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 likho.
This time, we’re looking at ways to change up the eater of dust (see Tome of Beasts 1) including alternate traits and actions, as well as new magic items, spells, and adventure hooks inspired by them.
These wicked aberrations from the lower planes can consume nearly anything with their mawblades. They operate in small military-style units, working for high ranking demon lords and arch-devils. They accept their pay in souls and flesh of mortal beings.
Alternate Traits and Actions
The following changes allow GMs to alter an eater of dust without modifying its challenge rating.
Consumptive Mawblade. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d6 + 5) piercing damage. The target must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken, and the eater of dust regains hit points equal to half that amount. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. The target dies if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0.
In exchange, the eater of dust’s Mawblade attack becomes less physically damaging, dealing only 15 (3d6 + 5) piercing damage.
Dustburst (Recharge 5–6). As an action, the eater of dust releases a cloud of dust from its mawblade in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking 28 (8d6) poison damage and becoming poisoned for 1 minute on a failed save, or half as much damage and not becoming poisoned on a successful one.
The eater of dust can spend an action devouring material to recharge Dustburst automatically.
In exchange for this action, the eater of dust loses its Multiattack.
Magic Resistance. While the eater of dust wields its mawblade, it has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
In exchange for this trait, the eater of dust loses access to its 1/day spells.
Siege Monster. The eater of dust deals double damage to objects and structures.
In exchange for this trait, the eater of dust’s damage immunity changes to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t adamantine.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage.
The eater of dust can replace a Mawblade attack with a Slam attack during its Multiattack. If the eater of dust loses its mawblade, its Slam attacks have disadvantage.
Teleport to Mawblade (Recharges after a Long or Short Rest). As an action, the eater of dust teleports to a location within 5 feet of its mawblade, regardless of the danger present in that location.
In exchange for this action, the eater of dust modifies its Regeneration, such that it only regenerates if it possesses its mawblade.
New Magic Items and Spells
The following magic items and spells are inspired by the eater of dust.
Weapon (Mawblade), Very Rare (Requires Attunement)
You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon, which fits over your dominant arm and deals 4d6 piercing damage on a hit. You are considered proficient with this weapon. Additionally, the weapon is treated as whatever material necessary to bypass damage resistances and immunities. You can devour any substance with the weapon, regardless of the material consumed.
Curse. The mawblade is cursed, and becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the mawblade, keeping it attached to your arm at all times. Your mouth also seals shut, making it impossible for you to speak. You can still cast spells with verbal components. The mawblade drives you to consume matter, especially valuable materials or substances it has yet to encounter. If confronted by such a repast, you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or attempt to consume it with the mawblade, destroying the material in the process. If you are separated from the mawblade, you face starvation, as you no longer can gain sustenance in any other manner.
2nd-Level Transmutation | Ranger, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (an ounce of dust)
Duration: 24 hours
The targets can eat anything and gain sustenance from it. Additionally, the targets gains resistance to poison damage and immunity to the poisoned condition from ingested poisons. Up to ten willing creatures you can see within range benefit from these effects for the duration.
4th-Level Transmutation (Ritual) | Wizard
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a shard from an eater of dust’s mawblade)
Duration: 8 hours
Select a willing target and a weapon chosen by the target. For the duration, the target’s weapon becomes a magic weapon if it isn’t already with a +2 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls. Additionally, the weapon is treated as if it was made of any material necessary to bypass a creature’s damage resistances and immunities. Finally, the target can always pinpoint the location of its weapon.
For the duration, the target has disadvantage on attack rolls with any other weapon.
The target can only bond with one weapon at a time. If this spell is cast on the target again, the previous casting’s duration ends.
At Higher Levels. If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the duration is 24 hours. If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 7th level or higher, the target can bond to an additional weapon. If you cast this spell using a 9th-level spell slot, the duration is permanent.
Eater of Dust Adventure Hooks
- A mawblade belonging to an eater of dust fell through a planar portal outside a village. The village blacksmith discovered the odd weapon while on a walk and put it on display in their shop. It won’t be long before the eater of dust arrives to collect it!
- A troop of four eaters of dust marauds the countryside after accidentally transporting from a battle in one of the lower planes. Various nobles offer differing rewards for destroying the creatures or returning them from whence they came, but each wants the credit for hiring the PCs, and will sabotage rival attempts.
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!