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.
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”.
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.
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…
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.