Throughout the late 1970s and most of the 1980s Dungeons & Dragons was a long way from the slick, corporate roleplaying game that it is today. It was rough around the edges, amateurish, and weird. Some early D&D material was so strange we have no choice but to ask...
A few days ago resident Dungeons & Dragons expert Steve "Malak" Sumner and resident creepy Japanese porn expert Zack Parsons cracked the pages of the 1st Edition Monster Manual. Today that journey through the strange pages of D&D beasties continues with a look at more evolutionary mishaps, more odd-bodied rejects, and more completely ridiculous monsters.
The Dungeon Master is an Asshole
Dungeon Masters are the conductors of the dysfunctional D&D symphony and like a good conductor they can be huge tantrum-pitching dill holes looking to ruin a perfectly fun Saturday night in the basement. Steve combed through the Monster Manual to find the best monster for a Dungeon Master with a grudge.
Steve: Okay, there are a lot of dick monsters a DM can use in an adventure, especially in old D&D. There's all sorts of undead that drain levels and can't be hit by normal weapons, which is totally a one-two punch of ass. There are demons that can gate in more demons, which is another dick move, because if you have an encounter with like five demons before you know it there are 30 of them. But nothing is a bigger dick move than the Rot Grub.
Zack: It's a one hit point worm, how bad can it be?
Steve: Let me put it this way, bro: how many hit points you think ball sack cancer has?
Zack: As bad as ball cancer?
Steve: Way worse. Rot Grubs don't have to roll to hit, first of all, they just hit. You're just minding your own business reaching into a log or something and BAM Rot Grubs on your arm like the dude in the picture.
Zack: He looks upset.
Steve: He should be, because now in one to three turns those worms are going to burrow to his heart, without rolling, and kill him, without rolling.
Zack: If you're a doctor in a hospital and dude comes in with Rot Grubs what are his chances?
Steve: Just about zero. First of all, how many turns since he got them? A turn isn't very long. If he ran in straight from getting them on his arm he might have maybe a few seconds to treat him. Without a cure disease spell our only option is fire.
Zack: That sounds bad.
Steve: It's worse than that, dude, trust me. Because now for every rot grub this guy has he has to take d6 fire damage while people jam torches up against the wounds. And they have to do it super fast because he's only got like half a turn left before these things chew to his heart.
Zack: What an asshole monster.
Steve: No, dude, don't blame the monster. Did the frog blame the scorpion? It is the Rot Grub's nature to burrow to the heart. It is the asshole DM's fault for including them in his adventure.
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
For fans of meaningless awards, these awards are extra meaningless.
Zack Parsons, Steve "Malak" Sumner, and friends tackle bizarre role playing game products that make them wonder, "What the fuck!?" From the early days of Gygax to contemporary role playing games, none will be spared.