In the chaotic environment that is Nomm after the Fall, you will certainly encounter strange creatures and magical beings if you go adventuring. In addition to the “wild” races, all sorts of beasts and monsters roam the countryside.

The D&D machine publishes a book called the Monster Manual – at least three of them, actually, for the 3.5 version of the game. This book lists all the different creatures that a party of adventurers might encounter, along with their appropriate ability scores, attack bonuses, and special characteristics – sort of a character sheet for members of the opposing team. While extremely comprehensive and a boon that allows the DM to design a challenging but not overwhelming combat experience for the players, the MM’s very comprehensiveness creates two problems stemming from one condition.

Players who have played D&D for a long time, or who play DDO (the online version of D&D) have become familiar with many of the monsters and all of their particular characteristics. There are two issues that stem from this situation: one, experienced players are out of balance with (or in some sense have an advantage over) inexperienced players by virtue of their specific out-of-character knowledge; and two, those same players have a harder time roleplaying a low-level character unfamiliar with all the dangerous creatures they may encounter (which is where we will be starting). For example, a player gains an unfair chance of survival by recognizing a basilisk (from prior gaming experience that other players don’t have) and knowing not to meet its paralyzing gaze; at the same time, it seems unreasonable to ask the player to deliberately let the creature look at it, even if the player’s character is that inexperienced and might make that choice. In Nomm, we will resolve this quandary.

If you are an experienced player, don’t expect to run into a lot of creatures that you have seen before. The DM will use the Monster Manual(s) for stat blocks (the crunch) but will as a matter of course completely change the creature’s appearance, nature, and look-and-feel (the fluff). Most likely, you will encounter creatures from actual mythological traditions and folklore grafted onto D&D monster entries for the challenge rating numbers.

If you are an inexperienced player, this process will be invisible to you.

But rest assured, none of this is intended to give the monsters some kind of unfair advantage over players. When there is in-game knowledge that your character should have, I’ll make sure you get it. For example, see the subordinate pages for the monsters that everybody knows.