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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 you read this, I’m getting ready to check in to my hotel in Vegas. This is my annual blackjack trip, and it’s been a long time coming. Anywho, it’s Caturday, but I don’t want to spend the next several Saturdays talking about a single feline monster in the FF as I did last week. Instead, I’m going through all of them very briefly.
Caterwaul (p. 18)
Interesting because its AC and number of attacks per round vary from caterwaul to caterwaul. You determine both stats by a percentage die roll. It also has a sonic weapon, which, in a world of magic, is a reasonable extension of the fact that felines are generally known for purring.
Level IV, 2% chance of dungeon encounter. In tropical or near-tropical conditions, 1% in plains or hills, or 2 % in scrub, forest, or rough.
Guardian Familiar (p. 49)
Why are cats said to have nine lives? Because the guardian familiar has nine lives. Yep, D&D stole the legend’s origin. The guardian familiar takes the form of a housecat. It loyally and reliably sits atop a treasure chest or other container to guard it. It’s not aggressive. If everybody’s cool, no one need die. If attacked, it progressively grows to the size of a bobcat. If killed, it returns even more powerful as long as it has lives left. Kind of funny.
Level VII, 1% chance of dungeon encounter.
Hellcat (p. 50)
I could talk a lot about the hellcat, but I promised these would be very brief. Long story short, hellcats serve as familiars to devils, but occasionally travel to the Prime Material Plane to serve lawful evil mortals. There’s a nice backstory here, but unless someone in your party is lawful evil, the hellcat is nothing more than another monster with level-appropriate magical resistances. Most likely, meh.
Level VI, 3% chance of dungeon encounter.
Tabaxi (p. 86)
In 5e, the tabaxi as arrived, but these are its humble origins. They’re a low-level threat that can break up the monotony of encounters with plants, gnolls, giant animals, and anthropomorphic animals . . . with another anthropomorphic animal. That’s not as bad as it sounds. Low-level threats should leave the game somewhere different to go as PCs level up.
Level II, not found randomly in dungeons. There’s a 2% chance of randomly encountering a “tabazi” (sic) in a tropical or near tropical forest. That’s where they live, and seldom leave the area.
Caturwauls >> blink dogs.
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