All the monsters--W. W monsters are all trying to be badass. Some succeed.
I have the same problem with the giant wasp as I do with the giant owl,--making it bigger doesn't exaggerate what's scary about it--a giant fly is grosser when it's big, a giant spider can catch you in its web or its jaws when it's big, a giant mantis can decapitate you if its big.
A wasp? You're afraid that a wasp will sting you. Making it big doesn't automatically make it more poisonous.
A water weird is obviously way better than a water elemental--but why? Well there's the name for one, there's the picture for two--the idea of the weird simply being an existing body of water like in a well or a pool that starts taking a shape is way spookier than a big wave with eyes.
Is there anything else to it? The water weird seems to be a bit more about trickery or deception whereas the water elemental seems to be just about brute force. We already knew that waves were out to get us.
The thing that puts a giant weasel head and shoulders above all other stupid monsters (including the giant beaver) is that there is no word in the English language that's funnier.
Nothing is funnier than a weasel. As I think Dave Barry pointed out you can replace any word in any weasel with the word weasel and it's instantly funny. Watch: I'm sorry but your one eyed daughter with down syndrome has cancer of the giant weasel. If you're going to be stupid go full on. "They will attack until destroyed."
We filmed an episode of "Axe" today. We had our first on-air fatality. (Guess who! Find out in a month and a half.) To my intense pleasure, she immediately rolled up a new character with a pet weasel.
"The latter will occasionally attack humans (killer whales will always do so), and all forms of whales are very dangerous if molested."
The best thing ever said about whales outside Moby Dick was "We took swords with us, swimming one handed, to fight off whales."--from Grendel by John Gardner--which is a really great book and anyone who's into D&D, existentialism and modernist literature should read it. So I guess I'm saying me and Mandy should read it and maybe nobody else.
Another one of these: if you're a veteran player it means "level drain" if you're not it means a colour spelled wrong.
If we're constructing a game from the ground-up would there be a point to the wight? I think the niche untaken would be as a kind of "civilized" undead that has a little bit more of the common addict about it than the vampire. The vampire's connotations of blasphemousness and aristocracy preclude it seeming like a total junkie in a medieval context and the zombie's mindlessness makes it lack the pathos of a living thing reduced to something less than it was. That is, the wight appears in cities like an ordinary homeless person only slightly pale--then it grabs you and kisses you and you get dumber.
Will -O-(The) Wisp
This monster (monster doesn't seem exactly the right word) derives from a spontaneous light phenomenon noticed in swamps worldwide that science is as-yet still unable to explain.
One Irish theory holds that someone named Jack made a deal with the devil to pay his bar tab, then tricked Satan into climbing a tree, then carved a cross into the tree so Satan couldn't get down. This upset Satan so he cursed Jack to wander the earth with only one light to guide him which Jack then stuck into a gourd. While I have never used a Will-O -isp in a game I will say that Jack sounds like a seriously awesome PC. Any god that wouldn't let him into heaven probably isn't worth worshipping. There's probably a Pogues song about him.
More invisible creatures from the elemental plane of boring.
This is the name they give the invisible stalker at the New Age get-in-touch-with-your-inner-fuck-camping-retreat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYhe612xdQ0
So then: Regular Wolves? Dire wolves? Worgs? Winter Wolves? Or all four? Seeing as how my whole campaign is in and endless winter we'll need wolves. I feel like I really only wanna use one. Regular wolves are a necessity, I suppose, since every fifth npc has the word "wulf" in their last name somewhere. Plus there's already werewolves--I'm gonna resist the marvel comics-esque urge to create endless variations on something just because it's cool.
Speaking of which...
The wolverine as listed actually has more hit dice than a wolf. Anyway the wolverine seems like a good utility monster if, say, the PCs are asleep in the middle of the wilderness and you need something to sneak up and eat all of their food. Any similarity between what I just typed and the situation prevailing circa episode 14 of I Hit It With My Axe is strictly coincidental.
Wraith is a much better word than "wight" and aside from that it's much more of an immaterial undead like a ghost.
I already talked about how "spectre" was way creepier than "ghost", more disturbing and subtle. Wraith, I think, is likewise better and--luckily for the wraith--for a slightly different reason.
A wraith sounds definitely evil while spectre just seems terrifying and unnatural. Anything called a "wraith" is definitely out to get you. Also, while "specter" summons a psychological horror a "wraith" is something with a spooky cloak. This is important because it would be beneath a spectre's dignity to go galavanting around slumming with skeletons and death knights and other corporeals in an undead army, whereas the wraith fits right in.
5 hours ago