AD&D Monster Cards Campaign

Because it's something I always did want (in fact, I hand-made some of my own back in the day), and thanks to some recent suggestions by commentators here, I picked up a full copy of the old AD&D Monster Cards product off E-Bay the other week. Just for a moment (since it's something we are wont to do), let's imagine running a campaign where the only monsters are those you can show to the players on these cards (organized OD&D-style by category and increasing Hit Dice):
  • Humanoids -- Kobold, Goblin, Gnoll, Lizard Man, Troglodyte, Bugbear.
  • Giants -- Hill Giant, Stone Giant, Frost Giant, Ettin.
  • Undead -- Ghoul, Mummy, Spectre, Vampire.
  • Dragons -- Black, Red, Silver, Gold.
  • Lycanthropes -- Werewolf, Weretiger, Seawolf.
  • Fey -- Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Centaur, Hybsil, Wemic, Sylph, Satyr, Korred, Treant.
  • Flyers -- Hippogriff, Peryton, Androsphinx.
  • Outsiders -- Wind Walker, Salamander, Efreeti, Succubus, Demon Type V, Barbed Devil, Nycadaemon.
  • Animals -- Axe Beak, Giant Weasel, Dire Wolf, Jaguar, Carnivorous Ape, Giant Constrictor Snake, Sabretooth Tiger, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • Insects -- Bombardier Beetle, Ankheg, Giant Scorpion, Thri-Kreen.
  • Chimerical -- Grippli, Blink Dog, Zorbo, Su-Monster, Displacer Beast, Leucrotta, Gorgon, Galeb Duhr, Stone Golem.
  • Aberrations -- Obliviax, Carrion Crawler, Land Urchin, Gelatinous Cube, Rust Monster, Mihstu, Umber Hulk, Will-O-Wisp, Tunnel Worm, Neo-Otyugh, Roper, Giant Slug.
  • Aquatic -- Ixitxachitl, Merman, Locathah, Sahuagin, Hippocampus.

I kind of like it; there's a nice mix of old/mythological "standbys" and more exotic/unique-to-D&D-play creatures. While there are some surprising things left out (no Orcs, Ogres, or Trolls, for example), I do like how many of the categories meet the "Magic Number Seven" rule, giving some nice texture while remaining manageable for the DM in world-building and play.


  1. I remember those.

    That sounds like it would be a fun campaign.

  2. Oddest bit: there is the Neo-Otyugh, but not the Otyugh.

  3. My problem with the monster cards was that they felt a bit heavy on the weird. The aberrations and chimerical list seem kind of long, while I'm disappointed not only in the lack of more humanoids (like you said, missing orc, ogre, and troll), I'd also like to see some low level undead (skeleton and zombie). Also, if I were to pick 4 dragons to include, those would not be my choices.

    That said, I believe you're right, it would certainly make for a unique campaign.

  4. I think the top thing for me that's weird is the 3 types of Centaur-clones: Hybsil, Centaur, and Wemic. And just the Demon Type V and none others. I don't need more than one good dragon, but other than that the mix is pretty good for me.

  5. Actually, now that I've tried to organize it a bit more carefully, I agree that there's a distinct gap in the lowest-level monster types. There's only two (kobolds & goblins) that are really useful as 1HD dungeon wandering monsters.