The Cailleach Bhéara (or the Blue Hag)

The elder witch of the winds and winters leans on a twisted, bird-headed staff. A monstrous, emaciated fey, it wanders mountain heights and craggy highland moors, reveling in the appetites and agonies of frost and famine. The Blue Hag’s gaunt yet towering frame is draped in rough, woolen shawls and tattered plaids. Its frostbitten skin is the frozen blue of drowned men under the ice, and its single, milky eye glares balefully through a tangle...

Preview of Tome of Beasts: Selang

“Weird, ear-bending harmonies on alien pipes.” Why am I not surprised that Azathoth’s pipers are fey? This monster hates you! Or rather, it loves to bring you pain. (We’re not ready to be a tribute yet!) The selang was designed for mana-blasted wastelands, deep, whispering groves, and stony deserts haunted by ghosts. Ghosts that hate you. And the selang and their pipes are back, as the Tome of Beasts is BACK IN PRINT at...

Preview of Tome of Beasts: Loxoda

There’s a reason why kobold mine entrances are so small. I mean, who wants to get stepped on in their own mine? Is that an ogre? Or an elephant? Yup. Meet the loxoda. They trample, stomp, and maul, and they’re huge. And they come in herds. Huge trampling herds! This was designed by Ryan Shatford with art by Bryan Syme for the Tome of Beasts. Ryan Shatford says, “The loxoda fill a niche for savage, physically powerful yet...

Preview of Tome of Beasts: Rime Worm

Do you know what it’s like to clean up “ice and rotting flesh” from the mines? And nothing ever really gets that smell out. I mean, it just gets in your nose, and you just keep smelling it everywhere you go. Bleccch! As far as guard dogs go, you really can’t beat massive elementals that fling ice and death. And even rime worm grubs are nasty! This  burrowing beastie was updated to 5E for the Tome of Beasts by Jon...

Preview of Tome of Beasts: Mithral Dragon

As we kobolds are fond of joking: “Dragon!!!” But seriously, mithral? Where’s the candy floss dragon? Like staying alive isn’t hard enough already. The mithral dragon spits metal shards. That’s how badass [and completely metal \m/] they are. This  shiny partykiller was originally designed by Mike McArtor and updated to 5E for the Tome of Beasts by Chris Harris with art by Guido Kuip. Chris Harris says,...

Preview of Tome of Beasts: Flab Giant

We kobolds have a saying: “When a giant’s in the mines, workday’s over.” The flab giant is not someone you want to stop and ask directions from. It only wants you for one out of a handful of possible reasons… and none of them are good. This walking mountain was originally designed by Ryan Costello, Jr. and updated to 5E for the Tome of Beasts by Chris Harris with art by Bryan Syme. Chris Harris says, “The...

Howling Tower: Monster Stats, Part 4

This installment, you get a break from graphs and formulas—though not entirely. In honor of Thanksgiving, I had to include some pie charts. Instead of plotting trends, however, this time we count how often certain concepts occur throughout the Monster Manual, to help you get a handle on whether they’re common, uncommon, or rare. Before diving in, understand that the Monster Manual contains 312 monster stat blocks in the main section, 96 animal...

Goref Tamerk, Weresheep of Famine

Come venture into dark and spooky areas with us as we approach one of the best times of the year: Halloween! We will share with you several weresheep over the next few days so that you may introduce them, in turn, to your adventuring group, who might end up a bit…sheepish if they fail to stop these baa-aleful creatures. A ragged man with greasy fur and hyena-like features stands almost 7 ft. tall. Goref Tamerk (gnoll form) CR 15 XP 51,200...

Gromek Palebones, Weresheep of Death

Come venture into dark and spooky areas with us as we approach one of the best times of the year: Halloween! We will share with you several weresheep over the next few days so that you may introduce them, in turn, to your adventuring group, who might end up a bit…sheepish if they fail to stop these baa-aleful creatures. This towering humanoid’s gray skin is ashen and gaunt, and his eyes are sunken into their sockets. He is bedecked in...

Lord Silas Nareshorn, Weresheep of Pestilence

Come venture into dark and spooky areas with us as we approach one of the best times of the year: Halloween! We will share with you several weresheep over the next few days so that you may introduce them, in turn, to your adventuring group, who might end up a bit…sheepish if they fail to stop these baa-aleful creatures. This handsome middle-aged man has shock-white curly hair and large soulful brown eyes. He is dressed in finery fit for...

Monster Philosophy

We’ve been very pleased with the positive reaction to the Tome of Beasts previews, even—maybe even especially—when readers point out places where we’ve added numbers incorrectly or overlooked a modifier. In a few cases, however, readers have called out features as errors that we don’t consider errors at all. Instead, they’re cases where our philosophy about monster design differs a bit from the principles that run through the Monster Manual....

Howling Tower: Monster Stats, Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at ability scores and established a few useful rules for assigning them to monsters of your own design. In this part, we look at Hit Dice and hit points as they relate to challenge rating and extract a few lessons about monster defenses. Hit Dice In the earliest editions of D&D, Hit Dice (HD) were a direct measure of a monster’s toughness. If you knew how many HD a monster had, you knew a third of everything you...

Tome of Beasts: Fantasy Grounds Announcement

Fantasy Grounds Support for Tome of Beasts and Book of Lairs Big news for 5e players on Fantasy Grounds: Kobold Press and Smiteworks LLC are bringing Tome of Beasts and the Book of Lairs to the Fantasy Grounds virtual tabletop! Want to back just the Fantasy Grounds versions? We’re adding three new pledge levels to the Kickstarter: FANTASY GROUNDS BOOK OF LAIRS — $27 All the lairs, with all maps and needed tokens. FANTASY GROUNDS TOME OF BEASTS...

B is for Beasts

When I was a wee lad growing up in a rather Germanic household,the Advent calendar was one of the joys of each year. A picture or a chocolate lay behind each of its 25 little cardboard cutouts, and—because you only opened one per day—the last window in the Advent calendar was always for Christmas. It was a brutal way to learn patience; but hey, at least there was SOMETHING every day until the Christmas carnage arrived. Immediate Gratification...

Monster Monday: Man-Eater

The imposing presence of this lion whose body is crisscrossed by scars is quite unsettling. Man-Eater Lion CR 5     XP 1,600     N Large Animal     Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +13 Aura frightful presence (30 ft., DC 12) Defense     AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +5 natural, –1 size)     hp 32 (5d8+10)     Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2 Immune fear, paralysis, poison, sleep; DR 10/magic; SR 16...


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