5 Excuses To Fill Your Dungeon With Monsters

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Why are there so many monsters in your dungeon?

I realize there are certain expectations in tabletop games. I understand that a dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons is bound to be harboring horrible beasties–otherwise why play the game? I get that every RPG, from Pathfinder to Savage Worlds, and even some from the Sci-Fi end of the pool, must feature subterranean labyrinths from time to time. But why the hell are they always brimming with monsters?

Do monsters in the RPG world eat rocks? Undead warriors guarding crypts, I understand. But what business does a Hellhound have roaming the blank, featureless corridors of an isolated cave? Why is a goblin tribe living so far underground, away from a ready food source, on a glacial mountain with nothing growing on the surface? Or, an even worse offender, inside an active volcano? What are the giant spiders eating? And what does the Minotaur do for fun between murders? Does he just stare wistfully at the bloodstains in his corner of the cave, year after year, reminiscing about the adventurers he’s slain?

Why are there so many monsters in your dungeon? This is such a tiny, insignificant question in the grand scheme of the game. Yet 90% of dungeons I encounter have a bafflingly diverse array of subterranean creatures who seem to have no biological imperative to eat, reproduce, or nest. It’s as if their entire existence is centered around their desire to kill player-characters. Continue reading

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Sci-Fi: Please Stop Substituting Aliens With Monsters

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From campy b-movie space romps to the Sci-Fi big-budget epics, authors, screenwriters, and movie makers keep committing the same old sin. Instead of inventing new and exciting creatures for their alien race they’ll still disappointingly cop-out and sub-in cheesy monsters. And not just any monster–it’s usually a monster from old Hollywood cinema.

Why?

Two reasons. Budget and ease of narrative. Continue reading

The Secret Weakness of Bloodsucking Monsters

Vampires are pretty scary right? They drink blood, hypnotize virgins, spread syphilis (probably). But what if I told you there was one surefire way to weaken a vampire to the point of exhaustion and death? A method that doesn’t involve garlic, silver, or sunlight. What if just resetting Dracula’s alarm clock was enough to shove him onto this side of the mortal coil? Continue reading