I don't really do "retrospectives" (well, in some ways this whole blog is one big retrospective), but reading the ol' Frothy Friar got me remembering and thinking about the most irritating monsters of D&D...um, irritating from a "challenge" point of view not from a "this illustration annoys me" perspective. And I got to thinking of the water weird.
I don't know if there is a historical, folkloric, or fictional basis for this creature, or if it was just another "F You" kind of monster Gygax dreamed up. All I know is that in all my years of playing and DM'ing D&D I've used this monster maybe twice. Maybe.
I remember the damn thing being the cause of at least one TPK or very nearly. Most players simply aren't carrying a purify water spell in their repertoire (well, maybe folks that have been struck by the 'weird in the past). But drowning an entire party? Talk about going out like a chump, stuffed in the bottom of a fountain maybe two-three feet deep.
Heh. I see from the master monster list in Mentzer's Master set that a BECMI version of the water weird was presented in the module B7: Rahasia, but that's one of those I've never seen, even on the shelf. I have NOT added the 'weird to the monster list in my Companion project (no rot grub either). For all my musings over my past as a "killer DM" this is one monster that, even as a young 'un, I felt was a little unfair to include in the dungeon. Still, I would like to see how the Hickman's adapted the killer liquid pipe snake to the old BECMI rules.
Ha! There was a water weird in one of those old "Endless Quest" books, if I remember right...though I don't remember which one. Man...I wonder if I could still pick some of those up from a used bookstore.