Bargaining with hags

On Thursday nights I’ve been running Out of the Abyss with my Dungeons & Dragons group. Tonight a number of players weren’t able to make it, so I decided to run a little side adventure for the three players who were available, rather than advancing the main plot too much. Only one of the players is an evil character, but I was basically able to get get them all to make deals with a sea hag, Auntie Pong. It was a lot of fun trying to trick the players. One of the players was suggesting that the hag should be giving them cursed items, but my hunch was that she’d be more likely to give them things that she’d find amusing (like the cloak of displacement that looks like a frog onesie) or information that wouldn’t actually be very useful. But who knows, maybe the ‘croak of displacement’ will turn out to be cursed?

Subterranean fey and paranoia

On Sundays I’ve normally been posting some illustrations that can be used in tabletop roleplayng games like Dungeons & Dragons. Last week I asked what kind of fey creatures folks would like me to draw, and subterranean fey were chosen. So here are a couple of subterranean fey.

A korred:

A meenlock:

While I was drawing these, I was most interested by the meenlock. I hadn’t taken a lot of interest in them before, but I had a bit of a read about them in the original Fiend Folio and the more recent Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Meenlocks have an ability to promote paranoia in other creatures, by overwhelming them with fearful messages, to the point where they are actually transformed into meenlocks themselves.

This description reminded me of an experience I had on Facebook earlier in the year. I made a fake alt right profile for myself and joined some alt right groups. I started adding people I found in those groups as friends on this fake account. I found that my newsfeed was pretty quickly filled with vary fearful content (a lot of which seemed like fake news) and it was pretty easy to get sucked in and overwhelmed by the fearful messages. (I’m pretty sure I could have a similar experience if I made a fake extreme left account.) That experience called me to question the impact that my Facebook use was having on my mindset and curb my use.

Fey possum for Dungeons & Dragons

Yesterday when I was asking what kind of monsters I should draw this weekend, the two more popular options were fey and forest beasts. @MichaelCayne suggested that I should do a forest beast with fey origins. (Basically, forest creature that originates in the Feywild.) I said I would, but when I was thinking about what to do I was aware that I’d like to do some kind of Australian animal, since there aren’t any uniquely Australian creatures in 5th Edition. When I thought of options, the I thought the most obvious option was to do a fey possum, based on the possum from Mem Fox’s picture book, Possum Magic.
How do I imagine this monster working? You’ll be able to see that the possum has the ability to turn invisible, but only turns visible again if it eats a vegemite sandwich, pavlova and a lamington – like Hush the possum in the book. It might be that an invisible fey possum asks some adventurers for help finding these items to that it can become visible again.

Fey Possum

Small fey, neutral good

STR 7 (-2)    DEX 15 (+2)    CON 11 (+0)    INT 10 (+0)     WIS 13 (+1)    CHA 11 (+0)

Challenge Rating: 1/4 (50 XP)

Armor Class: 12

Hit Points: 7 (2d6)

Speed: 30 ft. (climb 30 ft.)

Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10.

Languages: Common, Sylvan, Elvish

Fey Ancestry. The possum has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put the drow to sleep.

Innate Spellcasting. The possum’s spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

At will: druidcraft

1/day each: charm person, goodberry

Keen Senses. The possum has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell or hearing.


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

Invisibility. The possum magically turns invisible. Any equipment the sprite wears or carries is invisible with it. The possum only becomes visible again if it eats a vegemite sandwich, pavlova and a lamington.

Faerieland and escapism

On Saturdays I’m normally posting monster illustrations that I make for Dungeons & Dragons games. Yesterday I thought I’d ask on Twitter what folks thought I should draw:

In the tiebreaker, fey ended up coming out on top, so this post contains some fey creatures I’ve drawn. (Two are from Tales from the Yawning Portal. Two are from Tales Trees Tell, which is probably the next adventure I’ll run.)

In D&D, fey are creatures from a parallel plane of existance (called the Feywild), which mirrors the material world, but in a more extreme and spectatular way. Adventurers from the material plane who travel to the Feywild often find that when they return home inordinate amounts of time have passed. Some find that they are so enchanted by the wondrous surroundings that they never return home.

I think this could lead us to ask a question about gaming and fantasy literature: Is it a form of escapism that enables us to avoid everyday life? Do we become so absorbed fantasy worlds that we allow real life to move on without us?



Green hag: