Friday, April 29, 2011

Fiend Folio Friday: Babblers and Bonesnappers

Even when I was a young gamer I wondered what the point was of having both Babblers and Bonesnappers. Babblers are stealthier, have some flavor text as mutated lizard men, and speak an incomprehensible language; bonesnappers collect bones but are otherwise similar to babblers as far as players can see. Both are drawn like miniature tyrannosaurs.

Of the two, it seems clear to me that if I had to choose one of the two to include, it would have to be the babbler. It crawls around on its belly, is stealthy, is weird and incomprehensible, semi-intelligent, is described specifically as a mutated lizardman and is illustrated by Russ Nicholson, all of which make it more of a cohesive monster with some place in a game than a miniature t-rex. It might even make a sort of lizardman more like the urd in A. Merritt's Face in the Abyss than like Kist-Haa in Brian Daley's Doomfarers of Coramonde — something more alien, creepy, and easily identified as a Very Bad Thing.