Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Acromantula

Before going back into lockdown, I noticed that many young students were reading Harry Potter for the first time. It’s no surprise of course, but it was lovely to see a wave of new readers discovering the series. I seem to find myself revisiting the series too – I’m currently listening to Potterverse, and I often catch parts of the audiobooks my wife is re-listening to.

So when I was sorting through books and came across our copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I had an idea. I wondered what these creatures would look like if they were joined with another thing that takes up a lot of my imagination – Dungeons & Dragons.

So I’m going to make the D&D monster stats for the Fantastic Beasts. I’m definitely not the first person to think of it, but this is the first time I’ve thought of it, so here we are. The first beast in the book is a great and dangerous place to start – the Acromantula.

The Acromantula

The thing is, there are big spiders in D&D… but they’re not quite up to the task. Fantastic Beasts emphasises how dangerous this creature is to wizards. A group of Level 1 adventurers (wizards included) could deal with a normal giant spider quite easily.

The book also states that Acromantula grow until they have a fifteen foot leg span. This makes the Acromantula a bigger creature than the giant spider already present. When you take the stats of a large creature and make them huge, you’ve already got something tougher.

As well as beefing up the giant spider, I also added a few features based on what I know about these beasts. They are described as having pedipalps, front limbs that have evolve to grab prey and draw them in. If fighting a humongous arachnid wasn’t creepy enough, adding arms that seize you and draw you towards terrible fangs definitely gets us closer to true, primal fear.

I added some mental saving throws, and Magical Resistance, to match the stated difficulty in taming these monsters, and the Ambusher ability to make the sneaky Acromantula’s first strike all the more potent. Yet the most entertaining aspect, was boosting the spiders intelligence and adding a spoken language. These creatures are surprisingly intelligent, and can speak, luring their unsuspecting prey with human-like cries. Never mind that poisonous spike, being goaded by a huge spider definitely makes for a great encounter.

Thank You For Reading.

What do you think? Accurate to the series? Does this do Aragog justice? Next week, I’ll be working on the Ashwinder.

Written by Rufus Scott.

Author: Rufus Scott

I am a long term Gamer, a full-time History Teacher and a part-time geek. I enjoy writing about the positive aspects of gaming, especially when it comes to education. My posts are sometimes nostalgic, occasionally irrelevant, largely meant to provoke further discussion. I'll sometimes punctuate these whimsical ramblings with a random comment on gaming and/or teaching.

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