The Fiend Folio, subtitled Tome of Creatures Malevolent and Benign, is a sourcebook for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition released in 1981.
The Fiend Folio begins with a foreword by editor Don Turnbull, explaining the origins of the book (see Development below) and thanking the contributors and others for their assistance with the work. This is followed by a table of contents and two pages explaining the monster statblocks.
List of monsters
The book provides game statistics for over 150 monsters:
aarakocra, achaierai, adherer, aleax, algoid, al-mi'raj, apparition, assassin bug, astral searcher, babbler, giant bat, berbalang, blindhelm, blood hawk, giant bloodworm, bonesnapper, booka, bullywug, bunyip, carbuncle, caryatid column, caterwaul, cifal, clubnek, coffer corpse, crabman, crypt thing, dakon, dark creeper, dark stalker, death dog, death knight, demon (Lolth), denzelian, devil (styx devil), devil dog, dire corby, disenchanter, doombat, oriental dragon (li lung, lung wang, pan lung, shen lung, t'ien lung, yu lung), dragonfish, dune stalker, Elemental Princes of Evil (Cryonax, Imix, Ogrémoch, Olhydra, Yan-C-Bin), elf (drow), enveloper, ettercap, eye killer, eye of fear and flame, firedrake, firenewt, fire snake, firetoad, flail snail, flind, flumph, forlarren, frost man, galltrit, gambado, garbug (black garbug, violet garbug), giant (fog giant, mountain giant), giant strider, gibberling, githyanki, glthzeral, goldbug, gorbel, gorilla bear, grell, grimlock, gryph, guardian daemon, guardian familiar, hellcat, hoar fox, hook horror, giant hornet, hound of ill omen, huecuva, ice lizard, imorph, iron cobra, jaculi, jermlaine, kamadan, kelpie, kenku, khargra, killmoulis, kuo-toa, lamia noble, lava children, lizard king, magnesium spirit, mantari, meazel, meenlock, mephit (fire mephit, lava mephit, smoke mephit, steam mephit), mezzodaemon, mite, necrophidius, needleman, nilbog, nonafel, norker, nycadaemon, ogrillon, osquip, pĕnanggalan, pernicon, phantom stalker, poltergeist, protein polymorph, quaggoth, quipper, qullan, retriever, revenant, rothé, sandman, scarecrow, screaming devilkin, shadow demon, sheet ghoul, sheet phantom, shocker, skeleton warrior, skulk, slaad (blue slaad, death slaad, green slaad, grey slaad, red slaad, Ssendam, Ygorl), snyad, son of Kyuss, stunjelly, sussurus, svirfneblin, symbiotic jelly, tabaxi, tentamort, terithran, thoqqua, thork, throat leech, tiger fly, tirapheg, trilloch, troll (giant troll, giant two-headed troll, ice troll, spirit troll), tween, umpleby, urchin (black urchin, green urchin, red urchin, silver urchin, yellow urchin), vision, vodyanoi, volt, vortex, whipweed, witherstench, witherweed, xill, xvart, yellow musk creeper, zombie (yellow musk zombie).
The remainder of the book features:
- a table of treasure types
- 20 pages of random encounter tables, with monsters from both the Fiend Folio and the Monster Manual (1e) (1977)
- an index, with contributor credits for each monster
- an "epilogue"
The Fiend Folio was the first AD&D book produced by TSR's British branch, TSR UK, Ltd., and the first official AD&D book by editor Don Turnbull. Production began while the Dungeon Masters Guide (1e) (1979) was being finalized. The Fiend Folio was not part of Gary Gygax's original plans for AD&D when he announced the new game in Dragon #8 (Jul 1977).
The majority of the monsters in the Fiend Folio were originally submitted for the column "The Fiend Factory", which began in Games Workshop's White Dwarf #6 (Apr/May 1978). However, many had never actually seen print in "The Fiend Factory", as Turnbull had far more submissions that could be published in the magazine. According to Turnbull, the demand for more monsters from readers, combined with the excess supply, had led to the creation of the Fiend Folio. Turnbull went through over 1000 submissions before settling on the final selection of creatures. Some of the monsters only required minor adjustments, while others required significant additional development.
Creatures from the Fiend Folio that had previously appeared in White Dwarf magazine included:
- White Dwarf #2 ("New Monsters: For Use in Wilderness Campaigns", by Ian Livingstone): dune stalker, blood hawk.
- White Dwarf #6 ("The Fiend Factory"): bonesnapper, disenchanter, mite, needleman, nilbog, throat leech. Also appearing was "the Fiend", a precursor of the forlarren.
- White Dwarf #7 ("The Fiend Factory"): eye killer, necrophidius, volt, witherweed. Also appearing were the "gluey", a precursor to the adherer, and the "living wall", a precursor to the stunjelly.
- White Dwarf #8 ("The Fiend Factory"): carbuncle, coffer corpse, tween. Also appearing were the "chaoticus symbioticus", a precursor to the symbiotic jelly, and the "whirler", a precursor to the vortex.
- White Dwarf #9 ("The Fiend Factory"): imorph, umpleby, urchin. Also appearing were the "dokon", a precursor to the dakon; the "svarf", a precursor to the xvart; and the "whipper", a precursor to the whipweed.
- White Dwarf #10 ("The Fiend Factory"): sandman. Also appearing were the "familiar", a precursor to the guardian familiar, and the "warlock cat", a precursor to the hellcat.
- White Dwarf #11 ("The Fiend Factory"): berbalang, devil dog, sheet phantom (and sheet ghoul), witherstench. Also appearing was the "lauren", a precursor to the tirapheg.
- White Dwarf #12 ("The Fiend Factory"): assassin bug, grell, hook horror, githyanki, giant bloodworm.
- White Dwarf #13 ("The Fiend Factory"): doombat, shadow demon, terithran. Also appearing were "fire imps", "smoke imps", "steam imps", and "molten imps", precursors to the fire mephit, smoke mephit, steam mephit, and lava mephit.
In addition to the U.S. and the U.K., contributions came from Australia, Canada, and the rest of Europe. The book also included monsters from the U.S. branch of TSR, some of which had previously appeared in AD&D adventures. These included the drow, from G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King (1978); the jermlaine, from D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth (D1) (1978); the kuo-toa and the svirfneblin, from D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa (1978); the mezzodaemon and the nycadaemon, from D3 Vault of the Drow (1978); the kelpie, from S2 White Plume Mountain (1979), and Lolth, from Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980).
The Fiend Folio's creatures were credited to the following contributors:
- Brian Asbury: xill
- Chris Atkin: spirit troll
- Mark Barnes: snyad, thork
- Louis Boschelli: devil dog, mountain giant
- Ghee Bowman: rothé
- Peter Brown: gryph
- Brendon Bulger: osquip
- R. K. R. Chilman: ogrillon
- Russell Cole: ice troll
- Jim Donohue: lava children
- Simon Eaton: coffer corpse, witherweed
- M. English: clubnek
- Mike Ferguson: algoid, ice lizard, tiger fly, trilloch, vision
- Albie Fiore: berbalang, carbuncle, caterwaul, dragonfish, firenewt, giant strider, grimlock, quipper, sussurus, vodyanoi, yellow musk creeper, yellow musk zombie
- Jeremy Goodwin and Ian McDowall: babbler
- Trevor Graver: galltrit, needleman
- Gary Gygax: booka, Lolth, drow, jermlaine, killmoulis, kuo-toa, mezzodaemon, nycadaemon, svirfneblin
- Luke Gygax and Gary Gygax: bullywug
- Ronald Hall: terithran
- Stephen Hellman: pĕnanggalan, revenant
- Cricky Hitchcock: gorilla bear, xvart
- Stephen Home: lizard king
- Dermot Jackson: bunyip, meazel
- Jonathan Jones: garbug, volt, witherstench
- Hugh Kernohan: eye of fear and flame
- Andrew Key: gorbel, imorph
- Peter Korabik: meenlock
- Julian Lawrence: doombat, frost man
- Ian Livingstone: assassin bug, blood hawk, giant bloodworm, bonesnapper, crabman, styx devil, dune stalker, eye killer, forlarren, grell, hook horror, mite, phantom stalker, throat leech, giant troll
- Dean Lockwood and P. S. Barton: nonafel
- Nick Louth: giant hornet, kamadan, magnesium spirit, urchin
- Michael MacDonald: son of Kyuss
- Oliver Charles MacDonald: cifal, giant two-headed troll
- Alessandro Martelli: aleax
- Philip Masters: iron cobra, jaculi, lamia noble, screaming devilkin
- Michael McDonagh: fire snake
- Ian McDowall: dakon, guardian daemon
- Ian McDowall and Douglas Naismith: flumph
- Trevor Mendham: guardian familiar
- Tom Moldvay: astral searcher, protein polymorph, retriever
- Nigel Morgan: skeleton warrior
- Graeme Morris: hoar fox
- J. D. Morris: flind, norker
- Roger Musson: achaierai, al-mi'raj, blindheim, crypt thing, disenchanter, firetoad, nilbog, sandman, scarecrow, shocker, symbiotic jelly
- Simon Muth: dark stalker, skulk, vortex
- Mary Patterson: pernicon
- Lewis Pulsipher: giant bat, denzelian, Elemental Princes of Evil, poltergeist
- Colin Reynolds: tirapheg
- Nicholas Riggs: thoqqua
- Mike Roberts: hound of ill omen, tentamort
- Lawrence Schick: aarakocra, kelpie, khargra, tabaxi
- Bob Scurfield: whipweed
- Simon Shaw: gambado
- Guy Shearer: adherer
- Rik Shepherd: dark creeper, kenku
- Martin Stollery: mephit
- Charles Stross: death knight, githyanki, githzerai, slaad
- David Sweet: oriental dragon
- David Taylor: ettercap, goldbug, hellcat
- Simon Tilbrook: flail snail, necrophidius
- Andrew Torchia: quaggoth
- Underworld Oracle: apparition, death dog, enveloper, gibberling, huecuva
- Dave Waring: firedrake
- Ian Waugh: tween
- Jean Wells: caryatid column, fog giant
- Neville White: qullan, shadow demon, stunjelly
- Steve Wood: umbleby
- David Wormell: mantari, sheet ghoul, sheet phantom
- Jeff Wyndham: dire corby
The cover art for the Fiend Folio was by Emmanuel, while the interior illustrations were provided by Chris Baker, Jeff Dee, Emmanuel, Albie Fiore, Alan Hunter, Russ Nicholson, Erol Otus, Jim Roslof, David C. Sutherland III, Bill Willingham, Polly Wilson, and Tony Yates. Some of the illustrations for the work had previously appeared in White Dwarf #12 (Apr/May 1979).
In his foreword, Turnbull acknowledged the assistance of Lawrence Schick and Gary Gygax in producing the Fiend Folio; Albie Fiore was also credited as a major contributor.
Turnbull's foreword was dated to August 1979, but publication of the book was delayed for nearly two years. The delays were due to legal disagreements between TSR and Games Workshop. Games Workshop originally planned to publish the Fiend Folio themselves, as an official, TSR-recognized AD&D sourcebook; this was announced in White Dwarf #12, along with hopes to release the book in late 1979. However, after a failed attempt by TSR to merge with Games Workshop by late 1979, TSR established TSR UK in 1980. TSR claimed in Dragon #37 (May 1980) that they'd come to an agreement with Games Workshop to publish the Fiend Folio later in 1980, but the book wasn't actually published by TSR for another year, with a release in July 1981.
Reception and influence
Many D&D players considered the release of the Fiend Folio a "huge event", as it was the first major introduction of new monsters to the game after the original Monster Manual.
Notable early responses to the Fiend Folio were not favorable. Ed Greenwood was critical of the work in his review in Dragon #55 (Nov 1981), noting its inconsistencies with AD&D rules and many other disappointing elements, although he did compliment a few creatures such as the Elemental Princes of Evil, pĕnanggalan, and slaad. Don Turnbull defended the Fiend Folio against some of Greenwood's criticisms in the same issue. The book also gained a reputation in the 1980s for its "silly monsters", such as the flumph; this "goofy" element was emphasized in Lawrence Schick's review in his Heroic Worlds (1991). In retrospect, some fans suggested the Fiend Folio contrasted too much with the Monster Manual.
However, not all reviews at the time were negative. Jamie Thomson gave the Fiend Folio an 8 out of 10 in his review in White Dwarf #28 (Dec 1981/Jan 1982), suggesting it was superior to the Monster Manual in its presentation, as well as noting its Britishness.
In more recent years, the book has been recognized for its historical importance to D&D, including significant contributions such as the githyanki, githzerai, slaad, and death knight. Certain fans have cited the Fiend Folio's unusual elements as a positive, and some who once rejected the Fiend Folio have come to appreciate it for those elements.
Influence on D&D
The Fiend Folio marked the beginning of yearly sourcebooks for AD&D.
Jesse Decker and David Noonan, in their 2005 article Monsters with Traction, speculated that the full-color illustration of a githyanki on the Fiend Folio's front cover helped popularize the creature.
The title "Fiend Folio" was reused for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition accessory MC14 Monstrous Compendium: Fiend Folio Appendix (1992), which updated many monsters from the original book, as well as for the Fiend Folio (3e) (2003) for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition. The Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition digital supplement Mordenkainen's Fiendish Folio Volume 1 (2019), which bore the subtitle "Monsters Malevolent and Benign", also updated several of the original Fiend Folio's monsters.
Influence on unofficial works
The d20 System supplement Tome of Horrors (2002), from Necromancer Games, featured the subtitle "A Folio of Fiends Malevolent and Benign". The sourcebook, with Wizards of the Coast approval, converted Dungeons & Dragons creatures from older editions to Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition rules, including creatures from the original Fiend Folio. This in turn made many Fiend Folio creatures available under the Open Game License, allowing them to appear in other unofficial works. One such work is the Pathfinder role-playing game, which included them in supplements like Misfit Monsters Redeemed (2010).
Expeditious Retreat Press released the monster sourcebook Malevolent and Benign, with versions compatible with 1st edition (2009) and the Pathfinder role-playing game (2011). Expeditious Retreat also released a sequel, Malevolent & Benign II (2018), compatible with 1st edition.
The Friend Folio (2019) and The Friend Folio II (2019), Dungeon Masters Guild supplements featuring sample sidekicks, also echo the title "Fiend Folio".
The upcoming The Basic Bestiary: Monsters from the Other Side, for the retroclone Labyrinth Lord, is explicitly a homage to the Fiend Folio.
|Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition|
|Players Handbook • Dungeon Masters Guide • Monster Manual|
|Battlesystem: Fantasy Combat Supplement • The Book of Lairs • The Book of Lairs II • Deities & Demigods (Legends & Lore) • Dungeoneer's Survival Guide • Fiend Folio • Manual of the Planes • Monster Manual II • Oriental Adventures • The Rogues Gallery • Unearthed Arcana • Wilderness Survival Guide|
|Desert of Desolation (Pharaoh • Oasis of the White Palm • Lost Tomb of Martek) • Queen of the Spiders (Against the Giants (Steading of the Hill Giant Chief • Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl • Hall of the Fire Giant King) • Descent Into the Depths of the Earth • Shrine of the Kuo-Toa • Vault of the Drow • Queen of the Demonweb Pits) • Realms of Horror (Tomb of Horrors • White Plume Mountain • Expedition to the Barrier Peaks • Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth) • Scourge of the Slavelords (Slave Pits of the Undercity • Secret of the Slavers Stockade • Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords • In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords) • The Temple of Elemental Evil (The Village of Hommlet) • Dungeonland • The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror • The Secret of Bone Hill • The Assassin's Knot • Deep Dwarven Delve • The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh • Danger at Dunwater • The Final Enemy • Adventure Pack I • Against the Cult of the Reptile God • All That Glitters... • Baltron's Beacon • The Bane of Llywelyn • Beyond the Crystal Cave • Dark Clouds Gather • Day of Al'Akbar • Destiny of Kings • Dwellers of the Forbidden City • Egg of the Phoenix • Eye of the Serpent • The Forest Oracle • The Gauntlet • The Ghost Tower of Inverness • The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan • The Lost Island of Castanamir • Midnight on Dagger Alley • Needle • Ravager of Time • Ravenloft • Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill • The Sentinel • The Shattered Statue • Tales of the Outer Planes • To Find a King • Tomb of the Lizard King • Treasure Hunt • When a Star Falls|
- Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.3-4.
- Fiend Folio (1e) (Dungeon Masters Guild). Retrieved 2020-10-25.
- White Dwarf #2 (Aug/Sept 1977).
- White Dwarf #6 (Apr/May 1978).
- Let's Fix: Forlarrens (rpg.net). Retrieved 2020-10-25. "The Fiend" and the forlarren also share the same creator, Ian Livingstone.
- White Dwarf #7 (Jun/Jul 1978).
- Shadow Demon, Qullan, Stunjelly (ENWorld). 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
- White Dwarf #8 (Aug/Sep 1978)
- The "chaoticus symbioticus" in White Dwarf #8 is very similar to the symbiotic jelly, and both share the same creator, Roger Musson.
- The "whirler" in White Dwarf #8 is very similar to the vortex, and both share the same creator, Simon Muth.
- White Dwarf #9 (Oct/Nov 1978).
- The "dokon" in White Dwarf #9 is very similar to the dakon, and both share the same creator, Ian McDowall.
- The "svarf" in White Dwarf #9 is very similar to the xvart, and both share the same creator, Cricky Hitchcock.
- The "whipper" in White Dwarf #9 is very similar to the whipweed, and both share the same creator, Bob Scurfield.
- White Dwarf #10 (Dec 1978/Jan 1979).
- The "familiar" in White Dwarf #10 is very similar to the guardian familiar, and both share the same creator, Trevor Mendham.
- The "warlock cat" in White Dwarf #10 is very similar to the hellcat, and both share the same creator, David Taylor.
- White Dwarf #11 (Feb/Mar 1979).
- The "lauren" in White Dwarf #11 is very similar to the tirapheg, and both share the same creator, Colin Reynolds.
- White Dwarf #12 (Apr/May 1979).
- The imps in White Dwarf #13 are very similar to the four mephits in the Fiend Folio, and both groupings appear to share the same creator, M. Stollery.
- Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.120-124.
- Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.1.
- Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.124.
- Monsters with Traction at Wizards.com (2005) (Internet Archive)
- Flat taste didn't go away, Dragon #55 (Nov 1981), p.6-7,9.
- Apologies - and arguments, Dragon #55 (Nov 1981), p.12.
- Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games (1991).
- Finding the Flumph or: How I Learned to Stop Being Critical and Love the Fiend Folio (Roll for Initiative). 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- Let's Say Some Good Things About the Fiend Folio (Dragonsfoot Forums). 2012-08-22. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- White Dwarf #28 (Dec 1981/Jan 1982).
- A Tale Of Two Bestiaries: Looking At The Fiend Folio And Creature Catalog In POD (ENWorld). 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
- 7 Lessons D&D Players Can Learn from the 1e Fiend Folio (Nerds on Earth). 2018-12-19. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- Tome of Horrors Complete -- Order NOW or miss out forever (paizo.com). 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
- The Friend Folio (Dungeon Masters Guild). Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- #RPGaDAY 2020: Day 10 Want (The Other Side). 2020-08-10. Retrieved 2020-10-25.