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...
Killing and/or being killed by monsters is the central premise of Dungeons & Dragons. People like to argue the importance of serious roleplaying, conversation, characterization, and story. Save that nonsense for some newfangled game where everyone takes a turn telling the story, or there aren't any dice, or you play escaped slaves in the antebellum south learning about race.
D&D was born from war gaming and it has always been about killing monsters. If you can understand that then you can understand why the Monster Manual is D&D's most iconic source book. The 1st Edition Monster Manual, released in 1977, was the first hardcover book for D&D. Packed with artwork ranging from decent to childlike, the Monster Manual served as the comprehensive encyclopedia of foes for the Dungeon Master to pit against the players.
Unfortunately, not all foes contained within the Monster Manual were created equal.
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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.