Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monster Making Old School Style

In a recent thread over on the Facebook Old School Gamers forum, the venerable Jim Beach asked legendary game designer Tim Kask to elaborate on the origins of some iconic D&D creatures from the first AD&D Monster Manual, "I've always been fond of the bulette, rust monster and owlbear. I had the little plastic toys before I found D&D - and I still have them. Tim Kask: Can you verify? I've always kind of assumed they were used as improvisational miniatures, then statted out."

Tim replied, "Absolutely correct. We would look at them and write up whatever came to mind. Gary had done most of the bag, and the "best one" left un-statted was the one they called "the bullet". I needed a monster for the first Creature Feature in Dragon #1,(it had been slated to start in #2 but an ad did not get in on time) and it was born on a Saturday night watching a candygram skit on SNL. Gary and I were annoyed by the proliferation of hobbit PC's, so I addressed that and my love of outdoor monsters at the same time."

He continued, "So, to answer something stated earlier up this thread, we sometimes created monsters to provide play balance. Look at it as an ecosystem; when a species get's out of hand, balance requires a predator. As any good aquarist knows, the best tanks require the right balance."

Tim Kask's latest work, as part of Eldritch Enterprises alongside other designers like Jim Ward, Chris Clark, and Frank Mentzer, have just been made available on RPGNow.com.

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