Friday, December 17, 2021

3 Interesting Origins to Dungeons and Dragons Monsters

 Most monsters from the world's greatest roleplay game are creatures from mythologies from around the world, but not all mythologies are born alike. Over the centuries some have lasted longer than others, and some monsters were made up just for the game. So here's three interesting origins to some Dungeons and Dragons monsters. 

3: Tiamat

The legendary Queen of Dragons has ruled far longer than when Gygax first put pen to paper. Tiamat started life as a Babylonian goddess of the sea and water, and took the form of a massive sea serpent. In the myth she went to war with her king lover and created an army of monsters, several of them resembling modern interpretations of dragons, and went to war. After she was slain in the battle however, her body was used to form the land and sky, her eyes were used as the source of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and her blood helped spawn mankind. I like to think of this origin as how she would up in the Nine Hells, her current prison in Dungeons and Dragons lore. 

2: Tarrasque 

When I was but a baby player the Tarrasque was just a myth told around game store tables, a legendary monster designed to kill naughty players who didn't listen to their DM's. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the D&D kaiju was real (well, a real myth) and wasn't just made up for the game! Historically, the Tarrasque comes from southern France where it was a terrifying dragonlike being with a protective shell keeping it safe from damage, much like its spell reflecting shell would do in-game. The local villagers sought the help of a local saint to defeat the monster, who did by using holy water and a cross. The Tarrasque and the saint are celebrated today in some parts of Europe, where large models of the monster are paraded through the streets and I presume the villagers throw dice at it. 

1: Displacer Beast

Not originating in myth, the Displacer Beast started life in the science fiction novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle, where a similar beast pretended to be unintelligent until it infiltrated the ship and started killing crewmembers, which sounds like something a cat would do. 

Non Dungeons and Dragons side note: The author, A.E. van Vought sued 20th Century Fox because he thought that another alien from the same book bore a striking resemblance to the Xenomorphs from the movie Alien. The lawsuit was settled out of court. That's pretty cool. 


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