Strange Salve: River Beast

River Beast - Gary DupuisRIVER BEAST     CR 7
XP 3,200
CN Huge magical beast (aquatic)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +10

AC 20, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 natural, -2 size)
hp 76 (9d10+27)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +5; +2 vs. spells and spell-like abilities
Defensive Abilities evasion; DR 5/magic

Speed 10 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee bite +13 (2d6+6), 2 claws +8 (1d8+3)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks brine breath (100-ft. line, 4d8 bludgeoning, Reflex DC 20 for half, usable every 1d4 rounds; see text), emerging charge +1d6, pounce
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +11)
3/day—invisibility (self only, water only)

Before Combat A river beast uses invisibility to hide in the water, positioning itself for a devastating emerging charge.
During Combat When facing multiple opponents, a river beast downs one foe and grabs another before retreating, waiting to re-engage a smaller force of enemies.
Morale River beasts flee when reduced to 13 hp or less.

Str 22, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 4, Wis 14, Cha 9
Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 29 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Snatch, Toughness
Skills Perception +10, Stealth -7 (+13 invisible), Swim +21; Size Modifiers -8 Stealth
SQ amphibious

Environment water (Mohkba River)
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard

Brine Breath (Su) The gullet of a river beast is a brew of digestive juices and water that most mistake as brine, despite the creature’s freshwater habitat. The creature can release a 100-ft. line breath weapon that deals 4d8 bludgeoning damage (Reflex DC 20 for half) as a standard action once every 1d4 rounds. A river beast automatically receives a free trip combat maneuver (that does not provoke attacks of opportunity) on any creature that fails the Reflex save to halve this damage.
Emerging Charge (Ex) A river beast can start a charge while in the water and end it on land, using its swim speed to determine the distance it can move onto land; at the end of any such charge, the river beast deals +1d6 precision damage with each attack. While in the water, a river beast can use Swim in place of Acrobatics.


The so-called “river beasts” only appeared in the Mohkba River this spring, and none are sure where the creatures come from. They use their supernatural talents to hide, near vessels and waiting for the right moment to make an emerging charge, slaughtering one or two sailors before using Snatch to grab one to drag down into the water as it retreats. If the ship manages to stay afloat, a river beast follows it along like wounded prey, repeating the maneuver until its had its fill.


5E Rules

Huge magical beast, chaotic neutral
AC 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 59 (6d12+18)
Speed 20 ft., swim 60 ft.
STR 19 (+4), DEX 13 (+1), CON 16 (+3), INT 4 (-3), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 9 (-1)
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +5
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine
Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, passive Perception 15
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Emerging Charge. If the river beast begins its turn in water, it can move in a straight line up to its swim speed to attack a target on the ground and deal +2d6 damage to any hits against that target until the end of its turn.

Multiattack. The river beast makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) slashing damage
Brine Breath. (Recharge 5-6). The river beast exhales brine in a 100-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 26 (8d6) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one (and not knocked prone).

[Developed with some helpful advice from Tom Foster and Mick Hand! -MM] and the AaWBlog have been waiting to release some 5th Edition material for a while, but not everyone has! Take a look at Rich Howard’s numerous aquatic builds and observations, and if you’re not quite as keen to the new rule set, he’s got a great new segment on the Dungeon Master Block podcast with tips for how any player can get more out of their tabletop roleplaying game experience!

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