Saturday, 20 August 2011

Q is for Quipper

Ah, the quipper.  Was there ever a monster to cause more of a love/hate relationship?

When the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Fiend Folio tome first appeared, it was met with a mixed reaction.  On one hand, it was nice to see some monsters from modules appear in hardcover; on the other hand, some of the monsters seemed a bit...goofy.  On on hand, some of the monsters really seemed to fit in a D&D campaign milieu; on the other hand, some of the monsters seemed a bit more science fictional.  I mean, the Horta from Star Trek and the Martian rats of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter stories both made appearances, albeit with different names and enough changes to prevent legal action

And then there is the quipper.  It's a piranha, except it is found in colder water.  And it's name suggests a bit of a joke.  Hmmm.  Why not just call it a piranha?  And yet....the move to include the piranha - by name or otherwise - in the official D&D canon was a good one.  I have used the quipper in many an adventure back in the day.

The best OGC equivalent that I am aware of is the "blood fish" from Into the Blue (Bastion Press).  Mix with the "creature swarm" template from Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary, and you have something for characters to truly fear!  I used exactly this combination in Balmorphos, published in Dragon Roots #3.  I think to good effect.  This version of the piranha/blood fish will be the basis for the same creature in the Big Book of Monsters for RCFG.

The quipper.

On one hand, you have to ask yourself, why the funny name?  On the other hand, you have to chuckle with glee when you place them in a dark waterway deep underground.

And that is really so much of the 1st Edition AD&D experience, isn't it?  On one hand, you are wondering why things are as they are written.  On the other hand, when you let go and just enjoy it, it is very much fun indeed.

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