“Magick…” he grumbles in a hoarse whisper to himself, “the force we all thought would hamper progress. And here we are, traveling the stars with it.” Letting out a sigh, he pushes his hovering seat away from a messy desk. “If we were truly destined to separate ourselves from magick, the horrible monsters would have been vanquished long ago… not terraforming entire planets.” The man slightly grips his teeth as he rises from the floating chair, joints popping from ache and wear. The spacefaring man gazes into a mirror before continuing to shuffle. The marks of fatigue and age on his face contrast the shining gleam of his badges, reflecting light from the ‘glow panels’ dotting the ceilings and hallways throughout the vessel. Over towards a huge glass pane, the elder military man observes systems of stars with planets seemingly nestled in perfect viewing spots by ancient giants or celestial creatures. “And this ship, it has served more of a home for me than it deserves. But, through the mad crusades and bloody combat, it has served me well.” The tranquility of an empty space fades as ships pull into view, built with alien geometries and operating through impossible physics, they charge weaponry for an epic battle. The man cracks a faint grin as similar weaponry opens fire on the enemy crafts.
The worlds of magic and monsters don’t need to end when civilizations have advanced themselves into new eras; feudal worlds give way to industrial, which give way to information, which give way to hypothetical new technologies that Earth can only speculate about. Even a world of fantasy can and should advance and change with the flow of time. All too often do these worlds stagnate in the endless mush of quasi-medieval high fantasy. Now, this isn’t to say that such a thing can’t be good and doesn’t still have a place. It’s just that for many fans of the genre, such things have grown stale and resistance to change.
In a fantasy future, adventurers will continue to carry on their business. Perhaps new sanctions are in effect and new regulations are in place. However, there are still dens filled with malicious monsters and strange sights to behold. There are gnoll raiders who operate miniguns instead of wield war-axes, elementals from a plane composed of radiation, beholders who bolster their psychic power through cybernetic enhancements, orcish biker gangs terrorizing the streets through their “hover hogs” and much more. Granted, most of these will not be appearing in the article below. However, they are ideas on how someone can twist a classic monster for a more Modern/Sci-Fi inspired setting.
Author’s Note: I figured this is a great way to close out the theme, a look at some classic monsters transferred to a new genre. And by this, I mean transferring classic D&D monsters into classic (as well as some less standard) science fiction. Also, please don’t mind the cheesy space-opera-meets-D&D blurb from up above. I’m not quite what I’d call a writer, but I figured it would be a fun change of pace.
Green Hopkins Goblin
A little green man with wide and vacant eyes. Despite looking like a goblin, this creature likely came from another realm entirely. It’s hard to tell what they look like though, as they have a habit of making their appearance blurry and hard to trace.
Small aberration, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (see Blurry)
Hit Points 7 (2d6)
Speed 30ft., hover 30ft. (up to 10ft. off the ground)
STR 8 (- 1), DEX 16 (+3), CON 10 (+0), INT 15 (+2), WIS 10 (+1), CHA 12 (+1)
Skills Intimidate +5, Stealth +7
Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 9
Languages Common, Deep Speech, Goblin
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Blurry. The green hopkins goblin can conceal themselves in a hazy field as a bonus action. They always benefit from a minimum of half cover, which grants an additional +2 to Armor Class (factored in) as well as Dexterity saving throws. It is a bonus action to end this field.
Nimble Escape. The green hopkins goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
Innate Magic. The green hopkins goblin is capable of casting innately, using its ### to cast spells
- At-Will: Mage Hand (Invisible), Misty Step, Sanctuary
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) slashing damage.
Dart Gun. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 80ft./160 ft., Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.
Composed of countless tiny constructs, this ooze-like mass exists for a simple purpose: consume and replace. The Grey Goo devours all it can come across, only creating more Grey Goo in the process.
Medium Ooze, neutral
Armor Class 8
Hit Points 42 (5d8+20)
Speed 20ft., climb 10ft.
STR 16 (+3), DEX 6 (-2), CON 18 (+4), INT 10 (+0), WIS 8 (-1), CHA 1 (-5)
Skills. Medicine +3
Damage Resistances acid, bludgeoning/piercing from non-magical weapons
Damage Immunities lightning, poison, slashing from non-magical weapons
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned, prone
Senses blindsight 60ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 8
Challenge 3 (700 XP)
Amorphous. The goo can move through a space as narrow as 1/2 inch wide without squeezing.
Damage Repair. Upon being reduced to 1/2 of its maximum hit points, it will regain 9 (2d4+4) hit points. It will cease doing this once it has reached 1/2 of its maximum or above.
Healing Salve. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: Target regains 9 (2d6+2) hit points.
Pseudopod. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage.
Devour Corpse (1/Day). If a creature has been dropped to 0 Hit Points and dies, the Grey Goo will begin to consume the corpse and produce more Grey Goo. After 1d4 rounds of touching the dead body, another instance of Grey Goo will form. A single Grey Goo can only perform this once a day.
Mind Flayer Nautiloid Captain
The Illithid, a scourge of the material realm. Within the boundless reaches of Wildspace, they prove to be an equally formidable threat… if not more so. Any such Mind Flayer capable of commanding an impressive spelljamming vessel like the Nautiloid is a truly fearsome being.
Medium aberration, lawful evil
Armor Class 16 (garb of the helm master)
Hit Points 84 (15d8 + 15)
STR 12 (+1), DEX 13 (+1), CON 13 (+1), INT 20 (+5), WIS 17 (+3), CHA 17 (+3)
Saving Throws lnt +9, Wis +7, Cha +7
Skills Arcana +9, Deception +7, Insight +7, Perception +7, Persuasion +7, Stealth +5
Senses darkvision 120ft., passive Perception 16
Tools. Navigator’s Tools, Air/Sea Vehicles
Languages Common, Deep Speech, Undercommon , telepathy 120ft.
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
Calm under Pressure. The Nautiloid Captain has advantage checks to maintaining control of a vehicle that they are proficient with. Also, the Nautiloid Captain has advantage on Acrobatics checks to remain balance on the craft or directly outside of the craft.
Daring. The Nautiloid Captain has advantage on saving throws against charm and fear.
Magic Resistance. The mind flayer has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Innate Spellcasting (Psionics). The mind flayer’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 16). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components:
- At will: detect thoughts, levitate
- 1/day each: dominate monster, plane shift (self only)
Multiattack. The Nautiloid Captain may make two attacks with their Saber.
Saber. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6+4) slashing damage.
Smokepowder Flare (1/Day). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, ranged 40 ft./120 ft., one target/splash 5 ft. from target. Hit: 9 (2d8) fire damage. All creatures within 5 ft. of the target of make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 12) or take 5 (2d4) fire damage. All flammable objects in the immediate way catch fire.
Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) psychic damage. If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 16) and must succeed on a DC 16 Intelligence saving throw or be stunned until this grapple ends.
Extract Brain. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one incapacitated humanoid grappled by the mind flayer. Hit: The target takes 55 (10d10) piercing damage. If this damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the mind flayer kills the target by extracting and devouring its brain.
Mind Blast (Recharge 5-6). The mind flayer magically emits psychic energy in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 16 Intelligence saving throw or take 22 (4d8 + 4) psychic damage and be stunned for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Bolster Ally. When an ally within sight of the Nautiloid Captain is making an attack roll or saving throw, they make use a reaction and grant them a +2 (+1d4) bonus to that roll by stating a command or warning.
Parry. The Nautiloid Captain can use a reaction to give itself +4 AC against one melee attack if it chose to forgo a second saber attack on its turn. It may also use this if it didn’t use its saber attack at all, so long as the saber is equipped.
Medium humanoid (Ork), chaotic evil
Armor Class 14 (scrap armor)
Hit Points 30 (4d8 + 12)
STR 16 (+3), DEX 12 (+1), CON 16 (+3), INT 9 (-1), WIS 16 (+3), CHA 10 (+0)
Skills Intimidation +4, Perception +5
Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Common, Ork
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Fake Powerz Resistin’! Orks have advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Face da Space. Orks have advantage on saving throws against space related effects.
WAAAGH! As a bonus action, the ore can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Slashin’ Axe. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) slashing damage.
Stabby Stabby. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (4d4 + 3) piercing damage + 2 (1d4) force damage.
Ork Blastah. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 80/240 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (3d6 + 3) laser** damage.
Da Ork Powerz!
Ork Powerz. When around other Orks, a strange power begins to manifest… one they’re not completely aware of. While within 60ft. of one or more Orks, they have access to one of these innate spells (psionics). Choose one of the following, this can be switched during a short or long rest. All Orks in proximity can cast the chosen spell. They use their wisdom stat for casting (+5 to hit, DC 13 saving throw).
- At-Will: Cure Wounds, Enhance Ability, Enlarge/Reduce, Feather Fall, Haste, Heat Metal, Ork Boyz’ Hideous Screaming (Tasha’s Hideous Laughter)
This increases the Challenge of the Orks to 3 (700 XP)
Vampire, Harvest Apparatus
Despite losing a lot of boons gifted to a vampire, this creature has also gained much as a result of merging with their mechanical container. More cyborg than vampire, these creatures manipulate a wide variety of destructive weaponry in addition to draining blood at a rapid rate to keep the tank they float in ever full.
Large undead (vampire, augmented), neutral evil
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 175 (18d10 + 72)
Speed 40 ft., Fly 40ft. (cannot reach higher than 20ft. off the ground)
STR 22 (+6) DEX 18 (+4) CON 18 (+4) INT 17 (+3) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 16 (+3)
Saving Throws. DEX +8, WIS +6, CHA +7
Skills. Perception +6, Stealth +8
Damage Resistances. necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, slashing damage from non-magical weapons
Damage Immunities. poison, psychic
Damage Vulnerabilities. lightning
Condition Immunities. charmed, frightened, poisoned, prone, sleep
Senses darkvision 120 ft., Passive perception 16
Languages. languages it knew it life, telepathy 120ft.
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)
Machine Bond. The vampire has a strange connection to technology. It can use its telepathy ability to communicate with advanced machines that can compute thought or programming, sometimes even attempt to take over machines. Furthermore, It has double-proficiency on Intelligence checks used to identify or understand technology.
Undead Cyborg. The vampire is considered just as much of a construct as an undead creature. Both the machine exterior and the vampire inside are treated as a single creature for all intents and purposes. It is resistant to turning based effects. In addition, it is immune to polymorph or shape altering effects/spells. As both an undead and a construct, diseases and related effects do not harm this creature. Likewise, it does not eat, sleep, drink or breath… save for the dependence on blood. However, being exposed to a vampire weakness or to lightning damage requires it to make a Constitution saving throw (DC 10). Failure results in the machine shutting down and the vampire entering a comatose state for 1 round.
Regeneration. The vampire regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sun light or running water. lf the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn .
Spider Climb. The vampire can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
Vampire Weaknesses. The vampire has the following flaws:
- The vampire can’t enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants,
- Harmed by Running Water. The vampire takes 20 acid damage if it ends its turn in running water.
- Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire’s heart while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed. If impaled through other means, it will not cause paralysis.
- Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.
Multiattack. The vampire makes three attacks, only one of which can be a needle bite attack.
Grappling Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) piercing damage and the target is grabbed. The DC for an escape action is 16. Its arms can grapple up to 6 targets.
Needle Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one willing target, or a target that is grappled by the vampire, incapacitated, or restrained. Hit: 18 (4d6 + 4) piercing damage plus 14 (4d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the vampire regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. However, they must make one final Constitution saving throw (DC16) upon death. Upon success, the body begins to dissolve into a disgusting necrotic sludge. Upon failure, the creature who dies from that attack rises as a vampire spawn one night later.
Surgical Laser. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, ranged 40ft./80ft., one target. Hit: 14 (3d6 + 4) laser** damage.
NOTE: What about creatures that get inside the tank? Well, this is simple. Treat the vampire as a Vampyr in terms of attacks (in vampire form) when dealing with creatures that somehow get inside the machine. Particularly cruel DMs might have the monster go back to full hit points and use the Vampyr stats when the construct portion is slain.
Medium undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 8
Hit Points 30 (4d8 + 12)
Speed 20 ft.
STR 13 (+1), DEX 6 (-2), CON 17 (+3), INT 7 (-2), WIS 8 (-1), CHA 6 (-2)
Saving Throws Wis +1
Damage Immunities radiation*, poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8
Languages understands the languages it knew in life but can’t speak
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Healing Factor. When starting its turn within a radioactive zone, the zombie gains 3 (1d4 + 1) cumulative hit points for each level of radiation its in.
Irradiated. The zombie is contaminated by radioactive contents. It emits a small field of radiation as a result. Creatures that start their turn within 5ft. of the zombie must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 13) or take 4 (1d8) radiation* damage. Furthermore, creatures who have received radiation damage have their maximum hit point value reduced by the amount of that type taken. Creatures whose maximum hit points are reduced to 0 or killed by radiation damage return as radioactive zombies 1d4 rounds later.
Turn Immunity. The zombie is immune to effects that turn undead.
Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage + 3 (1d6) radiation* damage.
Creatures that are reanimated in this manner gain the following traits:
- -10ft. speed (to a minimum of 10ft.)
- -4 Dexterity (to a minimum of 6), All Mental Stats reduced by -6 (to a minimum of the above)
- Slam attack (deals 1d6 bludgeoning + 1d6 radiation)
- Immunity to Poisoned Condition and Poison Damage, as well as Radiation (and by proxy, necrotic and radiant)
- Undead Fortitude
*radiation damage is treated as either necrotic or radiant damage
** laser damage is treated as either fire or lightning damage
Image Credit: Vampire – Saindoo
Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media. Spelljammer and Planescape are owned by TSR/Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro.