Resurrect the dodo, Carolina parakeet, Yangtze river dolphin, and more—no diamonds needed. (Yes, that’s a very nerdy spell component joke. No regrets.) The Book of Extinction, an unofficial fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons supplement from Mage Hand Press, will hold more than 70 creatures inspired by extinct animals from our material plane within its pages. The book gives these fascinating creatures comprehensive game statistics and lore for use in your D&D game. Real-world facts and history about the animals that inspired the creatures accompany the gameplay information.
The first three creatures are available in a pay-what-you-want preview now. (The rest will follow after a crowdfunding campaign later this year.) The preview includes:
The thylacine, Tasmania’s marsupial wolf, becomes an incorporeal ghost tiger. The great auk, a giant penguin from the most inaccessible reaches of Iceland, becomes a magic-casting celestial beast. And the passenger pigeon, once North America’s most numerous bird, becomes a gargantuan swarm reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
All proceeds go toward conservation organizations working to preserve endangered species. Mage Hand Press is also producing a companion podcast called Making a Monster: Extinction to expand on the animals’ real-world stories.
We're partnering with @sparkotter @magehandpress to take real extinct species and retell their stories as Dungeons and Dragons "monsters" to raise awareness about biodiversity loss. Learn more in this podcast featuring our senior scientist @TierraMussel. https://t.co/Oe78SrPT7g— Center for Biological Diversity (@CenterForBioDiv) April 13, 2022
The creatures in The Book of Extinction are inspired by animals that went extinct specifically by human interaction. But why use Dungeons & Dragons to bring awareness? “Natural history is already present in heroic fantasy games like D&D,” says Mage Hand Press, “from the histories and myths that inspired famous monsters to illustrated field guides from John James Audubon that inspired the game’s Monster Manual.”
Follow Mage Hand Press on social media for more information about The Book of Extinction Kickstarter campaign for a full compendium of creatures.
Kelly Knox is a pop culture and entertainment writer in the Seattle area. Her next book, Be More Obi-Wan, says “hello there” in July 2022. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, pop culture, and bad dad jokes.