Saturday, February 26, 2022

Cook/Marsh Expert: Monsters

The Cook/Marsh Expert rulebook included monsters from the Holmes Basic rulebook, with some additions/changes, adapted creatures from the AD&D 1e Monster Manual, and introduced new monsters (underlined, below).*

*some of the new creatures appeared in the newly updated, combined Monster & Treasure Assortment (1980), Sets One-Three: Levels One-Nine, for which a working draft of the new list of monsters may have been available

Antelope (Herd Animals) -  similar to Herd Animals in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Basilisk - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes, a "rather small reptilian monster" in Holmes; a 10' long, sinuous lizard in Cook/Marsh.  Includes rules for handling combat in the context of a basilisk's petrifying gaze

Black Pudding - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Blink Dog - from Greyhawk/Holmes, "resemble African wild dogs" in Holmes, and "Australian wild dogs" in Cook/Marsh

Caecilia - new monster, inspired by legless, blind, amphibious caecilians.  Appears in the updated M&T Assortment (1980)

Camel - similar to Wild Camels in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Centaur - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes manuscript

Chimera - from OD&D vol.2/Holmes

Cockatrice - from OD&D vol.2/Holmes

Crab, Giant - from OD&D vol. 3/Greyhawk/Blackmoor

Crocodile (Normal, Large, Giant) - from OD&D vol. 3/Greyhawk/Blackmoor (Giant Crocodiles are normally found only in "lost worlds" where prehistoric creatures thrive)

Cyclops, illustration by Jeff Dee.  From the AD&D 1e Fiend Folio (used as filler art, possibly intended for the D&D Expert rulebook).

Cyclops - new monster.  Some cyclops (5%) are able to cast a curse once a week (reference to the Curse of Polyphemus)

Devil Swine - new monster:

A: Well, the werepigs came from a Lovecraft era writer who had a series of short stories. Every other one was just a mystery story (the fantastic elements were all fake) and the alternate ones were all hideous magical things.

The werepigs were monstrous entities from beyond the asteroid belt, trying to root around for a little food, as I recall. The Expert Set (D&D) werepigs came from those.

Sandy responded: If you're talking about House on the Borderlands, the swine-thing weren't really werepigs. They were just monstrous half-human entities.

Steve responded: Well, the best we could do in slipping them into D&D was the devil swine. I know, we made compromises ...

Steve Marsh, posted on Yog-Sothoth forums (archived here)

Displacer Beast - from Greyhawk/Holmes (inspired by the coeurl, a feline-like creature from the 1939 science fiction story "Black Destroyer" by A. E. van Vogt, and in The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950)

Djinni (Lesser) - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Dragon Turtle - from OD&D vol. 3/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Dryad - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes manuscript

Efreeti (Lesser) - from OD&D vol. 2

Elemental - from OD&D vol. 2

Elephant - similar to Elephants in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Fish, Giant (Piranha, Spiny Rockfish, Catfish, Sturgeon) - similar to Giant Fish (Barracuda, Gar, Pike) in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Giant (Hill, Stone, Frost, Fire, Cloud, Storm) - from OD&D vol. 2/Greyhawk/Holmes

Golem (Wood, Bone, Amber, Bronze) - similar to Golems (Flesh, Stone, Iron) in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual, although the Cook/Marsh types are different

Gorgon - from OD&D vol. 2

Griffon - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Hawk (Normal, Giant) - new monster (both types of hawks may be trained as pets or guards by an animal trainer (pg. X21)

Hellhound - from Greyhawk/Holmes (the ability to detect invisible, mentioned in Greyhawk but not Holmes, appears in Cook/Marsh)

Hippogriff - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Horse (Riding, War, Draft) - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Hydra (Normal, Sea) - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes (special version of hydra, including poisonous and Pyrohydras, as described in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual, are mentioned in Cook/Marsh)

Invisible Stalker - from OD&D vol. 2

Leech, Giant - from OD&D vol. 3/Blackmoor

Manticore - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes (will regrow 2 tail spikes per day)

Mastodon - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual (live in cold, icy tundras or "lost worlds")

Men (Brigand, Buccaneer/Pirate, Dervish, Merchant, Nomad)

Mermen - from OD&D vol. 2/Blackmoor/Holmes manuscript

Mummy - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Nixies - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes 1st printing (1977); includes stats for Giant Bass

NPC Parties

Octopus, Giant - from OD&D vol. 3/Blackmoor

Pegasus - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Pterodactyl (Pterodactyl, Pteranodon) - similar to Pteranodons in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Purple Worm - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Rhinoceros (Normal, Wooly) - similar to Rhinoceroses in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Erol Otus mocked my idea of having the Wooly Rhinos be intelligent, so that got canned (I liked the idea of a potential psionic group of Rhinos in the far north, coordinating the defence of the herd against predators).

Steve Marsh, posted on Dragonsfoot (April 11, 2005)

Rhagodessa - new monster, inspired by the rhagodessa, a solifuge (type of arachnid)

Roc (Small, Large, Giant) - from OD&D vol. 2 (if hatched or captured as chicks, young rocs can be trained (pg. X21)

Dueling salamanders, illustration by Erol Otus.

Salamander (Flame, Frost) - from Greyhawk (although Flame Salamanders are described as lizards in Cook/Marsh, as opposed to humanoids with snake-like tails in Greyhawk)

Scorpion, Giant - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Sea Dragons - new monster

Sea Serpent (Lesser) - new monster (may attack a sea craft its own size or smaller by looping around the boat and squeezing, as in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" by C. S. Lewis)

Shark (Bull, Mako, Great White) - similar to Sharks in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Spectre - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Squid, Giant - from OD&D vol. 3/Blackmoor

Stegosaurus - similar to Stegosaurus the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Termite, Water (Swamp, Fresh Water, Salt Water) - new monster

Titanothere - similar to Titanotheres in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Toad, Giant - from Greyhawk/Blackmoor

Treant - from OD&D vol.2/Holmes manuscript (Ent) "they speak a slow and difficult tongue and distrust those who use fire" as in Tolkien

Triceratops - similar to Triceratops in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Troll - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes "even severed limbs will crawl back to the body and rejoin" as in "Three Hearts and Three Lions" by Poul Anderson

Tyrannosaurus Rex - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Unicorn - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Vampire, illustration by Bill Willingham.

Vampire - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

I also wanted to do a step reduction for Vampires. Stake them - 10hd. Cut off the head -6 hd. Stuff head with garlic -4 hd. Bury at cross roads, double hit dice reduction. That way, to kill a vampire really dead (so it would stay dead) would require various parts of the classic treatment depending on how powerful it was.

Steve Marsh, posted on Dragonsfoot (April 11, 2005)

Weasel, Giant - from Greyhawk/AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Whale (Killer, Narwhal, Sperm) - similar to Whales in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual

Wraith - from OD&D vol. 2/Holmes

Wyvern - from OD&D vol. 2


  1. As far as the Devil Swine, it sounds like Sandy was close with the right author, but I think the story Steve Marsh might be thinking of is The Hog, one of Hodgson's Carnacki stories. It's been a while since I read it, but the Carnacki stories switch between genuine supernatural stories and Scooby-Doo hoaxes and The Hog involves an extradimensional swine-creature trying to enter our world.

    1. Thanks for mentioning that - yes, it sounds like he was referring to a different set of stories, not "The House on the Borderlands".

      I'd like to track down the Carnacki stories, and see if there's a better fit!

    2. The Night Shade Books collection 'The Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson vol. 2: The House on the Borderland and Other Mysterious Places' collects The House on the Borderland, the Carnacki stories, and a bunch of his non-supernatural mystery stories together, it's a pretty convenient package.