A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

The Monster

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on February 03, 2022

Tagged: OSR

Every so often Nate will pop into the discord we’re both in to chat about his super-high level D&D 5e game: it’s totally bananas and inspiring. He made this off hand remark about the Red Dragon in his game:

The red dragon Vlaurung lives in a palace in space and is the consort of Tiamat.

One of my favourite parts of Dark Sun was that there was a singular Dragon: it made the monster more mythic in my mind. Sean felt the same way about making monsters unique:

I feel like almost any game could be made better by taking the monster manual and just writing The before every monster.

And then Brendan reminded us that he figured this all out many years ago: Sui Generia.

Some creatures feel like they maybe aren’t as nice a fit for this treatment, your D&D mooks: kobolds, orcs, goblins, etc. Alex suggested “the Goblins being a single band of six (6) named assholes is as good as if not better than a monolithic Goblin.” Chris followed up, “I feel like you could have The Kobold, but still have a Kobold society that he’s built down in the mines with stolen children or whatever and the kids all paint themselves blue and make shitty traps or whatever else kobolds do.” I love it.

This feels like such a simple and compelling way to create a unique setting from a collection of very common elements. You could pick 10 of your favourite monsters and create a unique world for you and your friends. These conversations always have me thinking about running OD&D again.

I didn’t want this conversation to disappear into the ether that is random peple on a random discord, so here we are. Blogs are for remembering.