Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Sea Serpent

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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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: Ramora

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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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Quintaped

Even amongst the weirdest of fantastical creatures, five legs is an oddity. Some animals are technically ‘pentapedal’ if you count the tail, and if you search for “five legged monsters” online, you get a lot of reference to a dad joke about the monster’s pants. There’s probably a very specific, mythological beast I’m missing that prevents the Quintaped from being completely unique, but it’s setup is definitely more bonkers than the average.

Not to mention that the Quintaped were once a Scottish clan that were cursed into monstrous forms and then killed those that cursed them and refuse to be turned back to normal out of spite. They weren’t angry about being cursed. They started angry and when they were warped, they owned it.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Puffskein

I go back and forth on whether or not I want a pet. I like visiting people who own pets. It’s not that I don’t want the commitment, it’s just that I’m not sure what kind of pet I would like. I think I’m more of a dog person, my wife prefers cats, my daughter would probably be happier with something smaller…

What I am sure of, is that I would not want a Puffskein as a pet. I get that wizards may want a magical critter as their companion, but a ball of fluff with an impossibly long, searching tongue can politely stay out of my house.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Porlock

Another mini post today. Today we have a little, bipedal, goat-thing that protects wild horses. If your D&D game needs every Fantastic Beast in it, or you’re running a quest where the heroes have to wrangle horses, this is the critter for you. Otherwise… it’s kind of cute, I suppose?

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Pogrebin

There’s a creature in D&D called the ‘Intellect Devourer’. It’s essentially a big brain on legs. In terms of challenge levels, the Intellect Devourer is fairly flimsy on it’s own. Yet it also has an ability that causes permadeath.

The intellect devourer initiates an Intelligence contest with an incapacitated humanoid within 5 feet of it. If it wins the contest, the intellect devourer magically consumes the target’s brain, teleports into the target’s skull, and takes control of the target’s body.

Monster Manual

Usually when you’re knocked out in battle, you get to roll to avoid death, and if you fail, a healer might bring you back. The lowly Devourer eats your brain before any of that happens.

The Pogrebin has the same energy. A small critter that could easily be dispatched, but with a potentially character-ending ability. All it needs is a little time.

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Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Plimpy

Some days it’s a majestic phoenix… some days it’s a fish with legs…

A fish that is mildly dangerous to snails and swimming costumes and not much else. A fish whose legs are its main mode of transportation and its greatest weakness. A fish that people would rather tie up and send down the river than catch and eat. It’s not quite flobberworm territory, but it’s bobbing pathetically alongside that line.

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