IN THE WORKS

Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons

by Matt Chapman

We thought we were spoiling you in the previous issue of Dragon+, when we revealed that the draconic goodies in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons would be stacked higher than an ancient wyrm’s hoard. Alongside races, feats, spells, and magic items, Project Lead James Wyatt promised a deeper dive into the creatures themselves, including dragons so powerful they have transcended the limitations of a single world in the Material Plane.

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As part of that introduction to Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, we also revealed that the bestiary chapter makes up almost a third of the book. We can now confirm that this massive resource delivers 70 creature varieties (counting the different age categories), including the sapphire, amethyst, crystal, emerald, and topaz dragons of the gem family, deep dragons, sea serpents, moonstone dragons, further great wyrm dragons (chromatic, metallic, and gem versions), and stats for aspects of Bahamut and Tiamat. It’ll also feature some dragonborn champions and humanoid dragon servitors.

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But this issue we’re able to go even further and pluck a few of those draconic goodies from Fizban’s famed treasure pile. We’re revealing two of the “dragon-adjacent creatures” from the book that are as terrifying as they are amazing!

First up is the eyedrake, a beholder-kin in the form of a dragon that retains its deadly rays. Not to be outdone, the elder brain dragon sees the ultimate expression of illithid domination take flight for the first time. As well as sharing the art of both these new monsters, James explained the thinking behind these two incredible (and incredibly dangerous) creatures.

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EYEDRAKE (CR 8)

“In Volo’s Guide to Monsters, we discussed the idea that new beholders come into being through the dreams of existing beholders. The eyedrake is what happens when a beholder becomes obsessed with a dragon,” James says.

“Perhaps a deep dragon is encroaching on a beholder’s territory, or a sapphire dragon is stalking it. When the beholder becomes obsessed with dragons up to the point that its dreams are affected, what you end up with is a large beholder-kin that is vaguely dragon-like. It’s a bizarre combination.

“In basic outline, an eyedrake resembles both a dragon and a beholder. It looks like a winged, draconic creature but it has no true limbs and those wings are made of eyestalks. Its mouth is perpetually open, showing a large central eye that emits a breath-like wave of antimagic energy. It really is the breath weapon of a dragon with an antimagic cone of a beholder—two great tastes that taste great together.”

 

ELDER BRAIN DRAGON (CR 22)

Volo’s Guide to Monsters also goes into great detail describing how mind flayers create new additions to their numbers by implanting tadpoles into living, humanoid creatures and transforming them into other mind flayers. There are a few additions to that in Rime of the Frostmaiden, which describes other examples of how that process works. The elder brain dragon is an extension of that concept, just more terrifying,” James explains.

“Typically, an elder brain lives at the centre of a mind flayer community, immobile in a pool. Rather than implanting a tadpole into a dragon, the elder brain forms a sac on the dragon’s back and covers it with a membrane and tentacles, transforming it into a hideous aberration. It also extends its tentacles into the dragon’s brain to take control of its body.

“This process occurs when the mind flayer colony manages to capture a dragon. Teams of mind flayers bind the dragon and subject it to this gruesome transformation. The horror of this monster is it brings the elder brain to you, taking a creature that would usually be immobile and giving it flight! It’s worryingly mobile, because it now has a fly speed of 80 ft. and can hover, using psychic levitation as much as its membranous wings.

“The elder brain also takes over the dragon’s breath weapon mechanism and spews a stream of brine filled with tadpoles, to begin performing ceremorphosis as it transforms the humanoids around it. Characters continue taking psychic damage even when infested with a tadpole, stabilizing if they’re reduced to zero hit points but remaining unconscious, until they transform into a mind flayer.

“In addition to the traditional claw, bite, and breath weapons of a dragon, the elder brain dragon can also grapple with its tentacles. True to its nature as a psionic beast, one of its legendary actions is to break a spellcaster’s concentration when they’re grappled, ending their spell effects. It’s really going to mess with parties!”

Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons releases October 26, 2021 and is available for pre-order now at your local game store, bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million, or online at retailers such as Amazon. A digital version is also available at D&D Beyond, and Roll20.