Monster of the Week: The Dragon (Part 2)

You act as though the laws of the anthill affect the foot that crushes it.” -Raishan, the Diseased Deceiver




NeverEnding’s Dragon- created for The Dungeon Coach (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz8xkTADYdRQR7GP-f2PjOA)

Welcome back! If you read last week’s blog, you’ll know that this is part 2 of our series on Dragons. This week we will be focusing on the distinctions between Chromatic and Metallic Dragons (the 2 types you’ll find in the D&D 5e Monster Manual) and how to incorporate them into your campaign.

True Dragons

Last week, we mentioned ‘True Dragons’; These are the one’s you’ll find in the Monster Manual. They grow more powerful with age, with 4 distinct stages of life throughout thousands of years:

Wyrmling: Medium sized, Under 5 years of age, Challenge Rating 1-4

Young: Large sized, 6-100 years old, CR 6-10

Adult: Large sized, 101-800 years old, CR 13-17

Ancient: Gargantuan, 801+ years old, CR 20-24

True Dragons fall into two categories, Chromatic and Metallic. Chromatic Dragons (black, red, blue, green and white) are notoriously selfish, evil and fearsome. Metallic Dragons (brass, bronze, copper gold and silver) are still fearsome, but are known to be noble, good and highly respected by the wise. Both Metallic and Chromatic Dragons covet wealth, albeit for different reasons. They dislike leaving their hoards for long periods of time, mostly they do to feed and patrol their territory.

Chromatic Dragons

These Dragons are greedy and creatures of ego. Their greed will inspire many of their plots, which is an easy motive to include in your campaign. Chromatic Dragons have no use for the treasure, no wish to spend, just possessing and hoarding their wealth is what they want. They carry themselves with a sense of superiority, even amongst other of their kind. These Dragons believe it is their innate right to rule, seeing humanoids as no more than beasts of burden.

Something to consider when you bring a Chromatic Dragon into your campaign: Lair Actions! This fun little feature is an added obstacle for your players. Dragons choses a lair worthy of protecting their hoard, with multiple entrances and exits and severe environmental effects. For example, a Red Dragon, which favors fire, may lay claim to an active volcano. So your players will not only need to be on the look out for magical traps laid by the dragon, but lava too! Fun, right? You’ll find the suggested lair actions of all the Chromatic Dragons in the Monster Manual alongside the Dragon’s stats.

Metallic Dragons

Much like their Chromatic counterparts, Metallic Dragons covet treasure. However, they are not driven by greed, but more out of curiosity and desire for knowledge. The treasure you’ll find in their lair will be filled with more personal, historical items… as well as magical and evil artifacts. These Dragons look to protect other creatures from dangerous magic, which they do my secreting the items away in their hoard. Unlike Chromatic Dragons, Metallic Dragons can be convinced to part with pieces of their treasure if they believe it is for the greater good.

Ancient Metallic Dragons have the nifty ability to shapeshift, which is a great way for DMs to sneak and extremely powerful monster (friend or foe) into their player’s lives. Another way to introduce a Metallic Dragon is to utilize their long memories, good dragons can recognize human bloodlines by smell alone. Your Bard’s ancestor may have gravely offended this gold dragon 500 years ago, or perhaps your Druid’s great great great grandparent assisted them when they were just a Wyrmling.

How have you included Dragons in your campaigns? Let us know below! We’ll see you next week for part 3, and if you haven’t already, go check out PART ONE!

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: Bugbear

NeverEnding’s Bugbear

This week’s Monster has a bit of a deceiving name. Unsuspecting players imagine a terrifying, insectoid-bear creature when in reality it’s just an equally terrifying bear creature! That’s right kids, today I will be teaching you about the cantankerous Bugbear!

Bugbears are a massive humanoid race distantly related to our dear Goblins. Like the Goblins, they speak Goblin and Common. Everyone seems to agree that the “Bear” portion of their name comes from their bear-like noses and claws, and you can find a few different explanations for the “Bug” prefix, but they all link back to the fact they’re scary and creepy looking. 

A different sort of Monster…

Bugbears can be found in tribes alongside Goblins and Hobgoblins, where they are known to be the bullies of the group. Something that sets them apart from other Monsters is their own pantheon, led by the God Hruggek. The Bugbears kill to honor Hruggek and also Grankhul, the deity of hunting, senses, stealth and surprise.

Bugbears are not known for their intelligence, but they are known to ambush adventurers in stealthy attacks. Their claws are not long or sharp enough to be used as weapons, so you’ll often see them armored and carrying weapons. They have enough intelligence and battle strategy to retreat from a fight that is not in their favor, even leaving tribe members behind; But beware, they will return once healed with additional allies. 

DMs! Bugbears are a great lower-level challenge. A CR 1 rating, with a higher than usual AC, but lower HP for balance. In Xanathar’s Thieves’ Guild, Bugbears can be found serving as guards and living in the Undermountain. 

Want to DM outside of the box?

In Volo’s Guide to Monsters you will find features to make this a playable character! Why fight the Bugbear when they could become your players’ favorite NPC? Some unique features of this PC include  “Long Limbed” which gives you an extra 5’ of reach and “Powerful Build” which counts for one size larger when it comes to carrying capacity and weight limits.

They might not be the insectoid-bears you may or may not have imagined, but they are a great, versatile Monster to include in your games! See you next week!

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

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: 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!

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!