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D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Horus

Once again Epic Monsters is getting kingly, though this time it’s with the living pharaoh, god of royalty, and deity of the sky: Horus!

Horus DnD 5e BANNER.jpg


Horus (aka Her, Heru, Hor, or Har) is among the most recognizable and important gods in the Egyptian pantheon. After all this is the guy behind kingship and the sky! He is the son of Isis and Osiris (his heir), or maybe born by Hathor (who is also his wife). In the former case Isis retrieved her murdered husband’s body parts (except his penis, which was eaten by a catfish or crab in the Nile) and resurrected him (with a new member used to conceive Horus) then fled to the Nile Delta’s marshlands to escape Set (her brother and the god of the desert) which is where she gives birth. Horus takes many forms but typically gets depicted as a falcon or falcon-headed man. Historically his earliest form is as the (first national) god Nekhen in Upper Egypt—there it was thought that in life the pharaoh was Horus in mortal form, and in death the pharaoh was Osiris. Eventually he eclipses and becomes Osiris (“Golden Horus Osiris”)

Unsurprisingly Horus is a rival of Set. In addition to being the god of the desert (in opposition to the sky) Set murdered his mother and uncle (and at one point his father too). In their struggle for Egypt to see who would take the throne after Osiris, Horus eventually wins but loses an eye (although Set loses a testicle). Among their 80 years of conflicts there’s a bit of weird trickery in The Contendings of Horus and Set where Horus fools Set into eating his semen, among other tales. The last spat is a boat race where Horus wins by agreeing to make his vessel from stone, when really it’s wood he’s painted to look like stone—upon winning Set gives up his pursuit of the throne of Egypt. Sometimes the story ends with Horus controlling Lower Egypt and Seth controlling Upper Egypt, or Horus controlling all the areas of civilization while Seth reigns over the deserts and oases. Also of course scholars have tied these stories up with historical happenings in the politics of ancient Egypt.

Design Notes: There’s not a ton of information on exactly what Horus did in his battles with Set so we’re going to lean into his relative level of power, the warrior aspect, and the whole sky god thing. To that end Horus can zip across the battlefield incredibly fast, he’s rocking both Divine Action and Legendary Actions, and to cover the deific stuff we’re giving him some innate spellcasting along with the usual suite of traits. Because his eye is important to his mythology he can also bestow it on creatures and things (unlimited in the case of the latter), and to round things out we’ll give him a (badass) spear for his weapon. Plus work some enemy positioning effects into those Legendary Actions. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG swoops in at 27.8333 while the Blog of Holding lands at a higher 30.3333, averaging out to a final CR of 29.

Horus

Medium humanoid, neutral good
Armor Class 19 (natural armor)
Hit Points 380 (40d8+200)
Speed 50 ft., fly 120 ft. (hover)
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
22 (+6)23 (+6)21 (+5)19 (+4)20 (+5)23 (+6)
Saving Throws Str +15, Dex +15
Skills Acrobatics +24, Athletics +15, Deception +15, History +13, Insight +14, Nature +13, Religion +13, Perception +23
Damage Resistances cold, fire, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed
Senses darkvision 600 ft., truesight 300 ft., passive Perception 33
Languages Coptic
Challenge 29 (135,000 XP)

Divine Action (Recharge 5–6). At the end of the round, Horus can move his Speed and take an additional action.

Innate Spellcasting. Horus’ innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 23, +15 to hit with spell attacks). He can innately cast the following spells, requiring only his pan flute and no other components:
At will: bestow curse, bless, blur, enhance ability, guiding bolt, haste, remove curse
5/day each: dispel magic, holy aura, wind walk
1/day: wish

Keen Sight. Horus has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

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

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

Magic Weapons. Horus’ weapon attacks are magical.

Skyfree. While Horus is in the air, difficult terrain doesn't cost him extra movement, and magic can neither reduce his speed nor cause him to be paralyzed or restrained.

Wedjat. Horus can use a bonus action to touch a creature, object, or surface and leave his holy symbol (a stylized eye), granting it several benefits until the symbol is removed or dispelled (treat the symbol as a 6th-level spell effect). Evil creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target. It also can't be charmed, frightened, or possessed by evil creatures. If the target is already charmed, frightened, or possessed by an evil creature, it has advantage on any new saving throw against the relevant effect.
Horus can bestow an unlimited number of wedjat on surfaces and objects, and up to 9 wedjat on creatures. When Horus has bestowed his maximum number of wedjat on creatures, the oldest wedjat disappears as he bestows a new one.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. Horus attacks five times.

Enchanted Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 120/360 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (1d8+9) magical piercing damage plus 18 (4d8) radiant damage. When thrown, the spear returns to Horus’ hand immediately after hitting or missing the target.


LEGENDARY ACTIONS
Horus can take 2 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. He regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

Attack. Horus makes a weapon attack.

Blasting Zephyr. Horus summons a powerful wind from the sky that blasts at creatures he chooses that are within 100 feet of him. Each creature must make a DC 23 Strength saving throw or be pushed 25 feet in a direction chosen by Horus.

Tempest Escape (Costs 2 Actions). Horus spins in place with incredible speed. Each creature within 20 feet of him must succeed on a DC 23 Dexterity saving throw or take 15 (2d8+6) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone. A creature that fails its saving throw by 5 or more also drops whatever it is holding. Horus can then fly up to half his flying speed.
 

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Mike Myler

Mike Myler




Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Intriguing.

In my pseudo-earth setting, Horus was an elf - elves didn't die of old age and over the millenia, you can get a lot of XP....

Set was imprisoned for killing Horus' father... until the PCs accidentally freed him :D
 



Not a fan of statting out literal deities as "monsters" the characters can fight. Not for me I guess.

A literal god that can be wounded by a mundane weapon? No no no. This feels so wrong.
Boy is this not the 3-year old column for you guys! Whatever you do, don't look at the full list which includes Cthullhu, Odin, Lucifer, Thor, and, yeah, more

(also don't watch The Avengers!)
 
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dalisprime

Explorer
I mean his Thoth has both immunity to nonmagical weapons and resistance to magical ones. Horus being one of the holy triad and the god of pharaohs should at the very least be equal in those aspects - there's literally no reason he wouldn't be.
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
I mean his Thoth has both immunity to nonmagical weapons and resistance to magical ones. Horus being one of the holy triad and the god of pharaohs should at the very least be equal in those aspects - there's literally no reason he wouldn't be.
My interpretation is that Thoth (master of time, the god who sets the lifespans of mortals and deities alike) is a mite more powerful than Horus (who is also sometimes mortal and the pharaoh walking around making decisions and such, which was my rationale for him not getting immunity to mundane weapons). It's largely a plot distinction I think (by the time anyone would be fighting a CR 29 creature the mechanics of play assumes they have magical weaponry) but I'm glad to see people are picking up on the nuances. ^_^
 

Zarithar

Adventurer
Boy is this not the 3-year old column for you guys! Whatever you do, don't look at the full list which includes Cthullhu, Odin, Lucifer, Thor, and, yeah, more

(also don't watch The Avengers!)
That just proves I'm not all that interested right? Because I'd never use "stats" for any of them. Also, wtf does the Avengers have to do with this conversation? If you are talking about the Asgardians - they aren't "gods" in the MCU. I'm confused by your point (if there is one).
 

Zarithar

Adventurer
I guess I can take this a step further and say I question the ethics of statting out as "monsters" deities which are still recognized and worshipped by some religious groups. It seems highly insensitive to me. Why not go ahead and add stats for Jesus or Mohammed while we are at it? Not a good look.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Boy is this not the 3-year old column for you guys! Whatever you do, don't look at the full list which includes Cthullhu, Odin, Lucifer, Thor, and, yeah, more

(also don't watch The Avengers!)
I know it's a long standing column, but with how our industry has been evolving over the past few years, I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole. Take someone's religion to stat out their religious icons for the PCs to kill?

"Oh, my fighter is a legionnaire, so I get automatic double damage vs. Jesus, right?"

No thanks. There's cultural appropriation, and then there's turning it up to 11 lol. It's also dangerous, and there are people that are killing others in real life due to insulting depictions of their religious icons.
 

Zarithar

Adventurer
No thanks. There's cultural appropriation, and then there's turning it up to 11 lol. It's also dangerous, and there are people that are killing others in real life due to insulting depictions of their religious icons.
Which is why WotC will likely never publish an updated version of Deities and Demigods for 5e. The original had a full section on "Hindu Mythos" apparently without regard for the many millions of living devotees to Hinduism - and that's just one example. I still think these books have some value as a reference of sorts or an introduction to the religions or mythologies they are using, but adding hit points and armor class is kind of disrespectful in my opinion.
 

Zarithar

Adventurer
One final word... I'm fine with this as it pertains to deities and the like taking from fantasy, horror, or whatever. If you want to give stats to Great Cthulhu... by all means do so. Still, I think some things are just downright unkillable in any conventional sense. I'd make the same argument for any of the gods of Faerun, Krynn, Westeros, Midkemia, or (insert fantasy realm of your choice here). I guess it would work in some epic/high level campaigns though if that's your jam.
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
Being respectful and authentic is important. When material from this column goes from the website and into print we hire sensitivity readers and specialists to review it (and thus far they've all made great points, and also loved what we did with the first book so I'm inclined to think we're on a good track).

Also: does anyone worship Horus or the Egyptian pantheon any more? I know modern worship for the Olympic gods has ticked back up but I can't find anything substantive about modern worship of Horus.
 

Zarithar

Adventurer

Has you covered. Also pointing out that Kemetism is one of several modern (or relatively modern) revivals of the ancient Egyptian religion.
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
Excellent! We'll ask Salt & Sage Books about a sensitivity reader solid on kemetic material (orthodox, reconstructed, or syncretic) when this heads for book territory. :)
 

Rafael Martin

Adventurer
That just proves I'm not all that interested right? Because I'd never use "stats" for any of them. Also, wtf does the Avengers have to do with this conversation? If you are talking about the Asgardians - they aren't "gods" in the MCU. I'm confused by your point (if there is one).
Who is your favorite Avenger in the MCU?
 


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