One downside of converting Harry Potter critters into D&D monsters is that sometimes you have to make a plainer version of something that is already in place. Trolls exist in Dungeons & Dragons, and they have a fun regenerative ability that makes them a dangerous for at lower levels, whilst also providing to fun moments for the uninitiated:
DM: what do you want to do on your turn?
Player: Wuh? The troll is dead. Why are we still in initiative?
DM: …no reason. Troll: [on the ground, about to regenerate] Tee-hee-hee.
At first glance, the Fantastic Beast troll is a much plainer creature. A big slab of dumb meat. It’s not going to be as fun to tinker with this stat block. However, the fact that they have “prodigious strength” means we have something to distinguish this new version.
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When I first started creating these stat blocks, I did become concerned that I was seeing a lot of very mundane creatures in a list of supposedly ‘fantastic’ beasts. I just had to remind myself that further down the line, there were some very dangerous monsters, including a bird that could summon storms.
And here we are.
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Footballs were made from pig bladder. Just consider that for a second. People in the medieval world butchered a pig, put the bladder to one side, and said to themselves “let’s stitch that up and fill it with air, I have a feeling we can have some fun with that later”.
It certainly puts the Snitch into perspective. Wizards had to invent a new enchanted ball because they were killing off too many of the tiny birds they were using in their flying broomstick game. It’s still really weird when you lay it out like that, but it shows you wizards and muggles are just as weird as one another.
Regardless, here’s a tiny Harry Potter-verse bird for your Dungeons & Dragons.
Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Snidget”
The Shrake is a magical creature made entirely out of spite. That’s not exactly what the book says, but it’s 100% accurate. Wizards brought this big fish into being because Muggle fisherman wronged them.
It was not because of some centuries-long, epic feud between wizard and non-wizard. A bunch of Muggle fisherman once made fun of a group of wizards at sea, and the wizards’ reaction was to create an entire species to ruin the livelihood of those fisherman.
…and presumably every fisherman who travelled those same waters.
…not to mention disrupting the economy of any coastal village the fishermen traded with.
…the local ecosystem was probably impacted too. All because a boat-full of wizards couldn’t take a joke.
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Turning a Fantastic Beast into an actual beast in Dungeons & Dragons is something you have to be wary of. This is something I’ve dwelled on in the past. A ‘beast’ in D&D is commonly a ‘real world’ sort of animal, or adjacent to a very normal, vanilla animal. So most Fantastic Beasts don’t fit that category. Some are more ‘fey’-like, some more fiendish, some are ‘monstrosities’. Dragons are, well, ‘dragons’.
The reason you have to be careful is that there are spells, abilities and moves that allow ‘beasts’ to be used by the players. Magical versions can be summoned, weak beasts can be familiars, druids can morph into them.
The sea serpent is one such Fantastic Beast that fits the ‘beast’ category, but is a very big addition, and pretty strong with it. Nevertheless, I kind of like this option being added to the selection. The number of sea beasts in D&D is on the more limited side, and it’s so strong that it actually avoids most opportunities to be used by the adventurers.
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Once again, I find myself with a Fantastic Beast that has a monster of the same name in D&D. As I convert these monsters, I usually have to work out how different these creatures are. If they are very similar, I have to focus in on how I can make the new stat block unique enough.
The Fantastic Beast Salamander however, is very different from its counterpart. They are both fire-based creatures, but that is where the likeness falls away.
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There are a few creatures with multiple heads in Dungeons & Dragons. The Ettin is a two headed giant. The Hydra usually starts with five heads and gets messier from there. Tiamat, an evil dragon goddess, also carries five heads.
The Runespoor is therefore not an impossible D&D monster, but the fact that the heads are so different requires some extra thought. The Ettin heads are often very different personalities but do not perform different functions that would effect their stats. The hydra heads all have a straightforward chomp. The Tiamat heads have unique breath weapons but, again, that’s where the complications end.
The Runespoor heads do very particular things, with a distinct personality. On top of that, Fantastic Beasts specifies that the creature often kills one of its own heads. This snake is an odd duck.
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So let’s see, what’s next? Ah, we have some sort of magical ox. That’s okay, I guess, they can’t all be interesting. Some Fantastic Beasts are quite plain, or cute little critters that won’t make very deadly D&D monsters. They can’t all be be party killers after all.
Does this ox have anything special going on? Oh, it’s gold and it’s blood is useful. Not really something that affects its monster stats. It’s also pretty big and strong? I could have some fun with that at least. I guess?
Lets just check the artwork for anything out of the ordinary…
…wait…how big is this thing?!
Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Re’em”
Some creatures are just angry. Most real world animals will defend themselves, or hunt and kill to survive, but there are those critters that wake up violent. Hippos, honey badgers, fire ants, they go out of their way to attack anything nearby, sometimes without apparent provocation. There’s something in their makeup that makes them mad.
The Redcap in D&D, and the Red Cap in Fantastic Beasts, are this kind of creature. Both versions are vicious to an extreme degree. The former grow from bloodstains in the Fey Realm, whilst the latter consciously choose to live in holes in old battlefields. There’s no rhyme or reason for it, the Red Cap is a bloody, barbaric beast.
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If you want to move something in Dungeons & Dragons, there’s rules for it. Whether you want to grab and shove someone around, shift heavy objects to and for, carry too much in your pack, the game has you covered. There are various magical means for moving things, though their are weight limits on these abilities. The point is, everything can be moved, one way or another.
Even the ‘Immovable Rod’ can be moved. It takes 4 tonnes of pressure to do so, but you can shift it, even if the names suggests otherwise.
I mention this, to emphasis how powerful the Ramora is. To simply ‘anchor’ a massive ship out at see, or steer that ship to safety, requires some serious physical or magical force.
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