The designers of Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition must be having a real roller-coaster time, at the moment. On the one hand, this epic labor of love is finally in readers’ hands, to much acclaim. On the other hand, it will be slowly nibbled to death by gerbils as every gamer under the sun points out the one or two nitpicky things they dislike in the nearly-thousand-page Opus of Awesomejuice they releaseed.

(I, for one, don’t understand why The “Customizing Scores” method of character generation starts with 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10. Would it have been that much to throw a couple extra points players’ ways – creating 10′s across the board – and thereby making the subsequent table of point additions that much more elegant? Nitpicky, nitpicky, NITPICKY!)

I will say, however, that the Monster Manual gives me greatest pause. Not due to any mechanic. Simply because of the sheer number of monsters that now go by MODIFIER-title MONSTER NAME (or MONSTER NAME modifier-TITLE). Yes, I realize this is due to the seemingly endless subdivision and stratification of monsters and monster types necessitated by new monster Roles: artillery, brute, controller, soldier, fishmonger (or something like that). But still, in the first few pages alone, we have:

Aboleth Slime Mage

Aboleth Overseer
Ice Archon Hailscourge
Ice Archon Rimehammer (embarrassingly misread as “RIM-hammer,” initially)
Ice Archon Frostshaper
Azer Taskmaster

Azer Beastlord
Warthorn Battlebriar (Um…is that “War Thorn” or “Wart Horn”? Just wonderin’, is all…)
Earthrage Battlebriar

Turning to a random page in the middle (132), we have the

Gnoll Huntmaster
Gnoll Demonic Scourge

Gnoll Claw Fighter

The sense of rhythm is undeniable, but so, alas, is the sense of sameness. Were the ancients forbidden from using a third modifier? Did they have to pay by the word when entering new creatures into the ledger? It does rather make me want to take a look at the stylebook the zoologists are forced to use in the lands of Greyhawk.

Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that D&D 4th edition has a specific way they’d like you to differentiate monsters. Now, anybody can be a critic. But it takes a better man to offer constructive advice – to put forward something POSITIVE. And so, in that spirit, I humbly offer KOVALIC’S SCROLL OF SWARMING FOURTH EDITION NOMENCLATURE, for those who want to create monsters or name new Player Characters the right way…the Fourth Edition way. Roll some dice and try it out!


KOVALIC’S SCROLL OF SWARMING FOURTH EDITION NOMENCLATURE

PHASE ONE
ROLL 1D20.
1-5 Table creates a prefix (ie, Sheboygancrotch Orc)
6-20 Table creates a suffix (ie, Orc Lightningrimmer)

STEP TWO

ROLL 1D12 and 1D10
…or find some other way to generate a number between 1 and 120. Anyhoo, roll. The D12 gives you the modifier (the first column), the D10, the title (the second column). For example, you roll a 62 and an 04. 62 in the first column is “Goat,” and 82 is “crotch.” Bingo! So your new monster would be either a Goatcrotch Ent or an Ent Goatcrotch, depending on how you rolled during Step One.

ROLL MODIFIER TITLE
01 Thunder spleen
02 Lightning toes
03 Sheboygan seer
04 Fire crotch
05 L.Ron hamster
06 Over lard
07 Slime lord
08 Stalker -iffic
09 Blood sausage
10 Battle thighs
11 Frost noodle
12 Hell scourge
13 Lily hammer
14 Slut master
15 Task lord
16 Beast breath
17 Toady catcher
18 Dart board
19 Shadow swarmer
20 Venom -eye
21 Water cup
22 Cream liver
23 Dire spike
24 Rot gut
25 Tangle- champ
26 Mace tail
27 Iron fingers
28 Pickle tyrant
29 Sloppy fist
30 Bone claw
31 Postpunk reaver
32 Bitchy cakes
33 Tiny dancer
34 Fey ray
35 Mire- hair
36 God spurned
37 Heck forged
38 Vise tooth
39 Gob smacker
40 Fight club
41 Gerbil carver
42 Spectral buns
43 Winter shield
44 Wyrm hook
45 Toad stool
46 Brittle marmot
47 Havok pants
48 Vise tooth
49 Pullover jumper
50 Death hulk
51 Cheese weasel
52 Muskrat lover
53 Dragon born
54 Orc breath
55 Yellow submariner
56 Beard trimmer
57 Chain gang
58 Ice ricer
59 Pit devil
60 War fiend
61 Chicken strummer
62 Goat patter
63 Spiney devourer
64 Spirit spike
65 Sneak stockings
66 Beast baiter
67 Rune boobie
68 Black knife
69 White shadow
70 Brown cow
71 Blue state
72 Beetle juice
73 Gloom belcher
74 Kobold slayer
75 Gnoll layer
76 Pseudo intellectual
77 Copper kettle
78 Spitting overseer
79 Brass knuckle
80 Bolt thrower
81 Pink singer
82 Chaffed strider
83 Chapped lips
84 Pyre britches
85 Summer wind
86 Golden shower
87 Salad shooter
88 Sugar butt
89 Lightning bolt
90 Dread budgie
91 Raisin toast
92 Sleepy hollow
93 Rock brain
94 Earthwind fire
95 Ur- stench
96 Web wing
97 Butter cup
98 Forge fairy
99 Fell yellowpolkadotbikini
100 Cleaveland steamer
101 Sponge nuts
102 Swarm thingie
103 Torn fancypants
104 Deep throat
105 Swallow nickers
106 Proud foot
107 One sack
108 Badonkadonk loaf
109 Heavy breather
110 Frak bottom
111 Meat snack
112 Tasty nose
113 Pain maistro
114 Skullcrusher squarepants
115 Itsybityteenyweeny mellons
116 Rap parts
117 Cookie business
118 Numb fairy
119 Man scape
120 Girl bits

My good deed for the day is done. No need to thank me now, WoTC. What? What’s that, you say? You want to send scads of D&D minis my way, as a show of gratitude? Well…OK, you scamps, you.

(Some folks put together some web apps for this. Check out my LJ page to see them!)

- John

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