The Knacker

Game- and monster-designer Jacob Rodgers spills the beans on The Knacker, and on how it was created to fit with the 5e setting…

You always need someone to blame, I suppose. In Welsh and Cornish lore (not to mention Pennsylvania and the west coast of America), (tommy)knockers are semi-helpful spirits or fey creatures that steal tools and food, but also warn of the impending collapse of mining tunnels with their strange knocking sounds. During development, we decided to call our creatures Knackers, using an older spelling and not wanting to step on any toes, especially those belonging to Mr. Stephen E. King.

Stories of miners arguing with management about the presence and well-being of the Knackers inspired the introductory fiction, and also pointed at a source of conflict — apparently Knackers and dwarves don’t get along. That kind of makes sense, as they’re both well-known miners and diggers, so there might be some sort of competition there.

We also learn about the Knackers and their tendency to help expand mines. But we also learn that they’re somewhat obsessive about their work and, if left alone, tend to create structural weaknesses and tunnels that go nowhere. In other words, the next time you need to explain a non-logical dungeon design to your players, just blame the Knackers.

One section that every Handimonster will include is the Tactics section — we find that it’s not always super obvious what the best combat options are for a given creature and we want to let you know what was in our heads as we designed their features and actions. So not only do we learn about how the Knackers use their environment as a weapon, we’re also reminded about their darkvision and their tendency to attack dwarves above all other targets.

Knacker pencil sketch by Scott Purdy

To find out more, the Knacker is the current FREE monster over at our Handimonsters Patreon page.

Discover more about the creature, and about how you can get brand new, original 5e beasties, to add to your campaign!