The Volt

A Dungeons and Dragons Monster Review by Jonathan Wojcik

   This forgotten gem of first edition had a fun, simple concept with a strikingly weird design, resembling a bristly, floating, insectoid head with a whip-like tail. Biting onto its victim's neck, the Volt sucks blood like a gigantic lamprey while its electrified tail painfully whips the host, over and over, until they're dead. It's an almost hilariously excessive and horrible attack pattern. You just know the thing probably screams all the time, too. It looks like it does, anyway.

   The Fiend Folio was nice enough to include a second, far larger illustratio of the Volt in action. Look at this poor bastard, he is having an absolutely miserable time. That helmet has got to be pretty damn conductive.

   Strangely, the Volt would be printed a second time with the same exact description - tail, horns, bug-eyes, hairs and gaping maw - but a highly divergent illustration, as if the artist were only given the "round" and "electrical" part to work with. The description this time around also alludes to "mouth tendrils" with no further explanation, only stating the "mouth tendrils" inflict additional damage when the Volt feeds on "nervous energy" instead of blood. A lot of confusion over what was once a fairly straightforward creature, which is really a shame, because it could be why the poor little Volt stopped dead in its tracks at this point, never to rear its hairy, bug-eyed face...body...thing in another official D&D publication.

   The Volt would reappear in the third party Tome of Horrors, along with many other monsters I've reviewed, and far more faithful to its description. I think the hideous hairiness and gaping maw of the original is still the best, but I love this design regardless. That sad little vampie-mouth is just precious!



blog comments powered by Disqus