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Boradorin's Library - Game Supplements - Monster Vault
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Monster Vault

Threats to the Nentir Vale

Game Supplements
256; w/ 10 die-cut monster token sheets & 32-page adventure
$29.99
978-0-7869-5631-9
Roleplaying Games
2010
Game: 0007
User rating: / 
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Review

Monster Vault [Click for larger image]Monsters
and Villians
for Your
Campaign

Welcome to the Nentir Vale, a frontier land sheltered by mountains and strewn with abandoned farmsteads, ruined manors, and broken keep — the perfect base for any Dungeons & Dragons® campaign. Many heroes begin their adventuring careers here; a few also meet untimely ends.

Monster Vault™: Threats to the Nentir Vale™ presents game statistics and lore for deadly new monsters that prowl the Nentir Vale, including such classic Dungeons & Dragons creatures as the boggle, the bound of ill omen, and the penanggalan. Other entries focus on campaign villains present in the Nentir Vale region, among them the Barrowhaunts, the Iron circle, and the Raven Roost bandits.

The monsters and villains included in this game supplement are appropriate challenges for heroic and paragon tier characters and fit easily into any home campaign, as well as other Dungeons & Dragons published campaign settings. In addition to a 128-page book of ready-to-play monsters and villains, this product includes 8 die-cut sheets of card stock monster and villain tokens and a double-sided battle map featuring four different locations you can use when running encounters.


Contents image [Click for larger image]The Boggle's Roots: In the Game, and in Folklore

My 4th Edition design for the boggle is a relatively straight translation of its AD&D versions with a few nuances. Like its predecessors from previous editions, the 4E boggle is a slippery thief that can teleport short distances and create holes in space to steal what it wishes. It keeps its fire resistance and its viscous sweat. And like the boggles of old, this one is not terribly intelligent, but it is extremely devious and cunning.

Still… the original monster never really grabbed me; I don’t think I ever used them, and nobody’s ever told me a story of their “totally incredible and life-changing boggle encounter.” So I felt there was some work to be done casting the spotlight onto this nasty little wretch.

Boggle [Click for larger image]When I write up a monster for D&D, I begin by researching the monster’s folk roots, notable appearances in pop culture, and its previous D&D incarnations. I think I talked a little about this last year when we discussed the catoblepas. I want each monster to fully encompass its original concept from folklore, and where the folklore is scant, I’ll add flourishes that heighten and bolster its essential nature without straying too far from the (story) role the creature should occupy. I think the catoblepas, kraken, and nymphs from Monster Manual 3 are good examples of that.

Looking into the boggle’s folk roots, I found that it shares the same lineage as the boggart, bogie, and bogeyman—they’re all variations on the same creature—typically cast as a malicious fairy, spirit, or goblin that uses its powers for mischief. In regard to its larger pop culture and literary aspects, the monsters (as boggarts) were used prominently in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; however, J.K. Rowling reinvented them as shapechangers that take the form of one’s darkest fear.  While that worked well for their role in the Harry Potter series, it didn’t seem to fit organically with the creature from folklore or the previous D&D versions, so I eschewed that recent popular reference in favor of the old-school approach. Besides, it seemed there weren’t nearly enough nasty unseelie fey in the game up till now, so I tried to hammer that home with the boggles. Like the boggarts and bogies of lore, these wicked little fey delight in playing malicious—and sometimes deadly—tricks on mortals.

—Steve Townshend

Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten RealmsForgotten Realms Campaign GuideNeverwinter Campaign SettingDungeon Master's KitTomb of Horrors


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