Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Manticore

Every time I re-read the description of a Fantastic Beast and I see a phrase like ‘instant death’ I get nervous. Not because death is scary, but because a sudden demise in Dungeons & Dragons is a tricky thing.

There are ways to destroy a character in a single moment. A few spells end a life if they strip away all the hit points. Then there’s power word kill, a top-tier spell that puts your down instantly. Occasional adventures are set up as death traps, ‘meat-grinders’ that require the players to have a second character at the ready.

In a long term campaign, however, having a instant kill button can leave players feeling hard done by. All the hours of gaming, the levelling up, character development, just to be dropped with a single tail sting will definitely leave the people around the table wallowing in bemused disappointment.

So I’m playing fast-and-loose with instant death on this one. The Manticore I have created can kill you fast, and will ab-so-lute-ly murder your average NPC or 1st level characters in one hit, but I’ve decided to go with “instant death for anyone who is not a seasoned adventurer”.

Manticore (Mr Whiskers)

A 1st level character is going to have, at very best, 15 hit points. At level 2, anyone except a Barbarian is going to have less than 30hp. By comparison, a humble commoner has 4hp and the lord of the manor will have 9hp. So a single swipe from the Manticore is definitively deadly to the vast majority of the population.

Oh, and the reason for the name: that’s a nod to a little bit of lore involving a wizard that secretly kept a pet manticore until it became a horrendous problem. This was my way of distinguishing this stat block from the Manticore that already exists in D&D. They are both spelt the same way, so I can’t rely on the Chimera/Chimaera spelling distinction.

This monster is different enough from the original D&D manticore to make it interesting too. The Fantastic Beast version cannot fly, but is faster. The D&D manticore has bards on its tail that it can fling out as ranged weapons instead of a stinger. This new version is also more powerful.

This would definitely be a nice surprise for any seasoned players of D&D. Oh yes, I’ve fought Manticores before, nothing to worry about!

Thank You For Reading

The rest of the Fantastic Beasts line-up can be found here.

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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