Homebrew A Leveled Up Bestiary

Faolyn

(she/her)
Based on a creature of Celtic mythology, lhiannan shee means “fairy lover” in Scottish Gaelic. They are vampiric muses, granting inspiration to artists while at the same time draining their life. In Creature Catalog, Roger Moore emphasized the vampiric part by making them undead, which was continued when they were updated to 2e and put into the second Forgotten Realms Monstrous Compendium Appendix. However, in 3e, they were updated on WotC’s website in their now defunct Monster Mayhem column for 3x (Wayback Machine link), where the more traditional spelling of leanan sidhe was used (well, the truly traditional spelling is sìdhe, with a accent grave over the i), and there, they were made into Fey. So I’m combining them. They’re a form of undead fey now. Best of both worlds!

While the Creature Catalog (and later FR MC Appendix) version consists entirely of females, the Monster Mayhem version, along with the original legends (according to Wikipedia, at least), has both males and females, as does my version. In either case, the lhiannan shee isn’t really the type of monster you sic on the party. It’s the type you sic on NPCs and then have the PCs investigate.

The lhiannan shee is also pretty much the embodiment of the emotionally abusive significant other--even without their magical abilities, gaslight and isolate their prey--so be careful of your players if you use it.

1660423847404.png

Artist: Roger Raupp

Lhiannan Shee
Creature Catalog III, Dragon Magazine #101 and Monster Mayhem
Created by Roger Moore and Robert Wiese

In the Feywild, breathtaking beauty is everywhere. A garden tended by pixies or a dryad is more vibrant than any mundane garden in the Material World. A castle owned by faerie noble frequently outshines any created by even the most talented of mortal architects. Even a common fey’s humble cottage is often more quaintly picturesque than a human’s farmer’s hut. Some fey seek to bring that beauty into the mortal world and act as muses to musicians, actors, artists, writers, and artisans. And mostly they succeed—many a famous person has gotten a jolt of inspiration from these muses. And that’s where most fey muses stop: they seek to help mortals get over their hangups and creator’s blocks and achieve the artistry that already lies in their soul. Once that talent is realized, the muse moves on, pleased with a job well-done.

But some of these muses can’t stop. These fey begin to live vicariously through the mortals they aid, feeding off their creativity and ambition. In the end, the artist is drained, physically and mentally, and if they live, they are often completely bereft of any creativity. These fey, completely corrupted by their actions, change into something not truly alive: the lhiannan shee.

A lhiannan shee resembles an extraordinarily beautiful faerie, but upon close inspection, their beauty seems hollow and unreal, and they always have a hungry look in their eyes. They smell of high-quality, floral perfume, each one with a slightly different scent. Like a vampire, they cast no shadow or reflection and their pallid skin is as cold as the grave. They are solid only at night; during the day, they are insubstantial.

Vampiric Muses. Lhiannan shee find and befriend themselves to artists—painters, singers, musicians, and the like. They approach the artist in private, and indeed, remain invisible to everyone else, and use their wiles, flattery, and flirting to ingratiate themselves to the artist while at the same time subtly denigrating the artist’s friends, with the ultimate goal of isolating them. They take on the role of a fan, a student, a potential model, or even a manager. Once they have found an artist, they visit them every night, granting them inspiration. The art created by their ”friend” quickly becomes of the highest quality.

Their kiss drains the life from their artist “friends,” slowly but surely. Victims of the lhiannan shee become sickly and pale, and to the lay person, suffer from the effects of poor living (among those artists who are known for partying), or consumption (among those artists who live in poor areas). Although nearly every artist who has been targeted by a lhiannan shee dies an early death, most are not upset by this, as they will be immortalized by their art.

Jealous Suitors. Lhiannan shee are jealous and demanding. If they feel their “blessing” is being misused (such as with a minstrel who continues to play in cheap taverns instead of posh theaters) or if their chosen artist isn’t respectful or thankful enough, or continues to associate with their other friends or loved ones, they will refuse to grant inspiration. They may even curse their chosen artist by removing their skills. Such a curse is so greatly feared and loathed by the chosen artists that most of the time, they will do anything to please the lhiannan shee. If the lhiannan shee feels slighted enough, it may even leave for a time after placing such a curse. If the victim dies from despair, the lhiannan shee counts that as a victory.

Magic Item: Charm of the Lhiannan Shee
Wondrous item (charm), very rare (cost 1,500 gp), requires attunement

Each lhiannan shee carries a special object which can take on a variety of forms but is always made at least partly of silver. It usually appears as a simple piece of jewelry or as an artist’s tool such as a quill pen or guitar pick. The lhiannan shee often gives its victim this charm as a token of remembrance. The object is cursed for both the bearer and the lhiannan shee, and so the lhiannan shee is careful as to who it gives the charm to.

While wearing or using this charm, you gain an expertise die in one of Performance, one musical instrument, or in one set of artisan’s tools in which you are already proficient, chosen by the lhiannan shee when it bequeaths the charm. You can break the charm to release its power: for 1 minute after you break the charm, the lhiannan shee has vulnerability damage from melee attacks you make against it.

Curse. While attuned to this charm and charmed by the lhiannan shee, you become obsessed with the it and will not willingly part with it. You also have disadvantage on saving throws made against the lhiannan shee's Charming Speech and Draining Kiss. if the lhiannan shee uses Inspire Despair on you, you roll a d6 instead of a d4. In addition, the lhiannan shee will always know your location, as long as you are on the same plane.

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

DC 10. Lhiannan shee are undead who act like muses. They grant boons to artists, but are easily offended if their boon is misused.

DC 15. The kiss of the lhiannan shee drains the life out of the recipient--in some cases, permanently without the aid of powerful magic.

DC 20. Once fey creatures, the lhiannan shee became obsessed with forcing artists to fulfill the fey’s visions of beauty, until they became so corrupted that they turned into undead.

Lhiannan Shee Encounters
Terrain:
ruins, settlement

CR 3-4 1 lhiannan shee
Treasure: silver and onyx jewelry worth 100 gp.

Signs
1-2. An artist who has recently skyrocketed in popularity; everyone says their art is otherworldly in quality.
3. Several artists in a large city have died recently, all of the same wasting illness.
4. People gossiping about an artist’s mysterious paramour.
5. The same figure appearing in the artwork of several different artists over the years, all of whom died early.
6. A suicidally-depressed artist

Behavior
1-3. Visiting its victim in their place of work
4. Attending an art show.
5. Stalking its victim and learning about them before approaching for the first time
6. Watching a performance on stage.

Names
Arwyn, Eithin, Ianthe, Jinadev, Musette, Vishali

Lhiannan Shee
Medium undead (fey)

Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
AC 14
HP 65 (10d8+20; bloodied 32)
Speed 30 ft.

STR 8 (-1) DEX 19 (+4) CON 14 (+2)
INT 16 (+3) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 23 (+6)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 14
Saving Throws Wis +4, Cha +8
Skills Deception +8 (+1d6), Insight +4 (+1d4), Perception +4, Perform +8 (+1d6), Persuasion +8 (+1d4), Stealth +6
Damage Resistances acid, fire, lightning, thunder; damage from nonmagical attacks.
Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities fatigue, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan, and two others
Charming Speech (1/Day; Usable Only At Night). The lhiannan shee speaks to a humanoid within 30 feet of it for at least 1 minute. That creature must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by the lhiannan shee for 24 hours. The charmed creature idolizes the lhiannan shee during this time and views it as a beloved friend and confidant. The creature may make a new saving throw if it takes damage from any source other than the lhiannan shee's Draining Touch, ending the effect on itself on a success.
The lhiannan may send short telepathic messages (25 words or less) to the charmed creature as long as they are within 1 mile of each other. This form of telepathy doesn’t allow for the creature to respond.
Daylight Insubstantiality. During the day or when in sunlight, the lhiannan shee can’t pick up or move objects or creatures. It can move through objects and creatures, and it takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object. It loses this trait sundown.
Magic Resistance. The lhiannan shee has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Spellcasting (3/Day). The lhiannan shee can cast disguise self. Its spellcasting attribute for this trait is Charisma. When this spell is active, it casts a reflection and a shadow.
Soundless. The lhiannan shee makes no noise when it is walking or when it touches an object.
Turn Resistance. The lhiannan shee has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead.
Undead Nature. The lhiannan shee doesn’t require air, sustenance, or sleep.
Unhealing. The lhiannan shee can only regain hit points through use of its Draining Touch.

Actions
Touch.
Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4+4) cold damage.
Draining Kiss. The lhiannan kisses a willing creature or a creature charmed by it, and that creature’s hit point maximum is reduced by 1 and the lhiannan shee regains 10 hit points. The target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by 1 until the creature is no longer charmed by the lhiannan shee and is subjected to a greater restoration or similar magic, or the lhiannan shee is destroyed. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the creature completes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.
Inspire Despair. The lhiannan curses a creature charmed by it. That creature must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be overcome with despair for 24 hours. During this time, the creature must roll a d4 and subtract it from all ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws it makes. Additionally, it also has disadvantage on rolls made with one skill, musical instrument, or artisan’s tool of the lhiannan shee’s choice.
The lhiannan shee can revoke this curse at any time (no action required). A calm emotions or similar magic can also end the effect.
Muse’s Blessing. The lhiannan shee blesses one creature she can see within 30 feet, granting it a d6 expertise die in Performance, one musical instrument, or in one set of artisan’s tools in which it is already proficient. This expertise die lasts for 1 hour and can stack with existing expertise dice up to a d10, exceeding the usual limit on expertise die.
Additionally, if the creature has levels in the Bard class, it gains one additional Bardic Inspiration die during this time, and the spell save DC for any Bard spells it casts is increased by 1.
The lhiannan shee can revoke this blessing at any time (no action required).

Bonus Actions
Selective Invisibility.
The lhiannan shee and any equipment it wears or carries magically turns invisible the until lhiannan shee attacks, casts a spell, becomes incapacitated, or uses a bonus action to become visible. Draining Kiss does not count as an attack for this purpose. While invisible, it also can’t be heard. Each time that the lhiannan shee turns invisible, it may choose one creature that can see it and hear it.
At the start of each of its turns, a creature who can see invisible objects must make a DC 14 Perception check. On a failure, it doesn’t see the lhiannan shee. On a success, the creature can see the lhiannan shee until it uses this ability again.

Combat
The lhiannan shee commands its charmed victim to attack, and turns invisible and then moves to safety. If its charmed victim isn’t nearby, it will telepathically send out a message to it, urging it the victim to come to the lhiannan shee’s aid. If cornered and unable to flee, it will use its Touch attack.

Variant: Lhiannan Shee for Other Classes
The way it’s written up, the lhiannan shee is a creature that goes after bards, but I feel like you can target artificers as well; they’re as creative as bards, albeit in different ways. In this case, substitute Engineering for Perform with their Muse’s Blessing trait, and when using the Muse's Blessing trait, instead of granting another Bardic Inspiration die, the artificer can instead reroll one fizzle die (and must use the new roll), and the spell save DC for any artificer spells they cast increases by 1.

If you want, the lhiannan shee can target anyone, of course--what they want in a target is creativity and, more importantly, the ability to be creative while isolated and to produce a legacy through their works. A lhiannan shee may attach themselves to a rogue (and encourage to perform daring heists or cons), a marshal (to bolster their tactical abilities), a wizard (to aid in the research and development of rare spells), a fighter (allowing them to become a weapon master), a savant (allowing them an even greater knowledge and understanding). In these cases, Muse's Blessing gifts an additional maneuver, the ability to research spells faster and more cheaply, or something similar, and a +1 to the appropriate spell save DC.
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
OK, a slightly goofy one this time: the pilfer vine. It’s a plant that picks pockets. Hey, we need more plant monsters. As the name suggests, it’s a vine. But not only that, it’s a vine that has eyes on its leaves. Well, the text describes them as “visual organs” which I’m sure is supposed to mean primitive eyespots—it also says that they’re color blind, which would follow—but I really like the idea of them having full-fledged eyeballs on their leaves. I mean, that’s just cool. Sadly, it’s another plant that’s vulnerable to fire damage, which is less cool.

But anyway, since neither assassin vines nor vine blights made it to Level Up, let these guys be your vine monsters of choice!

(I do wonder if these guys would work better as an exploration challenge than a monster, though.)

1660504153228.png

Artist: Roger Raupp

Pilfer Vine
Creature Catalog III, Dragon Magazine #101
Created by Richard Stump

Pilfer vines look like tangles of grayish-green creepers with broad, green-brown leaves. On approximately a tenth of their leaves, they have small eyes. When the eyes are closed, they look like galls. The plant’s base is a melon-like lump, in which is the vine’s vegetable brain, and the long creepers—when not in action—are usually wrapped around a tree trunk, pillar, or other support.

Kleptomaniacal Plants. For reasons unknown, pilfer vines are natural thieves. Whenever a creature who is wearing clothes or carrying belongings walks within the vine’s quite extensive range, the vine will carefully try to steal from it. It has no concept of wealth; it steals whatever is shiny. Stolen objects are kept around its central lump, usually covered by leaf litter.

Trainable. Some forest-dwellers such as druids have managed to train them into being guardians, in exchange for water and fertilizer and frequent gifts of shiny things. Because of their relatively high intelligence, they can quickly learn to not steal from their benefactors, and to trade the belongings they steal for shinier ones offered.

Legends and Lore
With a Nature check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Pilfer vines look like ordinary plants, but seem compelled to steal shiny things.

DC 15. Although incapable of understanding languages, pilfer vines are about as smart as a dog.

DC 20. With time and effort, a pilfer vine can be trained to not steal from specified individuals, and can be trained to trade the items they stole for shinier objects.

Pilfer Vine Encounters
Terrain:
Forest, jungle, ruins

CR 3-4 1-2 pilfer vines
80 gp, 115 sp, 3 quartz gems (10 gp each), silvered dagger, pocket magic mirror

Signs
1-2. Members of the party suddenly realized they’ve been pickpocketed.
3. With a DC 20 Perception check, noticing some of the leaves seem to have eyes on them.
4. A recently-severed, still-twitching vine.

Pilfer Vine
Large plant

Challenge 3 (700 XP)
AC 14
HP 52 (8d10+16; bloodied 26)
Speed 0 ft.

STR 10 (+0) DEX 18 (+4) CON 14 (+2)
INT 3 (-4) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 4 (-3)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 14
Skills Sleight of Hand +6 (+1d6)
Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Damage Resistances cold; piercing
Damage Immunities bludgeoning
Senses darkvision 30 ft. (blind beyond this radius)
Languages
False Appearance. While the pilfer vine remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal plant.
Sessile. The pilfer vine has disadvantage on saving throws against any affect that targets an area.

Actions
Multiattack.
The pilfer vine makes four constrict attacks. Optionally, it can make up to four Sleight of Hand checks.
Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: The target takes 7 (1d4+4) bludgeoning damage and is grappled (escape DC 14). If the attack scores a critical hit, the vine wraps around the target’s neck and the target begins to suffocate. A creeper can be severed if it takes 10 or more damage in a single attack by a slashing weapon.
The pilfer vine has 20 creepers, although only four can be used at a time. Severed creepers regrow in 1 week.

Combat
As they are unable to flee, a pilfer vine will only engage in combat if attacked first, and will continue to attack until it is dead.
 

Kleptomaniacal Plants. For reasons unknown, pilfer vines are natural thieves. Whenever a creature who is wearing clothes or carrying belongings walks within the vine’s quite extensive range, the vine will carefully try to steal from it. It has no concept of wealth; it steals whatever is shiny. Stolen objects are kept around its central lump, usually covered by leaf litter.

Just a thought, but maybe they collect shiny objects to attract small rodents, that they use as pollinators.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
Alright, folks, @WarDriveWorley asked for this one: the dreaded pernicon. It’s from the 1e Fiend Folio, but this creature gets both an Ecology article and a revamped version in issue #108, so I consider it fair game. And yeah, these things are pretty nasty. WarDriveWorley, since Level Up doesn’t have any monsters that drain stats, I had to change their method of attack, but I'm pretty sure it's still enough to terrify and anger your players. :D

The Ecology article goes into great detail about the importance of the pernicon’s antennae (a useful tool) and how to remove it… from the pernicon’s skull. So, uh. I guess pernicons have an internal skeleton? It also compares the fluids in the pernicon’s brain to a watch with a liquid crystal display, along with a whole attempt to scientifically explain exactly how exactly they can detect elemental water. In these modern days of everything being handwaved via experimental wizardry, planar mutations, eldritch beings, or the will of the gods, I honestly can’t tell if I miss these attempts at biological realism or not.

1660592756423.png

Artist: Russ Nicholson (This is from the FF. I’m pretty sure that the art from Dragon Magazine is Dover clipart)

Pernicon
The ecology of the pernicon and The pernicon: a new version, Dragon Magazine #101
Created by John Nephew, originally by Mary Patterson

Pernicons resemble large, wingless grasshoppers. They are primarily straw-colored with splotches of bright red, ochre, blue, and black on their abdomen. They aren’t true insects, as they have a very rudimentary internal skeleton in addition to their carapace, which accounts for their relative toughness. Additionally, unlike grasshoppers, they are omnivorous. Or rather, they are liquivores, and gladly devour the juices from both plants and animals.

Pernicons live in large colonies and create “towns” similar to termite mounds—large, oddly-shaped piles of hardened mud and saliva filled with scores of holes for the pernicons to enter and exit from and to provide natural cooling to the inside; these mounds are often several feet high and can extend underground for a half-dozen feet or more. Cold-blooded or flying scavengers often lair near such towns in order to feed on the dried corpses that are inevitably left behind.

Natural Dowsers. A pernicon’s antennae is an incredibly sensitive sensory organ and can detect the presence of liquid water (even if it’s underground) from a very long distance away. When they sense water, their antennae buzz loudly, reminiscent of a cicada’s hum. They do not, however, drink the water—their mouthparts are unsuited for that. Instead, they prey on the creatures and plants (particularly succulents) that use the water holes. Their bite leaves a small but messy puncture, and they rapidly suck the moisture out of their victim. A lucky creature can remove the pernicon before too much damage is done, but the longer the pernicon drinks, the more and more dehydrated the creature can get. A single pernicon can drain a human dry in a minute—and they are prone to traveling in swarms. Fortunately, they tend to prefer eating plants and will usually only attack if bothered. Although this is not entirely fortunate, as they can quickly strip an area clean of vegetation. When an area has become barren, the entire town migrates, forming a great, multicolored blanket of insects and devouring everything in their path.

Coveted Resource. Despite the horrors they can bring, pernicons are highly valued by many people. Since they build their towns near places with aquifers, people often seek them out, looking for new sources of water. Roasted or fried pernicon is considered a delicious delicacy among many people, although a rare one—they’re very difficult to raise domestically and so must be caught in the wild. Pernicon eggs are eaten like caviar. However, they are prized even more for their antennae, which retain the pernicon’s water-sensing ability. Removing the antennae from the creature is a difficult task, as they are very delicate things, and requires requiring a DC 15 check with Medicine, Sleight of Hand, or thieves’ tools check. The antenna will vibrate loudly if within 120 feet of water that can fit a 5-foot cube, even if that water is covered or underground. However, an antenna will disintegrate upon getting wet, being exposed to heat or fire, or taking any sort of damage. Intact antenna are typically worth 1 gold each, and live pernicon are sold individually as water-finders for around 5 gold, or in filled buckets for culinary purposes for as much as 50 gold. Six pernicon, eaten raw, act as 1 Supply.

Legends and Lore
With a Nature check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Pernicon are grasshopper-like creatures that can detect the presence of water from a long distance away.

DC 15. The bite of a pernicon is especially dangerous, because they can quickly suck all the moisture out of a creature, leaving nothing but a dried husk behind.

DC 20. Pernicon are in high demand in many markets, both as food and as water finders.

Pernicon Encounters
Terrain:
badlands, deserts, hills

CR 1-2 2d8 pernicon

CR 3-4 1 swarm of pernicons

CR 5-10 1-2 swarms of pernicons; 1-2 swarms of pernicons and 1-2 ankhegs or giant vultures

Signs
1. The corpse of a traveler and their mount, both completely desiccated and covered vicious insect bites.
2. Nothing but withered plants for miles around.
3. A large pernicon town, recently abandoned—the colony is now swarming.
4. A loud buzzing noise.

Behavior
1-3. Draining the moisture out of succulent plants.
4-5. Draining the moisture out of a dead or dying creature.
6. Swarming.

Pernicon
Tiny beast

Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)
AC 14 (natural armor)
HP 4 (1d4+2; bloodied 2)
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.

STR 2 (-4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2)
INT X (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 2 (-4)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 13
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Jumper. The pernicon can jump up to 10 feet horizontally and 5 feet vertically without a running start.
Sense Water. The pernicon can locate water that fills a 5-foot cube or larger that is within a quarter mile

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage, and the pernicon attaches to the target. A creature can use an action to make a DC 15 Medicine or Sleight of Hand roll to detach it. On a failure, the pernicon is detached but the creature takes 1 slashing damage in the process. It can also detach itself as a bonus action.
Drain Liquids. The pernicon drains liquids from the creature it is attached to. The creature loses 1 hit point and its hit point maximum is reduced by that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. The target dies if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0. Additionally, the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take one level of fatigue. After the pernicon has drained 8 hit points, it detaches itself and can’t use Water Drain again until it finishes a short or long rest.
The target can remove levels of fatigue gained in this way by consuming two Supply worth of water for each level of fatigue taken.

Combat
Pernicons remain attached to a target until either it is satiated or the target is dead. They have no concept of self-preservation.

Swarm of Pernicons
Medium swarm of Tiny beast


Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
AC 14 (natural armor)
HP 52 (8d8+16; bloodied 26)
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.

STR 2 (-4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2)
INT X (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 2 (-4)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 13
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Jumper. The pernicon can jump up to 10 feet horizontally and 5 feet vertically without a running start.
Sense Water. The swarm can locate water that fills a 5-foot cube or larger that is within a quarter mile
Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and move through any opening large enough for a Tiny creature. It can’t gain hit points or temporary hit points.

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d10) piercing damage, or 5 (1d10) piercing damage if the swarm is bloodied, and 2d10 pernicons attach to the target. A creature can use an action to make a DC 15 Medicine or Sleight of Hand roll to detach 1d4 pernicons. On a failure, the pernicon is detached but the creature takes 1 slashing damage in the process. It can also detach itself as a bonus action.
Water Drain. The pernicon drains liquids from the creature it is attached to. The creature loses 14 (4d6) hit points, or 7 (2d6) hit points if the swarm is bloodied, and its hit point maximum is reduced by that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. The target dies if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0. Additionally, the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take two levels of fatigue.
The target can remove levels of fatigue gained in this way by consuming two Supply worth of water for each level of fatigue taken.
 

Alright, folks, @WarDriveWorley asked for this one: the dreaded pernicon. It’s from the 1e Fiend Folio, but this creature gets both an Ecology article and a revamped version in issue #108, so I consider it fair game. And yeah, these things are pretty nasty. WarDriveWorley, since Level Up doesn’t have any monsters that drain stats, I had to change their method of attack, but I'm pretty sure it's still enough to terrify and anger your players. :D

The Ecology article goes into great detail about the importance of the pernicon’s antennae (a useful tool) and how to remove it… from the pernicon’s skull. So, uh. I guess pernicons have an internal skeleton? It also compares the fluids in the pernicon’s brain to a watch with a liquid crystal display, along with a whole attempt to scientifically explain exactly how exactly they can detect elemental water. In these modern days of everything being handwaved via experimental wizardry, planar mutations, eldritch beings, or the will of the gods, I honestly can’t tell if I miss these attempts at biological realism or not.

View attachment 257754
Artist: Russ Nicholson (This is from the FF. I’m pretty sure that the art from Dragon Magazine is Dover clipart)

Pernicon
The ecology of the pernicon and The pernicon: a new version, Dragon Magazine #101
Created by John Nephew, originally by Mary Patterson

Pernicons resemble large, wingless grasshoppers. They are primarily straw-colored with splotches of bright red, ochre, blue, and black on their abdomen. They aren’t true insects, as they have a very rudimentary internal skeleton in addition to their carapace, which accounts for their relative toughness. Additionally, unlike grasshoppers, they are omnivorous. Or rather, they are liquivores, and gladly devour the juices from both plants and animals.

Pernicons live in large colonies and create “towns” similar to termite mounds—large, oddly-shaped piles of hardened mud and saliva filled with scores of holes for the pernicons to enter and exit from and to provide natural cooling to the inside; these mounds are often several feet high and can extend underground for a half-dozen feet or more. Cold-blooded or flying scavengers often lair near such towns in order to feed on the dried corpses that are inevitably left behind.

Natural Dowsers. A pernicon’s antennae is an incredibly sensitive sensory organ and can detect the presence of liquid water (even if it’s underground) from a very long distance away. When they sense water, their antennae buzz loudly, reminiscent of a cicada’s hum. They do not, however, drink the water—their mouthparts are unsuited for that. Instead, they prey on the creatures and plants (particularly succulents) that use the water holes. Their bite leaves a small but messy puncture, and they rapidly suck the moisture out of their victim. A lucky creature can remove the pernicon before too much damage is done, but the longer the pernicon drinks, the more and more dehydrated the creature can get. A single pernicon can drain a human dry in a minute—and they are prone to traveling in swarms. Fortunately, they tend to prefer eating plants and will usually only attack if bothered. Although this is not entirely fortunate, as they can quickly strip an area clean of vegetation. When an area has become barren, the entire town migrates, forming a great, multicolored blanket of insects and devouring everything in their path.

Coveted Resource. Despite the horrors they can bring, pernicons are highly valued by many people. Since they build their towns near places with aquifers, people often seek them out, looking for new sources of water. Roasted or fried pernicon is considered a delicious delicacy among many people, although a rare one—they’re very difficult to raise domestically and so must be caught in the wild. Pernicon eggs are eaten like caviar. However, they are prized even more for their antennae, which retain the pernicon’s water-sensing ability. Removing the antennae from the creature is a difficult task, as they are very delicate things, and requires requiring a DC 15 check with Medicine, Sleight of Hand, or thieves’ tools check. The antenna will vibrate loudly if within 120 feet of water that can fit a 5-foot cube, even if that water is covered or underground. However, an antenna will disintegrate upon getting wet, being exposed to heat or fire, or taking any sort of damage. Intact antenna are typically worth 1 gold each, and live pernicon are sold individually as water-finders for around 5 gold, or in filled buckets for culinary purposes for as much as 50 gold. Six pernicon, eaten raw, act as 1 Supply.

Legends and Lore
With a Nature check, the characters can learn the following:

DC 10. Pernicon are grasshopper-like creatures that can detect the presence of water from a long distance away.

DC 15. The bite of a pernicon is especially dangerous, because they can quickly suck all the moisture out of a creature, leaving nothing but a dried husk behind.

DC 20. Pernicon are in high demand in many markets, both as food and as water finders.

Pernicon Encounters
Terrain:
badlands, deserts, hills

CR 1-2 2d8 pernicon

CR 3-4 1 swarm of pernicons

CR 5-10 1-2 swarms of pernicons; 1-2 swarms of pernicons and 1-2 ankhegs or giant vultures

Signs
1. The corpse of a traveler and their mount, both completely desiccated and covered vicious insect bites.
2. Nothing but withered plants for miles around.
3. A large pernicon town, recently abandoned—the colony is now swarming.
4. A loud buzzing noise.

Behavior
1-3. Draining the moisture out of succulent plants.
4-5. Draining the moisture out of a dead or dying creature.
6. Swarming.

Pernicon
Tiny beast

Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)
AC 14 (natural armor)
HP 4 (1d4+2; bloodied 2)
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.

STR 2 (-4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2)
INT X (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 2 (-4)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 13
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Jumper. The pernicon can jump up to 10 feet horizontally and 5 feet vertically without a running start.
Sense Water. The pernicon can locate water that fills a 5-foot cube or larger that is within a quarter mile

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage, and the pernicon attaches to the target. A creature can use an action to make a DC 15 Medicine or Sleight of Hand roll to detach it. On a failure, the pernicon is detached but the creature takes 1 slashing damage in the process. It can also detach itself as a bonus action.
Drain Liquids. The pernicon drains liquids from the creature it is attached to. The creature loses 1 hit point and its hit point maximum is reduced by that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. The target dies if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0. Additionally, the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take one level of fatigue. After the pernicon has drained 8 hit points, it detaches itself and can’t use Water Drain again until it finishes a short or long rest.
The target can remove levels of fatigue gained in this way by consuming two Supply worth of water for each level of fatigue taken.

Combat
Pernicons remain attached to a target until either it is satiated or the target is dead. They have no concept of self-preservation.

Swarm of Pernicons
Medium swarm of Tiny beast


Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
AC 14 (natural armor)
HP 52 (8d8+16; bloodied 26)
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.

STR 2 (-4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2)
INT X (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 2 (-4)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 13
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Jumper. The pernicon can jump up to 10 feet horizontally and 5 feet vertically without a running start.
Sense Water. The swarm can locate water that fills a 5-foot cube or larger that is within a quarter mile
Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and move through any opening large enough for a Tiny creature. It can’t gain hit points or temporary hit points.

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d10) piercing damage, or 5 (1d10) piercing damage if the swarm is bloodied, and 2d10 pernicons attach to the target. A creature can use an action to make a DC 15 Medicine or Sleight of Hand roll to detach 1d4 pernicons. On a failure, the pernicon is detached but the creature takes 1 slashing damage in the process. It can also detach itself as a bonus action.
Water Drain. The pernicon drains liquids from the creature it is attached to. The creature loses 14 (4d6) hit points, or 7 (2d6) hit points if the swarm is bloodied, and its hit point maximum is reduced by that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. The target dies if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0. Additionally, the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take two levels of fatigue.
The target can remove levels of fatigue gained in this way by consuming two Supply worth of water for each level of fatigue taken.
yassssssssss
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Watch out for snakes! This next article is “Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth” and contains, well, snakes. Not all of them real, and those that are based on real snakes have some differences from the actual animal (including the odd magical ability). I’m writing them as variants on the existing shakes, as they don’t really need full statblocks.

By the way, my wizened little soul hurts every time I have to write poisonous snake.

Snake Variants
Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth, Dragon Magazine #115
Created by Ray Hamel and David Hage

King Cobra
King cobras are a dusty olive green in color, with distinctive black and white bands and a notable hood that gives them regal appearance when they rear up. They range from 10 to 13 in length, but can get as long as 19 feet. They have a reputation for being highly aggressive, in part because their hissing is so low-pitched it sounds like growling. But it’s primarily an undeserved reputation; except when guarding their eggs or acting in self-defense, they are normally fairly passive. Their bite injects the an incredibly noxious venom and causes severe pain, blurred vision, paralysis, and eventually, death.

The king cobra uses giant poisonous snake attributes. It is CR 1/2 (100 XP) and it gains the following trait and its bite has been altered:

Keen Smell. The king cobra has advantage on Perception checks that rely on smell.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) poison damage on a failure or half damage on a success. Additionally, the creature is poisoned for 10 minutes on a failed save or 1 minute on a success. While poisoned, it takes 3 (1d6) ongoing poison damage and has disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on sight, due to blurred vision, and has disadvantage on Constitution saving throws. If the saving throw was a critical failure, the creature is also paralyzed while poisoned. The creature may make a new saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Giant Ringed Snake
Normal ringed snakes are small, inoffensive animals, black-scaled with a yellow ring around their neck. They will play dead if attacked or will expose their bright orange-red bellies in the hopes of scaring off predators. Although they are constrictors, they are venomous as well, but their venom is harmless to anything larger than Tiny. Giant ringed snakes, however, underwent magical transformation, possibly by a snake god. They are truly gigantic and can magically hypnotize their prey.

A ringed snake uses giant constrictor snake attributes. t is a monstrosity of CR 3 (750 XP). It has 59 (7d12+14; bloodied 29) hit points, Constitution 14 (+2), Intelligence 6 (-2), and Charisma 14 (+2). It can understand Draconic but can’t speak it. Its bite action has been altered and it gains a new bonus action:

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute.
Hypnotic Stare (Gaze). A creature within 60 feet makes a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, it is incapacitated until the end of its next turn and its Speed is reduced to 0 ft. A creature that can’t be charmed is immune to this trait.

Giant Spitting Cobra
A giant spitting cobra uses giant poisonous snake attributes. It gains the following new action:

Spray Venom. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 15 feet, one target. Hit: 4 (1d8) poison damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be blinded for 1 minute on a failure or until the end of its next turn on a success. If the creature rolls a natural 1 and isn't wearing a helmet or other form of eye protection, it is blinded permanently. A lesser restoration or similar spell is needed to remove the blindness.

Rattlesnake
Well-known for the rattling sound their tail makes, rattlesnakes are not terribly dangerous, as their bites are rarely fatal if treated promptly. Diamondback rattlesnakes are, however, far more dangerous than most other rattlers. Their bite causes severe pain, necrosis, and spontaneous bleeding.

The diamondback rattlesnake uses giant poisonous snake attributes. It is CR 1/2 (100 XP), has tremorsense to 30 feet and its bite has been altered:

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) poison damage on a failure or half damage on a success. Additionally, the creature is poisoned for 10 minutes on a failed save or 1 minute on a success. While poisoned, it takes 3 (1d6) necrotic damage and its Speed is reduced by 10 feet due to extreme pain, and has disadvantage on Constitution saving throws.. The creature may make a new saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Saw-Edged Scaled Snake
A mutation of the saw-scaled viper, the jet-black saw-edged scaled snake is covered in tiny, needlelike spines, similar to a porcupine’s quills. The saw-edged scaled snake uses constrictor snake attributes and has the following trait:

Barbed Hide. A creature that grapples or is grappled by the snake takes 5 (1d10) piercing damage at the beginning of the snake’s turn. When the creature escapes its grapple, the snake releases it, or the snake dies, the creature takes 1 ongoing piercing damage, as several spines remain stuck in the creature’s skin and begin to work their way inwards. A creature can end the ongoing damage by making a DC 10 Medicine check as an action to remove the spines.

Spitting Cobra
Spitting cobras are dusty gray or brick red with black markings. They are hooded snakes and have the distinctive eye-like pattern on the underside of their hoods. They tend to be aggressive but rely on threat displays rather than attacking. The spitting cobra uses poisonous snake attributes. It gains the following new action:

Spray Venom. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 10 feet, one target. Hit: 2 (1d4) poison damage, and the target must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be blinded for 1 minute on a failure or until the end of its next turn on a success.
 
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