A series of blog posts about Fiend Folio monsters from here
got me thinking so thoughts I’d collect my responses for future reference
Ankheg: Ankheg are good terrain monsters for lowbie players imo as they’re big and tough but dumb so terrain can be used against them like fields with drainage ditches they can’t get their mandibles in and dilapidated barns with ladders and lots of doors
Centaurs: agree they don’t really fit but if you have a giant plain / steppe off the edge of your map somewhere then Centaurs can be like a natural disaster i.e. occasionally they come out of the steppe on raids sometimes thousands of them – so more of a background event than an encounter.
Dryads: make more sense if they only come out of trees to mate so encounters revolve around high CHA males, fertility etc
Elementals: elementals suck outside their element imo but excel within it so earth elementals in the ground under the players feet, water elementals when players are in water, air elementals when players are crossing wobbly bridges over chasms, rock elementals in the walls in dungeons
Ghouls: Lovecraft version, punishment / reward for cannibalism, ever hungry tunnel dwelling undeat, more often encounter ghoul than ghouls e.g. apprentice mage studying necromancy takes a short cut to lichdom not knowing the consequences and gradually turns into a ghoul before finally succumbing and digging a tunnel down to join his new kin
Ghast: Lovecraft again, mentioned as being used as mounts by the men of Kn’yan(sp) so maybe big ghouls e.g. giants (see below) bred to be mounts through enforced cannibalism
Ghosts = plot not monster = ye
Hill Giants: there were giants for real once (see Acromegaly) stone age human-ish, bigger, stronger, probably dumber so 7-8′ guys big and dumb – so a lot of myths have that same root imo: Hill Giants, Troglodytes, Yetis, Trolls, Ogres etc So maybe use them as terrain versions of the same thing – trolls/swamp, ogres/rocky mountains, yetis/snowy mountains etc and make them aggressive but negotiable so more of an RP diplomacy encounter than a combat encounter
Fire, Storm, Lightning Giants: belong in their own realm /region, there to enhance the theme of a region / terrain type
Griffon: eagle and lion imply royalty so maybe some kind of excalibur connection rather than a natural creature – for example if the true king of gryffendor is on the throne then griffons will nest on the castle roof
Githyanki : Jorune has some cool creatures (google Jorune creatures) one of which was the Ramian Gire who I think sum up Githyanki (alien space pirates and slavers) best
Goblin/gnoll: I like orcs but then i like Tolkein but maybe orcs are too Tolkein and drag the games too much in that direction?
In which case if no orcs (and by extension no goblins as mini orcs) then you probably need another pack humanoid enemy and hyena men are ideal – the name sucks though “Gnoll” doesn’t have the same ring as “Orc” so might change the name – maybe Hyena.
If goblins aren’t mini orcs then what? malicious sprite goblins like trad. norse dark elves? This highlights the point that dark elves and vampires basically share the same spot so maybe merge them?
Grell: a lot of monsters are sill as general random encounters and ought to have a region built around them so a “Grell Swamp” somewhere with lots of Grell and none elsewhere.
Shadows: restrict them to actual shadows.
Wights: skeletons are from lvl 0 people, Wights are from heros and veterans, variable level, fear attack not drain.