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MC3 Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (2e)
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MC3 Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (2e)

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Creatures from the Time of Troubles are listed in Monstrous Compendium format and can be slotted into the AD&D Monstrous Compendium binder.

Product History

MC3: "Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix" (1989) is the third monster manual for AD&D 2e. It was published in November 1989.

About the Dividers. The "Forgotten Realms Appendix" contains four full-color dividers. They reprint the covers to the first four Forgotten Realms supplements, from FR1: "Waterdeep and the North" (1987) to FR4: "The Magister" (1988).

Origins (I): Binders of Monsters. The "Forgotten Realms Appendix" is the third booklet of looseleaf monsters for use with AD&D 2e (1989). It was the shortest to date, coming in at just 64 pages, but this would be a common size going forward. Like its predecessors, its pages were meant to be placed in the binder included with MC1: Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989).

The "Forgotten Realms Appendix" also marked a big difference for the content of the Monstrous Compendiums. It was the first monster book focused on creatures from a single setting. This would be how almost all future Monstrous Compendiums would be organized.

Origins (II): Realms Rising. The Forgotten Realms was less than three years old in late 1989, but the fact that it had earned the first setting monster book made obvious what most fans already knew: it had quickly become TSR's most important campaign world.

(The more interesting question would be: what setting would earn TSR's second campaign-specific monster book?)

What a Difference an Edition Makes: The Looseleaf Experiment Looking at the "Forgotten Realms Appendix", you can see how hard TSR was still working to make its double-sided looseleaf monster pages work, as the flipsides of pages were still carefully constrained by letter. However, the system was already starting to fail, just three volumes in: "Manticore/Medusa" from v1 did neatly go between Mammal and Merman/Mimic of v2, but it interwove with Maedar/Meazel from this volume. This sort of problem would just get worse over time.

Monsters of Note: Realms Monsters. So, what makes a Realms monster? According to this first "Forgotten Realms Appendix" the answer is "monsters created by Ed Greenwood". This cache of Greenwoodian beasties came from the time in the '80s when Ed Greenwood contributed extensively to Dragon magazine, eventually gaining the title of "contributing editor". Most of his monsters appeared in either "The Dragon's Bestiary", a long-running column that presented a few monsters every month, beginning with The Dragon #26 (June 1979), or the "Creature Catalog", a special feature that presented dozens of monsters each in Dragon #89 (September 1984), Dragon #94 (February 1985), and Dragon #101 (September 1985) — and which returned many years later, in the '00s.

Ed Greenwood's first monster, the curst, isn't here — though fans could already find it in FRE1: "Shadowdale" (1989). However the "Forgotten Realms Appendix" contains numerous other Greenwoodian monsters from Dragon, including the ascallion (scallion), the asperii (wind steed), the belabra, the bhaergala, the bichir, the burbur, the crawling claw, the firestar, the living web (duleep), the maedar, the rhaumbusun, the sull, the thessalmonster, the thylacine, and the vurgen.

It's interesting to note the Greenwoodian monsters from Dragon that didn't make the cut. Many would appear in other sources: the peltast and the weredragon in FA1: "Halls of the High King" (1990); the dark naga, the orpsu, and the tomb tapper in FR13: "Anauroch" (1991); the wingless wonder in Menzoberranzan (1992); and the calygraunt (feystag), the lythlyx, and the xaver in The Ruins of Myth Drannor (1993). Yet others would instead be found in MC11: "Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix" (1991) or in the later Monstrous Compendium Annuals (1994-1998). However many more would never again see the light of day, including the bohun tree, the dyll, the flailtail, the flamewing, the giant horseshoe crab, the killer beetle, the orgautha, the seastar, the sind, and the stroan.

What else makes a Realms monster? Other creatures found here were prominent in one of the Forgotten Realms early novels. The darkenbeast comes from the Moonshae novels (1987-1989) and the dracolich from Spellfire (1987). The beholder-kin weren't directly from a novel, but they fit with the focus on beholders in Ed Greenwood's underworld.

Monsters of Note: Non-Realms Monsters. Beyond that, the "Forgotten Realms Appendix" is a bit of a hodge-podge. Dinosaurs and pleistocene monsters are said to be related to Chult, while oriental dragons are said to be from Kara-Tur, but in truth they were monsters that had been obviously missing from the core set of Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) and Volume Two (1989).

Similarly, the berbalang, bunyip, firenewt, giant strider, meazel, revenant, and svirfneblin are all missing monsters from the Fiend Folio (1981) while the cloaker, the crimson death, the faerie dragon, the giant vulture, the thri-kreen, and the wemic are from Monster Manual II (1983). Some of these were bizarre additions to the Realms setting — as the svirfneblin had originated in Greyhawk and the bunyip (and thylacine) were from Australia.

Notably missing? Anything new. Every single monster in the "Forgotten Realms Appendix" is a reprint, showing that TSR was still working hard to get their old critters into print (even if they were plundering Dragon magazine as well).

About the Creators. Rather surprisingly, creator of the Realms Ed Greenwood isn't credited in the "Forgotten Realms Appendix" despite contributing over 15 monsters. Instead the designers are listed as William Connors, David Martin, Rick Swan, and Gary Thomas, along with editor Mike Breault.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

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Dave M November 27, 2020 2:16 pm UTC
Not the greatest quality scan but, at $2.99 in the Black Friday sale, I can live with that.
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Kevin M May 20, 2019 2:31 am UTC
I would really love to be able to get the MC series in PoD versions.
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