A Very Reaper Halloween
Halloween is just around the bend and as a Dungeon Master, I must consider Halloween a sacred day to celebrate monsters. Without monsters there are no valiant heroes slaying monsters, just a bunch of dopes standing around in shiny armor with nothing to do.
Some of the cooler and weirder monsters in D&D lore can be found in the adventure module White Plume Mountain. Originally released all the way back in 1979 for the very first edition of the game, it is considered one of the greatest dungeons of all time. It's been updated for every edition of D&D, most recently via The Tales from the Yawning Portal book. Someday I'd love to run it with a full suite of painted miniatures to represent all the monsters within. This halloween I continue that quest with the addition of some sea-lions to my miniatures.
Those are half-seal and half-lion by the way. Very different from your traditional Sealion.
You may notice in that picture some candy. That isn't from my own stockpile of Halloween treats, Reaper actually sent me candy with my order. Not only that but I got two freebie bonus minis. One is an undead champion looking fellow and the other a female elf wizard. Both are kitted out in some rather highish level looking gear. Free miniatures AND free candy? That's how you build brand loyalty, I don't remember any other companies ever sending me candy. Not bad!
Continuing on with the monster theme, I've been running into some trouble with my long running Princes of the Apocalypse campaign. You see the players are getting rather competent and their characters rather high level. After their last session they hit level 11. What is a dungeon master to do? Call in back up from your friends at Kobold Press.
The Tome of Beasts is a 3rd party supplement put out by Kobold Press with a whole host of new monsters for your campaign. A lot of those are higher CRs so this isn't a book I'd recommend to people just starting out. But! Eventually players catch on or spend too much time reading the Monster Manual on their own, or perhaps are DMs themselves. The Tome of Beasts gives you a new arsenal to keep those PCs on their toes.
In fact, the reason my players got to level 11 is because they managed to take down the Flame Dragon from this very book. It took the place of the most powerful creature the Fire Cult could muster in the Princes of the Apocalypse game and not only did they report having a ton of fun fighting it - but I had a ton of fun almost wiping out the party with it.
I also picked up the new iteration of the Dungeon Master's screen put out by Wizards of the Coast. I haven't had much time to go over the differences between the two yet, but I'll have my thoughts on those two screens along with some ideas about using a DM screen in general in a lengthier upcoming post.
Until then, Happy Halloween and good gaming!