You’re cornered. You close your eyes, waiting for the displacer beasts to pounce. Your final moment feels like an hour.
Suddenly, you feel a presence in front of you. You anxiously open your eyes to see a blink dog appear before your eyes. Determined, it looks back at you. You have an ally. Today is not your day to die.
The displacer beast is one of my favorite D&D monsters. It pains me to write about their sworn enemies, the blink dog. However, because my fiancée and I just adopted the absolute goofball pictured below this past week I feel compelled to write about these good fey puppies.
The blink dog is a good-natured, low-CR creature with the unique ability to teleport. They make for a fascinating early-game foe or ally depending on the party’s intentions.
They’re scary smart compared to your typical dogs in 5e. Making them respectable adversaries that fully leverage their abilities to tactically teleport around the battlefield or set up a devastating ambush.
With that said and done, let’s take a walk through the Monster Manual. No jumping!
Blink Dog Lore
There’s not a whole lot of blink dog lore in 5e. The juicier bits can be found in the displacer beast Monster Monday if you’re interested.
The blink dog is named after its ability to teleport short distances. An ability it uses to jump in and out of danger. Blink dogs are so adept at using their power they can time their attacks to sync-up with their teleport.
These tactics make them fearsome foes to their sworn enemy, the displacer beast. I’d imagine it would also make them difficult companions to train, albeit fiercely loyal and intelligent ones for those who put the time and effort in.
Blink Dog Stats and Abilities
You can find the blink dog’s statblock on page 318 of the Monster Manual.
Size: Medium fey
HP: 22 (4d8 + 4)
Speed: 40 ft.
STR: 12 (+1)
DEX: 17 (+3)
CON: 12 (+1)
INT: 10 (+0)
WIS: 13 (+1)
CHA: 11 (+0)
What an ability score spread! There’s not a single negative modifier for this CR 1/4 creature which is phenomenal. Their Strength is a smidge low which is disappointing since it’s used for their Bite, but they still do appropriate damage regardless.
What stands out the most is that all three common saving throw abilities are solid. Especially Dexterity with its +3 modifier.
Their speed is also a bright spot in their statblock. Alongside this and their teleportation ability, they’ll be zooming around the battlefield. Side note, blink dog zoomies must be terrifying!
Their AC and HP are a little weak, but they’re still not terrible. Beastlike creatures generally have sub-par AC regardless.
Resistances, Immunities, Saves, and Skills
Skills: Perception +3, Stealth +5
Senses: passive Perception 13
Languages: Blink Dog, understands Sylvan but can’t speak it
CR: 1/4 (50 XP)
Their high Stealth and Perception makes them phenomenal hunters, ambushers, and guard dogs. Their Stealth is especially impressive for a CR 1/4 creature!
Cr 1/4 is a fair rating for the blink dog. While their defenses are numerically weak, they have quite a few tools that bolster their survivability alongside many out of combat benefits like their skill proficiencies.
Traits and Abilities
Keen Hearing and Smell. The blink dog has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
This trait should come as no surprise. Dogs are expert trackers thanks to their heightened senses. The blink dog, while a fey creature, is no exception to this rule. They are extremely perceptive creatures which comes in handy for tracking down displacer beasts or guarding a sleeping adventuring party at night.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.
Teleport (Recharge 4–6). The blink dog magically teleports, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 40 feet to an unoccupied space it can see. Before or after teleporting, the blink dog can make one bite attack.
Options, options, we like options! Their Bite attack is their bread-and-butter which can be used every turn. It deals a respectable amount of damage for a CR 1/4 creature, but ultimately is nothing noteworthy.
Teleport, however, is their signature ability. This action lets the blink dog teleport up to 40 ft. away, giving it a total of 80 ft. of movement in a single turn when it can Teleport. It’s a Dash action, but better because teleporting away from an enemy won’t trigger an Opportunity Attack.
In addition to all of these benefits, the blink dog can still make an attack. They can even choose to do so before or after they teleport. That’s an outrageous amount of action economy stuffed into a single low-CR creature’s action.
Plus, Teleport‘s 50% recharge rate is very generous. There’s a very high chance you’ll be able to use Teleport multiple times in an encounter. Don’t be afraid to use it whenever it’s available.
Blink Dog Strengths
Unmatched Maneuverability & Mobility
40 ft. of movement is already spectacular. After all, that’s 10 ft. more than a typical medium-size adventurer.
However, the blink dog’s movement becomes obscene on turns where they can use Teleport. In these instances, the blink dog can move 40 ft. and teleport 40 ft. away for a total of 80 ft. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, teleporting away from a foe does not trigger an Opportunity Attack so it’s safe to use.
Also, consider that teleportation is not limited to the ground. They can teleport on top of things or up part of a cliffside. Places that their enemies cannot reach. It’s not just the amount of movement they have, it’s the sheer variety of movement they have access to thanks to their blinking.
Awesome Action Economy
I feel like I’m devoting half the article to Teleport, but it’s just so good! It’s a Dash, Attack, and Disengage wrapped into a single action.
That is a phenomenal action for a CR 1/4 creature. Especially since it has a 50% chance of recharging each turn.
Even when they can’t use Teleport, Bite is still a perfectly-average attack for a CR 1/4 creature. At worst they’re average, at best they’re fantastic.
Blink Dog Weaknesses
Often I’d cite the lack of ranged attack options as a weakness, but the blink dog’s phenomenal speed and maneuverability lend it the tools it needs to easily get in range of faraway foes.
The only sore spot for the blink dog is their below-average defenses. 13 AC is pretty average for low-CR beast-type creatures, but their HP is a bit low.
Again, their defenses aren’t terrible, they’re simply below-average.
However, their phenomenal maneuverability thanks to their fast speed and Teleport does lend them some additional survivability. They can dip out of hairy situations easily and often without risking Opportunity Attacks.
Yet this only goes so far. Ranged attackers can still pelt blink dogs from afar without much issue.
How to Play a Blink Dog
Hit & Run!
Teleport is a phenomenal tool for hitting the enemy and dipping out of harm’s way. Plenty of creatures can use this tactic, but few can get into melee range, attack, and dip out without provoking Opportunity Attacks as the blink dog can.
Use the blink dog’s speed to charge into the enemy. Clampdown with a bite and then blink away with Teleport. Keep in mind, all of this can be done with a single action.
Thanks to the attack component of Teleport being flexible, you can also blink next to the enemy and attack. You could then use your movement to run away. This is a useful option for if the enemy has already expended their Reactions this round so your blink dogs have no fear of retaliation.
Attack from the Shadows
Keep in mind that the blink dog is fantastic at stealthing around. Their +5 to Stealth gives them a huge edge over low-level adventuring parties with regards to gaining a surprise round for an ambush.
Plus, with their Keen Hearing and Smell and high passive Perception, they’re sure to know when their enemy is within striking distance.
Use Teleport to get them right into melee range of their unsuspecting foe. The enemy won’t know what hit them and certainly won’t know where they came from.
Blink dogs make for great allies for ranged attackers as their Teleport won’t give away the position of their ranged allies. Giving them a solid chance of gaining the Unseen Attacker status which translates to advantage on an attack roll.
5 Blink Dog Plot Hooks
- The Chase – As you travel through the feywild you see a pack of displacer beasts frantically run past you. Not long after you see a pack of teleporting dogs charging after them.
- Lost Dog – A wealthy pet owner lost their blink dog on their morning walk in the forest. They believe she was distracted by something and couldn’t find her after an hour of searching. They’ll pay a handsome fee for her safe return.
- Protect the Feywilds – Blink dog fur and paws sell for an exorberant price. The wealthy often wear them to flaunt their cash. Poachers recently have been entering the Feywilds to find and kill blink dogs for these. This is impacting the natural order of the feywilds and must be stopped.
- The Dog Trainer – Someone has posted on the town’s noticeboard that they are looking for a dog trainer for a puppy with very… unique abilities.
- Upsetting the Balance – Blink dogs have recently started leaving the feywilds to continue chasing off the displacer beasts that escape it. However, they’re also hunting the fauna in the forests that the displacer beasts now reside in.
They have a solid array of ability scores, phenomenal maneuverability, decent damage, and below-average defenses. All of this results in a respectable and unique low-CR creature.
Teleport is a phenomenal action, and not just from an action economy standpoint either. There are so many cool situations and tricks you can do with this action. You can play around with the terrain, perform hit & run assaults, and strike with a devastating ambush on an unsuspecting adventuring party.
All in all, they’re a great creature to use in low-level combat. Plus, with their Lawful Good alignment, you could present them as a very challenging companion for the party to train and take care of. I’m sure a blink dog puppy could get into oodles of trouble.