Grim Reaper | Monster for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

I’m finally starting to recover from my ailment. Thought I might shake some of the “ugh” off with doing a 2nd edition conversion. Those usually help me get back into the right mindset. Here is an old monster conversion from Ravenloft, the Grim Reaper.

What is the grim reaper?

The grim reaper (or death spirit) is a creature from the negative material plane that appears only in Ravenloft. It is drawn to the ebbing life energies of a creature on the verge of death (i.e., at or below 0 hit points) and seems, in some way, to feed upon those essences. Despite its apparent nature, the death spirit is not undead.

A grim reaper has the appearance of a bleached skeleton shrouded in a dark robe. It is always carrying a scythe in its boney hands and stands well over six feet in height.

No death spirit has ever been known to speak to the living on their own terms, but rumors persist that such a creature can be contacted by the use of a speak to dead spell. In such cases, language does not seem to be a factor.

There are those who say that death spirits are agents of the Dark Powers of Ravenloft and that thwarting them earns the wrath of these mighty forces. No evidence exists to support that claim, but some connection between the two seems almost a certainty.

The chance that any mortally wounded individual (one reduced to 0 or fewer hit points) will attract the attention of a death spirit is equal to 5% per character experience level. Thus, a 15th level character on his deathbed has a 75% chance of being visited by a grim reaper.

Being creatures of the negative material plane, these nightmares seem to have no place in the physical world. There are those who contend, however, that they play a vital link in the balance between life and death that is central to all neutral-aligned philosophies.

Grim Reaper

Medium fiend, neutral

Armor Class 19 (natural armor)

Hit Points 102 (12d8 + 48)

Speed 0 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)

Abilities Str 21 (+5), Dex 20 (+5), Con 18 (+4), Int 14 (+2), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 18 (+4)

Saving Throws Int +6, Wis +6, Cha +8

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Damage Immunities cold, fire, lightning, poison

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, poisoned

Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages all

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The grim reaper’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components.

  • At will: charm, inflict wounds, sleep, suggestion
  • 1/day: greater invisibility, finger of death

Magic Resistance. The grim reaper has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Rejuvenation. If the grim reaper is destroyed anywhere other than the negative energy plane, it reforms on the negative energy plane in 1 hour and regains all its points.


Death Scythe. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4 + 5) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creature drops to 0 hit points. On a success, the creature takes 10 (3d6) psychic damage.

Horrifying Visage. Each non-undead creature within 60 feet of the grim reaper that can see it must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. A frightened target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if the grim reaper is within line of sight, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a target’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to the grim reaper’s Horrifying Visage for the next 24 hours.

Life Reap. The grim reaper targets a creature with 0 hit points within 5 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Charisma saving throw or the creature’s life essence is drained away. After the creature’s life essence is drained away, it cannot be returned to life with a resurrection, raise dead spell or similar magic. Only a wish spell can bring the creature back to life.


Thanks for reading!

It’s nice to be back to life! And only appropriate that I create the Grim Reaper (after all, that’s kinda how I felt yesterday).

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Art by Lee Kent. Flavor text by Wizards of the Coast.

2 thoughts on “Grim Reaper | Monster for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

  1. is there any way to beat a grim reaper, do they have any weaknesses I wanna rob one of their weapon lol

    1. Casting Hex to give it Disadvantage on CHA saving throws and a quick banishment would be my go to to quickly defeat this beast. As it’s not native to the material plane, a quick minute means it’s gone for good.

      But to defeat it and steal its weapon? Best way I can see is the give it disadvantage on STR checks somehow and try to disarm it. Assuming it can’t just summon its scythe at all and your GM allows you a mere mortal to wield it in the first place.

      As for straightforward weaknesses I really don’t see any. It has some really decent stats, a powerful fear ability, as well as a decent Save or Die CON save. It’s formidable for any group of adventures not careful to insta-res any insta downed teammates.

      Best counter to him would be a Half-Orc Barbarian with Undying Rage. Doing so would make you immune to being reduced to 0 HP instantly, and if you have a magical weapon you’ll easily swing through its relatively small HP pool.

      Otherwise, that’s about all I can think of.

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