Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Nundu

Finally. We’ve made it to the monster that started me on this little project.

When I read the brief description of the nundu, my instant though was: “I want this in my Dungeons & Dragons”. I’m sure other people have got here before me, but I need to make this one myself.

It’s that one line that makes this monster so compelling:

…it has never yet been subdued by fewer than a hundred skilled wizards working together.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

One. Hundred. Skilled. Wizards. The nundu is supposed to be one of the most dangerous things in the wizarding world, and if we use D&D monster challenge ratings correctly, this monster is going to be top tier in both fantasy realms.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Nogtail

In my opinion, pigs are cute. You might agree.

However, pigs with spindly legs are not as cute. You are free to disagree.

Demon pigs with gangly legs that sneak into farms and curse the land are not cute at all. That’s not really up for debate.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Merpeople

I’m adamant: I making every Fantastic Beast into a Dungeons & Dragons creature. Even if the differences between what I make and what was already there are negligible…

Merfolk already exist in D&D. This isn’t the first time where D&D clashes with the Potterverse; they are both pulling from mythology after all. Yet, this might be the most minor alteration I’ve made to date. Whilst some monsters have differed slightly – altered powers, swapped body parts, etc. – the D&D ‘Merfolk’ and the FB ‘Merpeople’ have more than a lot in common.

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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”.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Mackled Malaclaw

When bird poops on you, it’s good luck. If a cat crosses your path, that’s bad luck. Rabbits bring good or bad luck depending on where you grew up.

Most animals are burdened by a superstition. Even lobsters. Apparently eating them at New Years is unfortunate. Being bitten by one, however, brings neither goods luck nor bad. Though I suppose if you are being bitten by a lobster you’re unlucky enough already.

In the Harry Potter universe, a bite from the lobster-like beast known as the Mackled Malaclaw, brings lots of bad luck. For an entire week.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Lethifold

Happy New Year! What better way to start 2022 than with a new monster stat block? And what better beast than one that glides over you in your sleep and completely digests you leaving no trace whatsoever?

Happy days indeed.

There’s something very unnerving about the word ‘envelope’, when a monster is concerned. A horrific entity can gnash and howl and screech and claw at you, but a creature that silently sidles up and ‘envelopes’ you tends to trigger a quiet, primal fear response. The Lethifold isn’t a showboat. It just wants to quietly hug you to death. No need to scream, no one can hear you…

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At the End of a Campaign

Not every adventure gets to have an ending, happy or otherwise. Whether you play Dungeons & Dragons, or other table top games, you will seen at least one game fizzle out before the curtain call.

Grown up responsibilities and ‘scheduling conflicts’ can cause a campaign to stall to the point that it’s not worth picking up again. Games Masters and players can get restless for a new style of game or a new character. In some cases, a game can actually go so well that the players don’t want it to end, and the host spins the adventure on indefinitely.

Though we may never reach it (or not want it to end), a great story needs an ending. Fantasy tales are often made or broken by how they sign off – how fondly we remember the adventure can be determined by its finale.

So I was in a great mood recently, when a D&D campaign I had been playing for over a year came to a close in a satisfying, bitter-sweet way. So great a mood, that I decided to write an epilogue. I wanted to encapsulate the moment, and also show my Dungeon Master how much I had appreciated the story.

I was quite pleased with the end result, and I thought I would share it. You are obviously missing a lot of context if you read this, but this is for anyone that enjoys the end of a well-travelled adventure.

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Gaming in Ruins

I should be the sort of person that enjoys a lot of lore in my video games. I’m a historian, a history teacher, and a big rpg fan in general. And yet, I’m increasingly aware that the games I enjoy most are the ones where the civilisation, culture and the history of the world is buried. Quite literally buried, in many cases.

I’m very late to the Zelda: Breath of the Wild party. I’m having an absolute blast, not least because of the world aesthetic. The entire premise of a kingdom fallen 100 years ago, exploring it’s ruins, is something I seem to especially enjoy. And this isn’t the first time.

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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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