Keeping the momentum going with Stat Anything–thanks again to everyone who gave suggestions on Instagram–I’m tackling a monster from a movie I just saw last night: A Quiet Place.
Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen A Quiet Place yet and don’t want spoilers, you should probably avoid reading this blog post ’til you do.
In this article I’m going to:
- Show what we’ve learned from the movie A Quiet Place about these monsters.
- Break down each of the elements of the monster stat block to show you how I came up with its stats.
- Deliver the finished result of the monster.
Thanks to Instagram user @eugenekwan01 for the suggestion. Not only will this be a fun one to make, but the movie was awesome, too!
Thumnail art from Paramount Pictures.
What are the monsters from A Quiet Place?
Don’t make a sound. If you do, you’re dead.
From outer space they came. Once on the ground, they quickly knocked out all the world’s militaries. And within 90 catastrophic days, everyone but a handful of careful, near-silent survivors were dead. Of those left, the few who were able to catch a glimpse of these creatures knew true horror.
The beasts are large. They walk around on all fours; two powerful hind legs built for leaping 30 feet or more led by massive forearms topped off with razor sharp claws that can cut through steel like paper.
Conventional weapons don’t work against them; they’re nigh invulnerable, capable of withstanding bullets, bombs, even the vacuum of space.
And they do all this without eyes–they’re completely blind. Thanks to a massive ear cavity located behind dense armor plates, these beasts can hear even the smallest sound from miles away
When one is hunting you at close range it uses clicking and screeching sounds to paint a picture of it environment with echolocation.
Also, it affects electricity causing lights to flicker and television screens to turn to static.
Fortunately, they have one weakness: high-pitched frequencies. It temporarily stuns them and leaves them vulnerable to attack.
How can we create these for 5e D&D?
This is a fun challenge, because there’s a few factors here that don’t directly relate to Dungeons & Dragons’ fifth edition rules.
Here’s what we can discern:
- These creatures are seemingly invulnerable to most forms attack. However, the attacks made against them are with regular, nonmagical weapons. We also didn’t get any kind of idea how they dealt with other methods of damage (more on that in a moment).
- Additionally, we only witnessed how guns reacted against them, specifically Emily Blunt’s shotgun to one of the monster’s exposed faces.
- They’re as big as a pickup truck.
- They move incredibly fast, easily 3-4 times as fast as a normal human.
- Additionally, they’re quick with their claws, capable of making multiple attacks in just a few seconds. And they always have the advantage.
- Their claws are capable of cutting through thick steel in just a few short seconds. According to page 246 of the Dungeon Master Guide, steel has an Armor Class of 19. The hole it created in the sidewall of the silo was large and the steel probably mid-way between fragile and resilient, so approximately 16 (3d10) hit points.
- They can hear even the smallest sound at least a mile away.
Breaking each element down.
Normally, I can dive straight into creating a monster. But these things take a little more research. Here’s each element of the stat block broken down for you:
No name is ever given to these beasts. In fact, I can’t even find one with a Google search. So until I know better, I’m going to dub them listeners.
As noted, these beasts are as big as a pick-up truck. Pick up trucks are roughly 10 feet long and 7 feet wide. Plus, they stand easily 3-4 taller than a human. So listeners are Large size.
An easter egg newspaper article notes that there was a massive meteor that hit Mexico with the force of a nuke. So these buggers probably came from outer space. This is confirmed in an interview with actor/director John Krasinski:
They are absolutely aliens. They’re from another planet. Where I developed the idea of them and what I wanted them to look like was most alien movies are about takeovers, agendas, they’re a thinking alien creature, and for me this idea of a predator, this idea of a parasite, this idea of something that is introduced into an ecosystem [was interesting]. One of my favorite movies I love to watch is RocknRolla and they tell that whole story about the crawfish in the Thames and that’s what I mean, the introduction of something that can’t be held back.
In D&D 5e, anything from outer space is automatically an aberration.
One thing to note in the film is that the creatures don’t seem to eat what they kill. They kill just because they want to or like it. Some fan theories suggest they eat electromagnetic energy, hence the disturbances. Regardless, a creature that kills just to kill and doesn’t conform itself to the rigors of society is 100% chaotic evil.
This is an interesting one. These things are pretty invulnerable to attack, however, it’s not because they have a high AC. It’s more likely that they have immunities (see below). I think a few points of natural armor plus their Dex modifier is all they’ll need. The only time their AC will come into play is when they’re hit by attacks that their immunities don’t cover or their ear flaps are open (see below).
What do we know about this beast’s hit points? It suffered at least five attacks throughout the course of the film. First it got zapped three times with Regan’s hearing aid and its feedback loop. Then, Regan amplified that feedback with her dad’s radio equipment, stunning it. Finally, Evelyn finished it off with a shotgun directly to its exposed face: critical hit!
Using this information, we can reverse engineer its hit points starting with the shotgun blast. We can assume that Evelyn is a human commoner, so she gets no Dex bonus to ranged weapon attacks. However, the gun did deal double damage with the crit. According to the DMG p268, modern shotguns deal 9 (2d8) piercing damage. That means it took 18 damage to drop it from its already lowered hit point count to 0 or less.
Previously, it took “thunder” damage from Regan’s feedback loops. I’d say that the feedback loops probably did 1 damage to Regan, but did twice that damage to the listener and nearly stunned it each time. Thus, the listener is probably vulnerable to thunder attacks. All three attacks caused 6 damage to the listener. Note: Regan and her brother had a short rest on top of the silo between the first time she got hit with thunder damage and the second and third times.
When Regan figured out that it was her hearing device’s feedback that was causing the listener damage, she amplified it over her dad’s loud speakers. This attack easily dealt severe damage to the listener, plus caused the creature to become stunned, vulnerable to attacks, and deafened; seems like a failed Con save to me. Our closest approximate to that attack is the shatter spell, which deals 13 (3d8) thunder damage to any thing hit with it. Also, it caused enough damage that the listener couldn’t make its Con save (more on that below).
Adding up all the damage, we’ve got 37 total damage it took before it died (assuming it had no other wounds before it attacked the Abbot farm). A Large monster has an average of 5.5 hit points per hit die plus its Con bonus. The average Constitution score for most Large creatures in the Monster Manual is 17, so that means our monster has a +3 hit points per hit die. Dividing 37 by 8.5 comes out to roughly 4-5 hit dice, which puts it on par with a lion.
When Marcus come crashing through the top of the corn silo, the listener is at the house stalking Evelyn. Following the sound, the listener was able to get across the field, climb to the top of what looks like a 275 foot silo, jump into the pit of corn, and make at least one round of attacks before turning, attacking the wall and retreating.
Meanwhile, Lee was about two thirds of the way between the farmhouse and the silo when this occurred. He wasn’t able to come up on the children until they had already spent at least 1 round getting to the edge of the silo so they could jump into the pile of corn below.
I’m going to assume that Lee ran at top speed of 60 feet per round from where he was to try to get to his kids. Based on that information, we can calculate how fast the listener was moving by reverse engineering the silo scene.
Here’s the entire encounter done in reverse starting with the final round “F”:
F – 0: Lee arrives just as Regan and Marcus are jumping out of the silo.
F – 1: Regan and Marcus use their entire turn crossing difficult terrain to reach the hole in the silo. Lee runs 60 feet to the silo.
F – 2: Regan’s hearing aid deals thunder damage to the listener. Surprised by the attack, the listener uses its multiattack to cut through the silo wall and leap out. Lee runs 60 feet to the silo.
F – 3: Regan and Marcus use the silo door as a shield and take a dodge action. The listener attacks the two children, but misses all of its attacks. Lee runs 60 feet to the silo.
F – 4: Marcus uses his action to pull Regan from the corn as she’s sinking. Regan climbs onto the door. The listener climbs the silo walls and leaps into the corn. Lee runs 60 feet to the silo.
F – 5: Regan leaps into the corn and pushes the door over to save Marcus. Marcus climbs onto the door. The listener charges at the silo. Lee runs 60 feet to the silo.
F – 6: Marcus falls into the corn and starts sinking. The sound draws the listener from the farmhouse who starts running towards the silo. Lee makes a Perception check to watch as the listener charges. He then starts running after it.
If Lee was 2/3 way between the house and the silo, that means he ran about 360 feet from the tractor where he found Marcus’ clothing to the silo. That means there was roughly 1,080 feet of distance for the listener to cover plus another 275 feet for it to climb for a grand total of 1,335 feet of distance covered in just 3 rounds. That’s 445 feet per six seconds, or 50.56 miles per hour!
I’m going to assume that the listeners have a trait that allow it to double its movement somewhat similar to how Tabaxi work, except they can do this turn over turn at the cost of a bonus action. That means this thing has a walking speed and climb speed of 120 feet, or 480 feet if they move and dash and use up their bonus action.
Here’s each of the listener’s abilities broken down.
For Strength, they’re probably average for their size if not a little less. So 16-17 there.
Dexterity is a little tougher to figure out. In the Monster Manual, it’s pretty rare that a monster has more than 18 Dexterity with the exception of celestials, elementals, and fiends (and the demilich for some reason). The closest approximation to a fast and nasty aberration is the star spawn mangler from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes which has 18 Dex. Therefore, that’s where I’d put it. That would account for all the damage its claws do as a finesse weapon plus its massive bonus to initiative, too.
We already figured they have a Con of 17.
Intelligence wise, I’d guess that they’re probably sub-10 but still not totally dumb. They seem to have their own language, too, which usually means an Intelligence of at least 5. Kruthik from Mordenkainen’s Tomb of Foes have Intelligence 7 and they have a similar language of chittering and screeching. So 7 it is.
These are going to be wise critters. They’ve survived horrible space travel and have outstanding Perception and Survival skills. The highest that Wisdom seems to go for monstrosities and beasts (which these are definitely closer to than aberrations), is 14.
These things aren’t pretty. And they’re not going to have a whole lot of abilities tied to their Charisma, either. Therefore, a 7 seems appropriate as that’s similar to the star spawn mangler. The only spells that really require them to make Charisma saves will be stuff like charm, zone of truth, etc.
It’s hard to guess where the listeners are good at saves. If thunder damage usually requires a Constitution save, then they probably don’t have proficiency there, just their pure modifier. The only other saves it seems good at are Dexterity (such as falling in the corn). But even then, that could just be a great Dex check to land without getting injured. Turning to similar beasts, star spawn manglers have great Dex and Con saves, however, the kruthik don’t. I’m going to rule that the listeners have no save proficiencies and survive thanks to their invulnerabilities.
Obviously, listeners have advanced Perception skills. Plus, I think it’s reasonably safe to assume they have the Survival skill, too, as they’re able to land on a planet and wipe out most of its population in three months flat. And finally, they’ve got plenty of Stealth, even when moving at top speeds of 50 mph.
Vulnerabilities, Resistances, and Immunities
Here comes the fun part.
We know that they’re immune to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage except when their head flaps are open.
And we know that they’re vulnerable to thunder damage. In fact, they’re so vulnerable, they may even need an additional trait to explain how it functions.
But what else? Back to the interview with John K, we learn a bit more about what they can endure:
And the other idea was [the armor is] also the reason why they were able to survive kind of the explosion of their planet and then survive on these meteorites, because they’ve evolved to be bulletproof. Until they open themselves up to be vulnerable, they’re completely invulnerable.
They’ve survived on meteorites through space. That’s effectively three more types of damage they can survive through: fire from the atomosphere, cold from the vacuum of space, and necrotic from solar radiation.
This leaves us acid, force, lightning, poison, and radiant to attack them with. And we can probably throw in that magical weapons can also hurt them. After all, there’s no magical weapons on earth. Well, that we know of…
They’re blind but have limited blindsight thanks to echolocation. This Nerdist article goes into greater detail on how it works. It would appear that they can enhance their echolocation ability by opening the armor shells on their head.
Their long distance hearing comes from Wisdom (Perception) checks and a Keen Hearing type trait that I think I’ll call Hypersensitive Hearing. This will also explain why Thunder damage does more damage to them.
Somewhere I read (can’t find the article now), that the screenwriters for A Quiet Place wanted to give the listeners their own language made of chirps and screeches. This, again, is similar to the kruthik in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. So I’ll give them a language called “Listener.”
We’ll probably come back to this value, but we already know quite a bit from their hit points. It has a lot of damage immunities, so it’s getting at least 2x its hit points. That effectively gives them a defensive challenge rating of 1. While that might seem low, keep in mind that the Abbots (and most of the human race) aren’t characters with levels. They’re just commoners with only 1, maybe 2 hit dice total.
CR 1 is a good place to start since it will help us figure out what sort of damage they can do on a turn, too.
The listeners definitely have echolocation. It also means if they’re deafened, they’re effectively blinded (as was probably the case with the one towards the end).
Most things with excellent hearing in the Monster Manual get the Keen Hearing trait such as bats, killer whales, and owls. According to this article from the Humane Society, an owl can hear a mouse squeak in a field about half a mile away (or 2,640 feet). I’m willing to bet that these guys have probably triple that range, meaning that they can hear stuff probably a mile-and-a-half to two miles away. And they seem to know the exact location. Therefore, I’m thinking that an upgraded version of Keen Hearing is the way to go with the listener.
However, this sensitivity makes them incredibly susceptible to thunder damage, too. Do enough of it, and you can stun them and permanently deafen them.
Also, they can open the armor around their ears to double their echolocation ability. Unfortunately for them, this leaves them open to attacks.
Remember, too, these things can survive in space, so they don’t need to breathe air.
Oh, and it hits things so hard when it finally does it, it works a bit like the pounce attack that large cats have. So we’ll need that, too.
And finally (yeesh!), they can take their bonus action to double its speed.
The listeners have one obvious attack: their claws. And since they’re able to swing those things so well and fast, I think it’s safe to say they probably have multiattack with them, too.
And while we never see them use them, they also have some pretty heinous teeth. Thus a bite attack seems logical. Otherwise, why evolve teeth at all other than to look creepy AF?
For damage for turn, the steel of the corn silo is probably our biggest clue since we know a 10′ x 10′ section of its steel has 16 hit points. If the listener scored hits with two of its three claw attacks (assuming it multiattacked it), it needs to do an average of 8 damage per swipe. It uses finesse weapons, so it has a +4 to its slashing damage right off the bat. That leaves us with 4 more points to cover, or a 1d8 per attack.
The listener can dish out 24 damage with its claws in a turn.
If its bite is on par with the rest of its damage output, we can base the bite off of a young white dragon’s bite at 2d10 + 3 (the listener uses its Strength modifier for its instead). That way, if it pounces and bites, it can deal 8 slashing damage with its claw, knock its target prone, then make a bite attack with advantage at 14 piercing.
Putting it all together.
We’ve got everything figured out now. Time to put it all together into a monster stat block.
This monster is available for use with your 5e Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Just not commercially. And the art isn’t mine… borrowed from Industrial Light and Magic!
Large aberration, chaotic evil
Armor Class 19 (natural armor)
Hit Points 34 (4d10 + 12)
Speed 120 ft., climb 120 ft.
Abilities Str 17 (+3), Dex 18 (+4), Con 17 (+3), Int 7 (-2), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 7 (-2)
Skills Perception +6, Survival +6, Stealth +7
Damage Vulnerabilities thunder
Damage Immunities cold, fire, necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities blinded
Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 16
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Anaerobic. The listener does not need to breathe air.
Ear Guards. The listener can use a bonus action to open or close the armor plates surrounding its ear apertures. While these armor plates are open, the listener’s blindsight radius increases to 120 ft. and it temporarily loses its immunity to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.
Echolocation. The listener can’t use its blindsight while deafened.
Hypersensitive Hearing. The listener has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing. In addition, the listener is able to pinpoint the direction and distance of any sound louder than a whisper that is within 2 miles of it.
Pounce. If the listener moves at least 20 feet straight towards a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the listener can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
Thunder Susceptibility. If the listener takes thunder damage, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, or it becomes stunned until the end of its next turn, permanently loses its immunity to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons, and is permanently deafened.
Unearthly Speed. On each of its turns, the listener can use a bonus action to double its movement until the end of the turn.
Multiattack. The listener makes three claw attacks.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 10 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) slashing damage.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) piercing damage.
Thanks for reading!
Phew! And that’s how we make the monsters from A Quiet Place. This one definitely took a lot more research than some of my other monsters. Plus I had to create some unique new traits for it. But hopefully, you understand the process!
Something to note: it can mow down commoners, but against PC’s armed with magic weapons, spells, etc. it won’t do as well. So keep that in mind!
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And if you see any mistakes or have questions, please leave a comment below.
See you next time!