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Glymm, Gnome Illusionist | NPC for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (Spoilers)

Glymm is the leader of the gnome technicians and the chief pilot of the Colossus. He has Xentarich’s respect for his technical prowess. Glymm often plays practical jokes on the bugbears (particularly with his bag of tricks) so they hate the small illusionist (and might even attempt to slay him in a particularly chaotic battle). Khrull resents Glymm and the control he has over the Colossus, but he also recognizes his value and won’t’ betray the gnome. Glymm is not evil, but if the control room is attacked he defends it to avoid losing control of the “ship” (as he calls it).

Glymm

Small humanoid (gnome), chaotic neutral


Armor Class 15 (bracers of defense, ring of protection; 18 with mage armor)

Hit Points 65 (10d8 + 20)

Speed 25 ft.


Abilities Str 11 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2), Int 20 (+5), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 13 (+1)


Saving Throws Int +9, Wis +5, Cha +5

Skills Arcana +9, History +9

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11

Languages Abyssal, Common, Elvish, Gnome, Orcish, Undercommon

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Special Equipment. Glymm wears bracers of defense, a ring of protection, and a cape of the mountebank, plus he is wielding a wand of magic missile. He is carrying a potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of gaseous form, as well as two scrolls of fireball and a scroll of conjure elemental.

Artificer’s Lore. Whenever Glymm makes an Intelligence (History) check related to magic items, alchemical objects, or technological devices, he can add +4 to the roll.

Gnome Cunning. Glymm has advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.

Legendary Resistance (3/day). If Glymm fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.

Spellcasting. Glymm is a 10th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). Glymm has the following wizard spells prepared:

  • Cantrips (at will): dancing lights, mage hand, minor illusion, light, ray of frost
  • 1st level (4 slots): color spray*, disguise self*, mage armor, magic missile, shield
  • 2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, darkness, mirror image*
  • 3rd level (3 slots): counterspelldispelhypnotic pattern*, major image*
  • 4th level (3 slots): banishmentphantasmal killer*
  • 5th level (2 slots): mislead*

Displacement (Recharges after Glymm Casts an Illusion Spell of 1st Level or Higher). As a bonus action, Glymm projects an illusion that makes him appear to be standing in a place a few inches from his actual location, causing any creature to have disadvantage on attack rolls against him. The effect ends if Glymm takes damage, he is incapacitated, or his speed becomes 0.


Actions

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.


Legendary Actions

Glymm can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Glymm regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

Attack. Glymm makes a dagger attack.

Move. Glymm moves up to half his speed.

Cantrip (Costs 2 Actions). Glymm casts a cantrip.

Wand of Magic Missile (Costs 3 Actions). Glymm casts magic missile using his wand of magic missile.

 

Glymm is featured in the ‘Heart of the Iron God’ adventure.

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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.


Actions

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).

Get the FREE adventure: The Secret of Forsaken Peak Part 1 The Goblin Mine

Looking for a cool adventure? This 5th-level adventure is the first part of a series The Secret of Forsaken Peak which is a massive megadelve set in a cursed mountain.

You can download it in PDF form for free, now.

Get The Secret of Forsaken Peak: The Goblin Mine, today.

See you soon!

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

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Snow Para-elementals | Monsters for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

At the point where the Elemental Plane of Water borders the Plane of Air is a cold, wet environment known as the Para-Elemental Plane of Ice. There one can find ice mephits, yetis, remorhazes, frost giants, and white dragons. This is also the home of the large and peaceful snow para-elementals.

Nicknamed “snowmen” by those who come across them, these gentle giants roam the tall mountains that border air and earth. They are the natural enemies of remorhazes and frost giants who also lay claim to the tall, wind-swept peaks.

On the rare ocassion that one is summoned to the prime material, it does not last long. If it is exposed to any amount of sunlight, it immediately begins to melt, leaving behind nothing more than a pool of chilly water.

Elemental Nature. The para-elemental doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Snow Para-elemental

Huge elemental, neutral


Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 168 (16d12 + 80)

Speed 30 ft. (60 ft. when rolling, 120 ft. rolling downhill)


Abilities Str 23 (+6), Dex 9 (-1), Con 20 (+5), Int 5 (-3), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 7 (-2)


Damage Vulnerabilities fire

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Damage Immunities cold, poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages Aquan, Auran

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


False Appearance. While the para-elemental remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a pile of snow.

Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The para-elemental takes 20 acid damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.


Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Engulf. The para-elemental rolls up to its speed. While doing so, it can enter Large or smaller creatures’ spaces. Whenever the para-elemental enters a creature’s space, the creature must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw. On a successful save, the creature can choose to be pushed 5 feet back or to the side of the para-elemental. A creature that chooses not to be pushed suffers the consequences of a failed saving throw. On a failed save, the cube enters the creature’s space and the creature takes 21 (6d6) cold damage and is engulfed. The engulfed creature can’t breathe, is restrained, and takes 21 (6d6) cold damage at the start of each of the para-elemental’s turns. When the para-elemental moves, the engulfed creature moves with it. An engulfed creature can try to escape by taking an action to make DC 18 Strength check. On a success, the creature escapes and enters a space of its choice within 5 feet of the para-elemental.

 

Thanks for reading!

I’m continuing my (new) holiday tradition of creating monsters that align with whatever is happening. If you haven’t already seen them, be sure to check out the Gobble-lin and The Black Friday Horde.

See you next time!

Art by Jakub Casper.

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3 Ravenloft Monsters (Part 4) | Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Welcome back to this series of updated Ravenloft monsters. If you haven’t caught the first couple yet, you can see them all by clicking here: Ravenloft monsters.

The flavor text is taken from the original Monstrous Manual.

defiler

Lich, Defiler

Though there is nothing more loathsome than the foul undead, the defiler lich raises even this putrid circle of fiends to new levels of destruction and malevolence. Some that tread across the blasted domains of these creatures have heard them called by another name: kaisharga.

Defiler liches look like gaunt and skeletal wights or mummies. Tiny green points of light float in the blackness of their empty eye sockets and their bony fingers can quickly flay the flesh from the bones of an unarmored man.

All liches are arrogant creatures, so most dress in the clothes of local nobility or elaborate garb reminiscent of the profession they held before their transition to unlike. Even the fanciest of garments does little to hide their true appearance. however. Defiler liches emanate an aura of atrophy that slowly rots their clothes and anything around them. Cloaks begin to tatter, sleeves fray, and fruit at the same table as the defiler will quickly turn brown and spoiled.

Environmental Hazards. In life, defiler liches were spellcasters of great power who learned to garner their magical energies from the very land around them. Trees, grasses, and the very essence of all living things provide fuel for their infernal spells.

No one seems to know where the first defiler lich came from. With the many gapes and portals existing in the demiplane, it is most likely that the foul things came from some other place far removed from Ravenloft. Rumors abound that the world of their origin was blasted into the desert by their ilk, but thus far no proof has been offered of this theory.

What is evident is that the rich forests of the Ravenloft realms provide a virtually unlimited power source for their small numbers. Of course, this very same advantage can often be the first clue that such a creature has entered an area. If once lush forests suddenly turn to lifeless gray ash, few will doubt that there is a defiler in the land.

Due to the very nature of a defiler’s magic, its lair is normally devoid of vegetation. Underground lairs may lie beneath blasted heaths, ruined keeps have none of the typical ivy growing up the side, and any haven is likely to lie in the midst of a gray and dusty plain. Defilers will often use illusions to cover their abodes, but an astute adventurer will notice the dusty film that covers his gear and collects in his throat and eyes.

The ash created by defiler magic is black and gray, completely devoid of life or life-giving elements. Nothing will grow in an area of ash for one year. The ash itself is very light and usually blows away, leaving behind a lifeless, circular scar on the ground. Even with the ash gone, though, the defiler’s magic has leeched all life-giving nutrients from the soil, so that a defiled area may take many years to recover if it ever does.

There are rumors that many of the defiler lichee chased from places like Barovia or Falkonovia have migrated to the more familiar environment of Bluetspur. Some even say that several of these fiends have stricken unholy alliances with the illithids that live there. If this is true, it is likely that the defilers will use their allies to push their way back into lands with more flora to power their ruinous magical arts.

Eternal Plotters. Defilers have the same basic goals that other liches have; the eventual ascension to demilich status and even transcendence to other planes and forms of existence. In the meantime, however, these undead fiends have thousands of years in which to wait impatiently for some condition or circumstance. During this period their evil plots often grow far beyond the comprehension of mere mortals.

Defiler liches gain their status in the same way that other liches do. This includes the construction of a phylactery and its enchantment. Adventurers seeking to battle such a creature would do well to locate the fiend’s phylactery and focus their efforts on it.

Undead nature. A defiler lich doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Defiler Lich Template

 

Any lich can become a defiler. It keeps its statistics except as follows.

Actions. The paralyzing touch of the defiler deals double damage to spellcasters. In addition, spellcasters make their Constitution saving throw to avoid paralysis at disadvantage.

Challenge. Defiler liches have a challenge rating of 22 (41,000 XP).

Defiler Lairs

In addition to the lair effects detailed in the Monster Manual, the defiler’s lair also has the following magical effect:

  • When the defiler casts a spell within its lair, creatures in the lair are overcome with intense pain as its magic draws from their life essences. An affected creature must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned until the end of its next turn. If the creature is a plant, it makes this saving throw at disadvantage and takes 1d4 necrotic damage per level of the spell cast on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. Undead and constructs are immune to this effect.

 

vampire-mindflayer

Vampire, Mind Flayer (Illithid)

Vampire illithids are the result of evil experiments that were meant to be terminated. They were first created by Lyssa Von Zarovich and the High Master IIlithid of Bluetspur in an attempt to create a creature that could successfully convert the High Master into a vampire (conventional methods were not viable). When the hatchlings proved insane and completely uncontrollable, they were destroyed and thrown into the common water dump, where all victims of mind flayers are thrown after they expire. The vampire illithids regenerated, however, and were washed out of the mind flayer complex. Now they run free across the surface of the realm.

A New Horror. Vampire illithids are a recent development and are not known to the general populace of Bluetspur yet, but they are sure to find their way back into the complex as their deepening hunger drives them to sniff out life wherever it hides. Also, they are quite likely to penetrate the misty borders and invade other realms of Ravenloft – such a monstrosity is sure to thrill and delight the Dark Powers.

In the meantime, they run wild across the expanses of Bluetspur, seeking out and attacking any living thing. Since there technically is no “day” in Bluetspur, they are not constrained by the clock and sleep whenever the urge to rest overcomes their ravenous appetites.

Brains or Blood. Vampire illithids mature in a matter of weeks, rather than years, thanks to their undead status. They enjoy dining on both blood and brain matter, and they receive sustenance from both as well. They are not the least bit picky about their quarry, so long as it is alive.

Vampire, Mind Flayer

Medium undead, chaotic evil


Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 144 (17d8 + 68)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 18 (+4), Dex 18 (+4), Con 18 (+4), Int 3 (-4), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 6 (-2)


Saving Throws Dex +7, Wis +3, Cha +1

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +7

Damage Resistances necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 13

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

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Regeneration. The vampire regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight or running water. If the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn.

Spider Climb. The vampire can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Vampire Weaknesses. The vampire has the following flaws:

  • Harmed by Running Water. The vampire takes 20 acid damage when it ends its turn in running water.
  • Stake to the Heart. The vampire is destroyed if a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into its heart while it is incapacitated in its resting place.
  • Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.

Actions

Multiattack. The vampire makes two melee attacks, one with its tentacles and one with either its drain blood or extract brain attack.

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 15 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage. If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 15) and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be stunned until this grapple ends.

Drain Blood. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature that is grappled by the vampire, incapacitated, or restrained. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage plus 27 (5d10) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the vampire regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

Extract Brain. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one incapacitated humanoid grappled by the vampire. Hit: 55 (10d10) piercing damage. If this damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the vampire kills the target by extracting and devouring its brain.

Mind Blast (Recharge 5-6). The vampire magically emits psychic energy in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or take 22 (4d8 + 4) psychic damage and be stunned for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

 

vorlog

Vorlog

One of a vampire’s most vulnerable moments is when the evil creature is attempting to complete its dark kiss, its bonding with a new vampire companion, creating a vampiric “bride” or “groom”. As elaborated upon by Doctor Rudolph van Richten in his great treatise on vampires, the process of creating a vampire bride or groom is quite elaborate, involving a great expenditure of both passion and blood on the part of the monster. For approximately one hour after the monster has poured all of its energy into the erstwhile companion, the vampire lies helpless beside the bride’s or groom’s transforming body. If the vampire is slain during this time period, its victim does not complete the transformation but becomes a creature caught between the world of the living and that of the dead – a sorry being known as a vorlog.

Physically the vorlog appears no different from a normal human, save for the budding fangs visible when the monster speaks. A vorlog has pale skin and always wears an expression of terrible pain and longing on its ashen face. Although the vorlog casts a shadow (unlike a true vampire), the monster can be recognized by a careful observer who notes that the creature appears translucent in mirrors and makes no noise when it moves.

Vorlogs speak the languages they knew in life. Those who have existed for a long time may have acquired other tongues as well.

In Search of Meaning. Vorlogs are often left alive by vampire hunters, for the creatures initially appear human. Many valiant hunters have falsely congratulated themselves for saving a poor wretch when they have actually condemned him to a semi-life of eternal torment.

The focus of the vorlog’s entire existence centers on its utter anguish and bereavement at the death of its vampire lover. The creature had already given itself over to the vampire, body and mind, when the newly wrought bonds were ripped away by the creature’s sudden demise. The shattering combination of psychic and physical blows is so devastating that the creature can never truly recover. Instead, it spends its eternal existence attempting to recreate its lost companion.

A vorlog spends much of its time searching for humans who resemble – even in only a remote fashion – its vampiric creator. Once a vorlog fixates on a particular individual, the monster becomes more and more convinced that the person actually is the vampire, reincarnated or otherwise restored. This fixation becomes so powerful that the vorlog will attempt anything to have the object of its obsession.

Once the vorlog has captured or charmed the individual in question, it makes the new “companion” dress and act like the yearned-for vampire lover. The vorlog also exchanges a small amount of blood with its new companion for three consecutive running, attempting to re-create the original and satisfying bond. At this point, the companion becomes the vorlog’s surrogate. The surrogate gains no advantages from this bonding, although the vorlog can regenerate faster (see “Combat”) while in the presence of a surrogate. The vorlog also feeds on its surrogate’s Wisdom regularly, so that the poor thing never has more than half of his or her normal Wisdom score at any time.

A vorlog can survive no more than three months without a surrogate to feed upon, and it is loathe to go for even a month without such a companion, as the loneliness of its existence is almost unbearable.

The vorlog can sense the location of its surrogate, no matter where he or she hides. Only an amulet of proof against detection and location, or a similar magical charm, can keep a vorlog from discovering its surrogate’s whereabouts.

Over the course of a few weeks, or at most months, the vorlog grows dissatisfied with the hollow mockery of its original bonding. This dissatisfaction is inevitable, as no being can ever recreate the powerful relationship between the vorlog and its creator. The miserable creature grows bitter and anguished as it begins to restlessly search anew for its creator. Eventually, the creature finds a new object for its obsession, at which point the vorlog returns to its current surrogate and destroys him or her.

A vorlog is capable of bonding with only one surrogate at a time. It cannot create new vampires or even other vorlogs to ease the utter desolation of its existence.

Interestingly, when two or more vorlogs confront each other, they find no comfort in mutual commiseration or empathy. Instead, the creatures tend to f1y into rages and attack one another or their surrogates. Even if such a fight does not occur, the vorlogs spend the bulk of their energies comparing their dead vampire masters, with each vorlog insisting that its beloved was far superior. Such petty and pointless rivalries consume the vorlogs, causing them to remain distant from the only other beings that might truly understand the anguish of their own existence.

Unwanted Creatures. Only a mortal in the final stages of the transformation into a vampiric bride or groom can ever become a vorlog. Other potential vampires merely recover or die as a result of the injuries inflicted upon them by their vampire attacker.

The vorlog must feed on both normal food and psychic energy to survive. The creature’s body needs only one-tenth the amount of food it required while alive, and it can go months without being seriously affected by starvation. More important to the creature is the psychic energy it draws from its surrogates. Without such a surrogate, the vampire dies in three months.

The vorlog is a creature that was never meant to be. Caught on the razor’s edge between life and undeath, the vorlog is trapped in a world of horror which no other being can truly understand. There is no known way to cure a vorlog; only death grants monster any the measure of release. The vorlog is a creature to be both pitied and feared.

Vorlog

Medium monstrosity, chaotic evil


Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 39 (6d8 + 12)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 14 (+2), Dex 14 (+2),  Con 14 (+2), Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 12 (+1)


Saving Throws Dex +4

Skills Perception +2, Stealth +4

Damage Resistances necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages the languages it knew in life

Challenge 2 (450 XP)


Regeneration. The vorlog regains 5 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point, it isn’t in sunlight, and it has one of its surrogates within 30 feet of it. If the vorlog takes radiant damage, this trait doesn’t’ function at the start of the vorlog’s next turn.

Rile Beasts. The vorlog’s presence causes beasts to act aggressively. Each beast with an Intelligence score of less than 4 that starts its turn within 100 feet of the vorlog has advantage on melee weapon attack rolls. In addition, attack rolls against them also have advantage.

Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vorlog takes 10 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.


Actions

Multiattack. The vorlog makes two slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Charm. The vorlog targets one humanoid it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the vorlog, the target must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be charmed by the vorlog. The charmed target regards the vorlog as a trusted friend to be pitied and mourned. Although the target isn’t under the vorlog’s control, it takes the vorlog’s requests or actions in the most favorable way it can. In addition, the creature is so focused on the vorlog, it makes Wisdom (Perception) rolls at disadvantage while within 30 feet of the vorlog. Each time the vorlog or the vorlog’s companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until the Vorlog is destroyed, is on a different plane of existence than the target, or takes a bonus action to end the effect.


Variant: Vorlog Surrogates

Vorlogs that charm humanoids to return with them to their lair can use an insidious ritual to turn the victim into a surrogate. Surrogates act as if permanently under the vorlog’s charm ability, however, it is not allowed a saving throw to resist while within 1 mile of the vorlog even if harmed by the vorlog or its allies. A surrogate’s stats are the same except that it makes its all Wisdom skill checks and saving throws at disadvantage as if it is in a permanent daze. Once the surrogate has been away from the vorlog for 1d4 days, it returns to its senses and the vorlog’s bond is broken.

 

Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, this series has armed you with plenty of new monsters and BBEGs for your gothic horror campaigns.

See you next time!

Art by Wizards of the Coast.

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El Arbol Morado for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Deep in the jungles of southern Alberia and the Surlands awaits something horrible. The tribal Alberians call it xochitl mayana (or the “hungry flower”). Mexjicanos have labeled this fierce creature el arbol morado (the “purple tree”). Like a massive, purple tree, this creature grows in tropical climates. And it hungers for the flesh of all life.

Tecuani brujos tell tales of xochitl mayana dating back thousands of years. They claim the gods created the purple trees to ward of those who would over hunt in the forest. Other tales believe that the purple trees came when the heartstone did, riding on the wings of the massive flaming bird that killed the great lizards of time forgotten. Whatever its origins, all agree that it is something to be feared.

El arbol morado is a 16-20 foot tall plant that looks like a tree without any leaves. Its branches are like snakes, each ending in a clawed mouth. Fire will not burn it, and nonmagical axes will not cut it down. Those who’ve had the misfortune of coming upon one in the forest relate that once it’s fed, it is less aggressive and may stay dormant for days. Still, it takes a quite a bit to feed one. Eyewitnesses say they’ve seen one of these trees eat four entire oxen in just a few minutes.

Arbol Morado (Xochitl Mayana)

Huge plant, unaligned


Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 126 (12d12 + 48)

Speed 10 ft.


Abilities Str 22 (+6), Dex 14 (+2), Con 18 (+4), Int 2 (-4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 7 (-2)


Damage Resistances lightning

Damage Immunities fire; bludgeoning, piercing, slashing from nonmagical weapons

Senses blindsense 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 11

Languages

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Actions

Multiattack. El arbol morado makes six melee weapon attacks.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d4 + 6) piercing damage.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained. El arbol morado can grapple up to three targets at one time.

 

Thanks for reading!

This new monster is part of the Mesoamerican fantasy campaign setting I’m creating for Patreon called El Ocho. Half of the content for the setting will be free here on the blog and the other half on Patreon (some of which will be free there, too).

There’s no obligation to sign up, and once the book content is all wrapped up, it will be offered as an ebook here on the site, too.

If you’d like some more FREE monsters, adventures, and player options, be sure to sign up to the mailing list with the link on the right sidebar or down in the footer.

See you next time!

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Bone Golems for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

A throwback to old-school Ravenloft, bone golems are built from the previously animated bones of skeletal undead. These horrors stand roughly 9 feet tall and weigh between 150 and 280 pounds. They are seldom armored and can easily be mistaken for undead, much to the dismay of those who make this error.

How do Bone Golems Fight?

Bone golems are no more intelligent than other forms of golem so they will not employ clever tactics or strategies in combat. Their great power, however, makes them far deadlier than they initially appear to be; there is a chance that those not familiar with the true nature of their opponent will mistake them for simple undead.

Bone golems attack with their surprisingly strong blows and sharp, claw-like fingers. They can never be made to use weapons of any sort in melee.

To rile its opponents, the bone golem may throw back its head and issue a hideous laugh that causes most those who hear it to cower in fear or even die.

Bone Golem

Large construct, unaligned


Armor Class 15 (natural armor)

Hit Points 142 (15d10 + 60)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 18 (+4), Dex 11 (+0), Con 18 (+4), Int 3 (-4), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 1 (-5)


Damage Vulnerabilities thunder

Damage Immunities necrotic, poison, psychic; piercing and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with adamantine weapons

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9

Languages understands the languages of its creator but can’t speak

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Immutable Form. The golem is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

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

Magic Weapons. The golem’s weapon attacks are magical.

Necrotic Absorption. Whenever the golem is subjected to necrotic damage, it takes no damage and instead regains a number of hit points equal to the necrotic damage dealt.


Actions

Multiattack. The golem makes two claw attacks.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (3d8 + 4) slashing damage.

Dreadful Laugh (Recharge 5-6). The bone golem tilts it head back issues a hideous laugh. All creatures within 60 feet of it that can hear it must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened. While frightened in this way, a creature is paralyzed and it must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn. On a success, the effect ends. On a failure, the creature dies of fear. If a creature’s saving throw is successful, or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the golem’s Dreadful Laugh for the next 24 hours.

 

Thank you!

Hopefully, you enjoyed this old throwback monster from 2nd edition Ravenloft.

If you didn’t already know, I’m creating tons of new monsters and player options over on my Patreon page. Be sure to check it out.

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Art from League of Legends design team.

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Huay Chivos for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

The huay chivo is a legendary Mayan beast. It is a half-man, half-beast creature, with burning red eyes, and is specific to the Yucatán Peninsula. It is often said to be an evil sorcerer who can transform himself into a supernatural animal, usually a goat, dog or deer, in order to prey upon livestock.

Huay Chivos in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Unfortunately, the reality of huay chivos’ origins is much grimmer. They are fiends, servants of El Diabolo Primero, and are, indeed, powerful practitioners of sorcery. They offer their services to the desperate and weak-willed, often in exchange for a blood-price: one’s entire livestock, a firstborn child, or even their mortal soul.

Huay chivos have the ability to command animals to do their bidding, and often protect themselves with mundane beasts. In addition, they have the ability to mutate and change living creatures into horrible monstrosities that follow their commands. When pressed, the huay chivo can use its own claws and horns to defend itself.

Ultimately, a huay chivo is a coward and prefers to talk its way out of combat if it must, offering gifts in exchange for its life. Even then, it will attempt to get the better end of a bargain, finding loopholes in all deals it makes.

Huay Chivo

Large fiend (devil), lawful evil


Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 171 (18d10 + 72)

Speed 40 ft.


Abilities Str 21 (+5), Dex 14 (+2), Con 19 (+4), Int 18 (+4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 20 (+5)


Saving Throws Dex +6, Con +9

Skills Deception +9, Insight +5, Persuasion +9

Damage Resistances cold; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons

Damage Immunities fire, poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 11

Languages Common, Infernal

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Charge. If the huay chivo moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a ram attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 saving throw or be knocked prone.

Command Beasts (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As a bonus action, the huay chivo can command up to 60 hit points worth beasts that it can see within 60 feet of it. The beasts must be aware of the huay chivo and have an Intelligence score of 3 or less. The creatures are affected in ascending order of their current hit points (ignoring unconscious creatures). Starting with the creature that has the lowest current hit points, each creature affected by the huay chivo’s Command Beasts is charmed by the huay chivo for 24 hours or until the huay chivo or its allies harm the creature or an Intelligent creature makes a successful DC 17 Wisdom (Handle Animal) check to break the charm. Subtract each creature’s hit points from the total before moving on to the creature with the next lowest hit points. A creature’s hit points must be equal to or less than the remaining total for that creature to be affected. Creatures charmed in this way obey the huay chivo’s commands and can’t take reactions, and the huay chivo and the target can communicate telepathically with each other at a distance of up to 500 feet. If the effect ends for a creature, it is immune to all huay chivos’ Command Beasts ability for 24 hours.

Magic Resistance. The huay chivo has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.


Actions

Multiattack. The huay chivo makes three attacks: one with its ram attack and two with its claws.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 +5) slashing damage.

Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (4d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Gruesome Transformation (1/day). The huay chivo targets one beast it can see of Intelligence 3 or lower within 30 feet of it. The beast must succeed on a DC 17 Charisma saving throw or undergo a horrific transformation. The following changes occur:

  • The transformed beast’s size increases as if under the effects of the enlarge/reduce spell.
  • The transformed beast emanates an aura of fear. Any creature within 60 feet of the transformed beast that can see it must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving or become frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature can repeat its saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a success. If a creature succeeds on its saving throw or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to this transformed beast’s fear effect for the next 24 hours.
  • The transformed beast develops natural armor which provides it an Armor Class of 12 plus its Dexterity modifier, or if it already has natural armor, its armor class increases by 2.
  • If the transformed beast’s new size is Medium or larger, it gains an acid breath weapon. The breath weapon has the same recharge time, area of effect, saving throw, and damage as a black dragon of the same size category’s. For example, a Large transformed beast has the same breath weapon as a young black dragon.
  • The transformed beast can’t regain hit points, and its hit point maximum decreases by 5 (2d4) at the end of each of its turns. Once its hit point maximum reaches 0, it dies and dissolves into a puddle of acrid ooze.
  • A remove curse spell or other magic can change the animal back into its original form.

 

Thank you!

Huay chivos are part of the Mesoamerican fantasy campaign setting I’m creating for Patreon, but free for you to use in your own Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition campaign settings.

Half of the content for the setting will be free here on the blog and the other half on Patreon (some of which will be free there, too).

There’s no obligation to sign up, and once the book content is all wrapped up, it will be offered as an ebook here on the site, too.

If you’d like some more FREE monsters, adventures, and player options, be sure to sign up to the mailing list with the link on the right sidebar or down in the footer.

See you next time!

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10 Classic Horror Monsters for Pulp Luchador Adventures in D&D 5e

I don’t know what it is about the old pulp luchador stories and art, but I just love the stuff. The idea of a Mexican wrestler going toe-to-toe with Dracula and the Wolfman is so damn thrilling!

Masks, capes, muscles–they had it all. I mean, these guys were superheroes before superheroes were superheroes. And the best part? You could even see them battle others like them live and in person!

To complement the brand new setting that I’m working on as a joint effort between this blog and the new Patreon page, I thought I’d put together a list of the 10 best classic monsters for Dungeon Masters to throw at luchador characters (if you haven’t already seen it, there’s a luchador playable class here on the site).

Most old-school lucha art shows them fighting classic horror movie monsters. So, in a way, this list also doubles as a great Halloween list.

 

#1 – Dracula (Vampire)

dracula

Perhaps the king of all monsters, Dracula is evil personified. And fortunately, the Monster Manual does a pretty excellent job of capturing Dracula’s stats under the vampire stat block (Monster Manual, p297).

The only difference you might want to make to buff up ol’ fanghead is to change his Sunlight Hypersensitivity vampire weakness to Sunlight Sensitivity.

Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, Dracula has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Dracula is more than just a fight for a luchador, but a mystery to be solved. Why have some of the señoras from the local village gone missing? And just a few nights ago, a pair of mujeres with pale skin, baring fangs appeared at the old cementerio. ¿Que esta pasando?

For some tips on how to run a vampire encounter, be sure to read up Keith Ammann’s cool article on vampire tactics.

 

#2 – The Wolfman (Werewolf)

werewolf

Of course, if you’re throwing Dracula into the mix, then you’ll need his on-again/off-again tag team partner, the Wolfman to make an appearance, too. Like Drac, the Wolfman (aka werewolf) has a stat block in the Monster Manual (page 211). Only trouble is, the fifth edition werewolf is a CR 3 creature while Drac is CR 13. If you want an epic werewolf encounter, he’ll need to buff up a little.

So, here’s a Greater Werewolf for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition.

Werewolf, Greater

Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger), chaotic evil


Armor Class 11 in humanoid form, 13 (natural armor) in wolf or hybrid form

Hit Points 144 (17d8 + 68)

Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. in wolf form)


Abilities Str 19 (+4), Dex 13 (+1), Con 18 (+4), Int 10 (+0), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 14 (+2)


Skills Perception +8, Stealth +5

Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons

Senses passive Perception 18

Languages Common (can’t speak in wolf form)

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Shapechanger. The werewolf can use its action to polymorph into a Large wolf-humanoid hybrid or into a dire wolf, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its size and AC, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Pack Leader. The greater werewolf has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the werewolf’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated. In addition, all other werewolves within 30 feet of the greater werewolf that are its allies also have the same advantage to their respective attack rolls as long as one of their allies is within 5 feet of it and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Keen Hearing and Smell. The werewolf has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.


Actions

Multiattack (Humanoid or Hybrid Form Only). The werewolf makes three attacks, one with its bite and two with its claws or greataxe.

Bite (Wolf or Hybrid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. In addition, if the target is a humanoid, it must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with werewolf lycanthropy.

Claws (Hybrid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Greataxe (Humanoid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Unearthly Howl. The werewolf emits a terrifying howl. Each creature of the werewolf’s choice that is within 120 feet of the werewolf and can hear it must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the werewolf’s Unearthly Howl for the next 24 hours.

 

#3 – The Mummy

mummy

When you’ve got ancient Incan, Mayan, and Aztec ruins all over your backyard, chances are you’re going to get some mummies, too. And sure, mummies mostly fit into Egyptian and Northern African settings, but that didn’t stop Santo and the Blue Devil from constantly fighting them in the old pulp lucha settings.

Both the stock mummy and mummy lord from the Monster Manual (page 229) make for great challenges against luchadors and hardly need any edits. The mummy lord itself is a perfect BBEG when Dracula and the Greater Wolfman are too busy haunting other folks around your fantasy Latin American setting.

 

#4 – Frankenstein’s Monster (Flesh Golem)

frankensteins-monster

Here’s another classic that we can (more or less) find in the Monster Manual, Frankenstein’s Monster. Frank is a flesh golem (page 169). And with its immunities to lightning, reasonable Intelligence, and aversion to fire, the flesh golem is about as good as it gets. If we want him to hang with Drac, the Wolf-man, and the Mummy Lord, you might want to max out his hit points (132 hp). Still, Frankenstein is a brute. Beefing him up any more than that takes away from the core character concept.

Of course, if Frank’s around, his creator shouldn’t be too far behind.

 

#5 – Dr. Victor Frankenstein

dr-frankenstein

Dr. Frankenstein is the quintessential villain, the guy that wants to do good but ends up doing a lot of evil in order to do that good. Beyond his excessive intelligence, there’s nothing extraordinary about Frankenstein. Being that he’s from a Victorian era, though, he arms himself with a pistol and rapier–just in case.

Dr. Victor Frankenstein

Medium humanoid (human), lawful evil


Armor Class 11

Hit Points 9 (2d8)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 10 (+0), Dex 12 (+1), Con 10 (+0), Int 18 (+4), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 16 (+3)


Skills Arcana +6, Deception +5, History +6, Medicine +6, Nature +6

Senses passive Perception 11

Languages Common

Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)


Actions

Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.

Pistol. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 30/90 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d10 + 1) piercing damage.

 

#6 – Zombies

zombies

Of course, you can’t have a good horror story without some zombies in it. Zombies more or less come in two flavors: Voodoo zombies, which are probably more appropriate for 1920s’esque pulp adventures; and the modern take on the zombie, aka the “Romero zombie.”

The Monster Manual covers the voodoo zombie fairly effectively (page 316).

But if we want to make the perfect Romero-style zombie, we need to change its attacks. I recommend removing the base zombie’s slam attack and replacing it with the following pair of attacks:

Fists. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, instead of dealing damage, the zombie can grapple the target (escape DC 11).

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature the zombie is grappling. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or contract zombie disease. The diseased creature can’t regain hit points, and its hit point maximum decreases by 7 (2d6) for every 24 hours that elapse. If the disease reduces the target’s hit point maximum to 0, the target dies, and it returns as a zombie in 1 hour. The disease lasts until removed by a lesser restoration spell or other magic.

Everything else in its stat block should give it the same feel as a Walking Dead or Romero-style zombie.

 

#7 – The Creature from the Black Lagoon

creature-from-the-black-lagoon

Interestingly, there’s not a whole lot of parallels to the Creature from the Black Lagoon (also known as the “gill-man”) and other D&D monsters. Okay, sure, there’s a few that come close. Sahuagin come to mind, but they’re a little too old school D&D (plus, they can talk to sharks, which is weird).

So, if the luchadors want to fight El Monstruo de Laguna Negra, we’ll need to cook up something new. It doesn’t have to be tough, per se, so it could potentially make a good first level challenge for a new group of luchas.

El Monstruo de Laguna Negra (Gill-man)

Medium monstrosity, unaligned


Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 67 (9d8 + 27)

Speed 30 ft., swim 40 ft.


Abilities Str 16 (+3), Dex 15 (+2), Con 16 (+3), Int 4 (-3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)


Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13

Languages

Challenge 1 (200 XP)


Limited Amphibiousness. The gill-man can breathe air and water, but he needs to be submerged at least once every 4 hours to avoid suffocating.


Actions

Multiattack. The gill-man makes two slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

 

#8 – The Invisible Man

the-invisible-man

Another classic Universal monster, the Invisible Man toes the line between good and evil. Some depictions have him as a guy who just wants his normal life back. Other depictions, such as the comic book League of Extraordinary Gentleman and the Hollowman, make him out to be a real piece of shit.

However you plan to run him, the easiest way to create an invisible man is to select one of the NPC classes from Appendix B in the Monster Manual and add the following feature:

Invisibility. The invisible man is invisible. This feature does not affect clothing, armor, or equipment, or anything he is carrying.

This shouldn’t affect his Challenge Rating too much, but to be on the safe side you might calculate his CR 1-2 higher than normal (as if he had a +4 bonus to both his AC and attack bonus).

Remember, invisibility gives a creature advantages on their attacks against creatures that can’t see them and in turn, creatures attacking the invisible creature have disadvantage.

 

#9 – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

mr-hyde

A classic tale of a man battling his inner-demons, Jekyll and Hyde is still as relevant today as it was over 120 years ago. And the best part? As a battle with luchadors, Jekyll and Hyde could be a tag team!

Hyde’s stats are the same as Dr. Frankenstein’s except that his alignment is lawful good, he does not have the Deception skill, and he has the (shapechanger) tag as well as the Shapechanger feature:

Shapechanger. As an action, Jekyll can polymorph into Mr Hyde whose statistics are different than his own. Any equipment Jekyll is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed, and he reverts to his true form if he dies.

Mr. Hyde

Medium humanoid (shapechanger), neutral evil


Armor Class 11

Hit Points 45 (6d8 + 18)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 14 (+2), Dex 12 (+1), Con 16 (+3), Int 8 (-1), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 6 (-2)


Skills Stealth +3

Senses passive Perception 12

Languages Common

Challenge 1 (200 XP)


Shapechanger. As an action, Hyde can polymorph into Jekyll whose statistics are different than his own. Any equipment Hyde is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. If Hyde dies, he reverts back to Jekyll.

Sneak Attack. Once per turn, Hyde deals an extra 7 (2d6) damage when he hits with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Hyde that isn’t incapacitated and Hyde doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.


Actions

Multiattack. Hyde makes two attacks with his dagger.

Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) slashing damage.

Pistol. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 30/90 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d10 + 1) piercing damage.

 

#10 – Martians

martian

War of the Worlds was one of the scariest movies (and TV shows!) that I saw growing up. And, of course, fighting Martians is a huge part of pulp cinema, especially if you let it bleed over into the 1950s’ Atomic Age.

If Martians landed in pulpy Mexico, surely the luchadores would come to the rescue to battle Los Marcianos!

Here are the stats for not only the Martians but their horrific, city-destroying fighting-machines as well.

Martian

Medium aberration (Martian), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (containment suit)

Hit Points 35 (10d8 – 10)

Speed 30 ft


Abilities Str 6 (-2), Dex 15 (+2), Con 8 (-1), Int 19 (+4), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 12 (+1)


Saving Throws Int +7, Wis +6, Cha +4

Skills Perception +9

Damage Vulnerabilities necrotic

Damage Resistances acid, cold

Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19

Languages Martian, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)


Actions

Disintegration Ray. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 120/360 ft., one target. Hit: 36 (8d8) force damage. If this damage reduces the creature to 0 hit points, its body becomes a pile of fine gray dust. If the target is a Large or smaller nonmagical object or creation of magical force, it is disintegrated without a saving throw. If the target is a Huge or larger object or creation of magical force, this ray disintegrates a 10-foot cube of it.

martian-fighting-machine

Martian Fighting-Machine

Gargantuan construct, unaligned


Armor Class 21 (natural armor)

Hit Points 333 (18d20 + 126)

Speed 50 ft.


Abilities Str 28 (+9), Dex 14 (+2), Con 24 (+7), Int 1 (-5), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 1 (-5)


Damage Immunities cold, fire, poison, psychic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned

Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10 (or the same as its pilot, whichever is higher)

Languages understands the languages of its pilot

Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)


Imprison. As an action or a bonus action (the martian fighting-machine’s choice), the martian fighting-machine can insert a creature that it is grappling into its internal prison. The martian fighting-machine makes a tentacle attack against the target. If the attack hits, the target does not take damage but instead is inserted into the martian fighting-machine’s prison, and the grapple ends. While imprisoned, the creature has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the martian-fighting machine. A martian-fighting machine can have up to six creatures imprisoned at a time. If the martian fighting-machine takes 30 damage or more on a single turn from an imprisoned creature, its prison breaks and all creatures within tumble out into a space within 15 feet of the martian fighting-machine, at which point the martian fighting-machine can no longer imprison creatures. If the martian fighting-machine is destroyed, an imprisoned creature must still cause damage to the machine in order to escape.

Piloted. A martian fighting-machine requires a pilot to operate it. If the pilot is incapacitated, the martian fighting-machine is also incapacitated.

Siege Monster. The martian fighting-machine deals double damage to objects and structures.


Actions

Multiattack. The martian fighting-machine makes three attacks with its tentacles.

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (4d6 + 7) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained. The Martian fighting-machine has three tentacles, each of which can grapple one target.

Disintegration Ray. The martian fighting-machine fires a disintegration ray in a 120-foot line that is 10 feet wide. Each creature in that line must succeed on a DC 22 Dexterity saving throw or take 72 (16d8) force damage. If this damage reduces the creature to 0 hit points, its body becomes a pile of fine gray dust. If the target is a Huge or smaller nonmagical object or creation of magical force, it is disintegrated without a saving throw. If the target is a Gargantuan or larger object or creation of magical force, this ray disintegrates a 15-foot cube of it.

Terraform (Recharge 5-6). The martian fighting-machine blends all of the prisoners within its internal prison into a gruesome soup it uses to terraform non-Martian environments. Each creature within the martian fighting-machine’s internal prison must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or take 72 (16d8) slashing damage. If this damage reduces the creature to 0 hit points, its body is shredded and spread around the ground as a terraforming agent.

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Dimensional Warpers for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

The dimensional warper was a creature appearing in second edition Dungeons & Dragons. What follows is the information taken directly from the second edition Monstrous Manual, followed by the updated stats for fifth edition.

What are dimensional warpers?

A dimensional warper has a snake-like body and stands on two long, thin legs. Its long, thin, flexible arms each end in one hooklike claw. There is a sturdy, wing-like membrane that stretches between the arms and legs ending at the claws and feet respectively. These “wings” are not used for flight. The warper’s head is bald and earless. It has large, round eyes with cat-like pupils. The creature stands about 6 feet tall and has a wingspan of about 5 feet. It is covered in a thick, leathery hide and has a long lizard-like tail. The dimensional warper has never been encountered on the Prime Material Plane.

Occasionally, for reasons of their own, dimensional warpers have communicated with humans and demihumans. These adventurers have reported that the warpers come to the Prime Material Plane to learn about the creatures native to the plane. However, only those warpers who are old and wise can visit this plane. If a dimensional warper is encountered, there is a high chance that it is a scholar; otherwise, it is a master. A master is identified by the ring of symbols tattooed around its head and down its back which are a sign of its rank.

How do dimensional warpers fight?

Dimensional warpers generally prefer to observe rather than fight. However, if it feels it has learned all it can from watching a group of adventurers, it probably attacks them to learn first-hand about their fighting skills. It only wants to learn about them, not kill them.

A warper attacks once with each of its claws and once with its long whip-like tail. If the warper cannot easily remain in control of the battle, it uses its abilities to warp the dimensions of height, width, depth, and time.

What is a dimensional warper’s habitat and society like?

The warper society is based entirely on seeking knowledge. Dimensional warpers are curious, knowledge-seeking beings. They spend most of their lives observing other creatures and learning as much as possible about them. Adult warpers are usually scholars. However, the oldest and most learned warpers earn the title master and are respected and honored by the others in the society.

Warpers prefer to live where they can observe other creatures without being seen. If possible they travel from place to place, finding hiding places in cities from which they can watch. They have also been known to hide along roads or trails or in dungeons where there are adventurers and monsters regularly passing by. It is possible for a dimensional warper to be able to speak almost any language, as they study their subjects intently. They are very interested in understanding any conversations they overhear.

What is a dimensional warper’s ecology like?

Dimensional warpers do not generally eat the creatures they observe as they do not approve of devouring intelligent creatures and non-intelligent animals do not make very interesting subjects for them. No one has ever seen the home of a warper or knows how old warpers live to be.

dimensional-warper

Dimensional Warper

Medium humanoid, neutral


Armor Class 18

Hit Points 60 (8d8 + 24)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 13 (+1), Dex 17 (+3), Con 16 (+3), Int 20 (+5), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 13 (+1)


Saving Throws Dex +6, Int +8

Skills History +8, Investigation +11, Perception +8

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 18

Languages all

Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Unarmored Defense. While the dimensional warper is wearing no armor and wielding no shield, its AC includes its Intelligence modifier.

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

  • 3/day each: enlarge/reduce, haste, slow
  • 1/day each: dimensional door, duo-dimension

Quick Study. If a creature makes an attack against the dimensional warper or the dimensional warper makes an attack against a creature, the dimensional warper learns that creature’s fighting style. Following the attack (whether it hit or not), the dimensional warper has advantage on all attack rolls made against the creature and the creature has disadvantage on all attack rolls made against the dimensional warper for the duration of the combat.


Actions

Multiattack. The dimensional warper makes three attacks, two with its claws and one with its tail.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) piercing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

 

time-warp

Dimensional Warper, Master

Medium humanoid, neutral


Armor Class 20

Hit Points 120 (16d8 + 48)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 13 (+1), Dex 18 (+4), Con 16 (+3), Int 22 (+6), Wis 17 (+3), Cha 14 (+2)


Saving Throws Dex +8, Int +10

Skills History +10, Investigation +14, Perception +11

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 21

Languages all

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


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

  • 3/day each: enlarge/reduce, haste, slow
  • 1/day each: dimensional door, duo-dimension, time stop

Quick Study. If a creature makes an attack against the dimensional warper or the dimensional warper makes an attack against a creature, the dimensional warper learns that creature’s fighting style. Following the attack (whether it hit or not), the dimensional warper has advantage on all attack rolls made against the creature and the creature has disadvantage on all attack rolls made against the dimensional warper for the duration of the combat.


Actions

Multiattack. The dimensional warper makes five attacks, four with its claws and one with its tail.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.


Reactions

Uncanny Dodge. When a creature that the dimensional warper can see hits it with an attack, the dimensional warper can use its reaction to half the attack’s damage against it.

 

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Tomb Tappers for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Tomb Tappers, also known as thaalud, appear as tall, naked, sexless, and hairless humanoids with very hard, smooth, blue-gray skin, claws that can dig through solid rock, and great toothed mouths in their bellies. Their smooth, featureless heads have earned them the nickname “the faceless”.

Tomb tappers get their name from their habit of burrowing up from the depths to plunder tombs, temples, and wizards’ towers in search of magical items, which they carry off. They usually try to seize magical items from encountered beings.

Magic is sacred to thaalud; they never use any magical items, but protect and venerate them. Tappers spend their long lives in an eternal search for the source of all magic, which they believe lies hidden somewhere deep in the earth. They are somewhat in awe of earth elementals, believing them to be created at this mysterious source, and are reluctant to attack them.

Tomb tappers are not natural creatures. Their existence has been traced back to the very beginning of the Shadowed Age of Netheril when a group of powerful wizards created them to seek out the source of the drain on magic that was beginning to reach across Netheril. This is supported by their faceless heads (suggesting they have been changed from a humanoid norm) and by their spell immunities (suggesting they were created to fight the phaerimm). Tapper beliefs indicate they know magic has power over them. Some, including Elminster, think thaalud were originally made from rock animated in human form. This view is supported by their turning to stone at death.

Thaalud skin varies in porosity at will; through it, tappers take in needed water. Their gigantic jaws can crush rock, from which thaalud extract mineral sustenance. They also digest iron from blood and bone marrow if such become available but do not hunt to eat.

Thaalud customarily wield great hammers of arenite, an alloy derived from magma (the exact composition is secret). These hammers are 10 feet or more long, heavy, harder than most rock, and very durable. Tappers can dig through rock with their claws, but use their hammers to split rock when a smooth surface is desired.

Thaalud are naturally long-lived and form regional clans. It is not known whether they have young or give birth; no children or pregnant thaalud have ever been seen. Even who leads a clan is not known, although thaalud make and keep deals with other beings, and hence are assumed to respect rules and authority.

Thaalud will aid svirfneblins and dwarves, whose magic they leave unmolested. They have no interest in drow cloaks, boots and other items that resemble magic because of Underdark radiation and not true dweomers. Thaalud hate umber hulks, sometimes enslaving them from birth, mutually ignore xorn, dislike duergar and drow, and are bitter foes of illithids and phaerimm, who have slain more than a few thaalud.

Tomb Tappers (Thaalud)

Huge monstrosity, lawful neutral


Armor Class 21 (natural armor)

Hit Points 92 (8d12 + 40)

Speed 30 ft., burrow 30 ft.


Abilities Str 22 (+6), Dex 11 (+0), Con 20 (+5), Int 14 (+2), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 11 (+0)


Saving Throws Dex +4, Wis +6

Skills Arcana +6, History +6, Insight +6

Damage Resistances lightning

Damage Immunities fire, cold

Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, frightened, petrification

Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 15

Languages Thaalud, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Echolocation. The tomb tapper can’t use its blindsight while deafened.

Innate Spellcasting. The tomb tapper can innately cast detect magic requiring no components. Its innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence.

Jumping Bite. After the tomb tapper makes a bite attack, regardless of whether or not the attack dealt damage, the tomb tapper does not provoke attacks of opportunity when it moves out of an enemy’s reach and it can not make any more attacks for the remainder of its turn.

Keen Hearing. The tomb tapper has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing.


Actions

Multiattack. The tomb tapper makes three attacks: two with its claws and one with its bite.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) slashing damage.

Thaalud Hammer. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft. or range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage, or 22 (3d10 + 6) when wielded with two-hands as a melee weapon.

Animate Stone (1/day). The tomb tapper magically animates nonmagical stone it can see within 60 feet of it. Animated stone has statistics like those of an earth elemental, except it has Intelligence 1 and Charisma 1, it can’t be charmed or frightened, and it can’t speak. The animated stone creature remains animated as long as the tomb tapper maintains concentration, up to 1 minute (as if concentrating on a spell).

 

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The tomb tapper will probably be introduced in my campaign pretty soon. As weird as they are, they’re kinda cool, and they definitely have that “wtf?” element that I love to thrust upon my players.

For more details about the thaalud, be sure to check out the second edition Monstrous Manual which you can get on dmsuild.com.

See you next time!