When thinking about An Author’s Monster Manual, Dan Fitzgerald immediately came to mind. He is the author of the Maer Cycle and The Weirdwater Confluence and creates the most unique of beings!
As an old-school D&D fan, I love dragons, but I’ve always most enjoyed low-power games, where the magical stuff is not so over-the-top. So when I went to write the Maer Cycle, most of the creatures are extrapolations on real-world creatures, with no magical abilities. My favorite such creations are the feathered dragons in The Archive (and to a lesser extent in The Place Below).
The creature design is inspired by feathered dinosaurs and frilled lizards. Feathered dragons are basically huge, feathered reptiles with gray coloring to match their mountainous habitat, but they can flip their feathers to bright orange as a warning, or to communicate. They often flip just their crest, which flares up like a flame around their head, either in greeting or to scare off enemies. This description is from The Archive:
“The creature was about fifteen feet long, including a five-foot tail ending in a puffy wisp of feathers. Its rear legs were longer and thicker than its front legs, and its body was as big around as a moose. Its head was three or four times the size of hers, but the crest of feathers starting just above its eyes made it look much bigger. Though it was covered in gray feathers from head to tail, it had no wings, and other than the claws and the feathers, its body was more like a lizard than a bird, though she had never seen a lizard with rows of sharp teeth.”
I whipped together a D&D 5e stat block for the creature, if you’re interested:
I commissioned art of the creature from the inimitable Cheyanne Murray.
They can be trained, and the Dragon Maer even have mages who can control them, as seen in
The Archive. They play a pivotal role in the big battle in that book, as shown in this snippet:
“Near the rear, one of the Shoza’s bodies was jerked sideways, then flipped, hovering in the air
for a moment before dropping, limp, to the ground. Bobo’s gray feathers were nearly invisible in
this light, but his screech was deafening, causing several more warriors to stumble to the
ground. He pounced on the fallen ones, and more screaming ensued.”
You can find out more about the feathered dragons and the Maer Cycle on my website,
http://www.danfitzwrites.com, or find all my links via my Linktree.
About the author:
Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-forward low fantasy) and the Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories), bothfrom Shadow Spark Publishing.
He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.
The Maer Cycle
The Weirdwater Confluence