Skulking Cysts | Monsters for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Continuing this mini-series on Libris Mortiis monsters updated for 5e, I’m going to be recreating the skulking cyst, another yucky monster from third.

What is a skulking cyst?

The horrible creature walking into view is a mass of free-roaming intestines, flaccid organs, and a few odd rib bones. Dragging behind it like a dead weight is a lolling, maggot-ridden humanoid head. 

A skulking cyst is disgorged from the rotting corpse of a living creature, born of a necrotic cyst that eventually kills its host.

A skulking cyst prefers shadows and dark corners, only revealing the horror of its form when it strikes lone victims from hiding. Though often cloaked in the detritus of a previous victim, the skulking cyst’s true “heart” is a 1-foot-diameter spherical sac that contains fluid and semisolid necrotic flesh, which slowly undulates as if in a mockery of breath.

Undead Nature. The skulking cyst does not require air, drink, food, or sleep.

Skulking Cyst

Small undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 26 (4d6 + 12)

Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

Abilities Str 10 (+0), Dex 19 (+4), Con 16 (+3), Int 13 (+1), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 16 (+3)

Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned

Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 14

Languages understands the languages it knew in life but can’t speak

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Innate Spellcasting (3/day). The skulking cyst can innately cast darkness (spell save DC 13), requiring no spell components. Its innate spellcasting ability is Charisma.


Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) bludgeoning damage, and the cyst attaches to the target. While attached, the cyst doesn’t attack. Instead, at the start of each of the cyst’s turns, the target loses 6 (1d4 + 4) hit points due to blood loss. The cyst can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. It does so if it infects the target with a necrotic cyst or the target dies.  A creature, including the target, can use its action to detach the cyst with a successful DC 14 Strength check.

Necrotic Cyst. The necrotic cyst makes one bite attack against a creature it is attached to that it has drained 10 hit points worth of blood from. If the attack hits, the creature must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or become infected with a necrotic cyst. The infected creature can’t regain hit points. In addition, undead make their attack rolls at advantage and their natural attacks deal one extra die of damage against the infected target. The infected creature also has disadvantage on its saving throws versus necromancy spells and magic. This cyst can be removed with a lesser restoration spell or similar magic.


Thanks for reading!

Much like the skin kite I just cooked up (ew, gross usage of an idiom), this guy will have a home in the adventure that Justin David Russell and I are creating for Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons, The Secret of Forsaken Peak.

Make sure to follow along for more crazy monsters. Sign up to the update list by opting in on the right sidebar or down in the footer.

See you next time.

Art by Wizards of the Coast.

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