Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Monster/Adventure: Apisastes [S&W] [5e]

I'm experimenting with dual-stat blocks for monsters. This is a first draft, so expect changes and feedback is strongly desired.
Update: Revised stat block appearance slightly.
Update #2: They should be neutral evil instead of unaligned. This is the first 5e monster I've done, so I'm simultaneously learning how the process works and figuring out a stat block format. Honestly, from here on out I'll probably start with an existing stat block and make changes to it rather than build one up. Working on a map to go with this.

Astes Astes are a class of monsters created with the application of dark magic. Astes creatures combine the body of a serpent with the head of another animal, distorting them to malignant ends. Their length is equal to twice their hit dice. They are of low intelligence, enough to be cunning and vicious, but not enough to disobey. They are used as guardians and assassins. 

Apisastes (Bee-headed)

Apisastes are yellow and black striped snakes with the head of a giant honeybee. They have a vicious bite and thrice per day can spit a honey-like substance up to 10’ that rapidly hardens. If the victim fails their save they are encased, cannot move, and begin to suffocate. On a successful save the target avoids most of the substance but can only move at half speed until they spend a turn cleaning themselves. The apisastes can also spew honey on a target it has bitten, in which case the victim has a -2 penalty to their saving throw.

The Honey Hole
Every surface of this natural chamber is covered with layers of a thick, rigid, golden substance. Long pendants hang from the ceiling, yellow sheets appear frozen in the act of flowing down the walls, and luminous golden layers cover the floor. The original stone surroundings are only dimly visible through accreted layers of the crystalline substance. An opening to further chamber can be faintly perceived underneath the accumulation, and a faint buzzing vibration fills the room. Closer to hand, however, a withered arm protrudes from a bulge on the floor, and a shadowy figure can be seen against the wall, preserved beneath the hardened layers.

This room is the lair of 1d4+1 apisastes, who have completely coated the small cavern in their secretions. The substance has hardened and poses no immediate danger, but the apisastes move through a complex network of voids and gaps far too small for the characters to access, allowing them to attack without exposing anything more than their head. The golden substance is brittle and shatters easily, but a character smashing it without taking precautions (such as gloves and a mask) must make a save or take 1 points of damage from razor-sharp shards each round.

The two corpses in the room have a few gems and coins on them, less than 200 gp in total. The real treasure lies in the second room, the hive of 3 giant bees (use giant wasp stats if giant bees aren't available in your chosen system). The bees use a narrow natural chimney in the rock to access the room, which the apisastes have largely sealed off from their own lair (the apisastes can enter the hive through small holes that the bees are too large to enter). The hive is filled with thick combs of valuable honey, literally barrels of honey. A third corpse is encased on the floor between the two rooms; he has a few gems and coins, and an amber bee figurine of wondrous power (the figurine transforms into a monstrous giant bee once per day for one hour with double HD and damage, and can carry one rider.)


  1. Also, you may want to rename the den.


      I've debated changing the name, but a) it amuses me; b) it's apropos to the encounter; c) there are other, clean, definitions of the term in popular and current use. I think it's actually gaining currency at the moment due to it's frequency of use on American Pickers.

  2. One last comment: the 3x/day could instead be "recharge on 4-6" (or maybe 5-6, but 3x/day should be 4-6); see dragon breath weapons for an example.

    1. I don't mind comments and questions. :)

      It could, but leaving it as x/day meant one less change between versions and fits the concept of a gland that gradually replenishes over a period of time. 5e has both x/day and recharge on a roll of x-y mechanics, so it's not anachronistic. (Monster Manual; Limited Usage; pg 11.) Apisastes are also fairly weak, so an x/day mechanic allows the DM to utilize the effect early and often in an encounter.