5E D&D monster actions

Tame Monsters with the Creature Keeper 5E D&D Warlock Patron

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Suffuse Your 5E D&D Campaign with 5 Color Mana Spellcasting

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.

5E D&D monster actions warlock patron psychic jellyfish
When you create your own 5E D&D monsters sometimes you end up with nifty creatures with unusual actions like the bulbitid from the Bestiary of Benevolent Monsters. [Art by Nelson Vieira]

Otherworldly Patron for 5E D&D warlocks

Creature Keeper

All life essences are connected. While the gods claim protection over mortal lives, fiends for the devils and so on, Creature Keepers protect the lives not normally sheltered — monstrosities.

Creature Keepers make pacts with mortals, requiring them to protect the lives of monsters everywhere. Warlocks with such patrons are gifted monsters to care for and raise. As a means of strengthening their monsters many warlocks of this pact travel and order their creatures to assist them in battle.

Furthermore, some areas participate in duels involving these monsters, as they are magically bound to the warlock and warded from death in this way. Such duels make for sport in many regions and some ranchers, tamers and the like make entire lifestyles out of raising and dueling with their own monsters. The Creature Keeper patrons seem pleased with these circumstances, as they have normalized monsters within society and given them a place they belong.

Creature Keeper Expanded Spells

Spell Level

Spells

1st

Cure wounds, healing word

2nd

Enlarge/reduce, lesser restoration

3rd

Aura of vitality, revivify

4th

Aura of life, charm monster

5th

Antilife shell, skill empowerment

Bonus Proficiency

When you choose this patron at 1st level, you gain proficiency in the Animal Handling skill and can use this skill to soothe all types of creatures except constructs and undead.

Monster Mastery

Also beginning at 1st level, you gain the ability to forge alliances with monsters. As part of this special gift, your patron bequeaths you with a mutant monster and a special object tethered to a pocket dimension. The object is Tiny object and you can use it as a spellcasting focus for your warlock spells. Roll on the Monster Mastery Object table below or work with your GM to make your own.

For your mutant monster choose one beast of CR 1/4 or less and make the following changes:

  • The creature is a monstrosity, instead of a beast.
  • The creature uses your modifiers for saving throws.
  • The creature understands one language you speak.
  • The creature possesses additional hit points equal to your Charisma modifier.

Additionally, you can forge pacts with monstrosities of up to CR 1/4 or lower, provided you make a successful Wisdom (Animal Handling) check against the creature’s contested Wisdom saving throw. You can release future monsters with whom you forge pacts, and you can have a number of creatures up to your warlock level under your control at any one time, though you may only have one outside of your pocket dimension at a time. If you choose the Pact of the Chain as your Pact Boon at 3rd level, your familiar does not count against the number of creatures you can have under your control, and it does not count against the number of creatures you can have outside of your pocket dimension. Your familiar from Pact of the Chain can also be of the monstrosity type, and it can fight in combat for you.

A creature under your control as a result of this feature obeys your commands as best it can. It takes its turn on your initiative, and you can use your action to command it to take one of its own actions from its stat block, or you can also use your action to command it take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, or Help action. You can also use your action to command one of your creatures to cast a warlock cantrip you know as if you had cast the cantrip from its space. If your creatures (including your familiar from Pact of the Chain) receive no commands during your turn, they default to taking the Dodge Action. Creatures you summon never require your reaction or command to take reactions, including opportunity attacks.

Any creature (including your mutant) with whom you make an alliance can be stored in a pocket dimension, housed within an object. If a creature bound to you as a result of this feature reaches 0 hit points, it immediately recalls into your pocket dimension’s object. You can use a bonus action on your turn to summon or dismiss a creature from the pocket dimension. If you are incapacitated or absent, creatures you summon will act on their own, focusing on protecting you and themselves. If you die, your creatures are magically transported to their original homes where you made your alliance with them, and your Monster Mastery Object breaks with a monstrous roar.

If the object is destroyed or you lose it, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from your patron. This ceremony can be performed during a short or long rest, and the previous object is destroyed if it still exists.

Monster Mastery Object

d8

Object

1

A lustrous jewel set in a ring or pendant

2

A mechanical orb with a central button

3

A deck of cards with depictions of each monster I summon

4

A set of immaculate dice, carved from the bones of a powerful creature

5

A stone disc covered in runes and ancient imagery

6

A bottle with elaborate designs that pours smoke when opened

7

A totem covered in beads and feathers, dangling on a string

8

A pouch, bag, or satchel with brightly colored embroidery

 

Tamer’s Proficiency

At 6th level, you have become so adept at training your creatures that any creature you summon (including creatures summoned from your pocket dimension) gains a bonus to its hit points equal to your warlock level, and if a creature you summon casts a cantrip you know as a result of Monster Mastery, it adds your Charisma modifier to the damage roll. Any attacks made by creatures you summon are now considered magical for the purposes of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical damage.

Additionally, you can now tame creatures of a CR up to your warlock level, divided by 3, rounded down, and any creature you tame can mutate at the behest of your patron, replacing its creature type with the monstrosity creature type.

Magical Efficiency

Beginning at 10th level, when a creature you summon casts a cantrip you know as part of your Monster Mastery feature, you can use a bonus action to command it to take the Dash, Disengage, or Help action.

Tamer’s Resolve

Starting at 14th level, your bond with your creatures grants them insight into your motives and needs. You can issue more complex commands to your creatures, and they can understand one additional language you speak. Your creatures instinctively know what you want from them, and you can command your creatures using a bonus action, instead of an action.

Additionally, if you are incapacitated, you can choose to infuse a portion of your life essence into your pocket dimension. When you do, you automatically fail the next saving throw or death save you make, and all of your bound creatures are released from the pocket dimension at once, and they fight as you see fit until you come to consciousness or die. If you return to consciousness, your creatures return to your pocket dimension at the end of the turn in which you resumed consciousness.

And there you have it!

What do you think of the Creature Keeper patron? This is a rough draft of an ongoing project and needs playtesting; what do you think of the mechanics? Theme? We want to hear from you in the comments! Make sure to return to Nerdarchy for more daily RPG content! Check out Bestiary of Benevolent Monsters and start filling up your own pocket dimension with mutant creatures here.

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Steven Partridge is a published fantasy author and staff writer for Nerdarchy. He also shows up Tuesdays at 8:00pm (EST) to play with Nerdarchy Crew, over on the Nerdarchy Live YouTube channel. Steven enjoys all things fantasy, and storytelling is his passion. Whether through novels, TTRPGs, or otherwise, he loves telling compelling tales within various speculative fiction genres. When he's not writing or working on videos for his YouTube channel, Steven can be found lap swimming or playing TTRPGs with his friends. He works in the mental health field and enjoys sharing conversations about diversity, especially as it relates to his own place within the Queer community.

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