Biweekly Monster-Dead Water

Nautical Legend. Sailors tell tales of boats with sails full coming almost to a dead stop for hours on the open sea without explanation. Rumors of similar events on fresh water are less common, but not unheard of. Most vessels so afflicted eventually make their way out of the space, usually with little enough delay not to starve before reaching their destination, but adventurers who encounter these patches beneath the surface may not be so lucky.

Mindless Terror. These unusual creatures don’t have a known origin. Some theorize they form at the edge of rifts to the elemental plane of water, perhaps as water from that plane that passes into the material plane. Others believe they are the collective ghosts of those who die at sea, seeking a connection with their fellow sailors. A demon from the lower planes in water form, a witch’s curse on the water, a sin on the part of the sailors, a wizard’s meddling gone wrong, theories abound.

Dead Water
Gargantuan elemental, unaligned
Armor Class: 8 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 203 (14d20+56)
Speed: 0 ft., swim 10 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16 (+3) 3 (-4) 18 (+4) 4 (-3) 6 (-2) 5 (-3)

Saving Throws: Str +7, Con +8
Damage Resistances acid, bludgeoning, fire, piercing, slashing
Damage Immunities: poison
Condition Immunities: exhuastion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
Senses: blindsight 60 ft. in water only (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 8
Languages: –
Challenge: 10 (5,900 XP)

Formed Liquid. The dead water takes up entire spaces in a 30-foot cube. Other creatures can enter the spaces, but a creature that does so is subjected to the dead water’s Engulf and has disadvantage on the saving throw.
Creatures inside the dead water can be seen but have total cover.
A creature within 5 feet of the dead water can take an action to pull a creature or object our of the dead water. Doing so requires a successful DC 15 Strength check. On a failure, the creature making the attempt is also Engulfed.
The dead water can hold one Large creature or up to four Medium or Small creatures per 5 foot-cube it occupies, Huge creatures take four cubes. The dead water occupies a total of 216 such cubes.

Transparent. Even when the dead water is in plain sight, it takes a successful DC 16 Wisdom (Perception) check to spot a dead water. This check is at advantage if the dead water has moved. A creature that tries to enter the dead water’s space while unaware of the dead water is surprised by the dead water.

Actions
Engulf. The dead water moves up to its speed. While doing so, it can enter Huge or smaller creatures’ spaces. Whenever the dead water occupies half or more of a creature’s occupied spaces, the creature must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. This save is at disadvantage if the creature is in water and doesn’t have a swim speed.
On a successful save, the creature can choose to be pushed back 5 feet or to the side 5 feet if near the dead water’s edge. A creature that chooses not to be pushed suffers the consequences of a failed saving throw.
On a failed save, the dead water enters the creature’s space, and the creature is engulfed. The engulfed creature can’t breathe (even if able to breathe water, whether naturally or magically) and is restrained. When the dead water moves, the engulfed creature moves with it.
An engulfed creature can try to escape by taking an action to make a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check. On a success, the creature moves 5 feet in the desired direction. If it is already on the edge of the dead water, it escapes into an adjacent space.

Confuse. Until the start of the dead water’s next turn, creatures engulfed by it must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or their movement inside the cube is in a random direction rather than the desired direction.
A creature in water is surrounded by 26 spaces, but only 6 directly adjacent (d6 1: down, 2: east, 3: north, 4: west, 5: south, 6: up). There are 12 combinations of only 2 directions, so for a more complicated treatment consider a 50% chance of adjacent or diagonal using the d6 above for adjacent and a d12 for diagonal (1: down-east, 2: down-north, 3: down-west, 4: down-south, 5: north-east, 6: north-west, 7: south-east, 8: south-west, 9: up-east, 10: up-north, 11: up-west, 12: up-south). There are eight three-way diagonals, if you want to consider them as well.

I wanted another mid-level underwater encounter. No particular reason. The concept of dead water is fascinating, so I decided to make it fantasy. Consider this a high level underwater gelatinous cube.

 

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