Most D&D games have, at one point or another, fought against mindless undead, goblin hordes, or marauding chimeras. They've battled against our representative giants or awakened in fright from dreams haunted by evil outsiders. These encounters form the foundation of the shared D&D experience.
Every D&D Miniatures set draws from recent releases, but we also try to create minis to enhance that characteristic, core experience. War Drums includes a significant number of minis culled from classic D&D.
This week's preview involves one of the iconic monsters of the D&D game and another that's been around since early in the game's inception: the mind flayer and the quaggoth, respectively.
Every time I look at the mind flayer representative of War Drums, I'm reminded of the song "Tentacles" from the H.P Lovecraft Historical Society's little-known musical, "A Shoggoth on the Roof." Those tentacles are coming right at you! Shuluth continues our inadvertent trend of including an illithid in each starter set, joining the Mind Flayer and the Mind Flayer Telepath from Harbinger and Aberrations, respectively. Astute readers may recognize Shuluth (pronounced shoo-LOOTH) as the first victim of the Succubus Paladin in the D&D website's creature competition last year, and those of you with Weapons of Legacy will recall that Shuluth is a Legacy Monster in that tome.
As a Lawful Evil mastermind, Shuluth brings some compelling abilities to the skirmish table. Like all mind flayers, it can lash enemies every round with its Mind Blast, but that isn't Shuluth's only avenue for stunning a target. It can use halt mind to stun any target in sight, and thanks to Resounding Blow, Shuluth also stuns anyone it crits in melee. Unlike its lesser mind flayer kin, Shuluth is not averse to tangling it up in melee, thanks to better AC and 20 more hit points. It can deal up to 35 total damage if both attacks connect.
In fact, Shuluth's signature ability relies to a degree on melee attacks. Mind flayers love to eat brains, and finally a miniature captures this illithid flavor with Shuluth's Brain Sucker ability. When Shuluth destroys an enemy with a melee attack, it gets a +4 boost to the DCs of all its stunning effects as well as to its commander effect. What commander effect, you ask? One cannot ignore the Disorienting Presence of such a mighty and feared mind flayer. Because of this aura, active enemies that fail a save are forced to move at least one square before taking any other action. This might not have an especially adverse effect on creatures with Sidestep or Whirlwind Attack, but a failed save at the wrong time means a creature won't get its second attack and might even fall to an attack of opportunity before it can act! Fear the flayer!
That doesn't begin to address Epic Shuluth, who gets an upgrade in most of its key stats as one of the six new Epic-playable minis in War Drums. Tentacles!
In the history of the D&D game, three Fiend Folios have been produced -- one for each edition of AD&D and another for 3rd edition D&D. (I'm kind of stretching to include 2nd edition AD&D, but MC14 was the Fiend Folio Appendix for the Monstrous Compendium -- remember the loose-leaf sheets?).
The Quaggoth appears in two of those products (the 1st and 2nd edition versions). It was updated for 3rd Edition in the Monsters of Faerun Monster Compendium. Our Quaggoth Slave miniature follows the art in all the quaggoth's incarnations. He's eager and willing to be dropped into any encounter as a minion of a mind flayer or drow or as part of a hunting band or underground clan.
In the D&D Miniatures game, the Quaggoth Slave will see use as the first-striking fodder of the Chaotic Evil faction. Barely above single-digits in cost, the Quaggoth Slave is fast, fearless, and more than doubles its 15 hit points if it lands a melee attack, thanks to its Savage Frenzy +20 ability. It needs all the hp it can get, because most attacks against it will connect. If you can keep it alive, it deals a fairly reliable 15 damage with an attack bonus equal to its point cost.
The Quaggoth continues the trend of great-looking common miniatures, and I hope I pull a couple in our internal sealed-deck release event (along with Shuluth, of course)!
Next week? Something good. You want more hints? OK, something prestigious. Ruminate on that one, and I'll get back to you next week.
About the Author
Stephen Schubert is a Developer with RPG/Minis R&D and is the lead developer for D&D Miniatures starting with next July's War of the Dragon Queen. He's also helped develop many exciting upcoming D&D products, including Player's Handbook II, Monster Manual IV, Tome of Magic, and Tome of Battle!