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Homebrew A Leveled Up Bestiary


Up next is The Dragon Bestiary, which is, I think, really starting to get to its fully polished “final” form of numerous monsters that are tied into the theme of the issue. In this case, it’s the high seas and sea creatures. The first creature I’m converting is the hilariously-named giant carnivorous clam. Since this is a beast, I’m going to dispense with most of typical monster block entries.

For the record, actual giant clams can be nearly four feet across and weigh more than 440 pounds. Here’s a video of one opening up. The monster clams are bigger and much faster. I like to imagine it Pac Man'ning it's way towards the party.

I did some research, and it turns out that maybe one in ten thousand clams produce pearls (and only a fraction of those produce jewel-quality pearls; the numbers seem to be the same for oysters as well), but that’s modern-day real world numbers, where over-fishing and pollution and whatnot have probably skewed those numbers down. Giant clams, however, are a bit more prolific when it comes to pearling themselves.

Giant Carnivorous Clam
The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #116
Created by Gregg Chamberlain

Giant carnivorous clams resemble their smaller kin and seem to come in as many different varieties. Many are solitary, while others live in small clusters of up to a dozen. They are as edible as regular clams. Although primarily filter feeders, they will gladly eat larger animals as well. They clamp down on any creature that swims close, wait until its stopped struggling, and then draw the potential meal into its body.

Giant Clams, Giant Pearls. A small number of giant clams (about one in a hundred) produce pearls. They usually have a lustrous brown or reddish sheen to them. These pearls are worth quite a lot, although they aren’t as high a quality as the pearls produced by regular clams. More often, they produce nacre—mother of pearl—which is less valuable but still in high demand for use in ornaments and jewelry. About one in twenty giant clams produces usable nacre.

Giant Carnivorous Clam
Medium beast

Challenge 1 (200 XP)
AC 10 (natural armor), 17 (when shell is closed)
HP 26 (d8+8; bloodied 13)
Speed 20 ft.

STR 19 (+4) DEX 9 (-1) CON 13 (+1)
INT 1 (-5) WIS 8 (-2) CHA 1 (-5)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 14
Condition Immunities blinded, deafened
Senses tremorsense 30 ft., passive Perception 8

Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target that is behind it. Hit: 9 (2d4+4) bludgeoning damage.
Clamp Down. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit. 9 (2d4+4) bludgeoning damage and the creature must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or have one limb, determined randomly by the Narrator, caught in the clam’s shell. The creature is grappled (escape DC 14) and is restrained.
Siphon Toxin (Recharge 5-6). The clam releases a poison into the water around it in a 5-foot radius sphere. The area becomes lightly obscured and each creature in that area must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be incapacitated for 1 minute. A creature may make a new saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Bonus Actions
Clammed Up.
The clam shuts its shell. Until it opens up again, its AC is 17, its speed is 0 and can’t increase, it has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, can’t take reactions, and the only action it can take is a bonus action to emerge.
If the clam is currently grappling a creature that is Medium or smaller and it has not swallowed anyone else, that creature is swallowed by the clam. A swallowed creature is blinded and restrained, has total cover from attacks outside the clam, and takes 5 (1d10) acid damage at the start of each of its turns.

The giant carnivorous clam starts by releasing toxins, then rams creatures that are still trying to attack it. It usually says its Clamp Down attack for creatures that attempt to touch it while it is filter feeding.

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So fun fact, the word torpedo originated in the 16th century and refers to a state of inertia, or to be paralyzed (I did not know this, although it makes sense, what with the word torpor). It was first used to name the following creature: the electric ray, also known as the crampfish or torpedo ray, which make up the Torpediniformes order. It’s a ray that shoots electricity. Depending on the species, between 8 and 220 volts. 30 volts is dangerous to humans.

The reason I mention this is because the creator of this article mentioned that electric rays are known as torpedo rays “on some planes of the multiverse,” which suggests that maybe they thought it was named after the weapon. So just in case you’re wondering, you can probably get away with using the word torpedo in your game without having to worry too much about anachronisms.

Real-life folklore decided that these rays were magical (since they could numb fishermen without touching them), but this particular monster is pretty mundane. The article lists them as being non-intelligent, but I’ve read that rays are actually really smart and may be self-aware (they pass the mirror test).

Electric Ray
The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #116
Created by Gregg Chamberlain

Electric rays, also called crampfish and torpedo rays. They have rounded fins, and most species have brownish hides that are dotted, splotched, or ringed with other colors, although a few are blue, green, or gray. They spend much of their time buried under the sand on the ocean’s bed, only rising to stun their prey with an electric shock.

Electric Ray
Medium beast

Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
AC 11
HP 11 (2d8+2)
Speed 0 ft., swim 30 ft.

STR 10 (+0) DEX 12 (+1) CON 12 (+1)
INT 3 (-4) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 6 (-2)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 11
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +3
Senses tremorsense 30 ft., passive Perception 13

Electric Shock.
The ray emits electricity in a 10-foot radius. Each creature in that area must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 5 (2d4) lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. A creature that fails its save is also stunned until the end of its next turn.

Electric rays attack from hiding, often without even emerging from the sand. They flee if injured.


OK, this is very weird. When I post, I'm only getting half the thing I'm posting. But when I go to edit, it shows me everything I copypasted in, but stripped of all formatting.


OK, I have no idea what's going on here. Maybe a glitch in the forums. I'll wait until later to try again.

Edit again: Nevermind. Sorry, Morrus, if you got this. I think I figured it out. I put a note for myself--a double pair of square brackets--to stick an URL in there, forgot to actually put the URL, and apparently that screwed everything up.

A doggo today. The article is subtitled “three unusual dogs for the AD&D game,” but only one dog is actually all that unusual. Two of the dogs are for gith; the githzerai’s dog is, honestly, kind of boring—it’s a dog that changes its appearance randomly, because tHe cHaOs OF lIMßo. It’s a shtick that keeps getting used whenever anything from Limbo shows up, and its predictability is the antithesis of that plane. So, no conversion there.

The githyanki’s dog is the kaoulgrim, and it’s slightly more interesting—interesting enough that it’s going to be treated as a variant on the wolf. If you have converted the gith for your game, or use the star-rovers I developed for my Handbook of Heritages, then the kaoulgrim can be found with them. Or really, with any unusual type of people. If seelie fey have cooshees, then maybe unseelie fey use kaoulgrims. Because githyanki were, of course, Always Evil back in 1e, the article goes into detail about how they mistreat kaoulgrims in order to turn them into Bad Dogs.

The third dog lives underground and is basically a normal, xolo-like dog with echolocation, so conversion isn’t all that necessary. Take a mastiff, slap the giant bat’s echolocation onto it, bam! you’re done.

The only illustration is this article is for the underground dog, and it’s a bat head in profile, so I’m sure it’s left over from the artwork for the all-bats article from a while back.

Wolf Variant: Kaoulgrim

Hounds of Space and Darkness, Dragon Magazine #117
Created by Stephen Inniss

This fierce canine was bred by people native to the Astral plane, although they have since been spread to other planes as well. They almost look more like lions than like dogs. These large animals have black and golden fur and a heavy mane. Their tongue and lips are blue-black, they smell of musty salt, and their small eyes glow with a red light; their appearance leaves many to believe that they are the result of a breeding wolves with hellhounds. While they are utterly loyal to their masters, they are usually quite aggressive towards others, which is often taken as another sign of hellish heritage.

A kaoulgrim uses wolf attributes. Its Intelligence is 4 (-3) and its Strength is 16 (+3), it is resistant to psychic damage and immune to the charmed, confused, frightened, and paralyzed conditions, and can’t take levels of strife. It has darkvision to 60 ft. and telepathy to 30 ft. (can transmit but not receive emotions and images), and its bite attack has been altered.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage, and the kauolgrim can choose to knock the target prone or to hold it in its jaws. If it chooses to knock the target down, the target must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw or fall prone. If it chooses to hold the target, the target is grappled (escape DC 13), and until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the kauolgrim can’t bite a different target.
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This issue’s The Dragon’s Bestiary is a bunch of spiders, but any arachnophobes reading this will be happy to know there’s only a single piece of generic artwork and none that illustrates any of the actual creatures. The first of these is Ed Greenwood’s opilionid, or cave harvester. Or rather, it’s a giant cave harvester, which is still easier to spell than opilionid.

It has the ability to spit acid, and don’t I know if this a typo in the original or a problem with when this issue was scanned for the Dragon Magazine CD-ROM archive, since that happened sometimes, but it can do so once every 66 turns. With one turn being 10 minutes, it can spit acid once every 11 hours. Why not just say once per day or once every 12 hours, Ed? How long did you expect combat to take? And opilionids aren’t even spiders! Geez! Might as well have mites and scorpions here!

…not that any of the other spiders in this article are particularly realistic.

Cave Harvester
The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine 118
Created by Ed Greenwood

Cave harvesters superficially resemble their smaller harvestmen kin, but are far larger—each of their eight limbs can be up to 16 feet in length. They have mottled, lichen-gray bodies and thin, striped legs. They wander constantly, looking for food. As omnivores, much of what they eat is fresh or decayed vegetation and fungi, but they also eat carrion and, when they can catch it, any living prey. Despite their long legs, they carry their bodies low to the ground.

Magically Altered. Ages ago, cave harvesters were magically created, altered from their original, tiny form by an arachnid Unseelie archfey to serve as hunting hounds and shepherding dogs. The natural ability of the daddy long legs to squirt out a stinking liquid to deter predators was altered, allowing them to spray out foul acid. Likewise, where harvestmen often lived in large groups, the cave harvesters were changed to have a true pack mentality. Since then, they spread out into the wild, and as they mate and reproduce often, they have spread throughout the worlds. But even now, some fey continue to use these creatures to hunt.

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

DC 10. These creatures are enormous versions of the more common daddy long legs.

DC 15. Cave harvesters will eat nearly anything and are attracted to light. They typically hunt in packs.

DC 20. Cave harvesters were magically created by an archfey to be a hunting and shepherding beasts.

Cave Harvester Encounters
caverns, Feywild, forests, ruins, Shadowfell

CR 1-2 1-2 cave harvesters

CR 3-4 3-4 cave harvesters

CR 5-10 1d4+4 cave harvesters

1-2. A high-pitched chittering noise in the distance.
3. A recently-severed cave harvester leg, still twitching.
4. A half-eaten corpse. A DC 13 Nature or Survival check will reveal that the toothmarks indicated that wasn’t eaten by a mammal, reptile, or bird.

1-2. Hiding in a dark corner; will ambush anything that passes by
3. Devouring rotten plants
4. Wandering in a pack and hunting; will attack on sight.

Cave Harvester
Large monstrosity

Challenge 1 (200 XP)
AC 14 (natural armor)
HP 30 (4d10+8; bloodied 15)
Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft.

STR 17 (+3) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2)
INT 2 (-4) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 6 (-2)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 13
Saving Throws Dex +5
Skills Stealth +5
Condition Immunities paralysis, stunned
Senses tremorsense 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Communal. A cave harvester cannot be compelled, even magically, to attack another cave harvester.
Pack Tactics. The cave harvester has advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the harvester’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and not incapacitated.
Spider Climb. The cave harvester can climb even on difficult surfaces and upside down on ceilings.
Stench. A creature that starts its turn within 5 feet of the cave harvester must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, it is poisoned until the start of its next turn. On a success, it is immune to any cave harvester’s Stench for 24 hours.
Web Walker. The cave harvester ignores movement restrictions imposed by webs.

Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d4+3) piercing damage.
Leap (Recharge 5-6). The cave harvester leaps up to half its Speed horizontally and half its speed vertically without provoking opportunity attacks, and can land in a space containing one or more creatures. Each creature in its space when it lands must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10 (2d6+3) bludgeoning damage and being knocked prone on a failure. On a success, the creature takes half damage and is pushed 5 feet to a space of its choice. If that space is occupied, the creature is knocked prone.

Bonus Actions
Acid Spray (1/Day, when Bloodied).
The cave harvester emits burning acid in a 5 feet wide, 15 feet long line. Each creature in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5 (1d10) acid damage and 5 (1d10) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. In addition, a creature in that area is doused in the cave harvester’s stench. Until it has been cleaned off, other creatures have advantage on Perception checks made to locate the affected creature by smell.
Opportune Bite. The cave harvester makes a bite attack against a prone creature.

The cave harvester can remove one of its own legs without suffering any ill effects or change to its Speed.
Frenzy (1/Day). When attacked by a creature it can see within 20 feet, it moves up to half its speed and makes a bite attack against that creature.

Cave harvesters typically start by leaping onto a target, then biting it. It attacks whoever damaged it most recently. When bloodied, it uses Acid Spray and then retreats.


The previous monster was made by fey, but this monster was made by a mad wizard. Enter the spider cat, which does whatever a spider cat does. Perhaps sadly, it’s bigger than a tiger, which makes it unsuitable for being a lap-spider cat. But anyway, it’s another fun, animal-intellect hybrid monster for all your monster needs. It’s also pretty powerful, and that’s after I nerfed it a bit from its original form (which, for no good reasons was immune to fear and illusions and required +2 weapons to hit and had 30% magic resistance).

Spider Cat
The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine 118
Created by K.L. Campbell

Spider cats resemble tremendous golden-furred tarantulas with the head and mane of a lion—although they have chelicerae instead of a lion’s mouth—with retractable, feline claws on each of its eight legs and four eyes. They are said to have been created by an insane wizard, with the legends suggesting that they were meant to out-do owlbears. They are much rarer than owlbears are, but also much deadlier.

Acidic Venom. The spider cats’ venom, transmitted in their bite is horrifically painful. And worse, it dissolves creatures from the inside out, leaving nothing but goo behind that the cat can then lap up with their long, spiky tongue. They will gladly eat anything except undead, which they take pains to avoid.

Prideful. Like the lions they resemble, spider cats live in prides. They hunt as a pride as well, viciously attacking nearly any creature that comes near. Like actual spiders, they are liquivores. Their venom dissolves their victims entirely, though, rather than leaving a dried-out husk. Because of this, they prefer to wrap their prey in webbing and keep them for later. Additionally, the magic that created the spider cats instilled in them a desire to eat solid meat, but their spider-like mouthparts make that impossible. They are just smart enough to become frustrated by that inability, and they angrily tear their prey apart to vent their frustrations before their venom turns their prey to goo. Spider cats are always hungry and always vicious.

Webbed Lairs. Spider cats usually build complex lairs out of their webbing, similar to a much-larger funnel spider’s web. These lairs are wrapped around tree stumps or rocky outcroppings and are often clearly visible, as spider cats fear nothing. In addition to being plainly visible, there are also often trails or even pools of dried blood and viscera and dropped treasure leading up to and even inside their lairs.

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

DC 10. Spider cats are monstrous beasts that blend the traits of a lion and a giant tarantula, but are larger than the largest great cat. They can spin webs but are more likely to hunt like lions than wait for prey to stumble into their webs.

DC 15. Always hungry, spider cats use their corrosive venom to dissolve their prey, then lap up the liquified remains, as they can’t eat solid food. They hunt in packs like lions.

DC 20. Spider cats are aggressive. They breed quickly, but they also readily eat their own young if there isn’t enough food.

Spider Cat Encounters
caverns, grasslands, hills

CR 5-10 1-2 spider cats; 1 spider cat and 1d4 spider cat cubs (use giant spider statistics)
Treasure: 175 gp, masterwork longsword with gold filigree, in need of sharpening and cleaning, potion of animal friendship.

CR 11-16 2-3 spider cats
Treasure: 400 gp, aquamarine pendant (worth 1,000 gp), scrolls of faithful hound and wall of fire in scroll case made of rare woods, a badly-injured merchant, wrapped up in webbing.

CR 17-22 3-4 spider cats
Treasure: 875 gp, holy symbol (random religion) made of carved bone, garnet-studded signet ring of a prominent guild on a mostly-intact skeletal hand (worth 500 gp), a treasure map which leads to the discovery of a rare 3rd-level spell, dented but fixable armor of resistance.

1. A strange chittering noise that blends into a horrific leonine roar.
2. Clumps of old, dried webbing.
3. Large footprints that sort of look like a great cat made them; with a DC 13 Nature check, it’s observed that the creature had eight legs.
4. Pools of liquefied tissue and blood, recently dried (or perhaps still moist), scattered around.
5. A trail of dropped coins or small objects, leading to the spider-cat’s lair.
6. Trees gouged with claw marks.

1-2. Hunting; will attack on sight.
3. Sleeping off its last meal in the sun.
4. Repairing the webbing of its home.
5. Fighting with one another; will stop fighting and attack anyone who comes near.
6. Tearing apart a creature it just killed.

Spider cat
Large monstrosity

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
AC 14 (natural armor)
HP 85 (10d10+30; bloodied 43)
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.

STR 21 (+5) DEX 16 (+3) CON 16 (+3)
INT 3 (-4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 5 (-3)

Proficiency +3
Maneuver DC 16
Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 14
Fearless. The spider cat has advantage on saving throws to avoid being frightened.
Keen Smell. The spider cat has advantage on Perception checks that rely on smell.
Pack Tactics. The spider cat has advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the spider cat’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and not incapacitated
Spider Climb. The spider cat can climb even on difficult surfaces and upside down on ceilings.
Web Sense. While touching a web, the spider cat knows the location of other creatures touching that web.
Web Walker. The spider cat ignores movement restrictions imposed by webs.

The spider cat attacks once with its bite and twice with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10+5) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage, and the target must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. While poisoned, the creature takes 3 (1d6) ongoing acid damage. If this damage reduces a creature to 0 hit points, it dies and after 1 minute, melts into goo.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) slashing damage. If the spider cat moves at least 20 feet straight towards the target before the attack, the target must make a DC 16 Strength saving throw or fall prone.

Bonus Actions
Opportune Bite.
The spider cat makes a bite attack against a prone creature.
Web (Recharge 5-6). Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one Large or smaller creature. Hit: The creature is restrained by a web. As an action, a creature can make a DC 16 Strength check, breaking the web on a success. The effect also ends if the web is destroyed. The web is an object with AC 13, 5 hit points, and immunity to all forms of damage except slashing, fire, and force.

The spider cat attacks the closest creature. It only retreats if it is close to death and not within 5 feet of an enemy.


You know what annoys me about most arctic monsters in D&D? The fact that most of them use cold-based attacks. Everything that lives in the fantasy arctic is immune or at least resistant to cold damage, so why is it that so many arctic monsters use cold to attack? Seriously. Yeti: chilling gaze; white dragon and winter wolf: cold breath; winter hag: cold-based spells. Of all the energy-attack-using arctic monsters, really the only unusual one is the heat-using remorhaz. I guess arctic monsters just attack each other with tooth and claw.

Anyhow, the final spider is the polar spider, which at least relies on its venomous bite and nasty spurs. This is actually going to be a combination of two monsters: the polar spider from this article and the snow spider from Dragon Magazine Annual #2 (which I just made bigger). A third version appeared in 3x’s Frostburn, and very similar to the one from issue #118. I don’t know if it was based on that spider or if there’s only so much you can do with an artic spider, however.

Polar Spider
The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine 118, and The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine Annual #2
Created by K.L. Campbell and Belinda G. Ashley

The polar spider, or snow spider, is an enormous beast found only in the coldest and most remote arctic forests and mountains. They don’t build webs and instead are roaming hunters. They live in small packs, and while they mostly hunt alone, they will sometimes gang together to bring down larger prey.

Despite appearances, snow spiders are warm-blooded mammal-arachnid hybrids. Their fur is silvery white with pale brown banding on their legs, and their eyes are pale blue. They have both toothy jaws and chelicerae, which are ivory white and overly long. Although they are not very intelligent, polar spiders have their own language, a combination of clicking noises and gestures. They can learn to understand other languages, but not speak them.

Feared Hunters. Polar spiders have a potent venom so deadly that it’s even a danger to much larger creatures such as giants and dragons. They are smart enough to avoid healthy individuals, but a giant or dragon that has been weakened in some manner is fair game to them. Their favored attack isn’t their venom, though, but the sharp, retractable, bone spur sheathed within each of their legs. Fortunately for other creatures, polar spiders spend the warmer months of the year hibernating.

Pack-Minded. These creatures live in small packs consisting of mostly males and one “queen,” the sole breeding female. She never leaves the lair—usually an icy cavern—and spends her time enlarging it. Twice each year, she births one or two kits, with the rarely-produced female kits usually being destroyed. If the pack becomes too large or the queen begins to grow too old, however, the queen will raise a female to adulthood and send her and a few males forth to forth to found a new pack, or allow her to take over the pack—at which point the young queen will kill and eat the older one. Despite all this, the members of a pack are dedicated to one another and will choose to die if captured and kept separated from its pack.

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

DC 10. Polar spiders are vicious, pack-oriented predators that live in remote arctic forests. Despite their name, they are not actually spiders and do not spin webs.

DC 15. Polar spiders are known for their corrosive bites and very potent venom that is difficult to treat.

DC 20. Although they look and act like animals, they are fairly intelligent and have a language of their own.

Polar Spider Encounters
forests, tundra

CR 3-4 polar spider

CR 5-10 2-3 polar spiders

CR 11-16 4-5 polar spiders

1. A shed bone leg spike.
2. A dead (female) kit.
3. The half-eaten remains of a moose. With a DC 13 Nature check, puncture wounds surrounded by acid-burned flesh.
4. With a DC 15 Perception check, a soft chittering noise.

1. Hunting; will attack on sight.
2. Hibernating (summer months only)
3. Devouring the corpse of a young frost giant or white dragon
4. A young queen and her entourage, out looking for new territory..

Polar Spider
Large monstrosity

Challenge 3 (700 XP)
AC 16 (natural armor)
HP 57 (6d10+24; bloodied 28)
Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 18 (+4)
INT 6 (-2) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 8 (-1)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 15
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4
Damage Immunities cold
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Polar Spider
Cold Mastery. The polar spider’s movement and vision is not hindered by cold, icy surfaces, snow, wind, or storms. Additionally, the spider can choose to burrow through snow, but not solid ice, without leaving a trace.
Camouflage. The polar spider has advantage on Stealth checks made to hide in snowy terrain.
Fire Weakness. If the polar spider takes at least 10 points of fire damage, it takes 3 (1d6) ongoing fire damage until it uses an action to put itself out. While it takes fire damage, its speed is reduced by 10 feet.
Jumper. The polar spider can jump up to 10 feet horizontally and 15 feet vertically without a running start.
Keen Sight. The polar spider has advantage on Perception checks that rely on sight.
Pack Tactics. The polar spider has advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the polar spider’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and not incapacitated
Spider Climb. The polar spider can climb even on difficult surfaces and upside down on ceilings.

The polar spider makes two leg spike attacks.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or take 11 (2d10) poison damage plus 5 (1d10) acid damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. A creature that fails its save is also poisoned and takes 3 (1d6) ongoing poison damage for 1 minute, or until a creature makes a DC 14 Medicine check to treat the wound. Attempts to treat the ongoing poison damage through nonmagical means are rolled at disadvantage.
Leg Spike. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8+5) piercing damage.

The polar spider prefers to start off combat by biting, then using its spikes while the target is still suffering from corrosive venom.


The leshy was covered three times in Dragon Magazine: for 1e, in issue #119; for 2e, in issue #239; and for 3e, in issue #290 (where it was spelled leshii). The details differ quite a bit. In their first and second appearances, they’re mischievous forest fey. Their third appearance is in an article on creatures of Eastern European mythology, and as such, are quite a bit darker in tone, although it lacks some of the (real) mythological details that were presented in #119, such as their size-changing ability. None of them were the cute little plant-people from Pathfinder. As with the púca from before, this is going to be a combination of all three versions with a heavy helping of real-world mythology thrown in.

In real-world mythology, Leshy was a patron forest deity, not just a random fey, so I’ve upped the power level quite a bit. They’re not as powerful as faerie nobles or treants, but they’re still a force to be reckoned with.

By the way, I hope I’m not making these monster entries too unwieldy and complicated. If I am, let me know and I’ll try to give streamline them more. I was surprised in reading the Spelljammer monsters at how simple some of their statblocks were. Like, look at the cosmic horror which has one and a half traits (Legendary Resistance and Unusual Nature so it doesn’t need to breathe), three actions plus multiattack, and three legendary actions. While I know that Level Up monsters typically have more to them than o5e monsters do, I worry that I’m going a bit too far.


Artist: Richard Sardhina

The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #119; The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #239; and Red Sails: Fell and Forlorn Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #290
Created by Paul Leach, Douglas Lent, and Brian Corvello

Leshy resemble wizened male satyrs with wild, tangled hair and beard and long claws on their fingers. Moss and mushrooms grow on them, making them look green. They wear no clothes, but sometimes will wear jewelry made of leather, polished stones, and amber. Leshy are typically on good terms with fey such as dryads and satyrs, who tend to hold leshy in fearful awe.

Forest-Bound. A leshy is bound to its forest and cannot and will not leave it. No forest ever has more than one leshy in it, and should the leshy die, the forest itself will spawn a new one, which emerges from the largest tree as a full adult. A leshy lives for 1,000 years. When in their lair, in the very heart of the forest, they are tremendous beings, standing nearly twenty feet tall. But when they are at the forest’s edge, they shrink to the size of a blade of grass. In most of the forest, however, they stand at roughly the same height as a human.

Merciless Tricksters. Leshy dislike humanoids for the most part, and only those who are truly part of the forest, such as druids, are accepted—and even then, sometimes grudgingly. They delight in leading unwary travelers to their doom, but are also honorable in their own way: people who leave cakes or other gifts for the leshy are left unharmed, and the leshy may even choose to grant them a boon. A leshy may even decide to befriend an individual or even an entire village for any reason or no reason at all. On the other hand, they can also be very cruel to people who are disrespectful, particularly those who over-log or over-hunt in the forest or who harm innocent fey and will play subtle tricks to lure them into danger, or into the heart of the forest where the leshy is strongest.

Child-Snatchers, Child-Saviors. Leshy have been known to abduct children, and are often used as a bogeyman to scare children into behaving. Despite parental warnings, though, leshy do not creep into houses and snatch children from their beds. Instead, they find children who are lost or abandoned in the forest, or who ran away from home, and take them in. Those that were merely lost are usually returned to their parents—eventually—while it keeps others. These children are cared for and raised, as best the leshy is capable of—leshy do not understand mortal children very well. Some of the children they choose to keep die in their care, but others flourish, and extended proximity to a leshy eventually turns the child into a fey. Not a few faerie knights, dryads, satyrs, and other fey creatures started their existence as a mortal, and it’s rumored at least one archfey was one as well.

Guardian Statues. Leshy only live in old growth forests, and they surround their lairs with wooden statues they carve out of dead tree trunks. These statues have simplified features but still manage to be disquieting and foreboding. These statues serve as a warning and a reminder to other creatures, that there is something frightening in this forest. And, on occasion, even animate, turning into walking statues that are made of wood instead of stone (armor class 14, otherwise unchanged).

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

DC 10. The deepest and oldest forests are often home to a leshy, who is a protector of that forest. They are tricksters and can be very cruel to those who disrespect the forest.

DC 15. When traveling into a leshy’s forest, it’s a good idea to leave an offering of a small cake for them. Leshy are often willing to aid with those who leave cakes and may choose to torment those who do not.

DC 20. It is possible to bribe a leshy and get it to perform a small service in exchange for cake. However, they often fulfill their end of the bargain in ways that mortals find odd or disturbing—such as by forcing other mortals to do the promised work or provide the promised substance for them.

Leshy Encounters
forest, swamp

CR 5-10 leshy; leshy and 1d4 dryads or satyrs
Treasure: carved agate pendant on a leather thong (worth 50 gp), tree feather token, a human child that is being cared for

CR 11-16 leshy and 1 or 2 fey knights or walking statues
Treasure: 1d4 idols of forest gods carved out of dragonbone (50 gp each), +2 dagger carved out of amber, dreamscrying bowl, pipes of haunting

1. The sound of heavy footsteps and moving branches coming from nearby, although nothing can be seen.
2. The forest is unusually dark and tangled.
3. Getting lost within the forest, even when being magically guided.
4. Interesting lights and sounds coming from deeper within the woods.
5. A small cake on shrine-like stone; surprisingly, the cake hasn’t been touched by any wildlife.
6. Old tree trunks that have been carved to resemble eldritch beings.

1. Invisibly watching a group of lumberjacks.
2. In the form of an animal, following a group of travelers.
3. Tending to the plants.
4. Willing to strike a bargain: a good hunt in exchange for a simple task it needs performing outside the forest’s edge.
5. Carving a new wooden statue.
6. Fetching food for a child it is caring for.

Legendary medium fey (shapechanger)

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)
AC 15 (natural armor)
HP 135 (18d8+54; bloodied 67)
Speed 30 ft.

STR 21 (+5) DEX 13 (+1) CON 17 (+3)
INT 14 (+2) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 19 (+4)

Proficiency +3
Maneuver DC 16
Saving Throws Dex +4, Wis +5
Skills Animal Handling +4, Nature +4 (+1d6), Stealth +4 (+1d6)
Condition Immunities charmed paralyzed, poisoned, unconscious
Senses truesight 60 ft.,
Languages Common, Druidic, Sylvan
Innate Spellcasting. The leshy’s spellcasting trait is Charisma (spell save DC 15). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At Will: dancing lights, minor illusion
1/day each: confusion, conjure fey, conjure woodland beings, geas, insect plague, plant growth
Legendary Resistance (3/Day). When the leshy fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead. When it does so, it seems to shrink somewhat and some of the plants growing on them die. After using this trait for the third time, it can’t become Huge until it finishes a long rest.
Magic Resistance. The leshy has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
One With Nature. The leshy has advantage on Stealth checks made while in a forested environment and leaves no evidence of its passage. It suffers no damage or other ill effects from extreme weather. The leshy can communicate with beasts and plants.
Size-Changer (True Form Only). When on the border of its forest, the leshy is Tiny. When in the center of its forest, the leshy is Huge. When Tiny, it has disadvantage on Strength ability checks and Strength saving throws and inflicts half damage with its Claws or Ram attack. When Huge, it has advantage on Strength ability checks and Strength saving throws, its reach increases by 5 feet, and it inflicts an additional two dice of damage with its Claws or Ram attack. The leshy has no ability to control this change.

The leshy makes two claw attacks.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d4+5) slashing damage.
Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) bludgeoning damage, or 12 (2d6+5) bludgeoning damage if the leshy moves at least 20 feet straight towards the target before the attack.
Entangling Plants. Plants magically erupt from the ground in a 20-foot radius around a point up to 120 feet from the leshy. Each creature of the leshy’s choice in the area makes a DC 15 Strength saving throw. On a failure, a creature is restrained for 1 minute. A creature can use its action to make a DC 15 Strength check, freeing itself or a creature within 5 feet on a success. Additionally, the area is difficult terrain for 1 minute.
Shapeshift. The leshy magically changes its form to that of a beast , or back into its true form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (leshy’s choice). In the new form, the leshy’s stats are unchanged except for its size. It reverts to its true for when it dies.
Confusion (S, Concentration). Each creature within 10 feet of a point the leshy can see within 120 feet makes a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw, becoming rattled until the end of its next turn on a success. On a failure, a creature is confused for 1 minute and can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Insect Plague (V, S, Concentration). A 20-foot-radius sphere of biting and stinging insects appears centered on a point the leshy can see within 300 feet and remains for 10 minutes. The cloud spreads around corners, and the area is lightly obscured and difficult terrain. Each creature in the area when the cloud appears, and each creature that enters it for the first time on a turn or ends its turn there, makes a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 22 (4d10) piercing damage on a failed save or half damage on a success. The leshy is immune to this damage.

Bonus Actions
The leshy turns invisible, along with any equipment it carries. This invisibility ends if the leshy makes an attack, falls unconscious, or dismisses the effect.
Woodmaze (1/Day). The leshy targets up to four creature it can see within 30 feet. A creature must make a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or be magically cursed for 24 hours. While cursed it has disadvantage on any check made to find its destination, avoid becoming lost, to use any journey activity, and on any saving throw to avoid being confused or to avoid taking levels of fatigue or strife.

Legendary Actions
The leshy 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.
Great Leap. The leshy leaps up to 20 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically without provoking opportunity attacks.
Disorienting Smite (Costs 2 Actions). The leshy makes a Ram attack. On a hit, the creature is stunned until the end of its next turn.
Hunt (Costs 3 Actions). The leshy signals to all of its allies, including creatures it has summoned, that are within 60 feet of it and targets one creature also within that range. Each ally inflicts an additional 3 (1d6) damage to the target for 1 minute, until the ally is killed, the leshy is killed, or the leshy uses this action again.

Leshy prefer to lead or drive opponents to the heart of its forest, where it is Huge sized. It casts conjure fey or conjure woodland beings to gain allies, then uses Hunt on the toughest foes before wading in itself with a Disorienting Smite and its claws. If it feels that its forest is threatened, it fights to the death.

The Changing Child
A child who has lived with the leshy for at least one month begins to turn into a fey. The change is subtle at first: a slight opalescent luster to their eyes, the ears begin to take on a point, features become exaggerated, they start to grow or shrink in height, and so on, horns may sprout from its head, and so forth. As time progresses, these changes become more and more pronounced. After three months, the child gains the following trait:

Burgeoning Fey. The child gains an expertise die on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put the child to sleep.

After six months, the child gains darkvision to 30 feet (if it already had darkvision, the range increases by 30 feet), the ability to speak and understand Sylvan, and the ability to cast a single non-damaging cantrip from any spell list, using its choice of Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as the spellcasting attribute. Its type changes to Humanoid (Fey).

If the child stays with the leshy for a year and a day, it fully transforms into a true fey of any type and is no longer Humanoid. While it retains memories of their previous life, those memories are faded and without any emotional resonance.

Prior to this transformation, if the child is removed from the leshy’s care, the changes it has undergone are permanent unless a dispel evil and good spell is cast on it with the express purpose of restoring it to its original form. After being transformed into a fey, only a wish can restore it.

At the Narrator’s discretion, humanoid children who stay with faerie nobles and archfey also change in this manner.


Now, the luposphinx. I changed this one considerably from its original treatment, where it was basically just a dull monster with a magical howl. It didn’t even need to be a sphinx. To be honest, none of the 1e sphinxes had any real flavor to them—their entry in the 1e MM didn’t even say they asked riddles!

In case anyone is interested in my thought process when I was figuring out how to make this creature interesting, it basically went like this:

“The text reads ‘there is a 40% chance that they would be accompanied by 5-20 humanoids, usually gnolls or xvarts.’ Why is this? They’re evil, they want to hang around evil people, and they’re not going to be their pet, so what do they want minions for? Standard minioning stuff? Lemme look at LU’s sphinxes. Huh, sphinxes guard planar boundaries. Hmm. Maybe luposphinxes try to break those boundaries. Why would they do that? Because they’re anti-sphinxes, except they don’t explode if they touch a real sphinx. So they put together groups of mercenaries and people who want to watch the world burn, but not xvarts because those aren’t in LU, and make planar portals. Probably using a ritual. That the Narrator can make up, so I don't have to. Now to write it up.”

…I never claimed my thought process was particularly sensical or in-depth.


Art by quite probably Jim Holloway

The Dragon’s Bestiary, Dragon Magazine #119
Created by Lance Hankins

According to legend, every time a sphinx is created, a luposphinx is also born, and where sphinxes are guardians of the walls between reality, luposphinxes are the destroyers who seek to tear down those walls and let all of reality mingle together. They are creatures of chaos, and unlike sphinxes, who are created ex nihilo, luposphinxes are literally born, pulling themselves bloodily out of a laboring mother worg, dire wolf, or other Large canid. They reach maturity within hours or days, aware of their purpose in existence.

Luposphinxes resemble feather-winged lions with the heads of wolves. Their feathers and fur are dark gray.

Connivers. Luposphinxes, like the wolves they resemble, are pack animals, but their packs consist of themselves and the dozen or so other creatures, whom they convince through promises or threats to aid their cause. Although unpleasant, destructive, and manipulative, luposphinxes are not liars. They are honest about their goals and charismatic enough to rally people to their cause.

Plane-Tearers. Luposphinxes create elaborate rituals that allow them to literally bite through reality. They send their minions to gather the necessary reagents and sacrifices needed for each ritual while they scout out the perfect location for them to perform the ritual—clearing out any creatures that live in that location first.

Twinned Creation. When a luposphinx is born, it is aware of the existence sphinx that was created at the same time of its birth and of its name—and the sphinx is aware of the luposphinx’s existence and name in return. The luposphinx considers this sphinx to be a hated sibling; the far more powerful sphinx usually views the luposphinx as a dangerous nuisance. The luposphinx and sphinx otherwise have no knowledge of the other’s whereabouts, although they become aware should the other die.

Luposphinxes are far weaker than true sphinxes, and the rituals they put on often gather the attention of armed adventurers. But luposphinxes have another trick that few know about: as long as their sibling lives, they will eventually be reborn. They remember their previous lives perfectly, and their desire for revenge on those who killed them before wars against their desire to destroy planar walls. The sphinx is aware whenever its sibling is reborn.

Like sphinxes, luposphinxes can travel through space. They lack the ability to travel through time, however.

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

DC 10. Luposphinxes have the bodies of winged lions and the heads of wolves.

DC 15. Luposphinxes usually surround themselves with a large number of minions in order to further their goals.

DC 20. The luposphinx is a dark reflection of the true sphinx; each time a sphinx is created, a luposphinx is created as well. Where sphinxes are guardians of reality, luposphinxes seek to destroy it.

Luposphinx Encounters
forest, grassland, hill, mountain, ruin, temple, tomb, tundra

CR 5-10: Luposphinx; luposphinx with 2d4 cultists or bandits; luposphinx with 1d4+1 gnolls; luposphinx with 2-3 jackalweres, wererats
Treasure: 3 jets (100 gp each), golden chalice (worth 250 gp), electrum coffer (100 gp), oil of etherealness, spell scroll of arcane eye, 1-2 tuning forks (for use with plane shift spell)

CR 11-16: Luposphinx with cult fanatic and 1d6+4 cultists; luposphinx with jackalwere pack leader and 1d4+2 jackalweres; luposphinx and spirit naga; luposphinx with gnoll packleader, gnoll demonfang, and 2d4 gnolls.
Treasure: diamond (worth 1,000 gp), puzzle box made of dragon horn and mother of pearl (worth 1,000 gp), immovable rod, ioun stone of protection, two scrolls of charm monster.

1. A terrible howl in the distance
2. A rash of thefts in the area; the stolen objects come from different planes of existence or have magical properties related to the planes, or else might be used as gifts to extraplanar beings.
3. The presence of a powerful extraplanar being.
4. A ransacked and destroyed library; with a DC 20 Investigation check, it’s learned that the library was a favorite of a sphinx.

1. Attacks on sight.
2. Attempts to size up the characters to see if they’d be good candidates to convert to the cause.
3. Researching a new plane-tearing ritual.
4. Preaching to a cult of fanatical followers.

Large monstrosity

Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)
AC 16 (natural armor)
HP 114 (12d10+48; bloodied 57)
Speed 50 ft., fly 60 ft.

STR 18 (+4) DEX 14 (+2) CON 18 (+4)
INT 14 (+2) WIS 13 (+1) CHA 20 (+5)

Proficiency +3
Maneuver DC 16
Saving Throws Str +7, Dex +5, Con +7
Skills Arcana +5 (+1d4), History +5, Perception +4, Persuasion +8
Damage Resistances damage from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, stunned
Senses truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Abyssal, Common, telepathy 120 ft.
Innate Spellcasting. The luposphinx’s spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13). It can cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At Will: detect evil and good, detect magic
3/day: dispel magic
1/day each: banishment, planar ally (The luposphinx can also summon aberrations and constructs with this spell, in addition to celestials, elementals, fey, and fiends, and it must provide the necessary gifts needed to bargain with the creature it summons.)
Inscrutable. The luposphinx is immune to divination and to any effect that would sense its emotions and thoughts. Insight checks made to determine the sphinx’s intentions are made with disadvantage.
Keen Hearing and Smell. The luposphinx has advantage on Perception checks that rely on hearing and smell.
Rebirth. When a luposphinx dies, it is reborn 2d10 years later with its former life’s memories. It can only be killed permanently if its sphinx sibling dies before it is reborn.

The luposphinx attacks once with its bite and twice with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6+5) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) force damage. If the target is a creature, it must make a DC 16 Strength saving throw or fall prone.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4+5) slashing damage.
Planar Jaunt (1/Day). The luposphinx targets up to eight creatures it can see within 300 feet. The targets are magically transported to a different place, plane of existence, or demiplane. This effect ends after one hour or when the luposphinx takes a bonus action to end it. When the effect ends, the creatures reappear in their original locations, along with any items they acquired on their jaunt. While the effect lasts, the luposphinx can communicate telepathically with the targets. The luposphinx chooses one of the following destinations:
Different Location or Plane of Existence. The creatures appear in empty spaces of the luposphinx’s choice anywhere on the Material Plane or on a different plane altogether.
• Demiplane. The creatures appear in empty spaces of the luposphinx’s choice on a demiplane. The demiplane can be up to one square mile in size. The demiplane can appear to be inside, outside, or underground, and can contain terrain, nonmagical objects, and magical effects of the luposphinx’s choosing. The luposphinx may populate it with creatures and hazards with a total Challenge Rating equal to or less than the luposphinx’s Challenge Rating.
Terrifying Howl (Recharge 6). The luposphinx emits a how. Each creature of the luposphinx’s choice that can hear it within 60 feet must make a DC 16 Charisma saving throw. On a failure, it is frightened for 1 minute. A creature may 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 any luposphinx’s Terrifying Howl for 24 hours.

Bonus Actions
Encouraging Howl (Recharge 6).
The luposphinx emits a howl, and any number of creatures of its choice within 60 feet that can hear it are inspired. For the next minute, inspired creatures gain an expertise die on attack rolls and saving throws. A creature can benefit from only one Encouraging Howl at a time, and the luposphinx cannot target itself or another luposphinx.

Command Minion.
When the luposphinx would be hit by an attack, they command an ally within 5 feet to use its reaction to switch places with the luposphinx. The ally is hit by the attack instead of the luposphinx.

Luposphinxes send their minions in to attack, allowing them free reign to do what they want. The luposphinx starts its attack first with an Encouraging Howl, and then with a Terrifying Howl, then wades in with claws and teeth, attacking the closest creature. It retreats when bloodied.

Ritual Tearing
The luposphinx can create a ritual designed to open a semi-permanent portal to another plane. The exact nature of the ritual is up to the Narrator, but at the least, should require several thousand gold worth of material components and magic items and take a minimum of 12 hours to fully set up, although the actual ritual takes less than a minute to perform.

When completed, a permanent portal to a plane of the Narrator’s choice is created. This takes the form of a Malfunctioning Planar Portal (as per the exploration hazard in Trials & Treasures), along with any other effects the Narrator wishes to include, such as extraplanar beings stepping through or environmental hazards from that plane affecting the area around the portal. The portal will range from 5 to 20 feet across and will slowly expand. Closing or stabilizing the portal requires high-level magic or a quest of some sort—it can’t be fixed by mending the broken stone as in the hazard.

After every 24 hours, the Narrator will roll a d20. On a roll of 15 or above, the portal will begin to stabilize. After 1d10 days, it will no longer malfunction and will simply be an open portal.
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