Posted by : David Guyll August 01, 2012

The first Wandering Monsters article debuts with orcs and gnolls, both staples of the D&D-verse. There is no mechanical information to be seen, here. Instead James Wyatt gives you a bunch of flavor content, and follows up by asking you if the descriptions and flavor match up with your perceptions and assumptions.

In both cases I would have to say yes; the orcs are strong, savage, and stupid, while the gnolls are largely in the same boat, though demon worship and agility helps differentiate them. This does not mean that they are perfect, just that when I think of D&D that they fit the mold quite nicely based on the decades of existing material.

This also does not mean that the Story Team should not expand and alter existing material, or come up with some completely new stuff if they think it is better (for example, people have been pitching gnolls as a matriarchal society, embracing the hyena aspect). At the least, go through everything we have already gotten and refine it into something interesting and solid. I am not expecting Ecology of-sized writeups, but something more inline with what we got out of Monster Vault.


I do like that they are trying to make sure that the flavor and mechanics match up, and hope that we still get some core racial shticks that make monsters feel and play differently. Likewise, I am hoping that if I need to stat up an orc shaman or gnoll summoner that it does not involve a great deal more work than the payoff is worth.

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