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 eater of dust.
This time, we’re looking at ways to change up the ala (see Tome of Beasts 1) including alternate traits and actions, as well as new magic items, spells, and adventure hooks inspired by them.
These evil fey creatures are born from the death of a treant. They appear with the upper body of a hag and the lower body of a blackened whirlwind. They hunt any meat but favor the taste of innocents.
Alternate Traits and Actions
Caustic Flesh. The ala has acidic skin. A creature that makes a successful bite attack against the ala must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take 10 (3d6) acid damage.
In exchange for this trait, the ala loses its Poison Flesh trait. Additionally, it loses its immunity to poison and gains immunity to acid. Finally, its bite attack changes:
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 5) piercing damage. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take 10 (3d6) acid damage.
Spellcasting. The ala casts one of the following spells, using Wisdom as the spellcasting ability (spell save DC 14):
3/day: gust of wind
1/day each: call lighting, control weather
In exchange for this ability, the ala reduces the recharge for Lightning’s Kiss to 6. If the ala replaces Lightning’s Kiss with Thunderclap, the recharge for Thunderclap becomes 6, and the ala can’t opt to use both Lightning’s Kiss and Thunderclap.
Storm’s Rejuvenation. If an electrical storm is raging around an ala, the ala regains 5 hit points at the beginning of its turn.
In exchange for this trait, the ala loses its Storm’s Strength trait.
Thunderclap (Recharge 5–6). As an action, the ala smacks its hands together creating a resounding boom in a 40-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 24 (7d6) thunder damage and becoming stunned for 1 round on a failed save, or half as much damage and not becoming stunned on a successful one.
In exchange for this action, the ala loses Lightning’s Kiss. Alternatively, it can use both actions by reducing the recharge to 6 for Lightning’s Kiss and reducing the recharge to 6 for Thunderclap.
Zapping Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, one target. Hit 9 (1d8 + 5) slashing damage plus 3 (1d6) lightning damage. If the target is wearing metal armor, the ala has advantage on its attack roll.
In exchange for this attack, the ala loses its Claw attack. It can make two Zapping Claw attacks or one Zapping Claw attack and a one Bite attack with its Multiattack.
New Magic Items and Spells
The following magic items and spells are inspired by the ala.
Weapon (Whip), Rare (Requires Attunement)
You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon, which deals 1d8 lightning damage on a hit. You are considered proficient with this weapon.
The whip has 3 charges. You can expend a charge as an action to make a ranged weapon attack of a bolt of lightning at a range of 50 feet. On a hit, the target must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw, taking 8d6 lightning damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. The whip regains 1d3 charges at dawn. Additionally, if you are in an electrical storm, you can use an action to allow the whip to regain 1 charge.
Wondrous Item, Uncommon
This clay jar opens with a crackle of lightning and contains 1d4 + 1 doses of a slimy liquid with an almond odor. The jar and its contents weigh 1 pound.
As an action, you can apply one dose to the skin. For 1 hour afterward, if a creature bites the target of a dose, the creature must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 3d6 poison damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. Additional doses increase the damage by 3d6.
2nd-Level Transmutation | Druid, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (lightning-scored metal)
Duration: 1 hour
When you cast this spell, you select a target which you limn with blue light. The target has disadvantage on saving throws against spells and effects that deal lightning damage for the duration and must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or gain vulnerability to lightning damage for the duration. A remove curse spell or similar magic can end this spell.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 4th level spell slot or higher, the duration increases to 8 hours. When you cast this spell using a 6th level spell slot or higher, the duration increases to 24 hours. When you cast this spell using an 8th level spell slot or higher, the duration becomes permanent. When you cast this spell using a 5th level spell slot or higher, a target made vulnerable to lightning damage takes three times the damage. When you cast this spell using a 9th level spell slot, a target made vulnerable to lightning damage takes four times the damage.
3rd-Level Transmutation | Druid, Ranger
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a bit of ala skin)
Duration: Concentration, up to 8 hours
This spell causes a target’s flesh and saliva to become poisonous. For the duration, if the target successfully bites a creature through a bite attack or an unarmed strike, or if a creature bites the target, the creature must make a Constitution saving throw. The creature takes 3d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 3rd.
Ala Adventure Hooks
- The region’s farmers are losing livestock at a prodigious rate, and patches of scorched earth provide the only clues to their disappearance. Heroes who can find the culprit (a pair of alas) receive a hefty reward.
- An ancient ala cursed a town with a constant barrage of storms, threatening everyone who lives there. The desperate town leaders require someone to negotiate with the ala or dispatch it, if necessary.
Tome Unleashed creates options for monsters found in the Tome of Beasts. But guess what? Kobold Press has upgraded these monsters into a new edition!
Cruise over to the Kobld store to take a look at Tome of Beasts 1 (2023) available for pre-order!