Why can’t they leave my beloved monsters alone? The DM showed me a picture of the Ankheg we encountered yesterday, and I was taken aback. It was nothing like the monster of my memory. Here’s how they have changed…
This was Erol Otus’s first version back from the Dragon magazine #5, simple but elegant. Erol created the creature for the Dragon Bestiary.
For the first Monster Manual, Dave Trampier stayed true to the idea, making it a bit more elegant in design but much like Erol’s.
The 3.5 Ankheg is a big grosser, a bit meaner, but still works. This is probably the most realistic Ankheg, but I still like Tramp’s better.
Other monsters whom time has changed include…
The Owlbear. He was poorly drawn but more terrifying in the old days, but much cooler as the art got better, at least as long as his body looked more bear than owl. More owl than bear didn’t work as well.
Bugbears, were initially very stupid looking (a bear with a jack-o-lantern on its head). Only Runequest was brave enough to run with that critter, which became the Jack-o-Bear. D&D changed them in 1st edition so they were just pretty stupid looking. As always, Trampier spruced them up and then Otus put the final polish on them when he came back and painted them again for Hackmaster. The later D&D versions are too much like generic Ogres and the Pathfinder Bugbears are pasty nothings. Yuck! By the way, for some great ideas on Bugbears, go to Hack & Slash blog.
The Slaad. No one ever did them very well, but the old ones were creepier. The new ones look more like Deep Ones. My favorite, by the way, is not a commercial picture. Check out this Death Slaad.