I had opportunity to crack open my old and venerable copy of AC9 Creature Catalogue the other day, and ended up in a weeping pile of nostalgia for several hours afterwards. For those of you that don’t know, this is a product that was released back in 1986 by TSR for Classic D&D, and it features arguably some of the greatest forgotten monsters of D&D.
Here’s a small sampling. Each of these, in my opinion, is long overdue a make-over and well deserves updating to Fourth Edition D&D. Or any other edition of D&D, for that matter.
On with the show.
Not an undead, but an elemental construct of sand and dust pulled through a wormhole during violent sandstorms. If they come into contact with metal larger than a dagger in size (such as your Fighter’s Longsword) they involuntarily release an electrical charge, injuring the wielder. Oh, and non-metal weapons don’t harm them. Hope the Fighter packed his rubber boots.
Kal-Muru, or Ship Bane
Man-sized critters from the Plane of Air that float above oceans in groups of 10 or more and can create a fog that causes confusion among anyone caught in it. Picture the scene: the PCs on the deck of a ship, fog descends and the crew become disorientated and begin to argue. That rapidly becomes a fight, and wind-like laughter is heard through the mist. The Kal-Muru are claiming another vessel. Oh yes.
An intelligent cloud of glowing darkness that drains Wisdom and disappears when it has killed its victim. What more do you need to know?
Effectively were-ghouls. By day, they look like normal folks, but by night they turn into ravenous flesh-eaters. Their bite numbs their foes, giving them a –2 to hit and causing them to lose initiative. Quite how that works mid-combat, I’m not sure; perhaps the victim would have to re-roll initiative and take any roll lower than the Bhuts, missing their turn this round if they haven’t already taken it. Or something.
Either way, cool monster and a great villain for a one-shot urban murder mystery.
These slender jackal-headed humanoids are such an integral part of the history of Karameikos in the Known World that they deserve mention. Plus they have jackal heads, so what’s not to love?
Phanatons are Halfling-sized racoon monkeys.
So, just like Halflings then.
Small, turtle-like and utterly adorable. In my Classic D&D campaign they lived in remote Mexican-style villages, took regular siestas and were the best cooks in the Known World. Zuro is a legendary Tortle who fought to free oppressed Tortles everywhere with a rapier and a quick wit.
The list could go on, but I’ll stop there and encourage you instead to hunt down (or open again, if you already own it) the Creature Catalogue for yourself.
You won’t regret it, I swear.