Therianthropes! – A Collection of Werebeasts for D&D 5th Edition

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Hey, ghosts and ghoulies!  Doc is back at it again!  This time around, I have an assortment of werebeasts at your disposal.  The document includes new content including: a werebeast never posted on the blog, new NPCs inspired by each animal stock, cleaned up versions of two previously existing sub-classes and more!

You may find the document HERE!

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Horrors from Durlag’s Tower – Monster Variants

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We don’t go to Durlag’s Tower.

 

Durlag’s Tower, an abandoned dungeon that sends shivers down the spines of many.  For some, it’s a cautionary tale about love, obsession and paranoia.  For others, it’s a giant grave that acts as a memento for dwarven kind.  For some, it’s the ultimate treasure trove that’s just waiting to be explored!  Eternally notorious for a variety of reasons, this accursed place rests a distance from both Beregost and Nashkel.  If traps aren’t the cause of death, the terrible monsters that lurk in the depths likely are.  Or worse yet?  It could the party’s very vices that lead to their own downfall.  Needless to say, the only people that would explore such dangerous ruins have a death wish.

Author’s Note: The Adventurer’s League has recently released an adventure inspired by the classic Durlag’s Tower dungeon from the Forgotten Realms… but more specifically, Baldur’s Gate.  So, I figure, what better time to revive some of the classic monsters from the original dungeon!  Granted, most of them were easy to build variants of classic/existing monsters already in 5E.  So, without further ado, enjoy!  Also, pardon this one being a bit sparse, I’ll post something for the weekend too, I promise!

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Swinefolk – A “Porc” Race for D&D 5th Edition

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Hardy Hogs of Arcadia

In olden days, they were called the “Pigmen”.  More often than not, they were mistaken for another fearsome race known as “The Orcs”.  While Orcs were born from natural means and from a different reality entirely, Swinefolk were created by the Arcadians as sturdy infantry for war.  These creatures were bred to charge into foes, goring them with their tusks; all while sustaining incredible amounts of damage.  Like many of the beastkin that dwell in the material realm, many broke away from Arcadia; whether from imperial campaigns or out of rebellion.  Built much like their wild ancestors, these creatures are brute ferocity incarnate.  While not too threatening from afar, the Swinefolk are known to brashly charge into their floes and slam them with their deadly tusks.  They are also skilled at combat and are a challenge to down.  While stocky and often foul tempered, they are able to endure suffering like few other creatures can.

Warring Clans, Brutal Combatants

Contemporary swinefolk tend to be divided among two societies, the natural dwelling truffleroot caste and the imperial-minded sylvan caste.  The former cares little about outside politics, focusing on their own societies.  This can range from ensuring survival to slight self-indulgence.  More often then not, they just prefer to be left alone and to their own devices at that.  While they’re curious about new developments in the world around them, they tend to be apathetic to trends and popularity in general.  While they tend to be the more mellow of the two societies, they can still be angered quite easily.  The latter was built upon spreading fear and servitude to the dark fae… or at least their newer societies have taken inspiration from this.  In a sense, these ‘pigmen’ are closer to how many portray another creature called “The Orc”.  In fact, it has earned them the nickname of “Porc” as a result.  But, best be warned, using that nickname around this breed of swinefolk is a good way to provoke violence.  The fact that these creatures have arrived to the material realm recently has made this distinction all the more apparent.  While the Sylvan get along with the Orcs, the Truffleroot have come to dislike them immensely.

Even among the swinefolk themselves, there is a lot of anger and aggression.  The two split factions often but heads whenever they meet, almost literally.  Their civil war is endless and tireless, as is their hatred for each other.  While some have escaped the politics of both factions, said politics still have a habit of catching up to them.  Many adventurers have taken a roll as emissary or representative for either faction; while others seek out adventuring out of pure rebellion.  For some, adventuring is a means of escape and independence.  For other more harshly minded swinefolk, it’s a means of assembling a new faction to crush the other two.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This started as a pun for April Fool’s Day that never got fleshed out beyond a bad pun…  So, yeah.  Anyway, I wanted to come back to said “POrc” race and actually make it something.  I’m not fully content with it, so I might change it up a bit later.  Until then, playable big pig things!

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Goatfolk – A High Dwelling race for D&D 5th Edition

“A Beast?  A Fiend?  I’ll show you both…”

 “I’ve seen it, a spawn of the Demon Prince of Beasts!  It walked like a man, but looked like a goat.  The creature carried strange sorceries upon them too, like nothing of this world.  Surely, there must be more…” – A traveler’s encounter with a fiendish-goatfolk warlock.

Born from the Planes

Many rumors have spread of a race of beastly creatures born from demons.  They have prominent goat features and walk upright, with a strange speech that’s a cross of humanoid and animal.  In truth, the origins of these creatures have nothing to do with fiends at all, but the fair folk or the fae.  The ever dubious and tricky denizens of the wyld plane are known for creating strange things on a whim, sometimes using outside creatures mutate into new ones.  The goatfolk is one such case.  During a fight between the unseelie and fiendish powers, warped goat-like creatures known as “hooved horrors” were unleashed as infantry forces for the fiends.  For the most part, the creatures were vanquished.  Those that were captured were used by the fey for experiments.  Most of them had their fiendish corruption purged as they were made into protectors of the Wyld Plane.  However, some still had a lingering fiendish essence that festered and manifested in later generations.

Swift and Athletic

The Goatfolk tend to dwell in steep crags, harsh mountaintops and rocky hills.  Many are adept at jumping about the otherwise dangerous surfaces.  As such, they value dexterity and maneuverability as important skills within their society.  Ironically, their strange hoof-like fingers make them less likely to train in ranged weapons.  However, those who have had success with such weapons are regarded as near-royalty.  For those who aren’t disposed towards weapons, sorcery is more than common upon the goat people.  This is likely the result of their distant underworld heritage, though the tampering of the fey could have caused a magical awakening all the same.  However, magic users are seen as eccentric and strange within much goatfolk culture.  Many see it as an unnecessary oddity, especially when physical prowess is held in such high regards.  Some even see it as cheating one’s way to power or improving themselves artificially.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: GOATS!  Sure, the connections to devils and the like was a bit easy, but I wanted to roll with it as a player option.  I guess it fits under the anti-hero category because of that, but whatever.  To be fair, this started as a variant tiefling option… which is also below.  Also, I guess I owe a minor apology to the many people who wanted content that could translate into Undertale… especially when I either didn’t deliver or was crabby about it.  (In short, I’m not a fan of Undertale.  I just couldn’t get into it.)  No matter, here’s my early Crimbo present to you!  Or should I say, Merry Krampus!

But yes, come for the goat race, stay for the Tiefling options!

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Werebeasts – Savage Shapeshifters for D&D 5th Edition

UPDATE: You can get the updated version of this via DM’s Guild!  Zoanthropes – A Collection of Werebeasts is available now!

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The gang’s all here!

“I saw them as they left the citadel, they were covered in blood and they cackled about some noble family they had slain.  I figured they were mad assassins…  that was, until they emerged in the full moon’s light.  In an instant, they contorted and morphed into all sorts of vermin!  They raised their heads in dark tribute to some sinister master before finishing their transfiguration into the accursed things.  I’ve heard tales of witches and warlocks making dark pacts to gain animalistic power… sometimes spreading the curse to the most innocent of souls.  Fortunately, they didn’t notice me observing from a ramshackle shack nearby or they simply didn’t care…”

– A farmer’s account of unspecified werebeasts emerging from a murder.

Long have we come to fear nature, it is pervasive and will reclaim all that we abandon.  It cares not for our petty morality.  It exists outside of our constantly changing and growing societies.  If we are lost within it, there is a good chance we’ll never be seen again.  But, while those fears are relevant, the fear of nature speaks to something within us… something primal.  The fear of the inner beast is exemplified no better than the shapeshifting horror, the lycanthrope.

While the name is a big misnomer, the lycanthrope is a sinister beast that masquerades as a normal person during the day.  As the night falls, they begin to hunt down the very people they interacted with before by shifting into one of many beasts.  No one is completely sure why they do this.  Perhaps dark spirits of nature beckon and control victims into attacking civilization.  Maybe they are corrupted worshipers of the old ways who desire to tear down boundaries between society and the wild.  Maybe they’re just shape changers who went completely mad.  No is sure for certain, for those who have survived an attack eventually become one of the monsters themselves.  One thing is certain is that entire cults have been built up around werebeasts, revering dark gods such as Malar the Beastlord; a deity originally hailing from Abeir-Toril’s universe.

Scholars have pondered what type of changing beasts exist in the world.  Beyond a list of common creatures, there are rarer and newer beings emerging from the untamed darkness.  These creatures are based on an assortment of other animal stock, sparsely mentioned or researched by archivists and monster hunters.  Recently, brave souls and madmen alike have unnerved new types of werebeasts based on various stocks.  Some of these animal stocks seem to affect different races disproportionately.  For example, wereweasels have a strange habit of once being halflings, while werebadgers had once been dwarves.

Author’s Note:  Halloween season has returned to Daemons & Deathrays a little early this year!  I figured I’d start by converting some of the stranger therianthropic nasties across other editions and various settings.  Not to mention, create some new NPCs based on existing types.  With the Wereraven officially released in Curse of Strahd, that’s one less creature I need to stat up myself.  On another note, Werewolf the Apocalypse may have had something to do with this.  Whether it’s nostalgia or my unashamed love of Classic World of Darkness, but I just can’t hate that game… even if it’s filled with stupid (and borderline tasteless) nonsense.  With that, have some more werebeasties!  Also, you can find my werebat here, from last year!!

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GIANTS – Massive Humanoids for D&D 5th Edition

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The very word “giant” evokes fear and admiration.  In fact, the creatures known as giants practically invented new definitions for the word, in response to their incredible size.  Giants are titan-like beings born of the world in some manner.  They are raw forces given some manner of thought. One giant alone is an engine of destruction, capable of razing several lands in its wake.  To some giants, we are merely insignificant insects that act as an obstacle to our goals.  They have no inherent malice towards us, we’re just annoying to them.  The Church of the Cosmic Colossal preaches these values, proclaiming that Giants are Cosmic Entities that are far superior to other Material Plane creatures.

To some researchers, they are the first beings who emerged from a lifeless world of nothingness and chaos.  Some even say that they sculpted the world as we know it today.  To some, they’re early creations of the Gods that were in time rejected in favor of the smaller folk.  Perhaps they were once humans who embraced incredible energies of the planes, thus being transformed into massive beings of power.  Like many theories surrounding various creatures, they’re not totally conclusive or have too much evidence to support their truths.  All that is known is that each giant holds their own origin stories and epic tales.  Lest you be a fool, never challenge them on their mythologies.

Author’s Note: GIANTS!  I figured I’d write at least one tie-in to Storm King’s Thunder while the module was still relevant.  Since I’m not as into it as I was with Curse of Strahd, this post won’t likely be expanded into a theme of any sort.  No matter, I wanted to convert some classic giants to D&D 5e and this was my excuse to do so!  In fact, many of these come from some of my favorite settings.  In addition, I converted a giant that was made for a 3E campaign eons ago.  Enjoy.

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Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 4) – Pre-Existing Monsters and Custom Stuff

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“I want to get off Barrier Peaks’ Wild Ride.”

Much of the art of conversion can be much more simple than one thinks.  Minimalism is something I’ve been meaning to toy with, as well as looking at my previously available options.  With that, here’s a list of existing monsters to modify for the adventure as well as creatures that already exist in some capacity.  Enjoy!

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