My Dad’s Monster Manual – Beholder

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A couple weeks back I tweeted this:

I got such a great response from the tweet, that I decided to ask my father if he would do it. Great news! He’s on board. Today I’m going to tell you what he thinks of the beholder in a little preview for My Dad’s Monster Manual.

Idea of My Dad’s Monster Manual

I know it seems like My Dad’s Monster Manual is an excuse to make some weird dad jokes (and on some level, it totally will be), but the idea behind the book is a little deeper. D&D is filled with art of original creatures that make even the most seasoned fantasy nerds unfamiliar with the game scratch their head and think “What is that?” Sure they likely recognize the art of dragons and vampires, but show a Lord of the Rings fanatic unfamiliar with D&D lore a beholder or a bulette and watch as they ponder the possibilities of the unkown.

One creature image could evoke three different stories if shown to three different people who knew nothing about the monster depicted. Suddenly you would have three new uses for your aboleth miniature and a zillion ideas for new adventures! Much of the art in the Monster Manual shows only the creature with nothing to compare for size, so you could end up with baseball-sized beholders (as my father described them). You could rewrite many creatures in the Monster Manual just by chatting with someone unfamiliar. I really wanted to explore this idea with one of the best storytellers I have ever known.

A Bit About My Dad

My father, while not a D&D aficionado like me, does enjoy fantasy. He’s the one who introduced me to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as a kid. This is the person who, along with my mother, sister, and brother, instilled a love of storytelling in me. Pop (as I call my dad) was always ready to give a fantastic made-up answer about what’s happening in an illustration or with a toy when I was a kid. He’s still great at it today with his grandchildren.

All this is to say, my dad is pretty great at making crap up. His answers about what a creature’s lore and abilities are deep, fun, and imaginative. There won’t be many creatures simply named “Bear Guy” or “Squid Face McGee” in My Dad’s Monster Manual.

It’s also important you know my dad’s background because he does know what some things in the Monster Manual are based on his experiences with genre fiction. Dragons, orcs, goblins, and a few other obvious creatures like mummies and vampires, are out based on the fact that he knows what those are. Similarly, if he happens to get a creature’s lore and abilities mostly correct, I’ll likely leave that on the cutting room floor too. Nobody needs a death dog simply renamed to be a killer canine.

So without further ado, I present to you my father’s version of a beholder.

The images I showed my father.

Cryon (Beholder)

Their locomotion is that they roll. They pull with their eye arms, and they roll.

-Lucian J. Introcaso

Cryons pull their round, lumpy bodies with their eyestalks into areas of cover to search for small prey like insects and rodents. The grapefruit-sized aberrations also like to hide in wait to see if passersby fall for their latest pranks.

The skin of a cryon might be black, blue, brown, green, pink, purple, or any combination of these colors. Male cryons, called cryptos, have four eyestalks, while females, called cryptions, have ten.

Asteroid Riders. The planet cryons inhabited was torn asunder by an unknown phenomenon, but the aberrations endured on the pieces of that celestial body that now float through space. When one of these meteorites crashes on a new world, the cryons roll out and claim the surrounding land as their territory.

Cryons make their homes in the craters where their meteorites landed and can survive in any environment provided they have enough prey. The only reason cryons move out of their craters is because they have no nearby food sources or another creature removes what’s left of their meteorite from the crater. The aberrations are naturally drawn to their meteorites and willing to risk their lives to get back this piece of their old planet.

Dense Pranksters. Nothing amuses a cryon like a good prank, though they lack intelligence, so what seems like a hilarious goof to them is often at best uninspired and at worst deadly for the tricked creature. The aberrations are not smart enough to perform elaborate pranks or set complex traps. A joke that is immature or simple can make a cryon roll with laughter for minutes. Jumping out hiding to scare someone else, hiding excrement in a place where another creature might step in it, biting a creature that least suspects it, creating a hidden tripping or falling hazard, or leading another creature into the den of a more powerful predator are all classic examples of a cryon prank.

The little aberrations have a psionically infectious laugh. When a cryon laughs, it often causes nearby creatures, including other cryons, to collapse with giggles.

Cryons do not prank each other. They watch the area around their craters carefully for unsuspecting victims. Most cryons cannot take what they dish out and react violently to being the butt of another creature’s joke.

Little Carnivores. Cryons take true pleasure in hunting and eating food. Many hunt and eat as a pleasurable pastime, even if they have already consumed their fill. Their prey generally consists of birds, insects, and rodents, but if it is starving, a pack of cryons hunt any creature they can find no matter the size. There is one exception: cryons never willingly harm another cryon.

Loyal to Other Cryons. Cryons have an innate loyalty toward one another even if they have never met. The little creatures often hunt and pull pranks together in packs. Their communities have no leaders as cryons always get along with and respect one another. Woe to adventurers who capture or harm one of these aberrations as nearby cryons always retaliate with swift ferocity.

Space Survivor. Cryons do not need air to breathe and can survive in outer space without any special equipment.

Cryon

Tiny aberration, chaotic neutral


Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points  4 (1d4 + 2)

Speed  30 ft.


STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
6 (-2)15 (+2)14 (+2)5 (-3)12 (+1)8 (-1)

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +6, Survival +3

Condition Immunities prone

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive perception 13

Languages Deep Speech

Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)


Pack Tactics. The cryon has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the cryon’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Actions

Multiattack. The cryon makes one eyestalk attack and one bite attack.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Eyestalk. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Infectious Laugh. The cryon laughs wildly and wiggles its body in a hilarious manner. Each creature within 5 feet of the cryon that can see and hear it must succeed on a DC 9 Wisdom saving throw or fall into fits of laughter, falling prone and unable to stand up until the end of the cryon’s next turn.

What Do You Think?

So how did Pop do? Let me know in the comments below. If this is popular, there might be sequels in the works like My Niece’s Guide to Monsters and My Nephew’s Tome of Foes.

Help Me Playtest

Want to playtest the cryon and any other critters my father creates? Sign up here. If you playtest these monsters, you’ll get a free PDF of the product and your name in the credits.

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