Level Up (A5E) A Leveled-Up Bestiary: Volume Two

Dragons are tough to stat out, since there’s four different statblocks and they have tons of legendary actions and a lot have great wyrm elite versions. Issue #248 is a June issue, which traditionally means more dragons, but fortunately (for me), this Dragon’s Bestiary focuses on dragon-kin. Not full-fledged dragons. Phew! Don’t worry; there will be actual dragons at some point.

(This article also puts the tarrasque as a dragon-kin, along with hydras and wyverns.)

The first creature is the amphitere a heavy flying snake with a pointed tongue. The name means “two-winged,” which is not particularly helpful as that can describe all vertebrate fliers. Going by Wikipedia, they seem to be a purely heraldic animal, not one with actual mythology behind it. But D&D has never been one to let something like that stop them.

View attachment 344898

Amphitere
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #248
Creature by Gregory Detwiler; art by Terry Dykstra

Amphiteres are fat, winged serpents that can stretch to lengths of twelve feet or more. They’re covered in fine, downy feathers instead of scales that are a deep sky-blue along their backs and a golden orange along their belly. Their leathery wings and the tip of their barbed tail are forest-green in color. Their coloration puts many in mind of a sunrise over a forest and they are considered to be very beautiful animals.

Poison-Tongue. Amphiteres are venomous snakes, but they don’t deliver their venom through their bite. Instead, their tongue’s arrowhead-shaped tip delivers a deadly venom. Along with their usually sedentary nature leads many people to domesticate them as guard beasts.

Swarmers. These serpents are normally solitary creatures. A female will tend to her eggs, but the hatchlings are precocial and leave the nest immediately after hatching. However, in good seasons when game is plenty, females lay two or even three times as many eggs. These population boons can cause hundreds of hungry amphiteres to flood an area, which can quickly cause the population of prey animals—and humanoids—to drop to dangerously low levels.

Climate/Terrain: temperate; desert, forest, hill

Legends and Lore
With an Arcana check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Amphitere are very large, flying snakes with barbed tails and sharp, venom-laced tongues instead of fangs.

DC 15. The amphitere’s venom is extremely dangerous, requiring magical or mundane cures to treat as it doesn’t fade on its own.

DC 20. Amphiteres can be trained to serve as guard beasts, and some people even like them as pets.

Amphitere Encounters
Challenge Rating 3-4
amphitere

Challenge Rating 5-10 2 amphiteres; amphitere with 2d8 young (statistics of flying snake)
Treasure: 700 gp, 150 sp, 1d4 amphitptere eggs (1,000 gp each), +1 padded cloth, potion of heroism

Signs
1. Large nest tucked into a tree
2. A small pile of blue and gold-orange feathers.
3. Tracks on the ground like those made by a very large snake.
4. A shed snakeskin, which includes wings

Behavior
1. Fighting off a griffon or giant boar that was raiding its nest
2. Laying in ambush high in a tree
3. Sunning itself on a rock
4. Gorging itself on a recent kill
5. Flying overhead
6. Guarding eggs; attacks on sight

Amphitere
Large monstrosity; Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
AC
14 (natural armor)
HP 76 (9d10+18; bloodied 38)
Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft.

STR 17 (+3) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2)
INT 2 (-4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 6 (-2)

Proficiency +2; Maneuver DC 13
Skills Perception +3
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses blindsight 30 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages

Keen Vision. The amphitere has advantage on Perception checks that rely on vision.

Actions
Multiattack.
The amphitere makes two attacks: one with its tongue and either a constrict attack or a tail spike attack.

Tongue. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) poison damage, and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw against disease. On a failure, the creature is poisoned until the disease is cured, and while poisoned, its speed is reduced to 10 feet. On a success, the creature is poisoned for 1 minute and its speed is not reduced.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10+3) bludgeoning damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 13). Until this grappled ends, the target is restrained and the amphitere can’t constrict a different target.

Tail Spike. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8+3) piercing damage

Combat
The amphitere swoops into bite its prey, then constricts it while its too weak to move quickly. Against multiple foes, it bites and flies away, risking opportunity attacks. It flees when bloodied.
should this be a dragon and not a monstrosity? wyverns are dragonkin and their labeled as dragons?
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Here’s another dragon-kin, the Japanese hai-riyo. It’s a tremendous bird with the head of a dragon. I can’t find much information on them, like, at all. There’s more info on them from various fandom pages for games or AtLA then there is in actual mythology. It seems that, much like last time’s amphitere, hai-riyo’s exist mostly as decoration rather than myth—their image can be found in a particular monastery in Kyoto. It may have been a Japanese attempt to illustrate Chinese dragons, in particular, the yinglong, which is, I believe, one of the few Chinese dragons to have wings, so I had to steal some ideas from that.

In looking over the statblock again, I’ve come to realize that the hai-riyo is quite similar to the dragon turtle, just in aerial form. They fill similar game niches, at least. Although the hai-riyo starts out as legendary.

1706902067837.png


Hai-Riyo (Dragon-Bird)
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #248
Creature by Gregory Detwiler; art by Terry Dykstra

Hai-riyo have the body of a great eagle and the head that resembles that of a whiskered dragon. Its feathers are gleaming copper in both color and hardness, and its scales on its head and legs are verdigris-colored. They consider themselves highly and always attempt to act courteously and properly and despair over the uncouth manners of practically every other creature they meet.

Gourmands. These dragons love to eat. Whether it’s an animal or monster they catch and devour, or a well-presented plate of gourmet “human food, they love it all. And like many dragons, hai-riyo require vast amounts of it, even when in humanoid form. The primary difference between them and many other dragons is that hai-riyo have impeccable table manners.

Gods of the Storm. With their powers over the weather and their bred-in-the-bone sense of superiority, hai-riyo have been known to set themselves up as masters of rain and sky. They often create alliances with mortal nations, supplying them with good weather in exchange for being honored and placated with flattery and gifts, especially food.

Status Quo. A hai-riyo spends much of its day soaring over its territory, making sure all is going according to its plan. To their mind, they own everything they see, and are simply polite enough to allow other creatures to live there. They like their lands the way they are and dislike anything that might change them. It doesn’t matter whether the change would come from within or without—unless the dragon’s permission is granted beforehand, it will find the change to be a great insult. Most hai-riyo are willing to accept minor differences, such as building a few new houses at the edge of an existing village or deciding that the town will be ruled by a council instead of a mayor, but others demand that even the slightest alteration be presented to them first.

Climate/Terrain: temperate; mountains
Legends and Lore
With an Arcana check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Hai-riyo resemble eagles with the head of dragons. They are able to shapeshift into humanoid form.

DC 15. Hai-riyo are sticklers for manners and can become hostile should a nearby creature display poor manners. They believe that they own everything in their territory and typically demand that nothing harms or alters anything there.

DC 20. Hai-riyo use magic to control the weather, and often strike deals with people who live in its territory in provide good weather in exchange for tribute.

Hai-Riyo Encounters
Challenge Rating 17-22
hai-riyo
Treasure: 4,500 gp, diamond (5,000 gp), 5 spinels (500 gp each), peridot ring carved with a family crest (750 gp), deed to a nearby fort (2,500 gp), portrait of the hai-riyo in humanoid form (750 gp), figurine of wondrous power (bronze griffon), 2 skull liqueurs, +2 glaive

Signs
1. A sudden change in weather: calm to stormy or vice versa.
2. A procession of villagers bringing tribute to the mountains.
3. A sudden fog
4. An abandoned and ruined building that had been under construction

Behavior
1. In humanoid form, enjoying a meal; asks the characters to join it.
2. Sleeping in its lair in a cave, exhaling vast clouds of mist as it sleeps
3. Demanding tribute from a town in its territory
4. With a storm in its wake, on its way to attack a foe

Names
Arashi, Sunset-Over-Clouds, Tempest, Tsubame

Hai-Riyo
Legendary gargantuan dragon; Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)
AC
19 (natural armor)
HP 315 (18d20+126; bloodied 157)
Speed 30 ft., fly 120 ft.

STR 24 (+7) DEX 14 (+2) CON 25 (+7)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 17 (+3) CHA 15 (+2)

Proficiency +6; Maneuver DC 21
Saving Throws Dex +8, Con +13
Skills History +6, Perception +9, Persuasion +8, Stealth +8
Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning, thunder
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Auran, Common, Draconic

Air Mastery. The hai-riyo’s movement and vision isn’t hindered by cold, wind, or storms.

Innate Spellcasting. The hai-riyo’s spellcasting trait is Charisma (spell save DC 16). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
3/day each: call lightning, control weather, daylight, fog cloud (as 9th-level spell), sunburst

Keen Sight. The hai-riyo has advantage on Perception checks that rely on sight.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). When the hai-riyo fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead. When it does, some of its feathers dull and oxidize, then fall off. If it has no more uses of this ability, its Armor Class is reduced to 17 until it finishes a long rest.

Actions
Multiattack.
The hai-riyo attacks once with its bite and twice with its talons.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 29 (4d10+7) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) fire damage.

Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 25 (4d8+7) slashing damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 21). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the hai-riyo can’t use its talons on another target, and it has advantage on talons attacks against the grappled creature.

Longsword (Humanoid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d8+7) slashing damage, or 12 (1d19+7) slashing damage if using the sword in both hands.

Steam Breath (Recharge 5-6). The hai-riyo breathes scalding steam in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 21 Constitution saving throw, taking 54 (12d8) fire damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. All open flames in the breath’s area are doused. Being underwater doesn’t grant resistance against this damage.

Change Shape. The dragon magically takes the shape of a humanoid, or changes back into its true form. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (dragon’s choice). In the new form, the dragon’s stats are unchanged except for its size. It can’t use Steam Breath or Windstorm except in dragon form.

Legendary Actions
The hai-riyo can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. It regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Talons. The hai-riyo makes one talons attack.

Fly. The hai-riyo flies up to half its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.

Howling Winds (Costs 2 Actions). Each creature of the hai-riyo’s choice within 60 feet that can hear it must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. When it succeeds on a saving throw or the effect ends for it, it is immune to Howling Winds for 24 hours.

Windstorm (Costs 3 Actions). The hai-riyo beats its wings and magically surrounds itself with a 60-foot-raidus whirlwind until the end of its next turn. A creature other than the dragon that starts its turn in the windstorm or enters it for the first time on a turn must make a DC 21 Strength saving throw. On a failure, the creature takes 22 (4d10) bludgeoning damage, is pushed back 30 feet, and is knocked prone. On a success, the creature takes half damage and isn’t pushed back or knocked prone.

Combat
Hai-riyo use their Windstorm and Howling winds to frighten, demoralize, and push back attackers, then use its magic to summon storms to make the area difficult for others to maneuver in. It will then use its Steam Breath if available and its bite otherwise. It rarely fights in humanoid form, preferring to intimidate would-be attackers with its prowess with the sword, then shifting to dragon form should the attackers persist.
 
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Here’s another dragon-kin, the Japanese hai-riyo. It’s a tremendous bird with the head of a dragon. I can’t find much information on them, like, at all. There’s more info on them from various fandom pages for games or AtLA then there is in actual mythology. It seems that, much like last time’s amphitere, hai-riyo’s exist mostly as decoration rather than myth—their image can be found in a particular monastery in Kyoto. It may have been a Japanese attempt to illustrate Chinese dragons, in particular, the yinglong, which is, I believe, one of the few Chinese dragons to have wings, so I had to steal some ideas from that.

In looking over the statblock again, I’ve come to realize that the hai-riyo is quite similar to the dragon turtle, just in aerial form. They fill similar game niches, at least. Although the hai-riyo starts out as legendary.

View attachment 345101

Hai-Riyo (Dragon-Bird)
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #248
Creature by Gregory Detwiler; art by Terry Dykstra

Hai-riyo have the body of a great eagle and the head that resembles that of a whiskered dragon. Its feathers are gleaming copper in both color and hardness, and its scales on its head and legs are verdigris-colored. They consider themselves highly and always attempt to act courteously and properly and despair over the uncouth manners of practically every other creature they meet.

Gourmands. These dragons love to eat. Whether it’s an animal or monster they catch and devour, or a well-presented plate of gourmet “human food, they love it all. And like many dragons, hai-riyo require vast amounts of it, even when in humanoid form. The primary difference between them and many other dragons is that hai-riyo have impeccable table manners.

Gods of the Storm. With their powers over the weather and their bred-in-the-bone sense of superiority, hai-riyo have been known to set themselves up as masters of rain and sky. They often create alliances with mortal nations, supplying them with good weather in exchange for being honored and placated with flattery and gifts, especially food.

Status Quo. A hai-riyo spends much of its day soaring over its territory, making sure all is going according to its plan. To their mind, they own everything they see, and are simply polite enough to allow other creatures to live there. They like their lands the way they are and dislike anything that might change them. It doesn’t matter whether the change would come from within or without—unless the dragon’s permission is granted beforehand, it will find the change to be a great insult. Most hai-riyo are willing to accept minor differences, such as building a few new houses at the edge of an existing village or deciding that the town will be ruled by a council instead of a mayor, but others demand that even the slightest alteration be presented to them first.

Climate/Terrain: temperate; mountains
Legends and Lore
With an Arcana check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Hai-riyo resemble eagles with the head of dragons. They are able to shapeshift into humanoid form.

DC 15. Hai-riyo are sticklers for manners and can become hostile should a nearby creature display poor manners. They believe that they own everything in their territory and typically demand that nothing harms or alters anything there.

DC 20. Hai-riyo use magic to control the weather, and often strike deals with people who live in its territory in provide good weather in exchange for tribute.

Hai-Riyo Encounters
Challenge Rating 17-22
hai-riyo
Treasure: 4,500 gp, diamond (5,000 gp), 5 spinels (500 gp each), peridot ring carved with a family crest (750 gp), deed to a nearby fort (2,500 gp), portrait of the hai-riyo in humanoid form (750 gp), figurine of wondrous power (bronze griffon), 2 skull liqueurs, +2 glaive

Signs
1. A sudden change in weather: calm to stormy or vice versa.
2. A procession of villagers bringing tribute to the mountains.
3. A sudden fog
4. An abandoned and ruined building that had been under construction

Behavior
1. In humanoid form, enjoying a meal; asks the characters to join it.
2. Sleeping in its lair in a cave, exhaling vast clouds of mist as it sleeps
3. Demanding tribute from a town in its territory
4. With a storm in its wake, on its way to attack a foe

Names
Arashi, Sunset-Over-Clouds, Tempest, Tsubame

Hai-Riyo
Legendary gargantuan dragon; Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)
AC
19 (natural armor)
HP 315 (18d20+126; bloodied 157)
Speed 30 ft., fly 120 ft.

STR 24 (+7) DEX 14 (+2) CON 25 (+7)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 17 (+3) CHA 15 (+2)

Proficiency +6; Maneuver DC 21
Saving Throws Dex +8, Con +13
Skills History +6, Perception +9, Persuasion +8, Stealth +8
Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning, thunder
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Auran, Common, Draconic

Air Mastery. The hai-riyo’s movement and vision isn’t hindered by cold, wind, or storms.

Innate Spellcasting. The hai-riyo’s spellcasting trait is Charisma (spell save DC 16). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
3/day each: call lightning, control weather, daylight, fog cloud (as 9th-level spell), sunburst

Keen Senses. The hai-riyo has advantage on Perception checks that rely on sight.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). When the hai-riyo fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead. When it does, some of its feathers dull and oxidize, then fall off. If it has no more uses of this ability, its Armor Class is reduced to 17 until it finishes a long rest.

Actions
Multiattack.
The hai-riyo attacks once with its bite and twice with its talons.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 29 (4d10+7) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) fire damage.

Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 25 (4d8+7) slashing damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 21). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the hai-riyo can’t use its talons on another target, and it has advantage on talons attacks against the grappled creature.

Longsword (Humanoid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d8+7) slashing damage, or 12 (1d19+7) slashing damage if using the sword in both hands.

Steam Breath (Recharge 5-6). The hai-riyo breathes scalding steam in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 21 Constitution saving throw, taking 54 (12d8) fire damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. All open flames in the breath’s area are doused. Being underwater doesn’t grant resistance against this damage.

Change Shape. The dragon magically takes the shape of a humanoid, or changes back into its true form. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (dragon’s choice). In the new form, the dragon’s stats are unchanged except for its size. It can’t use Steam Breath or Windstorm except in dragon form.

Legendary Actions
The hai-riyo can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. It regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Talons. The hai-riyo makes one talons attack.

Fly. The hai-riyo flies up to half its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.

Howling Winds (Costs 2 Actions). Each creature of the hai-riyo’s choice within 60 feet that can hear it must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. When it succeeds on a saving throw or the effect ends for it, it is immune to Howling Winds for 24 hours.

Windstorm (Costs 3 Actions). The hai-riyo beats its wings and magically surrounds itself with a 60-foot-raidus whirlwind until the end of its next turn. A creature other than the dragon that starts its turn in the windstorm or enters it for the first time on a turn must make a DC 21 Strength saving throw. On a failure, the creature takes 22 (4d10) bludgeoning damage, is pushed back 30 feet, and is knocked prone. On a success, the creature takes half damage and isn’t pushed back or knocked prone.

Combat
Hai-riyo use their Windstorm and Howling winds to frighten, demoralize, and push back attackers, then use its magic to summon storms to make the area difficult for others to maneuver in. It will then use its Steam Breath if available and its bite otherwise. It rarely fights in humanoid form, preferring to intimidate would-be attackers with its prowess with the sword, then shifting to dragon form should the attackers persist.
i suppose it would make sense that if the hai-riyo is the aerial dragon turtle, it would have a titanic equivalent as a variant as well.
 

Here’s another dragon-kin, the Japanese hai-riyo. It’s a tremendous bird with the head of a dragon. I can’t find much information on them, like, at all. There’s more info on them from various fandom pages for games or AtLA then there is in actual mythology. It seems that, much like last time’s amphitere, hai-riyo’s exist mostly as decoration rather than myth—their image can be found in a particular monastery in Kyoto. It may have been a Japanese attempt to illustrate Chinese dragons, in particular, the yinglong, which is, I believe, one of the few Chinese dragons to have wings, so I had to steal some ideas from that.

In looking over the statblock again, I’ve come to realize that the hai-riyo is quite similar to the dragon turtle, just in aerial form. They fill similar game niches, at least. Although the hai-riyo starts out as legendary.

View attachment 345101

Hai-Riyo (Dragon-Bird)
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #248
Creature by Gregory Detwiler; art by Terry Dykstra

Hai-riyo have the body of a great eagle and the head that resembles that of a whiskered dragon. Its feathers are gleaming copper in both color and hardness, and its scales on its head and legs are verdigris-colored. They consider themselves highly and always attempt to act courteously and properly and despair over the uncouth manners of practically every other creature they meet.

Gourmands. These dragons love to eat. Whether it’s an animal or monster they catch and devour, or a well-presented plate of gourmet “human food, they love it all. And like many dragons, hai-riyo require vast amounts of it, even when in humanoid form. The primary difference between them and many other dragons is that hai-riyo have impeccable table manners.

Gods of the Storm. With their powers over the weather and their bred-in-the-bone sense of superiority, hai-riyo have been known to set themselves up as masters of rain and sky. They often create alliances with mortal nations, supplying them with good weather in exchange for being honored and placated with flattery and gifts, especially food.

Status Quo. A hai-riyo spends much of its day soaring over its territory, making sure all is going according to its plan. To their mind, they own everything they see, and are simply polite enough to allow other creatures to live there. They like their lands the way they are and dislike anything that might change them. It doesn’t matter whether the change would come from within or without—unless the dragon’s permission is granted beforehand, it will find the change to be a great insult. Most hai-riyo are willing to accept minor differences, such as building a few new houses at the edge of an existing village or deciding that the town will be ruled by a council instead of a mayor, but others demand that even the slightest alteration be presented to them first.

Climate/Terrain: temperate; mountains
Legends and Lore
With an Arcana check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Hai-riyo resemble eagles with the head of dragons. They are able to shapeshift into humanoid form.

DC 15. Hai-riyo are sticklers for manners and can become hostile should a nearby creature display poor manners. They believe that they own everything in their territory and typically demand that nothing harms or alters anything there.

DC 20. Hai-riyo use magic to control the weather, and often strike deals with people who live in its territory in provide good weather in exchange for tribute.

Hai-Riyo Encounters
Challenge Rating 17-22
hai-riyo
Treasure: 4,500 gp, diamond (5,000 gp), 5 spinels (500 gp each), peridot ring carved with a family crest (750 gp), deed to a nearby fort (2,500 gp), portrait of the hai-riyo in humanoid form (750 gp), figurine of wondrous power (bronze griffon), 2 skull liqueurs, +2 glaive

Signs
1. A sudden change in weather: calm to stormy or vice versa.
2. A procession of villagers bringing tribute to the mountains.
3. A sudden fog
4. An abandoned and ruined building that had been under construction

Behavior
1. In humanoid form, enjoying a meal; asks the characters to join it.
2. Sleeping in its lair in a cave, exhaling vast clouds of mist as it sleeps
3. Demanding tribute from a town in its territory
4. With a storm in its wake, on its way to attack a foe

Names
Arashi, Sunset-Over-Clouds, Tempest, Tsubame

Hai-Riyo
Legendary gargantuan dragon; Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)
AC
19 (natural armor)
HP 315 (18d20+126; bloodied 157)
Speed 30 ft., fly 120 ft.

STR 24 (+7) DEX 14 (+2) CON 25 (+7)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 17 (+3) CHA 15 (+2)

Proficiency +6; Maneuver DC 21
Saving Throws Dex +8, Con +13
Skills History +6, Perception +9, Persuasion +8, Stealth +8
Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning, thunder
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Auran, Common, Draconic

Air Mastery. The hai-riyo’s movement and vision isn’t hindered by cold, wind, or storms.

Innate Spellcasting. The hai-riyo’s spellcasting trait is Charisma (spell save DC 16). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
3/day each: call lightning, control weather, daylight, fog cloud (as 9th-level spell), sunburst

Keen Senses. The hai-riyo has advantage on Perception checks that rely on sight.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). When the hai-riyo fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead. When it does, some of its feathers dull and oxidize, then fall off. If it has no more uses of this ability, its Armor Class is reduced to 17 until it finishes a long rest.

Actions
Multiattack.
The hai-riyo attacks once with its bite and twice with its talons.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 29 (4d10+7) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) fire damage.

Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 25 (4d8+7) slashing damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 21). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the hai-riyo can’t use its talons on another target, and it has advantage on talons attacks against the grappled creature.

Longsword (Humanoid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d8+7) slashing damage, or 12 (1d19+7) slashing damage if using the sword in both hands.

Steam Breath (Recharge 5-6). The hai-riyo breathes scalding steam in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 21 Constitution saving throw, taking 54 (12d8) fire damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. All open flames in the breath’s area are doused. Being underwater doesn’t grant resistance against this damage.

Change Shape. The dragon magically takes the shape of a humanoid, or changes back into its true form. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (dragon’s choice). In the new form, the dragon’s stats are unchanged except for its size. It can’t use Steam Breath or Windstorm except in dragon form.

Legendary Actions
The hai-riyo can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. It regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Talons. The hai-riyo makes one talons attack.

Fly. The hai-riyo flies up to half its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.

Howling Winds (Costs 2 Actions). Each creature of the hai-riyo’s choice within 60 feet that can hear it must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. When it succeeds on a saving throw or the effect ends for it, it is immune to Howling Winds for 24 hours.

Windstorm (Costs 3 Actions). The hai-riyo beats its wings and magically surrounds itself with a 60-foot-raidus whirlwind until the end of its next turn. A creature other than the dragon that starts its turn in the windstorm or enters it for the first time on a turn must make a DC 21 Strength saving throw. On a failure, the creature takes 22 (4d10) bludgeoning damage, is pushed back 30 feet, and is knocked prone. On a success, the creature takes half damage and isn’t pushed back or knocked prone.

Combat
Hai-riyo use their Windstorm and Howling winds to frighten, demoralize, and push back attackers, then use its magic to summon storms to make the area difficult for others to maneuver in. It will then use its Steam Breath if available and its bite otherwise. It rarely fights in humanoid form, preferring to intimidate would-be attackers with its prowess with the sword, then shifting to dragon form should the attackers persist.
keen senses should be keen sight btw.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
Unlike the previous two dragon-kin, the peluda actually has some mythology behind it. It’s a French monster, originally known as la velue (the Hairy/Shaggy One); peluda is a Spanish name—that’s the name given to it by Jorge Luis Borges in Book Of Imaginary Beings. I wonder if I still have my copy of that book somewhere.

The myths (according to Wikipedia) said that it was barred from Noah’s Ark but survived the Deluge. Later it dwelled in the River Huisne in France but traveled on land to rampage across the countryside and even into the city. It attacked with its powerful tail, breathed “flames that withered crops” and ate sheep, children, and maidens. The la velue captured one maiden (I don’t know if it ate her or not) but her fiancé struck it in the tail with his sword. Since the tail was la velue’s only weak spot, it instantly died.

I wish Level Up had “weak spots” like this. Maybe a penalty to hit, but it instantly counts as a crit on a success, and does even more damage on an actual crit?

The original descriptions of la velue was ox-sized. For some reason, the AD&D version is ginormous—possibly because another writer, Paul Cordonnier-Détrie, wrote that La Velue was “obviously” in the same family as the tarasque. The mythical tarasque is fairly small—artwork shows it only a bit bigger than an ox—making it Large sized. But as we all know, the D&D tarrasque is a kaiju. So you know what? I’ll split the difference and go Huge for the peluda.

1707152110227.png


Peluda
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #248
Creature by Gregory Detwiler; art by Terry Dykstra

A peluda looks something like fat snapping turtle, with a long neck and tail. Instead of a shell, it’s covered in a veritable thicket long, forest-green quills. These quills are both offensive and defensive in nature. They are so long and dense that most arrows and other missile weapons simply get stuck in them and never actually hit the peluda. However, peludas use them far more for offense. They can move the quills in any direction and even throw them long distances.

Destructive Natures. Peludas live in rivers, lakes, and swamps, but they frequently travel long distances on land to find food. They prefer the taste of red meat to that of fish, and quickly learn the location of nearby farms in order to feed on the fenced-in livestock there—they find such fare preferable to hunting faster wild animals.

Toxic. Like the true dragons peludas are distantly related to, peludas have a breath weapon, a noxious, poisonous flame. They constantly exude a thin stream of noxious smoke which poisons the area around them. Their water homes are usually bereft of any but the hardiest life, nearby plants are dead or dying, and people who live nearby are often sickly. They are frequently hunted by nearby green and river dragons, who find them too dangerous to be allowed to live in their territories. At the same time, though, they are sometimes kept as pets by black dragons, who like how they add to their swampy lair’s foul atmosphere.

Climate/Terrain: temperate; forest, freshwater, swamp

Legends and Lore
With an Arcana check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Although they live in rivers and lakes, peludas frequently travel long distances on land in order to steal livestock.

DC 15. Peludas are covered in quills so thick and strong that they block arrows and other missiles.

DC 20. Peludas breathe poisonous flames; you can find a peluda by looking for the poisoned and dead vegetation and fish.

Peluda Encounters
Challenge Rating 5-10
peluda
Treasure: 300 pp, 1,000 gp, a scuttled, but fixable, barge (500 gp), bowl of commanding water elementals

Signs
1. Withered crops
2. With a DC 13 Perception check, dead, poisoned fish floating on the water’s surface
3. A broken quill that is easily five feet long.
4. A trail of flattened, dying foliage and blood stains leading to or from a river’s bank.

Behavior
1. Lying in ambush in the water; will attack on sight.
2. Tearing into a freshly-slain bulette.
3. Using its breath weapon to destroy crops.
4. In battle with a young or adult green or river dragon.

Peluda
Huge monstrosity; Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
AC
16 (natural armor)
HP 147 (14d12+56; bloodied 73)
Speed 20 ft., swim 40 ft.

STR 20 (+5) DEX 10 (+0) CON 18 (+4)
INT 5 (-3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)

Proficiency +4; Maneuver DC 17
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +4
Damage Resistances fire, poison; damage from nonmagical ranged weapons
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages understands Draconic but can’t speak

Barbed Hide. A creature that grapples or is grappled by the peluda takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage at the beginning of the peluda’s turn. The creature must also make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute and while poisoned, take 5 (1d10) ongoing poison damage for 1 minute. A creature can use their action to administer an antitoxin or magical cure for poison to end the ongoing damage.

Actions
Multiattack.
The peluda makes two attacks, a bite attack and a quill attack, each against a different target.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8+5) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage.

Quill. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 feet or range 40/80 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d10) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) poison damage, and the target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute and while poisoned, take 5 (1d10) ongoing poison damage. A creature can use their action to administer an antitoxin or magical cure for poison to end the ongoing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage. On a hit, the target must make a DC 16 Strength saving throw or fall prone and take 3 (1d6) ongoing piercing damage from stuck quills. A creature can use their action to remove the quills to end the ongoing damage.

Withering Breath (Recharge 5-6). The peluda breathes poisonous green-orange flames in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 22 (5d8) fire damage and 22 (5d8) poison damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. Plant creatures have disadvantage on this saving throw, and normal plants in the area wither and die.

Reactions
Tail Attack.
When a creature the peluda can see within 10 feet hits the peluda with a melee attack, the peluda makes a tail attack against it.

Combat
Peludas prefer to attack from afar with their breath weapon and quills. In melee, it uses its bite and quill attacks on different targets and uses its tail on poisoned targets to knock them prone. If bloodied, it retreats into the water and flees, but will return when less damaged.
 

Unlike the previous two dragon-kin, the peluda actually has some mythology behind it. It’s a French monster, originally known as la velue (the Hairy/Shaggy One); peluda is a Spanish name—that’s the name given to it by Jorge Luis Borges in Book Of Imaginary Beings. I wonder if I still have my copy of that book somewhere.

The myths (according to Wikipedia) said that it was barred from Noah’s Ark but survived the Deluge. Later it dwelled in the River Huisne in France but traveled on land to rampage across the countryside and even into the city. It attacked with its powerful tail, breathed “flames that withered crops” and ate sheep, children, and maidens. The la velue captured one maiden (I don’t know if it ate her or not) but her fiancé struck it in the tail with his sword. Since the tail was la velue’s only weak spot, it instantly died.

I wish Level Up had “weak spots” like this. Maybe a penalty to hit, but it instantly counts as a crit on a success, and does even more damage on an actual crit?

The original descriptions of la velue was ox-sized. For some reason, the AD&D version is ginormous—possibly because another writer, Paul Cordonnier-Détrie, wrote that La Velue was “obviously” in the same family as the tarasque. The mythical tarasque is fairly small—artwork shows it only a bit bigger than an ox—making it Large sized. But as we all know, the D&D tarrasque is a kaiju. So you know what? I’ll split the difference and go Huge for the peluda.

View attachment 345304

Peluda
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #248
Creature by Gregory Detwiler; art by Terry Dykstra

A peluda looks something like fat snapping turtle, with a long neck and tail. Instead of a shell, it’s covered in a veritable thicket long, forest-green quills. These quills are both offensive and defensive in nature. They are so long and dense that most arrows and other missile weapons simply get stuck in them and never actually hit the peluda. However, peludas use them far more for offense. They can move the quills in any direction and even throw them long distances.

Destructive Natures. Peludas live in rivers, lakes, and swamps, but they frequently travel long distances on land to find food. They prefer the taste of red meat to that of fish, and quickly learn the location of nearby farms in order to feed on the fenced-in livestock there—they find such fare preferable to hunting faster wild animals.

Toxic. Like the true dragons peludas are distantly related to, peludas have a breath weapon, a noxious, poisonous flame. They constantly exude a thin stream of noxious smoke which poisons the area around them. Their water homes are usually bereft of any but the hardiest life, nearby plants are dead or dying, and people who live nearby are often sickly. They are frequently hunted by nearby green and river dragons, who find them too dangerous to be allowed to live in their territories. At the same time, though, they are sometimes kept as pets by black dragons, who like how they add to their swampy lair’s foul atmosphere.

Climate/Terrain: temperate; forest, freshwater, swamp

Legends and Lore
With an Arcana check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Although they live in rivers and lakes, peludas frequently travel long distances on land in order to steal livestock.

DC 15. Peludas are covered in quills so thick and strong that they block arrows and other missiles.

DC 20. Peludas breathe poisonous flames; you can find a peluda by looking for the poisoned and dead vegetation and fish.

Peluda Encounters
Challenge Rating 5-10
peluda
Treasure: 300 pp, 1,000 gp, a scuttled, but fixable, barge (500 gp), bowl of commanding water elementals

Signs
1. Withered crops
2. With a DC 13 Perception check, dead, poisoned fish floating on the water’s surface
3. A broken quill that is easily five feet long.
4. A trail of flattened, dying foliage and blood stains leading to or from a river’s bank.

Behavior
1. Lying in ambush in the water; will attack on sight.
2. Tearing into a freshly-slain bulette.
3. Using its breath weapon to destroy crops.
4. In battle with a young or adult green or river dragon.

Peluda
Huge monstrosity; Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
AC
16 (natural armor)
HP 147 (14d12+56; bloodied 73)
Speed 20 ft., swim 40 ft.

STR 20 (+5) DEX 10 (+0) CON 18 (+4)
INT 5 (-3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)

Proficiency +4; Maneuver DC 17
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +4
Damage Resistances fire, poison; damage from nonmagical ranged weapons
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages understands Draconic but can’t speak

Barbed Hide. A creature that grapples or is grappled by the peluda takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage at the beginning of the peluda’s turn. The creature must also make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute and while poisoned, take 5 (1d10) ongoing poison damage for 1 minute. A creature can use their action to administer an antitoxin or magical cure for poison to end the ongoing damage.

Actions
Multiattack.
The peluda makes two attacks, a bite attack and a quill attack, each against a different target.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8+5) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage.

Quill. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 feet or range 40/80 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d10) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) poison damage, and the target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute and while poisoned, take 5 (1d10) ongoing poison damage. A creature can use their action to administer an antitoxin or magical cure for poison to end the ongoing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage. On a hit, the target must make a DC 16 Strength saving throw or fall prone and take 3 (1d6) ongoing piercing damage from stuck quills. A creature can use their action to remove the quills to end the ongoing damage.

Withering Breath (Recharge 5-6). The peluda breathes poisonous green-orange flames in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 22 (5d8) fire damage and 22 (5d8) poison damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. Plant creatures have disadvantage on this saving throw, and normal plants in the area wither and die.

Reactions
Tail Attack.
When a creature the peluda can see within 10 feet hits the peluda with a melee attack, the peluda makes a tail attack against it.

Combat
Peludas prefer to attack from afar with their breath weapon and quills. In melee, it uses its bite and quill attacks on different targets and uses its tail on poisoned targets to knock them prone. If bloodied, it retreats into the water and flees, but will return when less damaged.
it would be kinda cool if one of the Legends and Lore would be its a distant relative of the tarrasque.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
The next dragon-kin is the sirrush, although apparently that was a mis-translation of the creature’s actual name, mušḫuššu. It’s a creature from ancient Mesopotamian mythology, was the sacred animal of Marduk, and apparently is also called the Dragon of Chaos—chaos in the “primordial” sense of the word, not the D&D sense. It was also associated with the constellation of Hydra.

Sadly, neither that version of Chaos nor the D&D version is really present in the monster’s write-up, which is treated as just another beast. The sirrush was also written up in the 3x Epic Level Handbook, which gave it (and its three-headed variant) a stunning roar and the ability to resist being beheaded, which seems kinda niche to me. But I guess that vorpal swords are fairly common at Epic Levels. Neither the article’s version nor the 3e version includes the idea that the sirrush is a symbol of a sun god and grants protection and good luck—the sirrush from this article is Chaotic Evil while the one from the Epic Level Handbook is Chaotic Neutral. Pfui to that, says I!

While searching for info on mušḫuššu, I found this art installation, This gave me Ideas, which I have incorporated into the monster. I also gave it a couple of spells (the AD&D version is nonmagical), one of which is abstraction from Gate Pass Gazette #14. If you don’t have that issue, substitute slow, since, uh, abstraction is basically a cooler-looking, slightly weaker slow spell. But it nicely fits into that whole primal chaos thing. We need more chaos spells that actually feel chaotic. Likewise, we need more Law spells that aren’t just useful to law enforcement officers.

1707326583271.png


Sirrush
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #248
Creature by Gregory Detwiler; art by Terry Dykstra

Sirrushes are dragon-like creatures with tawny-gold scales and reddish points. They have a lion-like body and forelimbs, a long, sinuous neck and tail, curled horns, and a serpentine tongue that flickers in and out of their mouths in order to taste the air. With their bestial looks and aura of chaos, it’s difficult to tell that they are actually celestial beings and servitors of the gods.

Primordial Chaos. Sirrushes are beings made of chaos, the watery not-matter that existed before the worlds were formed. Although not true shapechangers, they can stretch their body so they flow like water, bending their way around obstacles and reaching much farther than one would think they should be able to. When it dies, a sirrush melts away into water.

The ancient, embryonic not-matter that sirrushes are made of predates the petty battles between good and evil that mortals and gods care about—and sirrushes don’t care about such things either. A sirrush is as likely to serve a benevolent god as it is a malevolent god.

Primal Guardians. These celestials are primarily tasked with being temple guardians—a job they take very seriously. Although they carry no treasure themselves, the temples they guard are often filled with unusual items. The knowledge needed to summon a sirrush is very rare or even lost, so typically only the oldest of temples have sirrushes guarding them.

Sirrushes are not bound to the temples they guard, unlike many other celestial guardians. They often travel the wilderness on quests for the gods they owe fealty to or even for the priests of their temples. These quests typically involve hunting down people who have stolen from the temple or have committed blasphemy. They eventually return to their temples, but decades or even centuries may pass beforehand. Should their temples be destroyed while they were away on business, they continue to guard the area while awaiting new orders from their often forgetful and fickle gods.

Climate/Terrain: any climate; Astral Plane, Elemental Chaos, desert, hill, ruin, settlement, temple, tomb

Legends and Lore
With an Arcana or Religion check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 15. Sirrushes are dragon-like celestials formed out of primordial chaos. They nearly always travel in mated pairs or small packs.

DC 20. Sirrushes often guard ancient temples dedicated to gods of chaos or light.

Sirrush Encounters
Challenge Rating 5-10
1-2 sirrushes; sirrush and coatl; sirrush and 2d4 spirit soldiers (from To Save A Kingdom); sirrush and 1-2 cult fanatics or priests
Treasure: 500 gp, 100 sp, 2 peridots (500 gp each), blue bag of tricks, chime of opening, scrolls of bestow curse, control water, and enervating light

Challenge Rating 11-16 3-4 sirrushes; sirrush and high priest; 2 sirrushes and 2-3 angels of battle or angels of vengeance (from conjure celestial spell)
Treasure: 130 pp, gold and ruby holy symbol (750 gp), 2 topazes (500 gp each), rare book on the planes (250 gp), +1 chain, decanter of endless water, spell scroll of gentle repose

Signs
1. An ancient temple decorated with rich mosaics that are strangely untouched by time
2. Stylized images of dragons and gods carved into rock walls
3. A shrine heaped with offerings
4. An undefinable, yet unsettling, feeling of uncertainty and movement; people entering the area feel jittery

Behavior
1. Guarding the temple, refusing entry to anyone save the highest priests
2. Engaged in rituals dedicated to a god of the sun or of primordial chaos
3. On the hunt for a particular blasphemer
4. Approaches party, asks their intentions in the area; will offer help in the PCs’ are engaging in actions that goes along with the sirrush’s interests.
5. Tending to a wounded person.
6. Engaging in minor mischief in order to bring more chaos to the place

Names
Ahimelek, Davcina, Ilukassat, Kingu, Sininun

Sirrush
Large celestial (dragon); Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
AC
15 (natural armor)
HP 95 (10d10+40 bloodied 47)
Speed 50 ft.

STR 22 (+6) DEX 16 (+3) CON 19 (+4)
INT 8 (-1) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 16 (+3)

Proficiency +3; Maneuver DC 17
Saving Throws Dexterity +6, Wisdom +5, Charisma +6
Skills Intimidation +6, Perception +5, Religion +2, Stealth +6, Survival +5
Damage Immunities radiant, poison
Condition Immunities blinded, poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal

Chaotic. The sirrush radiates a Chaotic aura.

Detect Alignment. The sirrush knows the alignment, if any, of each creature within 30 feet that it can see.

Innate Spellcasting. The sirrush’s spellcasting trait is Charisma (spell save DC 14). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring only material components:
At will: detect magic
3/day each: abstraction, bless, create food and water, cure wounds, lemure transformation, lesser restoration

Long Jump. The sirrush can long jump up to 30 feet, with or without a running start.

Pack Tactics. The sirrush has advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the sirrush’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and is not incapacitated.

Rejuvenation. If it dies, the sirrush gains a new body in 1d6 days, regaining all its hit points. This trait can be removed with a wish spell.

Water Mastery. The sirrush cannot be harmed or moved by any attack or spell that uses water or is from the water school of magic.

Actions
Multiattack.
The sirrush attacks three times: once with its bite and twice with its claws. It can substitute a tail attack for a bite attack.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d10+6) piercing damage and must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw against poison. On a failure, the creature is confused until the end of its next turn.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d8+6) slashing damage. If the sirrush moves at least 20 feet straight towards the target before the attack, the target must make a DC 17 Strength saving throw, falling prone on a bite.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d8+6) slashing damage plus 11 (2d10) poison damage.

Sun-Filled Eyes (Recharge 5-6). The sirrush targets one creature, or two creatures who are within 5 feet of each other, and bright sunlight bursts from its eyes. The target must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 33 (6d10) radiant damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one.

Bonus Actions
Flow.
The sirrush melts into a flowing form. Until the start of its next turn, it has resistance to nonmagical damage from weapons and can move up to its speed without provoking attacks of opportunity. At the end of this movement, it makes a bite attack.

Opportune Bite. The sirrush makes a bite attack against a prone creature.

Combat
The sirrush targets its most dangerous foes with its Sun-Filled eyes, then uses Flow to get close to a different target to attack it with a bite. It retreats only if the stakes are minor.

Variant: Devolved Sirrush
Sometimes, when a sirrush is away from a temple, they find the allure of true freedom to be too strong for it to resist, and they quit their duties and remove themselves from the service of their gods. Bereft of purpose, they become wilder and more chaotic, until it loses much of its mind and even some of its shape. The devolved sirrush is rubbery, with no apparent structure to it, and its hide is dotted with eyes.

A devolved sirrush’s type changes to celestial (aberration) and its CR increases to 7 (2,900 XP). Its Intelligence becomes 5 (-3) and its Wisdom and Charisma become 10 (+0). It loses its Rejuvenation trait, its Sun-Filled Eyes gains a Recharge of 4-6, and it gains the following traits:

Amorphous. The devolved sirrush can pass through an opening as narrow as 1 foot wide without squeezing.

Expanded Spell List. The devolved sirrush knows the following additional spell, which it can cast 1/day: wall of flesh.
Many-Eyed.
The devolved sirrush has advantage on Perception checks that rely on sight, has advantage on saving throws to avoid being blinded, and can't be flanked.

Regeneration. The sirrush regains 10 hit points at the beginning of each of its turns as long as it has at least 1 hit point.

Additionally, the Multiattack action has been altered:

Multiattack. The sirrush attacks four times times: twice with its bite and twice with its claws. It can substitute a tail attack for a bite attack.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Eep! I was so busy doing world-building with my friends (for a future LU game, even!) that I forgot to post this until now.

We’re done with dragon-kin for now. Up next we have a monster from the works of Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936), an English writer of supernatural horror. I decided to read a couple and they were just weird to me. It seems that, in general, his stories go along the lines of people talking about whatever is going on in their lives—in a way that felt quite authentic and often kind of funny to me (one had the main character’s aunt complaining about how much money he was spending on books—£10, or in today’s money, £425), then OMG THERE’S A HORRIBLE THING! and then everyone just continues as normal, the end. It didn’t help that either Mr. James or whoever transcribed this for Project Gutenberg didn’t put paragraph breaks between different people’s dialogue, making for dense walls of text my aging eyes can’t handle.

Anyway, here’s the demonic sawfly—although their description in both the article and the story it came from (“The Residence at Whitminster”) make them sound more like winged daddy longlegs, which is wonderfully creepy.

1707521200605.png


Demonic Sawfly
Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #252
Creature by Michael D. Winkle; art by Mark Nelson

Demonic sawflies resemble a mundane sawfly, but tremendous in size, colored black and dull, bloody red. Their head sports four small but powerful mandibles and a mass of long, twitching antenna that writhe almost like tentacles. Their long, spindly legs let them stand six feet tall, but they have the ability to change their size until they as little more than a normal insect. In this size, they sneak into and out of houses and castles, where they seek any rarely-entered room to live in, leaving only to feed—and unlike true sawflies, who eat leaves and crops, sawflies eat meat and blood.

From One, Many. Able to emerge from any hellish portal, and worse yet, able to breed with mundane insects, the introduction of a single demonic sawfly can quickly lead to a plague of them. If a sawfly finds itself without food for a long period of time, it will automatically shrink and then begin to hibernate, during which it can survive up to a century. Should a warm-blooded creature come near to a hibernating sawfly, it will awaken. Ravenously hungry, it will attack until it’s sated, then begin to reproduce.

Monstrous Parasites. In Hell and the Abyss, demonic sawflies are a mild annoyance; they’re considered in the same way that humans view mosquitoes and fleas. They survive in those planes only because they are far smarter than mundane insects are and are capable of breeding. In the lower planes, they do indeed breed like flies. Fortunately, the Material Plane severely curtails their ability to reproduce, and they rarely produce more than one or two eggs a year—although unlike most fiends, they guard their eggs and young jealously.

Ghost-Makers. Whenever someone dies in an area in which demonic sawflies are nesting, it’s quite likely that they will become a ghost. In many cases, these ghosts are fairly harmless, little more than echoes. But the fiendish nature of the sawfly infests the minds of the people around them. Petty grievances become constant reminders and when people die with this anger on their mind, they often rise as vengeful ghosts. The sawflies themselves don’t seem to deliberately cause vengeful ghosts to appear and have nothing to do with them—and the ghosts themselves focus their anger on the living, not their insectile makers.

Climate/Terrain: any climate; Abyss, Hell, ruin, settlement

Legends and Lore
With an Arcana check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. These insects are actually fiends from the lower planes. They enter the Material world through portals accidentally or purposely created by practitioners of evil magic.

DC 15. Demonic sawflies instinctively seek to swarm with others of their kind. If you see one, there are likely others nearby.

DC 20. Able to shrink themselves to the size of a normal housefly, demonic sawflies typically mingle with swarms of natural insects. When this size, they easily can infiltrate buildings.

Demonic Sawfly Encounters
Challenge Rating 1-2
1d4+2 demonic sawflies; 1d4 demonic sawflies; 1 demonic sawfly and swarm of insects
Treasure: 200 sp, tarnished silver ring (25 gp), skeleton key

Signs
1. The buzzing of flies
2. With a DC 15 Insight or Perception check, a sensitive character feels a weak demonic aura
3. A rarely-used room, infested with insects
4. The presence of ghosts

Behavior
1-2. Hungry; will attack on sight.
3. In shrunken form, flying with a swarm of normal insects and interbreeding with them.
3. Guarding its young; will attack anyone who approaches.

Demonic Sawfly
Medium fiend; Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
AC
14
HP 13 (3d8; bloodied 6)
Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)

STR 12 (+1) DEX 18 (+4) CON 10 (+0)
INT 4 (-3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 4 (-1)

Proficiency +2; Maneuver DC 14
Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning; damage from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages

Keen Smell. The demonic sawfly has advantage on Perception checks that rely on smell.

Spider Climb. The demonic sawfly can climb even on difficult surfaces and upside on ceilings.

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4+1) piercing damage plus 2 (1d4) necrotic damage or 1 necrotic damage when shrunken. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage dealt, and the demonic sawfly regains that number of hit points. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. If the target is reduced to 0 hit points by this attack, it dies.

Bonus Actions
Summon Swarm (1/day).
The demonic sawfly magically calls a swarm of insects, spew out of the sawfly’s maw.

Hide (Shrunken Form Only). The demonic sawfly takes the Hide action.

Reactions
Shrink (Only When Bloodied).
The first time it is bloodied in combat, the demonic sawfly shrinks to the size of a Tiny sawfly and can move through a space of less than one inch. While this size, it has advantage on Stealth checks. It can choose when to return to its normal size.

Combat
The sawfly tries to attack with surprise, attacking with a bite and then summoning a swarm. It shrinks when bloodied, then flees.

Variant: Portal-Glass
When demonic sawflies take up residence in an area, a curious change happens to the nearby glass. Panes of broken glass, glass decorations, and other, similar pieces of glasswork—but not actual windows or mirrors—become minor windows to other planes. A creature who uses its action to look through the glass will see into Hell, the Abyss, or the Bleak Gate. It’s just a tiny window, no larger than the actual piece of glass used, and the viewer has no control over what they see on the other size—but it can be quite terrifying. A creature who looks through the glass must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. It may make a new save at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself. If the frightened creature then breaks the glass, even by accident, a shrunken demonic sawfly will emerge.
 

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