Saturday, August 8, 2015

Creatures NOT of Monvesia

In "Other Non-Humans of Monvesia," I briefly touched on player character races that do not [currently] exist in the world of Monvesia.  While some of those were ruled out completely, others were reserved for speculative purposes.  The difference between does not exist and will never exist is fuzzy--after all, halflings came to be an important part of the setting, when I had first ruled them out as over-used; similarly, half-elves and half-orcs have also since found a home here.  Nevertheless, there remain some aspects of traditional fantasy gaming that I have continued to avoid.

Having already learned to avoid saying never in Monvesia, my aversion to certain elements can still be rated:

  • Aversion Level:  0 - This is an element of fantasy gaming that I think may have a fit in Monvesia, but I have yet to fully incorporate it.  There may not be a need for this element in the world--but I reserve the right to introduce it at a later date.
  • Aversion Level: 1 - This is an element of fantasy gaming that I often enjoy, but I do  not think it has a natural place in Monvesia {ex. Halflings}
  • Aversion Level: 2 - This is an element of fantasy gaming that I think is overused, and would like to avoid using in Monvesia {ex. Half-Elves, Half-Orcs}
  • Aversion Level: 3 - This is an element of fantasy gaming that is hand-crafted for another game world, and/or has developed a very particular, expected culture that does not fit in Monvesia.  Such elements would require an amount of work to untangle that may not be worth the time {ex. Drow}
  • Aversion Level: 4 - This is an element of fantasy gaming that is poorly conceived and/or wholly redundant.

With these guidelines, I would like to explore more of what you won't [currently] find in Monvesia--this time taking a trip into the Monster Manual.
Unless otherwise noted here or in later posts, most monsters presented in the Monster Manual exist in Monvesia with little or no alteration; or, at least, could.  Any lack of reference to an "official" monster does not mean that is is not a part of the campaign.
 A large number of beasts, monstrosities, plants, and other creatures not listed here fall under a lesser form of "Aversion Level:  0."  I have not expressly outlined the flora and fauna of every location in the world.  Many creatures could just as easily exist as not--or only exist in particular regions.  I did not find it necessary to explore every single creature in this post.

Aquatic Humanoids

Aversion Level:  3

In particular, this refers to bullywugs, kua-toa, and sahuagin.  While I have already embraced rakasta and lizardfolk, I would still like to restrict the number of anthropomorphic races in the world.  After all, too many intelligent humanoids will make the world seam crowded.
Merfolk and merrow also do not currently have a place in Monvesia--but potentially may.  The merrow could easily be interpreted as the tainted counterpart of the merfolk.  With the goliaths as a seafaring race, it would be easy to assume their taint would carry over into the aquatic races ... if there were any.  


Aversion Level:  2 or 3

Giant, monstrous spiders are terrifying enough, so we really need to evolve them into humanoids, too?  Driders and ettercaps are too specific to other worlds to have a niche in Monvesia.

Avian Humanoids

Aversion Level:  0

As mentioned in "Other Non-Humans of Monvesia," aaracokra may still have a place in Monvesia once I explore the history of the lizardfolk.  This would also extend to kenku as a possibility, too--though I do not see myself keeping both.

Demons, Devils, & Yugoloths

Aversion Level:  3

While fiends do have a presene in Monvesia, demons, devils and yugoloths do not.  The complex relationships between these types of fiend and their hierarchies--which have been passed down through several editions of the game--are not appropriate for the unique planar "politics" of Monvesia.  Stripping away the politics, there is still a lot of redundancy--particularly between demons and devils (balor and pit fiend, imp and quasit). Only a handful of fiends are needed.

As I develop the hierarchies of the spheres, I will pick and choose fiends from these sources to add to the ranks of angels.


Aversion Level:  2

Giants are a very common story element that I just don't need.  For me, they feel more like fairy tail nuisances rather than Nordic antagonists.  Ogres and trolls carry the weight of fear, but not giants.  This includes:  cyclopes, ettins, fomorians, [true] giants
The only giants you will encounter in Monvesia are goliaths and their kin--ogres, ogrillons, and trolls.  Whether of not this also inclues oni is yet to be decided.


Aversion Level:  4

What most sources call a gorgon, D&D has instead named the medusa--after one of the gorgons of classical mythology.  This allows them to use the name "gorgon" for a stone and/or iron bull that is, in all other ways, simply a basilisk.  This creature has always bothered me, so I will not be endorsing it.

Greco-Roman Myths

Aversion Level:  1

Many of the classical myth inspired monsters do not fit the feel of Monvesia.  These include:  centaurs, chimerae, empyreans ("titans"), medusae, and minotaurs.  [Looks like neither version of the gorgon made he cut.]
In retrospect, the minotaur does not fit the feel of Monvesia.  Unfortunately, it exists in the world as a creature that player characters have encountered--in fact, there are fond memories and lasting property taken from that encounter.  Special allowances for this encounter will have to be considered--without opening the gate to other monsters from this list.


Aversion Level:  2

Just as with dragonborn and the draconic bloodline sorcererous origin, the nature of dragons in Monvesia does not encourage the existence of half-dragons.

Iconic Aberrations & Their Kin

Aversion Level:  1 or 3

These include:  beholders, githintellect devourers, and mind flayers.  These creatures and their back stories are amazing--but to include them as-is means to adopt massive cultural systems into a world that is already pretty full.  I see aberrations in Monvesia as disorganized, selfish beings--not simply solitary representitive of a larger empire. Without mind flayers, there can really be no gith.
Other aberrations do have a place in Monvesia.  The slaadi, for instance, are the dominant race of the outer domains of the Pyrosphere.  Other aberrations--such as the aboleth, flumph, gibbering mouther, and otyugh--are said to originate in the Far Realm beyond the Spheres.  Their reasons for coming to the mortal realm are unknown.


Aversion Level:  3

While insectoids are not necessary outlawed from Monvesia, the ones presented in the Monster Manual--ankkhed, hook horror, thri-kreen, and umber hulk--are all very particular creatures that belong in different worlds.  As with arachnoids--giant and monstrous insectoids abound in Monvesia--some of which may be highly intelligent.  Humanoid insects just don't fit.


Aversion Level:  0

As much as I dislike snakes, the way the Monster Manual presents the coatl, nagas, and yuan-ti makes me want to introduce them into Monvesia as a cohesive group.  This group may have a connection to the Forest of Vines that the humans first passed through on their exodus--or may even be natives of Desolation.


Aversion Level:  1

I enjoy the look and the alure of the Rakshasa, but short of fully incorporating other Asura (and an Indian culture), I do not feel that the Rakshasa has a place in Monvesia at this time.


Tainted Humanoids

Aversion Level:  0

It may be proven that lizardfolk are susceptible to taint; if so, their tainted counterpart would be the troglodyte.  This would represent a third strain--one born during the human exodus across the Sea of Sand.  Humans, therefore, would need yet another tainted form:  either the grimlock or the quaggoth (though not likely both).

Edited September 9th, 2015.


  1. I like how you are doing some thoughtful world building here. In the past I've always had trouble editing down, and tended to have "kitchen sink" worlds. My current efforts have been all about editing and choices and I appreciate what I see here and applaud your efforts!

  2. Oh, yeah, D&D's "gorgons" are ridiculous, and I have no idea where they got this. Perhaps they confused gorgon and the Stygian bulls?