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VOLO'S GUIDE ro MONSTERS�

CREDITS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Lead Designer: Mike Mearls
Lead Rules Developer: Jeremy Crawford
Designers: Adam Lee, Kim Mohan, Christopher

Monsters are the heart of this book-where they live,
how they think, how they might befriend you, and how
they might harm you. Chapter 1 delves into the stories of
some of the monstrous groups presented in the Monster
Manual. Chapter 2 supplements the race options in the
Player's Handbook, and chapter 3 introduces a host of
monsters and their stat blocks. Appendix A provides a
few new beasts, and appendix B is stocked with non­
player characters to populate your D&D adventures.
Appendix C lets you look up stat blocks in this book by
challenge rating, creature type, and environment.
Sprinkled throughout the book are observations and
musings from two denizens of the Forgotten Realms:
the legendary explorer Volothamp Geddarm (Volo to
his friends) and the Archmage of Shadowdale himself,
El minster Aumar. For the benefit of DMs and players ev­
ery where, Volo and Elminster share their insights with
regard to some of the monsters found herein, and their
words hold a measure of truth regardless of the D&D
world in which these monsters are met.

Perkins,
Sean K Reynolds, Matt Sernett, Chris Sims, Steve Winter
Additional Design: Ed Greenwood
Managing Editor: Jeremy Crawford
Editors: Kim Mohan, Christopher Perkins, Michele Carter
Editorial Assistance: Chris Dupuis, Ben Petrisor, Stan!
Art Director: Kate Irwin
Additional Art Direction: Shauna Narciso, Richard Whitters
Graphic Designer: Emi Tanji
Cover Illustrator: Tyler Jacobson
Interior Illustrators: Tom Babbey, John-Paul Balmet, Thomas

M. Baxa, Mark Behm, Eric Belisle, Christopher Bradley, Filip
Burburan, Christopher Burdett, Sam Burley, Conceptopolis,
Stephen Crowe, Daarken, Eric Deschamps, Dave Dorman, Mike
Faille, Scott M. Fischer, Lars Grant-West, Rebecca Guay, Lake
Hurwitz:, Tyler Jacobson, Jeremy Jarvis, Jorge Lacera, Daniel
Ljunggren, Howard Lyon, Warren Mahy, Brynn Metheney, Scott
Murphy, Marco Nelor, Jim Nelson, Marc Sasso, Chris Seaman,
Craig J Spearing, Cory Trego-Erdner, Franz Vohwinkel, Richard
Whitters, Eva Widermann, Shawn Wood, Ben Wootten
Cartographer: Jared Blando
Greg Bilsland, Bart Carroll, John Feil,
Trevor Kidd, Christopher Lindsay, Shelly Ma:i:zanoble, Hilary
Ross, Liz Schuh, Nathan Stewart, Greg Tito

Other D&D Team Members:

Project Manager: Heather Fleming
Product Engineer: Cynda Callaway
Imaging Technicians: Sven Bolen, Carmen Cheung, Kevin Yee
Art Administration: David Gershman
Prepress Specialist: Jefferson Dunlap

Playtesters: Robert Alaniz, Jay Anderson, Kevin Baumann, Jerry
Behrendt, Bill Benham, Stacy Bermes, Matthew Budde, Mik
Calow, Anthony Caroselli, Chris Eadie, Frank Foulis, Jason
Fransella, Jason Fuller, Jeffrey Fuller, Nick Graves, Richard Green,
Gregory Harris, Ken Hart, Sterling Hershey, Eric Hufstetler, Paul
Hughes, Mark Knapik, Yan Lacharit�. Shane Leahy, Tom Lommel,
Jonathan Longstaff, Matt Maranda, Chris "Kong" McDaniel, Lou
Michelli, Mike Mihalas, Daren Mitchell, William Myers, Kevin
Neff, Robert Quillen II, David "Oak" Rice, Sam Robertson, Arthur
Severance, Pieter Sleijpen, Phil Tobin, Steve Townshend, Kyle
Turner, William Vaughan, Arthur Wright

ON THE COVER
Tyler Jacobson illustrates a fateful meeting between a suspicious
frost giant and a lone adventurer armed with Vo/o's Guide to
Monsters. Will the giant cleave our learned hero in two, or will
diplomacy win the day?
Disclaimer: Wizards of t.Jt, Coast does not voud1for, guarantee, or provide an)' p,romiu
r,gardlng lhe validily oflh• information provided in this volume by Vololhamp Geddarm.
Do not trust Volo. Do not go on quests offend by Volo. Do not listen to Volo. Avoid being
seen with him for risk of guilt by association. if Volo appears in yoi.,r campaign, your DM is
i.,ndoubtedly trying to kill your character in o manner that con be blamed on rour own a,.
lions. The DM is probably lrying ta do lhat anyway, &ul with Vo/o's appearance, you know
for sure. We're not ,orwinced that Elminster's commentary is all that trustworthy •ithcr,
but he turned us into flumplts the last time we mentioned him in one of these disclaimers.

620B8682000001 EN
ISBN: 978 -0-7869-6601-l
First Printing: November 2016
987654321

CE

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, D&D, Wizards of the Coast, Forgotten Realms, the dragon ampers.1nd, Plal"r's Handbook, Monsl<r Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, all other Wizards of
the Coast product names, and their respective logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast in the USA and other countries. All characters and their distinctive likenesses are property
of Wizards of the Coast. This material is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained
herein is prohibited without the express written permission of Wizards of the Coast.
Printed In the USA. 4:)2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057-0707, USA. Manufactured by Hasbro SA, Rue Emile-Bokhat 31, 2800 Dei�mont, Oi.
Rcpre$COted by Hasbro Europe 4The Square Stockley Park lJxbridge Middlesex lJBJJ JET UK

CONTENTS
Preface .......................................................... 4 Ch. 2: Character Races......................... 103 App. A: Assorted Beasts ......................207
Ch. 1: Monster Lore ................................... 5 Aasimar...................................................... 10 4 App. B: Nonplayer Characters ...........209
Beholders: Bad Dreams Come True ....... 5 Firbolg........................................................ 105 App. C Monster Lists ............·-············ 221
:
Giants: W orId Sh akers ............................. 18 Goliath........................................................ 108
Maps
or
Monster Lairs
Kenku
.........................................................
109
Gnolls: The Insatiable Hunger ............... 33
Lizardfolk
..................................................
111
Beholder
Lair.............................................. 14
Goblinoids: The Conquering Host. ....... .40
Hags: Dark Sisterhood ............................. 52 Tabaxi ...-................................................... 113 Goblinoid War Camp ................,y,.,•••....... 51
Kobolds: Little Dragons ........................... 63 Triton .......................................................... 115 HagLairs ..................................................... 60
Mind Flayers: Scourge of Worlds .......... 71 Monstrous Adventurers ......................... 118 Kobold Lair ................................................. 69
Ores: The Godsworn ................................ 82 Height and Weight ...................................120 Mind Flayer Colony........·-···················-·· 79
Yuan-ti: Snake People .............................. 92 Ch 3• Bestiary........................................ . 121 Ore Stronghold .............-........................... 91
Yuan-ti Temple ......................................... 101



.

.

INDEX OF MONSTER STAT BLOCKS
Abjurer .......................................................209
Alhoon ........................................................ 172
Annis hag ................. .-............................... 159
Apprentice wizard ...................................209
Archdruid .................................................. 210
Archer ......................................................... 210
Aurochs ......................................................207
Babau .................-....................................... 136
Banderhobb............................................... 122
Bard ............................................................ 211
Barghest .........•.......................................... 123
Bheur hag .................................................. 160
Blackguard.......................... ,..................... 211
Bodak ......................................................... 127
Boggle ........................................................ 128
Brontosaurus ............................................ 139
Catoblepas................................................. 129
Cave fisher............................,................,... 130
Champion .................................................. 212
Chitine ......._..............n•••••••••••••••••••- ....y.... 131
Choldrith.................................................... 132
Cloud giant smiling one .....m................. 146
Conjurer.........,..............,............................ 212
Cow .............................................................207
Cranium rat ............................................... 133
Darkling..................................................... 134
Darkling elder .......................................... 134
Death kiss......... _....................................... 124
Deep scion ...............................-............... 135
Deinonychus .............. -,............................ 139
Devourer .................................................... 138
Dimetrodon ............................................... 139
Diviner.-..................................................... 213
Dolphin ..................................................... 208
Draegloth................................................... 141
Elder brain ................................................ 174
Enchanter .................................................. 213
Evoker ........................................................ 214
Fire giant dreadnought .......................... 147
Firenewt ···············································-·· 142
Firenewt warlock oflmix ...................-. 143
Flail snail..................................-..........�.. 144

Flind.........................................,.................. 153
Froghemoth .............................................. 145
Frost giant everlasting one.................... 148
Gauth ..........................................................125
Gazer .......................................................... 126
Giant strider.............................................. 143
Girallon ...................................................-.152
Gnoll flesh gnawer ·····················-···-··-154
Gnoll hunter .............................................. 154
Gnoll witherling ....................................... 155
Grung .........................................................156
Grung elite warrior ................................. 157
Grung wildling ......................................... 157
Guard drake .............................................. 158
Hadrosaurus............................................. 140
Hobgoblin devastator._........................... 161
Hobgoblin Iron Shadow.......................... 162
Illusionist...�.............................................. 214
Ki-rin .......................................................... 163
Kobold dragonshield............................... 165
Kobold inventor ........................................ 166
Kobold scale sorcerer............................. 167
Korred···················································-··· 168
Kraken priest............................................ 215
Leucrotta ................................................... 169
Martial arts adept................,....................216
Master thief.............................. -............... 216
Maw demon........................................,...... 137
Meenlock ................................................... 170
Mind flayer lich......................................... 172
Mindwitness .................. "'........................ 176
Morkoth..........................................�.......... 178
Mouth of Grolantor.................................. 149
Necromancer ............................................ 217
Neogi........................................................... 180
Neogi hatchling ........................................ 179
Neogi master.............................................180
Neothelid ................................................... 181
Nilbog ......................................................... 182
Ore Blade of Ilneval ................................ 183
Ore Claw of Luthic .................................. 183
Ore Hand ofYurtrus ...............................184

Ore Nurtured One ofYurtrus................. 184
Ore Red Fang of Shargaas .................... 185
Ox (cow) .............................................,.,.....207
Quetzalcoatlus ...............................,.......... 140
Quickling ................................................... 187
Redcap ....................................................... 188
Rothe (cow) ································-··········-·207
Sea spawn-··············································· 189
Shadow mastiff ........................................ 190
Shoosuva ................................................... 137
Slithering tracker ·······:····················ou····· 191
Spawn of Kyuss ....................................... 192
Stegosaurus .............................................. 140
Stench kow (cow) ..................................-.207
Stone giant dreamwalker ..................,... 150
Storm giant quintessent...,..................... 151
Swarm of cranium rats ........................... 133
Swarm of rot grubs .,.............,..............., 208
Swashbuckler ........................................... 217
Tanarukk·-····················-···············-·-·····186
Thorny........................................................ 197
TlincaUi ......•.y••••••••-............................,-... 193
Transmuter ................................................ 218
Trapper....................................................... 194
Ulitharid .................................................... 175
Vargouille .................................................. 195
Vegepygmy ................................................ 196
Vegepygmy chief..................... ,................ 197
Velociraptor............................................... 140
War priest, ........................,.�·-·········-"'""'· 218
Warlock of the archfey..
219
Warlock of the fiend ................................ 219
Warlock of the Great Old One ..............220
Warlord ......................................................220
Wood woad .........................................-..... 198
Xvart .......................................................... 200
Xvart warlock ofRaxivort..................... 200
Yeth hound ................................................ 201
Yuan-ti anathema .....................................202
Yuan-ti broodguard ........................,.., .....203
Yuan-ti mind whisperer..........................204
Yuan-ti nightmare speaker .....................205
Yuan-ti pit master ................................... 206
y. ., .....................

PREFACE

Well mett adventurer. You seem like a curious sort
who enjoys the finer thin&•· P•rmit me to thrust upon
you my latest masterwork, years in the makin&, I
think you'll Snd it well worth your time and money.
FirsG a warnin&: here there be monsters!
No 1•11 a peerleaa font of aaAacity as Elminater of
Shadowdale1 has attested that more worlds than this
one teem with monsters. At a ~&lllt, that "Here there
be monsters" line haa appeared. on maps of worlds far
iron\ tkia o...., and hidae11 from your modest 2 1cribe.
And who am t you ukt
Vcdethamp Geddarm at yo~ •ervice, aettin& forth
truths like the deep and anoieii.\ secrets whispered
into my ears by the &uardian i>iTits of the hidden
tomba of fallen archma&ea now dust. Yes, in this very
tome, I set forth diven detail,._ never before &athered
with such coherence~ in one ,j,llce, of the creatures
varied and stran&e that it pl•ie• Auman& and moat
other civilized races to deea ",nonaters."
I cannot recommend the es,.ntial lore contained
in this volume hi&hly eno11Ah;' and cry it to be
"life•savin~y nece11ary• to e"f'ery adventurer and
wayfareT in the wilderlanda. asid the Underdark, be
they prospector, minet', or mejlly aeekin& shelter in a
cavern from prowlin& beast,' ot the claws of winter,
over the world •nfrte,' And: &lt6uld you .ind it within
yoursetrto complain tha1-f1i.ii- or thafltntry· 18 lackiii&
in v•racity or comprehensive completeness, 6 let it
be known that I, Volo, took no shortcuts, and stinted
not in the depth of my probin&s' or the courtin&
of discomforts in &atherin& the moat extensive and
authoritative lore possible. At &reat personal l'iakt
mit,ht I addl 8
Betimes I used my not-inconsiderable 9 ma&ic to
cli1&1aiae myself 88 a tree, atone, or even a puddle,
and so prepare the very beat ~uide I poaaibly could.
In the doin&, I have seen the moat wondrous vi1ta&,
from frosty hiAh mountain J>"ks where &iant castles
drift peat, to the deepest icy lakes beneath the earth,
where nameleaa tentacled thin&& stir and slither, and
.: w..a_s awed anew at the Ma,,ty_~ __the world that we all,
monstrous or otherwise, sharei1°
If you find this tome of use, please tell your
friends, busineaa partners, and acquaintances met
in pasain& in the street. Then perhaps I'll have the
chence to pen an even more useful Auide, in future.u
And whatever befalls you or me in our unfoldin&
lives, I remain your humble scribe and obedient
sefvant. and am now (and if the Aods &rant, forever
in ~aatin& fame),
V~othamp Oeddarm 12

NOTES FROM ELMINSTE/:l AUMAR, ARCl-4MAGE OF 5HAD0W0ALE,
SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE OPEN LORP OF WATERDE£P:

t. LAV IT ON tHICI(, WILL YE?

2.

IF THIS IS MODEST, I DARE NOT THINK WHAT PREENING BE.

3.

Cot-tERENCE, INOEED.1 VOLO, THY CLARITY IS AS THE CHURNING
SURFACE OF A LARGE CITY CESSPIT-WHEN TENTACLES ARE
ABOUT TO ERUPT FROM BENEATt-t.1

4.

THE MODESTY IS BLINDING.' SucH A PARAGON OF ELUCIDATION,
S-ELFLESSLY SERVING ALL. OFTEN ON A PLATTER, WITH AN
APPLE IN EVERY MOUTH.

5.

EARPl.UGS SOLO SEPARATELY.

C:,, HERE IT COMES, GET IN FIRST.' HEAD OFF Tt-lY LEGITIMATE
CRITICS,

7,

THE SANITY OF THOSE WHO BABBLE OF PROBES IS SELDOM HELO

8.

Ye MAV, THOUGH YE'RE OBVIOUSLY UNAWARE, YOUNG VOLO, HOW

IN Hl<iH REGARD.

OFTEN AND FOR HOW LONG I HAVE BEEN TELLING DRAGONS,
MINO FLAYERS, ANO EVEN GOBLINS HOW TRULY VILE
VOLOTHAMPS TASTE, RAW OR COOKED. YE'RE WELCOME.

9,

BETIMES VOLO MISCONSTRUES THE MEANING OF \VOROS. HERE,
0

FOR EXAMPLE, HE MEANS, ' NONEXISTENT,"
10. UNTIL WE KILL EACH OTHER, USING VOLO's HANOV TIPS,
BUNDLED UP NEATLY HEREIN.
, .. VOLO'S GUIDE TO FLEEING ANGRY MOBS. I FORESEE A
SHORT WORK, BUT A CLASSIG.

'2.

LET ME BE FAIR. THE LAD MEANS WELL AND HAS DONE \VE"LL.
BETTER THAN I EXPECTED. So_MliTRUE, ANO CAN EVEN BE TRUSTED.

F

cw

WH,\T's 1N THIS sooK ts

OLO HAS ENCOUNTERED MANY MONSTERS

in his day, few as odious or as ornery as
the ones described herein. This chapter
takes several iconic D&D monsters and
provides additional information about
their orjgins, their dispositions and
behaviors, and their lairs-above and
beyond what is written in the Monster Manual. To give
every monster such grand treatment would require too
many pages to count, so we winnowed down the list to
nine groups of creatures that have a lot going for them
and tend to get used often in D&D campaigns:
Beholders
Giants
Gnolls

Goblinoids
Hags
Kobolds

Mind flayers
Ores
Yuan-ti

If you plunder this chapter for ideas and maps the
next time you create an adventure or a villain, then this
material has served its purpose. We hope that, as you
explore each monster section, you'll come up with new
ways to challenge and entertain your players, as well as
find new things that you can borrow for your own D&D
campaign. Let each entry spark your imagination!

You might be wondering why certain monsters were
chosen above others. Where are dragons and githyanki?
What, no fiends or undead? We hope to tackle other
monsters in other products over time. Until then, mind
the kobolds hiding under the stairs, and beware of hags
bearing strange gifts.

BEHOLDERS: BAD DREAMS
COME TRUE
To those who would seek to conquer beholders or
merely understand them, nearly everything about their
quarry is unfathomable. These bizarre creatures are
possessed of alien intelligence, inhuman forms of perception, and the ability to shape reality through force
of will-or even by their mere presence. Inside the
comfortable confines of its subterranean lair, a beholder
is nearly unassailable thanks to the combination of its
peerless intellect and the brutal effects of its eye rays.
Some of the behaviors and motivations that beholders
exhibit are analogous to those of humans and other intelligent creatures. The difference is one of degree. For
instance, where a prideful, confident human might be

CHAPTER

11

M

Tt41NI< YE WEAVE CUNNING SCHEMES AND
ELABORATE INTRIGUES WITH FALLBACI( PLANS
AND POSITIONS? BEHOLDERS CHANGE, REFINE,
OISCARO, ANO SPIN ANEW SCORES OF SUCH PLAN~,
ALL THE TIME.

To

THE AVERAGE BEHOLDER, HUMAN

INTRIGUES ARE THE FUMBLINGS OF BABIES.
-CLMINSTER



adventurers arrive at its lair with summoned angel allies
or enslaved demons, by breaking through the floor, by
teleporting or riding dinosaurs, or girded with layers of
magical defenses and armed with advanced weapons. In
any case, the beholder's reaction is calculated, because
it has thought about what it and its minions must do in
response to every situation.

DESPOTIC PERSPECTIVE
cowed by a serious threat, the arrogance of a beholder
knows no such bounds: it believes that it is superior to
every other creature, even including other beholders. A
human chess player becomes a master by honing the
ability to look several moves ahead during a gamewhich is still no match for what a beholder can accomplish with its superior intelligence and awareness.
The mind of a beholder is powerful and versatile
enough that it can envision literally any possibility, and
it prepares accordingly, making it virtually impossible
for any invaders to catch it unawares. This way of thinking could be interpreted as a form of paranoia- and
if so, it would be the most extreme form imaginable.
While a human tyrant might be rightfully paranoid
about unperceived threats, a beholder is paranoid even
though it perceives everything, because that attitude is
the natural companion to eternal vigilance.
Beholders are among the few creatures that can shape
reality in their vicinity. In addition, beholders don't
truly sleep when they rest. Instead, a beholder's mind
remains semiconscious even as it dreams. As a result,
on rare occasions when a beholder dreams of another
beholder, the dream-reality becomes warped and takes
on physical form, becoming another actual beholder.
To call this process reproduction would be inaccurate,
because in most cases the old and new beholders fight
to the death- a fact for which the rest of the world
is thankful.

INHUMAN INTELLECT
A beholder sees in all directions. It is always looking for
concealed attackers. Even when it sleeps, its smaller
eyes remain open, scanning its lair for threats. If a human acted this way, the constant vigilance and lack of
truly peaceful rest would lead to a dangerous level of
psychosis, but a beholder's mind accepts this attitude as
normal and necessary- it is always alert to the possibility of assassination or betrayal by unknown threats that
stand ready to pounce on the beholder the instant it lets
its guard down.
Complementing this ever-present, passive paranoia is
the beholder's genius-level intelligence. Where another
creature would ignore the occurrence of two seemingly
unrelated events as merely coincidental, a beholder
imagines multiple ways they could be related, finding
or fabricating a pattern out of supposed or actual randomness. By thinking of all these possibilities- however
implausible they might be-and extrapolating its own
actions in response, a beholder is truly prepared for any
situation and has a strategy to counteract it.
A beholder has plans on top of plans, even for the
least likely circumstances. It doesn't matter if invading

A beholder believes it is superior to all other entities.
Unintelligent foes are regarded as food or pets. An intelligent creature is seen as food or a potential minion.
A beholder's true rivals are other beholders, for only
another beholder has the intellect, power, and magic to
threaten another of its kind.
Most of a beholder's mental activity is devoted to
unearthing plots against itself (real or imaginary), planning attacks against known rivals, and preparing its
defenses against all possible threats. It considers itself
the center of the world, in a narcissistic way; of course
the clan of duergar moving into its territory is because a
rival is trying to oust it, of course the gang of adventurers in its lair were sent to kill it by a cowardly rival, and
so on, because it is the perfect example of beholderness
and all other creatures are jealous.
A beholder's arrogance is a prominent aspect of its
personality. Although it isn't inclined to brag of its superiority, especially in combat, it is dismissive of its
opponents' efforts and insulting of their abilities and
failures. An exceptional challenger can earn a measure
of respect- enough that the beholder might be merciful
and pacify the creature with a charm ray or a sleep ray
instead of killing it outright. Of course, this mercy has
a purpose; the defeated opponent is interrogated, subjugated, and offered a role in the beholder's retinue once
its will is broken. A beholder might consider a group
of skilled adventurers to be a valuable prize and use
its abilities to capture them all for this purpose, giving
them the opportunity to serve as guards, spies, or assassins against a rival. Refusal means, at best, servitude as
a charmed minion, and at worst, disintegration.

BIRTH OF A BEHOLDER
Beholders can produce others of their own kind, but the
process has nothing to do with biology and everything to
do with psychology.
When a beholder sleeps, its body goes briefly dormant
but its mind never stops working. The creature is fully
aware, even though to an outside observer it might appear oblivious of its surroundings. Sometimes a beholder's dreams are dominated by images of itself or of other
beholders (which might or might not actually exist). On
extremely rare occasions when a beholder dreams of
another beholder, the act creates a warp in reality- from
which a new, fully formed beholder springs forth unbidden, seemingly having appeared out of thin air in a
nearby space. This "offspring" might be a duplicate of
the beholder that dreamed it into existence, or it could
take the form of a different variety of beholder, such as a
death kiss or a gazer (see "Beholder-Kin"). It might also
be a truly unique creature, such as could be spawned

!;:••
.. •

~eholdera dreaJll o
tlie real tronbJe t I beholder,, that'•
,..
• arts.
..

-Volo

only from the twisted imagination of a beholder, with
a set of magical abilities unlike that of its parent. In
most cases, the process yields one of the three principal
forms of the beholder: a solitary beholder, a hive, or a
death tyrant.
SOLITARY BEHOLDERS

Most of the beholders in the world live apart from others
of their kind, and they like it that way. When a solitary
beholder dreams another beholder into existence, the
creatures' basic nature often means that the first thing
they do is try to destroy one another. A solitary beholder
lairs within a cave system or a ruined structure, either
one of its own making or a place the creature took over
after killing or driving off the beholder that gave it birth.
A solitary beholder gathers (or inherits) inferior creatures that it uses as minions. These creatures help
defend the lair and also serve as shock troops if the
beholder vacates its lair to prey on the inhabitants of
the surrounding area. Often, it plunders its neighbors'
homes for knowledge and treasure. After the beholder
secures the spoils it desires from its enemies, it allows
its minions to divide the remaining booty.

behavior, much as especially close human siblings can.
The original beholder is usually the dominant one and
takes a leadership role. A hive consists of three to ten
beholders, plus whatever minions they control.

EYE TYRANTS

DEATH TYRANTS

An eye tyrant is a solitary beholder that has suppressed
its xenophobia and paranoia and chooses to live as the
leader or ruler of a community or an organization that
includes other creatures. This doesn't mean that the
eye tyrant likes, respects, or understands the creatures
it chooses to associate with, but it does distinguish between individuals of other races and communicates with
them on a regular basis. An eye tyrant is still ruthless at
eliminating threats to itself, whether from another beholder or some other powerful creature-it just doesn't
have an insane fear that any creature not under its
direct control is working for an enemy. Most known beholders who choose to interact with humanoid society in
any way are eye tyrant,s. For an example of an eye tyrant
that leads an organization of humanoids, see the section
on the Xanathar Guild.

As a beholder ages, it spends more and more time
worrying about its mortality. The dreams of such a
death-fearing beholder might reach into strange corners
of reality and imagine circumstances in which the creature can live on after death. When the beholder awakens, it finds itself transformed into a death tyrant. It now
exists in a state of undeath- yet its fear of being killed
remains unabated.
A death tyrant's paranoia about its enemies tends to
be related to how it fears it will be destroyed, and its
plans take that fear into account. For example, a death
tyrant who imagined it would eventually be slain by frost
giants might relocate its lair to the inside of a volcano,
send its minions to hunt down all frost giants within 100
miles, or take some other drastic measure to ensure
that the fear never becomes reality.

BEHOLDER HIVES

BEHOLDER-KIN

In exceedingly rare cases, a beholder might experience
a dream in which it sees itself in a mirror, or encounters
several copies of itself, or imagines a sensation akin to
what humanoids call multiple personalities. At such a
time, the beholder's dream-birthing creates a beholder
hive-a group of "newborns" that are identical to its own
shape but smaller.
When the dreamer awakens, it treats the newborns as
extensions of its own self in other bodies, and therefore
isn't consumed with an urge to kill them. This united
group of identical beholders doesn't truly have a hive
intelligence, but their personalities and goals are so
similar that they can predict and assume each others'

The lesser creatures known as beholder-kin bear a
superficial resemblance to true beholders in that each
has a floating spherical body with eyes. That's where the
similarity ends.
Chapter 3 of this book introduces several new types
of beholder-kin. A death kiss is usually the result of a
nightmare about blood, such as what a beholder might
experience after an encounter with a vampire or after
being severely wounded in battle. Gazers are "born" out
of a poisoned or ill beholder's feverish dreams, in which
its sense of perspective and scale is warped. A spectator (see the Monster Manual) is a kind of lesser beholder
summoned from another plane of existence to watch

over somethingt such as a treasure hoard. A gauth hails
from the same plane as spectators, or one that overlaps
it enough that they can take advantage of a flawed attempt to summon a spectator. Although true beholders
can be found on a spectatorts or gauth's home plane, the
creatures' actual place of origin is unknown (whether
another plane, a world beyond the stars, or some
stranger location), and spectators and gauths aren't believed to originate from dreams as other beholders do.

BEHOLDER IRIS SHAPE

d20

Iris Shape

1-4
5
6
7
8
9-10

Circle
Crescent
Hourglass
Irregular
Keyhole
Oval

d20
11-14
15
16
17-18
19
20

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
As a byproduct of their unique method of propagation,
beholders in one part of the world tend to look similar,
with variations becoming more pronounced the farther
one travels from that area. Even a slight variation in the
shape of an eyestalk or the texture of its skin is enough
for one beholder to consider another a flawed abomination, which should be destroyed.
Use the following tables to produce a variety of different appearances for beholders.

Iris Shape

Slit
Square
String-of-pearls
Triangle
Wave
Double iris (roll
twice, ignoring
results of 20)

BEHOLDER EYE SIZE

2d6
EyeSize
2
50 percent normal
75 percent normal
3~4
5-9
Normal
10-11 125 percent normal
12
150 percent normal
Roll once for the central eye and once for all the smaller eyes.

BEHOLDER BODY DIAMETER

2d6
2
3-4
5-9
10-11
12

Body Diameter
4 feet
41/2 feet
5 feet
51/2 feet
6 feet

BEHOLDER EYESTALK TEXTURE

d6
l-2
3-4

5-6

Eyestalk Texture
Smooth
Ridged (earthworm)
Segmented (insectile)

BEHOLDER EYESTALK SHAPE
BEHOLDER SKIN COLOR

dl2
2
3

4
5-7
8-9
10-11
12

d4

Skin Color

Brown
Brown-yellow
Cray
Green
Pinkish
Purple-blue
Mottled (rolt twice, ignoring results above 10)
Shaded (roll twice, ignoring results above 10)

BEHOLDER SKIN TEXTURE

dlO

1-2
3

4-5
6

Skin Texture
Pebbled
Pitted
Plated
Scaled

dlO
7-8
9

10

Skin Texture
Smooth
Warty
Wrinkled

BEHOLDER EYE COLOR

dlO
1
2
3

4
5

Eye Color
Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue

MONSTER LORE

dlO
6
7
8
9
10

Eye Color
Violet
Pink
Brown
Black
Metallic (roll d6
for color)

2

3
4

Eyestalk Shape
Thick and short
Thin and short
Thick and long
Thin and long

BEHOLDER MOUTH SHAPE AND SIZE

d6
2-5
6

Mouth Shape and Size
Small/narrow
Normal
large/wide

BEHOLDER TEETH SHAPE

dl O
1-4
5-6
7
8-9
10

Teeth Shape
Thick and pointed
Humanlike
Humanlike, fanged {vampiric}
Thin and needle-like
Double row (rolt again, ignoring results of 10)

ROLEPLAYING A BEHOLDER
A beholder constantly fears for its safety, is wary of any
creature that isn't one of its minions, and is aggressive
in dealing with perceived threats. It might react favorably toward creatures that humble themselves before it
and present themselves as inferiors, but is easily provoked to attack creatures that brag about their accom-


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