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.
This time, we’re looking at ways to change up the sarcophagus slime (see Tome of Beasts) including magic items, spells, and adventure hooks inspired by this loathsome undead.
Alternate Traits and Actions
The following changes allow GMs to alter a sarcophagus slime without modifying its challenge rating.
Animate Corpse (Recharge 6). The sarcophagus slime takes 5 (1d10) force damage, and its hit point maximum is reduced by an equal amount. A portion of the slime attaches itself to a skeleton or zombie of a Medium or smaller creature within 5 feet of it. The corpse is under the slime’s control, obeying the slime’s mental commands, and uses the statistics of a CR 1/4 or lower skeleton or zombie of your choice. The slime can control up to two corpses at one time. If the slime animates another corpse while it already has two under its control, the oldest corpse collapses and the animating slime withers away. The slime’s hit point maximum reduction lasts until it finishes a long rest.
The sarcophagus slime can only make two slam attacks when making a Multiattack.
Dissolving Gaze. The sarcophagus slime targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creature takes 14 (4d6) acid damage and an additional 7 (2d6) acid damage at the start of its next turn. On a success, the creature takes half the damage and no additional damage. A creature can use its action to douse the target with water to prevent the additional acid damage.
The sarcophagus slime loses its Corrupting Gaze action.
Draining Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the creature finishes a long rest. The target dies and its corpse becomes a sarcophagus slime in 24 hours if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.
The sarcophagus slime loses its slam attack. The sarcophagus slime replaces its slam attack with the draining slam attack when making a Multiattack.
Split. When a sarcophagus slime that is Small or larger is subjected to necrotic or slashing damage, it can use its reaction to split into two new slimes, if it has at least 10 hit points. Each new slime has hit points equal to half the original slime’s, rounded down. New slimes are one size smaller than the original slime.
The sarcophagus slime gains vulnerability to force and radiant damage, gains immunity to necrotic and slashing damage, and loses resistance to necrotic damage.
Trapfinder’s Bane. Each creature of the sarcophagus slime’s choice that is within 60 feet of the slime must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks to locate traps, checks to disarm or avoid traps, and saving throws against any trap’s effects for 1 hour. This effect ends early by a remove curse spell or similar magic. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the sarcophagus slime’s trapfinder’s bane for the next 24 hours.
The sarcophagus slime loses its Frightful Presence action.
New Magic Items and Spells
The following magic items and spells are inspired by the sarcophagus slime.
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
These blackened gloves constantly ooze a foul-smelling amber sludge. While you wear the gloves, an unarmed strike you make with your hands deals an additional 1d4 acid damage. The gloves have 3 charges. On a successful unarmed strike you make with your hands, you can use a bonus action and expend 1 charge to secrete more acid from the gloves, causing your strike to deal an additional 4d6 acid damage rather than 1d4 acid damage. The gloves regain 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn.
Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)
This skull-shaped helm has 3 charges. While wearing it, you can use an action and expend 1 charge for one of the following effects.
Corrupting Gaze. You target one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. If the target can see you, it must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 4d6 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Frightful Presence. Each creature of your choice that is within 60 feet and aware of you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of you for 1 minute. A frightened creature repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. Once it successfully saves against the effect, a creature is immune to this effect for the next 24 hours. The helm regains 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn.
Create Sarcophagus Slime
9th-Level Necromancy | Cleric, Warlock, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (one blackened skull belonging to a creature that died from necrotic damage, and one 500 gp topaz stone)
When you cast this spell, the topaz melts and surrounds the skull, becoming a sarcophagus slime. As a bonus action on each of your turns, you can mentally command the slime if the creature is within 120 feet of you. You decide what action it takes and where it moves during its next turn, or you can issue a general command. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the slime continues to follow it until the task is complete.
The sarcophagus slime is under your control for 24 hours, after which it stops obeying any command you have given it. To maintain control of the slime for another 24 hours, you must cast this spell on it before the current 24-hour period ends. This use of the spell reasserts your control over a sarcophagus slime you have created with this spell, rather than creating a new one.
Alternatively, you can cast this spell to create a sarcophagus slime and assign it to a space no larger than 500 square feet. The slime guards the area and cannot leave it. The slime will not attack you when you enter the area, but it no longer obeys your commands. If you use this spell to create another sarcophagus slime, any previous slime you created for this purpose becomes independent, can leave the space to which you assigned it, and can attack you.
4th-Level Necromancy | Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S M (a skull belonging to a sarcophagus slime)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
After casting this spell, you can use an action to target one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. If the target can see you, it must make a Constitution saving throw. The target takes 4d6 necrotic 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 5th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 4th.
Sarcophagus Slime Adventure Hooks
- As part of a wicked scheme, a powerful necromancer created a sarcophagus slime and placed it in the tomb of a famous paladin. The clerics maintaining the tomb have suspended pilgrimages to the site until they can find a group to dispatch the creature.
- A retired adventurer learned of a ritual to reverse the transformation of a creature killed by a sarcophagus slime’s corrupting gaze. He offers an extraordinary payment to adventurers who can retrieve the tome containing the ritual to belatedly rescue a former companion.
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 me know in the comments or elsewhere in the Kobold warrens, and I’ll add it to the queue.