Todd Kenreck: Today, we're talking about one of my favorite mythological creatures. The Kraken and it's place in the D&D multiverse.
Mike Mearls: So really when you think of the Kraken, they are throwbacks to an earlier era. I mostly think of them as kinda like similar to dinosaurs, in the sense that to most people, they probably think of them more as like these things from the past that don't exist anymore. But there are still a few Kraken kicking around the lightless depths of the ocean, to get all poetic.
But I really like the idea of this creature, basically like a giant monster like Godzilla, that's hiding under the water. But unlike traditionally how you see a giant city-destroying monster depicted, they're highly intelligent.
I always like that combination of a creature that has great brute strength but also has a really ... It's very intellectual. That's why ogre mages, or oni, are one of my favorite monsters because they have that package at a fairly low power tier.
One of the things we have in the Forgotten Realms, is the Kraken Society. This idea that there's this Kraken, and we touched on this in Volo's, that has these humanoid followers, humans, that it has corrupted, that serve as it's agents across the Sword Coast. It's this kind of this Lovecraftian sort of angle on the Kraken. But my view is what makes Kraken interesting is that they're all individuals, that no two look alike. The Monster Manual image is of a Kraken but it's not every Kraken and they each have their own schemes and plans.
So I think that's what makes them really interesting, is they really are personalities. They aren't just, this is a creature like a troll or a hill giant, that has a pretty narrow definition, they themselves, they're all masterminds and they're all world changing threats.
They were some of the first creatures created. There's a sense of like the elder days, when the world was new, and what was stomping around. How did the world look? What was it like when the gods first started building life and seeding it in the material plane? That's something I always find interesting, this idea of the early days of D&D, of the multiverse.
So we've done a lot of thinking about like, what is the geological epochs of D&D, what do those look like? I mean obviously, not literally, different strand of rock, but this idea that you have these immense periods of time where the world was very different. The universe was very different. And how has it changed? And how could it possibly change in the future? That very much interests me and it's definitely an area where we're doing a lot of research.
I don't know if you'd ever ... I mean from my stand point, I don't know if it's ever a creature that you really directly meet and talk to. I think you always kinda deal with its tentacles, like metaphorically speaking, its agents, things like that. I think that's what makes them interesting is I think they're most interesting that they're inscrutable. They aren't just people you talk to. They're these forces of nature, they're somewhat unknowable. Where like Beholders are paranoid and almost silly in some ways, like you think of Xanathar and his attitude toward things. There's definitely an element of comedy there, where he's trying to figure out humans and doesn't quite get it.
The Kraken is not trying to figure out humans. It's trying to advance its own agenda and it doesn't care. It's very much a cold intellect. And I think that's what makes them interesting to portray, because you might not ever directly role play one, but the players, the characters, would get a sense of what one is like.