"What Ten monsters would you say are emblematic of 'classic' D&D?"
After literally minutes of stumbling through your replies and dicking about with an excel sheet, I have synthesised the following cutting-edge breakdown and penetrating commentary;
THE TOP TEN
(In reverse order for greater drama)
4. Dragons (non-specific)
, but if you add all dragon mentions they come it at number one..)
3. Gelly Cube!
And GOBLINS at number TWO? Dragons, Orcs, Kobolds (what the fuck even are Kobolds they change every edition and just do what goblins do?, and Skeletons.
Ok, Orcs, Goblins and Skeletons all need no excuse for placing this high (though I am surprised that Goblins beat out the rest so hard). BUT what the fuck do you all like about Kobolds so much?
The Gelly Cube feels like the MVP here as, for being essentially a cube of corrosive jelly, it has rated very highly indeed.
The question as to who truly deserves top spot, Beholder or 'Dragons' will occupy sages for times immemorial to come. Should all mentions of Dragons be combined into one thing? What about the three people who voted specifically for the 'Red Dragon'?
THOSE WHO NEARLY BUT DIDN'T MAKE IT IN
13. Carrion Crawlers
14. Slime (green, though many mentions of slime generally)
16. Stirges - amazed they rated this high
17. Troll - very sad performance
18. Bugbears - what the fuck even are they
Clearly the slime/jelly vote was split by the enormous range of possible slimes.
Votes ranged from "Slimes (all)" 2 votes, "Slimes" 1 vote, "Slime (green)" 7 votes. "Fungus/Mold" 1 vote and "Ochre Jelly" 1 vote. This is what happens with proportional voting people.
Absolutely crushed for the Liche here, and the Mimic. They did well and we expected them to do well, just not well enough in a packed field.
Likewise with the Troll, another under-loved classic,
Gnolls - about where I would expect them to be, and while I am a fan, honestly they did well to get even this far.
Stirges - these were really surprisingly popular to me. What the fuck is it about Stirges that makes them, not even "emblematic" but popular at all? Is there a vast Stirge fandom community our there?
Bugbears - get the fuck out, worse than Kobolds. What even are these things. Utter rubbish.
Bullette - yep, harsh to say it but this is pretty much where I would expect it.
And tbh, lucky to be this high.
DEMONS/DEVILS/DRAGONS - A SPLIT-VOTE DISASTER
It seems the key to being memorable and popular is some complex synergy of being part of a strong monster grouping and also specific enough to dominate the concept of that grouping.
So 'Gelatinous Cube' just crushes all the other Slimes, but 'Yellow-Musk Creeper' just isn't strong enough to dominate either the undead or angry plant groups and so gets wiped out.
Many people voted for demons or devils, but unfortunately for the damned ones, they were all seperate votes. Marilith, Pit Fiend & Succubi got one each.
Likewise, a huge number voted for Dragons generally, but a significant chunk was split from that vote by 'Red Dragon' specifically, which got three, making it an important low-level contender just on its own, and by "Dragons (colour coded)" and "Black Dragon" which got one each.
If you put all those together you get the number one spot.
Curious, for the very concept of a 'Red Dragon' implies other-coloured dragons but the specific nature of that particular kind of dragon seems to strike a powerful chord within the mind. I wonder how many voters for 'Dragons (non-specific)' were imagining a Red Dragon?
Yuan-Ti - only one vote for the snake-men.
- One vote! And it can't purely be because they are generic, Dragons are up there.
Shambling Mound - One vote, Swamp Thing not doing it for you?
Slaadi - Fucking Githyanki got higher than Slaadi? Despite being boring as fuck? Shocking.
Purple Worm - only two votes for the vast one. What a shame.
WHO IS TRULY A LOSER, ONE WHO GOT IN ON ONE VOTE OR ONE WHO UNDER-PERFORMED?
The following all could have been expected to do a lot better than they did in my opinion.
Frost Giants - one one vote.
Blink Dogs, only one,
Otyughs - only two votes! Its a Gygaxian classic!
Githyanki and whatever the other ones were, 3 votes. Boring.
|This is a great image too|
3 votes, not bad but hoped for more.
Only four votes for Wallmart Godzilla. Could have done better.
Umber Hulk 4 votes and Displacer Beast 3 votes. Not shameful but I would have expected them to be higher.
- ONE VOTE for the Gothic Misandrists. All that fetish gear for nothing. I weep.
THE ONES I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT
Amber Golem - the only mention of Golems and its these?
Seems they are from Ravenloft? Honestly, this sounds like a pretty good name and 'Amber Golem' has that tasty and unusual specificity which suggests something interesting and magical. Their current rules don't seem that interesting so these might be ripe for a remix of some kind.
Rot Grubs -
3 votes so surprisingly popular. But 'Spawn of Kyuss' got no mentions despite having a better name?
ok its that thing from Palace of the Silver Princess, ok not that bad.
(Still have no idea what these are)
THE "WHAT WERE YOU ON?" CHOICES
All of these got one vote. I'm not sure why but I respect that the community still has some independent minds left in it.
Someone had to I guess.
- If there was anything interesting to say about them I would say it.
Did you mean 'Tieflings' or did I mis-type? (Actually, if they don't already exist a monster called 'Theiflings' sounds pretty cool.)
Wolf-in-Sheeps Clothing -
ahh the hilariously specific-mimic.
Yellow Zombie Creepers
- Honestly I agree. These are underrated.
Paralysing Claw - I'm not sure what this is. Like an animated hand or a creature *with* a paralysing claw?
Svirfneblin - really?
Water Weird - you do you man.
Orc Warchief - and yes specifically the orc warchief
Pyrohydra - HIPSTER CHOICE.
THE "PULL YOURSELVES TOGETHER FOR GODS SAKE" CHOICES
Paladins - pfft.
Zagyg the Sorcerer!
- Stop. My sides.
"I guess the undead in general" - headdesk.
Man (the greatest monster) - SIGH.
"maybe the Demogorgon bc of Stranger Things ??"
TO SUM UP
And there you have it. Dungeons and Dragons, a game, fundamentally, about Goblins, (one of the commonest Fantasy concepts), Beholders, (the mad giant lazer shooting eyeball guys you find nowhere else), and giant cubes of jelly. With Dragons possibly also included.
Does this tell us anything about the complex synthesis of shared paracosms in the corporate-industrial age? How our imaginations are at once united and exploited by corporations and trademarked confabulations which simultaneously give us a shared language of the imagination and allow us to form social groupings far beyond those of our immediate experience while also to some degree making us the subjects of capital to some degree?
Does it tell us anything about the interlacing of the widely-known general powerful and classical idea-structures with the alarmingly-specific, often goofy and bonkers beings we both desire and fear to encounter? How meaning itself is born from the archipelago of our neural networks where the novel and the known combine and contrast?
I do not know, but our course is set; work out better powers for the Amber Golem, work out what 'Theiflings' should be and find out why the fuck people like Kobolds so much.
Also, our Hardcopy Store is now back open.