Saturday, December 28, 2019

Greyhawk: Monsters & Treasure

The Greyhawk supplement greatly expanded the D&D monster list, adding several creatures to the alignment chart (originally presented in OD&D vol. 1 Men & Magic):

Alignment Table, from Supplement I: Greyhawk

Note that non-intelligent creatures, such as carrion crawlers and gelatinous cubes, are not included.

Attacks and variable damage were provided for the monsters described in OD&D vol. 2 "Monsters & Treasure" as well as new monsters described in the Greyhawk supplement, in addition to creatures mentioned in OD&D without entries:

Crocodile, Giant Beetle, Giant Crab, Giant Lizard, Giant (Sumatran) Rat, Giant Scorpion, Giant Snake, Giant Spider, Giant Toad, Giant Weasel, Horse (Light, Medium, Heavy), Lion, Mastodon, Sabre-tooth Tiger, Sea Monster, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Wolf (Normal, Dire)

An alphabetic listing of the new monsters in the Greyhawk supplement, and their probable or confirmed origins, is given, below:


Beholders: Originally conceived by Terry Kuntz, according to the preface in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual by Gary Gygax, and as discussed in this thread on OD&D Discussion.

Blink Dogs: Lawful creatures, the natural enemies of Displacer Beasts.

Bugbears: Described as monsters "of the 'giant class,' being great, hairy goblin-giants".  The illustration by Greg Bell in the Greyhawk supplement depicting bugbears with pumpkin-heads was based on a misunderstanding, as Gygax reported in this thread on Dragonsfoot:
The pumpkin-headed bugbear was an artist taking literally my description of the monster as having a head like a pumpkin, i.e large, round flat oval.
Gary Gygax on Dragonsfoot, (Jun 2006)

Carrion Crawlers: Envisioned as competitors of "ochre jellies, black (or gray) puddings, and the like", one of Gary's contributions to "the clean-up crew".

Illustration of a carrion crawler, from the Greyhawk supplement, attributed to Dave Arneson

Displacer Beasts: Inspired by the coeurl, a feline-like creature from the 1939 science fiction story "Black Destroyer" by A. E. van Vogt, later incorporated into the novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950).

Dopplegangers: Based on the Doppelganger of folklore (possibly inspired by an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, involving a doppelganger?)

Dragons: The metallic/"Oriental" types are introduced, including Brass, Copper, Bronze, Silver; Platinum/Dragon King (named as Bahamut in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual); Chromatic/Dragon Queen (named as Tiamat in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual).

Druids: "Priests of a neutral-type religion" who "are combination cleric/magic-users" although the druid character class in Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry would supersede this version.

Elementals: Additional details are given for elementals, first described in OD&D vol. 2.

Gelatinous Cubes: Originally mentioned in OD&D vol. 2 Monsters & Treasure but only given statistics in the Greyhawk supplement.

Giant Slugs: Conan battles a giant slug in "The Hall of the Dead" by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp, 1967

Giant Tick

Golems (Flesh, Stone, Iron): The flesh golem is based on Frankenstein's monster.

Harpies: From the Harpy of Greek mythology.

Illustration from Monster & Treasure Assortment (1980), reprinted from Monster & Treasure Assortment: Set Three (1978), probably by Dave Trampier

Hell Hounds: Featured in the short story "In the Bag" by J. Eric Holmes, published in Dragon #58 (Feb 1982)

Homunculus: Created through a special formula involving both an Alchemist and a Magic-User, becoming the servant and counterpart of the latter.

Lammasu: From the Lamassu of Sumerian mythology.

Liches: Modeled after the lich Afgorkon in the short story "The Sword of the Sorcerer" by Gardner Fox, in "Kothar: Barbarian Swordsman" (1969)

Lizard Men: Possibly inspired by the Horibs of Pellucidar (in "Tarzan at the Earth's Core" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929)

Lycanthrope: Wererat/Rat Man (possibly inspired by the rats in "The Swords of Lankhmar" by Fritz Leiber, 1968), discussed here.

Ogre Magi: Oni, or "Japanese Ogres", inspired by General Raiko and the Ogres of O-E-Yama, a beautifully illustrated children's book translated into English from Japanese, according to Gygax.

Illustration from Monster & Treasure Assortment (1980), reprinted from Monster & Treasure Assortment: Set Two (1977), by David Sutherland

Owl Bears: Inspired by one of the plastic toy "prehistoric animals" manufactured in Hong Kong.

Phase Spiders: Creatures able to phase into and back from etherealness.

Rust Monsters: Another creature inspired by one of the plastic toy "prehistoric animals" manufactured in Hong Kong.

Salamanders: Originally described as a type of free-willed, fire elemental.

Shadows: These incorporeal creatures feature in "The Sorcerer's Jewel", a short story by J. Eric Holmes, published in Dragon #46 (Feb 1981)

Stirges: Possibly inspired by the Strix of Greek mythology.

Attack of the Stirges, from The Strategic Review, vol I, no 5 (Dec 1975), illustration by David Sutherland

Storm Giants

Titans: Based on the Titans of Greek mythology.

Tritons: "Similar to mermen" although tougher and able to use magic-user spells.

Umber Hulks: Able to burrow through solid rock.

Illustration of an umber hulk, from the Blackmoor supplement (1975), by David Sutherland

Will O' Wisps: Based on the will o' the wisp of folklore.

Vampires: Additional details are given for vampires, including the mention of a variant.  "Vampires from the region of the Middle East are invisible, but they are not able to Charm."


The Greyhawk supplement also expanded the magic item tables, including five subtables of miscellaneous magic.

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