Thursday, November 11, 2021

Dark Magics & Chaos At the Heart of The Dungeon - OSR Commentary On Original Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Treasure Volume Three

 Lately my interest drifts towards Arneson & Gygax's original Dungeons & Dragons set & the supplemental books. This is expands into Monsters & Treasures which in a way is the original monster manual book for Original Dungeons & Dragons. Monsters & Treasures clocks in at forty pages. And one of the things that I find interesting is the presence of many of the familiar agents of Chaos in Dungeons & Dragons such as the humanoid races, the medusa, the minotaur, the human agents, etc. 

Reading through the DND website they had this to say about Monsters & Treasure; "The different colours of dragon are in there along with rules for subduing them. The treasure section has an extensive part on magic swords – they’re intelligence and ego. (This is something we never really delved into when playing AD&D). Otherwise, again there are all the favorites, like bag of holding. Note, if you’re reading the 5th printing or earlier, you’ll get references to Ents and Balrogs. These were all excised for the 6th, Original Collector’s Edition print. Ents became Treants, and the Balrog section got replaced with a picture." The thing that I find interesting is the inclusion of the dragon's colours & the treatment of these engines of destruction. They could be subdued but it wasn't easy at all! This brings home the point of OD&D's wargaming origins. 
There are a lot of familiar monster faces here. And the adventure location  byways & dungeon lairs would never be the same. And its the mix of the familiar & down right hostile to humanity. 
And its this sense that the dungeons, adventure locations & more within 
Original Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Treasure Volume Three could be down right terrifying to PC's. The life of a PC is going to be short, brutal, & dangerous unless the player is exceedingly skilled. Death is going to come swiftly and with little fan fare.
Things in Original Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Treasure Volume Three are set up for the dungeon master to go to town creating their own campaign setting. The forces of Chaos itself are carefully laid out. The dungeon within Original Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Treasure Volume Three is a living & viable extension of the dungeon master's creative will. 
As things progress the under gaze of the dungeon master the dark forces of the dungeon evolves. The dungeon can also be both the source of the dark forces of a campaign & the constantly evolving threat with a greater threat present as the adventurers go deeper still. The dungeon could also be the source of dark magicks as well in a campaign. With the dungeon at the dark heart of the threat to a campaign world & this is another of the strengths of Original Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Treasure Volume Three! 

The strength of Original Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Treasure Volume Three is the fact that it brings the familiar & the threat to life as well as limb to the table. There are dangerous forces within it in the form of the orcs, gnolls, etc.. But its the completely other worldly & mythic that hit the right buttons for the continually evolving game campaign that set the bar for old school OD&D game campaigns that brings home Original Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Treasure Volume Three for the win! 

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