Guest Blog: The Kobold King’s Tour of Tome of Beasts II

The Roll20 Team

The Roll20 Team


At Kobold Press, we know our monsters—and the Tome of Beasts II Compendium expansion for 5th Edition D&D on Roll20 contains a true menagerie of beasts. It checks all the boxes, from the creatures of the Void to demons, undead, and dungeon crawlers. Frankly, we’ve stuffed this book __too __full of monsters to fully describe here.

To give you a sense of what’s in this compendium, I’d like to focus on three elements that are well represented in this book; arctic monsters, backers’ monsters, and fantastic familiars and animals.

Friends for Frost Maidens

This first category was born from, honestly, a stroke of luck. While considering themes for Tome of Beasts II, I realized that wintry-flavored monsters could be a nice counterpoint to the desert and jungle themes featured in the first Tome of Beasts. So we commissioned more than 30 of them, from the CR 1⁄4 harefolk to the CR 24 ancient boreal dragon to the CR 5 ice elemental and snow giant. It’s a great expansion for any winter-themed adventure and any adventure set in Icewind Dale—these are monsters that will surprise and confound players who think they know it all.

Backer Monsters, Strange and Glorious

One fun element of any Kobold Press monster book is the crazy selection of backer monsters we include in these pages. As always, the competition is brutal to get a monster written and included in the book. This time, backers’ monsters include the chameleon hydra, the ice bogie, and the Conjoined Queens. The latter is a compelling fusion of human and insectoid horror, and trust me: It’s horrifying.

My personal favorite, though, is the snake with 100 mage hands. But I don’t need to describe it—just look at that art!

While not every one of these monsters will suit every taste, they bring a ton of variety, high-fantasy strangeness, and just plain fun to the game. Tome of Beasts II’s backer monsters span a wide range of challenge ratings and game design styles, and they bring rich troves of D&D flavor. We can’t wait for you to discover these new voices.

Familiars and Fantasy Animals

Finally, small creatures and the everyday magic of fantasy animals are covered in the first appendix of Tome of Beasts II. This includes many new familiars (aviere, some beetles, a blood imp, the compsognathus dinosaur, the keyhole dragonette, the light drake, and more), as well as ordinary and not-so-ordinary animals. The animals really expand the range of everyday encounters and the options for lower-level encounters. Alligator turtles and balloon spiders are a good start, along with leech swarms and giant honeybees. Frost moles and ghoul bats add something sinister and strange to the Northlands and the lightless caverns below the ground.

Then, we get to one of my very favorites in this appendix: the carrier mosquito. Yes, they are what they sound like, and they are no doubt every goblin’s dream flying steed. Getting into the air really changes the equation for goblins who can call such massive insects theirs, and something about a giant mosquito (with all that implies about their attacks) really gets under players’ skins.

This appendix goes to show you: A monster doesn’t have to be a towering dragon or a CR 21 demon lord to be interesting. For my games, the fantasy animals are going to be getting a workout at the table.

So, there you have it! This has been a quick tour of three portions of Tome of Beasts II, highlighting just a few of the ways that it can expand your game and surprise your most monster-savvy players.

If you’ve liked what you’ve seen, make haste—there are new monsters to be had!

Truly a tour fit for Kobold royalty! You can follow Kobold Press on Twitter here, or keep up with Wolfgang here. Support Kobold Press and their Warlock Booklets project here, and head to their website for all sorts of updates.

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