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D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Sea Witch

This entry in Epic Monsters is headed beneath the waves for a tentacled antagonist: the Sea Witch!

Sea Witch DnD 5E BANNER.jpg

Most people only know the animated rendition of the Little Mermaid done by the Haus of Maus, but like many of their other popular films that’s based on an old fairy tale, this one by a Danish fellow: Hans Christian Andersen. The stories are pretty similar so here we’ll consider the big differences:
  • The Little Mermaid has five sisters and when each is old enough they get a single visit to the water’s surface every year.
  • The prince has no idea at all that he was saved by the Little Mermaid.
  • Mermaids are soulless, live for three centuries, and turn into seafoam when they die.
  • No eels are required to get the Little Mermaid to visit the Sea Witch seeking a solution to her plight.
  • There’s no amulet! The Sea Witch gives the Little Mermaid a potion that gives her legs but takes away her voice, warning that she’ll never be able to return to the sea—plus she’ll be the best at dancing, albeit while she does it feels like she’s walking on knives. Finally, if she wants a soul the Little Mermaid has to win the prince’s love and marry him, and should he wed anyone else the next dawn her heart will break and she’ll turn into seafoam.
  • The prince is really into the Little Mermaid’s dancing and despite how it makes her suffer she dances for him aplenty, becoming a close companion, yet he doesn’t fall in love with her. Instead his parents set him up with an arranged marriage to a neighboring kingdom’s princess. The prince isn’t interested because he doesn’t love this princess, saving his heart for the woman from the temple that he thinks saved him from drowning—and the woman from the temple is the princess in question, sent there for her education!
  • It looks pretty bad as the wedding date nears and in the final hours the Little Mermaid’s sisters swim up to deliver a dagger they traded from the Sea Witch in exchange for their long beautiful locks. Should she use the blade to murder the prince and drip the blood on her feet she’ll become a mermaid again, but she can’t kill him in his sleep beside his new wife and instead flings herself into the sea as the sun rises, transforming into seafoam—though not as a mermaid usually dies, instead becoming an air spirit. Soon after she meets others like her, mermaids changed into daughters of the air instead of the sea because of their struggle to attain souls. With three centuries of good deeds, some day in the future she and her air-reborn brethren ascend to Heaven.

Design Notes: You could just use a sea hag but that’s no fun so we’re going to find a comfortable space between the Maus-version and Hans Christian Andersen’s original Sea Witch, starting off with the simple statistics for a merfolk. Next we’ll give her some Magic Resistance and darkvision, a smattering of skills to cover her knowledge, and tentacles—which she’s going to keep when she uses Change Shape. Past that the Sea Witch is getting some solid spellcasting, making her a formidable underwater foe. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG came in just a snip under 6, the Blog of Holding at 6.4166, averaging out to an easy CR of 6.

Sea Witch

Medium humanoid (merfolk), neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 71 (11d8+22)
Speed 10 ft., swim 40 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
12 (+1)​
16 (+3)​
15 (+2)​
16 (+3)​
17 (+3)​
15 (+2)​
Skills Arcana +9, Nature +9, Perception +6, Persuasion +5
Damage Resistances cold, necrotic, psychic
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Aquan, Common
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Amphibious. The Sea Witch can breathe air and water.

Magic Resistance. The Sea Witch has advantage on saving throws made against spells and other magical effects.

Spellcasting. The Sea Witch is an 8th level spellcaster that uses Wisdom as her spellcasting ability (spell save DC 14; +6 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following spells prepared:
Cantrips: dancing lights, druidcraft, eldritch blast, mage hand, sacred flame
1st-level (4 slots): charm person, command, magic missile, thunderwave
2nd-level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, mirror image, misty step, suggestion
3rd-level (3 slots): counterspell, dispel magic, lightning bolt
4th-level (2 slots): blight, control water, dimension door


ACTIONS
Multiattack. The Sea Witch casts a spell and attacks once with her tentacles.

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 12). Until this grapple ends, the Sea Witch can only use her tentacles to attack the grappled creature and has advantage on attack rolls to do so.

Change Shape. The Sea Witch magically polymorphs into a humanoid or beast that has a challenge rating equal to or less than her own, or back into her true form. She reverts to her true form if she dies. Any equipment she is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (the Sea Witch’s choice).
In a new form, the Sea Witch retains her game statistics, tentacles, and ability to speak, but her AC, movement modes, Strength, Dexterity, and special senses are replaced by those of the new form, and she gains any statistics and capabilities (except class features, legendary actions, and lair actions) that the new form has but that she lacks.


REACTIONS
Ink Cloud (1/Short Rest). A 5-foot-radius cloud of ink extends all around the Sea Witch if she is underwater. The area is heavily obscured for 1 minute, although a significant current can disperse the ink. After releasing the ink, the Sea Witch can use the Dash action as a bonus action.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

dave2008

Legend
I like it, and thank you for sharing! Can I make a little suggestion that I have been adding to my grapplers lately? Try adding this reaction:

Squeeze. If a creature ends its turn grappled by the Sea Witch, the Sea Witch can make a tentacles attack against the target with advantage.

Or something similar (could be auto damage). The grappled condition doesn't do a lot, but this reaction gives people extra incentive to use their action to try and get out of the grapple.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Rafael Martin

Adventurer
I still wait for you to do the ultimate writeup. A character that will have a very high CR. A figure that has been waiting lifetimes to be written up by a true artist. We all know who He is: YHWH!!!

Yahweh, name for the God of the Israelites, representing the biblical pronunciation of “YHWH,” the Hebrew name revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the Tetragrammaton.

Make it so!!!
 

dave2008

Legend
I still wait for you to do the ultimate writeup. A character that will have a very high CR. A figure that has been waiting lifetimes to be written up by a true artist. We all know who He is: YHWH!!!

Yahweh, name for the God of the Israelites, representing the biblical pronunciation of “YHWH,” the Hebrew name revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the Tetragrammaton.

Make it so!!!
I'm guessing Mike is not taking that one on, but don't worry. I will get to it eventually (got to get through the Greek and Norse gods first).
 


Mike Myler

Level Up is LIVE on Kickstarter and FUNDED!
I like it, and thank you for sharing! Can I make a little suggestion that I have been adding to my grapplers lately? Try adding this reaction:

Squeeze. If a creature ends its turn grappled by the Sea Witch, the Sea Witch can make a tentacles attack against the target with advantage.

Or something similar (could be auto damage). The grappled condition doesn't do a lot, but this reaction gives people extra incentive to use their action to try and get out of the grapple.

Just my 2 cents.
Just dropping it into the tentacles attack like an ankheg's bite. :)
 


dave2008

Legend
You should start with #1! Lol
Well I know more about Greek and Norse mythology so it is easier for me to start with those. I do have a broad idea of Yahweh's power level though (FYI, it is not #1).

I do have a question for you, since you seem to better versed on the subject than I am, should I call it:
  1. Yahweh
  2. YHWH
  3. Tetragrammaton
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Well I know more about Greek and Norse mythology so it is easier for me to start with those. I do have a broad idea of Yahweh's power level though (FYI, it is not #1).

I do have a question for you, since you seem to better versed on the subject than I am, should I call it:
  1. Yahweh
  2. YHWH
  3. Tetragrammaton
YHWH is the correct form, but personally I’d avise against doing it.
A) YWHA is a statement of transcendent eternity essentially “I AM Everything that will exist”
b) Any attempt is potentially going to offend, so best to avoid
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Spellcasting. The Sea Witch is an 8th level spellcaster that uses Wisdom as her spellcasting ability (spell save DC 14; +6 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following spells prepared:
Cantrips: dancing lights, druidcraft, eldritch blast, mage hand, sacred flame
1st-level (4 slots): charm person, command, magic missile, thunderwave
2nd-level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, mirror image, misty step, suggestion
3rd-level (3 slots): counterspell, dispel magic, lightning bolt
4th-level (2 slots): blight, dimension door.​

Overall a nice build, though I’m suprised there are no ‘water themed’ spells on the list - Control Water? Watery sphere?
 


dave2008

Legend
YHWH is the correct form, but personally I’d avise against doing it.
A) YWHA is a statement of transcendent eternity essentially “I AM Everything that will exist”
b) Any attempt is potentially going to offend, so best to avoid
Thank you for your response! To clarify, are you suggesting YWHA as an alternate to YHWH?

Yes, it will offend some if I include it and others if I don't. I just plan to be clear that this is a game and not a statement on reality or religion.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Sorry YWHA is my spelling mistake, Hebrew writing uses no vowels and the grammar does weird things (so YHWH = YHYH) plus noone actually knows how (or even if) the Tetragramaton was pronounced in ancient Hebrew as its actually a sentence not a single word - Moses asked the Voice what he should give as its name and the voice replied “ehye ’ăšer ’ehye” classically translated as “I Am that I Am” but equally valid translations are “I Will Be What I will be” or “I Am what Exists”

*‘ehye is the first person form of Hayah “to be/will be”
 

Rafael Martin

Adventurer
Thank you for your response! To clarify, are you suggesting YWHA as an alternate to YHWH?

Yes, it will offend some if I include it and others if I don't. I just plan to be clear that this is a game and not a statement on reality or religion.
Honestly the people who could be offended by a writeup of YHWH are probably not playing 5e D&D. I would really like to see how someone would writeup I AM THAT I AM. Mike has already written up three different versions of Lucifer. It's only fair that someone writeup the BIG GUY!
 

dave2008

Legend
Honestly the people who could be offended by a writeup of YHWH are probably not playing 5e D&D. I would really like to see how someone would writeup I AM THAT I AM. Mike has already written up three different versions of Lucifer. It's only fair that someone writeup the BIG GUY!
Unfortunately, I am sure there are people who will be offended on these forums, just as there are some who are offended by the depiction of Norse gods on these forums.
 

dave2008

Legend
Honestly the people who could be offended by a writeup of YHWH are probably not playing 5e D&D. I would really like to see how someone would writeup I AM THAT I AM. Mike has already written up three different versions of Lucifer. It's only fair that someone writeup the BIG GUY!
FYI, here is a link to the Divine Advancement Table that I am using. YHWH would be in the Overgod territory (Hierarch for you old BECMI people)
 


Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Honestly the people who could be offended by a writeup of YHWH are probably not playing 5e D&D. I would really like to see how someone would writeup I AM THAT I AM. Mike has already written up three different versions of Lucifer. It's only fair that someone writeup the BIG GUY!
Most "versions" of Lucifer are non-bliblical, and are not what a theologian understand this figure to be. Lucifer as depicted in art, pop culture, and especially Inferno is not a character from religious source material--but from secondary material.

I would be really uncomfortable depicting G-d as a monster or player character. The source material for the Tetragrammaton and The Great I-Am are actual religious concepts that would require extensive work to be used in an RPG. As a theologian, I can tell you that both the Tetragrammaton and The Great I-Am are both symbols indicating that the one being symbolized cannot be depicted.

If you wanted to do The Big Guy (not a biblical term (y)) nonetheless, I would refer to a pop-culture representation. Maybe Alanis Morisette in Dogma or Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty. Heck, you could also go old-school and go with the demiurge from Gnosticism. The idea in all of these being a degree of separation from present-day religious material. We can riff on Morgan Freeman as the ultimate divine power without making theological claims!
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
If you wanted to do The Big Guy (not a biblical term (y)) nonetheless, I would refer to a pop-culture representation. Maybe Alanis Morisette in Dogma or Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty. Heck, you could also go old-school and go with the demiurge from Gnosticism. The idea in all of these being a degree of separation from present-day religious material. We can riff on Morgan Freeman as the ultimate divine power without making theological claims!

Yeah I concur with this, and was thinking that a write up based on the Demiurge would be a better option - even moreso since the name Demogorgon is based on a 4th century mistranslation of Demiurgos into Latin
 

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