Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Porlock

Another mini post today. Today we have a little, bipedal, goat-thing that protects wild horses. If your D&D game needs every Fantastic Beast in it, or you’re running a quest where the heroes have to wrangle horses, this is the critter for you. Otherwise… it’s kind of cute, I suppose?

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Pogrebin

There’s a creature in D&D called the ‘Intellect Devourer’. It’s essentially a big brain on legs. In terms of challenge levels, the Intellect Devourer is fairly flimsy on it’s own. Yet it also has an ability that causes permadeath.

The intellect devourer initiates an Intelligence contest with an incapacitated humanoid within 5 feet of it. If it wins the contest, the intellect devourer magically consumes the target’s brain, teleports into the target’s skull, and takes control of the target’s body.

Monster Manual

Usually when you’re knocked out in battle, you get to roll to avoid death, and if you fail, a healer might bring you back. The lowly Devourer eats your brain before any of that happens.

The Pogrebin has the same energy. A small critter that could easily be dispatched, but with a potentially character-ending ability. All it needs is a little time.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Plimpy

Some days it’s a majestic phoenix… some days it’s a fish with legs…

A fish that is mildly dangerous to snails and swimming costumes and not much else. A fish whose legs are its main mode of transportation and its greatest weakness. A fish that people would rather tie up and send down the river than catch and eat. It’s not quite flobberworm territory, but it’s bobbing pathetically alongside that line.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Occamy

As I turn each Fantastic Beast into a D&D monster, I keep bumping into differences between the brief description in the book and the extra pizzazz of the movie version.

The movie version of the Occamy has just one small/massive difference from the original description…

A creature that can change it’s size to ‘fit the available space’ is a whole mechanical conundrum in terms of creating a monster stat block.

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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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