This week we look at a couple of draconic creatures from the odd Monster Manuals. Not "odd" in the sense of "strange" but numerically odd, as in "III" and "V." One of these monsters made its debut in Monster Manual III, while the other was simultaneously designed for inclusion in Night Below as a miniature and in Monster Manual V as a new foe for PCs to fight.
This creature is one of my favorites from Monster Manual III. Its entry in that book inspired the thought of a dracotaur gang lurking around a jungle ruin with a small force of blackscale and poison dusk lizardfolk, which was compelling enough to use as a starting point for a certain recent adventure. The Dracotaur Rager is our second attempt at this particular monster. It was initially slated to bolster the draconic forces of last year's War of the Dragon Queen set, but the first iteration didn't really work out. This one is much better, capturing the pose from its MM illustration. While it is a Rare miniature, I hope that won't stop people from trying to assemble a group of three or four, because group encounters with these critters can be pretty interesting.
As if Chaotic Evil didn't have enough mid-40s options, the Dracotaur Rager sits at the same cost as Unhallowed's Large Black Dragon. Its three attacks provide similar overall damage output (against AC 20 and not counting crits, the Black does about 29 points of damage per round, while the Rager's initial average is 29.25). If the Dracotaur can stick around after it drops to half hit points, however, it gets a 33% increase in raw damage potential thanks to its Rage ability. Still, the big draw for the Rager is the auto-damage provided by its Spit Fire ability, which it can swiftly use to drop 15 fire damage on a nearby target.
One of our goals for D&D Miniatures expansions is to try to align some of the set with RPG books that release near the same time. Sometimes we do this well, and other times we might appear less well-coordinated. It really has to do with the variances in production times between minis and book products. This summer, we'll get some intentional synergy between Night Below and Monster Manual V, which are both slated for a July release. As a result, you'll note that four monsters appear in both products.
The first of those four is the Greenspawn Zealot, a creature that extends the Spawn of Tiamat family first introduced in Monster Manual IV (spawn-haters can rejoice that it's the only dragonspawn in MMV, I suppose). This particular spawn is on a zealous crusade to persuade all D&D players that Tiamat's children should not be ridiculed or mocked, and they are a force to be reckoned with! His crusade extends into the D&D world, where the Zealots are Tiamat's commissars, ensuring a proper level of devotion within the ranks of her armies.
The Zealot in the skirmish game brings a singular focus. More specifically, it singles out a creature type and gains a +10 bonus to damage against any creatures of that type. It also provides a morale boost to nearby dragonspawn, and its zealotry lets it reroll a missed saving throw. Some players may look at its slightly slow speed and moderate level and relegate it to play only in Limited games, but a clever person might spend some effort creating an army of dragonspawn, all bolstered by the presence of a Zealot or two.
I'm not yet done with new Monster Manual madness -- look forward to next week and a few more things you've not seen before!
About the Author
Stephen Schubert is a Developer for RPG R&D and has been involved in many facets of the D&D product line. He's recently been Lead Developer for the upcoming Monster Manual V, Lead Designer on the Eberron adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen, and he's the Lead Developer for the D&D Miniatures Game.
Now we bring the return of the mystery silhouette. Shown below are all the figures that we'll feature in these previews. Can you guess their identities? Feel free to try!