Cock joke. I’d open this up with something more clever, but there really isn’t anything to work with here!
The Cockatrice is hugely disappointing. It has one of the most bizarre and creative designs I’ve seen thus far! Unfortunately, it completely lacks in combat ability or lore. The only thing going for this monster is that it looks decently cool! I legitimately worried that I’d have to sandwich it with the Couatl to avoid writing a post that’s only three hundred words!
Luckily, my early days in blogging are well behind me. So I found a way. Plus, the Couatl is way too cool to be put next to the fucking Cockatrice!
Lore: Literally Nothing
No, that’s not a joke. There is nothing here!
The Cockatrice is the D&D equivalent of a chicken. It gets upset quickly, eats creatures smaller than it and attacks for even the slightest transgression, despite the fact that it’s pitifully weak and small. The only interesting or threatening piece of information is the beast’s beak, which can petrify its victims.
Can you weave an interesting villain for a campaign with them? Fuck no! Can you make a sidequest out of them? Second verse, same as the first: nope! If you want to tell a compelling story, then look elsewhere! The Cockatrice will let you down in every regard!
Unless you want to tell the romantic tale of a lizard, bird and a bat making a hideous love child. Whatever floats your boat.
Design: Bird, Bat, and Lizard
To be fair, the Cockatrice has a creative design. Unfortunately, the design is a bit of a cluster fuck.
A good character/monster design should tell you what the subject is about without a word. They should naturally draw your eyes to important parts of the body, such as scars, weapons or other significant body parts. You should be able to glean all this information at first glance, then get even more as you analyze the design for longer periods of time.
While the Cockatrice does look cool, it completely fails in terms of a good design! It should naturally draw the eyes towards the beak, considering that it’s the only part of it that has any significance/danger to it! But thanks to the pose and proportions, the eyes are naturally drawn to the lower body, where you get the massive bat wings, lizard body, and chicken feet!
“But Jonah!” I hear you say because I have no better way of introducing a counterpoint for me to tear apart. “You can tell that it’s a weird bat/bird/lizard hybrid by looking at the main body! That makes it a good design, right?” Wrong!
Again, you should be able to glean a large amount of important information upon first glance. Tell me honestly: did you realize you were looking at the body parts of a bird, bat or lizard before I mentioned they were there? If you said yes, congratulations! You’re either the most observant person I’ve ever met or a god damn liar! I’ve looked at this monster numerous times before writing this review, and I only just realized what I was looking at as I was reading what little flavor text there was!
Does it look cool? Yes! But is it effective? Unfortunately, not at all!
Stats: The World’s Least Intimidating Basilisk Knock-Off
You can tell you’re pathetic when a level one wizard wouldn’t be intimidated by you.
This thing is a massive pushover, even for a first-level party! The AC is a pitiful 11, which is made even worse thanks to the pitiful HP, which even a level one barbarian could cut in half with one blow! Even the movement speed is pathetic, with only 20ft on foot and 40ft in the air!
In terms of damage, this guy isn’t anything special. It can bite you once per turn, which threatens to deal 3(1d4+1) damage. It is entirely dependant on the petrification effect that could come from being hit by it.
Y’know! The petrification that only requires a DC 11 to beat. That gives them another chance on the next turn. And only lasts 24 hours.
There is no creativity to be had here. Not even the lowest level parties would need to get creative with their tactics to beat it! All you need to do is beat it to hell until it dies! Even as far as fodder enemies go, that is just pathetic!
The Cockatrice in a nutshell.
After the last few monsters we talked about, I had high hopes for the Cockatrice! But now, all I can feel is profound disappointment and boredom! The more you read of this monster, the more you realize that it just isn’t that interesting!
With all that said, let’s put the Cockatrice on the Best of the Bestiary!
- Death Tyrant
- Animated Armor
- Carrion Crawler
- Rug of Smothering
- Bugbear Chief
- Vine Blight
- Twig Blight
- Needle Blight
- Cockatrice <———
- Flying Sword
The only reason this monster isn’t sitting at the bottom is because of the creativity in the design. But it still isn’t saying much, considering how weak the designs are for the bottom four. If it were less creative, it would far closer to the bottom. It may even be at the bottom!
What a huge fucking waste…