhawk
12. Travel - from Greyhawk "Astral Spell" + "Wind Walk"

Ninth Level Magic-User Spells:

1. Contingency - from Mentzer Master
2. Create Any Monster - from Greyhawk "Monster Summoning VII"
3. Gate* - from Greyhawk
4. Heal - from AD&D 1e "Heal" (clerical spell)
5. Immunity - similar to AD&D 1e "Serten's Spell Immunity"
6. Maze - from Greyhawk
7. Meteor Swarm - from Greyhawk
8. Power Word Kill - from Greyhawk
9. Prismatic Wall - from Greyhawk
10. Shape Change - from Greyhawk
11. Time Stop - from Greyhawk
12. Wish - from Greyhawk

Saturday, November 19, 2022

D&D Companion: Clerical Spells

A D&D Companion supplement should include a complete list of clerical spells to level 7 (see also Cook/Marsh Expert: Clerical Spells).

"Part Water" illustration by NéNé Thomas

Third Level Clerical Spells:

To the six spells listed in Cook/Marsh Expert, I would add "Cure Blindness" (from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Expert) and "Speak with Dead" (from Greyhawk/Mentzer Expert):

1. Continual Light* - from OD&D vol. 1
2. Cure Blindness - from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Expert
3. Cure Disease* - from OD&D vol. 1
4. Growth of Animals - from Cook/Marsh Expert
5. Locate Object - from OD&D vol. 1
x. Prayer - from Greyhawk
6. Remove Curse* - from OD&D vol. 1
7. Speak with Dead - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Expert
8. Striking - from Cook/Marsh Expert

Fourth Level Clerical Spells:

To the six spells listed in Cook/Marsh Expert, I would add "Animate Dead" (from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Expert) and "Dispel Magic" (from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Expert):

1. Animate Dead - from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Expert
2. Create Water - from OD&D vol. 1
3. Cure Serious Wounds* - from OD&D vol. 1
4. Dispel Magic - from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Expert
5. Neutralize Poison - from OD&D vol. 1
6. Protection/Evil, 10' radius - from OD&D vol. 1 (was reversible)
7. Speak with Plants - from OD&D vol. 1
8. Sticks to Snakes - from OD&D vol. 1

Fifth Level Clerical Spells

To the six spells listed in Cook/Marsh Expert, I would add "Cure Critical Wounds" (from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Companion) and "Truesight" (from AD&D 1e "True Seeing"/Mentzer Companion):

1. Commune - from OD&D vol. 1
2. Create Food - from OD&D vol. 1
3. Cure Critical Wounds* - from AD&D 1e/Mentzer Companion
4. Dispel Evil - from OD&D vol. 1 (was reversible)
5. Insect Plague - from OD&D vol. 1
6. Quest* - from OD&D vol. 1 (reversible in Cook/Marsh Expert)
7. Raise Dead* - from OD&D vol. 1
8. Truesight - from AD&D 1e "True Seeing"/Mentzer Companion

Sixth Level Clerical Spells

I would include the eight spells listed in Mentzer Expert/Companion:

1. Aerial Servant - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Companion
2. Animate Objects - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Expert
3. Barrier* - from Greyhawk "Blade Barrier"/Mentzer Companion (reversible)
4. Create Normal Animals - from Greyhawk "Conjure Animals"/Mentzer Companion
5. Cureall - from AD&D 1e "Heal" (was reversible)/Mentzer Companion
6. Find the Path- from Greyhawk/Mentzer Expert
7. Speak with Monsters* - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Expert (reversible)
8. Word of Recall - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Expert

Seventh Level Clerical Spells

I would include the four spells listed in Mentzer Companion, but only two of the four spells listed in Mentzer Master, adding one from Greyhawk, and one from AD&D 1e:

1. Earthquake - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Companion
x. Control Weather - from Greyhawk (magic-user spell)/Mentzer Companion "Weather Control"
x. Gate - from Greyhawk errata/AD&D 1e (magic-user spell)/Mentzer Companion
2. Holy Word - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Companion
3. Part Water - from Greyhawk
4. Raise Dead Fully* - from Greyhawk/Mentzer Companion
5. Regenerate - from AD&D 1e
6. Restore* - from Greyhawk "Restoration"/Mentzer Companion
7. Survival - from Mentzer Master
x. Symbol - from Greyhawk (magic-user spell)/Mentzer Companion
8. Travel - from Greyhawk "Astral Spell" + "Wind Walk"/Mentzer Master
x. Wish - from Mentzer Master
x. Wizardry - from Mentzer Master

"Part Water" from Greyhawk is similar to other clerical spells based on biblical sources, and "Regenerate" joins "Cure Blindness", "Animate Dead", "Dispel Magic", "Cure Critical Wounds", "Truesight", and "Cureall" as clerical spells originating from AD&D 1e.

"Control Weather", "Gate", and "Symbol" from Greyhawk are already magic-user spells, as is "Wish" from Mentzer Master (these could represent additional spells that may optionally be cast by a sufficiently high-level cleric).

"Wizardry" is a 7th level clerical spell from Mentzer Master, permitting clerics to use magic items normally usable only by magic-users, for a single turn.  Scrolls containing 1st or 2nd level magic-user spells may also be cast (which doesn't make the cut, in my opinion).