Monday, August 25, 2008


In 1E when a demon got down to busines with a mortal lady, the resulting offspring was a Cambion. In the 2E Monstrous Compendium for the Outer Planes (MC8) the ecology was further clarified in that you got a Marquis if it had been a True Tanar'ri doing the violating, and just a run of the mill Cambion if it were any of the lesser Tanar'ri.

In the 2E Planescape campaign setting, you didn't hear much about Cambions anymore, they started being called Tieflings. Which, I thought, OK, that's not a big change, because they probably call themselves by a different name than the humans afraid of being violated by demons call them.

In 3E you had a lot more of these progeny running around, only nobody called Tanar'ri by that name anymore, we went back to demons and the offspring were exclusively called Tieflings.

I'm given to understand that in 4E we don't talk much about the sexual habits of greater and lesser demons, and the Tiefling is now a true breeding race of its very own...I guess because horns and tails are cool.

Anyway, this sort of thing really messes with the long term gamer's continuity. By design, of course, because long term gamers already own most of the stuff they need and unless you destroy their continuity and stop supporting their products, they won't buy the new stuff. I actually do still buy the new stuff, and not just to complain about it being new, though I am going up in levels in my grumpy old guy character class.

In any event, here is how I handled the fact that I have several cambions on my miniature shelf, monstrous compendium sheets for them, and a rapidly growing pile of tieflings.

The following is a blend of my ecology description and the 2E entry for Tieflings from the Planescape boxed set. Let me know if you think it is plausible.

"Tieflings are the offspring of the planes, as varied as the places they call home. They are similar to Cambions, in that they have Tanar’ri blood in their veins, but these are the children of Cambions and other races, a kind of demonic quadroon. Where Cambions are universally male offspring, tieflings may be of either gender and they are able to breed more tieflings by mating with humans, demi-humans, or even among themselves, which they have begun to do in ever greater numbers as they tend to be shunned by those not of their own kind. Some scholars believe that the tieflings are well on their way to becoming a truly separate race. One thing is known, they are proliferating and becoming as frequent a sight in some larger cities as elves. Superficially human, their appearance always betrays them: some sport small horns, other have pointed ears, scales, a cloven hoof, or just a wicked gleam in their eye that never leaves. What they all have in common is a quick temper and a chip on their shoulder."

Thunderblast Cyclone

This is another mini from Against the Giants that I originally thought I'd have no use for and was pretty lame.

My opinion on lameness has not changed much, but I discovered I do have a use for it. Shuffling through my "monsters with no minis" file of 2E compendium sheets, I found the sheet for the Windghost from FRX1.

There is no picture, so that makes using the Thunderblast Cyclone as a proxy pretty easy. There isn't much in the way of description of the Windghost either, but what is there matches up reasonably well.

They are flying cones (Flying parsnips, they were called by one adventurer)with a rough, mottled flexible, smoky-gray to purple body with white, pupil-less eyes and a many fanged mouth.

It also describes two retractile tentacle arms on either side of the mouth.

Except for the tentacles, which one can say are retracted in the mini, thus surprising any PCs who encounter it, I'd say we have a pretty good match here.

Perhaps, even intentional? It would warm my heart if the sculptors/designers over at WOTC were sneaking in obscure 2nd Edition monsters under new names and 4E stats. If I thought that in 4E I were likely to get old monsters with new names I'd be thrilled to death.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shadow Hulk

I had been complaining about Shadow Hulk being stinky and stupid.

I have changed my mind. I run a 2nd Edition campaign, but all miniatures based. I had no idea what to do with a giant metallic umberhulk...especially since all my "real" umber hulks are the old Ral Partha AD&D 2E ones.

I use the WOTC ones as Vodyanoi. Was looking at the monstrous compendium sheet today for Vodyanoi, which are all freshwater. It said that there are rumors that a salt water version is twice as big & ferocious as the freshwater ones.

I'll just make that three times as big. Now I'm thrilled with this piece...perhaps that makes me fickle, but anything that is a proxy for a 2E monster is terrific in my book...even one that is only mentioned in a single line of another monster's ecology description.

Just thought I'd share.



Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lots of images from Demonweb Pits up at DDM Spoilers

I don't think we're ever going to go back to the look of the earliest sets, where the miniatures still had the detail and feel of the Ral Partha figures I remember of old, though they are still better than many of the minis from the '70s.

The Against the Giants set was a major disappointment, in my opinion, but Demonweb Pits has some interesting minis in it and I'm actually looking forward to the next set.

Take a look and you'll see what I mean. They still look a bit like those Chinese toys that come in clear plastic bags at the Dollar General, but some really interesting creatures this time and resculpts of some minis I really wanted to have more of, like the Bearded Devil.

Eager to see the rest. Where does this guy get his advance images???