Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Bowtruckle

A bonus post for this week. I was planning to convert one Fantastic Beast into a D&D monster every week, but the Bowtruckle was an easy construction. A cute creature that has a great deal of charm in the movies, but its essentially a magical stick insect with slightly sharped claws:

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Billywig

At first I thought the Billywig was going to take two minutes to turn into a D&D monster. It certainly looks weird – essentially a chubby mosquito with helicopter wings on the top of its head – but I thought it would just be a simple stat block for a tiny insect.

Then I had a proper read of what that sting does:

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I Miss Dead Space

I’m pretty fickle when it comes to horror. I’ll happily skip most scary movies, but ever now and then I hit on one that I really enjoy, but it won’t convince me to get more into the genre. When it comes to role-playing games, the horror centric stuff is interesting but only in short bursts. My fondness for horror in video games is even more fleeting.

I like scary stories, but I’m just not fussed about spooky games with limited agency. Most horror games put you in a scenario where you feel helpless, which is what enhances the scariness, but they also often strip you of any self defence. You can walk around the map, and when the monster comes you can hide, but you can’t kick or struggle when it gets you. You can take pictures or scoop up documents, but don’t even think about picking up any sharp or heavy to fight the bogeyman off.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Basilisk

This one’s a tricky monster. For one thing, the Basilisk appears in D&D already. In that case, it’s a many-legged, angry-looking reptile. Imagine a blue Komodo Dragon with extra legs and spikes and the ability to turn those that look their way to stone.

The second issue is that the Fantastic Beasts Basilisk is a tough little gigantic monster. Harry Potter obviously has the ultimate plot armour when he goes up against the big snake in the basement, but oh boy, was he stupidly lucky. A stare that kills instantly, venom that kills in minutes, and scales that reflect spells…

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Augurey

Beast number three is an easy one. The Augurey is essentially an emaciated, noisy vulture and there’s already monster stats for Vultures in the Monster Manual. It does have a couple of neat features though. Well, I say neat, it has some slightly impressive abilities that are worth adding to its stats.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Ashwinder

Not everything in D&D – or Harry Potter, for that matter – is designed to kill the characters. There’s a creature called an Almiraj, which is basically a rabbit with a unicorn horn. There’s also this thing called a Flumph, a curious little floating aberration with the threat level of mouldy marshmallow. There’s also Awakened Shrubs… which are shrubs that are smart enough to talk… because sometimes you want your players to fight a dragon and sometimes you want them to have an awkward conversation with a bush.

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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.

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I’m not ready for Link’s Awakening

The very first console I owned was a Game Boy Color. The very first game I owned on the Game Boy was The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. This was the first game I ever properly completed.

The idea of replaying an old game should be a happy thought. The idea of playing a remake of that game, even more so. Yet, as I stare at the remodelled Link’s Awakening in the Nintendo Shop on my Switch, I find myself feeling more trepidation than joy.

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Animal Crossing, My First Family Game

For the last few years, I keep putting aside some money to (maybe) buy a Nintendo Switch, only to talk myself out of it for ‘grown-up’ reasons. You know the kind: do I really need it? I should use the money on something more productive… and so on.

Knowing I would do the same thing this year, my amazing wife stepped in and bought me the Switch for Xmas. Specifically, the Animal Crossing edition. Her intention, of course, was for me to play it. What she didn’t realise was that Animal Crossing: New Horizons would be the first game that our little family would enjoy together – me, her and our little 1 year old. It’s turned out to be our first family video game.

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Which Games Would Benefit from a Zelda Weapon?

I’m one of those gamers that can’t possibly take on the final boss if there is still a collectible out there. Each Zelda series has always been full of items and weapons, but when playing Link Between Worlds it really strikes me just how much item variety there is.

This thought then manifested: why do Legend of Zelda games get so many tools and weapons, but other game characters are restricted to a pile of slightly different guns. Could a game or franchise be vastly improved by borrowing an item from Link?

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Call of Duty found the Power Glove!

I’m of the opinion that the ‘realistic’ shooter is overrated. After all, Call of Duty: Ghosts includes an orbital space station, a guerrilla team with more high-end tech than the crew of the enterprise, and dogs with the fighting prowess of Rambo. I think Link’s Power Glove would fit in nicely.

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