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 rakastavanara, 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 similar Drow elements) 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, and there are more in the game that I need.  For me, some feel more like fairy tail nuisances rather than Nordic antagonists. This includes:  cyclopes, ettins, and  fomorians.
The only giants you will encounter in Monvesia are goliaths and their kin--ogres, ogrillons, and trolls. The [true] giants are extinct; so while they will not be encountered by player characters, they do have a lasting effect on the campaign setting..  Whether of not this also inclues oni is yet to be decided.


Aversion Level:  2

Just as with dragonborn, 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, mind flayers and spawn of kyuss.  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.  Other aberrations--such as the aboleth, flumph, gibbering mouther, and otyugh--are said to originate in the "Parasphere" 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:  3

Medusas, nagas, yuan-ti, and similar creatures could have a connection to the Forest of Vines that the humans first passed through on their exodus, or even be natives to Desolation.  The pre-existing back-story for the race would fit either locale well.  However, I feel that the Yuan-ti and their culture are too specific to another gaming world.

Tainted Humanoids

Aversion Level:  0

The grimlock or the quaggoth are two more options for tainted humans.  Too many strains of a disorder will just complicate the world.

RETCON NOTE: A former entry on this list is the gorgon. 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, a bovine basilisk.  This naming has always bothered me, so I did not want to endorse it.  Innstead, I have renamed it the colchitaur, after the khalkotauroi it vaguely resembles.  Colchitaurs are bronze, not iron; they breathe a red-orange smoke that turn their vitims into bronze.  

Edited September 9, 2015; July 15, 2017; August 9, 2017; September 3, 2017; June 15, 2018.


  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?