Zarikytonic Creature (5e Template)
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Zarikytons are foul magical parasites that control the minds of their hosts and gradually mutate them into otherworldly horrors that are unnaturally aggressive, attacking any non-zarikyton they see. The parasite instinctively knows other zarikytons on sight, and can feel their presence. Scholars debate the origins of the zarikytons, but they all agree that they are vicious and deadly. The host of a zarikyton loses all sense of self and intelligence, becoming a slave to the parasite until it eventually takes over their bodies. Zarikytons are capable of rudimentary tactics, as they surround foes, and ride larger zarikytons, though they pay little thought to ambushes and traps that aren't obvious. After infection, the parasite can survive if its host dies, but the host dies if the parasite is killed. True dragons and creatures with draconic blood, such as creatures with the dragon type and half-dragons, are immune to the disease, protected by ancient magic. The disease progresses in stages, and when a creature is infected, and at the start of every month afterward, an infected creature must make a DC 18 Constitution check. If it succeeds, the disease progresses as the parasite gains more power over the host's body, mutating it further. Mutations are detailed at the end of the page. After one week, the zarikytonic creature gains a number of mutations equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum of one). A zarikyton tends to choose mutations appropriate to its host (for example, it wouldn't take the Two Heads mutation or the Bite mutation if its host was a death dog).
Type. The zarikytonic creature's type changes to aberration.
AC. When the zarikytonic creature isn't wearing armour, it has a base AC equal to 13 + its Dexterity modifier (from natural armour), unless the base creature had better AC from natural armour. It can wear a shield and still gain this benefit.
Damage Immunities. The zarikytonic creature is immune to poison damage.
Damage Resistances. The zarikytonic creature resists bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks that aren't silvered.
Alignment The zarikytonic creature's alignment is changed to chaotic evil.
Detect Zarikytons. The zarikytonic creature can magically sense the presence of other zarikytonic creatures up to 5 miles away. It knows the general direction they're in but not their exact locations.
Limited Telepathy. Using telepathy, the zarikytonic creature can magically communicate with any other zarikytonic creatures within 60 feet of it.
Otherworldly Perception. The zarikytonic creature can sense the presence of any creature within 30 feet of it that is invisible or on the Ethereal Plane. It can pinpoint such a creature that is moving.
Unnatural Fortitude. If damage reduces the zarikytonic creature to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is from a critical hit. On a success, the zarikytonic creature drops to 1 hit point instead.
Infection (Recharge 5-6). Ranged Spell Attack: + Wisdom modifier + proficiency bonus to hit, range 60 ft., one creature. Hit: X (1d12 + Wisdom modifier) force damage. A creature reduced to 0 hit points is stable but poisoned for 1d6 + 2 hours, even after regaining hit points, and is paralysed while poisoned in this way. An aberration, beast, giant, humanoid or monstrosity that has 0 hit points at the end of that period becomes a zarikytonic creature if it hasn't been killed outright, its vital organs are still intact, and it isn't under the effects of the protection from evil and good spell or within the area of a hallow spell.
Recalculate the creature's CR with the following considerations:
- Immunity to poison damage.
- Resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons.
- Increase the zarikytonic creature's AC by the amount listed in the trait.
- Increase effective hit points based on the expected challenge rating: 1-4, 7 hp; 5-10, 14 hp; 11-16, 21 hp; 17 or higher, 28 hp (from Unnatural Fortitude).
- Many Mutations include effects that would increase CR.
When the zarikytonic creature mutates, it may select any one of the following traits. Each trait may only be selected once, unless stated otherwise.
Adapted Eyes. The zarikytonic creature loses its Sunlight Sensitivity trait.
Amphibious. The zarikytonic creature can breathe air and water.
Bite. The zarikytonic creature gains the following action option:
- Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: + Strength or Dexterity modifier + proficiency bonus to hit, 5 ft., one target. Hit: X (1d6 + Strength or Dexterity modifier) piercing damage.
Blazing Tail (Must have the Tail Mutation). When the zarikytonic creature hits with its tail, it deals an additional 7 (2d6) fire damage.
Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the zarikytonic creature hits with it.
Charge. If the zarikytonic creature moves at least the higher of half its speed (rounded to the closest multiple of 5) or 30 feet straight towards a target (if the base creature can't move 30 feet, then it uses half of its movement speed, to a minimum of 10 feet), that target takes 10 (3d6) additional damage. If the zarikytonic creature is Medium or larger, a creature that is the same size or smaller must succeed on a Strength saving throw with DC equal to 8 + the zarikyton's Strength modifier + the zarikyton's proficiency bonus or be knocked prone.
Claws. The zarikytonic creature gains the following action option:
- Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: + Strength modifier + proficiency bonus to hit, 5 ft., one target. Hit: X (1d6 + Strength modifier) slashing or bludgeoning damage (chosen when the mutation is selected and cannot be changed afterwards).
Horns. The zarikytonic creature gains the following action option:
- Horns. Melee Weapon Attack: + Strength modifier + proficiency bonus to hit, 5 ft., one target. Hit: X (2d6 + Strength modifier) piercing damage.
Hover. The zarikytonic creature gains a flying speed equal to the higher of its existing flying speed (if any) or 30 feet. It can hover using this speed.
Improved Infection. When the zarikytonic creature hits with its Infection, it deals an additional 6 (1d12) force damage.
Improved Intellect. Two of the zarikytonic creature's Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma scores increase by 1. This trait may be selected multiple times, but it cannot increase an ability score above 20.
Improved Reach. The zarikytonic creature's reach when it uses a melee weapon gained through mutation (i.e. bite, horns, tail) is increased by 5 feet.
Improved Resistance. The zarikytonic creature gains two hit dice.
This trait may be selected multiple times.
Increased Size. The zarikytonic creature's size increases by one step (e.g. Tiny to Small, Small to Medium).
This trait may be selected two times.
Magic Resistance. The zarikytonic creature has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Magic Weapons. The zarikytonic creature's weapon attacks are magical.
Mental Harmony. Spells cast at a level lower than half of the zarikytonic creature's challenge rating rounded down (to a minimum of 1st-level spells) cannot reveal the zarikyton's true nature. Otherwise, the zarikyton must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against the caster's spell save DC to be unaffected, unless the spell is cast at a level equal to or greater than the zarikyton's challenge rating. This trait doesn't function if the zarikyton is within the area of an antimagic field or the hallow spell, under the effects of the bane spell, or the spellcaster is under the effects of the bless spell or the protection from evil and good spell.
Natural Armour. The zarikytonic creature's AC when it isn't wearing any armour is increased by 1. It can wield a shield and still gain this benefit.
This trait may be selected multiple times, up to a maximum of five times.
Powered Hide (Must have the Spiked Hide Mutation). When the zarikytonic creature would deal damage with its Spiked Hide, the target takes an additional 6 (1d12) lightning damage.
Quickened. Each of the zarikytonic creature's speeds increases by 5 feet. This trait may be selected multiple times.
Reckless. At the start of its turn, the zarikytonic creature can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.
Regeneration. The zarikytonic creature regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn't in sunlight. If the zarikytonic creature takes radiant damage or is splashed with holy water, this trait doesn't function at the start of the zarikytonic creature's next turn.
Shapechanger. The zarikytonic creature can use its action to polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid or a beast with a challenge rating equal to or less than its own, or back into its true form. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Such a zarikyton gains the shapechanger tag.
Slippery. The zarikytonic creature has advantage on ability checks and saving throws made to escape a grapple.
Spellcasting. The zarikytonic creature gains spellcasting equal to a 3rd-level cleric, sorcerer, or wizard. Such a zarikytonic creature has a Wisdom, Charisma, or Intelligence score (respectively) equal to the higher of the score of the base creature or 15. The zarikytonic creature's Infection also uses its Spellcasting ability when determining attack and damage rolls. This trait may be selected multiple times, and the zarikyton may choose to gain a level in a spellcasting class it already has, or gain a level in a new spellcasting class.
Spider Climb. The zarikytonic creature can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
Spiked Hide. At the start of each of its turns, the zarikytonic creature deals 5 (1d10) piercing damage to any creature grappling it.
Superior Invisibility. The zarikytonic creature gains the following action option:
- Superior Invisibility. The zarikytonic creature magically turns invisible until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell). Any equipment the zarikytonic creature wears or carries is invisible with it.
Surprise Attack. If the zarikytonic creature surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 10 (3d6) damage from the attack.
Tail. The zarikytonic creature gains the following action option:
- Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: + Strength modifier + proficiency bonus to hit, 10 ft., one target. Hit: X (1d10 + Strength modifier) bludgeoning damage, or X (2d10 + Strength modifier) bludgeoning damage if the zarikyton is Large or larger.
Telepathy. The zarikytonic creature gains telepathy out to 60 feet.
Tentacles. The zarikytonic creature gains the following action option:
- Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: + Strength modifier + proficiency bonus to hit, 10 ft., one target. Hit: X (1d8 + Strength modifier) bludgeoning damage. Instead of dealing damage, the zarikytonic creature can choose to grapple the target (escape DC equal to 8 + the zarikyton's Strength (Athletics) modifier).
Toxic Bite (Must have the Bite Mutation). When the zarikytonic creature hits with its bite, the target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or take 9 (2d8) poison damage.
Two Heads (Must have at least one head). The zarikytonic has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks and on saving throws against being blinded, deafened, stunned, and knocked unconscious. If the zarikytonic creature has the Bite or Horns Mutations, it may use a bonus action to make another attack against the same creature.