By - May 16, 2014 - 4 Comments

Roper; it’s what’s not for dinner

pen2Behind The Monsters by Tricky Owlbear Publishing was an ongoing series that took familiar D&D monsters and gave them a new twist, adding interesting histories, backgrounds and plot ideas. Recently, they collected all the individual installments of the series into a single volume, the Behind the Monsters: Omnibus. The good folks at Tricky Owlbear commissioned me to do all-new illustrations for each of the monsters featured in the book.

When I got the list of monsters I would be doing, I was tickled to see the roper on that list. You see, when my son was little and just learning to read, he and I used to lay on the floor together and page through the Third edition Monster Manual. He would look at the different pictures and ask me what each one was. I would slowly have him sound out the names for himself until eventually he was reading them all.

Yes, D&D helped me teach my son to read :)

My son is now a sophomore in college studying to be a lawyer and taller than I am. He’s also a fantastic D&D/Pathfinder player – we play together in a weekly Pathfinder game and when I’m writing something, I often bounce ideas off him.roper

Where was I? Oh right, the roper! When my son and I would look through the Monster Manual, his absolute favorite monster was the roper. He LOVED that thing! It’s funny, because growing up playing D&D myself, the roper never made that much of an impression on me one way or the other. But, man, he just loved that monster!

So, getting the chance to do my own illustration of a roper for an RPG book was kind of cool, and more than a little nostalgic for me. Oh, when I was finished with the illustration, I of course showed it to my son. His response, in true male teenager fashion?

“Hey, a roper … that’s pretty cool dad. So what’s for dinner?”

Coolest Comment
Speaking of under rated monsters from the game, or monsters that just never made much of an impression on you … tell me yours. Most interesting post gets the Roper original art mailed out to them!

Written by Marc_Radle

I’m a professional graphic artist and designer by trade. In my copious amount of spare time, I also do freelance illustration, writing, and graphic design. I’m also the Art Director for Kobold Press (sleep is highly overrated!)

I started playing D&D as a kid in the late 70s—good old 1st Edition AD&D! My friends and I also played many other RPGs back then—Marvel Superheroes, Champions, Elfquest, FASA’s Star Trek, Star Frontiers, the list goes on—but it always came back to AD&D! I faded out of gaming sometime after 2nd Edition came out—partially because 2nd Edition just didn’t quite do it for me (although I did play 2nd Edition a little though and certainly enjoyed some aspects of it) but also because my gaming friends all turned into grown-ups, got real lives, and moved away when I wasn’t looking!

The 3rd Edition of D&D really pulled me back into the hobby again, and I’ve since become a HUGE fan of the Pathfinder RPG.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with lots of great game companies, including Kobold Press, Super Genius Games, Raging Swan Press, Jon Brazer Enterprises, Tricky Owlbear Publishing and even Last Unicorn Games (back in the day)

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Roper; it's what's not for dinner, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

Leave a comment (4 comments so far) »

  1. Darkwarren says:

    The fungus based creatures never did much for me. I was never scared of mushrooms.

  2. Changing_Man says:

    Really? Fungus doesn’t scare you? Not even that kind which hijacks the brain of certain creatures, compels them to act erratically, get as close as they can to more of their kind, and then kind of explode in a cloud of more spores to repeat the process ad infinitum? That’s not even D&D- that’s real life. Granted, it only affects insects (usually ants), but just imagine that taken to the next level…

    In my top 5 ciritters that never really ‘did it’ for me, number one would be the Disenchanter. I’m actually surprised it is still around. It never saw use at my table as a GM, and the only time it ever showed up against us was when we really knew the GM was out to get us. If ever there was a creature that screamed ‘GM messing the players over’- it’s the Disenchanter.

    Number two would be the Wolf-in-Sheep’s-Clothing. Seriously. Would anyone ever really fall for that? A cute bunny rabbit sitting on a tree stump! Let’s go pet it! Yeah… No. Gimme a Mimic over that any day.

    Number three would be the Adherer. Looks like a mummy, sticks like glue? Uh, pass.

    Number four would be the Xorn. I just never could figure out why these things would ever even bother with the material plane, since their home was full of everything they ever wanted. Strange appearance, ok, whatever- but what the heck are they doing, HERE? Only time we ever encountered one was on an Ioun Stone hunt on the plane of mineral- where it actually made sense!

    Fifth on my list would be the Al Mi’raj. Granted, this one actually comes from real world myth, and it actually led to me doing some research I might never have otherwise done, but in game? A unicorn rabbit with some strange abilities? Um… Just a tad too weird to actually see table-time.

    Some may ask, ‘hey, where’s the Flumph on your list?’. Actually, that little flying pancake actually was a rather beloved encounter several times back in the day. Maybe it was just the ridiculous, semi-comic relief of an encounter with a Flumpf, or maybe it was an Ecology article in Dragon Mag, I can’t say. But somehow he won a place in our hearts- sort of- so he’s definitely not going to make the ‘loser list’ in my book. And for what it’s worth, I certainly hope Flumpf’s get the Mythic treatment in the Mythic Mania Kickstarter for Pathfinder; I know I voted for them!

    May all your hits be crits,
    -Changer

  3. MythicParty says:

    Paizo has fixed some of the stupider D&D creatures. In their ‘Misfit Monsters Redeemed’ book:

    Flumph
    Before: Flatulent jellyfish.
    Now: Cosmic wardens devoted to protecting innocents and warning them about the horrors that lurk between the stars.

    Wolf-in-Sheep’s-Clothing
    Before: Carnivorous, alien trees with a fluffy bunny lure.
    Now: Carnivorous, alien trees that animate the slain bodies of their victims in order to lure larger prey within reach.

  4. Changing_Man says:

    Oh, I’m certainly not saying that the W-i-S-C doesn’t have it’s niche, just that it never really did it for me :)

    And as a note to Marc- Although I didn’t do much Monster Manual ABC’s with my oldest son (complicated situation), with my younger boy we often sit and look through the Bestiaries together. He’s not quite reading yet, but soon. It’s kind of a fun game with him; as I turn the page, he quickly tries to locate the image on the next page, excitedly saying ‘Who’s dat?!’ and pointing at it. If he know, I encourage him to tell me; if not, I read the name and he repeats it as best he can- for a 3 year old. My favorite was when we came to ‘Hell Hound’, and he exclaimed, ‘Daddy, look! Doggie! How cute…’

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