Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gamer ADD: Fiend Folio Part 7

Wandering Monster Table Level 1

Among the other members of The International League of Fiend Foliasts, Chris of Vaults of Nagoh has already done an analysis of the Wandering Monster Tables (WMT) in the FF. I am not here to duplicate his work, rather I want to refashion the WMTs of Moldvay’s Basic Edition using FF monsters.

Thus, let us take a look at the WMT for Level 1 in Moldvay. For purposes of this analysis, I am categorizing the entries rather than listing specific monsters. The number in paranthesis is the HD of the creature and an asterisk indicates a special ability (such as poison):

  1. human (1)
  2. human (1)
  3. Insect (1+2)
  4. demi-human (1)
  5. demi-human (1)
  6. humanoid (1-1)
  7. slime/ooze (2*)
  8. demi-human (1-1)
  9. insect (.5*)
  10. humanoid (.5)
  11. reptile (3+1)
  12. humanoid (1)
  13. mammal (2)
  14. undead (1)
  15. reptile (1*)
  16. insect (2*)
  17. fey (.5*)
  18. flyer (1*)
  19. human (1)
  20. mammal (2+2)

It is actually quite surprising how easy it is to find a number of choices to fill many of these categories. In particular, flyers and humanoids with similar HD are in abundance; however, creativity is necessary in order to fill the human and demi-human slots since the FF has no entries for humans (no bandits, berserkers, traders, etc.) or traditional demi-humans (only drow and svirfneblin). I am going to take a page from Holmes here, and place classes for each of the human slots using level titles. For the demi-human slots, I will use my substitute demi-human race-as-class examples here. The biggest problem is the slime/ooze slot. All the various creatures in the FF that qualify for this category have much higher HD. If, however, one considers a slime/ooze to be akin to a plant, I figure a Yellow Musk Zombie could be an interesting substitute.

The result of this scheme might look like this (again, the number in parenthesis is HD and an asterisk is a special ability like poison):

  1. Seer (2nd level MU)
  2. Veteran (1st level fighter)
  3. Assassin Bug (1+1)
  4. Dakon (1+1)
  5. Kenku (2)
  6. Xvart (1-1)
  7. Yellow Musk Zombie (2)
  8. Quaggoth (1+2)
  9. Goldbug (1*)
  10. Jermlaine (.5)
  11. Jaculi (1)
  12. Bullywug (1)
  13. Witherstench (2+2*)
  14. Coffer Corpse (2*)
  15. Iron Cobra (1*)
  16. Garbug (2+2*)
  17. Snyad (1-1)
  18. Giant Bat (.5)
  19. Footpad (2nd level thief)
  20. Death Dog (2+1)

Overall, I think this list is a tad more frightening that the one found in Moldvay (one is more likely to get poisoned, ambushed, used as a reproductive host and/or have your treasure stolen). Running away must necessarily be part of an adventuring party’s repertoire (not a bad thing, actually).

Interestingly, though, there is a weird kind of bio-diversity here that seems absent in Moldvay. Whereas the WMT of Molday seems to yield goblinoids and giant animals, this FF Basic Edition WMT yields a wide variety of things — carnivorous plants, constructs and Chaos-touched animals as well as goblinoids and giant animals. I am very tempted to find me a map and roll me up some encounters to see just what kind of an ecology this WMT produces...


Roger G-S said...

Fiend Folio is all about "used as a reproductive host" ... there must be at least 5 monsters with that idea ...

Jeff Rients said...

I'm digging this line of inquiry. Great work.

Tom Hudson said...

I just have to say thank you for the initial analysis - I'd never thought to do that, and it gives me a nice way to think about WMT, none of which I've looked at recently I'm quite happy with

Blair said...

Further ammunition for my position that EVERY monster book needs encounter tables using only it's own contents.

Anthony said...

Being used as a host is a horror trope that always creeps me out. What's interested me about this experiment is just how different the world winds up looking from the standard D&D setting.

Chris said...

Agree entirely.

I'm tearing my hair out trying to compile MM2-only WM tables. *grrrrr*