Prescription Drug or Classic D&D Monster? Take the Quiz

Say you’re suffering from high cholesterol. To cure what ails you, do you pop a mevacor or morkoth?

Better pick mevacor, which has been proven to reduce the amount of cholesterol and other fatty substances in your blood. The morkoth, on the other hand, resembles a fish with an octopus’s beak. According to the Monster Manual, “of all the creatures that inhabit the deep, only the kraken exceeds the morkoth in malice and cruelty.” It probably doesn’t care about your good or bad cholesterol. Only that you have dead cholesterol.

Or this: Venturing deep into some imaginary dungeon, you enter a dank chamber, only to be ambushed by a slithering and snarling remorhaz. Or, wait a second, maybe that’s a rhinocort aqua about to impale you with its stinger or crush you with its jaws of death. Or maybe you need to pop a few of both before you do battle. A little shot of courage, right?

It can be confusing.

The names of the most fearsome monsters from classic Dungeons & Dragons can sound an awful lot like prescription drugs used to treat foot fungus or gastroesophageal reflux disease. I’m not talking standard fantasy creatures like orcs, goblins, nymphs, gnomes and trolls. I mean the more outlandish and esoteric ones. Consider the words “peryton” and “prometrium.” One is a creature combining the body of a giant eagle and the head of a stag; the others is used as hormone replacement therapy in women who have passed menopause.

Or think of the Efreet (an unpredictable, supernatural creature with a fiery form) taking a daily dose of 500 milligrams of Eskalith (a kind of lithium used to treat and prevent episodes of mania) to increase its its dexterity and intelligence and focus and make it a more fearsome and chemically balanced foe.

The similarities of nomenclature kinda makes you wonder if the folks at TSR (the company that made D&D) back in the 1970s and 1980s were secretly moonlighting as drug reps for the major pharmaceutical companies.

Certainly, once they exhausted names from western and eastern folklore and mythology, and borrowed heavily from Middle-earth, monster-makers began casting about for combinations of word parts that sounded cool ‘n’ nasty. Kinda like when a drug company (or automobile company) has to come up with name for its new products.

So let’s take a quiz, shall we? Your job is to decide which of the below is some savage and evil foe, and which is an instrument of pharmacological good (at least according to the FDA). When you’re done, check your answers at the bottom, and rate yourself on the D&D Nerd — Beholden to the Pharmaceutical Industry continuum.
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