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Tome Unleashed: Accursed Defiler

Tome Unleashed: Accursed Defiler

The Tome Unleashed series fleshes out monsters from the Tome of Beasts, giving GMs ways to modify existing monsters to surprise well-prepared players or introduce new monsters to a campaign. Last month, we changed up the ychen bannog.

This time, we’re looking at ways to change up the accursed defiler (see Tome of Beasts) including magic items, spells, and adventure hooks inspired by it.

Accursed defilers are the remnants of an ancient tribe that desecrated a sacred oasis. For their crime, the wrathful spirits of the oasis cursed the tribe to forever wander the wastes attempting to quench an insatiable thirst. 

Alternate Traits and Actions

The following changes allow GMs to alter an accursed defiler without modifying its challenge rating.

Unbridle Shroud (Recharge 6). The accursed defiler sends its vortex of sand to a location within 30 feet of it. All creatures within a 10-foot radius of that location must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Until the end of the defiler’s next turn, it can’t benefit from its Sand Shroud as the sandstorm around it restarts.

The accursed defiler loses its Sandslash action.

Elemental Defilers

Besides the earthbound accursed defilers of the desert, other defilers roam inhospitable regions of the world, suffering their own miseries which they then inflict upon others. An elemental defiler modifies its Cursed Existence to apply in its described terrain.

Fumarole Defiler

Fumarole defilers inhabit blasted volcanic plains and other wastelands where noxious gasses regularly erupt and kill the unwary. The defiler’s Sand Shroud becomes Fume Shroud but is otherwise unchanged. Its walking speed is 20 feet, and it gains a flying speed of 40 feet. Its Slam attack and Sandslash action change as follows.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 +4) poison damage. If a creature is hit by this attack twice in the same round (from the same or different defilers), the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned.

Vapor Buffet (Recharge 5–6). The fumarole defiler intensifies the swirling vapors surrounding it. All creatures within a 10-foot radius of the defiler must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Pyroclastic Defiler

Pyroclastic defilers roam volcanically active regions or areas suffering from wildfires. The defiler’s Sand Shroud becomes Ashen Shroud but is otherwise unchanged. It gains resistance to fire damage and vulnerability to cold damage. Its Slam attack and Sandslash action change as follows.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 +4) fire damage. If a creature is hit by this attack twice in the same round (from the same or different defilers), the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or gain one level of exhaustion.

Clinging Ash (Recharge 5–6). The pyroclastic defiler intensifies the cloud of ash surrounding it. All creatures within a 10-foot radius of the defiler must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Tidal Defiler

Similar to other defilers, tidal defilers dwell in volcanically active areas where vents spew poison into the water. The defiler’s Sand Shroud becomes Tide Shroud but is otherwise unchanged. Its walking speed is 20 feet, and it gains a swim speed of 40 feet. Its Slam attack and Sandslash action change as follows.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 +4) bludgeoning damage. If a creature is hit by this attack twice in the same round (from the same or different defilers), the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or become stunned for 1 minute.

Swirling Currents (Recharge 5–6). The tidal defiler intensifies the watery vortex surrounding it. All creatures within a 10-foot radius of the defiler must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

New Magic Items and Spells

The following magic items and spells are inspired by the accursed defiler.

Gloves of Desiccation

Wondrous Item, Very Rare (Requires Attunement)

These sand-colored gloves feel gritty and draw moisture from your hands when you wear them. They have 3 charges. While wearing them, you can use a bonus action and expend 1 charge to activate the gloves. If you hit a target with an unarmed attack while the gloves are activated, and the target requires water or other liquid to survive, it takes 8d6 necrotic damage and must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or gain one level of exhaustion.

The gloves regain 1d3 expended charges daily at dusk.

Sand Shroud Cloak

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

Sand flakes off this tattered cloak. While wearing it, you are surrounded by swirling sand in a 10-foot radius. The area is lightly obscured to creatures other than you. Creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to follow tracks left by you or other creatures moving in the swirling sand.

The cloak has 3 charges. You can use an action and expend a charge to intensify the whirl. All creatures in the area must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 6d6 slashing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Favored Terrain Rejuvenation

5th-Level Evocation | Ranger
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a clay model of yourself containing soil from your favored terrains and worth 1,000 gp)
Duration: 7 days

After casting this spell, if you die in one of your favored terrains within the duration, your body disintegrates into soil, though your possessions remain. Your body reforms at dawn the next day d100 miles away in a random direction, but still within one of your favored terrains. The spell ends when your body reforms.

Parching Touch

3rd-Level Necromancy | Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

Withering dryness emanates from your hand to violently draw moisture from a creature you try to touch. Make a melee spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 6d8 necrotic damage and must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or gain one level of exhaustion. If the target doesn’t require water or other liquid to survive, it takes half as much damage and doesn’t gain exhaustion.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 3rd.

Accursed Defiler Adventure Hooks

  • A pair of accursed defilers haunts a well-traveled caravan route. A caravan owner who has heard tales about the undead menace offers a reward to capable adventurers who can protect the caravan. The owner hopes the adventurers might destroy the defilers, so the owner can take credit for securing the route’s safety.
  • The ancient spirits that afflicted the accursed defilers have returned to the desecrated oasis. Humanoids that die near the oasis rise as accursed defilers at the following midnight. Until the oasis is purified through an extensive ritual, during which the participants must appease the spirits, the curse remains and threatens to expand further into the desert.

Tome Unleashed is going back to where it all began, with Tome of Beasts. If you’ve got a favorite from that book, please let us know in the comments or elsewhere in the Kobold warrens, and we’ll add it to the queue.

about Mike Welham

Mike Welham started gaming some time in the Mesozoic Era and has played at least one game in each edition of D&D. He has been happily writing for Kobold Press for over ten years and is partially responsible for all the darn drakes flying around Midgard.

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