Play Your Next 5E D&D Game as a Thunder Cat
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted feel the magic and hear the roar of creating a nostalgia inspired fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Thunder Cat character. This 5E D&D character is on the move and loose with electrical and storm
powers and of course a feline like ancestry. So let’s get into it.
Behind the CBG — Thunder Cat
Every CBG we create considers the journey as much as the final outcome. We aim to present a guide suitable for any level of 5E D&D play whether you’re pursuing an epic campaign from start to finish, starting beyond 1st level or choosing a character for a one shot. Then we take those concepts and develop an NPC or creature version of the character build for DMs to incorporate into their games. All of this gets packaged up and laid out in a PDF you can find over at Dungeon Master’s Guild. We’ve got dozens of pay what you want products at DMG, many of them best sellers so if you want to check those out start with the Thunder Cat here.
All about the character story
Each CBG starts with a character concept sticking to a particular schtick, from the Mind Breaker’s psyche crushing smites to the Thunder Cat’s mashup of wistful affection for the past wrapped up in a mantle of primal magic, which swirls around them. Sometimes puns and pop culture references instigate the creation of a CBG too. This one came about if I’m honest we all love the original ThunderCats cartoon and this isn’t the first time we’ve represented Third Earth in 5E D&D. As always we find a narrative thread to follow through the level progression. Native to another world or plane of existence, the Thunder Cat is a refugee who arrived on the campaign world by accident or desperation. They had to leave their home forever, and now make their way in this strange new place.
For us it’s important to consider who these characters are as individuals and why they follow these particular paths. One special thing to note with this CBG is while we always aim to make the journey to 20th level as practical as possible — none of these characters “come online” after an awkward slog through many levels — the Thunder Cat embodies the lightning cat concept we were going for at 6th level. From there the storm continues to rage onward with compoundingly devastating feline fury.
Third Earth from the classic ThunderCats makes an awesome campaign setting for 5E D&D and here’s some ways to incorporate iconic elements from the show in your games:
- ThunderCats Ho! Claw Shield D&D-ized
- ThunderCats Ho! Sword of Omens D&D-ized
- Imbue a 5E D&D Warlock with Eldritch Invocations from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
- Play Your Next 5E D&D Game as an Ever Living One
- The Time is Now for 5E D&D Mummy Lords
Storm Herald NPC for 5E D&D
Full disclosure — the NPCs and creatures we make in CBGs are some of my favorite bits of 5E D&D content to create. We step back and look at the character build to find the standout features that feel like signature abilities. The juice! From there we consider what sort of person or people would possess or gain these abilities and build a stat block around them. More often than not the section of a CBG For Dungeon Masters presents a generic creature.
Coming up with mechanics aimed at creating a dynamic experience where they matter most (in combat) often takes precedence over other components of creature design. At the end of the day the storm herald is a gimmicky opponent with lots of thunder and lightning to sell the sizzle. What I appreciate about creature like these is how it’s all in the delivery. A feline humanoid with booming speed and flashing claws can just as easily become a practitioner of primal magic pulling the fury of the storm down from the skies. I wonder how much more challenging they might be wielding the trappings of the Lord of the ThunderCats too…
Lone Traveler. Native to another world or plane of existence, this solitary figure is a refugee who arrived on the campaign world by accident or desperation. They had to leave their home forever, and now make their way in this strange new place. Holding to the ideals and traditions of their people, this hermit may wander aimlessly and help, harm or completely avoid other thinking creatures, seeking to understand their new environment and their place in it. They could also be part of a group of refugees all stranded here, and built a fortified home reminiscent of their place of origin far out in the wilderness.
“Thunder. Thunder. Thunder! As a bonus action, the storm herald chooses one creature it can see within 10 ft. The target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. The target takes 9 (2d8) thunder damage on a failed save and is pushed 10ft. away, or half as much damage on a successful one and isn’t pushed.“
If your next 5E D&D game needs a character who pounce around the battlefield and strike like lightning (or literally with lightning) — whether you’re the DM or a player — check out the Thunder Cat Character Build Guide here.
*Featured image — ThunderCats follows the adventures of the eponymous team of heroes, cat-like humanoid aliens on a planet called Third Earth. The original ThunderCats series ran from September 9, 1985 to September 29, 1989.