Posts Tagged ‘undead’

Once again I’m continuing my quest to add killer undead to the options already available in the fifth edition Monster Manual for my world of Enora. So far we’ve seen husks, skeletal dragons, vampiric dragonsvampiric vines, and elemental undead. Now I’d like to turn my attention to updating (and adding my own twists to) some old favorites: the nightcrawler, nighthaunt, nightwalker, and night wing. Thanks to EN World forum user pukunui for the idea!

Nightshades

When shadows and evil are infused with the strong will of a powerful being, they take massive forms. Appearing as giants, purple worms, and winged-beasts, this animated shadow stuff abhor life and light and desire a world covered in a shadow of death.

Massive Murderers. All nightshades are enormous combinations of solid shadow and corruption. When a strong-willed, evil beings refuse to pass into the afterlife, their souls infuse the with the same material that creates the Plane of Shadow. The souls wrestle with the shadow stuff, taking as much of it on as possible in order to anchor themselves in worlds of the living. At the same time, the shadow sucks any tiny sense of morality from the soul, creating a new being of considerable size, horrific shape, and murderous intent.

Undead Generals. Nightshades are cunning beings, who stalk the Plane of Shadow, looking for wayward victims to kill and turn into other undead through dark rituals. These undead are bound to the nightshade for as long as it exists. They follow its every command. Many nightshades search for ways to lead their armies into the Material Plane, so they might swell their ranks and experience death on a grand scale.

Work Better Together. Nightshades have great respect for others of their kind. They often form alliances to increase their slaughtering capabilities and grow the sizes of their armies.

Undead Nature. Nightshades don’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawlers resemble purple worms made of pure darkness. Despite their appearance, they are extremely intelligent spellcasters who have devastating strength, burrowing capabilities, and the ability to swallow ogres whole.

Nighthaunt

Nighthaunts resemble large gargoyles and are pure malevolence. As expert tacticians, these nightshades are the best at leading armies of undead or placing guards and strategic defenses around a fortress.

Nightwalker

Nightwalkers are twenty-foot-tall humanoids silent as death. They are among the multiverse’s best stalkers and their dead eyes can cause panic in the most daring prey.

Nightwing

Nightwings appear as enormous bats made of darkness, but have the same level of cunning and guile as all other nightshades. Silent as death and nearly invisible against a black sky, these beings dive onto prey before victims even know they’re being attacked.

Want the Stats?

Grab the PDF below or on the Free Game Resources section of this site any time.

Nightshades

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Once again I’m continuing my quest to add killer undead to the options already available in the fifth edition Monster Manual for my world of Enora. So far we’ve seen husks, skeletal dragons, vampiric dragons, and vampiric vines. Now I’d like to turn my attention to updating (and adding my own twists to) two old favorites: blazing skeletons (or blazing bones) and the chillborn zombie.

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Elemental Undead

Just because many wizards focus on one school of magic does not mean they can’t add a dash of another to their speciality to create a true nightmare. When a pinch of conjuration is added to the power of necromancy, skeletons bathed in fire and corpses armored in ice walk the land, eager for only murder.

Created by Master Mages. Only the most powerful mortals can tap into the power of the elemental planes when they make the dead walk again. These horrid creations are infused with elemental essence to make them stronger and faster while providing magical abilities that other undead of their ilk lack. A creator must be certain they can control an elemental undead before they create it, since the monster desires the mage’s death as much as any other living creature.

Furious Dead. Blazing bones and chillborn zombies have the elementals’ fury and the undead’s hatred of all things living, making them extremely difficult to control. They take a primal, raw pleasure in killing and are never satisfied.

Blazing Bones

Blazing bones are skeletons wreathed in ever-burning flame. They smell constantly of cooked marrow and screech like vultures when they attack. A connection to the Plane of Fire allows them to hurl flame and detonate their bodies at the moment of death.

Chillborn Zombie

Chillborn zombies have ice crystals embedded in their rotting flesh. The immediate area around them is deathly cold and their frigid touch penetrates to the heart. Their elemental connection allows them to breathe cold and, like the blazing bones, they also explode in a burst of energy when they perish.

Want the Stats?

Grab the PDF below or on the Free Game Resources section of this site any time.

Elemental Undead

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Today I’m continuing my quest to add killer undead to the options already available in the fifth edition Monster Manual for my world of Enora. Today we enter the world of undead plants! (You read that right). You might say, “Whoa, James. Plants that are evil and dead? C’mon.” To that I’d say, “Of course, dear reader. Haven’t you ever seen Evil Dead? The most terrifying scene involves trees (that are presumably both evil and dead).”

It is with great pleasure that I now show off vampiric vines.

Vampiric Vine

Vampiric vines are sentient clusters of black thorned vines that thirst for the blood of the living. When a plant dies as the result of necrotic magic and its seeds are scatter on desecrated ground, these vines grow forth and eventually uproot themselves and crawl out into the night in search of a drink.

Nocturnal Hunters. During the day, a tangle of vampiric vines stays in the desecrated dirt from which it sprung forth. At night, the undead plant crawls forth, looking for unsuspecting creatures and an easy meal before returning home. The vines leave the bodies of their drained victims behind, sometimes causing panic that a den of vampires is nearby, attacking the land at night.

Hidden in Plain Sight. Vampiric vines appear to be normal dead brush when at rest. If a victim wanders into a lair, the vine waits until it is within striking distance and then pounces.

Save Snacks for Later. Vampiric vines are surprisingly strong, and will sometimes drain enough blood from a victim to drop it unconscious and then drag the prey back to its lair for more feeding later. Sometimes vampiric vines will feed off a victim for days before drinking enough blood to kill it.

Want the Stats?

Get them in the PDF below or grab them anytime on the Free Game Resources page. These stats are in playtest mode, so I’d love any feedback you have for me!

Vampiric Vines

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dragon-1957809

Last week, I wrote about my desire to create more undead of varying challenge ratings. I need a ton of these rotting beasties for my world of Enora. Up next are skeletal dragons!

By the way, if you like these baddies, you might enjoy my zombie dragons available on the DMs Guild in the pay-what-you-want product Arachnids, Wraiths, and Zombies.

Dragon Skeletons

Animating the bones of a dragon is no small feat. A huge infusion of dark magic must be brought to bear to make the skeleton of an ancient wyrm rise. Even more power is required to maintain control over the bones. While such beasts are most often created by intentional rituals, if a dragon’s grave is desecrated, over the course of a century or more dark magic can seep into the bones. This causes the skeleton to rise and wreak havoc on the world of living for no reason other than it was not allowed to rest.

Not Your Average Skeleton. Dragon skeletons are more mentally capable than their boney counterparts. They can think critically and improvise. These undead sometimes lead other minions as a result.

Undead Nature. A dragon skeleton doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Want the Stats?

Here you go. I put them into a nice little PDF for you:

Skeletal Dragons

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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As I’ve said before, I’m starting to make some progress in my world of Enora, where undead rule the surface of the planet! There’s just one monster of a problem with this idea: the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual has a serious Challenge Rating gap when it comes to undead. There’s a handful of Challenge 5 undead and then it jumps to 13 with the vampire. What’s a DM with a taste for rotting flesh to do when hankering for some good mid-level baddies (not to mention during the thinner highest levels of the game)? Time to put on the necromancer hat and make some new fifth edition undead!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be revealing some of my creations and asking for your critiques and feedback. Let me know what you think! These critters are in playtest mode. First up is the husk.

Husks

Husks are the undead shell of a creature, animated skin and muscle of surprising strength that do the bidding of their creators. Many necromancers see these horrid creations as a two-for-one deal that does not waste a corpse’s fleshy parts after animating a skeleton. Husks are loyal to the wielders of dark magic who create them, but sometimes these undead rise of their own accord in places where mass murder occurs. Husks without a master desire only the death of other creatures.

Created by Power. Only the most powerful necromancers and most atrocious acts of murder can create a husk. The creatures require a massive amount of dark energy to move without a skeleton. Having a husk servant is a point of pride for evil spellcasters. The larger the husk, the more dangerous the master.

Insatiable Desire to Kill. Even husks who are bound to masters have a strong desire to murder any living creatures they come across. A husk’s master can feel this desire and only those necromancers with the strongest wills do not give into this temptation themselves. For many dark wizards giving into the temptation is not a problem at all.

Murder Victims Only. Husks can only be created from corpses that were murdered in cold blood. Many necromancers kidnap victims and murder them one at a time when they are learning the ritual required to create a husk. Husks that rise on their own usually do so in groups, and only in places of sorrow after a mass slaying has occurred. Beyond this requirement, any creature with skin and flesh may become a husk.

Size Matters. Most husks of a given size have the same abilities. A husk that was once a human and a husk that was once a panther are statistically the same, but they might move, smell, and sound very different from one another.

Undead Nature. A husk doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Want the Stats?

Here you go. I put them into a nice little PDF for you:

Husks

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

My latest Pay What You Want product is up on the DMs Guild! Get Arachnids, Wraiths, & Zombies now to grab the following creatures originally created on this blog.

ArachnidsWraiths&Zombies_Introcaso_20160309_Cover

While you’re checking it out, feel free to also grab my other Pay What You Want products. Archons, Catastrophic Dragons, and Greater & Elder Elementals all update Dungeons and Dragons monsters of previous edition for fifth edition rules while 15 New Backgrounds gives you a bunch of new backgrounds as the title suggests plus a module for group backgrounds the whole party can share and a handful of new equipment including bombs! 20 New Traps gives you a bunch of new and updated classics to throw at your PCs. Finally 50 New Magic Items gives you just that plus 100 common rarity weapon properties, 100 common rarity wondrous items, and 100 cursed item properties.

Take a look and if you wish download for free. This is material I pledged when I created would always be available for free and I plan to stick to that promise. I’m always open to feedback, so leave me a comment, start a discussion on a product page, or leave me a review. Honestly at this point in my RPG career a free download with a good review are worth far more to me than cash.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

So I’ve been on vacation so I don’t have much new to share in today’s post.

Instead I’m giving you a new version of the Prison for Dragons adventure. I’ve had a lot of folks downloading and checking out the adventure and got some great feedback from folks. I’ve really changed two things…

  1. I’ve added some space between the columns so the words don’t run together.
  2. Someone on the EN World forums pointed out there might be a copyright issue with a specific term for undead dragons (it rhymes with “lacodrich”) which I have now changed to “undead dragon mage.”

Prison for Dragons is a fifth edition adventure for four to six level 12 PCs.

Below is a link to the updated version of the adventure in a nice, downloadable, FREE PDF. You can grab it in the link below or you can head on over to the Free Game Resources section of the site where it will live forever alongside plenty of other resources for your game like monstersD&D fifth edition rules modules, backgroundsspells, magic items, and more.

Prison for Dragons

Maps

I’ve got more links below of the individual dungeon maps, both with and without grids, for you to use however you like. Personally, I’ll be bringing them right into Roll20 as I play through with my group.

All these maps were made using Pyromancers‘ Dungeon Painter tool. I love it! So fast, easy, web-based and free!

All of these maps also live on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

Gridless

Shuzal 1 No Grid 57x66 Shuzal 3 No Grid 100x100 Shuzal 2 No Grid 131x63 Shuzal 4 No Grid 102x100

Gridded

Shuzal 1 Grid 57x66 Shuzal 3 Grid 100x100 Shuzal 2 Grid 131x63 Shuzal 4 Grid 102x100

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

The time has come! For the past month on this site I’ve been building a dungeon crawl in my homebrew campaign world of Exploration Age post by post. Well now I’ve revised, tweaked, and added to that adventure, Prison for Dragons, and put it all together in a nice, downloadable, FREE PDF. You can grab it in the link below or you can head on over to the Free Game Resources section of the site where it will live forever alongside plenty of other resources for your game like monstersD&D fifth edition rules modules, backgroundsspells, magic items, and more.

Prison for Dragons

Prison for Dragons is a fifth edition adventure for four to six level 12 PCs.

But wait! There’s more. I’ve got more links below of the individual dungeon maps, both with and without grids, for you to use however you like. Personally, I’ll be bringing them right into Roll20 as I play through with my group.

All these maps were made using Pyromancers‘ Dungeon Painter tool. I love it! So fast, easy, web-based and free!

Shuzal 1 Grid 57x66 Shuzal 1 No Grid 57x66

Shuzal 2 Grid 131x63 Shuzal 2 No Grid 131x63

Shuzal 3 Grid 100x100 Shuzal 3 No Grid 100x100

Shuzal 4 Grid 102x100 Shuzal 4 No Grid 102x100

Thanks to everyone who checked out the Prison for Dragons blog series and commented here, social media, and various other forums with great constructive criticism. Most importantly, a huge thanks to Nils Jeppe of Enderra for inspiring this series and adventure with last month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of “Unusual Dungeons.”

If you play through the adventure (or just read it) let me know how it goes!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

NOTE: The zombie dragons previously featured here are now part of my Pay What You Want DMs Guild product Arachnids, Wraiths, & Zombies.

It’s time for part eight of the prison for dragons series! If you’ve been following these posts than you know that the dungeon I’m building in each entry is inspired by last month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme, “Unusual Dungeons,” which was chosen by Nils Jeppe of Enderra.

The dungeon I’m creating is a prison made to hold dragons built by aberrations. Here’s all the blog posts I’ve written about the subject so far.

  • Part I – A general overview of dragon prisons
  • Part II – The historical background and character hooks of a specific dragon prison, Shuzal
  • Part III – A description of the area surrounding Shuzal and a table of random encounters
  • Part IV – The surface level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel
  • Part V – The lower level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel
  • Part VI – The upper level of Shuzal prison
  • Part VII – The lower (cell block) level of Shuzal prison

Now it’s time for Part VIII – monster stats!

That means in this post I’m going to show you some monsters I needed to create for the adventure because they don’t exist in any of the published material for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. Well, not yet anyway (to my knowledge). So read on below to get the statistics for an adult silver dracolich, an ogre chieftain, an ogre skeleton, an oni vampire, or all age categories of zombie dragons, read on below. Yes, I did put it all into a handy, dandy PDF for you!

Ogre Skeleton!

Great Bear

Huge beast, neutral

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)

Hit Points 126 (12d12 + 48)

Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

22 (+6)

10 (+0)

18 (+4)

2 (-4)

14 (+2)

10 (+0)

Skills Perception +4

Senses passive Perception 14

Languages

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Keen Sight and Smell. The great bear has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight or smell.

Magic Resistance. The great bear has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions

Multiattack. The great bear makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) slashing damage.

Kerrinsalastraya, Adult Silver Dracolich

Huge undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 19 (natural armor)

Hit Points 243 (18d12 + 126)

Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

27 (+8)

10 (+0)

25 (+7)

16 (+3)

13 (+1)

21 (+5)

Saving Throws Dex +5, Con +12, Wis +6, Cha +10

Skills Arcana +8, History +8, Perception +11, Stealth +5

Damage Resistance necrotic

Damage Immunities cold, poison

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 21

Languages Common, Draconic

Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The dracolich’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18). The dracolich can cast the following spells, requiring no material components.

1/day each: animate dead, blight, contagion, shield, vampiric touch

Legendary Resistance (3/day). If the dracolich fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Resistance. The dracolich has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions

Multiattack. The dracolich can use its Frightful Presence. It then makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d6 + 8) slashing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d8 + 8) slashing damage.

Frightful Presence. Each creature of the dracolich’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dracolich and aware of it must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A 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 dracolich’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.

Breath Weapons (Recharge 5-6). The dracolich uses one of the following breath weapons.

Cold Breath. The draolich exhales an icy blast in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw, take 58 (13d8) cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Paralyzing Breath. The dracolich exhales paralyzing gas in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Change Shape. The dracolich magically polymorphs into an undead that has a challenge rating no higher than its own, or back into its true form. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (the dracolich’s choice).
In a new form, the dracolich retains its alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, cast spells, proficiencies, Legendary Resistance, Magic Resistance, lair actions, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores, as well as this action. Its statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form, except any class features or legendary actions of that form.

Legendary Actions

The dracolich 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 dracolich regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Detect. The dracolich makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.

Tail Attack. The dracolich makes a tail attack.

Wing Attack (Costs 2 actions). The dracolich beats its wings. Each creature within 10 feet of the dracolich must succeed on a DC 21 Dexterity saving throw or take 15 (2d6 + 8) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone. The dragon can then fly up to half its flying speed.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dracolich takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects.

  • The dracolich creates fog as if it had cast the fog cloud spell. The fog lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round.
  • A blistering cold wind blows through the lair near the dracolich. Each creature within 120 feet of the dracolich must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 5 (1d10) cold damage. Gases and vapors are dispersed by the wind, and unprotected flames are extinguished. Protected flames, such as lanterns, have a 50 percent chance of being extinguished.

Sepora, Tiefling Necromancer

Medium humanoid (tiefling), chaotic evil

Armor Class 12 (15 with mage armor)

Hit Points 99 (18d8 + 18)

Speed 30 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

10 (+0)

14 (+2)

12 (+1)

20 (+5)

15 (+2)

18 (+4)

Saving Throws Int +9, Wis +2

Skills Arcana +13, Deception +7

Damage Resistances fire

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Giant, Goblin, Infernal

Challenge 12 (11,500 XP)

Infernal Legacy. Sepora has the ability to cast innate spells as a tiefling. Her innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). She can cast the following spells, requiring no material components.

At will: thaumaturgy
1/day each: hellish rebuke (as 2nd-level spell), darkness

Magic Resistance. Sepora has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spellcasting. Sepora’s spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). Sepora can cast the following spells.

At will: chill touch, friends, mage hand, shocking grasp
1st level (4 slots): detect magic, mage armor, magic missile, ray of sickness
2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, detect thoughts, ray of enfeeblement
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, fireball, vampiric touch
4th level (3 slots): blight, greater invisibility, stoneskin
5th level (3 slots): cone of cold, dominate person, cloudkill
6th level (1 slot): create undead
7th level (1 slot): finger of death
8th level (1 slot): mind blank
9th level (1 slot): true polymorph

Actions

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Ogre Chieftain

Large giant, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (chain mail)

Hit Points 124 (13d10 + 52)

Speed 40 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

20 (+5)

10 (+0)

18 (+4)

12 (+1)

14 (+2)

10 (+0)

Saving Throws Wis +5

Skills Insight +5, Intimidation +3, Persuasion +3

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages Common, Giant

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Actions

Multiattack. The ogre makes two attacks.

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d12 + 5) slashing damage.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) piercing damage.

Battle Cry (1/day). Each creature of the ogre’s choice within 30 feet that can hear it make an attack as a reaction. The ogre can ten make an attack as a bonus action.

Skeleton, Ogre

Large undead, lawful evil

Armor Class 11 (natural armor)

Hit Points 75 (10d10 + 20)

Speed 40 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

19 (+4)

8 (-1)

15 (+2)

5 (-3)

7 (-2)

5 (-3)

Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8

Languages understands Giant, but can’t speak

Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Actions

Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Vampire, Oni

Large undead, lawful evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 227 (13d20 + 91)

Speed 40 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

19 (+4)

18 (+4)

18 (+4)

14 (+2)

12 (+1)

15 (+2)

Saving Throws Dex +9, Con +8, Wis +5, Cha +7

Skills Arcana +6, Deception +12, Perception +5, Stealth +9

Damage Resistances necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15

Languages Common, Giant

Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)

Shapechanger. If the vampire isn’t in the sunlight or running water, it can use its action to polymorph into a Tiny bat, Medium cloud of mist, Small or Medium humanoid, Large giant, or back into its true form.

While in bat form, the vampire can’t speak, its walking speed is 5 feet, and it has a flying speed of 30 feet. Its statistics, other than its size and speed, are unchanged. Anything it is wearing transforms with it, but nothing it is carrying does. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

While in mist form, the vampire can’t take any actions, speak, or manipulate objects. It is weightless, has a flying speed of 20 feet, can hover, and can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. In addition, if air can pass through a space, the mist can do so without squeezing, and it can’t pass through water. It has advantage on Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws, and it is immune to all nonmagical damage, except the damage it takes from the sunlight.

While in humanoid or giant form, other than its size the vampire’s statistics are the same in each form. The only equipment which transforms is its glaive, which shrinks so it can be wielded in humanoid form. If the vampire dies, it reverts to its true form, and its glaive reverts to its normal size.

Innate Spellcasting. The vampire’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14). The vampire can cast the following spells, requiring no material components.

At will: darkness, invisibility
1/day each: charm person, cone of cold, gaseous form, sleep

Legendary Resistance (3/day). If the vampire fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Weapons. The vampire’s weapon attacks are magical.

Misty Escape. When it drops to 0 hit points outside its resting place (Sveja’s resting place is the trash pit in area C7), the vampire transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of falling unconscious, provided that it isn’t in sunlight or running water. If it can’t transform, it is destroyed.

While it has 0 hit points in mist form, it can’t revert to its vampire form, and it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed. Once in its resting place, it reverts to its vampire form. It is then paralyzed until it regains at least 1 hit point. After spending 1 hour in its resting place with 0 hit points, it regains 1 hit point.

Regeneration. The vampire regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight or running water. If the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn.

Spider Climb. The vampire can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Vampire Weakness. The vampire has the following flaws:

Forbiddance. The vampire can’t enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.

Harmed by Running Water. The vampire takes 20 acid damage if it ends its turn in running water.

Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.

Actions

Multiattack (Vampire, Giant, or Humanoid form only). The vampire makes two attacks, only one of which can be a bite attack.

Claws (Vampire form only). Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage. Instead of dealing damage, the vampire can grapple the target (escape DC 18).

Glaive (Vampire, Giant, or Humanoid form only). Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) slashing damage, or 9 (1d10 + 4) slashing damage in Small or Medium human form.

Bite (Vampire form only). Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one willing creature, or a creature that is grappled by the vampire. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the vampire regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A humanoid or giant slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the vampire’s control.

Charm. The vampire targets one humanoid or giant it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the vampire, the target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be charmed by the vampire. The charmed target regards the vampire as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under the vampire’s control, it takes the vampire’s requests or actions in the most favorable way it can, and it is a willing target for the vampire’s bite attack.

Each time the vampire or the vampire’s companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until the vampire is destroyed, is on a different plane of existence than the target, or takes a bonus action to end the effect.

Children of the Night (1/day). The vampire magically calls 2d4 swarms of bats or rats, provided that the sun isn’t up. While outdoors, the vampire can call 3d6 wolves instead. The called creatures arrive in 1d4 rounds, acting as allies of the vampire and obeying its spoken commands. The beasts remain for 1 hour, until the vampire dies, or until the vampire dismisses them as a bonus action.

Legendary Actions

The vampire 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 vampire regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Move. The vampire moves up to its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.

Claw. The vampire makes one claw attack.

Bite (Costs 2 actions). The vampire makes one bite attack.

PDF!

As I mentioned up top you can take all these monsters home with you today for free by clicking on the PDFs below or you can just grab them all, plus a whole host of other baddies in the Exploration Age Bestiary PDF.

All Monsters

Great Bear

Adult Silver Dracolich

Tiefling Necromancer

Ogre Chieftain

Skeleton, Ogre

Vampire, Oni

If you want to grab this PDF at a later date, it will live in the Free Game Resources section of this site along with D&D fifth edition rules modules, backgroundsspells, magic items, and more.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Thanks to the inspired RPG Blog Carnival theme of “Unusual Dungeons” (chosen by Nils Jeppe over at Enderra) this month I’m going to be building you a dungeon for use in your home game. In my last post I described the general history and layout of Exploration Age’s dragon prisons, one of the world’s many types of aberrant ruins. Today I’m going to get specific and write about a single dragon prison. Hopefully when all is said and done the dungeon will be appropriate for PCs of 12th level.

World Map of Canus

World map of Canus

Shuzal and surrounding area

Shuzal and surrounding area

Prison Overview

Deep in the halls of Shuzal a sinister force warped by corrupt aberrant magic has gained control of the prison’s lowest level. While many prisoners have been turned by this evil, Maxathaltros, a silver dragon, cowers in his cell, waiting for a savior or death to come his way.

History

Shuzal was an important prison for the aberration forces. During the war many important metallic dragons, their allies, and weapons were contained within its walls including a pair of silver dragon twins who were ancestors of the architects of the tiefling race. Maxathaltros and his sister, Kerrinalastraya, were well into adulthood when they were thrown into Shuzal. The aberrations mistakenly believed the twins knew a secret to unmaking the tieflings, who were the metallic dragons’ allies. For thousands of years the twins were tortured at the hands of aberrations for information that did not exist.

As the aberrations on Verda found themselves close to ruin at the hands of the dragons and the tieflings, their methods of interrogating the twins became more extreme. Kerrinalastraya was killed in her cell during an interrogation. The aberrations searched her cell for any information she might have hidden away, found nothing, but left her cell door unlocked as they fled the demiplane on which the prison was built leaving active constructs and traps behind to guard the prison itself. The dragons and tieflings laid waste to the citadel on the Material Plane which hid the entrance to the demiplane, but never found the portal.

More millennia passed as the dragon prisoners sat in their cells, sustained by the magic of the aberrant demiplane. The boredom made some insane. Yet other dragons, like Maxathaltros, held onto hope that they might one day escape and rejoin their kin.

On the Material Plane a clan of ogres, the Ox Tribe, moved into the ruins of the citadel once guarding Shuzal. The tribe has a fearsome reputation for devouring the flesh on any living being, preferring to dine on anyone intelligent. Their residence there has remained virtually uncontested for thousands of years.

500 years ago Akros Sepora, a spireless tiefling from the Amber Spire shunned for her practice of necromancy, found the ruins of Shuzal. Using a bevy of powerful spells she managed to evade detection from the Ox Tribe. Luckily for Akros the ogres had a burial ground which provided her with undead bodyguards. She entered the demiplane after uncovering a portal key in the rubble of the ruin. Her undead defeated the construct guardians and traps on the ground floor of Shuzal and she has ruled there ever since. Taking advantage of the agelessness effect in the demiplane, Akros has had centuries to perfect her dark craft. She rebuilt and reprogrammed some of the constructs, ventured back into the Material Plane for more ogre corpses, and became obsessed with the aberrant magic of the demiplane which causes allows her to live without the need of food, water, or aging. Her goal is to find a way to harness that magic and bring it with her to the Material Plane. Akros is getting bored in her small home of Shuzal. The first place she plans to bring her undead army is back to the Amber Spire. Perhaps a destructive display will teach the city which scorned her to respect the art of necromancy.

Akros does not venture down to the cell block floor of the prison for she fears the dragons and even greater terror which she created. 200 years ago her tampering with the aberrant magic of Shuzal corrupted the corpse of Kerrinalastraya, turning the dragon into a dracolich who now rules the cell block floor. Kerrinalastraya abhors anything living and killed all the sane prisoners. Her victims were raised as zombies who now roam the cell block floor, helping her search for a way to exit the demiplane. She kept the insane prisoners alive for they keep her entertained. Her brother also lives though locked in his cell. Maxathaltros hates what his sister has become, but she still loves him. When she finds a way out of Shuzal, Kerrinalastarya hopes her brother’s gratitude will change his mind about her new form.

Recently Akros ran out of fresh ogre corpses from the burial grounds of the Ox Tribe and has begun picking off living ogres to swell her undead ranks. The Ox Tribe knows that some of their own have gone missing in the night and want to punish the person responsible.

Kerrinalastarya has unlocked a vault within the cell block which kept many of the aberrations magic weapons. The aberrations emptied most of the vault when they fled Shuzal, but the dracolich did find enough weapons that she has begun constructing a massive drill, which she believes can slowly dig her a path through Shuzal’s adamantine ceiling to its surface.

Hooks

The following hooks can be used to get PCs into Shuzal.

Ogre Raids

Caravans on the trail between Paqual and Lumberton have been attacked repeatedly by a large group of ogres. The PCs are hired by Falan Neleare, owner of the Neleare Lumber Company, to clear out the ogres. He knows the task is dangerous and will give them 100 gp for the head of every ogre returned to him. If the PCs are members of the Explorers’ Guild of the Society of Seekers this contract may come to them through these organizations.

Portal Key

Datas Lantandra, an venerable tiefling librarian from the Amber Spire, has become obsessed with searching aberrant ruins. The old tiefling has been researching nearby ruins and recently discovered a strange gemstone in the spire’s aberrant collection which he believes to be a portal key to Shuzal. He hires the PCs to delve into the ruins of Shuzal’s entrance citadel, find the portal, and bring back any books, letters, or tomes they might find. Datas agrees to pay the PCs 1,000 gp for every book or letter they find, and can be convinced to pay more for interesting aberrant artifacts.

Dreams of Maxathaltros

Maxathaltros has been trying to reach the Material Plane for thousands of years by creating a powerful version of the dream spell. When the PCs are resting within 1000 miles of the ruins of Shuzal’s citadel they receive a vision of Maxathaltros begging them to come and free him from his prison. He offers to take them to his treasure hoard on the northern most cliffs the Harpy Mountains if they free him. Should they free him, Maxathaltros is true to his word. Much of his hoard has disappeared in the millennia he was trapped, but he did keep a chest of hidden booty. The gems, coins, and art within the chest are worth 50,000 gp. The chest also contains 3 rare magic items of the DM’s choice.

Servitor

While searching another aberrant ruin, the PCs find the journal of an aboleth general for millennia ago. The journal is written in Deep Speech (which is a written language in Exploration Age) and has mostly been lost to the ravages of time. There is a legible passage which mentions receiving spoils of war from allies across the sea including a magic war pick of extreme power liberated from the corpse of a dwarf. The ruby-headed pick was sent to Shuzal for safekeeping. A PC who succeeds on a DC 15 Intelligence (History) check knows this weapon could be Servitor, one of the Tools of Order. Any dwarf PCs from Bragonay or PCs who have done research about the Tools of Order know this automatically.

Coming Soon!

Does Kerrinalastarya have a phylactery? If Akros is so obsessed with living forever why doesn’t she just become a lich? You probably have a lot of questions about this dungeon and its inhabitants, but do not worry. Answers are coming your way.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!