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.
Alternate Traits and Actions
The following changes allow GMs to alter a leonino without modifying its challenge rating:
Favored Messenger. While the leonino is delivering a message, it has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
The leonino doesn’t possess the Evasion trait.
Resplendent Wings. The leonino’s wings are vibrantly colored, and it has advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks against creatures that can see its wings.
The leonino doesn’t possess the Silent Wings trait.
Rodentsense. The leonino can detect the presence of rats and other rodents within 30 feet. This allows it to sense a shapeshifting creature that has at least one rodent-like form (such as a wererat), even if the creature is not in that form. Additionally, the leonino has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track rodents.
The leonino does not possess darkvision.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack. +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., on target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) slashing damage. The leonino grabs the target. If the target is a Tiny or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 10). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained. A larger creature is not grappled, and it can use an action to remove the leonino with a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check at the same DC. While the leonino has its target grabbed, it deals 5 (1d4 + 3) slashing damage with its rear claws.
This attack replaces the leonino’s normal bite attack.
New Magic Item and Spells
The following magic item and spells are inspired by a leonino’s abilities:
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
This cloak works similarly to wings of flying, but using an action to speak its command word transforms the cloak into a pair of leonino wings. The wings give you a flying speed of 50 feet, and you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made while flying in forests and urban settings. Additionally, when you fly out of an enemy’s reach, you don’t provoke opportunity attacks.
2nd-level enchantment (bard, sorcerer, wizard)
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S, M (a leonino whisker)
Duration: 1 hour
This spell causes the creature that you touch to project an air of detachment in all its social dealings. All other creatures that attempt to make Wisdom (Insight) checks to determine the target’s intentions have disadvantage on those checks.
In addition, a creature that interacts with the target for the duration must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature attempts to curry favor with the target, and the target has advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks against that creature for the duration, provided a check is made to benefit the target in some way.
1st-level abjuration (bard, paladin, ranger)
Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you are subject to a spell or effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take half damage
Upon casting this spell, you gain an innate sense of how to avoid the worst of a damaging spell or effect. If you succeed on the Dexterity saving throw, you take no damage. You only take half damage if you fail the saving throw.
1st-level enchantment (bard, sorcerer, wizard)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a leonino claw)
Duration: 1 day
You mark a creature you can see as an enemy to cats. The creature must succeed on a Charisma saving throw, or felines become hostile toward the creature for the duration. Felines have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks against the target, and they have advantage on saving throws against effects that would cause them to become frightened of the target. Felines always attack the target in preference to all other creatures, but will not risk their lives to reach the target.
If you can see the target and a feline in combat, you can end the spell, and the feline has advantage on its attack rolls until combat ends. This does not compel the feline to continue fighting the target.
Leonino Adventure Hooks
- A leonino has been hunting a particular wererat for the past couple of months, but the wererat has continuously thwarted its pursuit. Desperate for help, the leonino deigns to ask the PCs for assistance with its hunt. It has very little treasure to offer, but it promises to serve as a familiar to a PC after they have successfully dealt with the wererat.
- An elf offers a generous reward for the return of its leonino pet. While the elf reasons someone has kidnapped the leonino, the truth is the elf has been abusing the creature and it managed to escape.
If you have any requests for monsters from the Creature Codex for future installments, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll make sure to add them to the queue.