|My favorite D&D monster book.|
As you may have noticed, the blog has lain fallow for a couple of weeks while I'm in the midst of dreaming up monsters to write up and post here. I have quite the list of sordid beasties to detail and "publish," but my list got me thinking.
It turns out I have a real distaste for the late 3.X and 4.0 style of naming monsters. It's taking a couple of words, mashing them together, and sticking them in front of the monster type. For instance, and this is a completely fabricated monster name, you might see things in late 3.5 Monster Manuals or 4.0 Monster Manuals that read something like "sorrowsworn drake" or "deathdealer zombie" or some other similar (and bland) name. I even have an issue with the basic monster names of earlier editions, too. Orc just doesn't cut it anymore for me, since I have been trying to get away from standard D&D and Tolkien fantasy for more pulp-era Sword & Sorcery fantasy anyhow. (Let me note right now that I have no real problem with the systems themselves, only some of the naming conventions of monsters - there's a lot to like about 3.0/3.5 and especially 3.PF and even, dare I say, 4.0 - minions and random recharge powers in particular).
Thus, I have chosen suitably pulp-like names for the monsters you shall see. How about the Watchers of the Pit, the Bird-Men of the Floating Island, and other such names (expect to see those written up, by the way). I also view it as a way to begin deciding what is where in my game world. It's a wonderful way to map out where the monsters belong, naming them in this way. And I prefer not to make up fanciful names for them (even though certain monsters, like the crodlu of Dark Sun, have wonderful names in this vein - but there are so many bad ones out there).
I came to this realization while using some random monster name generators on the internet to spark ideas (an amazing way to find inspiration, if you've never tried it!). The modern 4E style naming conventions found in some of them were sorely lacking.
And yes, I realize this is purely preference. Some folks like what I consider bland, and etc. This is all just what the post title says - Musings on Monsters.