Maelephant vs Malfera

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Havard
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Maelephant vs Malfera

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:23 pm

The Malfera first appeared in BECMI and later in the 2nd Ed Savage Coast Monstrous Compendium Appendix.

The Maelephant appears in Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix AD&D 2nd Edition and Fiend Folio 3.5.

Are they the same creature?

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Edit: Fixed a couple of the listings. Thanks Ripvanwormer! :)

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Re: Maelephant vs Malfera

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:07 pm

The malfera was introduced in X5 Temple of Death by David Cook, and also appeared in the Companion Rules. It's described as having "a large, elephant-like face and a short trunk. The head is topped by large horns. Large fangs protrude from either side of the trunk. The chest is a mass of slimy, short tentacles. Long, muscular arms end in large, jagged pincers. Its feet are webbed and clawed. It is colored night-black but has red veins and eyes."

In combat, a malfera "attacks with pincers and bites. If both hit the same target, the victim is dragged to the chest of the malfera on the next round. The tentacles then automatically trap the victim. These tentacles are coated with an acid slime and do 2-12 points of damage each round. The victim may be freed only when the malfera is killed."

The maelephant was first introduced in the 2nd edition Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix by J. Paul LaFountain (possibly a pen name), which described them as "large, roughly bipedal creatures with huge, pachyderm heads. Their trunks end in a vicious barb used in combat. The maelephant's appearance is at once terrifying and fascinating."

In combat, a maelephant attacks "with their powerful claws and their wicked trunk-spike. The claws inflict 1-6 points of damage per hit. They may also attack with their cruel trunk-spike that causes 2-12 points of damage per hit. If both claw attacks hit in the same round, the opponent is held fast. When held fast, the victim will suffer 1-3 points of crushing damage per round and subsequent spike attacks will automatically hit. If the victim can make a successful strength check with a -10 penalty, or if greater than 12 points of damage is inflicted on the maelephant, the victim breaks free."

The malfera's pincer-grab isn't exactly the same as the maelephant's claw-grab, but they're obviously very similar ideas. Both the malfera's tentacles and the maelephant's trunk-spike do 2-12 points of damage.

Both the malfera and the maelephant also have a breath weapon of sorts. The malfera, we're told, has poison breath. "Each time it hits with a bite, its victim must save vs. Poison (at +3) or die." As for the maelephant, three times per day it can breath a noxious cloud of vapor that, on an unsuccessful save versus poison, causes complete memory loss.

The malfera isn't mentioned in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, but the entry for the diabolus mentions that creatures found on the Demiplane of Nightmares include brain collectors, feyrs, nagpas, and maelephants, which does suggest this book is using maelephants as a replacement for or stand-in for malferas.

The malfera is also found in the Savage Coast Monstrous Compendium Appendix.
Last edited by ripvanwormer on Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Maelephant vs Malfera

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:58 pm

Thanks for explaining Ripvanwormer! I was sort of hoping you would shed some light on this one. Thanks for correcting me about the Savage Coast Monstrous Compendium Appendix being where the AD&D version of the Malfera showed up. I just posted that on Facebook right before making this post, but somehow I got them mixed up when I got back here.

The two creatures are definitely different enough not to be rolled into one creature. Maelephants are also described as Lawful Neutral (evil), while Malferas are Chaotic Evil.

Both creatures are linked to the Demiplane of Nightmares (Savage Coast Monstrous Compendium Appendix actually referred to the Dimension of Nightmares to my surprise), so I guess they could be related creatures?

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Re: Maelephant vs Malfera

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:31 am

I say they're both distantly related to Heffalumps, myself. :D
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