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5E Epic Monsters: Rusalka

While out for a walk and reminiscing about your favorite Epic Monsters you spot something awry in the deep creek near your house. Is that a person caught beneath the current? It is! It’s a woman—and she’s beautiful, and beckoning to you to join her, and without thinking you march to your watery grave becoming yet another victim of the vengeful rusalka!


Oh golly we do like to have a little fun here.

Rusalka DnD 5e BANNER.jpg


The rusalka is a Slavic myth mostly about women killed in the water, turned into creatures consumed by a burning need for revenge and an obsession with murder (particularly killing men). That’s now how they once were however! In ages past rusalka were powerful nature gods that encouraged fertility, coming out of the waters every spring to bring essential moisture into the cropped fields. Then the 1800s rolled around and they became lethal, loud, and foul undead created when a woman takes her own life by drowning or otherwise dies in the water (with misogynistic motives, naturally). These beautiful golden-haired ladies wear sedge wreaths and are usually naked (covered by their long hair), spending most of their time hanging out together in riverbed crystal palaces until spring comes and they go around dancing and singing on the banks (returning after the first thunder).

Looking specifically in Poland (where rusalka are also called boginka, dziwożona, majka, moriana, water maiden, topielica, and wodiana), they show up for the new moon to kill off young men with relentless tickling and uncontrollable compulsions to dance—unless their victim could correctly answer a riddle first. Even though these rusalka are very much about killing dudes, they are also notably mean to girls as well (although not necessarily murderous). There’s some variation too as some rusalka associated with the woods (and have black-hair) or when they leave the material world they rise up into the sky.

Design Notes: An underwater visual-based Slavic siren—got it! The statblock below should be a quick enough swimmer to lure many adventurers to their watery deaths, hits most of the various mythological notes with Riddler (a fun and frustrating guessing game to throw into the combat), hideous laughter, and irresistible dance, and should be resilient enough to last long enough to deploy some of those abilities. Anyway let’s take a look at the numbers! The DMG cruises in at 5.75 and the Blog of Holding a more conservative 5.9166, and since this monster basically has some invisibility going on thanks to Enchanting Gaze this gets rounded up to 6.

Rusalka
Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 105 (14d8+42)
Speed 30 ft., swim 45 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
17 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
16 (+3)​
13 (+1)​
12 (+1)​
17 (+3)​
Skills Athletics +6, Insight +7, Perception +7, Stealth +8
Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 17
Languages Common
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Enchanting Gaze. When a creature that can see the rusalka’s face starts its turn within 30 feet of the rusalka, the rusalka can force it to make a DC 14 Charisma saving throw if the rusalka isn't incapacitated and can see the creature. On a failed save, the creature becomes charmed. While charmed in this way, the creature is compelled to directly approach, embrace, and show romantic affection for the rusalka regardless of any danger that may pose, including suffocation. When the charmed creature takes damage or at the end of every minute, it repeats the saving throw, ending the effect on a success.
Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the rusalka until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the rusalka in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

Innate Spellcasting. The rusalka's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14). The rusalka can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: hideous laughter
3/day each: irresistible dance, suggestion
Magic Resistance. The rusalka has advantage on saving throws made against spells and other magical effects.

Riddler. The rusalka spends a bonus action asking a creature a riddle. If the creature responds with silence or anything but the correct answer, for the next minute it takes an extra 7 (2d6) slashing damage whenever the rusalka hits it with a melee weapon attack. Once a creature has been asked a riddle by the rusalka, it is immune to this trait for the next 24 hours.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. The rusalka attacks three times with its claws.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 14).
 
Mike Myler

Comments


Coroc

Hero
While out for a walk and reminiscing about your favorite Epic Monsters you spot something awry in the deep creek near your house. Is that a person caught beneath the current? It is! It’s a woman—and she’s beautiful, and beckoning to you to join her, and without thinking you march to your watery grave becoming yet another victim of the vengeful rusalka!


Oh golly we do like to have a little fun here.

View attachment 125333

The rusalka is a Slavic myth mostly about women killed in the water, turned into creatures consumed by a burning need for revenge and an obsession with murder (particularly killing men). That’s now how they once were however! In ages past rusalka were powerful nature gods that encouraged fertility, coming out of the waters every spring to bring essential moisture into the cropped fields. Then the 1800s rolled around and they became lethal, loud, and foul undead created when a woman takes her own life by drowning or otherwise dies in the water (with misogynistic motives, naturally). These beautiful golden-haired ladies wear sedge wreaths and are usually naked (covered by their long hair), spending most of their time hanging out together in riverbed crystal palaces until spring comes and they go around dancing and singing on the banks (returning after the first thunder).

Looking specifically in Poland (where rusalka are also called boginka, dziwożona, majka, moriana, water maiden, topielica, and wodiana), they show up for the new moon to kill off young men with relentless tickling and uncontrollable compulsions to dance—unless their victim could correctly answer a riddle first. Even though these rusalka are very much about killing dudes, they are also notably mean to girls as well (although not necessarily murderous). There’s some variation too as some rusalka associated with the woods (and have black-hair) or when they leave the material world they rise up into the sky.

Design Notes: An underwater visual-based Slavic siren—got it! The statblock below should be a quick enough swimmer to lure many adventurers to their watery deaths, hits most of the various mythological notes with Riddler (a fun and frustrating guessing game to throw into the combat), hideous laughter, and irresistible dance, and should be resilient enough to last long enough to deploy some of those abilities. Anyway let’s take a look at the numbers! The DMG cruises in at 5.75 and the Blog of Holding a more conservative 5.9166, and since this monster basically has some invisibility going on thanks to Enchanting Gaze this gets rounded up to 6.

Rusalka
Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 105 (14d8+42)
Speed 30 ft., swim 45 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
17 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
16 (+3)​
13 (+1)​
12 (+1)​
17 (+3)​
Skills Athletics +6, Insight +7, Perception +7, Stealth +8
Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 17
Languages Common
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Enchanting Gaze. When a creature that can see the rusalka’s face starts its turn within 30 feet of the rusalka, the rusalka can force it to make a DC 14 Charisma saving throw if the rusalka isn't incapacitated and can see the creature. On a failed save, the creature becomes charmed. While charmed in this way, the creature is compelled to directly approach, embrace, and show romantic affection for the rusalka regardless of any danger that may pose, including suffocation. When the charmed creature takes damage or at the end of every minute, it repeats the saving throw, ending the effect on a success.
Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the rusalka until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the rusalka in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

Innate Spellcasting. The rusalka's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14). The rusalka can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: hideous laughter
3/day each: irresistible dance, suggestion
Magic Resistance. The rusalka has advantage on saving throws made against spells and other magical effects.

Riddler. The rusalka spends a bonus action asking a creature a riddle. If the creature responds with silence or anything but the correct answer, for the next minute it takes an extra 7 (2d6) slashing damage whenever the rusalka hits it with a melee weapon attack. Once a creature has been asked a riddle by the rusalka, it is immune to this trait for the next 24 hours.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. The rusalka attacks three times with its claws.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 14).
Love the riddler feat, I have to steal this for something, i cannot tell what yet, but I need to use this badly in one of my campaigns.
 

Cadence

Hero
Supporter
The rusalka is a Slavic myth mostly about women killed in the water, turned into creatures consumed by a burning need for revenge and an obsession with murder (particularly killing men). That’s now how they once were however! In ages past rusalka were powerful nature gods that encouraged fertility, coming out of the waters every spring to bring essential moisture into the cropped fields. Then the 1800s rolled around and they became lethal, loud, and foul undead created when a woman takes her own life by drowning or otherwise dies in the water (with misogynistic motives, naturally). These beautiful golden-haired ladies wear sedge wreaths and are usually naked (covered by their long hair), spending most of their time hanging out together in riverbed crystal palaces until spring comes and they go around dancing and singing on the banks (returning after the first thunder).
Woiuld you change much if you wanted to make them fey instead of undead?
 


imeannoharm

Dorkus
While out for a walk and reminiscing about your favorite Epic Monsters you spot something awry in the deep creek near your house. Is that a person caught beneath the current? It is! It’s a woman—and she’s beautiful, and beckoning to you to join her, and without thinking you march to your watery grave becoming yet another victim of the vengeful rusalka!


Oh golly we do like to have a little fun here.

View attachment 125333

The rusalka is a Slavic myth mostly about women killed in the water, turned into creatures consumed by a burning need for revenge and an obsession with murder (particularly killing men). That’s now how they once were however! In ages past rusalka were powerful nature gods that encouraged fertility, coming out of the waters every spring to bring essential moisture into the cropped fields. Then the 1800s rolled around and they became lethal, loud, and foul undead created when a woman takes her own life by drowning or otherwise dies in the water (with misogynistic motives, naturally). These beautiful golden-haired ladies wear sedge wreaths and are usually naked (covered by their long hair), spending most of their time hanging out together in riverbed crystal palaces until spring comes and they go around dancing and singing on the banks (returning after the first thunder).

Looking specifically in Poland (where rusalka are also called boginka, dziwożona, majka, moriana, water maiden, topielica, and wodiana), they show up for the new moon to kill off young men with relentless tickling and uncontrollable compulsions to dance—unless their victim could correctly answer a riddle first. Even though these rusalka are very much about killing dudes, they are also notably mean to girls as well (although not necessarily murderous). There’s some variation too as some rusalka associated with the woods (and have black-hair) or when they leave the material world they rise up into the sky.

Design Notes: An underwater visual-based Slavic siren—got it! The statblock below should be a quick enough swimmer to lure many adventurers to their watery deaths, hits most of the various mythological notes with Riddler (a fun and frustrating guessing game to throw into the combat), hideous laughter, and irresistible dance, and should be resilient enough to last long enough to deploy some of those abilities. Anyway let’s take a look at the numbers! The DMG cruises in at 5.75 and the Blog of Holding a more conservative 5.9166, and since this monster basically has some invisibility going on thanks to Enchanting Gaze this gets rounded up to 6.

Rusalka
Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 105 (14d8+42)
Speed 30 ft., swim 45 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
17 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
16 (+3)​
13 (+1)​
12 (+1)​
17 (+3)​
Skills Athletics +6, Insight +7, Perception +7, Stealth +8
Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 17
Languages Common
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Enchanting Gaze. When a creature that can see the rusalka’s face starts its turn within 30 feet of the rusalka, the rusalka can force it to make a DC 14 Charisma saving throw if the rusalka isn't incapacitated and can see the creature. On a failed save, the creature becomes charmed. While charmed in this way, the creature is compelled to directly approach, embrace, and show romantic affection for the rusalka regardless of any danger that may pose, including suffocation. When the charmed creature takes damage or at the end of every minute, it repeats the saving throw, ending the effect on a success.
Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the rusalka until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the rusalka in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

Innate Spellcasting. The rusalka's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14). The rusalka can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: hideous laughter
3/day each: irresistible dance, suggestion
Magic Resistance. The rusalka has advantage on saving throws made against spells and other magical effects.

Riddler. The rusalka spends a bonus action asking a creature a riddle. If the creature responds with silence or anything but the correct answer, for the next minute it takes an extra 7 (2d6) slashing damage whenever the rusalka hits it with a melee weapon attack. Once a creature has been asked a riddle by the rusalka, it is immune to this trait for the next 24 hours.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. The rusalka attacks three times with its claws.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 14).
Why do sexy women in fantasy never have my best interests in mind?
 

The Riddler idea is definite the highlight of this monster, very interesting idea and a great way to keep your puzzle people and your combat people equally entertained.
 



I used Rusalka in my 3.5 pirate campaign once, but I don't think I gave them stats back then. They were evil corrupted mermaids, who tried to lure humans to the water to drown them. My players still need to go back to that island and deal with the corruption, and with the Rusalka. While my players were there, the druid of the party also found out that he was destined to marry the daughter of the mermaid king, much to his own surprise. It was quite hilarious.
 

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