What’s hybrid mania?

It’s happened in D&D Third Edition when game designers created “hybrid” creatures using templates, classes, and prestige classes. Standard monsters from older editions were still there, but they could be augmented, made specific.

So you started seeing descriptors like “Fiendish Dire Rat,” or “Half-red dragon tyrannosaurus rex.”

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D&D Chainmail was no exception. You saw miniatures like a “Half-Dragon Mage,” or a “Demonic Gnoll Adept.”  There were tiefling fighters in AD&D, but know you could have miniatures for them. It’s not just a gnoll, it’s a “demonic gnoll adept” which can cast spells–and its part-demon! Ah!

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I bought the skeletal equicepth specifically to scare and befuddle my players. “What the hell is that? What can it do us?”

And the trend toward D&D monsters became specific, rather than general. That is, there’s no generic “goblins” anymore. At the very least they were called “Goblin Warriors.” But you started seeing “goblin scouts,” “goblin bounders.”

You had the “gnoll fighter,” the “gnoll ranger,” and the “gnoll archer.” And there’s a difference–in both Chainmail and D&D.

There’s a downside with this specificity, which I’ll discuss Wednesday.

But for now, I’ll just say this: The heady days of 3e were a great time to collect miniatures because of the variety out there.