|Dungeons & Dragons: Thought Eater
The original Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual was practically my monster-design
bible as a child, opening me up to just how surreal and preposterous a monster could be.
A prime example would be the original Thought Eater here, an invisible creature that
exists on the ethereal plane and parasitically drains mental energy. It's a terrifying
concept, made especially interesting by the fact that it actually resembled a small,
hairless, emaciated platypus. The contrast between ridiculous, pitiful appearance and
disturbing, dangerous feeding habits was a big inspiration to my developing imagination,
and I still think this original illustration is a positively flawless design...I love the gaping,
toothed beak and moronic stare. Does this remind us of anything else? Some other
psychic duck-billed monster, perhaps?
Sadly, Dungeons and Dragons has succumbed over the years to that widespread mental
disease where anything whimsical is slowly retooled according to what the average
person is expected to find "cool." The second time the Thought Eater was published in
official game materials, it was given this slightly less amusing skeletal design. At least it's
still a platypus though, right? SIGH...
Meet the most recent incarnation of the Thought Eater, completely robbed of everything
that made the concept unique and speciall. Where do people get the idea that every
monster needs a fearsome, deadly appearance to be taken seriously? Where is the
imagination and fun? They had pure gold and they neutered it. They had an ugly flying
invisible platypus that ate thoughts and they replaced it with a spooky griffin. Wizards of
the Coast, you have dumb taste and your game is dumb now forever. Dumb and ruined.
Want to see what a cooler, modernized update looks like when it's done well? Here.