I was recently looking at a friends Lego Harry Potter set when I observed the Lego Thestral and thought: “Have I missed a monster? I’m half a dozen Fantastic Beasts from completely D&D-ifying the whole book, but I don’t remember seeing the Thestral in it.”
The reason turned out to be that Thestral are a type of Winged Horse, and are mentioned in a single half-sentence. Which is an odd way round in my opinion; in a world of griffons and hippogriffs and dragons and pixies, choosing to define a creatures by the fact that they can fly and not by its ability to be invisible to anyone who has not had a specific trauma is more than slightly odd.
What this does also mean, as I round on the penultimate entry in Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, that I actually need to create three different stat Blocks for the Winged Horse.
Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Winged Horse”
I knew, going into the creation of my ‘megadungeon’, that the first layer would have areas that were sealed off. I didn’t actually know why they were cordoned off, but I had a vague image of a clan living in the rear of the dungeon, cut off from several rooms because of prior events. This was because ‘Cut’ was my week 1 prompt, and I liked the idea of a dungeon clan that could be befriended if these areas were cleared of their dangers.
Last week, I built up one sealed off area based around the ‘idol’ prompt and the residential sector rend asunder by the former android guards. This week, I knew I wanted to make a laboratory sector, with the ‘mask’ prompt, but I couldn’t decide what was the cause of the abandonment of this zone. So I asked the lovely people on Mastodon to help me decide:
So this week starts out with a lab containing a monster grown from a failed experiment, with ‘mask’ as the key word. The week ended with me moving on to the rooms where the party can first interact with the clan that lives in the rooms not currently infested with monstrous plants.
Continue reading “Dungeon23 – Week 3”
One of the options for this lengthy creative project is to turn to random tables and generators for inspiration for what can be found in each room. I haven’t needed to do this (yet) because I have a reasonable grasp of what I want to do on this month’s layer. Yet, the original post about Dungeon23 came with a list of key-word prompts, and I’m inclined to use them. Not so much to inspire me when I’m stuck, but to see if I can add a twist to the idea I already have.
In week 1, the prompt picked for me from the list (my wife picked a number from 1 to 52) was ‘cut’. So some of the first seven rooms have doorways cut off from fallen debris, and there are strange lazer burns in the floor and ceiling that all suggest a great battle once surged on the land above , adding a layer of intrigued to the dungeon I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
In week 2, my random prompt was ‘idol’…
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Finally, with just four beasts left in the book, I’ve finally hit a monster that has an ability that stumped me. Two words in the description had me scratching my head, trying to figure out how that could possible work on a mechanical level:
I googled how fast medieval arrows could travel. Opinions were varied, but 150 to 180 feet-per-second was a good average. A creature’s turn is six seconds. That would put the Wampus Cat’s base speed as ‘1080 ft.’. The fastest speed I’m aware of in any D&D monster stat block is 150 feet, and that’s rare. Most characters move at 30 feet around.
A monster that can move over 30 times faster that the average hero is problematic. I think I found a solution that sort-of works…
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Last week I converted Harry Potter trolls into D&D monsters. They have their merits, but they lack some of the cool abilities of what is already in place. I’ve got to do the same this week. The unicorn in Fantastic Beasts is elusive and mysterious, but the description lacks the plethora of abilities the D&D unicorn is decked out with.
Teleportation, spellcasting, healing abilities… the D&D version is ready for anything. It evens has ‘legendary actions’, a thing usually reserved for creatures 2 or 3 times for powerful.
So this creature I’m about to make is going to have nothing on its D&D counterpart, but I’ve made a commitment to do every Fantastic Beast as accurately as possible, so here we go.
Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Unicorn”
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.
Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Thunderbird”
When creating a monster for Dungeons & Dragons, there are some very simple ways you can make a very mundane creature interesting:
Number 1: you can make it undead. There’s a bear attacking me in the woods, pfft whatever. What? Zombie bear? Well… alright then, time to panic.
Number 2: you can give it the Misty Step spell. Nothing like a monster teleporting around the battlefield to put the wind up your adventurers.
Number 3: give them the power to turn invisible.
The Tebo chooses option number 3, making a big pig monster significantly more interesting.
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There’s a snail you can encounter in Dungeons & Dragons. It’s called a Flail Snail. It’s called that, because it has organic, spiky flails where it’s eye stalks should be. It definitely exists purely because ‘snail’ and ‘flail’ rhyme.
At least the snail from Fantastic Beasts is a significantly different monster. Not like the hippogriffs and griffins, where I was having to split hairs to make a monster that was distinctly different from what was there before. The Streeler is a very different kind of strange snail.
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I’ve used riddles in my D&D adventures. I have, therefore, watched a group of intelligent people overthink a mind puzzle for much more time than you would expect, as I peruse the rest of the options from ‘riddles for kids‘, wondering if I could have been more generous.
I am pretty sure that most encounters with a sphinx would end in violence…
Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Sphinx”