D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Grootslang

Epic Monsters is getting weird with a legend from South Africa, a serpent as massive as it is devious: the Grootslang!

Epic Monsters is getting weird with a legend from South Africa, a serpent as massive as it is devious: the Grootslang!

Grootslang - Guilherme Sommermeyer reduced.jpg

This monster is said to lair in a diamond-filled cave in Richtersveld (in South Africa) called the Bottomless Pit and Wonder Hole, said to be a tunnel to the sea 40 miles away (64 kilometers). The enormous snake (20–30 feet long and with a head nearly a foot across) prefers warmer waters and fine stones, trading the lives of its victims in exchange for valuable jewels. Its creation was thought by the gods to be a mistake so they split them all into snakes and elephants—except one grootslang escaped, spawning more of itself afterward.

Design Notes: We’re going to really lean into the big serpent monster thing and go for Gargantuan size, complementing the shared traits of its root creatures (elephants and snakes) with a couple mystical traits and since it’s so damn big a swallow attack. Getting to romp around with charges and constricting multiple enemies will make for an interesting encounter (particularly if there’s water nearby). Let’s do the numbers! The DMG’s chart lands Grootslang here at 8.333 and the Blog of Holding rubric at a slightly higher 9.166, which averages out to a touch under 8 and three-fourths—not quite enough for a rounding up, so he’s clocking in at CR 8 (albeit a beefy CR 8).

Gargantuan monstrosity, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 145 (10d20+40)
Speed 40 ft., swim 40 ft.
24 (+7)​
13 (+1)​
18 (+4)​
19 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
9 (–1)​
Skills Athletics +10, Insight +5, Perception +5, Persuasion +5, Stealth +7
Senses blindsight 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Common
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Ageless. Grootslang cannot suffer from frailty of old age, die from old age, or be aged magically.

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

Serpentine Charge. If Grootslang moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a bite or gore attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 18 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, Grootslang can make one constrict attack against it as a bonus action.

Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d8+7) piercing damage.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one prone target. Hit: 18 (2d10+7) piercing damage.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d10+7) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained. The snake can constrict up to 2 targets at the same time.

Swallow. Grootslang 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 Grootslang, and it takes 9 (2d8) bludgeoning damage at the start of each of Grootslang's turns.
If Grootslang takes 30 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, Grootslang must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of Grootslang. If Grootslang dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 5 feet of movement per round it was swallowed, exiting prone.

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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

The word "Groot" means big in Dutch (Groot is pronounced as the word goat, but with a hard G), and "Slang" is the Dutch word for snake. So the name literally means big snake.

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