You step gingerly into the dust covered room of the depths below. You’ve entered a long forgotten temple. As you scan the room for dangers you notice above you a faint light flickers into existence. The orb pulses lightly. Suddenly brilliant prismatic light pours outward in swift moving rays. The room comes alive. Near the back of the room a single spot light bathes a hooded figure in light, showing them off to the world. It displays enigmatic footwork, swiftly turns on itself with a deft twirl, and quickly thrusts one finger skyward! It begins to sing… Unerringly you watch. Drawn in by this presence.
I’m inspired daily. Books, Youtube, Movies… and Games. Specifically video games. Video games have done a ton of creative legwork and created iconic and influential monsters and villains for our every need. You just need to take the time to convert them. This particular foe was inspired by the Crypt of the Necrodancer videogame. This is my second entry in a series called “Oresan’s Magnificent Foes” in which I will be detailing entries in a personal Monster Manual of sorts. Each entry will include a little blurb about What the foe is, Why it exists, and How I went about creating it. I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any suggestions, comments, or would like to see me create a foe based off something you love (or loathe) please let me know in the comments below.
What? The Necro-Dancer was born from a thought…
This miraculous being trolls ancient temples and tombs looking for various undead to raise… To join its kickass dance party! The Necro-Dancer is a rockstar in their own mind, and act as such. They believe the party never ends and (even for the dead) and the world is their audience. Admittedly it’s difficult to get a gig when most of your staff is made up of rotting zombies and skeletons. So they stick to the outskirts and unknowns, the underbellies. Finding a Necro-Dancer party can be a curse, or a blessing.
Why? Seriously, What fresh hell have I created?
I was wandering through my Steam library, trolling for inspiration. I came across an indie Gem; Crypt of the Necrodancer, in which you take the role of an adventurer traipsing through a crypt. Sounds normal, right? Nope! You have to do it to the beat of the music that plays… What sort of fiend would do such a thing to weary adventurers? It got me thinking: “How would I go about unleashing this fresh hell on my players?”
How? This is how I approach NPCs in my games…
Cherrypicking. Frankensteining. Both? When I set out to create a new creature or NPC I take the idea and search through the vast library of creatures and stat blocks that already exist and see what fits. In the case of what I originally deemed an NPC rather than a monster (I swear there’s a difference…) I decided to look at what players can do. With the recent release of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything I came across the Glamour Bard, a bard capable of captivating their audience with their beauty.
I saw the bardic casting, the Mantle of Reverance, and the Enthralling Perforamance, modified them slightly, and added them to the Being. This gave us access to some control-ey spells and other unique abilities to power up and add to our allies. Secondly I took a look at Necromancy and how it works for wizards. This is where Undead Thralls came from.
At this point I had to decide how they would make undead thralls. I thought about giving them wizard levels, but I already had acasting from the Bard aspect. Instead I took reference from the Glamour Bard being inspired by Fey beauty. This gave me the idea to make the being Fey and give them innate spell casting. This gave this entity a little more ::umph:: with Toll the Dead and gave use access to reanimate thralls for the kickass dance party!