D2: Shrine of the Kuo-Toa (1978)

Like D1, I’ve not read D2: Shrine of the Kuo-Toa because I’d rather play it. That said, some observations on flipping through.

First, I love that Dave Sutherland depicts the Kuo-Toa as men not so much with fish heads, but rather with fish for heads. I can easily picture one of them getting decapitated and the head just swimming off as if nothing had happened. This is their first appearance and seems to be essentially a fishy version of orcs here rather than the creepier, Lovecraftian versions present in later editions.

Second, Sverfneblin, or deep gnomes, also make their first appearance here. I don’t have much to say about them other than that in my gaming group, deep gnomes were a close second behind drow as the race new players wanted to play.

The illustrations seem to underscore the natural conflicts between the Underdark inhabitants and the prominent use of the Kuo-Toa makes me think that the D-Series is a strong inspiration for the (brilliant) campaign box Night Below that would come out some 17 years later.

Next week, I’ll be continuing with the D-Series, the Demonweb Pits and the series reprints. If this doesn’t inspire Hambone to dust off his DM’s guide, I don’t know what will.

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