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My review and discussions of 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (“1e“) has me visiting an old friend, the Fiend Folio (“FF“). My impression, which is anecdotal and thus suspect, is that the FF wasn’t very popular. Oddly enough, it was the only compendium of monsters I owned as a kid other than the small collection in the AD&D Blue Box and the monsters contained in the mods I ran. Plus, none of my friends owned it, so I had something on them. Needless to say, it holds a special place in my heart. I’m not making even more “dumbest monsters of D&D” posts. We’ve all had enough of those. These are about things I like.
As a 13-year-old, the elemental princes (FF, p. 31) blew me away. In the 1e Monster Manual, there were hints as to who ruled over the the elementals (p. 37). The FF gave us the details, stating out each of the suggested princes (and one princess). They’re all level X, but even the weakest among them, Olhydra, attacks as a 20 HD creature, so she’s still exceptionally dangerous. But wait! There’s more! In addition to the four elements, we got a fifth elemental prince of evil, Cryonax (cold). (My original user name on the WotC boards was Cryonax until they required us to create new accounts, and the people without jobs snatched up all the good ones while I toiled away.) 🙂 I don’t how he made tools with those octopus arms, but my characters weren’t about to ask. One thing that bugged me was the Ogremoch (earth) was only 10′ tall. This is hardly the “astounding size” we were promised, but hey, rumors aren’t always true, and he is probably the toughest of the elemental princes.
The last thing I’ll mention was a nice, artistic touch by Alan Hunter (R.I.P.): In addition to their stat block drawings, each of the princess has another drawing showing them commanding one or two elemental monsters, not all of whom are actual elementals. For example, Yan-C-Bin (air) is accompanied by a djinni and my favorite giant (foreshadowing!), a cloud giant. Imix (fire) was hanging with an efreeti, Crynoax with a white dragon (?!), Olhydra (water) with a sahuagin making easy work of a party of PCs, and Ogremoch with an earth elemental and what I think is supposed to be a purple worm. This gave you a sense of their power, and I loved that.
Elemental royalty was not meant to be taken lightly.
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