Epic Monsters: Dagon (5E)

Lurking beneath the sloshing waves and crawling onto the Epic Monsters part of the Mythological Figures column is Dagon, the reptilian deep one or maybe Great Old One—as I’m realizing is not uncommon with Lovecraft, it’s hard to be certain. Let’s dive in!


First of all there are a lot of different Dagons so let’s get everyone on the same page(s). I have the art to use that I have to use, and aside from the Paizo write-up for it (a demon lord in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 4) and other Cthulhu mythos creatures in this series, the illustration is what’s going to guide the statblock design with this monster.

There are some Lovecraft fans in the crowd—please comment with inaccuracies and ways that folks who want to use the proper monster (which I am dubious about from lack of lore knowledge) can modify the stats to give it tentacles or whatever element got lost in the mix. Speaking of illustrations I’d like to thank Reddit user Celine Dagon (lol) for releasing a batch of Cthulhu baddies into the public domain! I’m not able to draw and am extremely happy to have a visual medium to tie the initial Epic Monsters together. You are excellent.

Huge aberration, chaotic evil

Armor Class
26 (natural armor)
Hit Points 435 (30d12+240)
Speed 40 ft., swim 120 ft.

26 (+8)​
21 (+5)​
26 (+8)​
25 (+7)​
26 (+8)​
25 (+7)​

Arcana +15, Athletics +16, Deception +15, History +15, Insight +16, Intimidation +15, Investigation +15, Nature +15, Perception +16, Religion +15, Stealth +13

Damage Resistances
acid, fire, necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from magical or cold iron weapons

Damage Immunities
cold, lightning; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons not made from cold iron

Condition Immunities
charmed, diseased, frightened, paralyzed, petrified

darkvision 60 ft., truesight, passive Perception 26

Abyssal, Aquan, Celestial, Common, Deep Speech, Draconic; telepathy 300 ft.

27 (105,000 XP)

Command Sea Creatures. Once per turn, Dagon can command aquatic creatures to do its bidding. This affects all aberrations, beasts, and oozes within 300 feet that are able to breathe water (a DC 24 Wisdom saving throw negates). This functions like mass suggestion, but can affect mindless creatures. Dagon can suggest obviously harmful or suicidal acts (though non-mindless creatures have advantage and a +5 bonus on their saving throws against these suggestions). The commanded course of activity can have a duration of up to 1 hour. If Dagon issues a new command to a creature, the previous command is discarded. A creature that successfully resists this effect is immune to further commands from Dagon for 24 hours.

Immortality. If Dagon is killed, its body immediately liquifies itself and emits a noxious cloud of otherworldly, filling an area out to its reach. Any creature that comes into contact with the amorphous puddle makes DC 24 Wisdom saving throw or takes 54 (12d8) necrotic damage and 54 (12d8) poison damage. Each round, Dagon’s puddle moves 50 feet towards the nearest large body of water (lake or bigger), ignoring difficult terrain. If it reaches a large body of water within 10 minutes, it takes 2d6 minutes before Dagon is restored to life via resurrection. It comes back to life with 5 levels of exhaustion and cannot take both a move and action in the same turn. At the end of each minute, Dagon makes a DC 20 Constitution saving throw to reduce its exhaustion level by 1. If slain again while suffering from this effect, Dagon reverts to liquid form again and if it does not reach a large body of water within 1 minute its essence fades (and should it reach the water, it takes 2d6 hours before it is returned to life).

Innate Spellcasting. Dagon’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 24; spell attack +16). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
Constant: detect evil and good, freedom of movement, speak with animals (aquatic only), true seeing
At will: astral projection, control water, control weather, dispel magic, hallow (evil only), polymorph, telekinesis, teleport
3/day: symbol
1/day: time stop

Insanity. Any creature that attempts to interact directly with Dagon’s thoughts (such as via detect thoughts or telepathy) must succeed at DC 24 Wisdom saving throw or gain an indefinite madness. When using its telepathy to communicate Dagon doesn't activate this feature unless it spends an action to focus its mind on one opponent.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If Dagon fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Resistance. Dagon has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Regeneration. Dagon regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point. Dagon dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points.


Multiattack. Dagon can use its Frightful Presence. It then makes four attacks: two with its bite and two with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (3d10+8) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d8+8) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 24). Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained and Dagon can’t use that claw to attack another target.

Frightful Presence. Each creature of Dagon’'s choice that is within 120 feet of Dagon and aware of it must succeed on a DC 24 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature's saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to Dagon's Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.

Poisonous Miasma (Recharge 4-6). Dagon exhales inky blackness in a 60­‐foot cone (ink if underwater or a cloud otherwise). Creatures in the area are blinded unless they have truesight. The ink or smoke remains for 1d4 rounds, or only 1 round if in an area of high current or winds. Each creature in the area or entering the area must make a DC 24 Wisdom saving throw, taking 54 (12d8) necrotic damage and 54 (12d8) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Swallow. Dagon makes one bite attack against a Medium or smaller creature it is grappling. If the attack hits, that creature takes the bite's damage and is swallowed, and the grapple ends. While swallowed, the creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside Dagon. At the start of each of Dagon’s turns the swallowed creature takes 21 (6d6) necrotic damage, 21 (6d6) poison damage, and it makes a DC 24 Wisdom saving throw. Once the swallowed creature has failed its save three times, it is transformed into a deformed parody of itself that Dagon can use a bonus action to disgorge into an adjacent square. The transformed creature has advantage on attack rolls, a +5 bonus to AC, and is under Dagon’s control (as dominate monster but without the need for concentration). The transformation can be reversed by casting heal or regenerate within the first 24 hours.

If Dagon takes 30 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, Dagon must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of Dagon. If Dagon dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone.

Design Notes: Props to the Paizo golems once more because I would’ve been at a loss for how to do Dagon any justice here. I’m happy with how it came out in the end even if it is lacking tentacles—this thing will be making an appearance or two in my games in the future.

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Mike Myler

Mike Myler


So the level 20 party has slain Dagon, and is on its last edge, Dagon dissolves and the party comes into contact with the puddle and has to do two extreme Wis saving throws DC24 is abnormal high, someone not proficient in Wis saves will fail for sure, so they are blasted with another 100 points while down (TPK for sure) although they've just won.

They're wearing footwear, aren't they? Well, the Monk might not be... Anyway, this is more likely to affect mounts, familiars, and anyone already down for the count.

That said, it should be a Dex save or Athletics check or similar, not a Wis save.

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I´m wondering why he should be so much stronger than Demogorgon? :confused:
It's a context mis-match issue.

Dagon is a Lovecraftian entity which is normally seen in the context of Earth in the 20th century, where no human has ever reached higher than fifth level, and where its power is presented as unfathomable.

Demogorgan is normally seen in the context of D&D worlds, where people frequently reach or exceed level 20, and it tends to be killed whenever it makes an appearance.

Failing to correct for this context bias can lead us to believe that any random Lovecraftian over-being should be stronger than almost anything in a D&D world, and the Pathfinder incarnation reflects this by giving them ludicrously over-inflated abilities, even though we know from the original source material that Cthulhu can be one-shot if you just run a boat over him (probably dealing ~20d6 damage, at most).

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