Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Salamander

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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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Runespoor

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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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Re’em

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?!

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Red Cap 

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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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Phoenix

A phoenix from the Potterverse feels like the perfect pet for those people that practice ‘one-upmanship’. Those sort of people that always have a more impressive anecdote locked and loaded as soon as your story is finished. Or those children that make up new rules for games on the fly so they don’t lose.

Your dog is very cute, but my bird can heal me when it cries. And its singing is magical. Aaand it’s super strong. Aaand

Dungeons & Dragons already has a phoenix. It’s a gigantic elemental, always on fire and (presumably) always angry. Just a mass of fiery feathers. Nothing like the little, Deus Ex Machina that is Fawkes. Though the Potterverse Phoenix lacks the scale of their counterpart, it has a colourful array of abilities to aid the adventuring wizards out there.

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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: 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: Lethifold

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…

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At the End of a Campaign

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.

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