Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Ropers

The roper is a classic D&D monsters that comes from the earliest incarnations of the game. It sits motionless, pretending to be a stalactite until an unsuspecting adventurer passes by, whereupon it attacks with its six tentacles.

The cover of the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual, and some early art shows the roper with two eyes, and the ability to cling to cave ceilings like a stalactite.

I'm sure that many DMs who noticed this eventually made some sort of connection between ropers and piercers, but it wasn't until 5th edition that piercers officially became juvenile ropers.

Another version of the roper was the storoper, which is described as looking like a small (5' tall) statue of a roper.

As far as miniatures go, the old Grenadier roper from the Dwellers Below box set was pretty spot on for a 1/72 roper in size, and resembled the description in the Monster Manual pretty well. I kind of wish that I hadn't traded the one I owned away, but oh well.

The first two miniatures I have are the Reaper Stone Lurker (Bones 77227; Dark Heaven Legends 03602) and a Grenadier Stone Tangler (Monster Manuscript Vol.IX 1509, MM79). The Stone Lurker is supposed to come with six tentacles (not attached for this picture), but I only received five with the figure. The Stone Tangler is a two-eyed roper, but unlike the early D&D ropers, the eyes are on stalks.

Both of these miniatures are larger than the stated size of a roper, but I don't see any reason why there can't be giant ropers.

I particularly like the tentacles of the stone tangler. I always thought that the generic tentacle used for the roper didn't really mesh with its appearance.

Another good source of ropers is Midlam Miniatures, who produce a whole line of creatures called Stalagbites.

Stalagbites do not have any tentacles, but I plan to drill holes in the figures so that they can be fitted with tentacles from the Reaper roper (hopefully Reaper will re-implement their Boneyard service in the near future so I can order up a bunch of these).

Roody, Bitey, Irky, and Lurky

Devilly, Wonky, Shelly, and Sleepy

Noody, Slurpy, Gnawy, and Chompy

Sneaky, Blanky, Skanky, and Spiky

The stalagbites average about 40mm in height, which makes them just a bit over 9' tall in 1/72 scale. Each figure is full of character, and getting them all has pretty much filled my quota of ropers and then some.


1Mac said...

Nice review of the stalagbites. A little pricey for my tastes, but full of character as you say. You could always use florists wire for the tentacles.

EY said...

Great idea using wire for tentacles. The florist wire that I've seen seems a bit thin for tentacles, but some of the thicker twist ties are actually very close in diameter to the Reaper tentacles. It allows them to be flexible as well.

Red_Cardinal said...

Aww, the Stone Tangler is so goofily adorable with those googly eyes and grin. Not terribly scary as a monster though :)

EY said...

The eyes and tentacles do seem to make the stone tangler look a bit like a relative of the flumph, but I have to admit that I like goofy monsters.

Greg Johnston said...

And in their most clever ability to fool adventurers, a few of these creatures had the ability to assume the form of an obnoxious human couple who were land-lords. http://www.episodeguide.us/episodeimages/the-ropers.jpg

EY said...

Be careful Greg, revealing secret knowledge like that can give away your age ;)

Someone made a funny picture that merged the Sutherland roper and Norman Fell.

The idea is very intriguing though. It reminded me of an adventure seed I saw on someone's blog that involved piercers who had become sentient and started to take on human-like form. Unfortunately I can't seem to find it any more.

Greg Gillespie said...

The stalagbites are first rate. I considered putting arms on mine but they are just fine as is.

EY said...

Hi Greg G.,

I agree the tentacle-less look is just fine, but I'm still toying with the idea.

For my Reaper mini I will definitely install some square brass tube as sockets so that I can have removable tentacles. I'll see how well they work out before deciding on the stalagbites.