Coming back from Mexico and experiencing the awesome culture there, I’ve got all sorts of ideas kicking around for some cool, new Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons monsters. Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is Thursday, therefore, I thought it was appropriate to make the infamous Las Calaveras Catrinas for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition.
What is La Calavera Catrina?
La Calavera Catrina (‘Dapper Skeleton’, ‘Elegant Skull’) is a 1910–1913 zinc etching by the Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator and lithographerJosé Guadalupe Posada. The image depicts a female skeleton dressed only in a hat, her chapeau en attende is related to European styles of the early 20th century. She is offered as a satirical portrait of those Mexican natives who, Posada felt, were aspiring to adopt European aristocratic traditions in the pre-revolution era. She, in particular, has become an icon of the Mexican Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead called La Calavera Garbancera.
How does La Calavera Catrina translate to Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition?
The iconic imagery of the elegant skeleton dressed in French finery is fantastic and easily fits into any fantasy setting. Often, la catrina is seen as a benevolent undead or angel, that helps the dead find their way in the afterlife (like in the Pixar film, Coco).
I see catrinas as a cross between intelligent skeletons and celestials. Their powers are limited, so they aren’t quite as strong as traditional angels or fiends (sort of like the constellations I’ve created), but they can definitely hold their own in most fights.
More often than not, a catrina keeps its distance in combat, using defensive strategies and escaping when pressed. Also, they have powers that assist other undead in combat, especially those that use Wisdom or Charisma-based attacks.
La Calavera Catrina
Medium celestial, neutral good
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 105 (14d8 + 42)
Speed 30 ft.
Abilities Str 10 (+0), Dex 16 (+3), Con 17 (+3), Int 13 (+1), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 20 (+5)
Skills Insight +5, Perception +5
Damage Resistances radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages all, telepathy 60 ft.
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Innate Spellcasting. La catrina’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). La catrina can innately cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:
- At will: bless, detect evil and good, divine favor
- 1/day: banishment, plane shift
Shepherd of the Dead. While within 30 feet of la catrina, any undead ally of la catrina makes saving throws with advantage.
Multiattack. La catrina can use her Autoskepticism Ray if available. She then makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage plus 9 (2d8) radiant damage.
Autoskepticism Ray (Recharge 4-6). La catrina targets one creature she can see within 60 feet of her. The target creature must succeed on a DC 16 Charisma saving throw or be charmed until the start of la catrina’s next turn. While the target is charmed in this way, its speed is halved and it has disadvantage on Charisma and Wisdom saving throws. On a successful saving throw, the creature is immune to la catrina’s Autoskepticism Ray for 24 hours.
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I’m back from Mexico now, so I’m going to be creating a whole slew of new monster ideas I got while I was there. Sign up to the mailing list to get regular updates (link on the right column and down in the footer).
See you next time!