Thursday, May 31, 2007


In going through my inventory/monstrous manual files I discovered something interesting. I looked at the illustration for the 1st Ed. Horned Devil (Malebranche) and realized that the sculpt for the 3E WOTC DDM Earth Element Gargoyle is nearly identical. It is also very similar to the 2E artwork for this creature.

In the original Monster Manual, the Horned Devil is listed on page 22, and is subtitled "Malebranche". In the Outer Planes Monstrous Compendium (MC8), a creature with similar abilities is called a Cornugon. The Cornugon is reprinted in the first Planescape Monstrous Compendium, on page 21. In the 3rd edition Monster Manual, the Cornugon appears on page 52. In the v.3.5 revision of the Monster Manual, the same creature is now listed as "Horned Devil (Cornugon)". This poses no great continuity problem except that the 3rd Edition Monster Manual II lists "Malebranche" as a completely separate type of devil (page 69) which lacks the magical abilities of the Horned Devil/Cornugon, and relies on brute force for its power. (thanks to Echohawk at Enworld for his research efforts)

As far as minatures go, the issue was settled by WOTC when they released the Horned Devil in the likeness of the previous Cornugon artwork. In all subsequent materials, Malebranche seems to have beome its own unique fiend. I don't know if the Earth Element Gargoyle was originally meant to be a rendering of the 1E artwork for the Malebranche or not, but if it is only a coincidence it is a happy one for me. I'm very pleased to have a miniature, by happy accident or design that resembles that artwork so closely. I like very much the artwork from the 3EMM2 for the Malebranche, though it looks like it is on steroids. The Fiendish Codex version is really magnificent--and it would be great if they released a miniature of this concept art. If WOTC does, then I'll just have to have Greater and Lesser Malebranches in my world.

You can get a side by side comparison of various official D&D devils (artwork by edition, including miniatures) here.

Even more information about WOTC devils can be found here. This is a great article on the WOTC website discussing design & development of the devils.

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Blogger BB Shockwave said...

Hmm, nice idea. Me, I like to use my gargoyle mini for a Nabassu - they are described as Gargoyle-like even in 2E (so much that in 4E, they are a subtype of the gargoyle instead of being Tanar'i.)

5:46 AM  

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