Archive for October, 2014

As monster October wraps up for World Builder Blog, I wanted to thank everyone who’s been following this thing and making the blog a success. Also, thank you for the feedback I’ve been getting! It’s been super duper helpful in refining these monsters to be the best they can be! A special shoutout to Scot Newbury over at the Of Dice and Dragons blog, since his RPG Blog Carnival theme inspired me to take the whole month and create some badass fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons monsters!

Words are Wind

It’s great to thank people, but even better when you can show your appreciate for them beyond a verbal acknowledgement. Therefore I’m excited to present the update fifth edition Exploration Age monsters in PDF form. Use the links to download the whole shebang or just your favorite monster. Included in the pdf below are the gaping maw, icebreaker shark, The Lingering Havoc, the sand kraken, the morchia, the mystauk, the blazing wraith, and the dread wraith.

Exploration Age Monsters

Blazing and Dread Wraiths

Gaping Maw

Icebreaker Shark

Morchia

Mystauk

Sand Kraken

The Lingering Havoc

Site Update

Since it’s going to be pretty dang annoying for you to have to find this exact post anytime you want to use one of these monsters in your game, I’m happy to offer a new Free Game Resources section of this site. Here you can download the PDFs of the Exploration Age monsters for free forever in addition to any new stuff I might create and post there. I’ve already thrown in my Eberron Fiasco playset (which takes place in Making, Cyre during The Last War before The Day of Mourning) which you can also check out below.

Fiasco Playset Eberron Making

All this is to say, thanks! You guys rock and I’m so glad I started this thing and got to meet all you cool people! More fun stuff to come!

Also, take a gander at the poll below and let me know which Exploration Age monster you like best!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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NOTE: The creatures previously featured here are now part of my Pay What You Want DMs Guild product Arachnids, Wraiths, & Zombies.

Despite its massive size, I think longtime D&D players have at least one creature they were disappointed to not see in the fifth edition Monster Manual. This is not a slam against Wizards of the Coast. I LOVE the new Monster Manual. It’s my favorite iteration of the book ever. That being said I think some people were sad to not see some of their favorites, be it old school like hound archons or newer beasts such as catastrophic dragons. Wizards couldn’t print a book with infinite pages and the stuff they left out makes a lot of sense. Plus, I guarantee we’re going to see more creatures in the future.

I love it a lot!

Drop Dread

I myself was surprised to find the dread wraith missing from the pages of the Monster Manual. I didn’t even notice the upgraded version of the wraith was left out until I sat down to make the blazing wraith as one of the Exploration Age monsters I’ve showcasing all this month on the blog. (Other entries include The Lingering Havoc, the gaping maw, the icebreaker shark, the mystauk, the morchia, and the sand kraken.) Anyway, I wanted to create a blazing version of the dread wraith, but I figured the original wraith also needed a little dread before I could do that. So I’ve created dread wraith in both classic and blazing flavors.

In fact I have already created a version of the blazing dread wraith, using the D&D Next final playtest packet. The packet had a dread wraith, which you can see below. That wraith helprf guide some of my thinking as I created one for fifth edition rules.

The dread wraith from the final D&D Next playtest packet.

The dread wraith from the final D&D Next playtest packet.

So without further adieu, check out the dread wraith and the blazing dread wraith.

So what do you think of the blazing wraith? Are you a fan? Which monster were you disappointed got cut from the Monster Manual? Should I write up catastrophic dragons for fifth edition? (Please say yes.)

Quick Poll

So we’re close to wrapping up monster October… which Exploration Age monster has been your favorite? Let me know in the poll below!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.

I sit down with Alex Basso, Topher Kohan, and Round Table newbie Enrique Bertran (aka Newbie DM) to talk about previews from the Dungeon Master’s Guide related to the Wizards of the Coast participation in Extra Life. The conversation doesn’t stop there, we then talk about the possibility of the Eberron campaign setting being brought into the fifth edition rules. This podcast was recorded on October 21, 2014.

Links:

The Tome Show on Facebook

newbiedm.com

Topher’s Google+ Page

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcast Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I was on a recent episode of The Tome Show as part of a crew who reviewed the Monster Manual.

I love this book!

In this episode of The Tome, Jeff Greiner and Tracy Hurley are joined by Mike Shea (Team Demilich), Sam Dillon (Team Beholder), and me (Team Flumph). We sit down and discuss the newly released 5th edition MONSTER MANUAL!!!!! How did WotC do on this important product? Listen and find out.

Links:

slyflourish.com

rpgmusings.com

sarahdarkmagic.com

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!

Deep beneath the surface of Canus, the progeny of an ancient alliance between aberrations and devils slumber, waiting to be awakened. The morchia, cast down and unconscious by The Reckoning Spell, have hate boiling in their sleeping hearts for the world their parents said would be theirs. Simply put, you’re not an aberrant or a devil, they hate you. The exception is of course, tieflings, whom they hate beyond measure, despite the infernal influence on their heritage. Of course, some morchia escaped the influence of The Reckoning Spell, and still wander Verda’s jungles, scheming and plotting the ways they might be able to free their kin.

This…

… plus this!

Morchia Redux

I’ve mentioned the morchia before, and I also created their statistics using the final D&D Next playtest packet. Just like The Lingering Havoc, blazing wraiths, icebreaker sharks, gaping mawsand krakens, and mystauk, I’m going to now give you my proposed morchia statistics for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons rules.

I am keeping the random variability of the morchia as I push forward. I like that their devil traits are consistent and their aberrant traits are more of a variable. I hope you think it’s fun as well! Check it out below!

Morchia

Large monstrosity, neutral evil


Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points  142 (15d10 + 60)

Speed  40 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
20 (+5) 11 (+0) 18 (+4) 16 (+3) 12 (+1) 18 (+4)

Saving Throws  Dex +3, Wisdom +4

Damage Resistances cold, fire; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons that aren’t silvered

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Skills Deception +7, Insight +6

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11

Languages Deep Speech, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft.

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)


Aberrant Trait. All morchia have at least one feature trait which can be determined by rolling on the Aberrant Feature Table below.

Devil’s Sight. Magical darkness doesn’t impede the morchia’s darkvision.

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

Actions

Multiattack. The morchia can make two attacks, or one attack and uses Hold Monster.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) slashing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Hold Monster (3/day). The morchia casts hold monster. The spell save DC for this spell is 15.


Aberrant Feature Table
d20 Time Phyiscal Feature Effect
1 Bonus Action Tentacles Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage.
2 Ooze Feet Aberrant Ground. The ground in a 10-foot radius around the morchia is doughlike difficult terrain. Each creature that starts its turn in that area must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or have its speed reduced to 0 until the start of its next turn.
3 Mouths All Over Gibbering. The morchia has mouths all over its body which babble incoherently while it can see any enemy that isn’t incapacitated. Each creature that starts its turn within 20 feet of the morchia and can hear the babbling must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the creature can’t take reactions until the start of its next turn and rolls a d8 to determine what it does during its turn. On a 1 to 4, the creature does nothing. On a 5 or 6, the creature takes no action or bonus action and uses all its movement to move in a randomly determined direction. On a 7 or 8, the creature makes a melee attack against a randomly determined creature within its reach or does nothing if it can’t make such an attack.
4 Third Eye Antimagic Cone. A third eye on stalk atop the morchia’s head emits a 60-foot anti-magic cone, as in the anti-magic field spell. At the start of each of its turns the morchia decides which way the cone faces and whether the cone is active. The area works against any of the morchia’s own abilities.
5 Covered In Mucus Mucus Covered. The morchia is covered in a transformative mucus. A creature that touches the morchia or hits it with a melee attack within 5 feet of it must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creature is diseased for 1d4 hours. The diseased creature can breathe only underwater.
6 Action Purple Eyes Enslave (3/day). The morchia targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be magically charmed by the morchia until the morchia dies or until it is on a different plane of existence from the target. The charmed target is under the morchia’s control and can’t take reactions, and the morchia and the target can communicate telepathically with each other over any distance. Whenever the charmed target takes damage, the target can repeat the saving throw. On a success, the effect ends. No more than once every 24 hours, the target can also repeat the saving throw when it is at least 1 mile away from the morchia.
7 Action Forked Tongue Moan. Each enemy within 60 feet of the morchia that can hear the morchia must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened until the end of the morchia’s next turn. If a creature’s saving throw is successful, the creature is immune to the morchia’s moan for the next 24 hours.
8 Action Black Scales Phantasms. The morchia magically creates three illusory duplicates of itself. The duplicates move with it and mimmic its actions, shifting position so as to make it impossible to track which morchia is the real one. Whenever any creature targets the morchia with an attack or a harmful spell while a duplicate remains, that creature rolls randomly to determine whether it targets the morchia or one of the duplicates. A duplicate has the morchia’s AC and uses its saving throws. If an attack hits a duplicate, or if a duplicate fails a saving throw against an effect that deals damage, the duplicate disappears.
9 Action Exposed Brain Devour Intellect. The morchia targets one creature it can see within 20 feet of it that has a brain. The target must succeeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw against this magic or take 22 (4d10) pyschic damage. Also on a failure, roll 3d6: If the total equals or exceeeds the target’s Intelligence score, the score is reduced to 0. The target is stunned until it regains at least one point of Intelligence.
10 Action Protruding Forehead Mind Blast (Recharge 5 – 6). The morchia 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.
11 Action One Large Eye Rotting Gaze. The morchia targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw against this magic or take 21 (6d6) necrotic damage.
12 Webbed Feet Regeneration. The morchia regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point.
13 Action None Shapechanger. The morchia can use its action to polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid, or back into its true form. Its statistics, other than its size, 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.
14 None The morchia gains a fly speed of 40 ft.
15 Action Third Eye Petrification Ray. The morchia targets a creature within 90 feet. The targeted creature must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature begins to turn to stone and is restrained. It must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn. On a success, the effect ends. On a failure, the creature is petrified until freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic.
16 Action Third Eye Sleep Ray. The morchia targets a creature within 90 feet. The targeted creature must succeeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or fall asleep and remain unconscious for 1 minute. The target awakens if it takes damage or another creature takes an action to wake it. This ray has no effect on constructs and undead.
17 Action Third Eye Paralyzing Ray. The morchia targets a creature within 90 feet. The targeted creature must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
18 Black Eyes Telepathic Probe. If a creature communicates telepathically with the morchia, the morchia learns the creature’s greatest desires and one fact or secret about the creature.
19 Action None Invisibility. The morchia can cast invisibility on itself at-will.
20 Roll twice on this table. If you get this result again roll three times and so on.

So what do you think? Sound off in the comments below and let me know if you like the morchia!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!

Is there anything more terrifying than the idea that another could take over your mind and control your every action while you remain a prisoner inside of your own body? Other than tarantulas, I’m not sure there is.

Exploration Age has their very own mind-dominating bugs, the mystauk. If you missed my first and second posts on these baddies, check them out! These bugs fly into your head through your ear holes and attach to a host’s brain, controlling the host’s every movement. As my good friend Rudy Basso pointed out, mystauk are a lot like Yeerks from Animorphs.

Monster October continues on World Builder Blog as I bring my Exploration Age denizens up to speed. We’ve already seen The Lingering Havoc, the blazing wraith, the icebreaker shark, the gaping maw, and the sand kraken. Now, let’s take a closer look at the updated mystauk!

Harmless On Your Outside

I’m gonna get ya!

When mystauk are hostless, they are just small, green bugs with the following statistics.

Mystauk

Tiny beast, unaligned


Armor Class 13

Hit Points  1 (1d4 – 1)

Speed  10 ft., fly 40 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
2 (-4) 16 (+3) 8 (-1) 1 (-5) 8 (-1) 2 (-4)

Skills Stealth +5

Senses darkvision 30 ft., passive Perception 9

Languages –

Challenge 0 (10 XP)


Natural Camouflage. The mystauk has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when hiding in an area obscured by foliage.

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage.

Mystauk Domination. The mystauk chooses a humanoid creature within five feet and attempts to fly into its ear. That creature must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or become dominated by the mystauk. While dominated the now intelligent mystauk controls all of the humanoid’s actions. The mystauk can communicate with the humanoid and can read its mind and see all of its memories. The humanoid acquires the mystauk-inhabited template while the mystauk dominates it.

The mystauk can choose to end the domination at anytime. If the humanoid dies or a feeblemind spell is successfully cast against the mystauk-inhabited humanoid, the effects of Mystauk Domination end and the mystauk appears adjacent to the host at the start of its next turn.

As you can see, they are pretty harmless for the most part. When mystauk have no host, they must rely on stealth to get the job done. If they managed to take over the mind of a host, that’s when their true power emerges.

Mystauk-Inhabited Template

A mystauk-inhabited host uses the host creature’s base statistics and makes the following adjustments.

  • All of the host creature’s ability scores are raised to 19. If the host creature has ability scores higher than 19, those ability scores stays the same.
  • The mystauk-inhabited creature gains and is proficient with a slam weapon attack. The slam which is a light, finesse weapon which deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
  • The creature’s alignment changes to neutral evil
  • The mystauk-inhabited creature learns one cantrip from the wizard spell list it can cast at-will without expending any material components. The mystauk-inhabited creature uses its Intelligence modifier as its magic ability modifier for these spells and adds its proficiency modifier to any attack rolls and spell save DCs associated with the cantrip.
  • The mystauk-inhabited creature gains proficiency in the Deception skill.
  • The host gains the Mystauk Communication and Mystuak Deception abilities.
Mystauk-Inhabited Abilities
  • Mystauk Communication. A mystauk-inhabited creature can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.
  • Mystauk Deception. With access to the host creature’s memories a mystauk-inhabited creature has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the host is not mystauk-inhabited.

Sample Mystauk

I decided to put together a few sample mystauk-inhabited creatures, using some of the NPCs in the Basic D&D rules and Monster Manual as guidelines for how to apply the template.

Mystauk-Inhabited Acolyte

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 14

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Medicine +6, Religion +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited acolyte can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited acolyte has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the acolyte is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited acolyte can cast minor illusion at-will. It’s spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Spellcasitng. The mytauk-inhabited acolyte is a 1st-level spellcaster. Its spell casting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). The mystauk-inhabited acolyte has the following cleric spells prepared:

Cantrips (at-will): light, sacred flame, thaumaturgy

1st level (3 slots): bless, cure wounds, sanctuary

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Bandit

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited bandit can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited bandit has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the bandit is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited bandit can cast ray of frost at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (+6 to hit).

Actions

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80 ft./ 320 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Berserker

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  76 (9d8 + 36)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 3 (700 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited berserker can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited berserker has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the berserker is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited berserker can cast blade ward at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell.

Reckless. At the start of its turn, the mystauk-inhabited berserker can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.

Actions

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d12 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Commoner

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 14

Hit Points  8 (1d8 + 4)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited commoner can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited commoner has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the commoner is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited commoner can cast acid splash at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Cultist

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited cultist can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited cultist has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the cultist is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited cultist can cast poison spray at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Actions

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Guard

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 17 (chain shirt, shield)

Hit Points  17 (2d8 + 8)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Perception +6

Senses passive Perception 16

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited guard can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited guard has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the guard is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited guard can cast friends at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell.

Actions

Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Knight

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 18 (plate)

Hit Points  68 (8d8 + 32)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Saving Throws Con +6, Wis +6

Skills Deception +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 4 (1, 100 XP)


Brave. The knight has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited knight can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited knight has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the knight is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited knight can cast fire bolt at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (+6 to hit).

Actions

Multiattack. The mystauk-inhabited knight makes two melee attacks.

Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.

Leadership (Recharges after a Short of Long Rest). For 1 minute, the mystauk-inhabited knight can utter a special command or warning whenever a nonhostile creature that it can see within 30 feet of it makes an attack roll or a saving throw. The creature can add a d4 to its roll provided it can hear and understand the knight. A creature can benefit from only one Leadership die at a time. The effect ends if the mystauk-inhabited knight is incapacitated.

Reactions

Parry. The knight adds 2 to its AC against one melee attack that would hit it. To do so, the knight must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.

Mystauk-Inhabited Mage

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 14 (17 with mage armor)

Hit Points  76 (9d8 + 36)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Saving Throws Int +7, Wis +7

Skills Arcana +7, Deception +7, History +7

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any four languages

Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited mage can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited mage has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the mage is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited mage can cast poison spray at-will. It’s spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 15).

Spellcasitng. The mytauk-inhabited mage is a 9th-level spellcaster. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). The mystauk-inhabited mage has the following wizard spells prepared:

Cantrips (at-will): fire bolt, lightmage hand, prestidigitation

1st level (4 slots): detect magic, mage armor, magic missile, shield

2nd level (3 slots): misty step, suggestion

3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, fireball, fly

4th level (3 slots): greater invisibility, ice storm

5th level (1 slot): cone of cold

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Priest

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  42 (5d8 + 20)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Medicine +6, Persuasion +6, Religion +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any two languages

Challenge 3 (700 XP)


Divine Eminence. As a bonus action, the mystauk-inhabited priest can expend a spell slot to cause its melee weapon attacks to magically deal an extra 10 (3d6) damage to a target on a hit. This benefit lasts until the end of the turn. If the mystauk-inhabited priest expends a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each level above 1st.

Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited priest can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited priest has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the preist is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited priest can cast acid splash at-will. It’s spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (spell save DC 14).

Spellcasitng. The mytauk-inhabited priest is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spell casting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). The mystauk-inhabited priest has the following cleric spells prepared:

Cantrips (at-will): lightsacred flamethaumaturgy

1st level (4 slots): cure wounds, guiding bolt, sanctuary

2nd level (3 slots): lesser restorationspiritual weapon

3rd level (2 slots): dispel magic, spirit guardians

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Mystauk-Inhabited Thug

Medium humanoid (any race), neutral evil


Armor Class 15 (leather armor)

Hit Points  42 (5d8 + 20)

Speed  30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4)

Skills Deception +6, Intimidation +6

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 1 (200 XP)


Mystauk Communication. The mystauk-inhabited thug can sense and communicate telepathically with any other mystauk-inhabitied creature within 30 feet.

Mystauk Deception. The mystauk-inhabited thug has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to convince others the thug is not mystauk-inhabited.

Mystauk Spell. The mytauk-inhabited thug can cast fire bolt at-will. Its spell casting ability is Intelligence for this spell (+6 to hit).

Pack Tactics. The mystauk-inhabited thug has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the mystauk-inhabited thug’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Actions

Multiattack. The mystauk-inhabited knight makes two melee attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.

So what do you think? Do you want to use Mystauk in your game? Let me know!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.

I sit down with Sam Dillon, Tracy Hurley, and Liz Theis to talk about the short film DnDnG, Tracy’s awesome discovery about an old article in Dynamite magazine, and the push back of Rise of Tiamat‘s release date. This podcast was recorded on October 7, 2014.

Links:

The Tome Show on Facebook

rpgmusings.com

sarahdarkmagic.com

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcast Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!

Monster October continues! We’ve seen The Lingering Havoc, the blazing wraith, the icebreaker shark, and the gaping maw come to life in the fifth edition rules. Now it’s time to bring another legendary creature to life – the sand kraken.

Sandy Tentacles

If you missed the first post on the sand kraken, I can give you the basics. It’s a kraken which prefers the arid climate of the desert and swims through seas of sand. In Exploration Age, sand krakens are obsessed with gathering items of great power, so they may stalk a party of well-equipped adventurers. They also attack large caravans worthy of their enormous appetites. They do not revel in destruction the way their aquatic kin might, but they also have no mercy or sympathy for what they believe are lesser beings – which is pretty much everyone, except for another kraken and ancient dragons. Some say the sand krakens are planning something terrible with their gathering of powerful items, but no one currently has any idea.

Playing in the Sand

For the most part, the sand kraken is a reskin of the awesome kraken in the Monster Manual. It’s got many of the same attributes and abilities. The sand kraken trades swimming for burrowing and has a few different signature powers, but a lot of it’s statistics are the same.

Where things get different for the sandy variety of kraken is in the lair design and regional effects. It was my first time creating lair actions and regional effects in 5e, so take a look and let me know your thoughts!

A Sand Kraken’s Lair

A sand kraken lives in deep desert caves filled with deep sand. Buried within these sandy caves is the sand kraken’s vast hoard of magic items and the bones of its former meals.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the sand kraken takes a lair action to cause one of the following magical effects.

  • A 60-foot radius sand storm appears centered on the kraken and lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round. That area is lightly obscured and difficult terrain to creatures other than the sand kraken.
  • Hands made of solid sand grasp enemies of the sand kraken. Creatures must succeed at a DC 23 Strength saving throw or become grappled and restrained. The hands last until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • Shards of bone erupt from the sand. All creatures within 120 feet of the sand kraken must succeed on a DC 23 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Regional Effects

The region containing a sand kraken’s lair is warped by the creature’s evil presence, creating the following magical effects:

  • The sand kraken can create massive sand storms within a 6-mile radius of its lair. These storms lightly obscure the area, cause disadvantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks, and create difficult terrain.
  • Earth elementals coalesce within a 6 miles of the lair. These elementals have Intelligence and Charisma scores of 1 (-5).
  • Insect, arachnid, and reptillian creatures within 6 miles of the lair that have an Intelligence score of 2 or lower are charmed by the sand kraken and aggressive toward intruders in the area.

When the sand kraken dies, all of these regional effects fade immediately.

Sand Kraken

Gargantuan monstrosity (titan), lawful evil


Armor Class 18 (natural armor)

Hit Points  472 (27d20 + 189)

Speed  20 ft., burrow 60 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
30 (+10) 11 (+0) 25 (+7) 22 (+6) 18 (+4) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws Str +18, Dex +8, Con +15, Int +14, Wis +12

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

Condition Immunities frightened, paralyzed

Senses truesight 120 ft., passive perception 14

Languages understands Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal, and Primordial but can’t speak, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)


Freedom of Movement. The sand kraken ignores difficult terrain, and magical effects can’t reduce its speed or cause it to be restrained. It can spend 5 feet of movement to escape from nonmagical restraints or being grappled.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the sand kraken fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Siege Monster. The sand kraken deals double damage to objects and structures.

Actions

Multiattack. The sand kraken makes three tentacle attacks, each of which it can replace with one use of Fling.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 23 (3d8 + 10) piercing damage. If the target is a Large or smaller creature grappled by the sand kraken, that creature is swallowed, and the grapple ends. While swallowed, the creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the sand kraken, and it takes 42 (12d6) acid damage at the start of each of the sand kraken’s turns.

If the sand kraken takes 50 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the sand kraken must succeed on a DC 25 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all the swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the sand kraken. If the sand kraken dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone.

Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d6 + 10) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained. The sand kraken has ten tentacles, each of which can grapple on target.

Fling. One Large or smaller object held or creature grappled by the sand kraken is thrown up to 60 feet in a random direction and knocked prone. If a thrown target strikes a solid surface, the target takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown. If the target is thrown at another creature, that creature must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone.

Fire Storm. Fire erupts from the sand kraken. Every creature within 60 feet of the sand kraken must make a DC 23 Dexterity saving throw, taking 19 (3d12) fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Legendary Actions

The sand kraken 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. The sand kraken regains all spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Tentacle Attack or Fling. The sand kraken makes one tentacle attack or it uses Fling.

Fire Storm (Costs 2 Actions). The sand kraken uses Fire Storm.

Dominate Person (Costs 2 Actions). The sand kraken casts dominate person (DC 21).

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Which is your favorite monster so far?

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I was on a recent episode of The Tome Show podcast!

This episode of The Tome features hosts Jeff Greiner and Tracy Hurley reviewing the first official adventure published after the release of the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons rules: Hoard of the Dragon Queen! They are, once again, joined by three illustrious guests; James Introcaso (Team Flumph), Mike Shea (Team Dracolich), and Sam Dillon (Team Beholder). Listen to find out if Team Otyugh takes over!

Links:

slyflourish.com

rpgmusings.com

sarahdarkmagic.com

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!

I’m continuing my October of updating some of the rough Exploration Age monsters made with the final D&D Next playtest packet into the new, finalized fifth edition rules.  We’ve already seen The Lingering Havoc, the blazing wraith, and the icebreaker shark. Today, I’ve got a new monster for to check out below, but first…

Time for a Correction

In my post about The Lingering Havoc I originally said this incorrect statement about proficiency bonuses.

Well it turns out you can’t just divide Challenge by four and round down, because proficiencies go up on the level immediately AFTER any which is a multiple of 4. By the rule above a Challenge 8 creature should have a +4 proficiency bonus, but actually it’s only +3. Creatures need to be Challenge 9 to get that +4 bonus.

So there’s actually three ways to figure out a creature’s proficiency bonus. The first two are very simple and third is a bit of an easier formula than the one above. I’ve change The Lingering Havoc post to reflect this.

  1. Look at the creature’s melee attacks and subtract their Strength bonus (Dexterity for finesse attacks) from the overall attack bonus. The remaining number is the creature’s proficiency bonus. If the creature is using a magic weapon to attack, be sure to subtract the weapon’s magic bonus as well.
  2. If the creature is Challenge 1 – 20, simply look at any character class chart in the Basic D&D rules or the Player’s Handbook. Class level corresponds to a challenge rating when it comes to proficiency bonuses. If you like this method, know that creatures with a challenge rating of less than 1 always have a proficiency bonus of +2.
  3. Divide the creature’s challenge rating by 4. Add 1. If the result is a whole number that’s the creature’s proficiency bonus. If it’s a decimal round up to the nearest whole number and that is the creature’s proficiency bonus. The exception is Challenge 0 creatures, who always have a proficiency of +2.

Open Wide

NOM!

So if you missed my first post on the gaping maw, it’s essentially a sarlacc pit from Star Wars. These enormous aberrant creatures take root in the desert sand and use their tentacles to drag living prey into their huge open mouths. In Exploration Age these monsters didn’t retreat underground with the rest of the aberrants, because they’re firmly rooted in the ground. They procreate via spores cast out in the desert winds, so some of the gaping maws are young, but others are ancient and terrifying.

Jumping Into the Maw

So the gaping maw can’t move. That means when facing high-level characters alone, the gaping maw may not be much of a challenge, because creatures could simply fly out of the maw’s reach and pepper it with ranged attacks. Remember, this thing is inspired by the sarlacc a monster which appears in what happens to be one of the best action set pieces in cinema history. Check it out below!

So the gaping maw is meant to be not just a monster, but a monster within a set piece battle. Or maybe you’re the creative type of DM who would put this beast into a tight space within an underground dungeon, or bury it with a sandstorm and let your adventurers suddenly find themselves on top of one. Whatever the case, when you’re reading this creature’s statistics think beyond adventurers simply taking it head on.

One of the gimmicks of the gaping maw is that in order to shut off its powerful regeneration, it must be attacked from within. Of course, heading down the maw’s throat is a gamble in itself, as it’s stomach gases are meant to paralyze a swallowed creature as the gaping maw begins to slowly digest it. Check it out below and let me know what you think!

Sarlacc side view.

Young Gaping Maw

Large aberration, unaligned

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)

Hit Points 95 (10d10 + 40)

Speed 0 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
21 (+5) 11 (+0) 19 (+4) 2 (-4) 10 (+0) 5 (-3)

Senses blindsight 60 ft., tremorsense 120 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages –

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)


Grappler. The gaping maw has advantage on attack rolls against a creature grappled by it.

Regeneration. At the start of each of its turns, the gaping maw regains 5 hit points. If the gaping maw takes damage from a creature it has swallowed, this trait doesn’t function on the gaping maw’s next turn. This trait ceases to function while the gaping maw has 0 hit points.

Tentacle Pull. The gaping maw can use its move to pull any number of creatures it is grappling adjacent to it.

Actions

Multiattack. A gaping maw may make two tentacle attacks or one tentacle attack and one bite attack.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit: 20 (3d10 + 5) piercing damage.

Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 15ft., one creature. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Until the grapple ends the target is restrained. The gaping maw has four tentacles and so it can only grapple four creatures in this way.

Swallow. The gaping maw makes one bite attack against a Medium or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed and the grapple ends. The swallowed target is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the gaping maw.

Swallowed creatures must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 24 hours. At the end of this period if the creature is still swallowed by the gaping maw they save again or remained paralyzed for another 24 hours. If the creature does save but remains swallowed it is subject to another saving throw 24 hours after the successful one. A swallowed creature’s maximum hit points are reduced by 1 for every day it is swallowed. When it’s hit point maximum is reduced to 0 the creature is completely digested by the gaping maw and dies.

Adult Gaping Maw

Huge aberration, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 195 (17d12 + 85)

Speed 0 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
23 (+6) 11 (+0) 21 (+5) 2 (-4) 11 (+0) 5 (-3)

Senses blindsight 60 ft., tremorsense 120 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages –

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


Grappler. The gaping maw has advantage on attack rolls against a creature grappled by it.

Regeneration. At the start of each of its turns, the gaping maw regains 10 hit points. If the gaping maw takes damage from a creature it has swallowed, this trait doesn’t function on the gaping maw’s next turn. This trait ceases to function while the gaping maw has 0 hit points.

Tentacle Pull. The gaping maw can use its move to pull any number of creatures it is grappling adjacent to it

Actions

Multiattack. A gaping maw may make three tentacle attacks or two tentacle attacks and one bite attack.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 25 (3d12 + 6) piercing damage.

Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 20ft., one creature. Hit: 19 (3d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until the grapple ends the target is restrained. The gaping maw has four tentacles and so it can only grapple four creatures in this way.

Swallow. The gaping maw makes one bite attack against a Large or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed and the grapple ends. The swallowed target is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the gaping maw.

Swallowed creatures must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 24 hours. At the end of this period if the creature is still swallowed by the gaping maw they save again or remained paralyzed for another 24 hours. If the creature does save but remains swallowed it is subject to another saving throw 24 hours after the successful one. A swallowed creature’s maximum hit points are reduced by 1 for every day it is swallowed. When it’s hit point maximum is reduced to 0 the creature is completely digested by the gaping maw and dies.

Ancient Gaping Maw

Gargantuan aberration, unaligned

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 402 (23d20 + 161)

Speed 0 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
26 (+8) 11 (+0) 24 (+7) 2 (-4) 12 (+1) 5 (-3)

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Senses blindsight 60 ft., tremorsense 120 ft., passive Perception 11

Languages –

Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)


Grappler. The gaping maw has advantage on attack rolls against a creature grappled by it.

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

Regeneration. At the start of each of its turns, the gaping maw regains 20 hit points. If the gaping maw takes damage from a creature it has swallowed, this trait doesn’t function on the gaping maw’s next turn. This trait ceases to function while the gaping maw has 0 hit points.

Tentacle Pull. The gaping maw can use its move to pull any number of creatures it is grappling adjacent to it.

Actions

Multiattack. A gaping maw may make four tentacle attacks or three tentacle attacks and one bite attack.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 30 (4d10 + 8) piercing damage.

Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 30ft., one creature. Hit: 26 (4d8 + 8) bludgeoning damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 22). Until the grapple ends the target is restrained. The gaping maw has four tentacles and so it can only grapple four creatures in this way.

Swallow. The gaping maw makes one bite attack against a Huge or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed and the grapple ends. The swallowed target is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the gaping maw.

Swallowed creatures must succeed on a DC 21 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 24 hours. At the end of this period if the creature is still swallowed by the gaping maw they save again or remained paralyzed for another 24 hours. If the creature does save but remains swallowed it is subject to another saving throw 24 hours after the successful one. A swallowed creature’s maximum hit points are reduced by 1 for every day it is swallowed. When it’s hit point maximum is reduced to 0 the creature is completely digested by the gaping maw and dies.

How’d I do? Let me know in the comments below!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!