Dragons are an important part of Dungeons & Dragons. Lets face it — they’re built right into the name of the game I have been playing for almost 30 years. Gem dragons came to my notice in third edition D&D through the Monster Manual 2, an edition with five such books as well as several others with monsters. But when you have something as amazingly powerful as gem dragons do you really want them to be a throw away in a sequel book? Dragons have a rich lore, with metallic dragons being the good ones and chromatic dragons the bad ones. There is a bit of safety built into knowing you can trust the dragon or if it will betray you or eat you because of the scale color. Granted, dragons are individuals who have their own set of ideals and morals, but good is good and evil is evil. So how do you handle neutral gem dragons represented the middle ground like the sapphire dragon in 5E D&D?
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted feel the magic and hear the roar, discussing the best class for leonin in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Leonin let loose on the 5E D&D scene by way of Mythic Odysseys of Theros, an exciting addition to the multiverse from the planes of Magic: The Gathering. Leonin are lionlike humanoids and in the lore of M:tG developed a culture strongly valuing honor and religion. The leonin of Theros developed differently in terms of culture, making a conscious effort to separate themselves from other races and largely abandoning deity worship. As the second and most recently catlike humanoid official 5E D&D race option it seems to me people gravitate towards leonin over tabaxi and all viewers of the video left lots of great comments with their own leonin character ideas. I got caught up in the fun too so I thought I’d share some of them here and create a very special leonin NPC you can drop right into your game too. So let’s get into it.
Dungeons & Dragons has a long tradition of making monsters that are a mashup of different things, creatures inspired by legends and mythology and creatures that are mixed together and combined. The owlbear is one such iconic monster mashup of D&D and over the years a few here and there get added to the game. Other creations pay homage to this tradition by combining creatures together as part of the worldbuilding. My kids and I watched Avatar: The Last Airbender and combined creatures abound in the series, sparking my imagination to create something new for 5E D&D.
When you look at prepainted miniatures for tabletop gaming WizKids continues to stay at the top of the game. Whether you are playing Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder or any number of other fantasy roleplaying games, miniatures from WizKids are great and the new City of Lost Omens set is no exception. I always look forward to the next set of miniatures from WizKids as each one gives me new options for threats to challenge characters and adventuring parties. In addition to the blind purchase in recent years WizKids began doing the nonblind purchase associated with each set. I am a huge nerd and collector when it comes to miniatures in particular. The minis included with City of Lost Omens inspired tons of ideas to bring to the gaming table already.
Nerdarchist Ted here to expand upon the lovely post written by Steven about the vulpin, a foxfolk race for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons right on our site here. I think this is a great start and I wanted to expand upon it by making a new racial feat available for the foxfolk race that captures some of the Japanese folklore about the mythical figures called kitsune. And for Dungeon Masters out there I’ve included a vulpin spirit caller ready to drop right into your campaign as an insightful NPC. Whether you’re a player or DM, or simply think foxfolk are really fun and cool you can create your own customized miniature and get it 3D printed — in full color — from the amazing Hero Forge.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted find frosty inspiration from the upcoming Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden and create a fast and dirty monster for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. A blood rime is an ooze creature attracted to warm blood found in arctic regions and since Dave and Ted hammer out the basics in the video, here on the website we’ll get down to crunchy brass tacks and put together a stat block along with some lore to give Dungeon Masters some ideas on how to incorporate this cold terror into their 5E D&D games. So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted explore the dark side of druids in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. In the video they share three ideas for evil druid concepts to explore in 5E D&D from a Dungeon Master’s perspective. Creating villains informed by character classes presents a unique opportunity to homebrew new custom creatures and NPCs. Our approach to these sorts of creatures involves plucking class features, spells and other player character abilities and modifying them to creature traits. If you plan to create your own evil druid antagonists for your 5E D&D campaigns I highly recommend this method as opposed to creating a player character version of a creature. But that’s a discussion for another time. Right now we’re taking the next step when it comes to evil druid villains and considering the minions serving them. Who or what does the bidding of an evil druid? Let’s get into it and find out.
A chimera in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons combines the most terrifying traits of the creatures that comprise its form to make it a being destined for evil. What if you flipped that around? An entity that exemplifies the best ideals of its component creatures becomes a golden chimera. The lion is still proud, but rather than being a ruthless hunter for prey it hunts evil with fierce skill and deadly precision. The dragon aspect is drawn from a metallic variety, hoarding knowledge and wisdom to share and exchange with others rather than greedily gathering gold and treasure. The majestic eagle head gives the creature not only more hunting skill but a sense of honor and duty.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted tackle a GM 911 from the community. In this fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s campaign mind flayers turned important NPCs into thralls. Volo’s Guide to Monsters goes into detail about these agents of the elder brains, and they’ve requested some insight. Specifically they’d like to know how to create encounters and adventures designed for characters to discover, identify and deal with the unique version of thralls described in VGtM. This is one of the rare cases where I’ve got a much different view than Dave and Ted on how to approach the situation and thankfully Nerdarchy the Website provides a perfect place where I can share my thoughts on the matter. So let’s get into it and take a different approach to using mind flayers and their thralls in 5E D&D.
In the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, or really any fantasy based roleplaying game the theology is very important. In the real world, where we all live our daily lives, I think a smaller amount of people think about their immortal soul than those who live in a world where it is incontrovertible that magic exists and there is an afterlife. It is even possible to visit the realm of the dead or come back to life. With this in mind and considering there are agents working both sides, why are angels and fiends not seeing more of a hand in the events of the mortal world? We know there are playable races with divine or fiendish blood, and we hopefully do not need a biology lesson of the birds and bees to know how you got there, but why are the celestials not serving major cities as advisors, looking out for a family line? Or why are their not infernals attempting to do the same?
Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to talk about monsters and their tendency to fight to the death every single time in tabletop roleplaying games like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Now, I’m not saying they should break and run every single time but morale is a real thing. Dungeon Masters have a tendency to get into the middle of a game and hit a point where we’re thinking about the things on the battlefield just as things on the battlefield for the adventurers to hit then vend treasure and experience points from. But it matters why the monsters are on the field and what they’re trying to accomplish. A group of goblins who got bullied into joining this fight by a much larger hobgoblin probably aren’t going to stick around, for example, after their hobgoblin bully gets decapitated. Consider what monsters are trying to take and what they’re trying to protect. What are the stakes for your 5E D&D antagonists and creatures and what happens if they lose? Is it going to be worse than dying?
I just blew though the Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix in about four days and really enjoyed this television series. If you are looking for a great TV show to binge I cannot recommend this strongly enough. To me it is clear the creator of this is a fan of Dungeons & Dragons with all the hybrid animals, which has always been a classic D&D staple originating with the owlbear. The challenge in running a D&D game in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is a heavy on unarmed martial combat. This is easily fixed with characters either taking a level in monk or taking the feat Tavern Brawler. (The name of the feat does not mean you are limited to bar fights.) We should not get attached to how things are named unless it take us down a hole we cannot escape from. So let’s get into it further.
It may be my recent kick of Monster Rancher on Amazon Prime or it may be my continued obsession with the monster taming genre on the whole but I’ve kept mulling over a monster taming campaign for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. A lot of it is sparked by the Bestiary of Benevolent Monsters right in our own Nerdarchy the Store here and I just couldn’t get it out of my head — there had to be a way to tame some of the amazing creatures in this supplement. At first I thought making a new Ranger Archetype would be the way to go but ranger just didn’t quite capture it for me. Then I figured maybe it could be a feat? But I quickly realized it would require multiple feats and end up becoming far too complicated. Then it hit me — warlock! Suppose there were an Otherworldly Patron whose motives were less sinister and more misunderstood? Maybe this patron wants to protect all life? But no, because druids and clerics already serve the gods and the fey. I needed something else, a different theme. At last I had an epiphany. I would return to the roots of what I wanted to recreate — monsters! Thus was the inspiration for the Creature Keeper, a being (not quite a god) all about protecting the lives of monstrosities.
Remember how monsters were such a big thing in the ’90s and early aughts? If you grew up in that time (like I did) then you’d be hard pressed to have avoided any number of monster themed TV shows, games and the like. Shows like Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Animorphs and many more showcased monsters in a variety of contexts from creepy to vicious to the occasional twist or subversion of the benevolent monster. And then you had the genre that really grabbed my young attention and held it for hours — monsters as allies and companions. I remember waking up at the ghastly hour of 5 a.m. many days just to watch Monster Rancher (now on Amazon Prime and I’m stoked!). As soon as I got off school I watched Pokémon then Digimon before starting on homework. Something about having a loyal friend just as big and scary as the things opposing the main characters made those shows special. It made it feel like the heroes had a real shot at winning, and it gave into the power fantasy of fighting fire with fire. It also helped teach me not to judge people and situations by initial impressions. After all, if the heroes in my favorite shows and games could befriend monsters, maybe making friends in general wasn’t as scary as I often felt.
In this fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure a party catches wind of villagers gone missing. If you’ve played D&D for any length of time this scenario arises fairly commonly — someone or groups of people often need rescuing — with perilous circumstances on both sides. In this case a Demon Priest of Yeenoghu orchestrates a diabolical plan to swell the ranks of gnolls in the area. Thankfully adventurers take up the cause to put a stop to the demonic designs.