Saturday, August 8, 2015

Creatures NOT of Monvesia

In "Other Races in Monvesia," I briefly touch on player character races that do not [currently] exist in the campaign setting.  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-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
  • Aversion Level: 2 - This is an element of fantasy gaming that I think is overused, and would like to avoid using in Monvesia
  • 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.

Amphibious Humanoids

Aversion Level: 1

I love frog-folk.  Pathfinder's grippli found a natural place in my Nefret campaign.  However, I do not [yet] see the natural place for the banderhobbullywug, or grung in Monvesia.

Aquatic Humanoids

Aversion Level:  3

In particular, this refers to kua-toa, sahuagin, and deep scions.  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 could be assumed that 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), ettercaps, and tlincalli ("scorpion folk") are too specific to other worlds to have a niche in Monvesia.

Avian Humanoids

Aversion Level:  0

Having accepted nagas, medusas, yuan-ti, and tortles alongside lizardfolk as components of an ancient Scalikind Empire (and the ruins thereof), there remains little place in that ethos for avian humanoids.  However, as the shores of the world-continent become stabilized, avians such as aaraockra, kenku, and nagpa could still have a place.


Aversion Level:  3

Beholders and their kin are iconic to the game--but they belong to another setting.  There is a plethora of aberrations to choose from, so I do not regret omitting the beholders from Monvesia.

Demons, Devils, & Yugoloths

Aversion Level:  0, 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.

Demon-, devil-, and yugoloth-related fiends, such as the barghest and tanarukk may prove to have a place in Monvesia as I further explore the daemons of Inferno.  The individual lore of each may not be reconcilable with the nature of Taint, however.

Demon Lords and Archdevils will never have a place in Monvesia.  Their ranks are served by the Undying of Abyss and the Vices of Inferno
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.

Illithids / Mind Flayers

Aversion Level:  3

Illithids and thier kin (including neothelids) are personally among my favorite creatures--but to include them as-is means to adopt massive cultural systems into a world that is already pretty full.  


Aversion Level:  3

While insectoids are not necessary outlawed from Monvesia, the ones presented in the Monster Manual--ankkhed, hook horror, kruthiksthri-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.

Princes of Elemental Evil

Aversion Level: 0, 3

I really want to run to the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign in Movesia.  The elemental nature of the world would make this story a perfect fit.  However, to fit the lore of the campaign, the role of the Princes will likely be served by particular daemons or even powerful genies.

Shadowfell Creatures

Aversion Level:  0

Not all creatures native to the Shadowfell in the modern editions of the game yet havea place in Monvesia.  These include:  skulks.


Aversion Level: 0, 3

I want slaadi to fit in Monvesia.  The toadstone myth is lose to my heart, and I love how it is incorporated into this race.  I've tried tying them to a particular transitive plane, but I can't make the lore fit right.  Perhaps the lore of the slaadi is too specific to be reskinned for Monvesia. I will continue to explore options--but for now they do not fit.

Spelljammer Races

Aversion Level: 3

The Spelljammer  setting is irreconcilable with Monvesia setting.  They are completely different worlds with completely differnt themes.  Races born from that setting have no place here: including giff, gith, and the like.

Tainted Humanoids

Aversion Level:  0

The grimlock, the meazel, and the quaggoth are all several more options for tainted humans. However, too many strains of a disorder will just complicate the world.

Troll Variants

Aversion Level:  1

In their current state as tainted counterparts to ogres (or possibly firbolgs), the lore of the troll is currently bound to overall themes of Monvesia.  While the lore of the troll variants could be reconciled with that of the taint, they create something very speific--a result that I'm not sure belongs in my setting.

Underdark Races

Aversion Level:  3

The Underdark is not a region of Monvesia.  While some races native to that region  in other worlds have made their way into this setting, not all can.  Underdark races and creatures that do not exist here are:  derro, drider, and any drow (including the drider, the draegloth, etc.) or duergar beyond their basic entries in the Monster Manual.


One 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.  Instead, 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.  

The "opidian" creatures ("medusas," nagas, yuan-ti) and tortles have been grouped tothether with the lizardfolk as components of an ancient Scalikind Empire.  The origins of this empire remain undisclosed, though are likely connected with the dragons of the world.  The "medusa," therefore, may return to its classical name:  gorgon.

Edited September 9, 2015; July 15, 2017; August 9, 2017; September 3, 2017; June 15, 2018; July 23, 2018; August 4, 2018; August 7, 2018; August 22, 2018; September 9, 2018; September 13, 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?