Archive for October, 2014

I’m expecting this guy to crash the party.

On THIS Sunday, October 19th at 7:30PM Eastern, it’s time to save the multiverse! Joe LastowskiChris DudleyTopher Kohan, and I are back to take some more abuse from the world’s greatest DM, Mike Shea, to see how high-level play shakes out in the new edition of D&D. It’s level 20 characters going toe-to-toe with some of D&D’s most legendary baddies! Currently mid-fight with a death tyrant and it’s zombie beholder minions, there’s no telling who else might show up. A demilich? An ancient red dragon? A tarrasque redux?! Anything can happen. Join us as we sacrifice four PCs to the elder gods to find out just what high-level combat is like in 5e. This will be released as a youtube video and podcast on The Tome Show’s website at a later date if you can’t be there live.

Google + Invite: https://plus.google.com/events/c5lug65fkteqghtt3q68trhl3ac

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xivifeENarY

Check out Part I 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!

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

I sit down with Rudy Basso, Alex Basso, Vegas Lancaster, and Round Table newcomer Allison Rossi to talk about the trial for D&D film rights and the latest posts on the DungeonScape blog. Then it’s an interview with DungeonScape’s own Chris Matney who clears up a lot of rumors. This podcast was recorded on October 5, 2014.

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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!

The South Pole has The Lingering Havoc, but the North Pole holds a terror which strikes from the deep. After all, Canus’ North Pole is merely a surface layer of frozen ocean with dark, cold waters swirling beneath. The Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition Exploration Age monster update continues with new statistics for the icebreaker shark. Gotta love October!

Like this, but bigger and more bones sticking out of its face.

The Frozen Terror

If you missed the first and second posts about icebreaker sharks, here’s their story. Icebreaker sharks are massive fish, a little larger than a great white, which prefer the cold, black ocean beneath the ice of the North Pole. They can sense vibrations in the ice above and stalk prey from below, waiting for them to move into an area where the ice is thin enough to break through. Other times the icebreaker shark prepares a killing ground in an area where prey is known to pass through by thinning the ice. The icebreaker shark has thick bony protrusions on its face and tail, which means it can shatter the dense surface of the North Pole and pull down victims into the freezing ocean, before they even realize they are being consumed.

Since the icebreaker shark can prepare its killing grounds, imagine walking through the arctic, suddenly being in a maze or trapped on a slow shrinking island of ice with a 30-foot hungry shark in the freezing depths below. If that doesn’t scare you, you’re probably someone pretty tough, like Vegas Lancaster.

Icebreaker sharks are often loners, but they have to mate, and gods help the person who walks onto the ice above two icebreakers creating life. Those sharks will have worked up an appetite doing their thing…

Statty Bo Batty

Statistics for the D&D 5e giant shark from the Basic rules.

Statistics for the D&D fifth edition giant shark from the Basic rules.

So we need to come up with some new statistics for the icebreaker shark to make it nice and terrifying. I started with the giant shark statistics in the Monster Manual and Basic D&D DM rules. It’s the baddest shark available, however it is not challenging enough for my needs to just do a reskin. The icebreaker shark is a loner meant for encounters in the harsh terrain of Glacius and the South Pole in Canus, where there are creatures a little tougher than the giant shark. So I’m giving its stats a little boost and increases its hit points and damage output. I think a challenge rating of 8 is a good place for this creature, which puts it on par with the frost giant and tyrannosaurus rex. In fact, let’s take a look at the tyrannosaurus stats.

Tyrannosaurus rex statistics from Basic D&D.

Tyrannosaurus rex statistics from Basic D&D.

Nice! So I have an idea of where hit points and damage should be for an equivalent monster. After essentially smashing the giant shark and tyrannosaurus together, I went back to the old statistics for the original icebreaker shark, and took the Ice Smash and Weaken Ice abilities and slapped those onto my awesome dinosaur shark. I also gave the icebreaker shark a little multiattack action, since its tail is almost as dangerous as its head.

I think the most terrifying thing about the icebreaker shark, or any shark for that matter, is that you fight it on its own terms in the water. Most of us are clumsy, slow, and at a huge disadvantage in the ocean blue. Add freezing temperatures to that and things become dire. So part of the icebreaker shark’s terror is the environment which comes with it.

Icebreaker Shark

Huge beast, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 162 (13d12 + 78)

Speed 0 ft., swim 50 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
25 (+7) 12 (+1) 23 (+6) 2 (-4) 10 (+0) 9 (-1)

Skills Perception +3

Damage Resistances cold

Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 13

Languages –

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)


Blood Frenzy. The icebreaker shark has advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature that doesn’t have all its hit points.

Water Breathing. The icebreaker shark can only breathe underwater.

Actions

Multiattack. The icebreaker shark can make a bite and a tail attack, make a bite attack and use Ice Smash, or make a bite an attack and use Weaken Ice.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit: 33 (4d12 + 7) piercing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature it is grappled (escaped DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the icebreaker shark cannot bite another target.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 25 (4d8 + 7) bludgeoning damage.

Ice Smash. The icebreaker shark can destroy a 15-foot cube of ice within 10 feet, possibly creating a hole through which the shark can attack. Any creatures standing on the affected ice must succeed on a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or fall through the ice. Any creature who succeeds on the save ends up in an unoccupied space adjacent to the smashed ice.

When the icebreaker shark uses this ability on a cube of ice adjacent to any weakened ice (see below) the weakened ice is also smashed. Any weakened adjacent to the smashed weakened ice is also smashed, and so on for any touching patches of weakened ice.

Weaken Ice. The icebreaker shark can weaken a 15-foot cube of ice within 10 feet. This ice counts as weakened for the purpose of its Ice Smash ability.

So there you have it. Are you terrified of this creature? DMs, would you use it in your game? Players do you want to fight one? Let me know what you think!!!

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!

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

On this episode of the Tome News Desk features anchors Jeff and Sam, handing off the baton to Rudy Basso and me. Yes, it’s true – the Tome News Desk is no more… but that’s okay because The Round Table has taken up the mantle and talk about D&D news on a weekly basis, and Jeff and Sam will be popping by The Round Table more often! In this episode we talk about the best were-creature, and recent Neverwinter MMO, D&D Comic, and other recent D&D related news stories.

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!

The Tarrasque Takedown Part I podcast is up on The Tome Show’s website.

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, I got together with a few Round Tablers got together to find out just what high level play was like in the new fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons. So Mike Shea crafted a grueling combat experience for Chris DudleyJoe LastwoskiTopher Kohan, and I. We got together to throw down with some D&D’s most iconic baddies – including the mother of all destruction, The Tarrasque. You can listen to this podcast or watch their experience on youtube – edited or uncut. Part II (and a rematch with The Tarrasque) is coming soon so be sure to keep checking back on thetomeshow.com.

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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!

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

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!

It’s October! For me that means a month of fascinating horrors and terrifying tales (and the mindless snacking of fun size candies)! Last week I brought The Lingering Havoc into the Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition world and that kicked off what will be several posts about dastardly denizens for your game. Since last time we were ice-cold, how about this time we get red-hot? This fire comes with a side of pissed off spirit. It’s time to behold the blazing wraith.

Perhaps the ultimate blazing wraith?

Light ‘Em Up

If you missed my first post on the blazing wraith, it’s pretty much exactly what you’re picturing – a fiery ghost throwing flames around. These bad boys and girls are the angry spirits of folk were burned alive in violent fires. Their spirits rise, full of hate for the living. The only pleasure these beings feel is watching another creature burn to death just like they did.

Blazing wraiths might be encountered individually, such as a gambler whose house was burned to the ground with him inside by the local mafia when he couldn’t pay his debts. Or burning wraiths might be encountered in groups, such as in a ruined village burnt to the ground by a fierce red dragon. Like a regular wraith, when a burning wraith rises it loses most memories of its former life, though it may have some passing impressions or familiarities.

Stat ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

When it came time to stat out the blazing wraith, I used the wraith in the Monster Manual as a base. I didn’t make too many changes to get the fiery goodness. I gave the blazing wraith fire immunity, a Hurl Flame ranged attack which deals fire damage, and added fire damage not just to its Life Drain attack, but also to its Incorporeal Movement ability. Since all of these things made the blazing wraith a tougher fight than its original wraith counterpart, I figured I would need to boost the challenge rating of the blazing wraith to 6. I looked at some other Challenge 6 creatures and figured I should also boost the blazing wraith’s hit points and Dexterity to give it a (tiny) bonus to attack rolls and AC. So the blazing wraith is born below. Happy to introduce it to ya!

The New New Lingering Havoc

On Thursday a bunch of people checked out, praised, and provided feedback for The Lingering Havoc. Thank you so much! I’d like to present a tweaked version of the creature right now thanks to your feedback!

The basic complaint was that Ultimate Death Ray was probably too good an ability for The Lingering Havoc to use once (possibly twice using Legendary Actions) per round. So I made it a recharge ability which costs either The Lingering Havoc’s action or two Legendary Actions. Then I gave the daddy of all undead an ability called Hurl Corpse to use in place of Ultimate Death Ray as an at-will along with its regular attacks. This was based on a lot of feedback I got in the comments and in forums – people wanted more corpse hurling! Who was I to deny? Anyway, take a look below!

Lingering Havoc

Gargantuan undead, chaotic evil


Armor Class 25 (natural armor)

Hit Points  676 (33d20 + 330)

Speed  40 ft., burrow 40ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
30 (+10) 11 (+0) 30 (+10) 11 (+0) 11 (+0) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws  Int +9, Wisdom +9

Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Skills Athletics +19, Perception +9

Senses blindsight 120 ft., passive perception 19

Languages The Lingering Havoc does not speak, but understands all which is spoken to it.

Challenge 30 (155,000 XP)


Absorb the Dead. Whenever a creature dies within 120 feet, the dead creature’s remains join The Lingering Havoc’s form and The Lingering Havoc regains 50 hit points.

Cold Winds. A blizzard is constantly swirling around the The Lingering Havoc. All space in a 120-foot cube centered on The Lingering Havoc is considered difficult terrain.

Ice Walk. The Lingering Havoc can move across and climb icy surfaces without needing to make an ability check. Additionally, difficult terrain composed of ice or snow doesn’t cost it extra movement.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If The Lingering Havoc fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Limited Magic Immunity. The Lingering Havoc is immune to spells of 7th level or lower which do not deal fire or radiant damage, unless it wishes to be affected. It has advantage on saving throws against all other spells and magical effects, including spells which deal fire and radiant damage.

Regeneration. The Lingering Havoc regains 30 hit points at the start of its turn. If The Lingering Havoc takes radiant or fire damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of The Lingering Havoc’s next turn. The Lingering Havoc dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.

Actions

Multiattack. The Lingering Havoc can use its Frightful Presence or Hurl Corpse and then makes four attacks, which can be any combination of slam and frozen bone shard attacks.

Slam.  Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 32 (4d10 + 10) bludgeoning damage.

Frozen Bone Shard. Ranged Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, range 120/360 ft., one target. Hit: The target takes 20 (3d6 + 10) piercing damage, 9 (2d8) cold damage, and has its speed reduced by 10 feet until the start of The Lingering Havoc’s next turn.

Hurl Corpse. The Lingering Havoc targets one creature within 120 feet and throws a Medium humanoid corpse at it. The target must succeed on a DC 27 Reflex saving throw, or become prone and grappled by the corpse, which becomes a wight under The Lingering Havoc’s control. The wight attacks immediately. If the target succeeds on the saving throw, it is not grappled, but they are adjacent to the corpse, which immediately rises and attacks as a wight under The Lingering Havoc’s control. All wights created this way are reabsorbed into The Lingering Havoc at the end of battle and The Lingering Havoc cannot regain hit points from these absorptions.

Frightful Presence. Each creature of The Lingering Havoc’s choice within 120 feet of it and aware of it must succeed on a DC 22 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if The Lingering Havoc is within line of sight, ending the effect of itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to The Lingering Havoc’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.

Ultimate Death Ray (Recharge 4 – 6). The Lingering Havoc chooses 1 creature to which it has a line of effect within 120 feet. That creature must make a DC 22 Dexterity saving throw. On a success, the target takes 55 (10d10) necrotic damage. On a failed save the target is reduced to 0 hit points.

Corpse Drop (Recharge 5 – 6). The Lingering Havoc shakes its massive form and 3d4 Medium humanoid corpses fall off The Lingering Havoc in a space adjacent to it and rise as wights under The Lingering Havoc’s control. All wights created this way are reabsorbed into The Lingering Havoc at the end of battle and The Lingering Havoc cannot regain hit points from these absorptions.

Poison Breath (Recharge 5 – 6). The Lingering Havoc exhales poisonous gas in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DC 27 Constitution saving throw, taking 91 (26d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature who fails this save is also poisoned 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.

Legendary Actions

The Lingering Havoc 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 Lingering Havoc regains all spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Attack. The Lingering Havoc makes one slam or frozen bone shard attack.

Move. The Lingering Havoc moves up to half its speed.

Command Wights. The Lingering Havoc can cause up to four wights under its control to attack.

Ultimate Death Ray (Costs 2 Actions). The Lingering Havoc uses its Ultimate Death Ray.

So what do you think? Do you like this new Lingering Havoc better? How about the blazing wraith? Let me know what you think in the comments!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and 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 sits down with Dave Gibson, Rudy Basso, and Barak Blackburn to talk about crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and their massive effect on the modern TRPG industry. Then its an interview with Wolfgang Baur about Kobold Press‘ latest Kickstarter project, The Southlands, a Pathfinder RPG supplement that with a few more backers will have its bestiary ported over to fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. This podcast was recorded on September 30 and October 4, 2014.

Links:

actsofgeek.com

5 Minute Workday

Capes, Cowls, and Villains Fowl

Patreon

Indiegogo

Go Fund Me

Southlands Preview

National Geographic Spinosaurus

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!

“It’s supposed to be your enormous, gonzo monster, right? This makes sense.” – Mike Shea, on the D&D fifth edition Tarrasque, as it devoured Joe Lastowski‘s druid while ignoring all fire damage during The Tarrasque Takedown.

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is hosted by the one and only Scot Newbury over at Of Dice and Dragons. The theme is “Things That Go Bump In The Night.” A great theme, especially for October! With that in mind allow me to (re)introduce you to the thing which bumps the hardest in Exploration Age…

Picture This…

Your party is lost in a frozen, polar wasteland. As you trudge through the thigh deep snow across a countrywide glacier it becomes impossible to tell which way is which in the whiteout. Your entire body has been stiff and numb for weeks as you search for evidence of rumored aberrant ruins.

Suddenly, off in the distance you make out a looming gray shape moving toward you in the frost. It’s probably just another lone yeti. Once the beast realizes it’s outnumbered, it will give you no trouble and disappear into the blinding snow. That’s when you hear it. The low, horrid moan of thousands of dry, crackling voices and animal bleats. All dead. All rotten.

Suddenly, after being numb for weeks, your body feels a chill it cannot shake. The thing lumbering in the distance is getting closer – and is far too large to be a yeti. The moans grow louder as the massive behemoth comes through the snow at a surprising pace. You and your companions begin to run, but the snow is too deep. Still the fear grips your calf muscles, forcing your legs to move though your brain knows it is futile. The dry moans increase and you know the thing is on you. As your own water freezes to your leg, you force yourself to draw a weapon, turning to face the horror behind you. It is a massive pile of corpses, humanoids, monsters, and animals alike, all in different stages of frozen death, all moving as one. It hungers for you to join it. The Lingering Havoc is real.

The Havoc Redux

Many months ago I first introduced the idea of The Lingering Havoc, and then in another post I presented some temporary in-game statistics for The Lingering Havoc in D&D Next. Well, now we have the DM Basic Rules and Monster Manual to give us a better idea of how to create monsters and I have to say that first iteration was way off. So I’ve remade the beast. In this post I’m going to discuss the steps I took to create a Challenge 30 monster for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons.

When I set out, I knew two things – I wanted The Lingering Havoc to be horrific, and I want it to be a badass.

Horrific

When I say horrific, I mean this thing should be a bone-chilling nightmare. When my players fight this thing they should feel that pit in their stomachs they first felt when playing a survival horror video game alone in the middle of the night, and the need to look away combined with the desire to keep watching felt the first time they watched a horror movie at a sleepover. I pride myself on being able to occasionally scare the crap out of my adult players and a Challenge 30 undead monstrosity should be when its easiest to do that. The Lingering Havoc’s story in previous blog posts brings a lot of mystery and horror to the table. I have to back that up in the mechanics.

Badass

I want The Lingering Havoc to be a challenge for even the toughest heroes. Swaths of destruction should lie in its wake and this creature should be the worst part of adventuring in the South Pole on Canus, which is a pretty unforgiving place to begin with. This thing is undead Godzilla. Strong, tough, and nigh invulnerable. That said, there needs to be some hope of PCs stopping the thing, or there’s no point in making him. I need to make sure The Lingering Havoc is powerful, but not over-powered. So this monster is going to take a lot cues from the Tarrasque. Why? First of all, it’s the only official Challenge 30 monster in fifth edition D&D right now. I could almost just do a reskin, since they’re very similar, but I’ve got visions of something more supernatural and undead mixed with the Tarrasque’s ass-kickery. I’ll break it down more below. Let’s get started.

For your reference

Ability Scores

In general the original Lingering Havoc statistics I wrote up are NOTHING compared to the Tarrasque, though I would say only part of The Lingering Havoc’s shortcomings come from the ability scores. The old Lingering Havoc had very high ability scores all around, because I wasn’t sure how proficiency and saving throws worked yet. Now that I can make my big bad monster proficient in some saving throws where it’s lacking, I don’t need to make every single one ridiculously high. This allows me to min max The Lingering Havoc a little more and bring its ability scores more inline with its story. Strength and Constitution are definitely a 30. I’m also going to say The Lingering Havoc has an eerie supernatural presence about it, and so it’s Charisma is going to be high, representing how terrifying and innately fascinating the creature is. The creature has average Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom.

Armor Class, Hit Points, Saving Throws, Senses, Skills, and Proficiency Bonus

As far as Armor Class goes, I think our friend the Tarrasque has a good number for The Lingering Havoc to use. The same goes for hit points – our friend The Lingering Havoc is tough as nails, just like the Tarrasque. As far as saves go, let’s have our undead creature be proficient in Wisdom and Intelligence saving throws, representing its ability to shield its mind, despite average ability scores. Since the thing is big and bulky, lack of proficiency in Dexterity saving throws is one way to bring it down. Again similar to the Tarrasque, let’s give our creature blindsight since we don’t want it to be foiled by a simple 2nd level invisibility spell and because while it has technically has eyes from all the corpses which make up its massive form, all those peepers are in various states of decay and The Lingering Havoc technically doesn’t see through them.

Unlike the Tarrasque, The Lingering Havoc has some skill proficiencies. Not much gets by this beast, so it is trained in perception, and it has incredible endurance and strength when it comes to feats of athletics so let’s give it proficiency in that skill for good measure (just try and grapple this thing).

There are three ways to figure out a creature’s proficiency bonus.

  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. 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. If it’s a decimal round up to the nearest whole number and that is the creature’s proficiency. The exception is Challenge 0 creatures, who always have a proficiency of +2.

Immunities

Many legendary creatures have several damage and condition immunities. The Lingering Havoc is no exception. On the damage side, I gave it the usual nonmagical weapon damage immunities, threw in poison and necrotic on account of it being undead, and then added cold damage as well, since this monstrosity calls the South Pole of Canus home.

When it comes to condition immunities, I gave The Lingering Havoc the same immunities as The Tarrasque (as to not be immediately done in by a single spell) and threw in exhaustion immunity since it seems to be one many undead share. I thought about adding petrification and polymorph to the list, but I didn’t want to make this thing wholly immune to every attack. That would make The Lingering Havoc uninteresting. That’s not a tough battle, that’s me being a jerk. After all what is Legendary Resistance for if the creature never has to roll a save?

Passive Abilities

The Lingering Havoc has a lot of these, but I wanted to keep them easy to track. The creature has Legendary Resistance which seems to be standard with all legendary creatures. Then I gave it some beefed up defenses after looking at the Tarrasque.

While the Reflective Carapace of the Tarrasque is pretty cool, it’s also very Tarrasque flavor wise. I wanted an equally terrifying and magic nullifying ability for my beastie. I remembered the rakshasa had a cool ability called Limited Magic Immunity. I’ve beefed it up for The Lingering Havoc, making it immune to all spells of 7th level and lower. Yet, The Lingering Havoc already has so many other immunities, I gave it a chink in its armor. Spells which deal fire and/or radiant damage do affect it, even if they are 7th level or lower. Again, this was because I want a scary, but interesting fight as opposed to a total PC slaughterfest. If I wanted a party kill, I’d simply have anvils fall from the sky, crushing them to death, and not waste everyone’s time with an epic battle.

Since The Lingering Havoc is constantly drawing on the life energy of creatures and plants around it, I’ve given it two different healing abilities. The first is Regeneration and the second is Absorb the Dead, in which The Lingering Havoc adds a recently dead creature to its form in order to heal itself. I know the Tarrasque doesn’t have these features, and I’ve heard it bemoaned by many. So I added these in because I think they make The Lingering Havoc a little more challenging and puzzle-like to fight. (Should the cleric cast a big healing spell or hit The Lingering Havoc with radiant damage to turn off his regeneration?) The Absorb the Dead feature not only provides extra motivation for PCs to not die, but also for them to save any innocent bystanders.

Finally, when it comes to the Tarrasque, I have heard about people running encounters with the creature in an open field where the players have an easy time flying out of its reach and acid spalsh-ing it to death. While this is not the way many crafty DMs, like Mike Shea, would run a Tarrasque encounter, The Lingering Havoc roams the open wastes of the South Pole. Most of the time a battle with this creature will be out in the open. So I have given The Lingering Havoc two abilities to give it a leg up in big, open battles. The first is Ice Walk. The snow in the South Pole is deep enough that it’s difficult terrain for most creatures, but not The Lingering Havoc. Ice Walk plus its 40-foot speed give it a leg up on many in a wintry climate. Then to make matters even more difficult for anyone who wants to use a fly spell, The Lingering Havoc has a blizzard swirling around it at all times, making even the air difficult terrain thanks to its Cold Winds ability. Hopefully these abilities, combined with some ranged attacks, will make an open field fight with The Lingering Havoc something to be feared.

Actions

All right, onto the good stuff! Unlike the Tarrasque, The Lingering Havoc simply has one melee attack – a super powerful slam which it can use up to seven times in a round. In addition, The Lingering Havoc also has a simple ranged attack which deals piercing and cold damage. It also can slow the escape of any creature by reducing its speed with that same frozen bone shard attack. Once you start a fight with this bad mamma jamma, you better be able to finish it because you ain’t getting away.

Frightful Presence seemed like a must for this creature, and I figured, by looking at the ability held by dragons and the Tarrasque in the Monster Manual, the DC for this ability is calculated by adding 8 + Charisma modifier + proficiency bonus. That’s how I ended up with 22 (8 + 5 + 9).

Since the Tarrasque gets five attacks per turn and has the ability to massively damage another creature it has swallowed, and The Lingering Havoc has only four attacks on its turn and no swallow ability, I figure I’m a little behind in the damage department. Also, The Lingering Havoc is a terrifying undead monstrosity, so it should have at least one attack which deals some necrotic damage. I’ve always loved the monk’s Quivering Palm attack, so I combined it with the beholder’s Death Ray attack to create the vicious Ultimate Death Ray attack. I’m still questioning if this ability is too good, but I like the idea behind it and want to see it in play. It seems better than the Tarrasque’s Swallow, yes, but I think the fact that any fire or radiant spell can injure The Lingering Havoc is more than a fair trade.

I like a little variety in what legendary monsters can do to keep players on their toes. The Tarrasque is a beast, but that guy is also pretty predictable. I wanted to give The Lingering Havoc some options beyond death rays, bone shards, and slams. It seems to me that a gargantuan being made of corpses would be able to break pieces of itself off to fight individually. So if The Lingering Havoc gives up an entire turn’s worth of attacks, it can drop a bunch of wights into the field to distract adventurers and keep them busy. This seems to be a more than fair trade, since wights would be no more than a nuisance for a round or two to high-level adventurers.

In the spirit of offering variety, I gave our new pal a breath weapon. I chose poison, since another damage type would keep players on their toes, because any wight allies would be immune to it, and because it made sense that an enormous pile of corpses would breathe poison into the air. Looking at dragons I figured the DC for this breath weapon is calculated by adding 8 + Constitution modifier + proficiency (8 + 10 + 9 = 27). For damage, I tried looking at the green dragon’s breath weapon entry and scaling it up for a Challenge 30 monster, but I soon realized that a 31d6 or more poison damage followed by three Legendary Actions might wipe an entire party in a round or two, even with some successful saves. So instead I scaled the damage up just a little (it’s no worse than an ancient red dragon’s breath now) and then added a secondary effect. Fail to save against this poison and your character is… well, poisoned. Anyway, take a look at the beast below and let me know what you think.

Lingering Havoc

Gargantuan undead, chaotic evil


Armor Class 25 (natural armor)

Hit Points  676 (33d20 + 330)

Speed  40 ft., burrow 40ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
30 (+10) 11 (+0) 30 (+10) 11 (+0) 11 (+0) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws  Int +9, Wisdom +9

Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Skills Athletics +19, Perception +9

Senses blindsight 120 ft., passive perception 19

Languages The Lingering Havoc does not speak, but understands all which is spoken to it.

Challenge 30 (155,000 XP)


Absorb the Dead. Whenever the Lingering Havoc kills a creature within 120 feet, the dead creature’s remains join The Lingering Havoc’s form and The Lingering Havoc regains 50 hit points.

Cold Winds. A blizzard is constantly swirling around the The Lingering Havoc. All space in a 120-foot cube centered on The Lingering Havoc is considered difficult terrain.

Ice Walk. The Lingering Havoc can move across and climb icy surfaces without needing to make an ability check. Additionally, difficult terrain composed of ice or snow doesn’t cost it extra movement.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If The Lingering Havoc fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Limited Magic Immunity. The Lingering Havoc is immune to spells of 7th level or lower which do not deal fire or radiant damage, unless it wishes to be affected. It has advantage on saving throws against all other spells and magical effects, including spells which deal fire and radiant damage.

Regeneration. The Lingering Havoc regains 30 hit points at the start of its turn. If The Lingering Havoc takes radiant or fire damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of The Lingering Havoc’s next turn. The Lingering Havoc dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.

Actions

Multiattack. The Lingering Havoc can use its Frightful Presence or Death Ray and then makes four attacks, which can be any combination of slam and frozen bone shard attacks.

Slam.  Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 32 (4d10 + 10) bludgeoning damage.

Frozen Bone Shard. Ranged Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, range 120/360 ft., one target. Hit: The target takes 20 (3d6 + 10) piercing damage, 9 (2d8) cold damage, and has its speed reduced by 10 feet until the start of The Lingering Havoc’s next turn.

Ultimate Death Ray. The Lingering Havoc chooses 1 creature to which it has a line of effect within 120 feet. That creature must make a DC 22 Dexterity saving throw. On a success, the target takes 55 (10d10) necrotic damage. On a failed save the target is reduced to 0 hit points.

Frightful Presence. Each creature of The Lingering Havoc’s choice within 120 feet of it and aware of it must succeed on a DC 22 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if The Lingering Havoc is within line of sight, ending the effect of itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to The Lingering Havoc’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.

Corpse Drop (Recharge 5 – 6). The Lingering Havoc shakes its massive form and 3d4 medium humanoid corpses fall off The Lingering Havoc in a space adjacent to it and rise as Wights under The Lingering Havoc’s control.

Poison Breath (Recharge 5 – 6). The Lingering Havoc exhales poisonous gas in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DC 27 Constitution saving throw, taking 91 (26d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature who fails this save is also poisoned 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.

Legendary Actions

The Lingering Havoc 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 Lingering Havoc regains all spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Attack. The Lingering Havoc makes one slam or frozen bone shard attack.

Move. The Lingering Havoc moves up to half its speed.

Ultimate Death Ray (Costs 2 Actions). The Lingering Havoc uses its Ultimate Death Ray.

What Do You Think?

So does the beast above match the description given in the narrative? Does it seem like a tough, terrifying fight, even out on the open, frozen wastes? Do you want to playtest this thing? Sound off in the comments!

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