D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Geryon and Orthos

Today on Epic Monsters we’ve got a special double entry with even more heads: the three-headed giant Geryon and his two-headed hound Orthos!

Geryon and Orthos DnD 5E BANNER.jpg

As is typical in this column the subject changes drastically depending on the source material. Sometimes Geryon has three bodies and heads, or three bodies and one head, or in Dante’s Inferno he’s a manticore-wyvern monstrosity, then in a work called the Geryoneis the poet Stesichoros wrote he was six-handed, six-footed, and winged. In this instance we’re going with the classic three-headed version with the two-headed canine Orthos (also known as Orthrus). Geryon is related to the pegasus, Titans, and medusa though this isn’t what most people know him for—that would be his excellent cattle, the very same cows that Heracles/Hercules is made to acquire from the giant’s western Mediterranean island home (Erytheia) as the tenth labor.

Design Notes: Geryon and Orthos aren’t too hard to pin down, easily covered by the ettin’s trait for multiple heads (though given the giant’s third head he should get something extra; we’ll go with another reaction). Let’s jump into the numbers! For the DMG we’ve got a 8.5 and 3.3645, the Blog of Holding a 8.2 and 4, averaging out to CR 8 for Geryon and CR 3 for Orthos.

Geryon

Large giant, neutral
Armor Class 16 (breastplate, shield)
Hit Points 210 (20d10+100)
Speed 35 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
21 (+5)​
10 (+0)​
20 (+5)​
10 (+0)​
15 (+2)​
13 (+1)​
Saving Throws Dex +3, Cha +4; Proficiency +3
Skills Animal Handling +5, Investigation +3, Perception +8, Persuasion +4, Religion +3
Senses passive Perception 23
Languages Greek
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Power Attack (1/Turn). When Geryon makes his first melee weapon attack in a turn, he can choose to take a –5 penalty to his melee weapon attack rolls in exchange for a +10 bonus to melee weapon damage. In addition, Geryon can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack after he uses a melee weapon to reduce a creature to 0 hit points or scores a critical hit with it. Geryon can only use this trait on his turn.

Three Heads. Geryon gains double his proficiency bonus to and has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks (included above). In addition, he has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, or knocked unconscious.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. Geryon attacks four times.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) bludgeoning damage.

Spear (3). Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10+5) piercing damage.


REACTIONS
Extra Reaction. Geryon can take a second reaction each round.



Orthos

Medium monstrosity, unaligned
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 30 (4d8+12)
Speed 40 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
18 (+4)​
15 (+2)​
17 (+3)​
4 (–3)​
13 (+1)​
10 (+0)​
Saving Throws Dex +4, Con +5; Proficiency +2
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +4, Survival +3
Senses passive Perception 20
Languages
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Two Heads. Orthos has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks and on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, or knocked unconscious.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. Orthos attacks twice with its bite and once with its snake-tail.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Snake-Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+4) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

dave2008

Legend
As always, thank you for sharing. I do have a question; Why does Geryon's spear only do 1d8 damage. Usually, Large creatures use Large weapons and it is typical in the MM to add a die of damage. For example, the Ettin's battleax does 2d8 damage instead of 1d8.

Also, wouldn't "extra reaction" be a trait? Like a Hydra's "reactive" trait?
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
As always, thank you for sharing. I do have a question; Why does Geryon's spear only do 1d8 damage. Usually, Large creatures use Large weapons and it is typical in the MM to add a die of damage. For example, the Ettin's battleax does 2d8 damage instead of 1d8.

Also, wouldn't "extra reaction" be a trait? Like a Hydra's "reactive" trait?
! I remember adding the spear near the end and forgot to upgrade it, though I'm keen on more attacks vs. bigger hits so we'll just go up a step instead of another die.
In this column anything that gets extra reactions (Easter Bunny, the seraph, this fella) has that tucked into the end with the reactions field to avoid being overlooked (these are better tools with that info where it's relevant).
 

dave2008

Legend
! I remember adding the spear near the end and forgot to upgrade it, though I'm keen on more attacks vs. bigger hits so we'll just go up a step instead of another die.
OK, difference in philosophy. I think 5e lacks more in the fewer attacks with more damage vs many attacks department.
In this column anything that gets extra reactions (Easter Bunny, the seraph, this fella) has that tucked into the end with the reactions field to avoid being overlooked (these are better tools with that info where it's relevant).
On the other hand, anyone familiar with the 5e standard would be a bit confused. With it in the reactions section I first thought it was saying after Geryon uses a reaction, he gets another reaction. Which is an infinite loop, and not what you intend, I believe.

I personally find it less helpful and easier to miss, since I seemed to miss it on all your other entries!
 





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