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D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Níðhöggr

You might have thought the apocalypse was behind us but we’re hanging out near the trunk of Yggdrasil today on Epic Monsters, chewing away at the roots with another of the great Norse serpents: Níðhöggr!

Níðhöggr DnD 5E BANNER.jpg


Quick Note: Speaking of Norse mythology this column has two other scaly baddies (Jörmungandr and Fafnir), the Allfather Odin, his boy Thor, the mischievous Loki, stalking Fenrir, dismal Hel, and fiery Brünnhilde.

Traditionally known as Níðhǫggr (or the anglicized Nidhogg), this serpent gnaws on the roots of Yggdrasil because these form the prison keeping it from the world. Atop of the world tree sits a great eagle that represents wisdom and virtue—Níðhöggr reviles it, trading insults and threats by way of the squirrel Ratatoskr running messages between them. This figures into the balanced and cyclical nature of the greater Norse mythology, whatever damage the two inflict on Yggdrasil healed by water from the wells of Urd. Within the wyrm’s lair is Náströnd (aka Nadastrond or the much cooler Shore of Corpses), a hall made from woven serpents and dripping with venom from its ceiling where adulterers, murderers, and perjurers go in the afterlife (that is at least after the Christians got involved). When Ragnarok is finally nigh it will be known because Níðhöggr will finish chewing through the roots, causing the world tree to wither and bringing about a 3 year long winter for all, at which point the serpent will fly out from the underworld to wage war upon the gods of Asgard.

Design Notes: From the lore it seems like Níðhöggr is even bigger than Jörmungandr so this wyrm’s got more hit points, more Strength, and a tail attack that hits an even larger area. Since it’s also known as “Curse-Striker” its claws can inflict special woes on its foes, and it’s getting a little more ground-related love with Tunneler and a faster recharge on the World Tremors trait from its smaller counterpart. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG is on the low side with 24.83, and the Blog of Holding’s 26.83 seems more accurate. That averages not too far from 26 so for Níðhöggr we’re rounding up (its attack bonuses are just so gosh darn high it seems only sensible).

Níðhöggr

Gargantuan monstrosity, chaotic evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 615 (30d20+300)
Speed 90 ft., burrow 60 ft., climb 90 ft., fly 60 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
30 (+10)​
11 (+0)​
30 (+10)​
13 (+1)​
22 (+6)​
21 (+5)​
Saving Throws Int +9
Damage Resistances cold, fire; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing
Damage Immunities poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, stunned
Senses darkvision 300 ft., truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Old Norse
Challenge 26 (90,000 XP)

Damage Threshold. Níðhöggr does not take damage from an attack, spell, or other effect that deals 10 points or less of bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage (calculated after resistances).

Freedom of Movement. Níðhöggr ignores difficult terrain, and magical effects can't reduce its speed or cause it to be restrained. It can spend 5 feet of movement to escape from nonmagical restraints or being grappled.

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

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

Magic Weapons. Níðhöggr’s weapon attacks are magical.

Ponderous Tail. Whenever Níðhöggr makes a Colossal Tail attack, its attack does not strike until the end of its next turn. If the target of its attack has moved out of the area Níðhöggr misses the target but may hit other creatures or objects still in the area.

Regeneration. Níðhöggr regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn. If Níðhöggr takes radiant damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of its next turn. Níðhöggr dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.

Siege Monster. Níðhöggr deals double damage to objects and structures.

Too Big. Níðhöggr’s movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.

Tunneler. Níðhöggr can burrow through solid rock at half its burrow speed and leaves a 50-foot-diameter tunnel in its wake.

World Tremors (Recharge 4–6). Níðhöggr can use a bonus action to innately cast earthquake (save DC 22) without the need for material components, somatic components, or concentration.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. Níðhöggr attacks once with its bite, twice with its claws, and once with its colossal tail.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 35 ft., one target. Hit: 43 (6d10+10) piercing damage. If the target is a creature that takes more than 75 damage from this attack, it makes a DC 26 Constitution saving throw or is stunned until the start of Níðhöggr’s next turn.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 32 (4d10+10) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it makes a DC 22 Charisma saving throw or becomes cursed. Randomly determine one ability score by rolling a d6: 1—Strength, 2—Dexterity, 3—Constitution, 4—Intelligence, 5—Wisdom, 6—Charisma. While cursed, the target has disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws made with that ability score. At the end of each of its turns, the target can repeat the saving throw, ending the curse on a success.

Colossal Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 150 ft., multiple targets more than 30 feet away from Níðhöggr (150-foot cone centered on one target; roll separately for each creature and object in the area). Hit: 42 (5d12+10) bludgeoning damage and the target makes a DC 26 Strength saving throw or is knocked prone.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

Voadam

Legend
I like the concept of the ponderous tail that gets started one round and hits the next but things might have moved.

Not exactly sure how the tail cone area of effect actually works though. "multiple targets more than 30 feet away from Níðhöggr (150-foot cone centered on one target; roll separately for each creature and object in the area)"

So is it a 150-foot cone starting at Níðhöggr but things within 30 feet are safe?
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
I like the concept of the ponderous tail that gets started one round and hits the next but things might have moved.

Not exactly sure how the tail cone area of effect actually works though. "multiple targets more than 30 feet away from Níðhöggr (150-foot cone centered on one target; roll separately for each creature and object in the area)"

So is it a 150-foot cone starting at Níðhöggr but things within 30 feet are safe?
Yup D&D 5E - Epic Monsters: Jörmungandr
 



Quartz

Adventurer
Ponderous Tail. Whenever Níðhöggr makes a Colossal Tail attack, its attack does not strike until the end of its next turn.

I'm not a fan of this wording because the time of the beastie's next turn is variable - it could be the next round or it could be pretty much immediately thanks to a Reaction or Legendary Action. How about having it occur on initiative count 1, losing all ties? Sort of like a Lair Action.
 


I'm not a fan of this wording because the time of the beastie's next turn is variable - it could be the next round or it could be pretty much immediately thanks to a Reaction or Legendary Action. How about having it occur on initiative count 1, losing all ties? Sort of like a Lair Action.
It currently doesn’t have legendary actions and reactions are off turn. Next turn is clear in this instance. In fact, LA don’t change that either.
 


Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
I noticed legendary resistance, but no legendary actions?

As always thank you for sharing.
Nah just the delayed tail, and then cursed strikes each turn, and bonus action earthquakes every other turn. Hit my limit on tracking and whenever possible I like to line things up design-wise (so like his watery bro --> no LAs).
 


Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
Reactions are definitely on-turn, as any rogue trying a Sneak Attack will tell you.
Sneak Attack doesn't require a reaction. It is once a turn and not round though (so a rogue can Sneak Attack on their turn, and then also when an opponent provokes an opportunity attack on its turn).

And you can technically use reactions at any point so long as the trigger for it (the trigger you are reacting to) happens, even when it occurs on your turn, but that's pretty rare.
 

Reactions are definitely on-turn, as any rogue trying a Sneak Attack will tell you.
You can use a reaction on turn, but that is not a requirement. AoO reactions and LA are off-turn

from the SRD:

“Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction. A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else's. The opportunity attack is the most common type of reaction.”
 

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