Wandering Monsters: Cats & Dogs

More dogs than cats (or rather, cat), this week's Wandering Monsters talks about some iconic monsters that are pretty much the same as they have always been. As a quick aside, I once played a half-blue dragon, half-blink dog in a 3rd Edition one-shot. His name was Sparky.

Displacer Beast
Aside from the displacement ability, the displacer beast has not changed much over the editions. I actually like how Next does it, imposing disadvantage on attacks until it gets hit, which shuts it down for a bit (as does pinning it down).

However, the Lawful Evil alignment strikes me as a bit odd. I think that Neutral Evil makes more sense, thought it depends on where the Lawful component comes from. Story-wise I liked the displacer beast's Fey origin from 4th Edition, which could also help explain their animosity towards blink dogs.

Blink Dog
While I like the flavor content about how their presence can alter the environment, I am not a fan of the blink dog's dependably-spaced teleportation, especially when it covers distances of 500 feet.

I guess I envision the blink dog finding rifts in the planar fabric that it can exploit, and since distances between the natural world/Prime Material and the Feywild/whatever accounts for the Feywild in other editions is not always consistent, an unreliable teleportation (recharge?) with a variable distance makes more sense to me.

Like the displacer beast I find the Lawful alignment odd, think that Neutral Good is a better fit, but would still buy it if there was a good reason for it to be Lawful.

Hell Hound
Hell hounds are pretty straight-forward: they are dogs from hell that can also breath fire, and mechanically I have no complaints. I think that some variants, like Canian hounds that breathe cones of cold and have cold resistance/immunity, as well as some alternate powers befitting a fiendish heritage, such as a fear inducing howl or some kind of "smite good"-ish attack, would be cool to have.

Winter Wolf
These Large contrasts to hell hounds are alright, though decorating their lairs with jewelry seems kind of silly. The only part that I am a bit leery about is their level compared to a frost giant, though if 5th Edition's flat-math plays out right I do not think it will be an issue like it was in 3rd and 4th Edition.

Like hell hounds some alternate powers, like howls that can summon arctic gales or being able to create walls of ice with their breath weapon, would be nice. Oh, and also winter wolves with a stronger elemental association.

I was going to ask what differentiates worgs from dire wolves—seeing as they were virtually the same mechanically in 3rd Edition, and too monstrous-looking in 4th Edition for my tastes—but then I checked the playtest bestiary document and saw that they were, in fact, variant dire wolves.

It would be nice for them to have something about their appearance and/or mechanics to distinguish them, but that is more of a nitpick than anything else. Maybe something like one of the goblin traits? They are pretty intelligent, after all.

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