5E Epic Monsters: Caliban

That, if I then had waked after long sleep, will make me sleep again | and then in dreaming, the clouds me thought would open | and show riches ready to drop upon me, that when I waked I cried to dream again.” If you know who today’s entry in Mythological Figures is already, unlike me you’d have answered that televised trivia show question with The Tempest and won the game: Caliban!


(I’m not bitter about it! Honest!)

Caliban dnd 5e BANNER.jpg

The creature known as Caliban is a half-man half-monster born by Sycorax after she was banished from Algiers and left alone on a remote island. When she passes he begins worshiping her, believing she still has power in the realm of mortals. Sometime after her death Prospero (magician, former Duke of Milan, and future Mythological Figure entry) and his daughter Miranda are shipwrecked on the island, and using his powerful magic Prospero enslaves Caliban—because the first time they meet the beastman, Caliban tries to rape Miranda and is quite glib about it. Before the end of The Tempest he rejects Prospero and worships another shipwrecked traveler (Stephano) but by the conclusion he realizes the servant is not the magician’s equal, accepting the spellcaster as his master.

Design Notes: There aren’t many specifics about Calban’s prowess or supernatural abilities so I used my own judgment with a focus on theme and playability. There’s also not a ton of consensus on what kind of beastman Caliban is—simply a wild fellow, or deformed, or part cow, half fish, a dwarf, turtle-blooded—so I went for a generalized approach. Knowing all that: let’s do the numbers. The DMG landed at 2.3125 (4ac+0.25hp+3atk+2dam=9.25/4) and the Blog of Holding at 2.25 (3ac+2hp+0.5atk+2dam+2dc+2save=13.5/6) putting Caliban comfortably at CR 2.

Caliban
Medium beast-humanoid, neutral evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 45 (6d8+18)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
15 (+2)​
18 (+4)​
16 (+3)​
9 (–1)​
15 (+2)​
8 (–1)​
Saving Throws Str +4, Con +5
Skills Athletics +6, Perception +4, Stealth +6, Survival +6
Senses passive Perception 19
Languages Common
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Doubletyped. For the purposes of features, spells, and traits, Caliban counts as both a beast and humanoid.

Keen Senses. Caliban has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight, smell, and sound.

Nimble Escape. Caliban can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of his turns.

Pounce. If Caliban moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, it must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, Caliban can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

Relentless Endurance (1/Long Rest). When Caliban is reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, he can drop to 1 hit point instead.

Running Leap. With a 10-foot running start, Caliban can long jump up to 40 feet.

Stench. Any creature that starts its turn within 10 feet of Caliban must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until the start of its next turn. On a successful saving throw, the creature is immune to Caliban's stench for 24 hours.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. Caliban attacks once with his bite and twice with his claws, or twice with thrown rocks.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 20/40 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+4) bludgeoning damage.
 
Mike Myler

Comments

Von Ether

Adventurer
Man, even in D&D land, Caliban gets no love.

It's fascinating that while a lot of Shakey's work comes from other sources (plagiarism not being so much a sin back then) and yet scholars scratch their heads when it comes where Caliban and Sycorax come from.

And with them being such blank slates (and cool sounding names), they keep coming back up. Caliban may have been the original "Boba Fett," a minor character that fascinates fans who want to make more out of them.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
I haven't read the Tempest in decades, but could you not view Caliban's agreeing to serve Prospero once again the start of redemption? So a post-Tempest Caliban would be Neutral rather than Evil. Of course, the D&D equivalent could equally be Iggwilv & Iuz...
 

Khelon Testudo

Cleric of Stronmaus
Pounce. If Caliban moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, it* must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, Caliban can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
*I suggest changing "it" to "the target" to avoid ambiguity.
 

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