D&D Miniatures11/02/2007

Desert of Desolation Preview 7
New Lookers

The miniatures in the Desert of Desolation set are all, in essence, a preview of what is to come in the 4th edition D&D Monster Manual. The introduction of a new edition is an opportune time to refresh the look of some of the monsters we associate with D&D, and while we were in the process of creating the sketches and sculpts that would become the Desert of Desolation set, we were also commissioning concept art for what D&D's creatures might look like.

If you've been to a prerelease event (or go to a release event or Worldwide D&D Game Day this weekend) for Desert of Desolation, you'll know what some of these creatures look like. There are some new creatures, such as the Angel of Vengeance, that bring their own style to the game, while others such as the Osyluth/Bone Devil or Manticore follow previously established looks for those creatures.

Shrieking Harpy

Shrieking Harpy The Harpy is an example of a creature that went through a couple iterations of its look. The version previously used for the minis game was intended to be a bit more androgynous but ended up looking too masculine. You'll see art in the Monster Manual that adds some femininity back to the Harpy, though it retains the feathered wings and taloned arms of the Shrieking Harpy in Desert of Desolation.

This creature is mechanically close to its 4th edition counterpart with its cone of sonic damage and its ability to lure foes into danger. The Lure ability is a way to lock down an opponent, forcing the target to move if it wants to do anything at all (of course, it could just stand there and do nothing). You could even try to "kite" an opponent for multiple turns, but the Harpy's low AC and hit points make it a risky play -- the Harpy needs to remain within a double-move of the target to keep the condition active. Also note that the ability requires the target to move into a square adjacent to the Harpy but states nothing about staying there during that move.

Feral Troll

Feral Troll Seen many times before now, most notably as one of the centerpieces of the 4th edition announcement at GenCon, the Feral Troll is a significant departure from the skinny trolls of yesteryear. It takes the general proportions of the trolls we've done before, like the Troll Slasher from Angelfire, but beefs them up a bit. We've revamped his head by making his nose more prominent and his fanged mouth a bit more monstrously oversized.

His abilities are a lot like previous trolls, though we swapped out his regeneration power for something more meaningful. In general, tracking small increments of damage or healing created a sort of 'upkeep' phase for such creatures. It's easy to forget to heal 5 damage on a creature each turn, but not so easy to forget the ability to heal 20 damage with a swift action.

Black Woods Dryad

Black Woods Dryad Here's another creature that's bringing a different look into the new edition. This fey of the woods appears here in what we're thinking of as her natural form. Sure, she might be able to appear as dryads have in the past, as nymph-like forest dwellers, but if you get one angry, watch out! She'll just as likely plant a tree in your head. The concept of the dryad has moved away from being only a woodland faerie whose tree is always in danger. The new dryads are fierce protectors of the forest in which they live, likely some dark or mysterious wood, or perhaps even in the lands of the Feywild.

About the Author

Stephen Schubert is a Developer for RPG R&D and has been involved in many facets of the D&D product line. He's recently been Lead Developer for the upcoming Monster Manual V, Lead Designer on the Eberron adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen, and he's the Lead Developer for the D&D Miniatures Game.

Now we bring the return of the mystery silhouette. Shown below are all the figures that we'll feature in these previews. Can you guess their identities? Feel free to try!

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