Wednesday 1 November 2017

The first Monster Man contest!

Important update: The contest submission deadline has been extended to Thursday 30 November!

Monsters are great. Making monsters is doubly great. Making monsters while saving money is triply great. And making monsters, saving money and winning fabulous prizes? Has such felicity existed before now?

The first Monster Man contest celebrates the spirit of creative improvisation and adaptation that is such an important part of role-playing games. It's something I've talked about on previous episodes of the Monster Man podcast (, and now it's time to put it into practice!

Here's how it works:

1. Find a cheap toy

When Gary Gygax needed inspiration for a new monster, he turned to the cheap plastic toys he could find in any dime store. The Bulette, Rust Monster, and Owlbear all come from these little monster models.

So head down to the pound shop (or dollar store, or flea market, or dusty corner of the attic, or wherever) and get yourself some cheap toys. These are going to be the starting point for your monster.

Update: Rules questions!

The question I get asked the most is: but what if I can't find the actual toy I want to use? Look, I'm not out here trying to limit people's creativity. I'm out here trying to encourage people's creativity. If you have a photo of the toy you want to use and it is not an actual toy you have in your possession, I mean, whatever. Or if, like one entrant, you want to just make a monster out of Play-Doh and wire, you know, that's fine too. Inspiration is where you find it. "Miniatures from everyday objects" is the main theme here.

If you do use someone else's photo, though, please credit it if possible.

2. Let your imagination work

Use the toy as inspiration to create a cool monster. You can modify the toy if you like, but this isn't a conversion contest: you won't be graded on modelling skill. Expert sculpting isn't any better than sticking on a new head with hot glue, adding evil eyes with nail polish, or making spikes out of toothpicks.

3. Write up your monster

Create a Monster-Manual-style entry for your creature. It should have a description of the thing's habitat, behaviour, and so on. You should also create stats for the monster in your favourite game. It doesn't have to be AD&D -- that's the game the podcast is about, but part of the point of the show is that the Monster Manual is inspirational and informative for any gamer. A photograph of the original toy would also be great to include!

4. Submit your entry

If you have a blog or website, put your entry up there and send in a link via email, Twitter or what have you. Otherwise, email me the writeup and I'll post it here. I'm @gonzohistory on Twitter and my email address is the same thing at gmail. You have until 30 November to submit your entry!

5. Vote for the finalists!

Check out the contest entries and leave a comment or send an email or tweet telling me your two favourites, in no particular order.

6. Finalists go to the judges

I and my team of volunteers will total up the scores, identify the 8 finalists, anonymise them and send them to the judges. Our judges will select winners for 1st through 3rd place.

7. Win fabulous prizes!

Every finalist will receive a finalist's goodie bag including a PDF scenario from Chaotic Henchmen Productions plus a bunch of other fun stuff (watch this space for further prize announcements).

The third-place winner will receive a print scenario from Chaotic Henchmen (or a selection of PDF scenarios if that's their preference), plus a £10 gift certificate from Otherworld Miniatures.

The second-place winner will receive a print scenario from Chaotic Henchmen (or PDFs as above), plus a copy of the Secrets of Shandisholm core rulebook and Barrow Ring Burning supplement from Oakbound Studios and a £20 gift certificate from Otherworld Miniatures.

And the grand prize winner will receive a print scenario from Chaotic Henchmen, a print copy of Goblin Quest by Grant Howitt, and a £30 Otherworld Miniatures gift certificate. The winner will also have their creation sculpted by Geoff Solomon-Sims of Oakbound Studios!

Do you make games or game-related products? Would you like to support the creativity of Monster Man's listeners? Get in touch! You can email me at or send me a message on Twitter @gonzohistory .

This contest is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors:

Chaotic Henchmen Productions

Oakbound Studios

Otherworld Miniatures

Grant Howitt

Listen to Monster Man for announcements, future contests, and more fun stuff:


  1. Here is a monster I did for the contest, located on this Dragonsfoot thread (the first one). I think it's easier to post a few of them together here, than scattered all over the Internet.

  2. If you've created something for the Monster Man contest, for a $5 donation to Extra Life Team NEG (, we'll work your creation into our 24-hour game-a-thon. Drop in and watch the game at starting 11/17 at 6 PM EST. Make a donation. Send us the write-up of your beast and watch the hapless PCs fight The Toy From the Deep, or whatever you send. Also, win fabulous gaming prizes from our many sponsors. All funds go to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Donate Money--Win Prizes--Help Children.

  3. Properly excited by this letting us be a bit off-the-wall and deliberately thrifty. Looking forward to seeing what entry I can scrounge together.

    1. Glad to hear it -- I look forward to seeing your entry!

  4. ok, finally finished my entry !


  6. And I'm finished!

    1. That is such a great idea having them only able to hunt where their prehistoric waterways were... this should have won!

  7. Okay, good...looks like I'm not the only one who waited until the last minute...! :)

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