Tuesday, October 26, 2010

31 favorite monsters: Thought Eater

The original Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual was practically my monster-design bible as a child, opening me up to just how surreal and preposterous a monster could be. A prime example would be the original Thought Eater here, an invisible creature that exists on the ethereal plane and parasitically drains mental energy. It's a terrifying concept, made highly original and fun by the fact that it actually resembled a small, hairless, emaciated platypus. The contrast between ridiculous, pitiful appearance and disturbing, dangerous feeding habits was a big inspiration to my developing imagination, and I still think this original illustration is a positively flawless design...I love the gaping, toothed beak and moronic stare. Does this remind us of anything else? Some other psychic duck-billed monster, maybe?

Sadly, Dungeons and Dragons has succumbed over the years to that widespread mental disease where anything really whimsical and bizarre is slowly retooled according to what the average person is expected to find "cool." The second time the Thought Eater was published in official game materials, it was given this slightly less amusing skeletal design. At least it's still a platypus though, right? SIGH...

Meet the most recent incarnation of the Thought Eater, completely robbed of everything that made the concept creative and cool. Where do people get the idea that every monster needs a fearsome, deadly appearance to be taken seriously? Where is the imagination and fun? They had pure gold and they neutered it. They had an ugly flying invisible platypus that ate thoughts and they replaced it with a spooky griffin. Wizards of the Coast, you have dumb taste and your game is dumb now forever. Dumb and ruined. RUINED FOREVER.


Blogger The Monster said...

Agreed :(

3:26 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

I was disappointed with the new version, but I always felt like the skeleton was definitive. Partly because I knew it before I saw the original, and partly because an evil platypus skeleton is even more awesomely random than an evil platypus. At least that's my way of thinking.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Lew said...

Aw man, I hadn't looked in any of the new books. That thing is just kind of sad.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...


8:07 PM  
Anonymous Senorctenophore said...

I blame that "Stupid D&D monsters" article that made the internet rounds a while ago. Everyone thought it was so hilarious and jumped on the bandwagon. I'm guessing that WOTC, wanting to stay "hip and trendy", decided that they better make everything as dark and metal as possible. Come on Wizards guys, it's fantasy-- it's supposed to be a little weird. I actually really liked some of the other monsters that article featured. Like the Spider-horse and the Origami Golem and the Living Hair. And honestly, I kind of like the Flumph. It's a whimsical, benevolent air jellyfish-- what's not to like?

11:26 AM  
Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said...

It is very hard to surpass that classic Dave Trampier art.

Certainly nobody ELSE working on first edition AD&D even came close.

1:39 AM  

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