Tomb of Beasts 3 from Kobold Press came out. Here’s the 5 monsters that caught my eye for your roleplaying game.
- Rapscallion. I’m not certain whether it’s the most clever name for one of the onion folk known as Alliumites — or if it was a pun the designers could no longer resist using. This dapper CR 2 swashbuckler swings from vines and has a thorny rapier, swiped from a rose bush, no doubt.The Alliumites is one of a class of creatures Kobold Press does so well in all its monster books that help GMs in building world outside standard Tolkienesque fantasy. In this case, if you wish to run a Watership Down or Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH style of adventure, with anthropomorphized characters surviving perils in backyard gardens or in nearby woods. Sprinkled throughout KP monster books are small mammals that can serve as adversaries or character templates.
- Death Worm. Look past the name for this CR 1 creature that is electrified and focus on this tidbit from its lore: they might or might not be the larval form of the dreaded behir. Now we have utility, tying it to an existing creature, and hopefully, spark in the GM the kind of encounter building that is both clever and horrific.
Plus, it’s a monstrous worm. And anyone interested in running an Age of Worms-style campaign should know that’s another world-building genre KP has done a fine job of planting several markers in the earth for.
- Dokkaebi. For starters, this weird looking fey merits attention simply because of Bryan Syme’s illustration. Or is it because this CR 2 agent of chaos carries a magic rod it calls a Bangmangi? Or maybe it’s their magic hat? No, it’s the club. Either way, if you as a GM feel your game is getting a little stale, just drop this weird little fella into your game and you’ll see what percolates.
- Thursir Hearth Priestess. Here’s another petal on the flower of world-building KP has planted. The thursir are KP’s take on Norse-inspired giants, metalworkers and pillagers. Over the years, KP has been sprinkling new types of thursir in their products, making sure they are relatively mid-level adversaries so parties don’t have to wait until they are super-powerful, which is the case with other giants in the ruleset.
This hearth-priestess is a much-needed addition. At CR 4, she uses her powers or protection and blessing to support the other thursir, and counter any magic the player characters might be employing.
- Swarm of Gryllus. Here’s a monster after my dearest heart. My own mother worked for years for the children’s magazine Cricket, which carries on the tradition of having its mascot appear in the margins offering commentary. (Gryllus is Latin for cricket.) So, medieval illustrations used to be dotted with drawings in the margins — even monks get bored, I suppose — and these drawings include anthropomorphized crickets, armed rabbit and giant snails, as well as knights and other characters. In KP’s hands, the marginalia become animated and attack when they feel the book they inhabit is in danger, usually “going for the knees!” The cry the Gryllus make when an opponent is felled is absolutely priceless.