Adding Aberrations – Dimensional Shambler
Quick announcement: The meaty World Builder Blog posts will now come every Thursday, since episodes of Have Spellbook, Will Travel drop on Wednesdays and I don’t want to overload you.
Time for even more aberrations!
A few weeks ago I made the case for needing more high challenge rating aberrations than the ones in the Monster Manual for my soon-to-be-published Exploration Age campaign setting. There’s only 19 total aberration stat blocks in the book, and the highest CR is 14 (beholder in lair), so you might want some more aberrations for your world too! That’s why I’m sharing them on this blog.
In that post I showed off the Lovecraft-inspired moonbeast. Then in a later post I presented my hound of Tindalos and after that my gug. In this post I’m showing off my fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons version of the dimensional shambler!
Dimensional shamblers are 5-foot tall hairless beasts of humanoid form. Tight grey and red skin binds their unnerving crouched form. Their hands sport cruel claws and their almost simian head can open terrifyingly wide to reveal rows of canine teeth. Very little is known about their motivations, but theories abound.
Hunters of Intelligent Life. Dimensional shamblers cross the multiverse using their innate plane-shifting abilities looking for prey. While no one is certain what exactly attracts shamblers to a particular prey, they seem to be drawn to intelligent humanoids who use magic to travel to and summon creatures from other planes. While such victims appear to be a shambler’s preferred target, they are known to abduct any creature with above animal intelligence. A shambler can spend years tracking a single target.
Soul-Devouring Torturers. While dimensional shamblers are powerful combatants and known to kill large groups of humanoids, they much prefer to drag off a single intelligent creature from a fight. They will carry these victims to forgotten corners of the multiverse and bathe them in a ooze-like substance called gray mire. The gray mire painfully devours and nourishes a victim over the course of weeks as the shambler watches, never resting. Eventually the victim’s body is completely destroyed by the mire, leaving only their soul which is devoured by the shambler.
Power in Numbers. While dimensional shamblers often work alone, they do cross paths in the multiverse. Sometimes these horrors agree to work together to capture prey. A strange bond forms between shamblers who agree to work together, increasing each’s power exponentially.
Medium aberration, chaotic evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 171 (18d8 + 90)
Speed 30 ft.
|20 (+5)||16 (+3)||20 (+5)||10 (+0)||14 (+2)||20 (+5)|
Saving Throws Dex +7, Int +4, Wis +6, Cha +9
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities psychic
Condition Immunities exhaustion, charmed
Skills Perception +6, Stealth +7, Survival +7
Senses truesight 120 ft. passive perception 16
Languages Deep Speech, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)
Aggressive Plane Shift. When the shambler casts plane shift any creatures it is grappling must succeed on a DC 17 Charisma saving throw or be teleported with the shambler. If the shambler is touching an unconscious creature when it casts this spell, that creature is automatically transported with the shambler.
Hypnotic Presence. Creatures who start their turns within 30 feet of the shambler and can see the creature must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become paralyzed for 1 minute. A paralyzed creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the shambler’s Hypnotic Presence (and the hypnotice presence of all dimensional shamblers) for the next 24 hours.
Spellcasting. The shambler’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 17). The shambler can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At-will: dimension door, misty step
3/day: dominate monster, plane shift, telekinesis
Strength in Numbers. The DC of the shambler’s spells and Hypnotic Presence ability increases by 1 (to a maximum of 20) for every other dimensional shambler within 100 feet on the same plane.
Multiattack. The shambler can make three attacks: two with its claws, and one with its bite.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) slashing damage and the target is grappled (escaped DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the shambler can’t use its claws to attack another target.
Create Gray Mire. The shambler touches any 10-foot-square area of natural ground such as dirt, stone, grass, sand, or ice and it becomes a 5-f00t-deep pool of gray mire. Creatures who enter or start their turns in the area must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 24 hours. During this time the gray mire nourishes them, so they don’t need to eat, sleep, or breathe, but it also eats away at their flesh, dealing 1 necrotic damage which cannot be reduced in anyway. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken effect. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest outside of a pool of gray mire. If a creature’s hit point maximum is reduced to 0 by this effect, it is consumed by the pool and any dimensional shamblers nearby regain 171 hit points. At the end of 24 hours of being paralyzed, the creature must succeed on another DC 17 Constitution saving throw or suffer the same effect if it still in the pool.
The pool counts as difficult terrain. Creatures who start their turn in the pool or enter the pool on their turn must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or become grappled by the mire until the start of their next turn. A creature who is in the pool can be pulled out of it by another creature not in the pool who can reach the creature in the pool with a DC 17 Strength check made as an action. Being pulled from the pool ends any grappled or paralyzed condition caused by the mire.
Dimensional shamblers are immune to the effects of the gray mire.
Would you like this Lovecraftian beastie to threaten your players’ characters? Grab it now in its own PDF or alongside a lot of Exploration Age’s monsters! Like the icebreaker shark, gaping maw, morchia, and mystauk.
If you liked these creatures be sure to check out my other offerings in the Free Game Resources section of this site and my Pay What You Want products on the DMs Guild for backgrounds, magic items, optional rules, and more.
Playtest it up!
Now I ask you my readers to please go forth and test this nasty. Throw it at your players and see how they fare! If you have any feedback for my monster please leave it in the comments below or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you tell me your name and the names of your players I’ll give you credit as playtesters in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide!
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