The Fiend Folio, subtitled the Tome of Creatures Malevolent and Benign, is a supplement for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st edition), and the second book (after the Monster Manual) to provide monsters for use with the game.
Although published by TSR, as previous supplements had been, the Fiend Folio was produced by Games Workshop, the British distributor of D&D products, and many of the entries were written by fans and gamers who had submitted them to the "Fiend Factory" column in Games Workshop's magazine, White Dwarf. Don Turnbull, later Managing Director of TSR UK, was the editor for the "Fiend Factory" column and the Fiend Folio, which was billed as "the first major British contribution to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game system."
The monsters in this book are presented in the same format as those in the previous Monster Manual work, and most featured illustrations of the monsters. Also, there are full-page black and white illustrations of various monsters throughout the book. The book contains a foreword on pages 3-4, an alphabetical table of contents on page 5, explanatory notes on pages 6-7, descriptions of the monsters on pages 8-97, a treasure chart on page 99, additional tables and charts for all the monsters in both the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio on pages 100-119, an index of major listings (including the contributor for each monster) on pages 120-124, with an epilogue on page 124.
Publication[edit | edit source]
Games Workshop, with Don Turnbull editing the project, originally intended to produce and publish the Fiend Folio in late 1979. The Fiend Folio was intended to be the second volume of the Monster Manual, and would be officially recognized by TSR as an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons product, with the monsters mostly taken from submissions to White Dwarf's "Fiend Factory" column. At the time, Games Workshop was the holder of the license to publish D&D game products in the United Kingdom. Although the manuscript was completed on time by editor Don Turnbull, a business dispute between Games Workshop and TSR Hobbies delayed publication of the book for nearly two years. The Fiend Folio was finally published in August 1981 by TSR itself, who used the product to launch its UK division.
Much of the material for the 128-page hardcover Fiend Folio was drawn from early issues of White Dwarf. Also edited by Turnbull, the magazine's "Fiend Factory" column featured new AD&D monsters, many of them created by gamers who read the magazine. The bulk of monsters in the Fiend Folio come from British contributors, all of whom are acknowledged in the index. The book used the same format as that of the Monster Manual, clearly and succinctly defining the each monster's specifications and abilities. Many of the illustrations were previously featured in the "Fiend Factory" column as well. Besides creatures from the column, jermlaine, drow, kuo-toa, and svirfneblin, all of which had previously appeared in TSR modules, were included. Turnbull also included creatures that had been submitted to the magazine, but not published in the column. Aside from monsters, the book included random encounter tables for dungeons, outdoors, and the Astral and Ethereal Planes; these encounter tables combined creatures from the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio, superseding the tables in the Dungeon Master's Guide.
The githyanki, designed by Charles Stross within the pages of White Dwarf, was introduced to most D&D players in the Fiend Folio. The githyanki was featured on the cover, which helped it gain traction among the D&D community. Not all creatures featured on covers have done as well; the firbolg appeared on the cover of 1983's Monster Manual II and has since slipped back into obscurity.
Monsters featured in the Folio were originally submitted by Stross, Ian Livingstone, and Tom Moldvay, among others. Interior illustrations were supplied by Chris Baker, Jeff Dee, Emmanuel (who also illustrated the cover), Albie Fiore, Alan Hunter, Russ Nicholson, Erol Otus, Jim Roslof, David C. Sutherland III, Bill Willingham, Polly Wilson, and Tony Yates.
The publication of "Fiend Factory" monsters had one unintended side-effect for Citadel Miniatures, who had the contract to produce miniatures based on White Dwarf features. As a condition of including "Factory" monsters in the Folio, Games Workshop transferred the copyright on those monsters to TSR, who already had an exclusive contract with Grenadier Models. This forced Citadel to discontinue miniatures depicting "Factory" monsters that appeared in the Folio.
In 1983, TSR used the Monster Manual II to introduce a new orange spine cover design for hardcover AD&D manuals. The Fiend Folio was the only AD&D hardcover that did not have its cover redesigned to match the new style; instead, TSR let the Folio go out of print. In 1985, as TSR was getting ready to begin work on the AD&D 2nd edition, Gary Gygax stated that he was planning to incorporate material from the Fiend Folio into a revised Monster Manual for the new edition. However, Gygax resigned from TSR in October 1986, before the second edition was produced.
Reception[edit | edit source]
TSR's Dragon magazine featured two separate reviews of the book in issue No. 55 (November 1981). Ed Greenwood called the book a disappointment, citing its lack of detail and "breaches of consistency". He felt that there were many incomplete or inadequate monster entries, and also criticized the book for having too many new undead and too many new races. Greenwood, however, did consider the slaad, elemental princes of evil, and penanggalan "worthy additions to any campaign" and noted that the previously published drow and kuo-toa were "expected attractions, but good to see nonetheless." Contributor Alan Zumwait also reviewed the book, noting that a few of the inclusions were "just Monster Manual creatures that are changed or crossbred with other monsters." He was pleased by the inclusion of the neutral Oriental dragons, but felt that their descriptions were inferior to those of the dragons in the Monster Manual. He also liked the slaad and elemental princes of evil, but felt they should both have counterparts of other alignments. Zumwait summed up his review by stating, "the FIEND FOLIO Tome is like a basket of peaches: Most of it is pretty good stuff, but part of it is the pits." At the urging of Kim Mohan, Don Turnbull wrote a rebuttal, which was printed in the same issue. Turnbull cited the publication's legal holdups, and the AD&D game's evolution during that time, as part of the reason for the work's inconsistencies. He also felt that Greenwood's concerns of incompleteness and inadequacy were a matter of subjective personal taste.
AD&D creator Gary Gygax was also critical of errors in the book. Gygax noted that due to "premature actions", TSR got "the cart in advance of the horse" by mentioning a spell (advanced illusion) and a magic item (the philosopher's stone) which had not yet appeared in a game manual, promising they would eventually appear in game material in 1983. Gygax later commented on an individual who had criticized the Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia, noting that this was the same individual responsible for errors on the Fiend Folio's random encounter tables, among other errors.
The Fiend Folio was given an 8 out of 10 in the December 1981/January 1982 issue of White Dwarf. Reviewer Jamie Thomson compared it to the Monster Manual (MM) in format, and felt the Folio's artwork was better. Thompson felt the biggest distinction was that while the MM was American, the Folio was of British origin. Creatures he commented on were the giant bat ("seems an obvious choice for D&D), the death dog ("rumored to be a descendant of Cerberus"), Lolth ("which often appears on fantasy literature"), the elemental princes of evil, and the drow ("who figure prominently in a number of TSR dungeon modules"). Also mentioned were the penanggalon, the caterwaul, the death knight, and the revenant. In summary, Thomson recommended the book for readers who wanted more monsters, but that if they already had the MM it was not essential.
Lawrence Schick commented on the book's contents in his 1991 book Heroic Worlds: "Some of the monsters are really goofy—you're sure to find several good belly laughs in this volume. A dozen or so entries are genuinely imaginative and useful."
Featured creatures[edit | edit source]
|Aarakocra||8||MC2 - Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989), Monstrous Manual (1993), Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (1995) (Athasian Aarakocra), Polyhedron #121 (1996) (Malatran Aarakocra), Monsters of Faerûn (2001)||Intelligent winged humanoids with an avian appearance. Their wings are described as being more along the lines of pterodactyls or bats than those found on birds or angels, and they are depicted as possessing two pairs of hands - one pair as part of their wings, while the other pair are hidden behind the talons on their feet.|
|Achaierai||9||MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992), Planes of Law (1995), Monster Manual (2000), Monster Manual v.3.5 (2003), D&D Miniatures: Aberrations set #26 (2004)||Achaierai are depicted as large flightless birds - reminiscent of the kiwi (albeit considerably larger) - with four legs and a raptor-like beak.|
|Adherer||9||MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992)||While the adherer is described as having a mummy-like appearance, it is not technically undead. Instead it is a humanoid covered with loose folds of white skin that is said to secrete an adhesive substance which causes weapons employed against it to be reduced in effectiveness and to stick to its body.|
|Aleax||11||Planescape Campaign Setting (1994), Book of Exalted Deeds (2003)||An aleax in Dungeons & Dragons is an avatar of certain gods sent as vengeance for angering the deity. It is only visible to the victim, and has identical characteristics to the target - the same armour, skills and weapons. If the target is defeated, the Fiend Folio states that the victim will be raised from the dead, minus all their treasure and half of their experience. If the target wins, he or she is taken to serve the deity for a year and a day.|
|Algoid||11||MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992)||A colony of algae that appears in the form of a green humanoid.|
|Al-mi'raj||11-12||MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992)||The al-mi'raj is depicted as a cross between a rabbit and a unicorn - in effect, it is a large hare with a horn protruding from its forehead.|
|Apparition||12||D&D Companion Rules (1984) (as "Phantom, Apparition"), Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991) (as "Phantom, Apparition"), MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992)||These are described as being undead creatures that lack the ability to interact with the physical world. Instead they attack by suggestion, fooling victims into believing that they are being strangled, even though the Apparition itself is unable to directly inflict physical damage.|
|Assassin bug||12||White Dwarf #12 (1979), Monstrous Manual (1993)||Assassin bugs are described as four-legged insects that reproduce by implanting eggs into living human hosts.|
|Astral searcher||13||Planescape Campaign Setting (1994)||The Fiend Folio describes Astral Searchers as creatures that come into existence as a result of certain intense or traumatic events. They seek to possess their victims, and, if successful, the person cannot be saved - even if the Astral Searcher is removed. They are not considered to be undead.|
|Babbler||13||Tome of Horrors (2002)||The babbler is a variation on the lizard man - an intelligent reptile reminiscent of a small dinosaur, that lives in marshes and likes to devour human flesh.|
|Bat, giant||14||D&D Basic Set (1981), D&D Basic Set (1983), MC1 - Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991), Monstrous Manual (1993)||The giant bat in the Fiend Folio is exactly what its name would suggest - a giant form of bat with a 6' wingspan.|
|Berbalang||14||White Dwarf #11 (1979), Best of White Dwarf Scenarios (1980), MC3 - Monstrous Compendium Volume Three: Forgotten Realms Appendix (1989), A Guide to the Astral Plane (1996)||A gargoyle-like creature, the Berbalang is described as a bipedal creature with leathery skin and bat-like wings. It spends most of its life in a state of hibernation while its spirit astral travels. For a few days each month, it sends a projection out into the world to kill and feed.|
|Blindheim||15||Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Four (1998), Dragon #339 (2006)||A frog-like creature of low intelligence, the blindhelm has eyes that emit beams of light. When attacking a victim in its subterranean realm, it opens its eyes, temporarily blinding the target.|
|Blood hawk||15||White Dwarf #2 (1977), Best of White Dwarf Scenarios (1980), Fiend Folio (2003)||The blood hawk is, as the name would suggest, a hawk. It is roughly the same size as a normal hawk, but is described as having a "razor sharp beak" and strong talons, with eagle-like wings.|
|Bloodworm, giant||15||White Dwarf #12 (1979), Monstrous Manual (1993)||Giant bloodworms are, according to the Fiend Folio, huge (20' long) worms that live in underground pools. While not described as particularly aggressive, when attacking they attach themselves to their victim and drain their blood in a leech-like manner.|
|Bonesnapper||15-16||White Dwarf #6 (1978), MC5 - Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix (1990)||Small carnivorous dinosaurs (5' in height) that decorate their lairs with human jawbones. In the Fiend Folio, the bonesnapper is depicted as being similar in shape to the carnosauria.|
|Booka||16||MC5 - Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix (1990)||Booka are described as being small, good creatures who are similar to traditional depictions of faeries. They often help around houses, but can cause mischief when upset.|
|Bullywug||16-17||MC2 - Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989), The Knight of Newts (1993) (appearing in this Basic D&D module as "Newt"), Monstrous Manual (1993) (including Advanced Bullywug), Living Greyhawk Journal #2 (2000) (Bullywug Savant), Monsters of Faerûn (2001), D&D Miniatures: Deathknell set #48 (2005) (Bullywug Thug)||Bullywugs are described as humanoids with the head of frogs. They are usually shorter than a human, with leathery skin and webbed digits. They are very good jumpers, and can jump roughly 30 feet forward and 15 feet vertically. They inhabit temperate to tropical swamps.|
|Bunyip||17||MC3 - Monstrous Compendium Volume Three: Forgotten Realms Appendix (1989), Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three (1996)||The bunyip is loosely based on the creature from Australian mythology. They live in lakes, marshes and some rivers, and are mostly playful rather than dangerous, but they do occasionally attack smaller creatures such as dwarves.|
|Carbuncle||17-18||White Dwarf #8 (1978), Best of White Dwarf Scenarios (1980), Tome of Horrors (2002)||Carbuncles are described as being small, armadillo-like creatures with a large ruby stuck into its head. They typically infiltrate groups of adventurers and spread dissent through psychic powers.|
|Caryatid column||18||WGR1 - Greyhawk Ruins (1990), Monstrous Manual (1993), Fiend Folio (2003)||The Fiend Folio describes the caryatid column as being very similar to a golem. As with other golems, the caryatid column is an artificial construct animated by magic. They appear to players as columns with fine carving suggesting the shape of a woman holding a sword. When activated (typically by an event trigger), they transform into "young maidens" and do battle, returning to their original position and state once the threat has been dispatched.|
|Caterwaul||18-19||MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1991)||The caterwaul is a bipedal feline, noted for its ability to climb, hide in shadows and to move silently. When attacking, it is said to emit a high pitched screech that will cause damage to anyone nearby.|
|Cifal||19||Polyhedron #145 (2000)||Cifals are described as being a large colony of insects which has massed together into a vaguely bipedal form.|
|Clubnek||19||Tome of Horrors (2002)||Large flightless birds, described as "mutated ostriches", that attack with their beaks and claws.|
|Coffer corpse||19-21||White Dwarf #8 (1978), MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992), Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three (1996)||Undead zombies derived from corpses that have failed to be fully disposed of, such as funeral barges which have become stranded.|
|Crabman||21||MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992), Monstrous Manual (1993), Fiend Folio (2003) (as "Yurian")||The crabman is a large monstrous humanoid. Crabmen are simple hunter-gatherers and generally peaceful. A crabman is usually neutral and generally lives near warm sea coasts.|
|Crypt thing||21||MC5 - Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix (1990), Monstrous Manual (1993), Living Greyhawk Journal #5 (2002), Fiend Folio (2003)||Crypt things are depicted as being undead skeletons that wear brown robes, found within their private lairs. When attacked they will attempt to teleport their attackers to a random location.|
|Dakon||22||Dragon #187 "The Ecology of the Dakon" (1992), Monstrous Manual (1993), Living Greyhawk Journal #5 (2002)||Dakons are described as shaggy, intelligent apes with a reasonable grasp of language, that live in jungle settings. A dakon is depicted as being light brown in color, with green eyes and black hands.|
|Dark creeper||22||MC14 - Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992), Fiend Folio (2003), D&D Miniatures: Underdark set #42 (2005)||Dark Creepers are small humanoids (about 4' in height) that are described as preferring to dwell underground due to their hatred of light. They operate like thieves, extinguishing light sources and stealing small magical items. When killed, the Fiend Folio states that they spontaneously burst into flame.|
|Demon||24-25||Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders (a lesser goddess), is described here|
|Devil||25-26||The Styx devil, a greater devil, is described here|
|Dragon, Oriental||27-30||Described here are the Li Lung (Earth Dragon), Lung Wang (Sea Dragon), Pan Lung (Coiled Dragon), Shen Lung (Spirit Dragon), T'ien Lung (Celestial Dragon), and Yu Lung (Carp Dragon)|
|Elemental Princes of Evil||31-33||Described here are Cryonax (Prince of Evil Cold Creatures), Imix (Prince of Evil Fire Creatures), Ogrémoch (Prince of Evil Earth Creatures), Olhydra (Princess of Evil Water Creatures), and Yan-C-Bin (Prince of Evil Aerial Creatures)|
|Elf, Drow (dark elf)||33-34|
|Eye of fear and flame||35|
|Garbug||41||Described here are the black garbug and violet garbug|
|Giant||41-42||Described here are the fog giant and mountain giant|
|Hound of ill omen||51|
|Mephit||64-66||Described here are the fire, lava, smoke, and steam mephit|
|Slaad||80-83||Described here are the blue slaad, death slaad (the Lesser Masters), green slaad, grey slaad (the Executioners), red slaad, Ssendam – Lord of the Insane (slaad lord), and Ygorl – Lord of Entropy (slaad lord)|
|Son of Kyuss||83|
|Svirfneblin (deep gnome)||84-85|
|Troll||90-91||Described here are the giant troll, giant two-headed troll, ice troll, and spirit troll|
|Urchin||92-93||Described here are the black, green, red, silver, and yellow urchin|
|Yellow musk creeper||97|
|Zombie, yellow musk||97|
References[edit | edit source]
- Don Turnbull (April–May 1979). "Fiend Factory" (feature). White Dwarf (12): 8–10. Games Workshop
- Ciro Alessandro Sacco. "The Ultimate Interview with Gary Gygax". thekyngdoms.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-24
- Lawrence Schick (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games: 99. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-653-5
- "Later AD&D Manuals". Acaeum.
- Jamie Thomson (Dec 1981 – Jan 1982). "Open Box". White Dwarf (28): 14. Games Workshop
- Ed Greenwood (November 1981). "Flat taste didn't go away". Dragon (55): 6–7, 9. TSR
- "D&D Alumni: The Planes". Retrieved on 15 March 2018
- Jesse Decker (September 9, 2005). "Monsters with Traction". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2009-08-29
- Orclord. "Fiend Factory". Retrieved on 15 March 2018
- Gygax, Gary 1985. "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: The future of the game", Dragon 103:8,10 (Nov 1985)
- Gygax, Gary 1987. "From the Sorcerer's Scroll", Dragon 122:40 (Jun 1987)
- Alan Zumwait (November 1981). "Observations of a semi-satisfied customer". Dragon (55): 8, 10. TSR
- Don Turnbull (November 1981). "Apologies -- and arguments" (Editorial). Dragon (55): 12. TSR
- Don Turnbull (March 1982). "Advanced Illusion and Philosopher's Stone" (Editorial). Dragon (59): 10. TSR
- Gygax, Gary 1982. "New spells for illusionists", Dragon 66:22-28 (Oct 1982)