Category Archives: General

That Obelisk Just Moved! — D&D Monster

The immense stone obelisk begins to shake, rising up out of the ground on four large tentacles. Eyes blink into existence along the stone’s pitted surface, then focus with a gaze full of rage and arcane power.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters.

Recently, our subscribers got a look at an altered Atlantean who was siphoning power from an arcane obelisk. In an earlier adventure, the party discovered another monument that bore signs of experimentation. These stone monoliths could be… “important”.

Magic, Unleashed

The immense stone obelisk begins to shake, rising up out of the ground on four large tentacles. Eyes blink into existence along the stone’s pitted surface, then focus with a gaze full of rage and arcane power.

Arcane obelisks are potent magical nodes that anchor and channel arcane energy. Sometimes, the arcane bindings focused within the obelisk unravel, and the obelisk is transformed. An awakened obelisk is such a creature, unleashed magical energy rippling along a massive chunk of carved stone.

Destroying the manifestation of unleashed magic is difficult, since every broken chunk still possesses a fraction of untethered magical essence. These smaller chunks are often less powerful but mutable, spawning a myriad of new forms. Representative of these forms are the large scorpiolisk and smaller, humanoid arkanshard. It’s possible that recombining these smaller subforms could rebuild the obelisk, but only an intricate ritual can rebind the magical threads to restore the obelisk to its original form.

Awakened Obelisk — Dungeons & Dragons Monster

 

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The awakened obelisk is part of a set, so using him with the upcoming scorpiolisk and arkanshard is a good idea. You could also change the lore and have an evil mage going around town, turning monuments into monsters.

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Mad Goblin Gasers Join Your D&D Game

Goblins love mayhem. Add chemicals and things get even crazier, as these little misfits unlock the power of deadly gases. Dungeons & Dragons meets unhinged chemists riding bubble blimps with the latest addition to the Undersea Sourcebook. Bring on the goblin gaser!

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The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters.

Two weeks ago we looked at the PIP, a friendly automaton powered by the arcane. Then we looked at the altered Atlanteans who built them. Next week, these guys and our gaser goblins feature in their own adventure, so be sure to subscribe and not miss out!

Gas, Gas, Gas!

Small metal canisters clatter to the floor around you, billowing green gas. Through the smoke a large bubble floats into view, a goblin grinning at you from within.

Goblin can be oddly resourceful, especially when causing mayhem. The first goblin gaser’s probably acquired a stock of alchemical reagents, and, in true goblin fashion, accidentally produced powerful mutagens. These mutagens gave the goblins an above-average intelligence (for goblins), which catapulted them down a path of further alchemical study.

What is now the Gassy Guts tribe were always known for their luck, a strange curse that made them a bane of the coastal towns within their territory. A stray arrow shot by a Gaser might ricochet off a shield to find its target, a trap’s mechanism might inadvertently throw a gaser out of the way of a falling blade, or a botched lockpicking attempt might detach the entire lock from the door. That’s everyday life for Gasers.

The increased intellect of the goblin gasers hasn’t increased their caution. Instead, they’re more likely to try bolder, deadlier schemes than their relatives. Other goblins might have shunned them if this was not the case, but instead they look up to the Gasers in awe. Who else could come up with such cunning plans?

Besides alchemy, Gasers have a special affinity for obscure clockwork devices, and this has motivated them to plunder old Atlantean depths in search of greater inventions to repurpose for their own maniacal needs.

Gasser Goblin Dive Bubble

 

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Gaser goblin dive bubbles are all about limiting the party’s ability to do damage. If they can fly above the party, out of reach, then they’re absolutely lethal.  So, consider how your players are equipped and give them interesting options to deal with the dive bubbles, like lightning arrows. A hit-and-run style encounter could be a good way to introduce the gasers and prepare the party for a full encounter. Have fun!

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This D&D Monster Rebuilt Its Own Brain!

Frankenstein’s monster got his from someone else, but the reconstituted Atlantean took out its own brain to become smarter. This Dungeons & Dragons monster is a psychic powerhouse that you can drop into your own D&D campaign.

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The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Last week we looked at the PIP, a friendly automaton powered by the arcane. But who built it?  The answer is ominous.

Remade By My Own Hand

Alien and predatory, this lanky creature towers above you on slimy green tendrils. A single large eye scrutinizes the world about, while its feathery green feelers radiate psychic energy.

Reconstituted Atlantean
A sinewy creature appears out of the dark, towering above you on slimy tendrils.

When old Atlantis dropped into the sea, some Atlanteans fled, many died, but a lucky few survived. Their salvation proved to be their great inventions, complex machines powered by arcane energy. Some, however, turned instead to forbidden knowledge rather than artifacts. These insane few modified their bodies, recreating themselves in order to survive the cold ocean depths. They are the reconstituted Atlanteans, creatures with superpowered intellects bent on manipulating their flesh for constant improvement.

Reconstituted Atlanteans believe that they are the epitome of Atlantean society, the pinnacle of Atlantean potential that emerged from the disaster that destroyed Atlantis. There are far fewer of them than unmodified Atlanteans, though, and often they are driven out of Atlantean society by the saner majority. Some, however, have created great empires of Atlantean worshipers, or subdued other sea-nations and bent them to their will.

Reconstituted Atlanteans unlocked their latent psychic powers during their obscene experiments. Their psychic abilities generally lack finesse as of yet, though that makes them no less dangerous and their grasp of their power is likely to increase greatly. The Reconstitutes are, after all, stubborn and willing to go to great lengths for power. Anyone who doubts their resolve should remember that they once removed their own brains to unlock their fullest mental capabilities.

Reconstituted Atlantean D&D Monster

 

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Okay, so, if the Retconned Atlanteans made, or at least used the PIPs, I think we have some idea where the next free adventure might take us. I’m imagining the PCs arrive at a sunken lab, deep within a sunken city. There they meet a PIP that leads them to its master, who’s looking for more brains to pick.

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PIP, PIP, Hooray! A D&D Automaton

Meet the PIP, or Perambulatory Incantation Peon, a magical automaton for your Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Beep bop boop!

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The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Last month we looked at mincies, sharken pirates, and the rainbow hags’ hair anemone. This week we thought your players might need a friend.

Beep, Beep, Boop!

The Perambulatory Incantation Peon, or PIP, looks like an iron spider. It has four tracked legs and a wand protruding like a nose from a socket below its bulbous glass eyes. It has a large metal tank for an abdomen that contains most of its working parts and its complex machine brain.

PIP Dungeons & Dragons Monster

The first PIPs were built as helpful automatons by Atlantean mages, who later gave them arcane-fueled sentience. Since then, PIPs have been able to build more of their kind, even improving on their initial design. PIPs remain useful and friendly, and often seem childlike in their innocence. This illusion is only broken when the PIPs’ iron loyalty is tested, as they are fearsome defenders of their friends and masters.

Each PIP draws power from a wand that it carries in a specially designed socket. While PIPs are usually careful to never expend their wands, sometimes dire circumstances mean that they must. A PIP without a charged wand powers down until its wand regains charges again.

PIP D&D Monster

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PIPs are versatile NPCs that you can use to help your party or the big bad guy. Because of their modes, they’re useful in many situations, but can easily be taken out of combat with a successful Dexterity check to yank their wand away. Put some thought into how you’ll use them and they’ll be a lot of fun.


Pirate Sharks in D&D: Swim with Sharken

Remember Street Sharks? We did and we thought it would be fun to play (or battle against) as pirate sharks in our Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

via GIPHY

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Last week we looked at a man-eating sea anemone, and this week I no longer need to remember how to spell anemone, because we have shark people!

Sharken — Pirate Sharks!

Violent, dim-witted mutants, sharken are humanoid sharks that terrorize the oceans.

Sharken have large mouths filled with razor sharp teeth, small dark eyes, and a large dorsal fin. Many of them decorate this fin with hooks, tattoos, and self-inflicted bullet holes. Sharken are powerfully built and violent. They are short-tempered, especially when they smell blood. Not known for their intelligence, they have instead earned a reputation as pirates, raiders, thugs, and bandits.

Sahuagin often ally with sharken, though sahuagin see themselves as superior to the shark-like creatures. They employ sharken as foot soldiers or guards, and most sizable sahuagin communities have sharken enclaves.

Sharken Pirate Shark for D&D

 

If you’re a subscriber, then we’ve got an extra special surprise coming; the sharken playable race! This includes four subraces, the bull sharken, great white, hammerhead, and whale sharken.

Join our newsletter to get the sharken player race and fulfill your dreams of playing pirate sharks.

Waterlocked Firearms

Waterlocked firearms use special cartridges and loading mechanisms to keep water out of the firing chamber. Waterlocked weapons can be loaded and fired underwater, but waterlocked items are never compatible with normal firearms. The cost of waterlocked firearms and ammunition is at least double the listed price. Waterlocked firearms are rare in campaigns that have firearms, and might be unique in campaigns where firearms are not generally available.

Do you have a better name than sharken? We think it’s an okay name, but maybe you’ve got something that’ll really wow us. Drop it in the comments below and it might become the new name for shark people.


Rainbow Hag’s Hair — Undersea Monster

Meet the rainbow hag’s hair anemone. This psychedelic hippie of the sea is a man-eating anemone with a tentacle attack and a toothy mouth, ready to swallow heroes in one gulp. Let’s check out this new Dungeons & Dragons 5e monster.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Last week we looked at the mincy, and this week we’ve got a giant sea anemone with rainbow-colored tentacles. It’s a tentacular spectacular!

Giant Anemone

Hag’s hair anemones are a giant sub-species of sea anemones known for their long, tangling tentacles that resemble the hair of a hag. These creatures inhabit anywhere from shallow tidal pools to the depths of the ocean and are dangerous predators capable of taking large prey.

Hag’s hair anemones are hardy. They can be found at all depths, in all conditions, including drying tidal pools or the deepest, dark trenches of the ocean’s hadalpelagic zone. Here the intense water pressure would crush most unadapted creatures, but the hag hair thrives still. Although they prefer large prey, they can survive well enough on a diet of small creatures, making them patient predators too.

Rainbow Hag’s Hair

This giant anemone’s tentacles pulse hypnotically with psychedelic colors, enticing you closer. 

Rainbow hag’s hair is a giant sea anemone that, unlike its smaller relatives, travels frequently. It rides currents, attaches itself to ships or large creatures, and bobs along on storm-tossed waves to find new hunting grounds. Rare, and widely dispersed, they are often a tantalizing find for the few who will ever discover one. The rainbow hag’s hair uses this and its color-changing tentacles to lure in a meal.

Although showy in full display, the rainbow hag’s hair is adept at camouflaging itself in any terrain. Its habit is to wait for a single creature to pass nearby, then reveal itself and entice the meal closer. Then it attacks, consuming the prey whole and leaving no trace before it moves on again.

Rainbow Hag's Hair Monster for Dungeons & Dragons

There are other forms of giant anemones in the perilous depths. What other kinds of giant anemones can you imagine? Let us know in the comments.


The Mincy — Undersea Sourcebook Monster

All mouth and stomach, the mincy masher is a tiny aberration that’s terrorizing the ocean’s currents. Let’s take a look at this bite-sized D&D monster.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Last week subscribers visited the Crystal Caves for adventure #1. Now that we’re in February, we have three new monsters (including the mincies) and adventure #2 in the works. Don’t miss out, subscribe.

Mincy

This tiny disk-shaped creature is nothing but a ring of sharp teeth spinning around a miniature black hole. With an insatiable appetite and the ability to consume anything, mincies are a minute menace that plague the deeps.

Mincy mashers, or mincies, have a rudimentary physiology adapted to consuming anything that fits within their small mouths. Sharp teeth, a hard shell, and a sensory organ that allows it to see rotate around a miniature black hole — the mincy’s digestive system. Scholars have proposed that anything that enters a mincy must end up somewhere, but the total oblivion of the matter is more likely. How this sustains the mincy is unknown, though it has been recorded that the black hole winks out of existence when a mincy dies.

Mincies are usually solitary hunters, but can gather in great numbers when food is plentiful in an area. They often congregate in powerful currents, where they pull water and anything else through themselves to remain stationary. They care little about anything other than eating, and even reproduce by consuming each other.

Most intelligent undersea creatures hate mincy mashers, which they refer to as floating stomachs, and will drive them off or kill them if they can. Sahuagin play a cruel game with mincies, in which players attach these creatures to their skin in turns, to see who can withstand the pain the longest.

Mincy — Undersea Monster 4

 

Are you interested in knowing what inspired the mincy? This photo of an arctic lamprey and talking about portable holes and bags of holding.


Merfolk — Undersea Sourcebook Monster

Lithe, human-like hunters glide through the water, their athletic bodies propelled by strong, piscine tails. These are merfolk, the princes and princesses of the sun-touched sea.

Merpeople are a common addition in any Bestiary or Monster Manual, but we thought the 5e version could use an update, so here we have a new merfolk build for your game of D&D 5e.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

More Monsters! Check out the Concussive Clam and Grindylow.

Merfolk, Saltwater

Fey touched, merfolk possess an unnatural beauty and grace, which complements their beautiful singing. Despite the legends surrounding them, merfolk seldom entice sailors to their doom. Unfortunately, their beguiling traits have earned merfolk the distrust of land-going peoples. In reality, merfolk prefer to use their enchanting singing to lure sailors away from their territories.

Merfolk dwell throughout the oceans of the world, though they seldom live far from the reach of the sun. They do not like settling close to land-dwellers and prefer uncharted waters off major trade routes. Merpeople often live in great coral cities which may comprise a chain of small islands on the surface.

Mermaids and mermen cultivate crops of shellfish, seaweed, and kelp, domesticate many varieties of fish, including dolphins and orcas, and trade with other peoples when they are on peaceful terms with them. They have a long and bitter history of war with sahuagin, who are known to raid merfolk settlements and enslave merfolk.

Saltwater merfolk are the most common variety of merpeople, while brine , arctic , deep , and freshwater varieties have also been sighted by explorers.

 

Merfolk D&D Stats

 

What special abilities would you like to see freshwater varieties of this monster sporting? How about arctic mermaids?  Let us know, in the comments below.


Grindylow — Undersea Sourcebook

“Sucker marks on the tavern windows, salt water in the ale, and squid ink on the floor. Yip, a sure sign that you’ve got a grindylow infestation.” Let’s take a look at this classic D&D monster.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Grindylow

Grindylow are an aquatic subspecies of goblin. They have bulbous heads, sharp teeth, and dextrous tentacles that are constantly poking around and grabbing things. Legend says that the first grindylow was a goblin cutthroat who attempted to drown a merciless wizard in a bog. The mage cursed the goblin and his spawn to dwell in the swamps and marshes of the world as half-octopus mutants.

Grindylow are cunning hunters with a fondness for kidnapping, thieving, and drowning. Most grindylow live in small tribes in stagnant water, usually close to travel routes and hunting trails.

Ocean-dwelling grindylow are a subspecies that live in tribes along cavernous reefs, in shipwrecks, and kelp forests, never too far from land.

Of all goblinoids, grindylow have the strongest ties to the lands of Faerie, and their bogs often conceal dank routes into the land of the Fay. Although they will protect these portals if they must, their true role is often as scouts and lackeys of the more powerful Fay on the edge of whose domain they dwell.

Undersea Sourcebook Monster 2: Grindylow

 

Find a new monster, next week. We’re bringing you three new monsters a month, one a week for the first three weeks, and then a complete D&D encounter.

Is there a sea monster from lore you’d like us to build, or an idea for a creature you’d like us to play with? Maybe you’ve got an idea for using the grindylow in your own campaign. Let us know, in the comments below.


This monster uses the OGL.

Concussive Clam — Undersea Sourcebook

With an ear-piercing clap, the concussive clam snaps shut and rockets backward, out of reach. Check out this new D&D monster.

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The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Concussive Clam

These shell-armoured molluscs burrow in river and ocean beds and can also be found clinging to tidal rocks or the hulls of large ocean-going ships. When attacked, they use their powerful shell to create a deafening blast that shoots them backwards, away from danger.

Concussive clams are also known as clap clams, slam shells, or crack jacks. They are found in cold and warm oceans, at great depths as well as in shallow freshwater rivers.

Concussive clams live in colonies, but can occasionally be found alone. They are particularly tasty and those divers who make a living harvesting them are often hard of hearing.

Concussive Clam D&D Stats

In the next two weeks we’ve got two more monsters coming your way, including one iconic sea creature and the tentacled goblins of the sea, then a 1st-level encounter in the Crystal Caves featuring the new editions and the concussive clams. Here’s an initial design for the caves that didn’t make the cut:

Coral Caves 39x35 Map
Pretty, but we prefer hand-drawn maps, so this got scrapped early.

Have you got any ideas for using concussive clams in your game? Do you have a sea monster you’d like us to design or redesign? Let us know, in the comments below.

So, You’d Like to Read More, Would You?

Be sure to check out our roundup post for last month’s “No Dice” RPG Blog Carnival. We also recommend our State of the Phoenix post from the end of 2022.

Till the next monster arrives, have a good one. See you on the high seas!