When your characters finally set foot in Eberron, make sure they're fully equipped, armed, and ready for an onslaught of monsters the likes of which you've never seen. Of course, you'll also encounter an unending wave of more familiar creatures.
In Eberron, your characters could come face-to-face with any and all of the monsters you've encountered or heard about in any other D&D games. (That's because, before anything else, Eberron is a Dungeons & Dragons world.) Of course, the reverse is also true: Even if you're not currently playing in Eberron, watch out for any DM toting an Eberron Campaign Setting -- the new monsters lurking inside aren't confined to just one world of action and adventure.
While every creature in your existing collection of rulebooks and supplements will have a place somewhere in Eberron, some will be particularly at home -- several of the iconic monsters (such as beholders, chokers, couatl, doppelgangers, dragons, and so on) have specific places (origin, history, homeland, etc.) in the Eberron Campaign Setting.
Although the information about integrating those "iconic" monsters is an important component of Chapter 12: Monsters, the main reason you'll want to flip all the way back there is to get a look at the sampling of new monsters lurking across Khorvaire and regions beyond -- creatures that will keep characters all over every continent of Eberron busy fighting and running for their lives.
Why, here are some now:
Huge Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 12d10+60 (126 hp)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 23 (-2 size, +1 Dex, +8 natural, +6 armor), touch 9, flat-footed 22
Base Attack/Grapple: +12/+28
Attack: Claw +18 melee (2d6+8) or barb +11 ranged (1d4 plus poison)
Full Attack: 2 claws +18 melee (2d6+8) or barb +11 ranged (1d4 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Bite 1d6+4, improved grab, poison
Special Qualities: Adhesive, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, spiny defense
Saves: Fort +13, Ref +9, Will +4
Abilities: Str 26, Dex 13, Con 20, Int 5, Wis 10, Cha 9
Skills: Hide +1*, Spot +7
Feats: Awesome Blow, Improved Bull Rush, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot
Environment: Warm aquatic
Challenge Rating: 8
Treasure: No coins; no goods; standard items
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: 13-18 HD (Huge); 19-36 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: --
What looked at first like a mound of corpses and discarded armament now shifts and moves, eight legs and two massive claws emerging from beneath it. Four eyes on stalks snake out from above the claws.
The carcass crab is a warped mutation of natural life found in the Mournland, and occasionally in Valenar and Darguun. Though essentially a giant crustacean, it augments its natural armor by attaching the detritus of battle -- bits of armor, weapons, and bodies -- to its hard shell with a natural adhesive. This provides both protection and camouflage in the wasted battlefields of the Mournland, the creature's preferred hunting ground.
Carcass crabs are hardly brilliant or subtle opponents. They make minimal use of their camouflage to get close to potential prey, then try to grab one opponent and scurry off to make a meal of it. It can also hurl poisonous barbs at targets out of claw's reach.
Bite (Ex): A carcass crab can make a bite attack (attack bonus +13) when it is grappling an opponent, in addition to making a single attack with a claw. This bite attack is not subject to the usual -4 penalty for attacking with a natural weapon in a grapple. The crab must begin its turn grappling to use its bite -- it can't begin a grapple and bite in the same turn.
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the carcass crab must hit with a claw attack.
Poison (Ex): Barb -- Injury, Fortitude DC 21, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Dex. The save is Constitution-based.
Adhesive (Ex): A carcass crab uses a natural adhesive to attach pieces of armor, weapons, and whole corpses to its shell. Typically, this grants the crab an armor bonus of +6 to its AC, equivalent to banded mail, but it is possible to find crabs with better or worse protection. A crab suffers no armor check penalty from this protection.
Spiny Defense (Ex): A carcass crab's shell is covered with sharp spines that protrude from between attached metal and bodies. Combined with spears and swords affixed to its shell, these spines offer the crab some protection against attacks. A creature that hits a carcass crab with natural weapons or unarmed attacks takes 1d6 points of piercing damage.
Skills: *In areas where heaps of corpses and discarded weapons and armor are common, including the Mournland, carcass crabs gain a +8 circumstance bonus on Hide checks.
Nothing says "one tough critter" like a huge, poisonous, spiny crab covered in the bodies, weapons, and armor of all of the other unfortunate characters that went toe-to-pincer with it and couldn't finish the job. Aside from the grisly, portable trophy case (which could provide all kinds of horribly challenging problems when magic weapons, armor, and other stuff get stuck on there), the carcass crab is a formidable one-crustacean ambush. With ranged Dex-draining poison barb attacks and a frighteningly good grapple attack (imagine combing the two), it's got all the basic combat essentials covered. That Awesome Blow feat (which you'll find in your Monster Manual on page 303) gives the carcass crab the ability to send characters flying back ten feet before they land prone, giving them a worm's-eye view of their grappled party member growing less and less agile before becoming crab chow. The thing that really makes me shudder is to think about what combat against one of these critters might be like if a few of the bodies stuck to the carapace weren't quite dead (or alive).
Hit Dice: 2d8+2 (11 hp)
Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+1 Dex, +3 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+3
Attack: Bite -2 melee (1d3+1)
Full Attack: Bite -2 melee (1d3+1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: --
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +0
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 4
Skills: Jump +11, Listen +6, Spot +6
Environment Warm plains
Organization: Solitary, pair, or pack (3-6)
Challenge Rating: 1/2
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 3-6 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: --
This human-sized, two-legged lizard has large eyes, brightly-colored and patterned scales, and strong-looking legs.
Fastieths are the most common mounts of the halflings of the Talenta Plains, chosen and bred for speed. They are too small to carry a human, but can carry a halfling with light gear fairly easily and at a good pace.
Fastieths are not trained for battle and generally prefer to flee rather than fight, but they can deliver a nasty bite if pressed. The bite attack is treated as a secondary attack (-5 penalty on the attack roll) and adds only half of the fastieth's Strength bonus to damage.
Carrying Capacity: A light load for a fastieth is up to 66 pounds; a medium load, 67-133 pounds; a heavy load, 134-200 pounds. A fastieth can drag 1,000 pounds.
This is just one of the species of dinosaur you might run into if you explore particular regions of Eberron. As a world that never had an ice age, apocalyptic comet incident, or other extinction-causing event, Eberron is still home to all of the "terrible lizards" you'll find on pages 60 and 61 of your Monster Manual, along with a few species you won't -- such as the fastieth dinosaur. These domesticated fleet-footed reptiles are to the halflings of the Talenta Plains what riding horses are to much of the rest of Eberron. Of course, just as with horses, you can also expect to come across packs of wild fastieth dinosaurs roaming the wilds of the plains.
Hit Dice: 2d8+2 (11 hp)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (+3 Dex, +3 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+3
Attack:Tentacle +3 melee (1d3+2)
Full Attack:2 tentacles +3 melee (1d3+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. (10 ft. with tentacles)
Special Attacks: Tentacle whip, vitality drain
Special Qualities: Blindsight 360 ft., damage reduction 5/byeshk or magic
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +5
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 11
Skills: Balance +7*, Climb +6*, Hide +6, Jump +5, Listen +5, Move Silently +6, Spot +5
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Improved Trip[B]
Organization: Solitary, cell (2-12), or company (7-12 plus 2-5 4th-level dolgaunt monks plus 20-50 dolgrims)
Challenge Rating: 2
Alignment: Always lawful evil
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +3
This gaunt figure resembles a pale, emaciated hobgoblin. It moves with eerie grace despite its blind and empty eye sockets. Its skin is covered in a layer of writhing cilia, and a mane of longer tendrils surrounds its head. Two long, whiplike tentacles extend from its shoulders.
When the daelkyr emerged from Xoriat to conquer Eberron, they captured and transformed many of the world's indigenous creatures to create an army of hideous warriors. Bred from hobgoblin stock, dolgaunts are cold and efficient killers often placed in command of groups of chokers, dolgrims, and other creatures. A dolgaunt is blind but can perceive its surroundings through the sensitive cilia that covers its skin. It can also absorb liquids through these tendrils, allowing it to drain the vital fluids out of any creature that it touches. A dolgaunt is about the same size as a hobgoblin, but far leaner and bonier.
Dolgaunts live grim, ascetic lives spent training for battle. Forming monastic cells in the depths of Khyber, they occasionally perform surface errands for their sinister masters or work with the Cults of Dragon Below.
Dolgaunts speak Common and Undercommon. They have also developed a mode of communication that uses subtle movements of their skin tendrils; this allows a dolgaunt to silently communicate with other dolgaunts within 30 feet.
Graceful and deadly, a dolgaunt relies on the reach of its tentacles to harm or hinder its enemies. Dolgaunts do not speak in combat unless they are issuing commands to underlings. Dolgaunts rarely use weapons or armor but may make use of magic belts, bracers, boots, or cloaks.
Vitality Drain (Ex): If a dolgaunt gets a hold of an opponent, it can burrow into the flesh of its victim and draw out vital fluids using the tendrils that cover its skin. On a successful grapple check, the dolgaunt deals 1 point of temporary Constitution damage in addition to normal damage. An injured dolgaunt recovers 2 hit points every time it successfully uses this ability.
Blindsight (Ex): A dolgaunt possesses blindsight out to a range of 360 feet; beyond this range, it can discern nothing. A dolgaunt's blindsight makes it immune to gaze attacks.
Because it is blind, a dolgaunt cannot read or use scrolls.
Skills: *A dolgaunt gains a +4 racial bonus on Balance and Climb checks, as its tentacles and the tendrils on its skin help it find purchase on almost any substance.
Most dolgaunts advance as monks, although a few are clerics dedicated to the Cults of the Dragon Below or, in rare cases, to one of the Dark Six. The dolgaunt's favored class is monk.
With ten feet of reach, improved trip, and a Constitution-draining attack, these guys are already bad news (nothing hurts quite like losing Con in the middle of a fight). Couple that with the dolgaunt's damage reduction, and you're in for an unpleasant battle. Start tacking on character levels, and these blindsight-using aberrations will make you wish your characters had chosen to spend the day recovering from wounds, scribing scrolls, training an animal companion, and so on. There does seem to be one piece of good news about dolgaunts: the special substance that bypasses their DR, a rare metal known as byeshk.
Byeshk: Mined in the Byeshk and Graywall Mountains bordering Droaam, this rare metal is prized by smiths for use in jewelry and weapons. It has a lustrous purple sheen and is hard and dense. A bludgeoning weapon whose head is made of byeshk has a +1 enhancement bonus on damage rolls. In addition, byeshk weapons of any type are able to bypass the damage reduction of daelkyr, which are resistant to all other weapons. The market price modifier of a byeshk weapon is +1,500 gp. Byeshk is very difficult to work into armor, and offers no significant advantage over iron armor.
Byeshk has a hardness of 17 and 35 hit points per inch of thickness. An item made of byeshk weighs 50% more than the same item made of iron. Byeshk is difficult to work, increasing the DC of Craft checks to create or repair an item made from it (see "Skills" in Chapter 3: Heroic Characteristics).
|Material and Item
| Byeshk weapon
|| 35/inch of thickness
|| +1,500 gp
Hit Dice: 12d10+40 (106 hp)
Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares)
Armor Class: 25 (-2 size, -1 Dex, +18 armor), touch 7, flat-footed 25
Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+26
Attack: Axe +16 melee (2d8+9/x3) or maul +16 melee (2d8+9/x3)
Full Attack: Axe +16 melee (2d8+9/x3) and maul +11 melee (2d8+9/x3)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Powerful charge +3d6, trample 2d6+13
Special Qualities: Construct traits, damage reduction 10/adamantine, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, resistance to acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10, and sonic 10
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +4
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 8, Con -- , Int 3, Wis 11, Cha 1
Skills: Jump +32
Feats: Awesome Blow, Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Powerful Charge
Environment: Any land
Challenge Rating: 8
Alignment: Usually lawful neutral
Advancement: 13-24 HD (Huge); 25-48 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: --
A huge golem forged of composite materials swings a massive axe and maul as it shambles forward.
Among the first warforged created during the Last War, titans are a small step forward from massive, mindless war golems. Warforged titans are not true living constructs like other warforged; they are barely sentient, with just enough intelligence to follow changing commands in the heat of battle.
Warforged titans are slow and stupid, but their awesome strength and sheer size makes them fearsome in battle.
Powerful Charge (Ex): Thanks to its Powerful Charge feat, a Huge warforged titan deals an extra 3d6 points of damage when it charges. A Gargantuan titan deals an extra 4d6 points of damage when it charges.
Trample (Ex): 2d6+13 points of damage; Reflex half DC 25. The save DC is Strength-based.
Construct Traits: A warforged titan has immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromancy effects, mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. It is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or energy drain. It cannot heal damage, but it can be repaired.
Very few monsters in Chapter 12 could possibly feel more "Eberronian" than the warforged titan. Remnants from the earliest experiments that ultimately created the warforged race of living constructs, warforged titans are immense, tanklike machines that know nothing but battle. (Who knows if they even understand that the Last War is over?) They start off with the always-vexing (that is: challenging) construct traits, tack on DR 10/adamantine, and then add 10 points of resistance against all five energy types. Just punching through the defenses of one of these monsters is going to be a challenge in and of itself, let alone getting the damage to stick. And that's assuming you have the chance to swing a sword or sling a spell. Between its impressive move rate of 50, powerful charge, trample ability, fifteen feet of reach, and that awesome blow feat, the warforged juggernaut almost has to consciously decide to allow a character the chance to take a turn in combat just to feel challenged. Gee whiz, these things even have +32 on Jump checks -- they can make a standing long jump of 15 feet without touching the dice. I can just imagine a chasm-side battle with a pair of warforged titans who alternate leaping across to an artificer on the far side who's got readied actions to repair any damage. Hey, at least they can't take character levels.
My advice: Stock up on healing.
For more insight into the world of Eberron, check out Dragonmagazine for the next installation of a six-part monthly series: "Countdown to the EberronCampaign Setting."
Issue #320 (that's the June issue, which goes on sale this month) gives you a look at the mysterious dragonmarks and the various abilities they confer to certain members of the powerful dragonmarked houses. You'll also get information about the different types of dragonshards, where they come from, and what they do.
Issue #319 (that's the May issue, which goes on sale this month) gives you a look at some of the magic that fills the world of Eberron, including an assortment of new spells and clerical domains, and a preview of one of the more interesting and dangerous creatures spawned by the Last War: the living spell.
Issue 318 (April) takes a long, hard look at the fourth unique character race created especially for the EberronCampaign Setting: a sentient race of constructs known as the warforged.
Issue 317 (March) introduces you to three of the unique character races created especially for the EberronCampaign Setting: Changelings, the Kalashtar, and Shifters (with a close look at shifters), along with a glimpse at how all the standard character races fit into the new world.
Issue 316 (February) gives you an idea of how all of the standard character classes fit in the setting, introduces you to an all-new character class -- the artificer -- and introduces you to another of the setting's prestige classes: the master inquisitive.
Issue 315 (January) offers more insight into the tone and attitude of the new D&D world, along with a little of Eberron's most recent history.
Next month, you'll be able to pick up and start exploring the EberronCampaign Setting (and encountering all the monsters that call it "home"). Even then, we'll offer up one last "Gearing Up" article to help you get an even better idea of what you'll discover inside. In next month's final installation of this column, you'll get the chance to pore over a map of Khorvaire and discover various facts and details about its many nations and other regions.
About the Author
Mat Smith is a copywriter who's been playing roleplaying games for a disturbing number of years, and now gets to spend an astonishing amount of time thinking about clever ways to get more people to do the same.