Monster of the Week: Gelatinous Cube

Incoming is a voracious, translucent, strangely adorable apex predator… The Gelatinous Cube!

NeverEnding’s Dungeon Roomba…… I mean Gelatinous Cube!

Alright so maybe our illustration isn’t exactly the Happy Meal equivalent of the standard Gelatinous Cube, but nonetheless it is a feared creature… Right?

Well..

The Gelatinous Cube’s capabilities are probably much more limited than how I initially introduced them in this column. I take pity because they really aren’t capable of doing too much too quickly. For example, the Cube can only hold up to one large monster or 4 smaller/medium sized creatures. Without a doubt there are hotel elevators with a stronger physical physique, but the limitations of the Cube are what give it charm. It’s lack of eyes makes it immune to becoming blinded, and if it hasn’t eaten the Cube is essentially invisible to the naked eye. Another benefit of the gel-like substance of the Cube, is that it’s own flesh works as a paralyzing agent to enthrall it’s captures into a deep slumber. This also helps it digest, which I won’t go into great detail since we all know what that word means.

The Gelatinous Cube also reproduces via the power of mitosis, and generates a new half-self baby every six years. With that being said, it’s uncommon to find them in groups as it is more common to find them living a life of solitude in a random far-off dungeon.

How to include them in your campaign

I love a classic dungeon crawl every once in a while. This guy is your standard find in a dungeon or spooky building (along with a Mimic of course), but where can you include one that your players will never expect?? Time to get creative.

Perhaps the local temple has one on staff to keep the place spotless? They thought if they could keep it fed, it wouldn’t eat the parishioners. Whoops.

Entice your players with a Hot Springs episode, they’ll love the opportunity to relax… until they hop in.

Side quest to take out the black market Monster Breeder? Baby Jell-Os EVERYWHERE.

Let us know what kind of hijinks you’ve created with the Gelatinous Cube! See you all next week!

Check out last week’s blog on the Blood Golem!

Dear NeverEnding, Lilith’s Lament

Dear NeverEnding,

Help! I’ve mastered sourdough, knitted sweaters for all of my cats, and have successfully cut my own bangs. I desperately need to game soon or else I’ll start another dubious hobby that none of my friends are interested in seeing Instagram photos of. This quarantine has all of my usual gaming buddies concerned so we have, understandably, put a temporary break on in-person meet ups. What’s the best way to D&D for now?

Sincerely, Lilith, the Multi-talented

Photography by Shane Rounce

Seek community.

The Mother of Dragons is going to council you to keep an open mind. A lone wolf will find a pack, an eagle shall soar with other majestic beasts of the air, and you, my dear, might be the next lioness to lead a pride. Take heart. There are others out there who are looking to form new gaming groups. Practice using Zoom and try some virtual meetups to find like minded gamers. A great place to start is your local gaming store which might be organizing online events for their customers.

Monster of the Week: Blood Golem (CW: Blood)

NeverEnding’s Blood Golem

For the low, low price of 50,000gp (and some advanced magic) you too can be the proud owner of a… bloody construct. 

This week’s monster of the week is the morally questionable Blood Golem. I’ve always wanted to start a recipe blog, now is my chance! I will spare you the life story and get to the juicy bits:

Ingredients:

  • Blood of at least 16 sacrifices
  • Spell- Animate Object
  • Spell- Gentle Repose
  • Spell- Heal
  • One set of full plate armor (optional)

You know… I’ve suddenly lost my appetite!

A Blood Golem without armor is pretty much a humanoid(ish) shaped mass of coagulated blood. They continuously leak blood as they move which is why you’ll find swarms of flies and other insects in their wake. The armor helps with this some, it lessens the blood loss and can double its lifespan. It also allows them additional abilities in battle.

But… Why…?

Blood Golems were typically created to guard temples and slaughter the enemies of their faith. This makes them an easy enough addition to your campaign! Lacking their own intelligence, they are unable to speak but are cruel and unforgiving in battle. Due to the nature of this golem, they frequently need to ‘refuel’ to stay alive… I’ll let you use your imagination for that one, but they need their targets to be living and immobile. 

If you find yourself facing off with one of these constructs there’s some things you need to know.  The Blood Golem is immune to magic and magic-like effects. It will attack at random, using its mechanical limbs and whatever weapon it was equipped with. If the golem you are facing is armored, you can target the blood reserve tanks on its body; These tanks are how it repairs damage sustained in combat. Good Luck! 

That (thankfully) concludes this week’s edition of Monster of the Week! Before we go: What do you call a ship full of Blood Golems?

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A BLOOD VESSEL!

Okay, okay, we’ll see you next week. Let us know what monsters you’d like to hear about next!

Check out last week’s monster the Azer!

Monster of the Week: Azer

“Give a man a fire, he’s warm for a day. Set a man on fire, he’s warm for the rest of his life” – Sir Terry Pratchett.

This week’s Monster of the Week blog is on FIRE… literally. 

The Azer are residents of the fire plane, which has caused their appearance to deviate from their Dwarven ancestors. They have brass-colored skin with flaming hair and beards, and they wear some badass fireproof kilts made of bronze, copper or brass.  Their skin is extremely hot to the touch, so don’t go in for a hug!

Like the Dwarves, the Azer are a proud race of mastercrafters and miners. They have been called upon throughout history to aid in creating magical items, weapons and art. One of their proudest accomplishments is the City of Brass on the Fire Plane. The Efreet hired the Azer to build this magnificent city, but ultimately betrayed them and attempted to enslave them to protect the city’s secrets. To this day, the Azer and Efreeti are bitter enemies. 

The Efreeti are pretty cool, so we’ll save that juicy info for a later blog!

If you have the “opportunity” to visit the Elemental Plane of Fire, you may find the Azer serving the Fire Giants or living in communities within bronze fortresses, although they can be a rare sight. Unless you’re an Efreeti or happen to flash some gemstones in front of them, you’ll probably be safe from the lawful neutral Azer. If you do cross one, watch out for that Warhammer… It’s got a spicy kick at the end! They don’t have any particular weaknesses, BUT they are shirtless, so their armor class is fairly low. (small favors)

DMs, if your players find their way to the Fire Plane, the Azer is definitely a must have addition to your campaign!

Now we find ourselves at the end of another Monster of the Week… never fear, we’ll see you again next Tuesday. We’re getting good at this schedule thing… you might even say we’re on a… hot streak?

Let us know what monsters you’d like to learn about next!

Check out last week’s monster the week, the Tarrasque!

Team Spotlight: Kyle

What’s your position? What do you do?

CFO and HR. I count the beans, make sure everyone signs on the dotted line, and help with running the business.

What would be your superpower and hero name?

My kids named me SheHulk when they were younger.  The reason is embarrassing, but let’s say that those pre-teens in the movie never misbehaved again!

On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you?

10 – very weird, awkwardly weird.

What’s your go-to work jam?

I always have my music shuffling in the background.  Everything but rap and heavy metal.

What inspires you?

My family.

Why did you join NeverEnding?

When Jamie approached me with his idea, he was so extremely excited, it was contagious.  How could I not join?

Monster of the Week: Tarrasque

As a wise man once said; you too will want to kill all your friends with this beast. For this is no normal mammal; a 130 ton killer armadillo-esque kaiju from your worst nightmares… The Tarrasque!!

NeverEnding’s Tarrasque

Well I hope you could stomach that intro because it essentially summarizes the best aspects of the Tarrasque. Wait a second… You’ve never heard of them? I don’t blame you, the Tarrasque is not the most commonly discussed creature in the TTRPG community. (But does it compare to our beloved goblins?… hmm… Nah.)

Kindly ignore the aforementioned armadillo comparison, and focus on the kaiju mental image you’ve created within the recesses of your imagination. The Tarrasque has two giant protruding horns coming off its scalp, but those horns aren’t the only thorny thing about them. They also have a variety of spikes that trail off the back of their body, almost like a Chia pet that wasn’t properly taken care of over the years. Their body is much similar to that of a T-Rex, but if the proportions were actually beneficial to the T-Rex’s survival. What I’m saying is that they have long arms, the kind of arms that could scoop up your familiar and eat them like fresh made 100% natural chicken nuggets. (This is not turning into an ad for a Fast Food Lunch Menu, I swear.)

Now that we know what it looks like…

The Tarrasque doesn’t rely on their eyesight to hunt their prey, this is because they have two beady eyes that are limited to begin with. By default the Tarrasque are blind at birth and have to rely on their own sense of smell to get around. Don’t pity them though, they are natural born killers and have zero remorse for who and what they kill. Definitely try not to get swallowed, you’ll suffer some HEFTY acid damage, not to mention… ew.

Unlike previously discussed monsters of, the Tarrasque isn’t capable of communicating the way Goblins or Beholders do. They are much more grounded in reality in terms of how they function like real mammals; they only eat, sleep, and kill… Only to eat some more. A simple life for a simple beast.

For the DMs.

The Tarrasque is extremely formidable, with the 5e version sitting at a CR of 30 and an armor class of 25! This monster is not for the faint of heart, but it is a great BBEG. If you wanted your players to encounter a Tarrasque at some point in the campaign, you could consider making it a far off terror while they’re at a lower level. A Titan that armies are fighting a world away. They could occasionally hear rumors, or witness the aftermath of its destruction. When they reach a level that might stand a chance (or not, you do you) entice them to join the forces fighting this evil!

That concludes another Monster of The Week blog, tell us how you’ve included a Tarrasque in your campaigns!

For now, take care and let us know who you think should be featured in an up and coming MOTW!

Check out last week’s blog and behold… THE BEHOLDER!

Monster of the Week: Beholder

Bringing back the trend of floating eyes with tentacles, the Beholder emerges from its slumber in this week’s post!

NeverEnding’s version of a Beholder

Another classic TTRPG monster already, at this time of year and this time of day? Localized entirely within a 300(ish) word count!?… Yes.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the Beholder could be easily dismissed from other classic TTRPG monsters; it’s an angry flying orb with eyes and tentacles. Yet it is one of the few monsters to constantly re-appear in different iterations of popular TTRPGs.

Why is that? One reason being: the Beholder loves confrontation. It thrives off instilling fear into its opponents (kind of like how old people treat retail employees). This severe personality flaw is one that makes the Beholder so endearing to players, they’re incredibly xenophobic and that adds a level of unpredictability to their actions. Beholder’s are creepy because of their human-like qualities, and these qualities often represent the worst aspects of mankind.  They consider other creatures to be lesser beings and are known to keep slaves… Yeah they might be some of the worst as far as evil TTRPG creatures go, but for the sake of gameplay a good bad guy can bring up a lot of powerful and genuine conversation between players. You can enjoy the presence of a bad guy, and recognize that their actions are unjustifiable. (Not every villain has to be a hurt baby rejected by society after all…*cough* Disney. *cough*)

If you see one… immediately go the other direction.

Definitely don’t try to sneak up on it; The Beholder can see in all directions, even when it sleeps.  As you’d expect, they can attack you with eye rays. What kind you ask? Just… all of the above. You might get a charm ray, but you could also get a death ray. Only the dice can tell!

I think I’ll stick with the Spectator

Good call. At first glance, the Beholder and Spectator are difficult to separate from one another. You wouldn’t be wrong to confuse the two though, the Spectator is a form of Beholderkin. In fact, the Beholder has many different variants that have spun off from it over the last few decades. I won’t ramble on about those though, since they could earn a post of their own eventually! 

Thus concludes this week’s post on the Beholder, the real MVP of ball-shaped malevolence. If you liked this week’s post, comment below and yell at us with positive vibes and what monster you’d like to hear about next!

Check out last week’s monster, the Ginormous Squirrel here!

Monster of the Week: Ginormous Squirrel

Look up there! It’s a Giant, no… a Dragon? It’s… a Ginormous Squirrel?!

NeverEnding’s version of the Ginormous Squirrel

Like many monsters from our previous posts, the Ginormous Squirrel is a large mammalian force to be reckoned with. The novelty of the Gigantic Squirrel comes from the fact that it is purely a fan creation; a homebrew creature, if you will. The idea of a small rodent-esque critter turned into a 500 foot tall beast is absurdist humor at its finest. It’s also a testament to how creative DM’s can be with the creation of homebrew content, which says a lot given how TTRPG rely solely on the power of imagination and skillful storytelling to thrive. The abilities of the Ginormous Squirrel are anything you can make it to be. You want a Ginormous Squirrel that spouts fire and shoots laser beams like a raging Kaiju monster? Yes, you can make that possible! How about a Ginormous Squirrel that’s a peaceful gentle giant, and lives in a cottagecore-esque paradise with a variety of quirky NPCs that worship it? Yes, praise the fuzzy demigod!…

Now let’s segway into something else before I start a cult… 

The Ginormous Squirrel in my eyes would probably be the closer to the  Kaiju variety, a deathly beast that leaves no man unscathed in battle. They are fast, and can be mounted and ridden by those who are brave enough to tame them into submission. OK That sounds weird but trust me it’s not, if you saw our little Goblin gif from our Kickstarter campaign you’d know immediately what I’m referring to. If that squirrel can run through projectile fireworks with a Goblin on it’s back, then who knows what else it could handle?

The power of the Ginormous Squirrel is not one to be underestimated, and those who tell you that you can’t use homebrew monsters might just be too crazy to DM for.

That’s just my two cents.

Tell us about your homebrew monsters in the comments below, and check out the original Reddit post for the Ginormous Squirrel HERE! See ya next week.

Check out last week’s Monster, the Frost Giant!

A message from our friends…

We’re happy to share this message from our friends at Apotheosis Studios and support their most recent Kickstarter campaign.

Apotheosis Studios is an indie studio of geeks and gamers out of Boulder, CO. Check out our post about their newest kickstarter, a Warlock-focused RPG ‘The Red Opera’ here!

Allow me to introduce myself. Just now at this moment, I’m one of the voices in your head, dear reader. Or should I call you a purveyor of fine fantasy projects? You are, after all, visiting a mighty fine Kickstarter page for a mighty fine Kickstarter project. I should know, I helped write some of it!

I’m Joseph Asphahani, Associate Writer for The Red Opera Dnd 5e campaign, and let me tell you something, true off my chest: I love Dark Fantasy. As a sub-genre of that section, you might see cornered off in your local bookstore. I’m not one for whimsical fancy. Not to say I haven’t fallen down a rabbit hole or chased the moon in my day. I’m just saying, as emphatically as possible, that I love Dark Fantasy. I’m saying that bloody battles and evil rituals and road dust and impossible odds and vulgar revenge are the kinds of things I want the characters I read about to encounter on their journeys. And it’s exactly this kind of Dark Fantasy experience that drew me to The Red Opera in the first place. 

DiAmorte’s album The Red Opera provides the perfect thematic portal into this world, full of thrashing riffs and throat-searing vocals, as unforgiving as the Shadelands at times. (If you think at first the Shadelands seem peaceful and serene, I say wait for the later acts!) Their heavy metal music also has a softer side, if you’ve an ear for it. And so Rick Heinz, Patrick Edwards, and I took all of this into account as we designed the encounters and fleshed out the story of the campaign. There’s plenty of violence and death and dealings with unnamed creatures lurking in the dark, absolutely, but there’s also tenderness and passion and chances for redemption. Fayte, LaCroix, Dorian, and all the other NPCs will guide you along with one Hell of a central path (a phrase I may or may not be using here as foreshadowing), but it is by no means the only path. 

One of Rick’s defining storytelling philosophies is and has always been ‘player-first,’ and in The Red Opera it will be the players who ultimately decide how the story unfolds. We’ve left several ideas for the inventive Dungeon Master to expand upon at his or her choosing, little scenarios and sidequests that could be left entirely unexplored or just as easily spun off into massive separate campaigns. You can bring in your existing characters as they chase down a lead about a rising threat in a new realm, or roll up new characters who already live there, faced with the hard fact that fate has more in store for them than a quiet life of servitude to an uncanny, omnipotent patron. Everything here is completely open-ended and driven by actions the players want to take and how they want to take them.

I’ve played in several of Rick’s DnD games over the last two decades, and pretty much all my characters have earned the title “The Bold.” I just can’t help it, it’s how I play. I don’t want to just sit around and plan. I’m a man of action! Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives! (So says Macbeth.) As we were writing parts of The Red Opera, I couldn’t help but think what my character would do in these situations, what choices I’d make. Maybe I’d get myself (or all of us) killed! But just as possible, maybe I’d learn my lesson and listen to the meticulous plan of the rest of the party. We’ve very carefully crafted every act and chapter in The Red Opera to suit all styles of player, even the bold ones like me. There is simply no way that you will not have fun playing it. 

And at the end, whether you seek a light, happy ending or a dark one (like me), the thing I love most about The Red Opera is that you, the player, gets to decide.

Check out the Kickstarter for The Red Opera, Last Days of the Warlock here!

Monster of the Week: Frost Giant

Who doesn’t love Polar Bears… oh wait…

Welcome back to Monster of the Week! For the uninitiated, every Tuesday we rant… I mean blog, about the most notable monsters in the TTRPG community. This week’s monster is none other than the 50 foot tall, hostile and ferocious Frost Giant. Simply put, they are bluish-skinned, bearded giants that live in icy climates, susceptible to various forms of lycanthropy. We’re not talking about those Twilight wolves; We mean Werebears and Seawolves.

POLAR WEREBEARS AND SEAWOLVES, PEOPLE.

The Polar Werebear condition is a hybrid giant that tends to live apart from it’s kin. Now imagine how terrifying it would be to be ambushed on a snowy mountain by a 50 foot tall Werebear. We’re not saying whether the odds would be in your favor or not, but the mental image on it’s own conjures up some complicated feelings from me. (Primarily terror)

Now… what was I saying?

Right. Ice Giants. Cosmetically, their blue skin and white hair help set them apart from their standard Giant counterparts, along with their immunity to cold damage. The Frost Giant falls under the evil alignment but they do have a complex social structure known as an Ordning.  The shamans of their society are usually capable of casting spells from the Charm, Divination, Healing, Protection or Weather spheres.

In combat, Frost Giants are known for using ambush techniques to attack their prey; they can hide under 20 feet of snow in preparation for an attack. Then they will throw boulders at you. Charming, right? We suggest some fire-based spells if you plan to face these folks.

Well, now that we have conjured up some terrifying images and inspired future fanart of Polar Werebears, we will conclude this week’s Monster of the Week! If there is a monster you’d like for us to talk about in an upcoming post, leave us a comment. See you soon!

Check out last week’s Monster of the Week, the Goblin!