Why does Frank Mentzer hate the catoblepas?
Straightening some books, I randomly pulled the Master's Level Dungeon Masters' Book of the shelf, seemingly at random. I started flipping through the pages, came upon the monsters section, and then saw the "Nekrozon" (page 35, if you're keeping track). I skimmed the entry, noting that the nekrozon "resembles a huge buffalo with a long neck and a boar's head." It also has a death ray gaze attack. I thought "this sounds like a catoblepas"! Then I saw this sentence:
"Ancient lore calls this creature a 'catoblepas,' though this term is not in current use."
I found this very interesting, so I pulled out my AD&D 1st edition Monster Manual, where this thing sits on page 13:
The Masters' Set was published in 1985, whereas my Monster Manual was published in 1978.
I am not nearly as knowledgeable about the history of our hobby as many of you, but does anyone know why this monster was renamed for BXCM D&D? I suppose it could have been to further differentiate D&D from AD&D, repackaging the same monsters with different names.
For the record, I don't think I ever used or fought one of these things under any name in any D&D game. The instant death ray gaze just seemed too, well, mean.