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Wolfhound75
Learned Scribe

USA
215 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  15:16:16  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm inclined to agree with Wooly.

While I agree that dragons are also used in many other fantasy settings, it's very hard to claim that any other beast, unique to D&D or not, is more iconic than the one chosen by the creator to be part of the game's name.

They are in fact so iconic that I once had a highschool teacher with a doctorate degree leave a hand-scrawled note on a paper I had written in which I took the time to describe a fight between the characters and a 'blue lightning-breathing dragon' figuring that anyone who was not a D&D fan wouldn't automatically know that blue dragons have a lightning breath. At no time did I ever mention the relationship to D&D either pre-writing discussion or in the paper which makes it amazing that the note that he wrote on the top of my paper said, "You must be a Dungeons & Dragons fan!"

I later approached him to discuss his note and admitted that I was a D&D fan and player. I asked him if he was a fan and played D&D as well. He replied that he had heard of the game in passing due to the 'satanic' discussion but had never played it or read any of the game-related literature, either sourcebooks or novels. I went on to query him about how he was able to match my description of a 'blue lightning-breathing dragon' to the D&D game line and his response was quite easy. It's the only thing I've ever heard of where Dragons have distinctive colors and different forms of breathing [breath weapons]. Furthermore he went on to state that every other dragon you run across in literature from St. George's to Tolkien's Smaug all breathe fire and since this was a class based upon English Literature, you could assume he was somewhat of a subject matter expert.

It's interesting to note that this anecdote occured in the late 1980s before CRPGs became popular and thereby brought dragons with varying breath weapons into mainstream culture. Colored (Chromatic or Metallic) dragons could therefore be considered so iconic that someone who had never read any D&D literature was able to associate a purposefully vague description of a blue lightning breathing dragon with the game we all love, Dungeons & Dragons.

This just reinforces many scribes thoughts that Dragons are definately the most iconic creature as evidenced by Gygax choosing to make them part of the name. I would submit that varying colors of chromatic and metallic dragons are truly what makes them icons. Without this variation brought about by D&D, it doesn't matter what game you are playing, it would just be another fire-breathing dragon marauding a village.


Good Hunting!


EDIT: ...evidenced...not evidence. *sigh* Quick reply strikes again.

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"If at first you do succeed, you must've rolled a natural 20!"

Edited by - Wolfhound75 on 23 Feb 2012 15:19:40
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Seravin
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Canada
810 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  16:39:23  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Beholders, Displacer Beasts, and Mind Flayers are all my picks (though I went with Beholder).

The only other would be a Rust Monster, because I think of the one in the Red Box set from the early 80s that would destroy your metal armor. To me that little thing represents the first interesting beast I fought in D&D.

Dragons are too generic...I think of them as fantasy not D&D specific.
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Eladrinstar
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USA
196 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  18:38:59  Show Profile Send Eladrinstar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I think of "D&D monsters" I think Beholders. I think of others, but Beholders pop to mind first.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  19:11:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Beholders are certainly iconic for those that know the game... But if you don't know D&D, seeing a beholder won't make you think of it. It might make you think of that critter in Big Trouble in Little China...

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Wolfhound75
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215 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  20:30:55  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It might boil down to how familiar an individual is with D&D. Greater knowledge of the game the more one might favor the unique monsters. But for average person out and about who doesn't know that Beholders are a unique monster to D&D and were invented specifically for D&D, they won't picture that monster. IMO, they're going to likely picture something akin to a knight and a wizard battling a dragon if you ask them, "When you hear the words "Dungeons & Dragons" what do you think of?


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Artemas Entreri
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Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  20:44:36  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wolfhound75

IMO, they're going to likely picture something akin to a knight and a wizard battling a dragon if you ask them, "When you hear the words "Dungeons & Dragons" what do you think of?


Good Hunting!



I am sure many people would answer: "Nerds"

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Seravin
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Canada
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Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  21:00:53  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There was a Beholder in Futurama :) Which, probably those who watch Futurama know D&D...
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Wolfhound75
Learned Scribe

USA
215 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  21:13:35  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
Originally posted by Wolfhound75

IMO, they're going to likely picture something akin to a knight and a wizard battling a dragon if you ask them, "When you hear the words "Dungeons & Dragons" what do you think of?


Good Hunting!



I am sure many people would answer: "Nerds"



You just made me snort my coffee out of my nose! I haven't laughed that hard in a while! Thanks for the sense of humor!


Good Hunting!

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Artemas Entreri
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Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  21:21:35  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ha ha my pleasure. I couldn't resist when I read your question.

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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1639 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2012 :  22:17:51  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Therise

For "most iconic" I'd have to vote beholder. I'm a little sad no one has yet said "gelatinous cube" or "flumph", though.
I was surprised it's not in options.
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

I mentioned the Rust Monster, does that count?
Or a mimic?

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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
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Posted - 24 Feb 2012 :  00:22:21  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Beholders are certainly iconic for those that know the game... But if you don't know D&D, seeing a beholder won't make you think of it. It might make you think of that critter in Big Trouble in Little China...

Funnily enough, I actually once used that imagery for a beholder variant I tweaked with long ago, in my classic "Waterdeep versus the beholder criminal underworld" campaign.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2012 :  03:24:04  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the Umpleby and Flumph should be on the cover of the 5e MM.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Jakk
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Canada
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Posted - 24 Feb 2012 :  07:27:43  Show Profile Send Jakk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I went with dragon, but Entreri3478 makes a very good point... why wasn't Rust Monster on the list? Rust monsters and (as already mentioned) beholders are two of the first three critters I think of when someone asks me for my favourite D&D-specific monster... and the tarrasque is the third.

Sage? Alaundo? We need a "tarrasque" smiley.

Edit: Mind you, the displacer beast is rather distinctive as well... as is the roper... and the flumph doesn't get nearly enough respect.

Playing in the Realms since the Old Grey Box (1987)... and *still* having fun with material published before 2008, despite the NDA'd lore.

If it's comparable in power with non-magical abilities, it's not magic.

Edited by - Jakk on 24 Feb 2012 07:29:25
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2012 :  13:40:14  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jakk

I went with dragon, but Entreri3478 makes a very good point... why wasn't Rust Monster on the list? Rust monsters and (as already mentioned) beholders are two of the first three critters I think of when someone asks me for my favourite D&D-specific monster... and the tarrasque is the third.

Sage? Alaundo? We need a "tarrasque" smiley.

Edit: Mind you, the displacer beast is rather distinctive as well... as is the roper... and the flumph doesn't get nearly enough respect.



There were a few iconic monsters (Rust Monster included) which i just totally forgot about when making the poll.

*This reminded me of a wizard character i had under 2E play who had a Rust Monster familiar...perfect for dealing with those irritating warriors

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Dennis
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Posted - 25 Feb 2012 :  03:26:52  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

There was a beholder featured in that crazy Filipino horror/comedy film starring (if I remember it right) Dolphy. And that was long before D&D was born.

So it boils down to how familiar one is with the D&D setting.

Every beginning has an end.
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Thauranil
Master of Realmslore

India
1591 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2012 :  07:11:18  Show Profile Send Thauranil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

I have to go with the Drow. They are an original and extremely iconic creation of the realms. When you think of the realms one of the most prominent images in anyone's mind will be Drizzt or a Drow matron mother.




That would be like saying humans are iconic of the Realms because of Elminster.

Drow are not original to the Realms, and I think that calling them iconic for the setting does a disservice to the setting -- the Realms is so much more than just one or two characters and their race. It doesn't matter if it's Liriel, or Elminster, or Erevis, or Bahb the Fighter -- characters are only one aspect of a setting.

And for me, the images of drow that come most readily to mind are from a Dragon cover and an old Greyhawk supplement/module (I don't actually own it, so I don't know which it is). Images of the Realms that come most readily to mind for me are the covers of Azure Bonds, FR5 The Savage Frontier, FR9 The Bloodstone Lands, Forgotten Realms Adventures, Spellfire, and the cover of the Shadowdale book in the 2E FRCS. Not one of those books has a drow on the cover.



These images are your personal preference and certainly they are iconic and i didn't mean to imply that D&D was just about drow.
Only that the way they have been portrayed and developed is original.
Also when i think of D&D the image i get is of Drizzt and Guenhwyvar ambushing a bunch of orcs in the Orc king.
Elminster has to compete with Gandalf and Dumbledore for recognition nowadays but there arent any other drow rangers around. Even my mom knows I am reading a forgotten realms novel if Drizzt is on the cover.
This cannot be said of any of the other characters in your example.
( dont get me wrong though i love old Erevis myself)
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31146 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2012 :  16:15:56  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

I have to go with the Drow. They are an original and extremely iconic creation of the realms. When you think of the realms one of the most prominent images in anyone's mind will be Drizzt or a Drow matron mother.




That would be like saying humans are iconic of the Realms because of Elminster.

Drow are not original to the Realms, and I think that calling them iconic for the setting does a disservice to the setting -- the Realms is so much more than just one or two characters and their race. It doesn't matter if it's Liriel, or Elminster, or Erevis, or Bahb the Fighter -- characters are only one aspect of a setting.

And for me, the images of drow that come most readily to mind are from a Dragon cover and an old Greyhawk supplement/module (I don't actually own it, so I don't know which it is). Images of the Realms that come most readily to mind for me are the covers of Azure Bonds, FR5 The Savage Frontier, FR9 The Bloodstone Lands, Forgotten Realms Adventures, Spellfire, and the cover of the Shadowdale book in the 2E FRCS. Not one of those books has a drow on the cover.



These images are your personal preference and certainly they are iconic and i didn't mean to imply that D&D was just about drow.
Only that the way they have been portrayed and developed is original.
Also when i think of D&D the image i get is of Drizzt and Guenhwyvar ambushing a bunch of orcs in the Orc king.
Elminster has to compete with Gandalf and Dumbledore for recognition nowadays but there arent any other drow rangers around. Even my mom knows I am reading a forgotten realms novel if Drizzt is on the cover.
This cannot be said of any of the other characters in your example.
( dont get me wrong though i love old Erevis myself)




I don't see it as being all that original, since no one else has really portrayed and delevoped them. You could say the same thing about moon elves, since they've not been portrayed and developed outside of Realms novels.

I mentioned exactly one character, and I did not say he was the most recognizable thing in D&D -- I was just using him as an example to this idea that one character is somehow iconic of everything in the entire setting.

What I'm doing is disagreeing with your statement that thinking of the Realms means thinking of drow. Some of us will think of Danilo and Arilyn. Some will think of Azoun IV. Some will think of Elminster, some will think of Alias, some will think of Erevis. Some will think about particular book covers or artwork, of which a very large portion does not include drow. Some will envision Syluné killing a dragon in Shadowdale and being killed in the process, some will envision the Simbul laying waste to Thayans, some will think of the Tears of Selûne trailing across the night sky. And some will think of their own characters, like when my Waterdhavian swashbuckler thief pre-empted his partner's elaborate plan for dealing with guard dogs by simply perching on the gate and opening it, or the draconian-inspired Sembian sorcerer I've been playing with.

My point is that for you, drow may be what is iconic about the Realms -- but you cannot assume that for everyone.

And the topic isn't about what's iconic for the Realms, it's about the most iconic monster or race in D&D.

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Aryalómë
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Posted - 25 Feb 2012 :  19:27:32  Show Profile Send Aryalómë a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A beholder. Definitely. Drow and Dragons come very close as well.

Edited by - Aryalómë on 25 Feb 2012 19:30:24
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 26 Feb 2012 :  02:36:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A lot of the things people are suggesting would only be recognized by people with some knowledge of D&D. For example, if I had no familiarity at all with D&D, and I saw a pic of a drow, I'd be more inclined to think it was some sort of WoW night elf. And Lurue only knows what I'd think of a rust monster, which I've always thought was a very silly looking critter. And I've already mention that beholder-thing in Big Trouble in Little China.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

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Posted - 26 Feb 2012 :  03:18:42  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is an old piece of art that shows a party opening a chest, with a Dragon rearing up behind them, unseen.

THAT is iconic D&D.

A Dungeon, and a Dragon.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 26 Feb 2012 03:20:53
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
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Posted - 26 Feb 2012 :  03:19:29  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

A lot of the things people are suggesting would only be recognized by people with some knowledge of D&D. For example, if I had no familiarity at all with D&D, and I saw a pic of a drow, I'd be more inclined to think it was some sort of WoW night elf. And Lurue only knows what I'd think of a rust monster, which I've always thought was a very silly looking critter. And I've already mention that beholder-thing in Big Trouble in Little China.

I can't ever recall using a rust monster in any of my campaigns.

To be honest, I've always just kind of overlooked the creature, each and every time I flip through a monster book looking for monstrous beasts to populate my encounters with.

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Icelander
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Posted - 26 Feb 2012 :  03:26:46  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Here's something to consider, folks, that others have already brought up, but is worth restating: a lot of the suggested "iconic" critters are rarely, if ever, found outside of D&D. Many of them, in fact, if seen by someone not familiar with D&D, might be mistaken as something out of sci-fi.

Thinks I that if something truly iconic for D&D, it's going to be something that people not familiar with D&D will look at and think, "oh, that must be something D&D-related."


While I agree that in order to be iconic for something, it must reasonate with more than just a segment of those aware of the phenomenon, I disagree that it is possible for anything to be iconic to people unaware of the existence of what it's supposed to represent.

Symbologic representation relies on knowledge of both the symbol and the thing being represented. A cross isn't iconic for Christianity to people who don't know what Christianity is, but that doesn't make it any less of a symbol of it to those who do.

With that in mind, I'm going to have to go with beholders over dragons. Sure, neither of them means 'D&D' to someone who has no knowledge of D&D, but while dragons have powerful associations with millenia of folklore, myths, legends, religions, artwork and fantasy before anyone ever thought of roleplaying, beholders are both strongly associated with roleplaying by most of those who have experience of D&D or any computer game based on it and mostly unique to D&D, as it was not distributed under the OGL and cannot legally be published for other roleplaying games.

The number of roleplayers who don't play D&D is significant and if you count computer roleplaying games and their ilk, outnumber those who play D&D by a gargantuan margin. If you say 'RPGs' without qualification today, by all rights you ought to be refering to WoW and Elder Scrolls, with D&D occupying a place very far down the list. To all the people who play RPGs or have heard about the phenomenon, dragons, in addition to standing for their mythological roots, can stand for Skyrim or WoW or any of their other favourite RPGs. Beholders cannot.

I am aware that the owners of D&D would like to have dragons primarily associated with its IP in the public perception. They have, however, not achieved this miracle of marketing and there is no reason to assume that they ever will. It would be a triumph of an unimaginable scale, similar to Coca-Cola's solidification of Santa Claus as a mascot for their soft drink.

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Artemas Entreri
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Posted - 26 Feb 2012 :  03:33:33  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


There was a beholder featured in that crazy Filipino horror/comedy film starring (if I remember it right) Dolphy. And that was long before D&D was born.

So it boils down to how familiar one is with the D&D setting.



When was that made?

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Dennis
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Posted - 26 Feb 2012 :  03:45:02  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Early 60s. So the effects...well, really sucked. It was funny, though. Managed to watch the last 3/4 of it. I forgot the title. I was very young when I watched it on TV.

The monster was not exactly a beholder, but looked so much like one. Everything's nearly the same except that its eyes shoot fire instead of disintegration magic.

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 26 Feb 2012 03:49:50
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 26 Feb 2012 :  06:17:19  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


Early 60s. So the effects...well, really sucked. It was funny, though. Managed to watch the last 3/4 of it. I forgot the title. I was very young when I watched it on TV.

The monster was not exactly a beholder, but looked so much like one. Everything's nearly the same except that its eyes shoot fire instead of disintegration magic.



If it goes back that far, it may have been the inspiration for the D&D beholder. Because let's face it, most of us are not going to dream up a floating ball with laser eyes on our own!

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