Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!
Monster October continues! We’ve seen The Lingering Havoc, the blazing wraith, the icebreaker shark, and the gaping maw come to life in the fifth edition rules. Now it’s time to bring another legendary creature to life – the sand kraken.
If you missed the first post on the sand kraken, I can give you the basics. It’s a kraken which prefers the arid climate of the desert and swims through seas of sand. In Exploration Age, sand krakens are obsessed with gathering items of great power, so they may stalk a party of well-equipped adventurers. They also attack large caravans worthy of their enormous appetites. They do not revel in destruction the way their aquatic kin might, but they also have no mercy or sympathy for what they believe are lesser beings – which is pretty much everyone, except for another kraken and ancient dragons. Some say the sand krakens are planning something terrible with their gathering of powerful items, but no one currently has any idea.
Playing in the Sand
For the most part, the sand kraken is a reskin of the awesome kraken in the Monster Manual. It’s got many of the same attributes and abilities. The sand kraken trades swimming for burrowing and has a few different signature powers, but a lot of it’s statistics are the same.
Where things get different for the sandy variety of kraken is in the lair design and regional effects. It was my first time creating lair actions and regional effects in 5e, so take a look and let me know your thoughts!
A Sand Kraken’s Lair
A sand kraken lives in deep desert caves filled with deep sand. Buried within these sandy caves is the sand kraken’s vast hoard of magic items and the bones of its former meals.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the sand kraken takes a lair action to cause one of the following magical effects.
- A 60-foot radius sand storm appears centered on the kraken and lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round. That area is lightly obscured and difficult terrain to creatures other than the sand kraken.
- Hands made of solid sand grasp enemies of the sand kraken. Creatures must succeed at a DC 23 Strength saving throw or become grappled and restrained. The hands last until initiative count 20 on the next round.
- Shards of bone erupt from the sand. All creatures within 120 feet of the sand kraken must succeed on a DC 23 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
The region containing a sand kraken’s lair is warped by the creature’s evil presence, creating the following magical effects:
- The sand kraken can create massive sand storms within a 6-mile radius of its lair. These storms lightly obscure the area, cause disadvantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks, and create difficult terrain.
- Earth elementals coalesce within a 6 miles of the lair. These elementals have Intelligence and Charisma scores of 1 (-5).
- Insect, arachnid, and reptillian creatures within 6 miles of the lair that have an Intelligence score of 2 or lower are charmed by the sand kraken and aggressive toward intruders in the area.
When the sand kraken dies, all of these regional effects fade immediately.
Gargantuan monstrosity (titan), lawful evil
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 472 (27d20 + 189)
Speed 20 ft., burrow 60 ft.
|30 (+10)||11 (+0)||25 (+7)||22 (+6)||18 (+4)||20 (+5)|
Saving Throws Str +18, Dex +8, Con +15, Int +14, Wis +12
Damage Immunities fire; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities frightened, paralyzed
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive perception 14
Languages understands Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal, and Primordial but can’t speak, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)
Freedom of Movement. The sand kraken 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 the sand kraken fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
Siege Monster. The sand kraken deals double damage to objects and structures.
Multiattack. The sand kraken makes three tentacle attacks, each of which it can replace with one use of Fling.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 23 (3d8 + 10) piercing damage. If the target is a Large or smaller creature grappled by the sand kraken, that creature is swallowed, and the grapple ends. While swallowed, the creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the sand kraken, and it takes 42 (12d6) acid damage at the start of each of the sand kraken’s turns.
If the sand kraken takes 50 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the sand kraken must succeed on a DC 25 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all the swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the sand kraken. If the sand kraken dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone.
Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +18 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d6 + 10) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained. The sand kraken has ten tentacles, each of which can grapple on target.
Fling. One Large or smaller object held or creature grappled by the sand kraken is thrown up to 60 feet in a random direction and knocked prone. If a thrown target strikes a solid surface, the target takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown. If the target is thrown at another creature, that creature must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone.
Fire Storm. Fire erupts from the sand kraken. Every creature within 60 feet of the sand kraken must make a DC 23 Dexterity saving throw, taking 19 (3d12) fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.
The sand kraken can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The sand kraken regains all spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Tentacle Attack or Fling. The sand kraken makes one tentacle attack or it uses Fling.
Fire Storm (Costs 2 Actions). The sand kraken uses Fire Storm.
Dominate Person (Costs 2 Actions). The sand kraken casts dominate person (DC 21).
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Which is your favorite monster so far?
If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!
October 16, 2014 @ 9:55 am
I think it’s weird that such a creature would have dominate person. Maybe fear (with a high DC save) because of the scope of the creature. On the other hand, I think maybe it would attract followers naturally, as locals would see it as a force of nature, and thus have followers
On the other hand in addition to the monster, an event chart would be helpful (to tell how often insects and earth elementals would show up). To that end I would propose the following d12
1. Sand dwellers
2. Merchant Caravan
3. a swarm of locusts
4 2d4+1 giant monstrous spiders
5. 2d4+2 Sand kraken cultists, + 1d4 Sand kraken sacrifices
7. 1d6+2 Lizards
8. 1d3+1 Earth Elemental
11. Baby Sand Kraken (half the stats of the adult)
12. Roll twice.
Also you need to change the text from “wandering havoc” in the above text to sand kraken
October 16, 2014 @ 10:00 am
Hey Jesse, good call on that typo! Thanks for catching it!
I don’t think it’s too weird for a kraken to have a domination power! It’s will is irresistible! I traded that for the Ink Cloud power in the MM. I do think a sand kraken would still attract cultists and followers and the like. The DC is just 8 + proficiency (8) + Charisma.
I love the insect and elemental chart. That is a great idea!
October 16, 2014 @ 10:05 am
A sand based similar idea to an ink cloud would be to have a blinding attack with sand. Maybe something like a super storm paralyzing its prey in front of it, making it impossible to breahe… or escape.
October 16, 2014 @ 10:48 am
I thought of that, but the lair already has a sand storm ability and it has a fire AOE, so I wanted to give it something a little different than ink cloud, which is how I landed on dominate person. I missed the magical effects of the 3.5 kraken so I wanted to bring some of that in!
October 16, 2014 @ 10:19 am
Are you starting your campaign at 20th level or something?
October 16, 2014 @ 10:49 am
Hahahaha! I’m not. They’re currently level 3, but this is a creature mentioned in the lore of the world so I’m making it now. The blazing wraith, the young gaping maw, and the icebreaker shark (and a few others to come) are all lower level monsters I have created.
October 16, 2014 @ 11:53 pm
Love the Sand Kraken! Everything about works well together and makes sense with the concept you’ve created. There are a couple of things that may help this monster out a bit more though.
For instance, the way it is now, it has no way of seeing its prey while underground and is negatively affected by its own sandstorms. An easy and logical solution might be to give it a tremorsense of a reasonable amount, which makes sense considering how connected it appears to be with its habitat. Another thing I think might be nice is an optional spellcasting mechanic. After all, if dragons can do it, why can’t the INT 22 Kraken?
Anyway, these are just a few suggestions that really don’t matter, but may be nice in order to add some flavor. Again, love the stuff you’ve been putting out lately! The stat blocks are really nice to have now that you have monsters to base them on. Keep up the great work!
October 17, 2014 @ 8:59 am
Blindfight would also make sense, as it would be attacking mostly from underground.
October 17, 2014 @ 9:11 am
I could definitely add the kraken not being affected by sand storms outside its lair (since the ones in its lair it isn’t affected by). Blindsight and tremorsense arereally good ideas. I like the idea of an optional spellcasting mechanic as well, bringing it back to old school kraken. Thanks for all this feedback!
October 19, 2014 @ 12:20 pm
On the flip side, maybe the sand kraken hordes magical items of power precisely because it cannot cast spells! That would be pretty frustrating, being so smart with no magic.
October 19, 2014 @ 5:05 pm
Cool idea for sure! I wish I had magic too! I’m not as smart as a kraken, but still.