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D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Mórrígan

Once more Epic Monsters delves into Irish legends and folklore, this time to tackle the shapechanging goddess of war: Mórrígan!

The Morrigan DnD 5e BANNER.jpg


The “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen”, a goddess of war and fate, doom, fertility, death or victory in battle, and also the earth and sovereignty—Morrígan is protective of her territory and people. Her primary worshipers were thought to be fianna, "bands of youthful warrior-hunters, living on the borders of civilized society and indulging in lawless activities for a time before inheriting property and taking their places as members of settled, landed communities." Indeed she’s said to have inspired warriors to be courageous, evoke fear in the hearts of their foes as they achieve victory, often appearing as a crow (the badb) that foreshadows the coming of death for a particular soul or flies overhead of a conflict to enhance or diminish a force’s confidence.

Morrígan is or may be a triple goddess of sorts (Badb, Macha and Nemain, or sometimes Anand, Badb, and Macha, or also Banba, Ériu, and Fódla). She first appears in the Ulster Cycle as part of Cú Chulainn’s myth (check out that post for some of the ways she messes with him), the Mythological Cycle, and Cath Maige Tuired ("The Battle of Magh Tuireadh"). Morrígan has sex with Dagda in the river Unius (or maybe she makes it; depends on your source) with the promise to summon Ireland’s magicians to help fight alongside the Tuatha Dé against the Fomorians and their king Indech. When battle commences she arrives and chants a poem that drives the Fomorians to the sea, then follows it up with another that prophesies the end of the world. Later on she lures a woman names Odras through the cave Cruachan and into the Otherworld, transforming the woman into a pool of water feeding into the River Shannon.

In Count Tipperary there’s a fulachtaí site (dug burning pit) called the “cooking pit of the Mórrígan” (Fulacht na Mór Ríoghna) thought to have been used by her followers, and in general these areas hold some tenuous connection to her mythology via the important sequence in Cú Chulainn’s demise where she tricks him into eating dogmeat. There’s also a pair of hills in County Meath called Dá Chích na Morrígna ("two breasts of the Mórrígan").

Design Notes: For our purposes Morrígan is going to just be a single entity rather than a triple manifestation—we’ll leave that up to GMs and keep it functionally as a matter of roleplaying. She’s got the means to throw down in a fight and shapechanging that’s about as good as it gets, although with the rest of her statistics I think it’s more likely that will be a narrative tool more than anything else. To cover the deity bit she’s a powerful spellcaster with a suite of battlefield spells at hand and then Legendary Actions to cover the whole “curse or inspire entire armies at once” shtick. With extra concentration and off-turn spellcasting however there’s no shortage of means for her to turn a large-scale armed conflict from defeat into victory. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG landed on 23.833 whereas the Blog of Holding was a much more conservative score of 20, averaging together to 21.9165 which we’re rounding up to Challenge Rating 22.

Morrígan

Medium fey, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 260 (40d8+80)
Speed 40 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
19 (+4)​
20 (+5)​
15 (+2)​
16 (+3)​
19 (+4)​
22 (+6)​
Saving Throws Con +9, Int +10, Wis +11
Skills Arcana +10, Deception +13, Insight +11, Nature +10, Perception +11, Stealth +12
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 21
Languages English, Gaelic, Sylvan
Challenge 22 (41,000 XP)

Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when Morrígan hits with it (included in the attack).

Epic Concentration. Morrígan is able to concentrate on up to 2 spells at the same time. If she fails a concentration check while concentrating on more than one spell, she loses both spells. In addition, while she is using one or more concentration spells Morrígan gains one extra bonus action each turn that can only be used to manipulate those spells.

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

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

Shapechange. Morrígan can use a bonus action to magically polymorph into a creature that has a challenge rating no higher than her own, or back into her true form. She reverts to her true form if she dies. Any equipment Morrígan is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (her choice).
In a new form, Morrígan retains her alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, proficiencies, Legendary Resistance, Spellcasting, legendary actions, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores, as well as this action. Her statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form, except any class features or legendary actions of that form.

Spellcasting. Morrígan is a 21st level spellcaster that uses Charisma as her spellcasting ability (spell save DC 21; +13 to hit with spell attacks). Morrígan has the following spells prepared:
Cantrips: chill touch, fire bolt, message, prestidigitation, ray of frost, spare the dying
1st-level (4 slots): cure wounds, fog cloud, shield, thunderwave
2nd-level (4 slots): blindness/deafness, hold person, invisibility, spiritual weapon
3rd-level (3 slots): bestow curse, call lightning, fear, revivify
4th-level (3 slots): blight, confusion, death ward, freedom of movement
5th-level (3 slots): cone of cold, greater restoration, scrying
6th-level (2 slots): circle of death, harm, heal
7th-level (2 slots): arcane sword, finger of death
8th-level (1 slots): power word stun
9th-level (1 slots): weird


ACTIONS
Multiattack. Morrígan attacks five times, or she casts a spell and attacks twice.

+1 Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8+5) magical slashing damage, or 16 (2d10+5) magical slashing damage if used with two hands..

+1 Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d8+6) magical piercing damage.


LEGENDARY ACTIONS
Morrígan can take 3 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. She regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.
  • Cast Spell (Costs 1 to 3 Actions). Morrígan casts a spell. Each spell level costs 1 legendary action.
  • Doomed Prophecy (Costs 2 Actions). Morrígan’s voice echoes in the minds of all creatures within 500 feet foretelling of doom to come. Until the start of her next turn, whenever a creature makes an attack roll or a saving throw, it must roll a d4 and subtract the number rolled from the attack roll or saving throw. In addition, if the result of the d20 roll is 16 or higher, a creature rolls a second d20 and uses the lower of the two rolls. Morrígan may choose to exclude any number of creatures from this effect.
  • Prophecy of Victory (Costs 2 Actions). Morrígan’s voice echoes in the minds of all creatures within 500 feet speaking of a victory that is imminent. Until the start of her next turn, whenever a creature makes an attack roll or a saving throw, it rolls a d4 and adds the number rolled to the attack roll or saving throw. In addition, if the result of the d20 roll is 5 or lower, a creature rolls a second d20 and uses the higher of the two rolls. Morrígan may choose to exclude any number of creatures from this effect.
 

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Mike Myler

Mike Myler


Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ KS ends April 22nd!
It’s The Morrigan, not just Morrigan.
This is true! For our purposes here though she's being treated as a single entity rather than the triple-combo that is more traditionally "The Mórrígan", so we're dropping the 'the' (also it's never "The Morrigan", it's "The Morrígan" or "The Mórrígan" or maybe "The Morrígu" or more modernly "The Mór-Ríoghain", but 'i' is only used in the backend of the latter, and otherwise it's always the 'í').
 

Mannahnin

Adventurer
Morrígan is or may be a triple goddess of sorts (Badb, Macha and Nemain, or sometimes Anand, Badb, and Macha, or also Banba, Ériu, and Fódla). She first appears in the Ulster Cycle as part of Cú Chulainn’s myth (check out that post for some of the ways she messes with him), the Mythological Cycle, and Cath Maige Tuired ("The Battle of Magh Tuireadh"). Morrígan has sex with Dagda in the river Unius (or maybe she makes it; depends on your source) with the promise to summon Ireland’s magicians to help fight alongside the Tuatha Dé against the Fomorians and their king Indech.

A very nice write-up! Obviously you can't include everything, but I might have mentioned her being married to the Dagda.

The Cath Maige Tuired:
"The Dagda had a house at Glenn Etin in the north. The Dagda was to meet a woman on a day, yearly, about Samain of the battle at Glen Etin. The Unish of Connacht calls by the south. The woman was at the Unish of Corand washing her genitals, one of her two feet by Allod Echae, that is Echumech, by water at the south, her other by Loscondoib, by water at the north. Nine plaits of hair undone upon her head. The Dagda speaks to her and they make a union. Bed of the Married Couple was the name of that place from then. She is the Morrigan, the woman mentioned particularly here." (trans. Daimler, 2018)
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ KS ends April 22nd!
A very nice write-up! Obviously you can't include everything, but I might have mentioned her being married to the Dagda.

The Cath Maige Tuired:
"The Dagda had a house at Glenn Etin in the north. The Dagda was to meet a woman on a day, yearly, about Samain of the battle at Glen Etin. The Unish of Connacht calls by the south. The woman was at the Unish of Corand washing her genitals, one of her two feet by Allod Echae, that is Echumech, by water at the south, her other by Loscondoib, by water at the north. Nine plaits of hair undone upon her head. The Dagda speaks to her and they make a union. Bed of the Married Couple was the name of that place from then. She is the Morrigan, the woman mentioned particularly here." (trans. Daimler, 2018)
Aye including everything is tough | looks nervously at the novella post for Cú Chulainn |
 


Corrosive

Adventurer
This is true! For our purposes here though she's being treated as a single entity rather than the triple-combo that is more traditionally "The Mórrígan", so we're dropping the 'the' (also it's never "The Morrigan", it's "The Morrígan" or "The Mórrígan" or maybe "The Morrígu" or more modernly "The Mór-Ríoghain", but 'i' is only used in the backend of the latter, and otherwise it's always the 'í').
I can’t easily type that symbol on my phone.
 


Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ KS ends April 22nd!
I can’t easily type that symbol on my phone.
I'm a luddite and just laboriously copy and paste it. The only keyboard commands I actually know are — (crazy useful) – (makes me look smarter than I am) and ™ (the first one I learned and apparently can't ever forget).
 

Quartz

Adventurer
Love the write-up!

I think she should have more than Cha 22. And perhaps Reliable Talent with Deception?

Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when Morrígan hits with it (included in the attack).

Can I suggest a tweak to this: roll the damage dice with advantage. That is, apply advantage to the d12 / d8 / whatever roll. It works out to about +2 damage on average but keeps the maximum lower.
 


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