Welcome to part two of our look at the Creature Codex, using some of the exciting monsters exclusive to its pages.
If you missed part one, find it here. It takes a close look at the demon lords and elemental lords in the Creature Codex and includes ideas for in-game storylines, as well as inspirational brainstorming questions and adventure hook ideas.
Today’s article takes the same approach with animal lords from the Codex.
Before we jump in, let’s take a moment to emphasize that if you don’t own Creature Codex, you’re missing out on 424 pages of top-quality monster madness. These articles explore creative uses of monsters from the book, but truly only scratch the surface.
The Creature Codex includes a heaping amount of unique monster concepts that immediately capture the imagination. Do any of the following monster ideas inspire you? (Just try not to imagine your adventuring party fighting them.)
- Wasteland dragons
- Wasteland dinosaurs
- Flame golem
- Doom golem
- Keg golem
- Hierophant lich (for lower-level characters)
Those are just a few unique monster concepts out of many. If the Creature Codex isn’t a part of your library, I highly encourage you to grab a copy here. (You can also round out your collection with Tome of Beasts I, Tome of Beasts II, and the Book of Lairs.)
Animal lords explore the powerful faith of members of the animal kingdom in your campaign setting. For every type of animal, one creature is the pinnacle among the species. They epitomize the animal’s essence and spirit, and take on a humanoid form to represent their kind in deific matters.
Animal lords have an innate communication with other members of their species, creating a vast network. Some whisper that the animal lords use this information as spymasters, spilling secrets in exchange for this valuable information. Others insist that this ability is mainly used to protect their species, keeping them from harm.
Generally speaking, animal lords watch over their kind and don’t have any formal allegiances to one another. There is also some conflict between animal lords who include themselves in the world of humanoids and those who choose to stay out of it.
The Creature Codex boasts seven animal lords complete with a mix of legendary actions, lair actions, and regional effects that narratively suit them. Here is a brief description of each animal lord followed by their challenge rating (CR).
Bat King: A dark-skinned, masculine figure wears gray robes, with an upturned bat-like nose. He could be mistaken as a scholar or monk with dark hair and a manicured beard. (CR 13)
Brother Ox: At first glance, Brother Ox might appear as a lifelike statue of a minotaur due to his sheer size and massive ox head. Short dark fur covers his muscled body, which is adorned with a simple robe. (CR 16)
Lord of Vultures: This lord might appear as royalty—he’s adorned in fine clothing with a circlet of gold on the brow of his beaked face. A magnificent pair of wings sprout from his dark-skinned back. (CR 12)
Mouse King: The Mouse King appears as a very large mouse (about the size of a dog) and has ashen white fur streaked with dark gray. He has piercing copper eyes and a hairless tail that hangs slack while he stands on two feet. (CR 11)
Queen of Birds: A tall woman with shimmering eyes sprouts brightly-colored wings from her powerful back. Her stern look is accented by her long nose as she wields a spear that surges with lightning. (CR 14)
Queen of Cats: The Queen of Cats first might appear as a lithe, towering woman—if not for the feline head upon her sleek shoulders. Her gleaming green eyes speak of mischief while her curved claws speak of menace. (CR 15)
Queen of Serpents: This powerful woman has stark black, ornately styled hair with a glistening gold tiara nested within it. Her smooth, brown skin is wrapped in a brightly colored cloak emblazoned with the unmistakable markings of a king cobra. (CR 12)
Unique Uses—Animal Lords
Animal lords can be used in many ways in your campaign—it’s just a matter of what sort of conflict you think your game and players would enjoy the most.
Since the animal lords constantly choose whether to involve themselves in humanoid affairs, this can be a great source of conflict for your game. Choose a goal that is important to the players and then either:
- Have an animal lord who directly, vocally opposes the goal, or
- Have an animal lord who shares the same goal and offers to help.
The first option is a source of conflict, but don’t discount the second option too quickly. If an animal lord shares the same goals as your party, simply choose another animal lord who doesn’t. Instant intrigue!
Another unique use of an animal lord is to introduce them into your game, but keep them neutral. Perhaps the adventurers have their attention, but can act to gain allegiance, ire, or continued indifference.
Story Inspiration Questions
Ask these questions to place an animal lord in your game:
- Which animal lord would add the most conflict to your game?
- What could an animal lord get involved with that would cause the most conflict?
- Is there an animal lord that might take interest in actions your party has already taken?
- What urgent matter could stir an animal lord to interfere with the affairs of people?
- What two animal lords are currently in conflict? How does that affect the party?
Some say that one animal lord is using their vast network to spy on and blackmail high-ranking humanoids. Others whisper that the animal lord is doing it to stop a terrible plot. No matter which is true, others among the lords are stirring at the continued interaction. The latest blackmail victim is someone close to the adventuring party.
Kobold Press: Master of Monsters
As you can see from the coverage of demon lords, elemental lords, and animal lords, the Creature Codex isn’t just full of generic monsters. It’s loaded with foes that are loaded with interesting characterization, unique motives, and refreshingly well written lore.
Are you ready to bring your game to the next level with unique monsters? If so, then Kobold Press has you covered. No GM’s library is complete without the following books:
Finally, are you looking for a game to play? The Kobold Chronicles Discord channel handles monthly organized play for Midgard. Find your next game here. We hope you survive whatever monsters you face in your adventures!