Homebrew A Leveled Up Bestiary

Faolyn

(she/her)
OK, I’m back. My book will wait for the de-OGLification, so I might as well continue the monsters on my every-2-3-days schedule.

I’m kind of tired of dragons at the moment. I’ll come back to the linnorms in a while, but for now, I need to move on. …to Dark Sun, and the article “Mastered, Yet Untamed,” a collection of beasts of burden. Interestingly, this article also contains a list of monsters from other Monstrous Compendiums that would work well in Dark Sun. The list includes (among others), the desert centaur and living idol from Al-Qadim, the peryton and chitine from the Forgotten Realms, the grimlock from the Fiend Folio, and the goblyn from Ravenloft. In Level Up, of course, the grimlocks have been turned into weird tech bois, which would certainly make for a very differently-flavored Dark Sun.

Anyway, the first of the monsters is the baazrag, which is not a beast of burden at all. I absolutely love Brom’s original artwork for them and find them adorable. A baazrag variant, the boneclaw, was included in Dark Sun’s Monstrous Compendium Volume 2, and I’ve included it here.

1674674827730.png

Art by Brom

Baazrag
Mastered, Yet Untamed, Dragon Magazine #185
Created by Timothy B. Brown

Baazrags look something like a cross between a short-tailed horny toad and a pug and are covered by a leathery, spike-covered shell which is thicker on their head, almost making them look like they’re wearing a skull over their head. These mammalian creatures give live birth to darkly-colored young; they can be anywhere from red to green to golden-orange in color. Their coloration fades as they age, eventually becoming a pale, sandy gray.

Baazrags packs live in warrens situated underground or in the crevices between rocks and other hard-to-reach areas. Usually several members of the warren keep watch, chirping and squealing out a warning when they spot danger.

Diseased Bites. Baazrags will eat anything. The bacterial and toxins they consume are processed then extruded into sacs behind their teeth, causing any creature they bite to become infected with a nasty venom that prohibits the natural healing process. A pack of baazrags will bite a creature, then follow it at a safe distance until it succumbs to its infected wounds.

Liquid-Filled Tissues. Baazrags have the ability to draw moisture out of anything they eat, which they store in fatty, liquid-filled tissues under their shell. Baazrags never need to drink water; they get all the moisture they need from their prey.

A Handy Source of Protein. Baazrags are, technically, edible, and their meat is quite tasty—but also tainted by the toxins they pick up from their meals. If magically or alchemically purified, however, baazrag meat is highly nourishing.

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

DC 10. Baazrags are small, vermin-eating animals. Wild baazrags have a nasty disposition, but domesticated ones make for friendly pets.

DC 15. Some baazrags grow to enormous size and become vicious protectors of their warren. Known as boneclaws, these baazrags—although no more intelligent than their smaller kin—can rally their packmates into violent attacks in order to bring down prey normally too large for them to handle alone.

DC 20. Baazrag meat is perfectly edible and contains a great deal of moisture—enough to keep a person going for a long time—but needs to be purified magically before it can be safely consumed.

Baazrag Encounters
Terrain:
badlands, deserts, grasslands, hills

CR 0-2 1d6 baazrags; boneclaw baazrag

CR 3-4 swarm of baazrags; boneclaw baazrag plus swarm of baazrags

Signs
1. With a DC 10 Nature check, the entrance to their warren.
2. An animal dying from an infected bite.
3. A squeaking sound.
4. Scores of tiny footprints around a pile of bones.

Behavior
1. Attacking a lizard or rat.
2. Tussling with a pack-mate.
3. Bringing a dead prey animal to the warren.
4. Defending its lair; will attack on sight.

Baazrag
Tiny beast

Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)
AC 12 (natural armor)
HP 3 (1d4+1; bloodied 1)
Speed 40 ft.

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

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 12
Saving Throws Con +3
Skills Perception +3
Damage Resistances poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages

Barbed Hide. A creature that grapples or is grappled by the baazrag takes 2 (1d4) piercing damage at the start of the baazrag’s turn.
Iron Stomach. The baazrag has advantage on saving throws against being diseased.
Pack Tactics. The baazrag has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the baazrag’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage plus 2 (1d4) poison damage, and the creature must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or contract a disease. Symptoms start 2d4 hours later and include fatigue, sweating, and cramps. Until this disease is cured, the creature regains only half the normal number of hit points from spending Hit Dice, and no hit points from finishing a long rest.
After finishing a long rest, a creature may make a new Constitution saving throw. On a success, the disease ends.

Combat
As animals, baazrags usually try to flee rather than fight, but will bite when cornered. In large groups, however, they become fearless and will attack viciously and to the death.

Variant: Domestic Baazrag
Many people raise baazrags, as they make for decent enough pets and are very good at hunting household pests. These baazrags are usually fed a better diet and do not inflict poison damage or disease with their bite, and their meat requires cooking to be edible, but not magical treatment.

Variant: Boneclaw
On rare occasions, a young baazrag grows… and grows, and grows, to enormous sizes. These giant baazrags, know colloquially as boneclaws, are sterile and remain with their packs as protectors.

A boneclaw uses the attributes of a brown bear, but with the following changes: it retains the baazrag’s saving throw proficiency, immunity to poison damage and the poisoned condition and the Cast Iron Stomach and Pack Tactic traits. It is immune to the Frightened condition its Barbed Hide inflicts 5 (1d10) piercing damage, and its Bite attack is changed as follows:

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6+4) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or take 5 (1d10) ongoing damage from bleeding out. A creature can end the ongoing damage by staunching the wound as an action or by giving the target magical healing.

*

Baazrag Pack
Medium swarm of Tiny beasts

Challenge 3 (700 XP)
AC 12 (natural armor)
HP 55 (10d8+10; bloodied 27)
Speed 40 ft.

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

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 12
Saving Throws Con +3
Skills Perception +3
Damage Resistances poison; bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages
Barbed Hide. A creature that grapples or is grappled by the baazrag takes 2 (1d4) piercing damage at the start of the baazrag’s turn.
Iron Stomach.
The baazrag has advantage on saving throws against being diseased.
Pack Tactics. The baazrag has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the baazrag’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and move through any opening large enough for a Tiny creature. It can’t gain HP or temporary hit points.

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage, or 7 (2d6) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) poison damage if the swarm is bloodied, and the creature must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or contract a disease. Symptoms start 2d4 hours later and include fatigue, sweating, and cramps. Until this disease is cured, the creature regains only half the normal number of hit points from spending Hit Dice, and no hit points from finishing a long rest.
After finishing a long rest, a creature may make a new Constitution saving throw. On a success, the disease ends.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
In retrospect, I should've just treated baazrags like every other animal. But I think they're so adorable so I went overboard. Oh well. Today's a twofer

And now we have everyone’s favorite featherless chocobo, the crodlu. Specifically, the heavy crodlu—the regular (wild) crodlu wouldn’t make its appearance until the second Dark Sun MCA. Well, it might have been in the actual Dark Sun boxed set, but I lost that ages ago so I don’t know. Crodlu are described as short-tailed bipedal lizards, although I personally would make them into a desert-adapted hadrosaur instead. (Hadrosaurs are my favorite dinos.) Crodlu make a good substitute for horse, oxen, or camel as a beast of burden in any fantasy setting that involves more fantastic beasts than regular ones.

The entry for this creature says it can make five attacks each round, for a potential maximum of 38 points of damage. Ye gads. That’s a lot even in 5e. It woulda been murder in 2e.

1674936086058.png

Art by Brom

Crodlu
Mastered, Yet Untamed, Dragon Magazine #185
Created by Timothy B. Brown

Crodlu are large, bipedal, short-tailed ornithischian animals bred as mounts and beasts of burden. They eight to nine feet tall at the shoulder. Their thick, pebbled hide is sandy yellow-brown, darkening on their backs to a green so dark as to be nearly black. Their digits are tipped with long, wicked claws that are used as much for defense as they are for digging up roots and creating wallows in which to rest. Crodlu are known to be ornery and often territorial animals. Training them is a difficult task, but their sheer strength and ability to withstand bad weather conditions usually makes the job worth it

Crodlu
Large beast

Challenge 2 (450 XP)
AC 14 (natural armor_
HP 51 (6d10+18; bloodied 25)
Speed 40 ft.

STR 21 (+5) DEX 10 (+0) CON 16 (+3)
INT 2 (-4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 5 (-3)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 15
Skills Athletics +7, Perception +3
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages
Beast of Burden. The crodlu is considered to be Huge when calculating its carrying capacity.
Tireless. The crodlu has advantage on saving throws against taking exhaustion.

Actions
Multiattack.
The crodlu attacks once with its bite and once with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d4+5) piercing damage.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) slashing damage.
Stomp. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) slashing damage.
Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8+5) bludgeoning damage. If the crodlu moves at least 20 feet straight towards the target before the attack, the target must make a DC 15 Strength saving throw or fall prone.

Bonus Actions
Trample Underfoot.
The crodlu makes a stomp attack against a prone creature.

*

D&D has always had a surprising lack of ginormous animals you can build moving siege towers on, which is a real shame in my opinion. Therefor, to fix this lack, is the drik. Its kind of a giant, flat-shelled turtle thing that uses the Battlesystem rules to determine the damage it inflicts when it rams a structure. The drik’s main schtick is that they have a chitinous shell which can be melted and reshaped to make it into a mobile siege platform.

Here's its Battlesystem stats. Someone will have to tell me what they mean, in terms of raw power.
1674935883227.png


1674935906496.png

Art by Brom

Drik
Mastered, Yet Untamed, Dragon Magazine #185
Created by Timothy B. Brown

These gigantic creatures resemble tremendous snapping turtle, although its shell is made of a secreted resin instead of modified bones like a true turtle’s. In the wild, driks live in small family groups dominated by an adult breeding female. As true omnivores, they can survive on just about anything, and they, like many other cold-blooded animals, can devour huge amounts of food at a time and then go months between meals.

Driks are often raised as siege animals. Not only are their headbutts incredibly powerful, their resinous shell can be partially melted and reshaped using high temperatures or magic and turned into platforms for weapons or mobile fortresses. Driks are so strong that the weight of such items is negligible to them, and while they’re generally foul-tempered creatures, they are easily trained or magically influenced into docility.

Drik
Gargantuan beast

Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)
AC 22 (natural armor)
HP 264 (16d20+96; bloodied 132)
Speed 20 ft.

STR 28 (+9) DEX 8 (-1) CON 22 (+6)
INT 2 (-4) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 5 (-3)

Proficiency +6
Maneuver DC 23
Saving Throws Str +15, Con +12
Damage Resistances fire
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages
Beast of Burden. The drik can carry or lift 2 tons or push or drag 10 tons without being encumbered.
Siege Monster. The drik inflicts double damage to objects and structures.
Unstoppable. The drik’s movement isn’t hindered by difficult terrain.

Actions
Bite.
Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 32 (4d12+6) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 23). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the drik can’t bite a different creature.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (4d8+6) slashing damage.
Swallow. The drik makes a bite attack against a Large or smaller creature it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed and the grapple ends. A swallowed creature has total cover rom attacks from outside the drik, it is blinded and restrained, and it takes 21 (6d6) acid damage and 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage at the start of each of the drik’s turns. If a swallowed creature deals 40 or more damage to the drik in a single turn, or if the drik dies, the drik vomits up all swallowed creatures.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
More animals for all your shapechanging needs! Remember the old Voyage of the Princess Ark series? This issue was on Wallara and included abbreviated stats for the giant echidna and the kangaroo. It doesn’t actually say how giant the giant echidnas are besides “large,” but it gives them nine Hit Dice and a chewing attack (victims can still break free, which rules out being swallowed) that inflicts 3d6 damage per round, which is a heck of a lot of damage for a giant version of an animal that has no teeth. In comparison, the article's kangaroo only inflicted 1d8 damage.

Wallaran Animals
The Voyage of the Princess Ark, Dragon Magazine #186
Created by Bruce A. Heard

1675286815697.png

Picture from the San Diego Zoo. Look at that face! Look at it!

Giant Echidna
Huge beast

Challenge 2 (450 XP)
AC
HP
51 (6d12+12; bloodied 25)
Speed 30 ft.

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

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 13
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages
Barbed Hide. A creature that grapples the giant echidna takes 5 (1d10) piercing damage at the beginning of each of the echidna’s turns.
Keen Hearing and Smell. The giant echidna has advantage on Perception checks that rely on smell.

Actions
Tongue.
The giant echidna waves its tongue in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or be stuck to the tongue and grappled (escape DC 13). Until this grapple ends, the echidna can’t use its Tongue attack again. The echidna can grapple up to two creatures at a time in this manner.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) bludgeoning damage. The echidna makes a bite attack against one creature it is grappling with its tongue. If the attack hits, the creature is swallowed and the grapple ends. A swallowed creature has total cover from attacks from outside the echidna, is blinded and restrained, and it takes 9 (2d8) acid damage at the start of each of the echidna’s turns. If the echidna dies, the target is no longer swallowed.

*

1675287015725.png

Picture from Wikipedia

Kangaroo
Medium beast

Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)
AC 11
HP 9 (2d8; bloodied 4)
Speed 50 ft.

STR 13 (+1) DEX 13 (+1) CON 11 (+0)
INT 3 (-4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 6 (-2)

Proficiency +2
Maneuver DC 11
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages
Keen Hearing and Smell. The kangaroo has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or scent.
Standing Leap. The kangaroo’s long jump is up to 30 feet and its high jump is up to 15 feet, with or without a running start.

Actions
Kick.
Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6+1) bludgeoning damage.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Hey, guys, sorry about the delays here. I've been having some chronic health issues that have been making concentrating on this very difficult of late.
 


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