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D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Abraxas

Today Epic Monsters has its sights set on an archon, a god, a demon—it depends on who you’re asking with Abraxas!

Today Epic Monsters has its sights set on an archon, a god, a demon—it depends on who you’re asking with Abraxas!

Abraxas DnD 5E banner.jpg

To begin with the word and name “Abraxas” (originally Abrasax) has gotten around. For this entry in the series we are primarily considering his Basilidean iteration as a demon (rather than other deific figures like an archon) and not the various Abraxas stones or the anguipedes they feature (a rooster-headed fellow among many serpent-legged creatures in Greco-Roman antiquity). His name is said to be a magical thing in itself—representative of the seven classic planets (the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) and mathematically equaling 365 by the rules of isopsephy—though his origins are scattered across the Mediterranean with various appearances in Egyptian, Hebrew, and Greek.

The legend goes that “the Unbegotten Father” created the various principles of humanity (intellect, speech, wisdom), causality, and angels that built 365 heavens all of which are ruled by Abraxas. Or maybe Abraxas was the progenitor, and the Basilidians thought the human body had 365 parts (and as many days in a year), and he sent Jesus unto the world (maybe as a “benevolent ghost”). Or Abraxas was the first of 365 Archons (below Sophia and Dynamis and the rest). Naturally the Catholic Church paints Abraxas as a demon and casts the Basilidians as “heretics of the second century”.

Design Notes: There’s not much definition to Abraxas other than that he’s about mental stuff, creation, and rulership. A psychic demon with some creation powers! Not sure what that crown’s about but it’s on his head so we’ll make it about foresight, and then give him some fiendish favorites like Devil’s Sight, a Fear Aura, and some standard high level monster traits (Legendary Resistance and Magic Weapons). Next let’s load Abraxas up with all the magic he might need for basic demonic trickery and the skills to support that, and a trait to represent his mighty intellect. After that let’s focus on the myth: the balor’s Fire Aura can become a cool psionic thing with a bit of tweaking, and then we’ll give him a trait to cover his poison attacks that will encourage the use of more psychic damage as a fight continues. Lastly we’ll drop some legendary actions in there (and a maze) to keep the most troublesome foes wrapped up and get more of that poison/psychic interplay going on. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG hit at 21.666 and the Blog of Holding at 19.166, averaging out to a comfortable CR 20.


Huge fiend, neutral evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 230 (20d12+100)
Speed 40 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)
20 (+5)​
12 (+1)​
21 (+5)​
21 (+5)​
19 (+4)​
13 (+1)​
Saving Throws Wis +10, Cha +7; Proficiency +6
Skills Deception +13, Insight +10, Perception +10, Persuasion +13
Damage Resistances cold, fire, radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 20
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft.
Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)

Crown of Foresight. While wearing his crown, Abraxas has advantage on ability checks and he can use his bonus action to take the Dodge action.

Devil's Sight. Magical darkness doesn't impede Abraxas’ darkvision.

Evasion. When Abraxas is subjected to an effect that allows him to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, he instead takes no damage if he succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if he fails.

Fear Aura. Any creature hostile to Abraxas that starts its turn within 30 feet of the fiend must make a DC 19 Wisdom saving throw, unless Abraxas is incapacitated. On a failed save, the creature is frightened until the start of its next turn. If a creature's saving throw is successful, the creature is immune to Abraxas’ Fear Aura for the next 24 hours.

Innate Spellcasting. Abraxas’ spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 19). He can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: alter self, arcane eye, bestow curse, creation, detect magic, detect thoughts, legend lore, major image, phantasmal killer, scrying, tongues, vicious mockery
5/day each: counterspell, dispel magic, invisibility
3/day each: hallucinatory terrain, nondetection, plane shift (self only), programmed image
1/day: maze, project image

Knowledgeable. Abraxas gains double his proficiency bonus (+12) on Intelligence checks.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). When Abraxas fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Weapons. Abraxas’ weapon attacks are magical.

Nous Aura. At the start of each of Abraxas’ turns, each creature within 10 feet of him takes 5 (1d10) psychic damage. A creature that touches Abraxas or hits him with a melee attack while within 10 feet of him takes 5 (1d10) psychic damage.

Sapping Poison. A creature that has taken 20 or more poison damage from Abraxas becomes vulnerable to psychic damage until the poison damage is healed.

Multiattack. Abraxas casts a spell and attacks twice with his mindblast, or he attacks five times: twice with his claws, twice with his serpent feet, and once with his tail. Instead of attacking with his claws, Abraxas can make two mindblasts.

Serpent Feet. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d6+5) slashing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8+5) piercing damage plus 14 (4d6) poison damage.

Mindblast. Ranged Spell Attack: +11 to hit, range 60/120 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6+5) psychic damage.

Abraxas can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Abraxas regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

Weaken Body and Mind. Abraxas attacks once with his serpent feet and once with his mindblast. These attacks cannot have the same target.

Psionic Overload (Costs 2 Actions). Abraxas chooses one creature he can see within 60 feet. The creature must make a DC 19 Charisma saving throw or be stunned until the end of its next turn. If a creature’s saving throw is successful, it has advantage on saving throws against this legendary action for the next 24 hours.

Impossible Power (Costs 3 Actions). Abraxas innately casts a spell.

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Mike Myler

Mike Myler


Great Old One
So if he's neutral evil...he's a yugoloth? I actually liked how they were called Daemons in 1e...oh well.
There are other Neutral Evil Fiends than Yugoloths, actually, for example the Gehreleths. He seems to be an oddball, something fairly unique, or maybe the remnant of a previous generation of fiends, like the ancient Baatorians are to the Baatezus, or the primal demons (can't remember their names) to the Tanar'ris.

And yes, I prefer Daemons, Demodands, Devils, Demons respectively, but then I'm at a lost for the Baatorians. :)


Laws of Mordenkainen, Elminster, & Fistandantilus
Very nicely done, Mike, thank you! I especially like the nous aura and, in particular, your naming of it. It is nice to see a Mediterranean mythological creature that has a feature named drawing from the history of nous. You may already know this, but if not, the adjectival form of it is 'noetic,' should you ever need to use that.

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