A dread creature is any creature brought back to life through necromantic magic. A creature that was never flesh and blood to begin with (such as a construct, elemental, ooze, plant, or undead) can’t be turned into a dread creature. The following characteristics change or are added to a creature that becomes a dread creature.
Retained Characteristics. The creature retains its Armor Class, hit points, Hit Dice, vulnerabilities, resistances, and immunities.
Lost Characteristics. The creature loses its original saving throw and skill bonuses, special senses, and special traits. It loses any action that isn’t Multiattack, or a melee weapon attack that deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage. If it has an action or a melee weapon attack that deals some other type of damage, it loses the ability to deal damage of that type, unless the damage comes from a piece of equipment, such as a magic item.
Type. The creature’s type is undead and it loses any tags. The creature does not require air, food, drink, or sleep.
Alignment. The creature’s alignment is neutral evil.
Speed. Reduce all of the creature’s speeds by 10 feet, to a minimum of 5 feet.
Abilities. The creature’s ability scores change as follows: Int 2 (-4), Wis 6 (-2), Cha 5 (-3). In addition, the creature’s Constitution score increases by 4.
Saving Throws. The creature gains proficiency in Wisdom saving throws.
Damage Immunities. The creature is immune to poison damage.
Condition Immunities. The creature is immune to the poisoned condition.
Senses. The creature retains any special senses but also gains darkvision out to 60 feet unless it already has better darkvision.
Languages. The creature understands the languages it knew in life, but can’t speak.
New Trait: Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the creature to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the creature drops to 1 hit point instead.
Attacks. If the creature has no other means of dealing damage, it can use its fists or limbs to make unarmed strikes. On a hit, an unarmed strike deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + the creature’s Strength modifier, or, if the creature is Large or larger, 2d6 + its Strength modifier.
Sample Dread Creature
This dread creature’s statistics presented here use a wolf as the base creature.
Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 15 (2d8 + 6)
Speed 40 ft.
Abilities Str 12 (+1), Dex 15 (+2), Con 16 (+3), Int 2 (-4), Wis 6 (-2), Cha 5 (-3)
Saving Throws Wis +0
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the creature to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the creature drops to 1 hit point instead.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) piercing damage. If the target is a creature it must succeed on a DC 11 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
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Art by Shutterstock (used with permission).