Kraken Variants


Might as well get started. Here's the relevant extract from Legends of the Hero-Kings (1996).

 The kraken the party encountered before is back . . . from the dead. It doesn’t matter whether the Heroes killed it before or not—if they did, it has been reanimated: if they didn’t, something else killed it and brought it back. This tortured, horrific creature bears only a frightening similarity to what it was before.
 The tentacles, once strong and firm, are now a mass of slime and exposed cartilage. Parts have gone rigid and are sharp as spears. Others only wave in the air angrily, casting a foul odor over the ship.
 The undead creature attacks with blinding speed. Before anyone can react, one of the smaller tentacles knifes through the air and into the chest of a luckless crewman.
 He didn’t even have time to scream.
 But now everyone else does.

Undead Kraken: AC 2/–1; MV Sw 2, Jet 18; HD 24; hp 134; THAC0 1; #AT 7; Dmg 2d8(×6)/7d4; SA spear tentacle, fear; SD +1 or better weapon to hit; SW turned as special; SZ G (90′ long); ML fanatic (18); Int non (0); AL N; XP 14,000.
 Notes: The undead kraken has lost the spell abilities, constriction attack, and ink jet it had as a living creature. However, it does have the following abilities:
 SA—If hit by a tentacle, the victim must succeed at a saving throw vs. paralyzation with a –2 penalty or be impaled. An impaled character suffers 4d10 points of additional damage. The victim can disengage himself from the impaling tentacle by severing it (with 18 points of damage) or by succeeding in a Strength ability check (while performing no other actions in the round).
 When the kraken appears, it causes every character to save vs. spell or panic for 2d8 rounds. Panicked characters will try to hide from the kraken, possibly diving into the sea on the other side of the ship.

 Whatever force or god punished the kraken did a good job . . . and the kraken will in turn do its best to punish the PCs. Though no longer intelligent, it is motivated by a vengeful hatred of the living.
 The undead kraken will attack characters and crew members indiscriminately. If it gets angry enough, it will try to crush the Wavecrest with its larger tentacles. This tactic could prove its undoing: The kraken’s larger tentacles apparently were cannibalized by its necromantic creator to repair damage to its smaller tentacles and body; its large tentacles are useless. The undead kraken could spend a round or two realizing this, leaving the PCs and crew time to escape or fight back.

The adventure's previous encounter (The First Trial) featured the kraken attacking the PC's ship back when it was alive. It's stats were those of a normal 2E Kraken with above average HP at 6 hp/die (although that's not unusual for published AD&D scenarios, which over give them better than the accurate 4½hp/die).

Kraken: AC 5/0; MV Sw 3, Jet 21; HD 20; hp 120; THAC0 5; #AT 9; Dmg 3d6(×2)/2d6(×6)/7d4; SA constriction, poison, spells: SD ink cloud; SZ G (90′ long; ML fanatic (18); Int genius (19); AL NE; XP 14,000.
 Notes: successful hit with a tentacle means the character has either one arm (01–25% left or 26–50% right) pinned, no arms (51–75%) pinned but is constricted, or both arms (76–100%) pinned. A constricted victim cannot cast spells but can use a weapon to attack the tentacle at a –1 modifier (or a –3 with one arm pinned). If both arms are pinned, the victim can do nothing.
 The kraken can spray a cloud of poisonous ink (usually to cover an escape) 80 feet high by 80 feet wide by 120 feet long. It does 2d4 points of damage to anyone coming in contact with it until it dissipates in two to five rounds.
 The kraken can also use spell-like powers. It can create airy water in a 120-yard sphere continuously, and can use the following abilities one at a time: faerie fire, control temperature, control winds once per day, weather summoning once per day, animal summoning III (fish only) three times per day.

So the undead version is a bit tougher with higher AC more Hit Dice and harpooning tentacles but has lost the ink and supernatural abilities of the living version, as well as being Mindless. Plus it's slightly slower.

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Okay, so we're obviously talking Gargantuan Undead (Aquatic) here.

First question is how many Hit Dice should it have? A Kraken has +20 BAB and 20d10+180 (290 hp) HD.

The Undead Version had 20% more hit points than its living kin, which'd be 348 hp. That'd require 53 Hit Dice which seems a bit excessive. Maybe grant it Unholy Toughness and a Kraken's Charisma 20 for 1d12+5 hp per HD, which require 20 HD?

Hmm, or give it Unholy Toughness, 48 HD and Charisma 12? That way its BAB would be 4 better than a regular Kraken's at +24, like the original's THAC0 1 is 4 better than a living Kraken's THAC0 5?

Let's see, 48d12+48 is 360 hp. Slightly over a 20% increase but close enough.

Strength and Dexterity can stay the same, Intelligence and Constitution become zero and I proposed Charisma 12 above.

That just leaves Wisdom. Maybe 12 in that too, since the SRD Kraken has the number in WIS as CHA?

I'm thinking the "harpoon arms" should do 2d6+12 damage or a half-step lower than an SRD Kraken's 2d8+12 tentacles, since the original's did 2d8 compared to the 3d6 of a live AD&D Kraken's 3d6 primary tentacles.

The "Harpoon" special attack can be worked out later.

I am seriously tempted to give its arms 40 ft. reach since they've been augmented with lengths from the missing tentacles plus impaling blades.


Extradimensional Explorer
I can't help but think these need a better name. Even something like zombie kraken would sound better.

I don't think I'd like to increase the HD all the way to 48. But wait, isn't Cha 20 Unholy Toughness an average of 11.5 hp/HD, so 20HD only gives 230 hp? We'd want 30 HD and Cha 20, which leads to 345hp. Does that sound ok to you?

Wis at 20 then?


I can't help but think these need a better name. Even something like zombie kraken would sound better.

Well there's uninspired alternatives like Death Kraken, but Birthright has a leaning towards Norse-based names so how about Krakendraugr?

I'd leave the original name in the title too, for "Krakendraugr (Undead Kraken)" despite it being an tautology since if my reading of Wikipedia is right Krakendraugr means something like Kraken Undead in Norse.

Does that work for you?


I don't think I'd like to increase the HD all the way to 48. But wait, isn't Cha 20 Unholy Toughness an average of 11.5 hp/HD, so 20HD only gives 230 hp? We'd want 30 HD and Cha 20, which leads to 345hp. Does that sound ok to you?

Wis at 20 then?

Dang it, that's a typo. Typed a 2 that should be a 3.

The paragraph was talking about increasing the HD and 20 HD is what a living Kraken has.

Won't edit the post to correct it, since that's just confuse the thread.

Will start a Working Draft…


Krakendraugr (Undead Kraken)
Gargantuan Undead (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 30d12+150 (345 hp)
Initiative: +10
Speed: Swim 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armor Class: 22 (–4 size, +2 Dex, +14 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +22/+52
Attack: Harpoon arm +32 melee (1d10+14 plus special/19-20)
Full Attack: 6 harpoon arms +32 melee (1d10+14 plus special/19-20) and bite +27 melee (4d6+7)
Space/Reach: 20 ft./15 ft. (40 ft. with harpoon arm)
Special Attacks: Expert grappler, harpoon arms, terrifying presence
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., jet [240 ft.], low-light vision, mindless, undead beast, undead traits, unholy toughness
Saves: Fort +17, Ref +19, Will +11
Abilities: Str 38, Dex 14, Con —, Int —, Wis 12, Cha 20
Skills: Swim +20
Feats: Blind-Fightᴮ, Improved Critical (harpoon arm)ᴮ, Superior Initiativeᴮ
Environment: Temperate aquatic
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 14
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: 31-48 HD (Gargantuan); 49-90 HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment:

A vast octopus or squid as big as a ship whose slimy body reeks of decay and ammonia. Its barrel-sized eyes are milky white like a dead fish but shine with malevolence. The creature is obviously a deliquescent corpse that moves by some unnatural agency. Its strangely mutilated tentacles have cruelly-hooked blades fused to their ends, tipping each leathery limb with a harpoon of hardened cartilage.

An undead cephalopod animated by some evil entity to become a mindlessly malevolent servant.

A krakendraugr only has six functional limbs. The two long tentacles of a living kraken have been stripped to stumps and the pieces grafted into its six shorter arms, turning them into barbed impaling weapons. These augmented arms are about 40 feet long.

Undead krakens cannot speak, but they understand commands given in any language. They have no intelligence, so their master's instructions must be very simple.

A krakendraugr mindlessly obeys the orders of whatever evil power created it. Left to its own devices it kills indiscriminately, prioritizing enemies that remind the undead kraken of grudges it held when it died. It fights until destroyed, harpooning opponents with its arms to drag into a bite attack. A krakendraugr only flees combat if compelled to by an outside power, so its jet ability is usually only used to pursue victims.

Expert Grappler (Ex): If a krakendraugr chooses to grapple an opponent but remain ungrappled itself it only takes a –10 penalty on its grapple checks instead of the normal –20 penalty. It may then make harpoon arm attacks as normal.

Jet (Ex): A krakendraugr can jet backward once per round as a full-round action, at a speed of 240 feet. It must move in a straight line, but does not provoke attacks of opportunity while jetting.

Harpoon Arms (Ex): A krakendraugr's harpoon arms deal piercing and slashing damage like a talon attack; each arm end in a steel-hard length of cartilage lined with cruel barbs. If a harpoon arm arm hits, the target must succeed at a DC 27 Reflex save or be harpooned. As long as it is impaled, the harpooned creature is considered to be grappled by the krakendraugr, takes a –2 penalty on its attack rolls, and is unable to leave the 40 foot reach of the harpoon arm. Each harpoon arm can only impale a single opponent at a time.

A harpoon arm that is impaling a creature can only attack that creature. Whenever the krakendraugr makes a harpoon arm attack against a harpooned creature it automatically inflicts 2d8+21 damage (halved if the creature makes a DC 27 Fortitude save) and can also opt to make an opposed grapple check to move the creature up to 20 feet and/or tear the harpoon arm out of the creature's flesh (see below). If the krakendraugr pulls a harpooned creature within range of its beak, it can make a bite attack as an Attack of Opportunity.

A creature, including the krakendraugr or one of its impaled victims, can pull a harpoon arm out of a harpooned creature by succeeding at a DC 24 Strength check, but each attempt deals 6d6 piercing and slashing damage to the harpooned creature (plus 2d8+21 damage if the krakendraugr is making a harpoon arm attack to attempt the removal). The harpooned creature is allowed a DC 27 Fortitude saving throw to take half damage. A krakendraugr can "take 10" on this Strength check to automatically succeed at ripping a harpoon arm free. A creature who takes a full-round action to try carefully extracting a harpooning arm makes both a DC 27 Heal check and a DC 24 Strength check. If they succeed at either check they pull out the harpoon arm (doing half damage if the Heal check succeeded, or one-third damage if the victim also made the DC 27 Fort save), and if they succeed at both checks they remove the harpoon arm without causing any damage. Krakendraugr never attempt Heal checks to reduce the damage caused by removing their harpoon arms.

The saving throws and Heal check are both Dexterity-based; the Strength check DC is 10 plus the Krakendraugr's strength modifier.

Mindless: No Intelligence score, and immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).

Terrifying Presence (Su): The mere sight of a krakendraugr causes living creatures to flee in panic for 2d8 rounds (negated by a DC 20 Will saving throw). The save DC is Charisma-based and includes a –10 racial penalty.

Undead Beast: Instead of having a good Will save and a base attack bonus equal to ½ its Hit Dice like a normal undead, a krakendraugr has good Fortitude and Reflex saves and a base attack bonus equal to ¾ total Hit Dice.

Unholy Toughness (Ex): A krakendraugr gains a bonus to its hit points equal to its Charisma modifier × its Hit Dice.

Skills: A krakendraugr has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Originally found in Legends of the Hero-Kings (1996) as "Undead Kraken".
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Feats: [some bonus feats ?]

I'm thinking Blind-Fight, Improved Critical (harpoon arm) and Improved Initiative to match the combat feats of the living version.

The encounter's description says it "attacks with blinding speed", so I'm tempted to give it Superior Initiative instead.


The encounter's description says it "attacks with blinding speed", so I'm tempted to give it Superior Initiative instead.

Upon reflection, how about we give it +4 to Dexterity just to mix it up a bit? That plus Improved Initiative as a bonus feat can account for the "blinding speed" described in the original Encounter.

A Skeleton get a +2 Dex but this undead kraken is a more powerful creature, so +4 Dex on par with a Vampire or Vampire Spawn seems more fitting. Even a Ghoul or Shadow have +4 racial adjustment to their Dexterity so it's not that outlandish.


Extradimensional Explorer
"Krakendraugr (Undead Kraken)" is good. If any Norse speakers want something more exotic sounding, they can use Undead Kraken. ;)

HD and hp look good now. Str 34, Wis 12 work for me too! And I assume you mean Dex 14 or 15, which is also fine.

Blind-Fight, Improved Critical (harpoon arm) and Improved Initiative bonus feats work.

I'm thinking about treating the harpoon like a grapple, except there's extra damage at the attack rather than constriction later. The DC to get out of the grapple should probably be fixed, but it should take some kind of action to get unstuck, which might as well be given by the grappled condition. What do you think?

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