The Dire Porcupine


Demon Lord
Dire Porcupine
Medium-Size Animal
Hit Dice: 3d8+9 (22 hp)
Initiative: +1 (Dex)
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 17 (+1 Dex, +6 natural)
Attacks: 1d6 quills +4 melee; or bite +4 melee, 1d4 quills -1 melee
Damage: Quill 1d4+3; bite 1d4+2, quill 1d4+1
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Quills
Special Qualities: Scent
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +2
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11
Skills: Hide +7, Listen +11

Climate/Terrain: Temperate, warm, and cold forest, plains, and hills
Organization: Solitary or pack (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 4-7 HD (Medium-size); 8-9 HD (Large)

The dire porcupine ranges in size from 4 to 6 feet and can weigh up to 450 pounds. When the porcupine is relaxed, the hair and quills lie flat and point toward the rear of its body. When threatened, it draws up the skin of the back to expose quills facing all directions.

Dire porcupines are passive until threatened. When faced with possible combat, the dire porcupine raises the quills on its body, spins around smashing an opponent with its quill-covered tail as it does. Dire porcupines can bite an opponent, but rarely do. If it does bite an opponent, 1d4 quills break off from its body and lodge in the opponent’s body (see text below).

Quills (Ex): When the dire porcupine strikes with its tail, it dislodges 1d6 quills that automatically break off and lodge in the opponent’s flesh. A lodged quill imposes a –1 circumstance penalty to attacks, saves, and checks. Each 1 minute thereafter the quill moves deeper into the opponent’s flesh dealing 1d2 additional points of damage. Removing the quill takes 1 full round and deals 1d6 additional points of damage. If the quill has been embedded for more than 10 rounds, a Strength check at DC 10 is needed to remove the quill. For every minute after that, the DC to remove a lodged quill increases by +1.
An unarmed or touch attack against a dire porcupine causes 1d4 quills to break off and lodge in the attacker.

Skills: Dire porcupines receive a +4 racial bonus to Listen checks.
Last edited:

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Gish Makai

First Post
Oh God!

I don't even want to go into why I hate porcupines in gaming. I actually lost a character because he decided he wanted to capture one. 'Needle'less to say, he didn't fare well.


Demon Lord
Actually- this "little" guy will be popping up in a Necromancer product in the near future.

I will probably go back and redo a few things about it (namely the attacks as I think 1d8 quills may be a little too much for this guy).

Anyway- just wanted to post it, to get everyone's thoughts, opinions, criticisms, etc. :)


I'd get rid of the dual stats for tail strike attack and quill attack; the quills cause the damage from a tail strike after all (keep the tail strike values & dispense with the quill damage).
Also...give him a bite attack.



Demon Lord
OK- editted the original post with some new stats and reduced numbers. I think I like this one much better. The original was a little overpowered.


Grazzt said:

Do porcupines bite?

Porcupines eat bark & other tree "stuff" --- they've got bigger teeth than beavers. And yes, if you're getting a porcupine riled up, and the tail isn't handy -- they'll bite.

They've also got huge claws, but I can't see any way for porcupines to use them for fighting.



Alright, here are a few more thoughts. As always, these are just suggestions.

Without changing any stats, increase the size from 4'-7' to 5'-8', and the weight to 550lbs. Normal porcupines can reach 3' (nose to tail) without too much trouble (at least Bob, the Hingham Wildlife Rescue Center's resident porcupine did). It puts it in the same "dire" category as the badger, and I think porcupines are actually bigger than badgers (could be wrong though).

I'd also suggest changing STR to 16 (or even 18?), and dropping DEX to 10 or 8. The only quick thing about porcupines are their tails -- there's no way one should get a Dexterity bonus to AC. Those muscles, however, have to haul that 500 lb porcupine up trees every day....

The porcupines I've run into in the wild seem to have a sort of "trigger mechanism". If confronted, the porcupine raises its quills and waddles like heck towards something safe. The tail comes into action if anything touches the porcupine -- the tail instantly smacks around. The porcupine usually doesn't even look around.

Don't know if that's helpful, but what the heck.



Demon Lord
Points well taken Nellisir and fixed (on my end). I may post the updated version of this guy a little later. Gotta playtest him for a bit and see how it works out.


Nellisir said:
(at least Bob, the Hingham Wildlife Rescue Center's resident porcupine did)...

...dropping DEX to 10 or 8.

Actually, it's the New England Wildlife Rescue Center in Hingham,'s been awhile since I thought about it...

The coda to the "Bob" bit is that Bob moved so slowly, it took us a few hours to notice when he died. He used to roam the halls of the Center (sort of a random CR 1/8 trap, though he was quite friendly and liked to be petted), and slept the hallways. We just walked around him. The day he died, we didn't realize it until we went to put him back in his cage for the night.


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