Wandering Monsters: Hellenic Horrors

So this is what a Greco-Roman Chimera looks like.


(Greek ceramic, Attic −500s)
 

(South Italian ceramic, −300s)


(Etruscan −400s)



So, if the D&D Chimera doesnt look or behave like the Greek Chimera, I dont see the point of referring to Greek (Hellenic) mythology.

Mythologically accurate names, need mythologically accurate descriptions. If changing or modifying the description, then change or modify the name too.
The real Chimera combines lion, goat, and snake (a serpent).

The D&D modification instead combines lion, goat, and dragon (but a dragon is also a serpent).

Maybe call the D&D version a “Dragon Chimera”, paralleling the name of the “Dragon Turtle”.

Maybe a “Dracochimera” or “Drachimera”.
I wish that rather than being a linear scale, the polls looked a little more like this -

"That's not a good [kobold] at all."
"That's a reasonable interpretation of the way that [kobold]s have traditionally been presented in D&D, but I do not think that is how [kobold]s should be presented in Next."
"I like that [kobold]."

If you want, you have intermediate "That [kobold] is fine but not great" options, if that's useful.

The problem with all of these articles is that they start with the supposition that the highest goal is fidelity to how things have previously been presented, rather than cool, resonant creature designs. There are many, many places where those things overlap, but it's not universal. There are no shortage of places where D&D has made odd choices regarding monsters.

When they do summon up the courage to break from tradition a bit, there's usually special polls about that (the Pegasus being a celestial, for example.) I'd want way, way more of that.

What I think is the issue with the monster design as presented in these columns is that it's looking at the spirit of D&D on too local a level. One way to determine what a monster should look like in next is to look at the exact things that were done with it before, and port those forward as directly as possible. Another way is to look at what D&D is like as a whole, and to figure out what monster X would look like in that framework. I don't think that all of either way is best, but I think that we're generally erring far too hard on the side of "port 'er straight forward without any thought." When a monster has random characteristics just 'cause, that's a resonance hit. In some cases, those random characteristics are "worth it". They're deeply ingrained into the fabric of what's really important and/or are independantly extremely cool on their own, even if they're not resonant in broader fantasy. (A rarity, as the cooler parts of D&D have defined a lot of what goes on in broader fantasy.)

Anyway, I want to say that I think this article is an improvement over some we've seen in the past in its willingness to rework to some degree some not-so-amazing monster design rather than just importing it whole cloth. The monsters aren't the platonic ideal of perfect - they're paying some cost in good design to be faithful to the source - but they're a big improvement.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
 How well do the sphinxes described here match with your sense of the iconic D&D creature?
Yeah, I recognize them as sphinxes.


And how well does the chimera described here match with your sense of the iconic D&D creature?
It's definitely a chimera.

The hydra?
It's definitely the right direction. 

 Now, on hydra heads: How should we deal with them?
You want to cut off hydra heads to get a respite from its attacks for a round—but it's a short-term benefit with the longer-term cost of more attacks when the heads regrow. 
I am unaware of any male Sphinx in Greek mythology. There is only the female Sphinx.




(Female Sphinx, Greek, Attic −500s)






However, the Egyptian Sphinx is (usually) male, but is wingless.



(Male Sphinx, Egyptian −1100s)




  
The female Greek Sphinx is malevolent but moreso as the “liminal guardian” of a threshold (somewhat like the biblical Kruvim who guard the entrance to Paradise).

The male Egyptian Sphinx is benevolent, representing monarchy and associating with the sun. It seems appropriate to model the Androsphinx on the Egyptian one, thus also make it wingless.



By the way, the ram-headed and hawk-headed sphinxes are Egyptian.



A favorite speculation is, the Sphinx derives from an ancient zodiac, where the head represents the beginning of the new year, corresponding to the sign of Virgo, while the tail represents end of the old year, corresponding to Leo. As such, the Sphinx encompasses all time. It is difficult to demonstrate, but astrological and agricultural origins seem possible.

   

It seems all of the Sphinxes align with Lawful Neutral. Whether as guardians or as rulers, they seem to personify social-cosmic Order.
Here is the Greek Hydra, essentially a many-headed snake.




(Italian, Caere −500s)



The Hydra is a many-headed snake. As its name Hydra conveys, it is a water snake (compare hydro-), in other words a sea serpent.

It seems to relate to the iconography of many-headed snakes elsewhere in neighboring cultures, such as Canaanite Yam, who personifies the encircling Cosmic Ocean that wraps around the land disk of a flat earth. Notably, Yam personifies Chaos beyond the central Order. (Round because the horizon is round.) The heads appear to represent the salty seas that encroach into the land disk from the encircling Ocean.
I would like suggest a little "mini-template" for Sphinxes, oposable thumbs..(why not? Primates and other animals have got it).

And don´t forget the dracosphinx was canon.


* Does anybody rebember the "Gorgimera" or the dracimera? and the dracohydra or the gulguthhydra?





 

 



* Now I rebember the mantidrake

 

And the thessalmonsters?

 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

The current Hdra is close.

The basic hydra should be killable if you chop off all its heads. This is to make fighting it fun. To makes the head chooping strategy viable, it should have resistance to any weapon that is not gold, silver, or deal fire damage.

This give parties these strategies.


  1. The long fight. Attack the hydra wihout precious weapons and don't chop the heads.  

  2. Golden fight. Attack the hydra with a golden or silver weapon to bypass resistance.

  3. Head Chopper. Kill heads and hope to hack them faster than it regrows them.


Then have the Customization Option for that one immortal head.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Do you rebember the template "multiple heads" from Savage Species?

 

I wonder the next D&D could use multiple-heads template for creatures like hydra. 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Sphinxes - Typical, fine, no problems.  Thanks for pointing out the boobs were a medieval invention, and feel free to leave them out of the DDN art.

Chimera - I like the option to "chromatize" the dragon head part, and will do so whether it's official or not.

Hydra - I too like the variable strategy part: you can go for the long fight and whittle away hit points, or you can try and shorten things up and go for the heads.  I'm ok with some variations on the hydra as well (i.e. I think 4e had a chaos version that was like a beholder and you had multiple attacks to choose from).  I actually thought the revised hydras in 4e did a really decent job of modelling the heads/damage facet to be honest.  (the original ones from MM1 didn't work so well, but later variations were fantastic).  The mechanic is:

"The hydra starts an encounter with four heads. When the hydra’s hit points first go below 324, 216, and 108, one of its heads is destroyed. Whenever a head is destroyed, the hydra grows two heads at the start of its next turn unless it takes fire or acid damage before then."

This worked well for us, and was frankly necessary since 4e didn't have called shots.  You could either go for straight out damage and just whittle away at hundreds of HP, or you could use fire/acid attacks, and kill off all the heads.  Four hits with a flaming sword does the trick, if you happen to have one.  Otherwise you are in for a looong fight.  I REALLY like that there are multiple ways to defeat a monster like this.

  • I like using Chimera as a broad term to describe an animal who was created through the magical combination of different killer animals.





  • I dont think you should JUST say a Chimera is a Goat, Lion, Serpent mix. It should be sort of like a Magical Monstrocity many of them created by wizards and warlocks looking to unlock more secrets of the univers or trying to create the perfect killing machine or to sell on the black market or use to take over a kingdom.





  • Make it like the origins of Chimera are these horrible things and now it is frowned upon and it is only still done in the shadows for (**** fight type) gladitorial battles and as feared creatures used to protect presious hoards.





  • You can still have where they breed freely now and that is another way that different combinations are being made. 

bagh  in my last post the **** is Rooster (sorry)
Never mind.

---



This is a chimeric creature, a template from Monster Manual II, and a good example we need a right  monster stats to change and alter monsters.

I suggest the special attacks should have got a XPs value to can replace powers or stats are changed by templates. For example if a mindslayers become undead and he lose psionic powers, the challenge rating or the XPs value is wrong, or because if wish oni/ogre-mage´s spells be replaced by ki maneuvers.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I would also like a do-it-yourself chimeric creatures system.

Having monstrous templates and the possibility to stack them could be an interesting.
For example, templates to replace the head of a monster with another creature's head could stack well with a multiheaded template. The monstrous head template could require that a displacement mode of the creature must reflect the same nature as the head, a maximum of two legs and the creature gains new limbs beyond that (Now that I think of it, it also works for minotaur : head and then legs of a bull).
For a chimera, it would be three templates on top of a dragon, a lion or a goat. Two legs for the goat or the lion templated head, and leathery wings as new limbs for the dragon head.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

OK, but do think about it:

A chimera with a giant lizard head, and other chimera with a wyrven head. The wyrven is a creature with wings to fly and a poisonous stinger. Wings and tails means higher XPs value but it is lost when head is used for template of chimeric creature. Teorically the chimera with wyrven head should have got higher XPs value or challenger rating but really it is so powerful (same level) like the other chimera with giant lizard head.

We need a XPs for monsters attacks like breath weapon, spell-like abilities, movement, damage resistence.

I would like the idea of using the petitioner (from Planescape and Manual of the planes) like example to explain the "do-it-yourself" system to create your own templates in the DM corebook. 




 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I think chimeric creatures deserve any effort to go beyond a single monster.
Mixed creatures are a staple of mythologies and fictions.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

I think chimeric creatures deserve any effort to go beyond a single monster.
Mixed creatures are a staple of mythologies and fictions.


It seems about the same thing as multi-classing and multi-racing.

A character that gains traits from more than one set of features.   

 

Half-elves as chimeric creatures. Abominations.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

A chimera or chimaera is a single organism (usually an animal) that is composed of two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated from different zygotes involved in sexual reproduction.

 (wikipedia).


Hummmm, I am imagining a chimera flesh half-golem with pieces of different beasts...(it would be a living construct)..
 
We could need a template for creature with four arms, and other for monsters with opposite thumbs to get things like weapons or magic item.  

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

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