From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, the Minotaur thanks its origins to Greek Mythology. A horrible, ruthless villain it thought nothing less than to taunt and destroy heroes.
” … typically found only in labyrinthine places in the wilderness or underground.”
The Green Slime
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, the Green Slime was an underground hazard, that made misery of heroes venturing underground for treasure. It was the D&D version of toxic waste, just not as healthy.
“Green slime will attach itself to living flesh … [turning] the creature into green slime …”
The Rust Monster
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, the Rust Monster was a challenging and an unfair creature to “bump into ” underground.
“… they will go after ferrous metal in preference to copper, silver, etc.”
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, the Rakshasa was one of the most terrifying, evil man-eating creatures. Disguising itself as civilized, it was fond of human meat!
“Known first in India, these evil spirits encased in flesh are spreading …”
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, a popular undead encounter was the Skeleton. Animated by evil magic-users and clerics it was a common challenge to low-level heroes.
“[Skeletons] are found only in burial places or dungeons and similar forsaken places.”
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, a commonly encountered creature was the Kobold. They were small, yipping monsters often grouping in large numbers.
“Kobolds hate most other life, delighting in killing and torture.”
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, meeting an Ogre was a rite of passage for many low level heroes.
“[Ogres] are ugly-tempered and voracious.”
The Thought Eater
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, the Thought Eater was a ridiculous creature of unknown inspiration.
“… dwellers in the ether … appears to be something like an enormous headed platypus”
Invisible in the physical plane, it was only seen and observed with psionic powers. (With every gift comes a price, I guess) If you happen to visit the Ethereal plane, the Thought Eater may pay a visit to eat your brains, figuratively, feeding off your thoughts and intelligence. As described in the manual, it may render you “a low-grade moron” permanently.
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, we celebrate news from North Korea discovering the “lair of the unicorn rode by King Tongmyong”. For decades we foolishly kept the Ki-rin (or sometimes spelled Qilin), out from the history books.
“Ki-rin are a race of aerial creatures whose hooves rarely touch the earth, for they dwell amid the clouds and behind the winds.”
From Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual I, the Halfling was adopted from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Hobbits”. The Lord of the Rings inspired humanoid was described in the manual as revered in the Lord of the Rings films.
“Halflings are basically hardworking, orderly, and peaceful citizens …”
The adventures I mastered were never a “Rings” universe. Partly because I never read a Tolkien novel and it would be nearly another 30 years before the films. Therefore, the Halfling made rare appearances. Not they weren’t up to size of a great story, they were simply never popular. No one wanted to play a Hobbit. Not even fans of the book.