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Former D&D designer brings Elden Ring's most iconic (and difficult) boss fight to 5E tabletop RPGs

Roll the dice against the Goddess of Rot.

Image credit: Bandai Namco

Remember early 2022 when everyone and their dog was talking about Elden Ring, FromSoft’s latest and biggest video game? You couldn’t shake an internet-based stick without hitting some Tarnished-based meme, “Behold, dog” quote or dedication post to Blaidd and Iron Fist Alexander.

Foremost among the Elden Ring community’s solidarity was a love/hate relationship with Malenia, Blade of Miquella, a slightly optional boss fight that absolutely floored most players on their first (or 20th) attempt. Well, now you can re-experience that particular trauma with a group of tabletop RPG buddies thanks to ex-Wizards of the Coast designer Dan Dillon, who posted a stat block for the notorious Goddess of Rot on Twitter.

Dillon spent four years designing for Dungeons & Dragons before being caught in the Hasbro dragnet that laid off 1,100 employees at the tail end of 2023. Before that, he published adventures, supplements and encounters with Pathfinder maker Paizo, Kobold Press and plenty more RPG publishers. In short, he knows what he’s doing, and his Malenia in the style of a 5E mythic monster.

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Malenia boasts a meaty challenge rating of 21, along with 333 hit points and a natural armour class of 20, just to set the stage. As a mythic monster encounter, a group will need to fully chop away at her HP in order to trigger a second phase - this Goddess of Rot form resets her health to 240, clears conditions, refreshes expended uses of abilities and gives her flying. Then it’s a cheek-clenching rush to the end before her AoE Scarlet Aeonia and Scarlet Phantoms cut all resistance to ribbons.

Bringing the fiery-haired boss to that point is an achievement all on its own because her initial phase sounds like punishment enough for a grizzled adventuring troupe. Malenia’s arsenal includes all the frustration-inducing moves players remember from the video game, including the dreaded Waterfowl Dance. The blur of blade slashes 6d10 damage to anything within 30 feet and heals her for each creature trapped within - all before teleporting right into the face of your squishiest member.

Dillon’s done a fantastic job capturing the awe, thrill and white-knuckle rage of the fight against Malenia while balancing her iconic moves for a mob of 5E heroes (not all of us are the Let Me Solo Her Guy). Mythic monsters are some of the most punishing fights cooked up for 5E RPG systems, and the Elden Ring boss that broke plenty of hearts and controllers is a worthy addition to their ranks. If you’re itching for a nostalgic romp back to Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree but want to bring some friends and dice to the reunion, you can find Dillon’s creation in a free-to-access Google document.

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