Alternate Traits and Actions
The following changes allow GMs to alter a gloomflower without modifying its challenge rating.
Focused Scream. Whenever the gloomflower takes damage, if the creature dealing the damage is within range of the gloomflower’s blindsight, the creature must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or take 10 (3d6) psychic damage.
The gloomflower loses its Psychic Scream trait.
Howling Darkness (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). The gloomflower creates a 15-foot-radius sphere of magical darkness at a point it can sense within 60 feet. This darkness works like the darkness spell, except creatures inside it have disadvantage on saving throws against any of the gloomflower’s actions or traits.
The gloomflower loses its Blur trait.
Soul Splice. The gloomflower places the soul belonging to its corpse into a creature it can sense within 90 feet, creating an effect like the magic jar spell. The gloomflower can use this power at will, but it can only splice its soul onto one other creature at a time. The target resists the attack with a successful DC 14 Charisma saving throw. While the soul is inside the target, the target is unconscious and takes 7 (2d6) psychic damage at the start of each of its turns. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. On a success, the creature remains unconscious until the start of its next turn and is immune to the same gloomflower’s Soul Splice for 24 hours.
If the target is reduced to 0 hp by Soul Splice’s psychic damage, it must make death saving throws until it dies, stabilizes, or regains hit points, as usual. If the creature stabilizes or regains hit points, the soul returns to the corpse tied to the gloomflower, the creature is immune to the same gloomflower’s Soul Splice for 24 hours, and the gloomflower cannot use this action again until it finishes a long rest.
The gloomflower loses its Corrupting Visions action.
New Magic Items and Spells
The following magic item and spells are inspired by abilities possessed by a gloomflower.
Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)
This black, six-petaled flower fits neatly on a garment’s lapel or peeking out of a pocket. You gain advantage on saving throws against effects that inflict the blinded, deafened, or frightened conditions while wearing it.
As an action, you can invoke the corsage’s power, which causes one of the petals to curl in on itself. If no petals are available, you can no longer use this item. Choose from the following effects:
- Gain blindsight 120 ft. for 1 hour.
- Make a ranged spell attack with a +6 bonus against any target within 120 ft. On a successful hit, the target takes 3d6 psychic damage.
- Creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against you for 1 minute. An attacker is immune to this effect if it doesn’t rely on sight, as with blindsight, or can see through illusions, as with truesight.
Daily at dusk, 1d6 petals return to normal.
Wondrous item, rare
This small packet contains black gloomflower pollen around which swirl hazy images. There is enough of it for one use. When you use an action to blow the dust, each creature in a 30-foot cone must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, a creature sees terrible visions, manifesting its fears and anxieties for 1 minute. While affected, it takes 7 (2d6) psychic damage at the start of each of its turns and must spend its action to make one melee attack against a creature within 5 feet of it, other than you or itself. If the creature can’t make a melee attack, it takes the Dodge action. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. On a success, a creature becomes incapacitated until the end of its next turn as the visions fade but is otherwise unaffected.
A creature reduced to 0 hp by the dust’s psychic damage falls unconscious and is stable. When the creature regains consciousness, it is permanently plagued by hallucinations and has disadvantage on ability checks until cured by a remove curse spell or similar magic.
2nd-level evocation (warlock)
Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you take damage
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, M (gloomflower’s stalk)
Each creature within range must make a Wisdom saving throw or take 2d6 psychic damage.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 3rd. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the range increases to 20 feet, and when you cast this spell using a spell slot of 8th level or higher, the range increases to 30 feet.
Gloomflower Adventure Hooks
- A wizard has divined that a gloomflower grows adjacent to the location where his colleague perished in the Shadow Realm. He has no desire to travel beyond the confines of his home but intends to handsomely pay anyone who undertakes his request to return the gloomflower, which contains his colleague’s soul within it. The soul’s disjointed memories contain dark dealings conducted by the wizard.
- A gardener, forever affected by an accidental journey to the Shadow Realm, tends a plot of gloomflowers in a darkened greenhouse. Once a month, he seeks out a victim whose corpse and soul provides a new home for one of his prized flowers.
If you have any requests for monsters from the Creature Codex for future installments, please let me know in the comments or elsewhere in the Kobold warrens, and I’ll make sure to add them to the queue.
The Expanding Codex series fleshes out monsters from the Creature Codex, giving GMs ways to modify the existing monsters to surprise well-prepared players or to introduce monsters to a campaign.