Friday, May 20, 2011

Fiend Folio Friday: What's with the bland humanoids?

So, despite my big love of the Fiend Folio, I have to say that there are more than a few dull humanoids that don't do much for me.

Jermalaine strike me as mechanically seeming more or less like kobolds, only more rat bastards. Well-played, they could be an ongoing pain in the butt in a dungeon. Otherwise, they are mechanically pretty much kobolds, only half the hit points. And they like rats. Something more or less like that. They have a very detailed write-up, but it boils down to ways to annoy your players.

They are basically like Jermaline or Kobolds, with Goblin hit points. But act like Jermaline or Kobolds. But they have no language.

I appreciate the Russ Nicholson art. Sure, that's creepy and all. But this is just a generic pest monster, not very different from the other pest monsters. It's a goblin with jermaline/kobold behavior, and jermaline damage.

Norkers, on the other hand, just confuse me. Norkers are just like hobgoblins, except they have one extra hit point. And big fangs for an extra bite attack. And they have an armored exoskeleton. And they have claws, but usually use a club. But other than generally being totally different from hobgoblins physically, technologically, and in appearance, they look and act just like hobgoblins. I really don't know how to react to that.

Ogrillons are half orc, half ogre. Which somehow make them look like orcs (or 10% of the time, they look like ogres), but have horny fists that make them into brutal orcish boxers who never use weapons. Because orcs are boxers, or is it ogres? And they do 1d6+1 damage because of their 18 (01) strength... because that explains the damage.

Don't ask me to elaborate more. I don't get it.

Xvarts are mechanically somewhere between kobolds and goblins, because you really needed to split the difference between the two weakest types of humanoids in the game. What the do have going for them is that they appear to be evil Smurfs.

So they are basically naked cavemen wielding swords — and wielding them so well that they gain a +1 bonus to hit. They have no leaders, no understandable language, hate light, fear fire, and attack in huge numbers. In short, they are naked caveman swordmasters with no language and no leaders.

I don't even know what to say.

They're like mites, but instead of killing you they try to steal your stuff.