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…
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.
Of all the vague summaries in Fantastic Beasts, the line “leprechauns produce a realistic gold-like substance” is one of the more troubling. There’s no mention of whether this production is biological or magical, and I’m not entirely happy with either. If it’s the latter, than leprechauns have an arcane ability that specifically trolls people looking for gold.
If it’s the former, then these little scamps are secreting gold from somewhere… and that creates so many other questions.
Last time it was a hedgehog-beast. This time we have a cat-beast. Definitely a low point on this fantastical rollercoaster, but don’t worry. This lion-tailed, super smart cat has got some useful tricks hiding away. This wouldn’t make much of a combat encounter, but the kneazle would make a great pet or wizard familiar.
Want a huge shapeshifting water demon in your Dungeons & Dragons?
I’m enjoying making each one of these monsters. Even the mundane critters. But every so often, Fantastic Beasts throws out a big, complicated monster that I have to unpack. Part of the challenge with the Kelpie is that it’s linked to another beast further into the book that I haven’t made yet.
Between the ability to turn into the Loch Ness Monster, and the way it drowns and eat people with relative ease, the Kelpie needs to feel a little dangerous.
Combat in Dungeons & Dragons is a lot of fun, but some of the best encounters I have experienced are actually very short. This can be down to player ingenuity; a clever use of a spell or a moment of tactical genius undoes the best laid plans of the big bad. It can also be down to the DM offering a simple solution to the encounter. If the players have been paying attention, they will solve the problem before it gets out of hand.
This is the kind of encounter I’d expect for the Kappa. An inherently creepy beast that could prove deadly for the less alert adventurers, that can be very easily defeated by the more knowledgeable explorers.
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.