5E Epic Monsters: Mothman

Epic Monsters is off to the valleys of West Virginia today, chasing after a furry flying cryptid known in the region as the Mothman!

Mothman 5e banner.jpg


This is a recent myth in American folklore borne out of old Cold War paranoia and an unhealthy amount of superstition. In November 1966 there are two sightings (first some gravediggers and then two couples from Point Pleasant) of a man-like shape flying low, a large, gray, red-eyed creature with 10-foot wings. Then all of a sudden everyone with a telephone happens to see it! The scientific community places the blame on this or that bird managing to fly out of their migratory patterns, but after the ruinous collapse of the Silver Bridge (an event that claimed the lives of 46 people) the mothman becomes inextricably tied to the tragedy. To really get the lowdown you need to visit the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia USA. It’s definitely, definitely not a hoax!

Design Notes: There’s as much explanation of what the Mothman is capable of doing as there is solid evidence for its existence—which is to say not much—so I’ve opted to focus on making it a fun, unique monster. The application of fire quickly incinerates the mothman just like a moth, but unlike an insect it is a source of immense knowledge for anyone able to understand its bizarre psyche and just trying to hit it will be a disappointing endeavor. Getting this to work with a precognition angle was difficult and meant a lot of number tweaking, but with low enough hit points, AC (remember that 10 is effectively a 15 thanks to Foresight), and attack bonuses (effectively +8 to hit) it managed to fit into CR 4. The DMG landed Mothman here at 4.1875 and the Blog of Holding at 5.2083333, which averages out to 4.69 and change.

Mothman
Medium aberration, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 42 (5d8+20)
Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
13 (+1)​
15 (+2)​
18 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
17 (+3)​
12 (+1)​
Skills Athletics +5, Perception +7, Stealth +6, Survival +5
Damage Vulnerabilities acid, fire, lightning, thunder
Damage Resistances cold, poison, psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened
Senses blindsight 40 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 22
Languages Common, telepathy 100 ft.
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Electrical Interference. The mothman’s potent psionic energies create a roil in the air, disrupting the senses of mortal creatures and causing metal to behave erratically within 100 feet of it. Any creature within the aura and wielding a heavy weapon made of metal takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls. A creature wearing heavy metal armor within the aura reduces its speed by half. In addition, the mothman is immune to magic missile.

Evasion. If the mothman is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the mothman instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

Flyby. The mothman doesn't provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemy's reach.

Foresight. The mothman can’t be surprised and has advantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. Additionally, other creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against it. Unlike normal, if an attacking creature would have advantage twice or more (such as from true strike while making a melee attack against a prone mothman) the attacking creature has advantage.

Innate Spellcasting. The mothman’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 13). The mothman can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
Constant: tongues
At will: guidance, detect evil and good, detect magic, detect poison and disease
3/day each: augury, dream, identify, detect thoughts, fear, locate animals or plants, locate object, speak with animals
1/day each: arcane eye, clairvoyance, divination, locate creature, phantasmal killer
1/week each: commune, commune with nature, contact other plane, legend lore, scrying
1/month each: find the path, true seeing

Prodigious. The mothman counts as Large-sized when determining its carrying capacity.

Siege Monster. The mothman deals double damage to objects and structures.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. The mothman attacks twice: once with its claws and once with its wings.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6+1) slashing damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 11).

Wing. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4+1) bludgeoning damage.
 
Last edited:
Mike Myler

Comments

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
Oh, jeez, the Mothman. For some reason this urban legend gave me nightmares like no other when I was a small child. If I'd statted it it'd be a CR 30 terror.

Given the creature's (vividly remembered) propensity for clawing through steel structures, I'd let it have Siege Monster or ignore object damage thresholds or in some other way say to PCs, "You are not safe behind a locked door".
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Oh, jeez, the Mothman. For some reason this urban legend gave me nightmares like no other when I was a small child. If I'd statted it it'd be a CR 30 terror.

Given the creature's (vividly remembered) propensity for clawing through steel structures, I'd let it have Siege Monster or ignore object damage thresholds or in some other way say to PCs, "You are not safe behind a locked door".
I can dig it. Done!
 

dave2008

Hero
Man Mike - your on fire! Are these coming more frequently or am I just out of touch? Regardless, in general a great entry and thank you for sharing. I would suggest giving it some type of special attack or action. Maybe a flyby attack trait or something similar?
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Man Mike - your on fire! Are these coming more frequently or am I just out of touch? Regardless, in general a great entry and thank you for sharing. I would suggest giving it some type of special attack or action. Maybe a flyby attack trait or something similar?
Also digging it (limiting the number of attacks on this thing -> bueno). Done!
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Almost off-topic. I have bought a book for my 8y niece as gift for the next Christmas.

Atlas of Monsters: Mythical Creatures of the World by Sandra Lawrence



After reading it I can advice it as source of inspiration to create your own monsters. Creatures from folklore are public domain and you haven't to worry about copyright.

I was thinking about dokkaebi (Korean goblins) as (living construct+fae?) PC race. And the picture of the Butatsch-al-Ilgs is like a D&D beholder.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
I like!

I had a mothman as a recurring element in a Pathfinder campaign I ran about 6 years ago; whenever the PCs would camp in the wilderness, whoever was on watch would sometimes see one at random times out of the corner of their eye, and once the whole party saw one standing on a hill above them, outlined by the full moon.

That campaign ended with the party stranded on the moon in a teleportation circle of ancient standing stones, in the shadow of a colossal figure shackled to the lunar surface with adamantine chains, in the midst of a battle between Flumphs and Mi-Go.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I you are going to write up an American folklore epic monster I am surprised you have not done the Sasquatch. Also known as Bigfoot.
How surprised would you say you are? Are we just talking "raise an eyebrow" or is it more "run out of the room screaming in shock and confusion" levels of surprise?
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
I you are going to write up an American folklore epic monster I am surprised you have not done the Sasquatch. Also known as Bigfoot. View attachment 114842
Of the things I could choose from Bigfoot/Sasquatch feels largely covered already by the yeti (maybe swap a feature or two) or giant ape. Maybe it'll get a build all of its own eventually but I'll probably look for more definitely-not-in-the-SRD-already candidates before that happens.

Edit: Also see Grendel.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Mothman as creature appears in d20 Menace.

1571161751171.png


My suggestion is to rescue from the oblivion stories and monsters from the popular folklore, and I don't mean only British isles and North Europe, but also Latin countries and East Europe. We have a mythology really rich.

And in the next year lots of works of speculative fiction will be public domain. This means they could be recycled, better to be forgotten.
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
1571171357267.png


This is the current list (the only two yet to post are the Mongolian Death Worm and Orang-Bati). The Epic Monsters queue definitely needs more suggestions so toss them up here! :D
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
View attachment 114884

This is the current list (the only two yet to post are the Mongolian Death Worm and Orang-Bati). The Epic Monsters queue definitely needs more suggestions so toss them up here! :D
Mike I am surprised that you have not yet written up Frankenstein's Monster. I know in the novel he is referred to as The Creature, but you know what I mean. He is much more than just a flesh golem.
1571174523796.png
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Mike I am surprised that you have not yet written up Frankenstein's Monster. I know in the novel he is referred to as The Creature, but you know what I mean. He is much more than just a flesh golem. View attachment 114886
Not sure I can use the iconic neck-bolt but I've found something to go on the banner so--your wish shall be granted!

Also since it's not a Mythological Figure I can make use of the abomination archetype for the occultist to stat him out (the creature did inspire it after all). Muahahaha!
 

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