Thunder Monkeys and Other Remarkable Beasts for Your D&D Campaign

How magic interacts with the world is often a defining space in Dungeons & Dragons. In the Forgotten Realms magic, whether arcane or divine, exists as 5th edition defines it. In Eberron magic is instead something that is common, fueling the themes of steampunk and noir with orcs and elves. Dark Sun goes the opposite direction. Magic there is not just limited. Magic continues the ecological disaster that mars the world.

In the World of the Everflow magic burst forth onto the world in two awakenings. The first, explored mostly through short fiction and table narration gave the Kin (People of Love) a single cantrip, all of them. The second awakening brought the ability to cast spells to certain Kin and saw the return of the Ken (People of Knowledge) and Kon (People of Technology) to the shores of the Six Kingdoms.

As my worldspace, and the associated tales continuing to develop, the thought popped into my head “What happened to the animals during the Awakening?” Throughout known time the Kin were always bonded with companions (initial rules). With the bond between beast and person so strong, did some beasts get small magics?

The answer is yes.

And so the Thunder Monkey became a reality in the World of the Everflow.

Photo by Arindam Raha on Pexels.com

The mechanics are fairly simple. The Thunder Monkey can cast Thunderclap once per short rest. They can also use the first bullet point from Thaumaturgy at will. All other stats are like the basic version of a baboon with minor tweaks that you feel are appropriate. This spectacular beast is rare within the Six Kingdoms, mostly in Douad, a mostly Mediterranean feeling space.

A character, player or non-player, with a Thunder Monkey becomes more notable and memorable.

Combining mundane beasts with other cantrips can lead to other fun combinations.

  • Lightning Lure Bugs are giant wasps without a stinger, but instead the ability to cast Lightning Lure and Dancing Lights making them useful in a conflict or able to help light the darkness.
  • Flapping Foxes are fennec foxes that cast Gust with the breeze originating from their big ears.
  • Pointers are tracking dogs able to cast True Strike as they direct their companion where the target is.
  • Slinging Spiners are porcupines that cast Sword Burst flinging more spines than their body carries.
  • Fixin’ Friends are spiders that cast Mending, using their silk to fix what is broken.
  • Tidings Birds are pigeons with the ability to cast Encode Thoughts, carrying messages throughout the town.
  • Savage Mousers are housecats with cast Primal Savagery, their normal painful non-damaging bites now capable of felling a threat.

These remarkable companions are practically limitless. The damage dealing cantrips (probably Guidance and True Strike as well) at just 1 per short rest will not create any sort of imbalance on any world. Others can be more frequent, likely at 2 or 3 ties a short rest, so that they are used but do not overshadow the players.

Every cantrip and every beast is an opportunity to expand the stories you are telling through the use of magic. The 1,000 times a thousands tales available at the table, not just at low levels.

What will be the first remarkable beast your character meets?

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