Back in 1989 TSR was riding high on the success of the 2nd Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The brain trust there decided to do away with the standard Monster Manual form of beast cataloging in favor of a binder and loose-leaf format called The Monstrous Compendium. This was impossible to keep in alphabetical order, prone to tearing, and widely hated. And ugly. Eventually TSR realized the error of their ways and compiled the beasts of the Monstrous Compendium into a new, massive Monstrous Manual. This was followed by the release of several appendices for various settings. While superior to the earlier Compendium, the Monstrous Manuals never achieved the success or notoriety of the original Monster Manuals. As you will see, there was a good reason for that.
Zack: In an unusual turn of events, none of our readers requested this. I wonder why.Steve: I love these books. I still have my old binders. They're missing a few pages of course, but I liked the binder format.
Zack: I don't think I ever owned any. I do remember seeing the shrink-wrapped packets of monsters for the three-ring binders and wondering what the hell happened to the simple joy of the Monster Manual.
Steve: You're just being closed-minded as usual, dude. The binder format made it real cheap for them to print up new monsters. That meant new monsters every couple weeks. Page after page of new and totally useful monsters.Steve: I could hardly wait to integrate a Giant Space Hamster into my campaign with Keith and Jamie.
Zack: Today we are going to subject ourselves to the entire AD&D 2nd Edition monster oeuvre and see if we can't dig up some forgotten gems.
Steve: There are literally 15 different pig monsters in these books.
Zack: In a twist, it is revealed the pig monster was inside us all along. We are the pig monsters.
We've found some cool stuff in the woods. Now it's time for you to pinkie swear you won't tell mom and dad.
There's a Brainiac. He's not THE Brainiac. However, he's one aspect of Brainiac. Or maybe there's supposed to be a different Brainiac in every universe and they're all cosmically connected, presumably via their brains. Either way, I think this particular Brainiac is the boss Brainiac.
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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.