What was the first monster you ever faced in Dungeons & Dragons? What was the first monster that killed one of your beloved player characters? You probably still remember both of those, right?
Why do we remember the in-game monsters we face off against, down to gritty, visceral detail?
Maybe because the monsters we face in any tabletop roleplaying game awaken primal responses in our brains. The foes we face are some of the most memorable, enigmatic, and popular elements of any Dungeons & Dragons session or campaign. They represent danger, possible death, and the promise of glory or treasure—and they hold a special place in our hearts and memories.
Are you ready to take your love for monsters to the next level? Then the Kobold Press Creature Codex is the perfect book for you.
There are many incredible sources for monsters for 5th Edition outside of the core Monster Manual. For starters, there are Kobold books like the Tome of Beasts, Tome of Beasts 2, and the Book of Lairs.
But today, we’re going to talk about the Creature Codex and what it brings to the very fabric of a 5e monster.
The Creature Codex has 424 pages bursting with over 350 new monsters for 5th Edition, and all of them can be used in any published or homebrew setting.
Let’s focus on the demon lords and storm lords from the Creature Codex and explore ways to use them in your game—complete with story inspiration questions and adventure seeds.
The Creature Codex boasts four demon lords complete with lair actions and regional effects that suit them. A brief description of each with challenge rating (CR):
Chemosh: the Lord of Conquest is a 30-foot-tall, shark-headed humanoid covered in crimson scales. (CR 19)
Chittr’k’k: the demon lord of rats isa foul, contemplative, partly-humanoid rat creature with large, red eyes. (CR 13)
Rangda: the demon lord of witches is a giant, horrifically-clawed, elderly woman with a twisted smile behind a horrifying, fanged mask. (CR17)
Typhon: the Father of Monsters and Master of the Lamias is a towering creature of nightmarish composition. His humanoid upper half rests on a set of twin tails. Enormous leathery wings sprout form his shoulders. (CR 22)
Each demon lords would be a perfect regional threat in your next campaign. The key is that you don’t reveal who the party is dealing with right away.
If your party is higher level, you can advance the conflict quickly. However, if your party is lower level, start with ripple effects caused by this demon lord.
Choose a demon lord that fits the theme of your game. Then, use the regional effects from that demon lord’s stat block as cluesthe party can investigate to find out who they’re dealing with. Beyond that, the regional effects from the demon lord stat blocks are also great for adventureseeds.
For example, one regional effect from Chemosh is, “No creature on the Bloodstained Sea can willingly retreat or call a truce.”
Story Inspiration Questions
The Bloodstained Sea is a layer of the Abyss. But what if this jet-black, infinite ocean seeped into the Material Plane somehow? How would Material Plane residents be affected? Who wishes to see the Abyss spill through? A cult of Chemosh? Do they even have Chemosh’s attention? Is this Chemosh himself? If so, why?
Recent history has seen more bloody skirmishes and naval battles than anyone can remember in [region from your game]. There are whispers of dark magic, and perhaps even demons, but you won’t know for sure unless you investigate yourself.
The Creature Codex also features elemental storm lords (CR 13), violent sea kings native to the Plane of Water that war constantly over territory and pride. They often command lesser elementals in battles against any who intrude from other planes.
In rare instances, storm lords leave the Plane of Water, especially if they suffer a perceived sleight. Additionally, some leave their home plane to deliver hurricanes and elemental tempests.
An elemental storm lord that leaves the Plane of Water and enters the plane where your adventuring party is could be an epic event that demands their attention!
If your party is higher level, perhaps they can treat with the storm lord personally. If your party is lower level, present them with the mounting challenges that a moving, foul-tempered maelstrom in the region would bring to the common folk.
Story Inspiration Questions
Why has this storm lord left the Plane of Water? Is there a wrong or sleight they seek amends for? If so, who is responsible, and what is it? Is it justified or a misunderstanding? Is this storm lord here to serve up a greater elemental tempest or hurricane?
A storm lord slowly stalks the coast of [town, city, or region from your game]. The tempest that surrounds them batters boats, buildings, and people. Those on the shore need assistance and the realm is in dire need of anyone who can calm this foul-tempered elemental.
“Peerless lords” describes these monsters because each is powerful and individual in its style and tone, bringing an entirely different mood to your game. The key to scaling these monumental threats for any game is to decide at what tier your party can be the most helpful.
Let’s use the storm lord to explore how each tier of play can interact with a threat of that level.
- Local Heroes (levels 1–4): protect local trade routes and investigate missing people from flooding.
- Heroes of the Realm (levels 5–10): meet with the local government to make plans, rescue a town from a tidal wave.
- Masters of the Realm (level 11–17): attempt to gain an audience with the storm lord personally, stop a mounting, massive hurricane.
- Masters of the World (level 17–20): cross over into the Plane of Water to solve matters, discover and battle an extraplanar threat that incited this event.
Demon lords and storm lords only scratch the surface of the Creature Codex and the marvelous monsters within. In part two, we’ll discuss more peerless monsters from the book and unexpected ways to use them.
Also, did you know that Kobold Press has made quite a name for itself in the tabletop roleplaying game industry with its monster books? If you’re looking for more monsters, add these books to your collection:
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