D&DN Q&A: Cosmology & Monsters

I have mentioned several times now that the best approach for handling the default cosmology is to not give as a default one; give us a toolbox that can effectively construct the cosmologies from official campaign settings, but make it very easy for us to build our own. I guess the other solution is to somehow design a cosmology that can be used in any setting without any changes.

I am not sure how this would work given how different the Great Wheel is from the World Axis, which are both very different from Eberron's orbiting planes, all of which have more variety than Dark Sun's 3-4 planes. I have heard a couple people mention simply having to remove existing options, which sounds
like you are still making changes, but also does not account for orbiting planes.

The second and third questions I am pretty much fine with. Having a canned description is handy for both the first encounter and potential inspiration for describing how it does things. Bonus points if the description matches the art. As for stat blocks, yeah, I get that humanoids tend to have more varied roles, but there have been some variant monsters with some interesting twists. The umber hulk had three entries in Monster Vault: the basic model with two claws and a confusing gaze, one that focused more on its gaze attacks, and one that could grab you and tunnel away.

Of course this could be solved by giving Dungeon Masters alternate powers, and ideas for how to do other things in line with the various pillars. For example I could see an umber hulk snatching an ally and trying to escape as part of a botched skill check during the Exploration phase, or even have one bust out of a wall and try to kidnap someone as part of an added trouble during combat (which sounds a bit Dungeon World-y).

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