Monsters & Treasure
MONSTER DESCRIPTIONS (continued)
“SKELETONS/ZOMBIES: act only under the instructions of their motivator, be it a Magic-User or Cleric (Chaos).”The absence of these Monsters on the Alignment chart, Volume 1, page 9, and the description here lead me to believe that these Monsters are purely a creation of Man. They have no Alignment, as they are no more than undead servants of their ‘motivator’. Also of note here is the fact that the above quoted sentence supports my theory that evil and Chaos are more of a concern for Clerics than the other character classes. It seems ANY Magic-User (Sorcerer or higher) may create undead via the Animate Dead spell, with no concerns of Alignment or evil.
“GHOULS: paralize any normal figure they touch…and are subject to missile fire.”Ghouls were second level terrors from the earliest days, back when they were synonymous with Wights in CHAINMAIL, due to their ‘paralizing’ touch. No duration is given, but based on the Saving Throw Matrix, Volume 1, page 20, we can assume a saving throw avoids the effect. Unique to this edition of D&D is the fact that missile fire is treated differently than melee attacks for certain Undead (Ghouls, Wights and Wraiths). I like this treatment of damage, as it makes sense that missiles (specifically arrows) will not do as much harm to targets that do not require operating organs to survive.
“WIGHTS: are nasty critters”I wish this description of Wights had followed them throughout subsequent versions of the game. Nasty critters just has such a nice ring to it.
“VAMPIRES: are properly of the “Undead” class rather than Lycanthropes…(regenerate) at the rate of three hit points per turn…cannot abide the smell of garlic, the face of a mirror, or the sight of cross. They will fall back from these if strongly presented.”A fairly well-fleshed out description when compared to others here. I assume the authors felt the need to specify that Vampires are not Lycanthropes due to certain magic items, but it seems like a no-brainer to me. Perhaps an example of a rules clarification to derail proto-rules lawyers in the early days. The ‘per turn’ regeneration of Vampires is another example of the term Turn actually referring to the ‘ten rounds of combat per turn’ (Volume 3, page 8); in other words ‘per round’. This logic is applied to Trolls as well, and harkens back to the usage of Turn in the Spell Descriptions; that Turns are differentiated as Move/Turns out of combat (10 minutes) and Melee Turns (or rounds) during combat (1 minute).
The last sentence quoted suggests that any character may turn away, or keep at bay, a Vampire by using garlic, a mirror, or a cross if strongly presented (and not just in a backpack). This sentence disrupts all of the assumptions I had made in Men & Magic in regard to Clerics using a cross to turn, dispell or dissolve Undead. In fact, the inclusion of the crosses on the Basic Equipment list had also led me to some assumptions regarding religion and the Cleric class, when it seems they are simply present there for Vampire hunting; especially given that the cross is listed with a grouping of anti-Vampire and anti-Lycanthrope items. The inclusion of such items on that list is an interesting topic for another day, given the somewhat generic quality of the rest of the table.
As presented, Vampires are one of the deadliest foes available in Volume 2, and with their power to turn slain Men into Vampire minions, these atrocities could easily be the central antagonists in many a campaign.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee