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Author Topic: D&D 5E Post-Apocalyptic: Godzilla (Monsters) and Ancient Tech (Magic Items)  (Read 11476 times)


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The Dungeon Master’s Basic Rules are out in PDF for D&D 5E. The D&D Basic Set is also out as is the module, Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Several of the creatures and magic items can be used in a futuristic post-apocalyptic setting with rules adapted using D&D 5E.

The biggest rule for including monsters in a ruined world setting of the near future is no spellcasters. However, what else should be included may vary based on campaign style. To recap, the three campaign styles are: tough, cinematic, and mystical.

A tough campaign will feature what would the top 1% of people in our world trained to go on adventures. While tougher, better skilled, and luckier than most of us, none of these heroes have even quasi-mystical powers.

A cinematic campaign has larger than life heroes. Characters can jump across buildings, hang on ledges while fighting, get beaten to a pulp and come back swinging, and outrace explosions while leaping through the air and grimacing. At the very end of the spectrum of being possible in the real world. Still no truly mystical powers.

Mystical heroes leap ten feet in the air to kick each other, can through mysticism or other training bend the laws of science, and do feats of daring-do that are obviously not possible in the real world even with extraordinary luck or skill. These heroes may have some magical ability that mimics spells.

In general, the types of monster that fit in each of the three campaign styles follow. Exceptions to these guidelines are listed after the types.

Aberrations, Celestials, Dragons, Elementals, Fey, Fiends, and Giants
Normally work best in mystical campaigns. These creatures either have fantastic powers or are iconic as fantasy creatures.

Beasts, Humanoids, Monstrosities, Oozes, and Plants
Most of these creatures work in any of the three campaign styles with exceptions listed below. Many of these creatures would be mutated versions of plants and animals in the real world. Monstrosities could be genetic experiments gone wrong. However, some monstrosities are so iconic to myth (centaur, chimera, harpy, and minotaur for example) that they should be used with caution in any campaign style.

If treated as robots, these creatures work in all three campaign styles.

These creatures work in mystical campaigns and some cinematic campaigns.


Adult Red Dragon
As written, this beast only fits in a mystical campaign. If you want a Godzilla monster that works in both a cinematic and mystical campaign make the following changes:

  • Size increases to Gargantuan.
  • Hit points change to 332 (19d20 + 133)
  • Remove the wings, wing attack, and fly speed. Godzilla becomes bipedal.
  • To Speed add swim 40 ft.
  • Just before Legendary Resistance add: Amphibious: Godzilla can breathe air and water.
  • Change the fire breath to atomic breath that does radiant rather than fire damage.
  • Replace Frightful Presence with the following:

   Roar (3/Day). Godzilla emits a terrifying roar. Each time it roars before finishing a long rest, the roar is louder and the effect is different, as detailed below. Each creature within 500 feet of Godzilla and able to hear the roar must make a saving throw.

First Roar. Each creature that fails a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw is frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Second Roar. Each creature that fails a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw is deafened and frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature is paralyzed and can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Third Roar. Each creature makes a DC 18 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 44 (8d10) thunder damage and is knocked prone. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t knocked prone.

  • Replace the Legendary Action of Wing Attack with Roar as a Bonus Action (Costs 2 Actions) and Recharge Atomic Breathe (Costs 3 Actions).
  • Godzilla picks a favored enemy city. While in this city, Godzilla can use adult red dragon lair actions.
  • As an option, the DM may award a player character with inspiration if the player utters some of the words to the song Godzilla.

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of men

—Blue Oyster Cult

Animated Armor and Flying Sword
If used as a robot, the armor and sword are not subject to an antimagic field but can be scrambled and disabled by lightning damage (EMP pulse equivalent) if it fails the listed save.

Basilisk and Medusa
These creatures work best in mystical campaigns and even then can be quite deadly. Use with caution.

This monster does not work in any of the three campaign styles.

This weird monster would work in many cinematic campaigns. It could be a mad scientist mutated by an experiment gone haywire.

Werewolves are not suitable for tough campaigns.

Acolyte, Mage, and Priest
Not suitable for any of the campaign styles.

Ancient Tech
Magic items are not an option in any of these settings. However, many magic items can be considered ancient tech and still provide benefits. Refer to the Player’s Basic D&D PDF for details on these magic items.

Some of these items need some new names and tweaks. A bag of holding may become a trans-dimensional folding apparatus of carrying. A wand of magic missiles becomes a ray gun.

Items that do not work as ancient tech: potion of flying, spell scroll, and wand of detect magic.

Lost Mine of Phandelver
The evil mage, flameskull, and Nezznar the Black Spider do not work in any of the campaigns. But the Redbrand Ruffian and especially Sildar Hallwinter work very well.

All of the magic items work as well, except for the potion of flying and spell scroll.

Hoard of the Dragon Queen
The following monsters work in any campaign style: ambush drake, Captain Othelstan, Dragonclaw and Dragonwing, and Guard Drake. Langdedrosa Cyanwrath and Rezmir work in a cinematic or mystical campaign.

As to magic items, the black dragon mask and insignia of claws work in any campaign. Hazirawn and the wand of winter work in cinematic or mystical campaigns. Again, none of these items would be magical but instead would be some type of high tech device. The wand of winter, for example, could be a snowthrower (like a flamethrower but with ice).

The Monster Manual will be out soon. The list of usable monsters can be expanded. When the Dungeon Master’s Guide is released various optional rules need to be examined and chosen such as changes to hit points and firearms. Finally, a suitable setting needs to be created or converted.

About the author: Charlie Dunwoody started as a player in his brother Tim's AD&D 1E campaign 30 years ago. He has DMed that edition and every edition that followed. He has had a half dozen articles published in Dragon Magazine (print) for D&D 3E and Signs & Portents (e-magazine) for Mongoose Runequest. He writes an  e-column about world building called Brave New World (COLUMN).


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D&D 5E Post-Apocalyptic: Godzilla (Monsters) and Ancient Tech (Magic Items)
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 10:49:01 PM »
I'm looking to pull 5E content into my Earthdawn4e/Greyhawk mashup eventually. Good overview, thanks.