Converting First Edition Monsters

Cleon

Adventurer
ok - I think adding guidance is good (can throw in resistance to make 3 cantrips then too). making some ability stats odd numbers is valid so go for it. Will add to dndbeyond once yr happy with it

Yeesh, I'm still not sure how many spells monster spellcasters are supposed to have in 5E. The examples in the Monster Manual are all over the place.

Many of the examples in the Monster Manual have fewer than the caster level + ability modifier rule (for example, the Sahuagin Priestess is a 6th-level WIS +2 caster but has seven spells instead of the eight that 6+2 is; the Androsphinx has caster level+WIS bonus of 16 but only 12 spells; et cetera).

At least the Spellcasting section of the Statistics explanation says a monster "might also include spells from a feature in that class, such as the Divine Domain feature of the cleric" so we could give the Shaman bonus spells. Not that there's a single example of a Divine Domain caster in that book!

Anyhow, I think it'd be prudent to give the Shaman just the basic eight spells but have some nonstandard cleric spells from the "domain options" I proposed above.

We could give it a domain-like ability equivalent to a lowish level spell though.

Hmm… how about:

Innate Spellcasting. The troglodyte shaman's innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12). The shaman can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components.
  • 3/day poison spray, speak with animals (reptiles only)
Spellcasting. The troglodyte shaman is a 6th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). It has the following spells prepared.
  • Cantrips (at will): guidance, resistance, thaumaturgy
  • 1st level (4 slots): cure wounds, detect poison and disease, inflict wounds
  • 2nd level (3 slots): barkskin, hold person
  • 3rd level (3 slots): conjure animals (reptiles only; such as 8 giant lizards or 4 crocodiles), spirit guardians, stinking cloud
Hmm, I think that'll do. Did muse about giving it a flavoursome but not terribly combat useful spell like augury but decided against it.

EDIT: Was going to suggest one or two reptiles for conjure animals instead of four or eight, but the only CR 2 or CR 1 reptiles in the Monster Manual are dinosaurs, specifically the Allosaurus and Plesiosaurus.

So I think I'll change the conjure animals to include the Allosaurus. It is my favourite dinosaur after all and who doesn't love dinosaurs!
  • 3rd level (3 slots): conjure animals (reptiles only; i.e. 1 allosaurus or 8 giant lizards), spirit guardians, stinking cloud
Searching through the dinosaurs of 5eSRD.com for non-official dinosaurs more out of curiosity than anything, the Hadrosaur is Challenge 2 and the Nodosaurus and Pteranodon are Challenge 1 (the official Ptero's CR 1/4 a more realistic CR 1/4, incidentally).

The Lystrosaurus in 5eSRD is CR 2 but not reptilian enough, being a Piglike Dicynodontid.

Some of these 5eSRD Dinosaurs are really far from their earlier incarnations, like the Deinonychus is a CR 1/4 weakling rather than the mincing machine of its earlier incarnations. Although it's probably more closer to the how the animal would really have been.

I was amused by the Mutant Raptor though - if you though regular Cinematic Velociraptors were bad, just wait until you meet one with innate spellcasting!

Many of these 5eSRD dinosaurs are a bit weak for their listed Challenge Ratings such as the aforementioned Deinonychus, although there's at least one that's too powerful - the Archaeopteryx is also CR 1/4 despite being the size of a crow! They should be Challenge 0 like a Raven.

It's almost enough to tempt me to post some "corrected" versions on Converting Prehistoric Creatures.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
  • Cantrips (at will): guidance, resistance, thaumaturgy
  • 1st level (4 slots): cure wounds, detect poison and disease, inflict wounds
  • 2nd level (3 slots): barkskin, hold person
  • 3rd level (3 slots): conjure animals (reptiles only; such as 1 allosaurus or 8 giant lizards), spirit guardians, stinking cloud

Hmm, that EDIT ended up a lot longer than I was planning. Went overly verbose as usual.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Looks good to me - let me know what you've posted the final versions and I will convert

Hadn't noticed mutant raptor before. On musing about it, "basiliraptor" or similar didn't sound very scary so was musing on "dread raptor" (for Witcher basilisk) but adding that many people had confused them with basilisks and called them as such...
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Looks good to me - let me know what you've posted the final versions and I will convert

I've updated the Shaman.

Hadn't noticed mutant raptor before. On musing about it, "basiliraptor" or similar didn't sound very scary so was musing on "dread raptor" (for Witcher basilisk) but adding that many people had confused them with basilisks and called them as such...

Well why don't you start Homebrew and brainstorm about an evocative name later.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
Ok - published shaman here (note "e.g." not "i.e."), warchief here and guard here. And finally chieftain here (saving throw dex bonus calculated different value)

I'm afraid I haven't "declared them complete" yet.

Want to give the Trog Guard, Warchief, Shaman and Chieftain one last go-over to see if there's anything wrong/missing…

Hmm, apart from the DEX saving throw and "e.g." fixes you mentioned, I noticed the Guard, Warchief and Chieftain have the wrong Perception and Stealth. The Perception should be +3 (passive 13) for them all, and the Stealth should be +3 for the Guard/Warchief and +4 for the Chief.

Also realized I'd forgotten to add something to their stink attacks…

Alarm Stink. A troglodyte guard can release a powerful stench as a free action. Any creature other than a troglodyte that starts its turn within 20 feet of the guard must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the creature is immune to the stink attacks of all troglodytes with the same or fewer Hit Dice than the troglodyte guard.

I wanted all the stinks to have a time limit to the immunity, such as:

Sublime Stink. A troglodyte shaman can release an unholy stench as a free action. Any creature other than a troglodyte that starts its turn within 20 feet of the shaman must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the creature gains temporary immunity to the stink attacks of all troglodytes with the same or fewer Hit Dice than the troglodyte shaman. This immunity lasts until 10 minutes after the encounter ends.

Alarm Stink. A troglodyte guard can release a powerful stench as a free action. Any creature other than a troglodyte that starts its turn within 20 feet of the guard must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the creature gains temporary immunity to the stink attacks of all troglodytes with the same or fewer Hit Dice than the troglodyte guard. This immunity lasts until 1 hour after the encounter ends.

So basically once they save they get acclimatized to the smell for a while but don't ignore it forever. I like the idea of the chieftain / shaman's stink being so a lot more penetrating that a regular guard's.

Have updated the Guard, Warchief, Shaman and Chieftain with the above.

Can you see any other problems with them?
 


Casimir Liber

Adventurer
I'm afraid I haven't "declared them complete" yet.

Want to give the Trog Guard, Warchief, Shaman and Chieftain one last go-over to see if there's anything wrong/missing…

Hmm, apart from the DEX saving throw and "e.g." fixes you mentioned, I noticed the Guard, Warchief and Chieftain have the wrong Perception and Stealth. The Perception should be +3 (passive 13) for them all, and the Stealth should be +3 for the Guard/Warchief and +4 for the Chief.

Also realized I'd forgotten to add something to their stink attacks…



I wanted all the stinks to have a time limit to the immunity, such as:

Sublime Stink. A troglodyte shaman can release an unholy stench as a free action. Any creature other than a troglodyte that starts its turn within 20 feet of the shaman must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the creature gains temporary immunity to the stink attacks of all troglodytes with the same or fewer Hit Dice than the troglodyte shaman. This immunity lasts until 10 minutes after the encounter ends.

Alarm Stink. A troglodyte guard can release a powerful stench as a free action. Any creature other than a troglodyte that starts its turn within 20 feet of the guard must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the creature gains temporary immunity to the stink attacks of all troglodytes with the same or fewer Hit Dice than the troglodyte guard. This immunity lasts until 1 hour after the encounter ends.

So basically once they save they get acclimatized to the smell for a while but don't ignore it forever. I like the idea of the chieftain / shaman's stink being so a lot more penetrating that a regular guard's.

Have updated the Guard, Warchief, Shaman and Chieftain with the above.

Can you see any other problems with them?
Nothing jumps out at me, but I am not the best at fine detail....
 



Cleon

Adventurer
So you're happy with them now? (am going to sleep here as after midnight and I need to be up before 7am)

I decided to make all the stinks last "until 1 hour after the encounter ends" for the sake of consistency and to match the hour's duration of a standard troglodyte's stench.

Also, if a save-immunity to a chief & shaman only lasted 10 minutes that would also apply to "all troglodytes with the same or fewer Hit Dice" than the chief or shaman, which wouldn't make much sense. You'd think a creature that gained save-immunity to the indescribable stench of a chieftain's Command Stink would be immune to a regular troglodyte's Stench for at least as long as a creature that saved against a troglodyte guard's Alarm Stink is immune to regular trog Stench.

Hmm, I think I'm content with them now and will declare them complete.

They Are Complete!
 



Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Corrected perception bonus of warchief, now here

Tried to buff description of boalisk
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Tried to buff description of boalisk

boalisk2-png.149516


I'll have to mull this one over but let's go through the basic stats for now.

The obvious 5E monsters to use as models are the Basilisk, Constrictor Snake and Giant Constrictor Snake.

Not sure about the Huge size. An AD&D boalisk is Large (25′) so is a tad bigger than a normal constrictor snake's Medium (10′-20′ long) but short of an AD&D giant constrictor snake's Large (30′+ long).

I'd make it a Large monstrosity.

The AD&D Boalisk has the same Armour Class as a giant constrictor snake, AC 5, which is one point worse than a AD&D Basilisk's AC 4 and one better than a constrictor snake's AC 6. That suggests AC 13 or 14 to me, not the 15 you've given it.

The AD&D original's Hit Dice of 5d8+1 was partway between a basilisk or giant constrictor (both 6d8+1) and a regular constrictor snake (3d8+1), so 6 Hit Dice is fine.

The CON 16 seems too high, but I'll discuss that below.

Speedwise, a Boalisk is fast for a snake, with an AD&D Move 12 like a human. That's quicker than an AD&D constrictor or giant constrictor's 9 or a boalisk's 6.

So the same Speed 30 ft. as a Giant Constrictor? It seems appropriate to give it a Swim speed like a constrictor, since its bauplan is that of a snake.

Now for the stats!

Since it's somewhat smaller than a Giant Constrictor I was tempted to reduce the STR to 16 or 17 so it has the same +3 modifier as a basilisk but upon reflection a +4 Strength modifier is fine since Basilisks are really quite strong - the AD&D version could bite for 1d10 damage, which is more than the 2d4 damage of a giant constrictor snake in that edition. Would likely have the bite and constrict attacks have lower dice damage than a Giant Constrictor when we get around to that section.

Constrictor snakes (giant & regular) have DEX 14 in 5E and Basilisks have DEX 8, so making this hybrid more dextrous than either seems a bit odd. I'd go for somewhere in the range DEX 10 to DEX 14 depending on how snakelike you want its reflexes.

CON 16 also seems too high. In 5E a Basilisk has CON 15, and both a Constrictor Snake and Giant Constrictor Snake CON 12. So I'm thinking CON 14.

You've given it all a basilisk's Mental Stats, which I guess is fine, although I'd be tempted to give it INT 1 like its snake half so it's marginally dimmer than a true Basilisk.

I think that'll do for now.

Should I start a "Enworld Working Draft" for it?
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
...Should I start a "Enworld Working Draft" for it?
Yes please - have gone with 19/12/14/2/8/7 as attributes and pretty much adopted all suggestions. I was pulling figures out of the air for it to begin with. In sum, I have a large area which has a swiss-cheese like holeyness with other planes, so in this world, basilisks and their ilk came into being in a three-way interaction between material, earth and shadowfell planes. Also my players really loved hunting for magic item ingredients so in process of making a toxic basilisk-infested mini-region. Hence my interest in these critters (as well as watching Witcher). Might also do Chthon from that One-Eye Canyon WD issue as well as I think it could be a fun critter to DM and I can't immediately think of an analogue in existing monsters.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Okay. I'll start a Working Draft.

Have stuff to do today so might not post much more today.

Oh, the current rough draft is miscredited - the Boalisk debuted in Monster Manual II (1983) not Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982).
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Boalisk
Large monstrosity, unaligned
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 45 (6d10 + 12)
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
19 (+4)​
12 (+1)​
14 (+2)​
1 (−5)​
8 (−1)​
7 (−2)​

Skills Perception +1
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages
Challenge 3 (700 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Brille. A boalisk has immunity to attacks that require eye contact or direct line of sight, such as some gaze attacks (e.g. the petrifying gaze of a basilisk or medusa). The brille also protect the boalisk's eyes from dust and other irritants.

Rotting Gaze. If a creature other than a boalisk or snake starts its turn within 30 feet of the boalisk and the two of them can see each other, the boalisk can force the creature to make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw if the boailisk isn't incapacitated. On a failed save, the creature takes 10 (3d6) necrotic damage and contracts a magical rotting curse.
 The cursed target can't regain hit points, and its hit point maximum decreases by 10 (3d6) for every 24 hours that elapse. If the curse reduces the target's hit point maximum to 0, the target dies, and its body turns to dust. The curse lasts until removed by the remove curse spell or other magic.
 A creature that isn't surprised can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If it does so, it can't see the boalisk until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If it looks at the boalisk in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

Actions

Multiattack. The boalisk makes two attacks: one constrict attack and one attack with its bite or glare.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, taking 5 (2d4) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the boalisk can’t constrict another target.

Glare. The boalisk targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it with its Rotting Gaze (see above). If the target can see the boalisk, it takes 10 (3d6) necrotic damage and contracts the rotting curse. If the target succeeds on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw it takes half damage and is not cursed. Targets that averted their eyes from the Rotting Gaze gain advantage on the saving throw.

Description
A boalisk is a serpentine monster almost indistinguishable from a large constrictor snake apart from its possession of a deadly gaze attack. These creatures are about 25 feet long and live in any tropical habitat that will support a constrictor snake of its size, such as a jungle, swamp or savannah.
Deadly Eyes. A boalisk has a gaze attack rivaling the lethality of their near-namesake the basilisk. Rather than petrification, victims of its eyes slowly decompose until they're nothing but dry dust. This supernatural curse has symptoms indistinguishable from the deadly touch of an undead mummy. A boalisk cannot digest flesh that's rotting away to dust, so uses fangs and coils to catch food like a regular python. Its gaze attack is reserved for enemies; the boalisk can activate and deactivate its eyes at will.
 Unlike basilisks, boalisks cannot be harmed by reflecting their gaze with a mirror. A boalisk's eyes are covered by transparent scales that protect them from many attacks that affect the eyes. Called brille, these membranes are actually permanently fused clear eyelids, so a boalisk has its eyes closed but can still see. These organs are valued by wizards and alchemists as they can be enchanted into eye cusps that provide similar protection to their wearer. Ordinary snakes also possess brille and are immune to a boalisk's gaze attack.
Social Serpents. A curious trait of boalisks is they sometimes congregate with their fellow serpents, either other boalisks, normal or giant constrictor snakes, or a combination of animals. Such groups are still very small, containing no more than three boalisks and a similar number of constrictor snakes. A single boalisk accompanied by one or two normal constrictor snakes is far more common. Some scholars theorize that the "normal constrictor snakes" are actually juvenile boalisks and these monsters don't acquire their deadly gaze until adulthood, so the young might travel with their elders for protection. Other sages claim boalisks have deadly gazes from the time they hatch, like their relative the basilisk, and any attendant snakes are ordinary reptiles such as pythons. Whether either theory holds any truth is unknown.

(Boalisks first appeared in Monster Manual II (1983) by Gary Gygax.)
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9

Okay, Giant Constrictor snakes are proficient in Perception and have 10-foot blindsight, so how about giving that to the Boalisk instead of or as well as darkvision?

Skills Perception +1
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 11
OR
Skills Perception +1
Senses blindsight 10 ft., darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: # (#d# + 4) piercing damage plus # (#d#) poison damage?

The AD&D Boalisk was not venomous, which argues for no venom on its bite. Then again, the AD&D Basilisk wasn't venomous either and the mythical creature was renowned for its poison.

So I'm fine giving it poison, but think it shouldn't be very potent. Maybe along the lines of a Poisonous Snake's "and the target must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw, taking 5 (2d4) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one"?

Also, the original's bite damage is rather unimpressive so I'm wondering about reducing the 5E conversion's base damage die.

As for the Constrict, an AD&D Boalisk does a little less damage than a Giant Constrictor so I'd reduce the size of the base damage dies to d6s.

i.e.:

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, taking 5 (2d4) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the snake can’t constrict another target.​
 

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