Back around 2004 or so, I worked with some of the fine folks over at https://www.enworld.org on an ambitious project to convert a slew of 2nd Edition monsters to 3.5. This project was entirely theirs; I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see the forum post and join in the work as a contributor. It was really fun collaboration project, with the project lead choosing the monsters and providing the original text, and a group of us coming up with ideas on how it would function in the newer edition. This eventually resulted in a full statistics block and a variety of often interesting traits and abilities for role playing and combat. Once the lead signed off on the completed item, we were on to the next monster. My work on that project inspired me to pore over my old 2nd Edition compendiums again, and pull out some old favorites to convert to 3.5 for use in my own campaigns. I ended up converting around 20 monsters myself, in total. Not a large number, looking at it now, but a lot of work went into those monsters by the time I was done, and more were planned that I never had a chance to convert. The work paid off, as most all of my campaign preparation work does, by providing my players with interesting, unusual, and dangerous experiences. Sometimes, all three at once. All of the campaigns I run now are in 5th Edition, so those 3.5 conversions will not be used again as they are. However, I have some fond memories of encounters featuring them, which inspires me to look at 5th Edition conversions next. There have been several 5th Edition monster books and references published, so some of my favorites may already be available in an official capacity. However, there is joy to be found in converting or creating your own monsters, as you can tailor them specifically to your tastes, and to better fit into your chosen world and campaign. --------------- In the 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, the guidelines for creating monsters are covered on pages 273 – 283. The first section after the introduction – titled Modifying a Monster – offers some tips on taking existing 5th Edition monsters and changing them to better fit a desired role. The pages beyond that contain step by step instructions for creating something brand new. Additional information can be found in the 5th Edition Monster Manual, pages 6 – 11. I will use these pages as a reference when converting monsters from previous editions to 5th, starting with the monster mentioned several times in my posts already (and here for the last time):
the Krajen. For the conversion, I will use a 3rd Edition version of the Krajen (this is not one that I converted):
http://www.spelljammer.org/monsters/conversions/Krajen.html As with the 3rd edition version, I have created statistic blocks for each of the two forms, immature and adult.
Krajen live to eat and to grow.. They start out life as tiny spores, drifting through space. Ships can pass through a cloud of them without the crew noticing. Once the spores take root, however, they quickly become a problem. Once the spores root in the hull, they quickly form a hardened shell, like a barnacle, to protect themselves while they feed. Anyone disturbing the shell is apt to get a lashing from the central tentacle. When small, this is not very damaging, though the tentacles do excrete a strong paralyzing poison as well, which can be dangerous. Once the disturbance stops, the krajen tucks its central tentacle back down inside the shell, only emerging again if required to defend itself.
Left alone, a krajen will consume material from the surface of the hull for about two months' time, weakening it all the while, at which point it will detach and float off into space. This is also when its sentry tentacles appear; small tentacles that ring the creature and whose purpose it is to protect the main body, which they do with strong paralytic poison. This is the krajen's immature stage, where they are only about a foot long. At this size, they are not very dangerous, though a group of them can be difficult to handle due to the chance of paralysis.
Upon reaching their adult size of 40 feet long, a krajen becomes a true terror of the void. At this size, its central tentacle is capable of crushing entire ships at once, while its paralytic sentry tentacles deal with any crew attempting to stop the destruction.
Krajen never stop growing, so there are tales of truly massive ones out there in the depths of space, drifting, and feeding.
============================================================== KRAJEN (IMMATURE) Tiny beast, unaligned ============================================================== Armor Class 12 (natural armor) Hit Points 3 (1d4 +1) Speed 5 ft ============================================================== STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 6 (-2) 13 (+1) 12 (+1) 1 (-5) 10 (+0) 4 (-3) ============================================================== Condition Immunities prone Senses tremorsense 20 ft., passive Perception 10 Challenge 1/8 (25 XP) ============================================================== Spaceborn. Krajen do not require air to survive. Spider Climb. The immature krajen can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check. Weaken Structure. An immature krajen will slowly digest any surface it is attached to. It does 10 points of damage (bypassing Hardness) per month. Once it has fed for approximately two months, the immature krajen will detach and drift off to grow into an adult krajen. ACTIONS ============================================================== Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1 bludgeoning damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. Until this poison ends, the target is paralyzed. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the poison on itself on a success. ============================================================== REACTIONS ============================================================== Colony Alarm. If attacked, an immature krajen will release chemicals that warn all other krajen within 50 ft. of the potential danger.
Gargantuan beast, unaligned
Armor Class 9
Hit Points 165 (10d20 + 60)
Speed 10 ft., fly 50 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
26 (+8) 8 (-1) 22 (+6) 1 (-5) 10 (+0) 4 (-3)
Skills Perception +2
Condition Immunities prone
Senses passive Perception 12
Challenge 10 (5900 XP)
Spaceborn. Krajen do not require air to survive.
Siege Monster. The krajen deals double damage to objects and structures.
Multiattack. The krajen makes three attacks: one with its main tentacle, and two with its sentry tentacles.
Main Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 30 (4d10 + 8) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the krajen can't use its main tentacle on another target.
Sentry Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) bludgeoning damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. Until this poison ends, the target is paralyzed. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the poison on itself on a success.
There we have it: A creature that is a destructive force for ships of all types, quietly or overtly, depending on its size.
Until next time, be well and game on!
All images are Copyright 1989 TSR (now owned by Wizards of the Coast).