Long time Greyhawk fan and list-maker supreme, Jason Zavoda has posted an interesting new blog entry over at EN World. In it, he attempts to make a comprehensive list of races and creatures (from 1st edition sources) that have an average intelligence or better and/or a language of some sort (many are telepathic).
"Have some gold. Me no bite hard."
(rough Umber Hulk translation)
Some creatures that I've rarely used or even read about on this list surprise me with their level of intelligence. For example the Trapper (that monster that looks exactly like a dungeon floor) is "very" intelligent (11-12), but has no known language. It's perfectly camouflaged and it's smart as the average humanoid. Tricky! Then there is the classic Roper with "exceptional" intelligence (15-16) and its rocky cousin, the Storoper with it's mere "high" intelligence (13-14). These critters can mess up adventuring parties pretty good, but I wasn't aware they were that smart. While they also have no language mentioned, there has to be some sort of underdark-way of reasoning with these tunnel-bandits. Then there is the Crimson Death, an incorporeal undead cloud with a "genius" intelligence (17-18). I have used one of these before but never gathered that it was as crafty as your typical wizard or lich. What's more, there's a few languages on the list that I'm sure don't show up on many peoples' character sheets (except for druids perhaps), like Foo Creature, Carnivorian Apish, Hippocampian, and my favorite Moon Doggy.
It's a fun list and if Zavoda missed any smart critters from the old Monster Manuals let him know. Check it out.