FRANK, STANK, AND KRANK
An NPC trio for D&D 5th Edition
Intended for a Level 2-3 Adventuring Party
“Krank, stop! KRANK! Put the cat down! You stupid, bone-brained, knuckle-dragging excuse for a biped! Do you have any idea how much it costs to summon familiars in this economy?” -Frank to Krank
Some villains are crafty. Others are mighty. Yet somewhere in the wilderness lies a trio of villains whose aspirations are still in the planning stage. In the same way that a buffoon “wannabe hero” will admire legends of heroes long forgotten, this trio of bad guys wants to make the kingdoms tremble in fear (like that Acererak guy). Unfortunately, they fight each other more often than they fight their adversaries.
Not all goblins die in freak accidents on the battlefield. Some goblins can live all the way into their 20’s! Frank has managed to not get his head bashed in from all the wars he’s been in, but most of his success comes from dumb luck and his ability to outwit other goblins. At the ripe old age of 27, Frank has dodged several nasty encounters with warring goblin tribes, typically by flitting back and forth between the winning sides. Frank’s greatest success has been his conniving magical abilities—of which he only knows one spell. After threatening a band of goblins that he would “conjure the most powerful devil to devour you whole,” Frank set up a summoning circle and set his farce into action. He hoped the ruse would scare the goblin band away, but the band was skeptical, and they waited for Frank to produce a result.
And to Frank’s surprise, he did!
The summoning circle lit up in a flash of sulfur and fire, scattering the goblins and flinging Frank onto his back. When Frank woke up, he saw that the goblin band had disappeared, and standing in the middle of the charred summoning circle was a small, gray kitten. Frank’s summoning spell worked, though instead of a demon, he conjured a small cat named Stank. Since then, Frank has been unable to perform any magic besides a basic summoning circle for Stank, though he insists that magical prowess lurks within his blood, ready to be harnessed.
Physically, Frank is an old goblin with a bristling beard. He wears purple wizard robes and a matching hat with golden stars all over. He is temperamental with borderline dementia, but his familiar, Stank, keeps him calm.
Summoned from the infernal pits, Stank the Ashenborne is a friendly tuxedo cat with a dopey grin that never fades from its face. Though he is a figment from the land of devils, he’s quite friendly and prone to cuddling his master, Frank. Unfortunately for Stank, he constantly finds himself in trouble. Not being the brightest of fiendish animals, Stank commonly wanders off of cliffs or accidentally “explodes” sometimes due to his reactive fiendish nature in the Material Plane. Frank now keeps several summoning reagents with him so that he can conjure his familiar back from the hells to serve again. Stank’s most common method of untimely demise comes from being devoured by Frank’s ogre friend, Krank.
The muscle in the group, Krank is a dimwitted ogre who serves as Frank’s mount. When a job comes along that Frank can’t solve with his wits. Krank can usually smash his way to success. Krank came across Frank after he ate Stank (he loves to eat cats), and Frank terrified the dumb ogre into a “life of servitude from the disgrace you brought upon the All Powerful Frank!” Since then, Krank has tagged along with Frank, though he sometimes forgets that Stank is not food, and with one big chomp, he lessens Frank’s wallet by another 100 gold pieces due to spell components needed to summon Stank back.
Appearance-wise, Krank stands over ten feet tall. His arms are as large as tree trunks, and his knuckles are covered in scars from dragging his hands over the ground. He wears a leather skull-cap attached to a harness on his back. The harness functions as a litter for Frank, who stays on Krank’s back in a saddle made from a washtub and scrap wood. Frank steers Krank by dangling Stank in front of him via a fishing pole. Sometimes Krank overreaches and eats Stank, forcing Frank to (once again) conjure the devil cat back from the abyss.
Incorporating Frank, Stank, and Krank into Your Game
The trio would make a great side villain. Having them stumble into the party’s campsite and cause a ruckus would be a prime way of creating a random encounter. The party could also hear a rumor about an old goblin who is collecting spell components to summon “the Ashenborne beast from hell,” which is actually Stank. They can set off to stop Frank’s plans, only to realize that Frank is just trying to summon his cat familiar. The funnier the situation, the better the trio will perform. They could also be allies if the party approaches them in the right manner—maybe offering Frank some scrolls so that he can perform “real magic.”
The Technical Side
Frank is a goblin boss, Krank is an ogre, and Stank is a cat. Together, they are a CR of 3 (though more of a CR 2.5). Frank fights atop Krank in his washtub saddle, tossing spears and other ranged weapons while Krank pummels opponents with his fists. Stank mostly just sits there, though he blows up sometimes. The three characters use the same stats as found in their respective Monster Manual entries, but with the following changes:
- Frank knows the find familiar spell and can cast it at will.
- Stank is a fiend (devil) in addition to his other creature types.
- Stank has the following ability in addition to his other abilities: Death Burst. When Stank dies, he explodes in a burst of fire. Each creature within 5 feet of Stank must make a DC 11 Dexterity throw, taking 7 (2d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
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