I’ve often told others I like to write about monsters. In college this elicited strange conversations every now and then. People have different ideas of what monsters really are. This is probably, at least in part, because of the varied definitions of the word ‘monster’ which I don’t particularly want to go into here.
I grew up playing roleplaying games. Dungeons and Dragons was a favorite of mine (Third Edition in particular). I still have a couple dozen game books for third edition D&D, but I’ve also developed a problem with it after a bit of time as a writer. I’m not in love with medieval technology or culture. I don’t find it as interesting as many other speculative fiction writers at any rate, especially the feudal systems of Europe associated with the period.
So for a long time I’ve run and played under games in other systems.
Recently the kickstarter for The Pathfinder Advanced Bestiary book prompted me to unearth my books and go looking through them. I kept an eye on the strange stuff as I usually do when I go through these books. Thanks to seeing the kickstarter for this book and my buying the 3.5 version in PDF form my love of the creatures and monsters of this game was rekindled.
The Advanced Bestiary takes excellent advantage of the third edition Dungeons and Dragons introduction of the ‘template’. Templates are sets of changes to apply to existing creatures to turn them into some other sort of creatures. The Advanced Bestiary is a lot of templates, and has been a real treat to use. Building creatures up with these templates is relaxing for me, though it is mostly just math of a fashion. It also gets me thinking without making me nervous. This is not to be underestimated.
I often have difficulty really relaxing and unwinding. For some reason changing creatures has been the perfect ticket to get my imagination to do these things. Monsters help me relax. I should have known.