Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Open Content Analogues of WOTC Non-OGL Classic D&D Monsters

When WOTC released all that OGC/OGL jazz they took care to firewall a bunch of classic D&D monsters behind a product identity clause.

With indie publishers beings the wacky scamps that they are, a bunch of them has released versions of many of prohibited pre-2E monsters with the serial numbers filed off.

I'm working on some comprehensive simulacrum D&D encounter tables and have been using these versions to fill in some gaps; so far this is what I've come up with:
Beholder - Eye of Terror from Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion
Bullywug - Batrachian from OSRIC; Thugtoad from the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book
Carrion Crawler - Carcass Scavenger from Adventurer Conquerer King Labyrinth Lord
Displacer Beast - Phase Tiger from Adventurer Conquerer King Labyrinth Lord
Githyanki - Astral Raider from Ancient Vaults and Eldritch Secrets (a pretty "loose" version compared to the ultra-detailed Fiend Folio entry but it's there)
Grell - The Beaktopus makes for a workable substitute...
Mind Flayer - Mind Eater from the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book; Lasher from Mutant Future; The Thelidu from the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book are pretty close to the Mind Flayer, but their hit dice are significantly lower
Slaad - Bat from Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets has kindly assembled the Senufio; Claudio Pozas made the Ogdoad for 3E, but they're a bit far from the original for my liking.

The monsters that I'm unaware of having any OSR-ish analogues are:
Githzerai - I admit, they don't exactly set the imagination on fire
Kuo-Toa - A whole lot of fishmen & Deep Ones out there though
Umber Hulk
Yuan-Ti - A whole lot of snakemen out there as well, but I haven't come across anything that closely replicates the AD&D version

Are any of you folks aware of additional versions of the "product identity" monsters or non-open pre-2E monsters that I have missed?


  1. Hmmm. We could create a Grell analog called the "Beaktopus", perhaps?

  2. FWIW, the phase tiger comes from Labyrinth Lord originally, as is the carcass scavenger. I suspect that's where Adventurer Conqueror King got them.

    I should also mention that the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book also includes the thelidu, which is yet another take on the mind flayer, which I wrote myself.

  3. I really like the Phrenic Scourge as an answer to the Mind Flayer. It is OGL, though not OSR. I found it easy enough to translate, though.

  4. Look up "The Iconic Bestiary: Classics of Fantasy" by Ari Marmell through Lion's Den Press.

  5. If I understand the situation correctly, only the two Slaad Lords are open, not the slaadi themselves. Yeah, weird, huh?

  6. I wrote the Astral Raiders with no shame (well, that is how I do most anything else). It started with the crystal swords, I like the Githyanki and ran with it.

  7. James is right - ACKS gets its monsters from Labyrinth Lord.

  8. Grell = War of the Worlds Martian

    "Two luminous disc-like eyes appeared above the rim. A huge, rounded bulk, larger than a bear, rose up slowly, glistening like wet leather. Its lipless mouth quivered and slavered and snake-like tentacles writhed as the clumsy body heaved and pulsated."

    That's how I've been using them. :)

  9. 'would it be legal to release OSR versions under the 3.0 license?'

    Absolutely legal.

  10. @ Alan: Go for it, please :)

    @ James: Thanks for the correction, that's twice in the past week I've been sorely wrong re. Labyrinth Lord.

    I'm a big fan of your Thelidu, but I guess the significant difference in Hit Dice are what makes them an inspired by the Mind Flayer critter as opposed to one with the serial numbers filed off?

    @ Sycarion: Thanks for the tip!

    @ Dan: I checked it out and I'm intrigued, although I'm more interested in "nudge nudge wink wink" versions of these guys than "playing nice with WOTC but inspired by" creations if that makes any sense?

    @ Theodric: I'm guessing it has something to do with both the Tome of Horrors and also WOTC not really giving a damn about those two fine Slaad Lord gentlemen?

    @ Ancientvaults: And you're a fine, upstanding gentleman for doing so; have you any other "serial numbers filed off" monsters I've missed?

    @ Blizak: I stand corrected :)

    @ Stuart: I dig what you're saying, but I see the Welles Martians as mostly sessile masterminds that let their tripods do the work as opposed to the floating man-handling Grells. The Stuffed Crocodile blog guy has some awesome WOTW Martians for Labyrinth Lord statted out BTW.

    @ Sean: Hmmm... Sounds like a very worthy project, although I'm guessing it wouldn't be kosher to use such a version with Swords & Wizrdry, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, etc. projects?

  11. Minor correction: Mutant Future's "Mind Flayer" is actually named "Brain Lasher"

  12. I don't have any other serial numbers filed off from rpg critters, but I would love to do the Slaadi sometime.

  13. @ Sniderman: Thanks for the correction :)

    @ Ancientvaults: I know you would do a hell of a job! :)

  14. Well, I did a job. I present the first of the Senufio (SErial NUmbers FIled Off):

  15. displacer beast is up for debate- via wikipedia:
    "The displacer beast was inspired by the coeurl, a feline-like creature from the 1939 science fiction story "Black Destroyer" by A. E. van Vogt,[1] later incorporated into the novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950)."

    Wizards owns the name- so you could just call them Coeurl's unless the name is not in the PD. It actually makes me wonder what other monsters from pulp that Gary and Co. did some serial filing on.

  16. Why do you hate the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary?

  17. @ Joseph: Shamefully I didn't even remember that it existed until Thursday; when I checked it out in the back it did say "The following items are designated Open Game Content, as defined in Section 1(d) of the Open Game License Version 1.0a: None.", but I put your beasties on the updated version of this list :)

    I like your psionic monster mechanics BTW.

  18. Just thought I'd mention that my newly published book Theorems & Thaumaturgy contains OGC equivalents for the ice, magma and mud para-elementals, as well as the elemental grues, from the AD&D Monster Manual II. Also the Sons of Kyuss from the Fiend Folio. As far as I know none of these creatures have existed as OGC before (I couldn't find them anyway).

    The book's available here as a free PDF (also print versions):

  19. Presently, I am converting dnd critters to BRP, and all the Non-ogl are really rips of other critters. Eye monsters from the fifties, the.displacer is a total scifi rip, cthuloids so many. Funny with a magic wand of renaming they live on.