Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Horned Serpent

Word of the day: ophidiophobia – fear of snakes

Arachnapobia is the one irrational fear we’ve all heard of, but lots of people are afraid of snakes. I suppose that’s down to the likelihood of each phobia popping up. In the UK, you are much more likely to meet an itty-bitty spider than you are to have any interaction with a snake.

I have one Dungeon & Dragons group that have never encountered a spider, monstrous or otherwise because of one friend’s intense phobia. And it’s a good rule to have – D&D has a some alarming arachnids with extra powers. Not content with ‘giant spiders’, the Monster Manual also includes stats for a ‘phase spider’. These monstrosities can shift in and out of the current plane of existence, reappearing wherever they feel like.

I mention this, because the Horned Serpent taps into the same mentality: take a creature people have a primal reaction to, and give it magical powers.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Horklump

When is a mushroom not a mushroom?

It looks like a mushroom, smells like a mushroom, lives it’s life in the way that a mushroom does. But uproot this super-rapid breeder and you’ll see tentacles, not roots. Oh yes, this mushroom is actually an animal that barely does anything. That’s cool I guess.

Doesn’t really do much for us in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, but hey, we’re making them all.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Hodag

You can convince Muggles of a lot, huh?

Specifically, you can tell normal people that the frog-monster eating all the cattle is only a hoax, and that’s apparently enough for everyone. Fantastic Beasts doesn’t really hint at whether memory charms are used to hide the existence of Hodag, so I’m guessing people think a wild animal ate all the calves? That farm went out of business and they never found what ate only the baby animals but that’s a hoax, I guess?

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Hippocampus

Some mythical beasts make sense to us, even if they don’t actually, logically or physically work. Many of these beasts are well liked, even thought of as pretty, majestic or cool. Most people would agree that a Pegasus is a fun beast.

“What’s better than a horse?” they say. “How about a horse with wings?” Everyone cheers.

But then there’s those less-well known beasts that are just less fun, less aesthetically pleasing…

“What about a horse that’s also a fish?” a lone voice calls out from the back. The room goes very quiet.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Hidebehind

I’ve made monsters from scratch. I’ve taken the existing D&D monster and given it a Fantastic Beasts tweak. This is the first time I’ve taken two homebrewed characters and smushed them together. But it makes sense for a Hidebehind. That’s pretty much how the species got started.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Grindylow

If there’s one clear distinction between the Potterverse and the real world, it’s the absence of health and safety. Yes I know, there are some other minor differences but the main contrast is the clear lack of any safeguarding of anyone’s rights to keep all their limbs.

So of course, the lake around Hogwards is filled with monsters. And of course, they send the youngest students across those waters every year. Neither are there any signs, notices or barriers preventing people from taking a dip.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Griffin & Hippogriff

It’s a two-for-one today.

Neither of these beasts really needs their own blogpost. I could push and pull and statistics about, but they are mechanically very similar creatures. Moreover, these are another pair of beasts that already exist in the D&D Monster Manual, and there’s not enough in Fantastic Beasts to really cause either creature to stand out as particularly different to the original.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Graphorn

Now this is more like it.

The last few beasts I’ve given the D&D treatment to have been a little wimpy – pet ghouls, tiny glumbumbles and irritating gnomes – which are good for a low-level encounter or to add as a little curiosity. But I really wanted to get back to the beasts that are fantastically dangerous. Along comes the super-angry Graphorn, and I’m a happy gent.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Gnome

This is the oddest beasts I’ve tackled so far. There’s plenty of Fantastic Beasts and Dungeons & Dragons monsters that have the same name/origins. So far, they’ve been different enough to make the creation of their game stats interesting.

A Gnome is not a beast or monster in D&D though. No, a Gnome is a playable race, with their own history, culture and intelligence.

Suggesting that a D&D Gnome was a small pest that infests gardens, steals vegetables and occasionally bites ankles would be extremely racist.

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