Monster of the Week: The Dragon (Part 1)

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

NeverEnding’s Copper Dragons

This week’s monster is a doozy… such a doozy that we’re going to make this a multi-part series! What monster would warrant such an honor you ask? Well you should have read the title, but it’s the iconic and legendary Dragon!

Dragon lore and legends can be found throughout history. From stories about knights saving princesses and the Mother of dragons herself you can find them all over modern entertainment as well. Heck, even my grandma knows what dragons are! Although the source material is endless, for this series we will be sticking to the Dragons of the Forgotten Realms.

The Facts

Dragons are an ancient race, with many creatures tracing their lineage back to them. They are inherently magical, and although they resemble reptiles, they are a classification all their own. In fact, as posture and movement go, they are more feline in nature… and they’re warm-blooded! Dragons are omnivorous, preferring meat but eating just about anything, including the occasional magical item. They are born from eggs, a mother dragon will lay between 1-10 eggs, depending on its species.

There are various subraces of Dragon: True Dragons, which are what we picture when we think of dragons. These are the ones that become more powerful as they age. There’s also Lesser Dragons, which don’t become more powerful as they age, such as Dragon Turtles and Drakes and miscellaneous Dragons which are still super cool but don’t really fit into a category. Prismatic and Mist dragons are 2 that fall into this category.

Abilities

Dragon senses can vary depending on the species, and we’ll be getting into those specifics in part 2 of this series, but they all boast acute senses that can improve as they age. They have excellent vision (day and night) and can use their sensitive nose and forked tongue to pick up scents much like a snake. Even young dragons have strong scales, the one’s you’ll find in the monster manual have an AC of 18.

All dragons have certain resistances and some innate magical ability. If they are a True Dragon, this gets more powerful (and terrifying) as they age. Many you will encounter in games like D&D will speak Common and Draconic; they are clever and extremely intelligent.

The versatility and broad range of abilities you have with Dragons is one of many reasons why they’re an obvious choice to TPK… I mean interact with your players. What’s your favorite Dragon ability?

Thanks for hanging out with us this week, next week we’ll go into detail about the abilities of more common dragons like Chromatic and Metallic as well as some tips for including them in your campaign! See you then!

Check out last week’s Monster of the Week the Kobold!

Monster of the Week: Kobold

“ELEVEN DAYS!” -Chris Perkins’ Kobold PC, Spurt

Now, contrary to what Spurt told the Mighty Nein, Kobolds typically live longer than 11 days… anywhere from 50-135 years in fact!

One of NeverEnding’s Kobolds

Kobolds are reptilian humanoids typically seen with reddish brown or black scaley skin. They have long, clawed fingers, horns, and a crocodile like jaw. They are 2 feet tall, but don’t bring it up… they are pretty sensitive about their height. Despite their short stature, Kobolds are aggressive, but introverted creatures. I’m sure the loner thing has nothing to do with the fact that they also smell like wet dog…

You’ll likely find tribes of them in dark areas, ideally underground or in a thick forest.  Their lairs are often created by mining them from rock, much thought was put into these underground dens, even using divination magic to locate ore and mineral deposits. Kobolds are omnivorous, eating just about anything if they’re hungry enough. Due to their cold-blooded nature, if they’re in a warm place they don’t need to eat too much.  

In battle…

Kobolds typically use their cunning and numbers to win fights. They commonly lay traps or set up ambushes, rarely attacking head on unless the foe was already weakened. They have sunlight sensitivity, so they will be at disadvantage if attacking in sunlight. DMs, if you’re looking to set a trap for your players, the go-tos for Kobolds are spike pits, tripwires, flaming oil, and poisonous vermin. Kobolds use Pack Tactics and their favored weapons are daggers and slings. They’ll loot whatever treasure they can carry, occasionally enslaving/selling foes they did not kill.

Subraces

If you’re looking to change things up a bit, there are various subraces of Kobold:

  • Aquatic
  • Arctic
  • Desert
  • Dragonwrought
  • Earth
  • Jungle

Or, homebrew something! You want 3 purple kobolds in a trench coat, go for it!

NeverEnding’s Kobold Variants

Kobolds are a versatile little monster that you can easily add into your campaign as an enemy, or perhaps as a PC! Tell us about the Kobolds in your campaign in the comments.

And don’t forget to check out last week’s Monster: The Bugbear!

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!

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: 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!