EXCLUSIVE: New products for 2021

Happy April Fool’s!

D&D fans are always on the lookout for ways to spend their hard-earned cash. Now, in a world exclusive, Scroll for Initiative can reveal that the following D&D products are confirmed for autumn 2021. Merch, merch, merch!

Spelljammer: Adventures in Wild Space

The final frontier. May the Force be with you.
– Elminster

Finally, after years of hints, Spelljammer IS confirmed. The much beloved campaign setting was long overdue for a 5e reboot, and fans of the original sourcebooks will not be disappointed.

We can reveal that the new sourcebook willl contain:

  • Revised rules for ship combat, including heavy weapons, ramming, and hexcrawls between spheres
  • Two new playable races: the giff and the neogi
  • Four new subclasses
  • Stats for at least four new monsters, including comet steeds, radiant dragons, giant space hamsters, and more
  • A short introductory adventure: Lost Mine of Phandelver . . . in Space!
  • A 3D poster map

It is expected that the next few hardback adventures will focus on Wild Space. However, following in the tradition of 5th edition Forgotten Realms adventures, only ten percent of the Wild Space setting will actually appear.

An alternative cover design containing real space dust will be revealed next month on my YouTube channel (I just need to set it up first). Stay tuned!

Curse of Strahd: Kill Strahd Yet Again

Following the success of 2016’s Curse of Strahd and last year’s Curse of Strahd Revamped, fans will be delighted to learn that the next published adventure will be Kill Strahd Yet Again. Plot details are scant at this stage, but it’s rumoured that this $50 adventure will take adventurers back to Barovia to find that Strahd has once again . . . ah, you know the rest.

47th anniversary dragon and dice

To celebrate nearly 50 years since the original Dungeons & Dragons game was published, we can expect to see a new amethyst dice set, expected to retail for just $400. The dice set will come with a custom dice box and dice tray combo and an exclusive sticker set. There are also plans to release an amethyst dragon made of real plastic, which will be snapped up by collectors for the price of just $90!

Lifesize Tiamat model

Fans were delighted to learn this week that an official update of the Tiamat miniature is in the works: the biggest D&D mini yet. It’s expected to retail for under $400. What is yet to be revealed, however, is the lifesize Tiamat model, constructed at 1:1 scale. D&D fans with a spare garage/aircraft hangar will be able to house this magnificent mini biggie for just $24,000.

Player’s Handbook: Neckbeard Edition

D&D is as popular as it has ever been, and there’s no desire for a new edition any time soon. However, for some of the game’s oldest fans, D&D isn’t what it used to be, so a special edition Player’s Handbook is now in the works for December 2021.

If you’re a sexist and a racist uncomfortable with the concept of diversity, you will be pleased to see a return to the male pronoun throughout, and almost all the humans depicted in the artwork will be white men (because D&D IS EUROPEAN MEDIEVAL FANTASY GODDAMNIT!!!!1!). Some women females will be shown, but they will be depicted exclusively in boob plate and chainmail bikinis. Orcs will be back to their always-evil, pig-faced selves.

In terms of rule changes, Armour Class is likely to be replaced by THAC0, fighters will be renamed ‘fighting men’, and the grapple rules of 3rd edition will return with all their tactical crunch (get your flowcharts ready). Female characters will start with lower Strength scores, bards will be a complex multiclass option, and best of all, the rulebook will return to 9-point Futura. We can’t wait.

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Forgotten dragons, part one: chromatics

The 5th edition Monster Manual has ten true dragons: five chromatics and five metallic. True dragons become more powerful as they get older. There are also ‘lesser dragons’, like faerie dragons, pseudodragons, and wyverns, but that’s a whole other topic.

How much do you know about the other true dragons? In this series, I’m going to go back through D&D lore and pull out some forgotten gems. I also provide a recipe for each dragon to show how you might convert them into 5th edition rules. In this part, I will look at the chromatic dragons. In the 5th edition Monster Manual, there are five: red, blue, green, black, and white (from most to least powerful). But in editions past, there have been others!

Brown dragons, also known as sand dragons or great desert dragons, first appeared in 2nd edition AD&D, in 1990’s Old Empires. They are wingless but can dig through sand very quickly. Their preferred tactic is to bury themselves in the dust and ambush their prey with a furious assault. They are usually Neutral Evil.

  • Start with a blue dragon, but give it a Strength and Constitution boost (use the red dragon’s stats for this).
  • Change the damage immunity from lightning to acid.
  • Swap the breath weapon to that of a black dragon, and change the bonus lightning damage on the bite attack to acid damage.
  • Remove the fly speed. Add the brass dragon’s burrow speed to make up for it.
  • Add tremorsense (60 ft) to its senses.
  • For adult brown dragons and older, reskin the wing attack legendary action to be slashing damage (call it ‘rend’, if you like).
  • For lair actions, you could keep the blue dragon’s cloud of sand attack, and you could add in the red dragon’s tremor action or the copper dragon’s ‘ground to mud’ action.
  • For innate spellcasting, you could include spells like haste, minor illusion, nondetection, and wall of sand (from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything) for young dragons, conjure elemental, hallucinatory terrain, stone shape, and seeming for adults, and disintegrate, mirage arcane, and move earth for ancient brown dragons.

Deep dragons, also called purple dragons, first appeared in 1991 in a Forgotten Realms appendix to the Monstrous Compendium Volume One. Deep dragons are slender and serpentine and live in the Underdark as their name suggests. They are consummate shapeshifters. In some editions, their breath weapon is a kind of psychic beam that dazes their opponents or even dominates them; in others, it’s a cone of corrosive gas. There are also references in some editions to their being harmed by direct sunlight. They are Chaotic Evil.

  • Start with a green dragon, but change the poison damage of its bite and breath weapon to acid.
  • Swap poison immunity for cold and fire resistance.
  • Add a 20 ft burrow speed, and reduce the swim speed by 10 ft.
  • Deep dragons have 120 ft truesight. As an option, you could give them sunlight sensitivity, like a drow.
  • Like some of the metallic dragons, deep dragons can change shape, either into a humanoid form or into a snake form, to help it navigate tunnels. In snake form, the deep dragon cannot use its claws, and its fly speed drops to 10 ft, but it can constrict like a constrictor snake of its size.
  • For innate spellcasting, you could include spells like detect magic for young dragons, and freedom of movement, passwall, and stone shape for older dragons.

The energy dragon (which, confusingly, is also called a purple dragon) is sadistically evil and perhaps the most intelligent of all dragons, second only to the red dragon in strength and size. They prefer to fly at night, and often find themselves ruling small kingdoms. Like blue and green dragons, they are Lawful Evil.

  • Start with a red dragon, but give it a green dragon’s Intelligence score.
  • Unlike red dragons, energy dragons have no damage immunities, and their bite attack does not deal extra fire damage.
  • Uniquely, the energy dragon can choose between three breath weapons. Let’s go through them one at a time.
  • The first is a cone of energy, which is the same as the red dragon’s breath weapon but deals force damage like eldritch blast or magic missile.
  • The second is a blinding flash: all creatures within range must succeed on a Constitution save (same DC) or be blinded until the end of the dragon’s next turn. (Use the length of the red dragon’s cone and halve it to get the range of this effect.)
  • Finally, the energy dragon can create a laser-like blade of energy. Use the blue dragon’s lightning breath for this, but change the damage type to force.
  • The energy dragon has advantage on Stealth checks when flying at night.
  • For innate spellcasting, you could include spells like gust of wind, heat metal, pyrotechnics (from Xanathar’s), and suggestion for young energy dragons, fire shield and wall of force for adults, and perhaps mass suggestion and prismatic spray for ancient dragons.
  • As for lair actions, use the black dragon’s magical darkness effect or the blue dragon’s lightning arcs.

Fang dragons, also called grey dragons,* first appeared in 1989 in Monstrous Compendium Volume One. Every part of the body is sharp or spiky. They are poor flyers and have no breath weapon, but they make up for it with ferocious melee combat abilities. Their alignment is Chaotic Neutral.

* In some editions, grey dragons are a specific type of fang dragon that has been blessed with a breath weapon by Tiamat. The rules below presume a dragon with no breath weapon.

  • Start with a white dragon, but halve the fly speed and take away the swim and burrow speeds.
  • Swap the mental ability scores for those of a black dragon of the same age.
  • Swap the immunity to cold damage for resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks.
  • Instead of a breath weapon, give the fang dragon a Life Drain attack like that of a wight or wraith: the target must succeed on a Constitution save (use the same DC as the white dragon’s breath weapon) or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. (This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest, and the target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.)
  • For added ferocity, increase the damage of all melee attacks by one damage die (1d6 to 1d8, 1d8 to 1d10, etc).
  • Reskin the ‘wing attack’ legendary action as a trip attack (with no speed boost), and swap the ‘tail attack’ legendary action for a bite attack.
  • For lair actions, steal the copper dragon’s spike growth action or the red dragon’s tremor shake.
  • For innate spellcasting, you could include spells like counterspell, dispel magic, and shield for young fang dragons, or globe of invulnerability, regenerate and telekinesis for ancients.

Orange dragons, sometimes called sodium dragons, are a crossbreed of red and yellow dragons. (Yellow dragons, you say? Keep reading.) Orange dragons first appeared in an issue of Dragon magazine in 1982. They live in tropical swamps and rainforests and walk low to the ground like an alligator. Their breath weapon is a sticky stream of saliva which then explodes like napalm or white phosphorous. They are Neutral Evil.

  • Start with a black dragon.
  • Change the damage immunity from acid to poison. Orange dragons are also immune to the poisoned condition.
  • The biggest change is the breath weapon. Each creature caught in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw or be covered in the dragon’s saliva (creatures who succeed are unaffected). The saliva explodes two rounds later in a 15ft radius burst, dealing fire damage. Other creatures in the burst area must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking the full damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • For innate spellcasting, you could include spells like heat metal, pass without trace, or suggestion for young orange dragons, control water or hallucinatory terrain for adults, or mass suggestion for ancient orange dragons.
  • For lair actions, swap the black dragon’s darkness ability for the green dragon’s grasping roots and vines, or the copper dragon’s mud effect.

The pink dragon was introduced as a bit of a joke in Dragon 156 (1989). I’m almost tempted not to bother with rules for this one . . .

Its breath weapon is (checks notes) a cloud of soapy bubbles.


Look, this is basically the My Little Pony of dragons. April Fool’s is coming up, so go nuts with it.

With its delicate pink colouration and its slightly dopey appearance, the pink dragon is utterly unintimidating, and even ancient pink dragons have no frightful presence action. Despite this, they are carnivorous, and while not evil (their alignment is Chaotic Neutral) they will still gobble up happle adventurers if they intrude upon a pink dragon’s lair.

  • Start with a white dragon.
  • Remove the burrow and swim speeds and the icewalk ability.
  • The breath weapon no longer deals damage, but creatures who fail their Constitution save are blinded for one minute. Creatures can repeat their Constitution save at the end of their turn.
  • Pink dragons have no frightful presence ability.
  • Innate spellcasting? How about this: detect thoughts, invisibility, sleep, and Tasha‘s hideous laughter for young pink dragons, confusion, hypnotic pattern, and polymorph for adult pink dragons, and Otto’s irresistible dance and prismatic spray for ancient pink dragons.
  • Do you really want lair actions? Fine. Reskin the copper dragon’s mud action as some kind of sticky bubblegum effect, and reskin the green dragon’s magical fog as some kind of sparkle effect.

Lastly, yellow dragons, also called salt dragons. Like orange dragons, these first appeared in 1982. These serpentine dragons live by the coast, and their breath weapon is a cone of salt. Despite being wingless, they have links to the element of air, making them superb fliers.

  • Start with a white dragon. Remove the cold immunity and the bonus cold damage that comes with its bite.
  • Remove the ice walk ability, but increase their fly speed by 70 ft.
  • Yellow dragons have no wings, so cannot make wing attacks as a legendary action. You could add the option of bite or claw attacks as legendary actions instead.
  • I would treat the corrosive breath weapon as acid damage. The saving throw becomes Dexterity instead of Constitution. Perhaps there is no damage on a success but failure applies the Restrained (or Blinded) condition for one round?
  • For innate spellcasting, you could include spells like gaesous form, gust of wind, pass without trace, and wind wall for young yellow dragons, control water or hallucinatory terrain for adults, and wind walk for ancient yellow dragons.
  • For lair actions, use the brass dragon’s wind attack and perhaps the bronze dragon’s fog attack.

That’s it for part one. If you enjoyed this article, let me know! In future articles, I hope to look at gemstone dragons, metallic dragons, and planar dragons, among others. If you end up using my reskin, let me know how you got on.

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Size in D&D

How big is an ancient dragon? How tall is a cloud giant? What is the wingspan of a roc?

Having painted a few dragon minis over the last year, it got me thinking about monster scale in D&D.

In 3rd edition – the edition I started with – there were eight size categories: fine, diminutive, tiny, small, medium, large, huge, gargantuan, and colossal. But this was something of an anomaly for D&D. 2nd edition AD&D only went down to ‘tiny’, as did 4th edition, and 5th edition has followed in this tradition. 1st edition had nothing smaller than ‘small’ and nothing larger than ‘large’. No edition except 3rd has had a size category above gargantuan. Tiny is roughly the size of a house cat. Small: a child. Medium: an adult human. Large: a horse. Huge: an elephant. Gargantuan – defined in 5e as ‘anything larger than 20 feet [6 metres]’ – a whale.

I would argue that ‘anything larger than 20 ft‘ is a pretty vague category. A telegraph pole in the UK is about 30 ft (9m) tall. The iconic Routemaster buses in London are about 37 ft long (11m). Big Ben is 310 ft tall (95m). And the Shard, at one point the tallest building in the EU, is over 1,000 ft tall (310m). All of these things are technically ‘gargantuan’ in D&D terms. (By the way, Big Ben is technically the bell. The famous tower is actually called Elizabeth Tower.)

I thought it would be fun to have a closer look at some of D&D’s largest monsters to give a sense of their scale. I am also going to think about the scale which is usually used for D&D minis (1:60, or 5 ft to 1 inch) to see whether the models on market match up.

Real-life titans

brontosaurus | Size, Habitat, & Facts | Britannica

Maybe we should start with the only gargantuan D&D monsters to have existed in real life: whales and dinosaurs.

The brontosaurus appears in Volo’s Guide to Monsters, where it is described simply as ‘massive’. Adult brontosauruses are estimated to have weighed up to 15 tonnes (17 short tons) and measured up to 72 ft (22m) long. A size-accurate D&D mini of a brontosaurus would need to be 14 inches (36 cm) long.

The sperm whale features in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. These are described (slightly inaccurately) as growing up to 70 ft long. In real life, a sperm whale is closer to 52 ft or 16m, so a ten-inch-long mini (26 cm).

There are no stats for blue whales in D&D, but I include them here as a comparison for fantasy creatures, since these animals are believed to be the biggest animals to have existed. Blue whales can reach a maximum length of nearly 100 ft (or 30m). A size-accurate D&D mini – biggie? – would need to be about 20 inches (half a metre) long.


Creature Size in D&D 5e - Size Matters! - Dungeon Solvers

Dungeon Solvers

None of the giants in the Monster Manual are gargantuan. But how do they compare in size?

Fortunately, there is a diagram on page 153! Hill giants are 16 ft tall, just under 5m, while storm giants are 26 ft tall (closer to 8m). For a real-life comparison, a giraffe is about 14 to 18 ft tall, and Michelangelo’s David is about 17 feet, minus the plinth. A hill giant mini would be just over 3 inches tall (8 cm); a storm giant’s, just over 5 inches tall (13 cm).

What about titans, or empyreans as they are now known in 5th edition? No height is given in the 5th edition Monster Manual, but in 3rd edition they are described as being about 25 feet tall (7.6m). Hang on: isn’t that smaller than a storm giant? Well spotted. Yes, there has been some inflation in giant sizes in the last 20 years of D&D, and in 3rd edition, most giants were five or six feet shorter than their 5e counterparts.

Ancient dragons

All will be explained . . .

Sadly, 5th edition is rather light on detail when it comes to the size of these creatures. But previous editions were more specific. The wonderful 3rd edition Dragonomicon gives precise measurements for chromatic and metallic dragons of every age range.

The smallest dragons are white dragons. Fully grown, they are about 85 ft (26m) long from nose to tail, with a wingspan of 40–72 ft (12–22m). That’s about as long as an Olympic swimming pool, and as wide as a shipping container. Most the other ancient dragons are about as long as ancient white dragons but have a bigger wingspan. Brass dragons are a little narrower, but again, like their gold cousins, that’s down to the shape of their wings.

The red dragon is the largest of the evil dragons, with a wingspan of 60–150 ft (18–46m) and an overall body length of 120 ft (37m). That’s about as wide as the Arc de Triomphe and as long as a runway stripe. Silver and gold dragons are of a similar size, although gold dragons have a slightly narrower wingspan, more because of their mantalike wings than anything else. For an ancient dragon of this size, a D&D mini would need to be two feet (60cm) long with a wingspan of twelve to 30 inches (30–76 cm). That’s about the size of the awesome T’Raukzul mini from Reaper (see below).

Reaper's T'raukzul as a 5e Red Dragon - Album on Imgur


The tarrasque

OC] Tarrasque "mini" painted Lord of the Print : DnD


The 5th edition Monster Manual is very specific about the tarrasque’s dimensions. It is 50 ft (15m) tall and 70 ft (21m) long. That’s about as high as a five-story office building and as long as a cricket pitch. A tarrasque mini would need to be ten inches high (25 cm) and 14 inches (35 cm) long to be the right scale for other D&D minis, and that’s roughly between A4 and A3 in paper sizes. It’s also about the length and height of my toaster!


OC] The Kraken miniature was just released and it's terrifying : DnD

James_the_Third on Reddit

No dimensions are listed for the kraken in 5th edition. In 3rd edition, though, a kraken is described as being between 60 and 90 ft in length (18–27m). So a kraken mini would be huge: somewhere where between one and one and a half feet.


The 5th edition Monster Manual states that the roc has a wingspan of 200 feet – or more. That’s 60 metres plus: nearly double the length of a blue whale. The wingspan of a Boeing 747 is 64 metres. Build to scale, roc mini should be about 40 inches (1 metre) wide, wings fully extended. That’s half the length of a standard-sized bed, or about the width of a standard door. In other words, Grimtalon from Reaper Bones – by no means a small miniature – is about one-third of a roc’s true size.

How many squares?

The table on page 6 of the Monster Manual shows how much space a creature of a particular size controls in combat. What many people miss is the fact that the size for a gargantuan creature – 20 ft by 20 ft – is only a minimum. In other words, assuming a combat grid of 5-ft squares, some of the monsters above could be taking up much more space than that.

If you know a creature’s length in feet – or can take an educated guess – round it to the nearest multiple of five. That’s the space it takes up! Why not? If you want your ancient red dragon to be 24 squares on a side, go for it. If you want your roc to be 40 squares wide, mark it out and watch your players’ jaws drop. These creatures are BIG. They should be impressive.

If you don’t have a mini big enough (and hey, you probably won’t), you could also mark out a piece of coloured paper or card and stick the mini in the middle. If you’re using a virtual tabletop, the tokens are virtual, so scale ’em up! (Note that this works better for creatures that are longer than they are tall. A storm giant, for example, is 26 feet tall, yet they are technically huge, not gargantuan. To make up for it, they have reach. You could do something similar for other ‘titanic’ creatures.)

Alternatively, of course, switch to theatre of the mind. Your description can be better than any SFX team. Try to get the players to appreciate the sheer immensity of the foe before them. Players love demolishing stuff. And you know what they say: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Give the players a chance to feel epic.

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