5E: Converting Monsters from White Dwarf Magazine for Fifth Edition

ilgatto

How inconvenient
I am already aware of this critter, which is pretty close to the standard D&D Cyclops (aka the Cyclops Giant or Lesser Cyclops, to distinguish it from the Greater Cyclopes who assist the god Hephaestus).

There's a fair few other Cyclopes in D&D, or at least other takes on the creature.

Let's see, the Monster Manual II introduced the Cyclopskin, who are basically mini-me versions of Giant Cyclopes only 7 or 8 feet tall and Al-Qadim has a Desert Cyclops.

In 4E D&D, a Cyclops is a giant from the Feywild with an "evil eye" power.

Oh, and who can forget the two-headed Cyclops, the Biclops!

No, I am not kidding, that's a real D&D monster.

You see, sometimes a Cyclopskin and an Ettin who love each other very much…

Heck, there's already an SRD version of the Biclops.

The Biclops is from "The Dragon's Bestiary" in Dragon Magazine #172 and, as far as I know, has never appeared in any official D&D book or adventure.

We've got a 3E conversion in the Creature Catalog, naturally.
A "desert cyclops" in Al-Qadim? Is that 2E? Where would that be?
 

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Cleon

Legend
These seem to have had several incarnations after that, via BECMI through the 2E MM2 Cyclopskin, until they ended up in the Monstrous Manual (1993) as the canon 2E cyclopes.

The BECMI versions are pretty close to the 2E "Giant, Cyclops", which is the same monster as the Lesser Cyclops from Deities & Demigods (1980), its reprint Legends & Lore (1985), and the 2E version of Legends & Lore (1990), all of which predates the 2E Monstrous Manual.

If you compare the stats between the AD&D versions of the Lesser Cyclopes and Cyclops Giant it's pretty obvious they're the same creature. Almost all of their stats are the same, or so close the differences are negligible.

A Cyclopskin is a different creature, far smaller and weaker than a true cyclops (7½ feet tall versus 20 feet) that first appeared in the 1E Monster Manual II as a humanoid race. 2E recategorized them as giantkin (they're listed as "Giant-kin, Cyclops" in the Monstrous Compendium). Which is a bit annoying, since the text always refers to them as cyclopskin and never cyclops. Why not "Giant-kin, Cyclopskin" instead? The MC also calls cyclopskin "single-eyed humanoids" as well as "one-eyed giants" so there is something humanoid about them as well as giantish.

To compound the annoyance, the 1992 AD&D Trading Card "Cyclops" is actually a Cyclopskin, and the "Giant, Cyclops" entry in the 2E Monstrous Manual is 90% about the Cyclopskin (it basically repeats the Giant-kin Cyclopskin's description from MC3). The Cyclops Giant is one column of stats and a paragraph of description stuck at the bottom.

The Desert Cyclops might be more closely related to those, since they're also a lot smaller than a Cyclops Giant.

Oh, and there's also a Cyclops in the Desert of Desolation D&D Miniatures set, which is a new monster with different stats to the 3E Deities and Demigods' Lesser Cyclops (which is reprinted as the "Giant, Cyclops" in 3E's Shining South.

That's a pretty obscure one.

Incidentally, the first Cyclopes to see print in D&D were the "CYCLOPES ONE EYED GIANTS" in the Greek Myth section of Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976). Those fill the same slot as Deities & Demigods & Legends & Lore's Greater Cyclops.
 


Cleon

Legend
Well I've just heard this:

So is 4E Feywild the same as 5E Fey?

In 4E, the Feywild is a plane parallel to the Prime Material akin to the Elemental Planes or Negative Energy Plane, but with more fey enchantment or pixies and less guys made out of rock or life-devouring blackness.

It's hardly an original concept, there have been multiple adventures and sourcebooks before 4E came out where PCs could adventure in the realm of the faeries that treated it as another realm of existence.
 


ilgatto

How inconvenient
The BECMI versions are pretty close to the 2E "Giant, Cyclops", which is the same monster as the Lesser Cyclops from Deities & Demigods (1980), its reprint Legends & Lore (1985), and the 2E version of Legends & Lore (1990), all of which predates the 2E Monstrous Manual.

If you compare the stats between the AD&D versions of the Lesser Cyclopes and Cyclops Giant it's pretty obvious they're the same creature. Almost all of their stats are the same, or so close the differences are negligible.

A Cyclopskin is a different creature, far smaller and weaker than a true cyclops (7½ feet tall versus 20 feet) that first appeared in the 1E Monster Manual II as a humanoid race. 2E recategorized them as giantkin (they're listed as "Giant-kin, Cyclops" in the Monstrous Compendium). Which is a bit annoying, since the text always refers to them as cyclopskin and never cyclops. Why not "Giant-kin, Cyclopskin" instead? The MC also calls cyclopskin "single-eyed humanoids" as well as "one-eyed giants" so there is something humanoid about them as well as giantish.

To compound the annoyance, the 1992 AD&D Trading Card "Cyclops" is actually a Cyclopskin, and the "Giant, Cyclops" entry in the 2E Monstrous Manual is 90% about the Cyclopskin (it basically repeats the Giant-kin Cyclopskin's description from MC3). The Cyclops Giant is one column of stats and a paragraph of description stuck at the bottom.

The Desert Cyclops might be more closely related to those, since they're also a lot smaller than a Cyclops Giant.

Oh, and there's also a Cyclops in the Desert of Desolation D&D Miniatures set, which is a new monster with different stats to the 3E Deities and Demigods' Lesser Cyclops (which is reprinted as the "Giant, Cyclops" in 3E's Shining South.

That's a pretty obscure one.

Incidentally, the first Cyclopes to see print in D&D were the "CYCLOPES ONE EYED GIANTS" in the Greek Myth section of Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976). Those fill the same slot as Deities & Demigods & Legends & Lore's Greater Cyclops.

OK. So looks like we're faced with the choice of making the WD21 cyclops either more like "giants" (even if they would become Fey) or more like "humanoids"?

So one could argue that the Dragon Warriors in the same article and the reference to the Arimaspi [sic] would make them lesser cyclops in the 1E sense of the word and thus "giants", while the actual description (tan skin, black-green hair, sea-green eye, interaction with goblins, et al.) would seem to favor a "humanoid" approach?

I think I'm starting to lean towards the "humanoid" approach (because of their violent behavior to women) as opposed to going Greek {erm..., no pun intended).
But I guess they could still be giant-sized as 5E giants, then? And not humanoid-sized as the questionable 2E cyclopskin?
Note that the WD21 cyclops appeared before giants and similar creatures got a bump in 2E so maybe we shouldn't take he WD21 size as canon?
 


Cleon

Legend
Amiraspi Cyclops
Large fey, chaotic evil
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 76 (9d10 + 27)
Speed 30 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
18 (+4)​
12 (+1)​
17 (+3)​
10 (+0)​
9 (–1)​
14 (+2)​

Saving Throws WIS +1
Skills Perception +1
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Giant, Gnoll, Goblin
Challenge 3 (700 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Monocular Illusion Resistance. The cyclops has advantage on saving throws against illusions that include visual elements it can see.

Poor Depth Perception. The cyclops has disadvantage on attack rolls with a ranged weapon or melee weapon if the target is more than 5 feet away.

Actions

Multiattack. The cyclops makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws; or it makes two attacks with its greatclub or rocks.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Bonus Actions

Aggressive. As a bonus action, the cyclops can move up to its speed towards a hostile creature that it can see.

Hypnotic Glare. As a bonus action, the cyclops's eye becomes a twisting vortex of colors and it stares at a creature within 60 feet. If the target can see the cyclops it must make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature becomes charmed for 1 minute. While charmed by the stare, the creature is incapacitated and has a speed of 0. The effect ends if an affected creature takes any damage, or if someone else uses an action to shake the creature out of its stupor.
 A target that successfully saves is immune to this cyclops's stare for the next 24 hours.


Description

Amiraspi cyclopes are one-eyed man-eaters known for their savage attacks on humans and other humanoids. A cyclops stands around 9 feet tall and resembles a man in general shape, with powerful arms, clawed hands and a horrible mouth, broad and crammed with flesh-ripping fangs. Its single massive eye is clear sea green and eerily human apart from its size. The cyclops's weathered skin is tan in color, with scattered clumps of straggly green-black hair.
Foes of Humankind. Amiraspi cyclopes are carnivores with an innate fondness for humanoid flesh. Their favorite food is halfling, followed by gnome, dwarf, elf, gnome and human, but they loathe the taste of orcflesh. Only a starving cyclops would eat an orc or half-orc, it would rather leave the corpse as carrion.
 Cyclopes are notorious for raiding undefended settlements, repeatedly attacking them whenever they feel hungry. Like many predators, cyclopes prefer weak victims (e.g. abducting unarmed villagers from hamlets or farmhouses) over hunting strong prey that might injure them (e.g. fighting warriors or adventurers).
Cave Tyrants. These monsters can live off most types of terrain, including subterranean, and normally lair in caves. Amiraspi cyclopes often dominate bands of humanoid monsters (orcs, gnolls, goblins, et cetera) as their minions. The group is ruled by the strongest and fiercest cyclops (see Amiraspi Cyclops Chief for an example). A cyclops lair might also contain young cyclopes and captured humanoids. Often human, these living prisoners are held to be eaten. Unlucky captives suffer ghastly fates before being devoured.
 A cyclops may attract scavengers that feed on the gory remains of its prey. They are sometimes trailed by carrion-eaters such as buzzards or jackals, and their dwellings are usually infested with corpse-flies and similar vermin.
Cursed Births. Amiraspi cyclopes appear to always be male, but are incapable of natural procreation. Instead, they multiply by cursing pregnant human women they have captured so their offspring are sometimes born as cyclopes. Little is known of this "Amiraspian Curse", but it seems certain that it requires the woman be devoured once she gives birth. It is also clear the curse does not always work. Instead of a cyclops whelp, the newborn may be fully human (in which case it is eaten too), or a cyclopean-human hybrid (see Amiraspian); this one-eyed humanoid is cast out of the lair once its elders realize it isn't a true cyclops. The curse's effectiveness can be randomly determined with a d10 roll: 1-3 is a human, 4-6 a hybrid, 7-10 a cyclops.
 Pregnant women who escape or are rescued from a cyclops den are free of the curse and give birth normally. The curse only covers the lair and ends if all the cyclopes are dead or incapacitated.

(Originally created by Albie Fiore; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) as part of the Fiend Factory mini-module "One-Eye Canyon", edited by Albie Fiore.)
 
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ilgatto

How inconvenient
In 4E, the Feywild is a plane parallel to the Prime Material akin to the Elemental Planes or Negative Energy Plane, but with more fey enchantment or pixies and less guys made out of rock or life-devouring blackness.

It's hardly an original concept, there have been multiple adventures and sourcebooks before 4E came out where PCs could adventure in the realm of the faeries that treated it as another realm of existence.
Ah. OK. So the 4E D&D version of what is also known as the "Realm of Faerie" in English myth and legend.
So if we make the particularly evil WD21 cyclops Fey, maybe we can somehow link them to the spriggans of Faerie myth, which featured in 1E an 2E as particularly evil?
 

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