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 ychen bannog (see Tome of Beasts) including magic items, spells, and adventure hooks inspired by it.
Alternate Traits and Actions
The following changes allow GMs to alter an ychen bannog without modifying its challenge rating.
Dig Furrow. As an action, the ychen bannog moves half its walking speed. If the ground is not magically created, the ychen bannog digs a 20-foot-wide, 3-foot-deep furrow in the ground. Creatures within 5 feet of the furrow when the ychen bannog digs it must succeed on a DC 21 Strength saving throw or fall prone. The area becomes difficult terrain.
The ychen bannog’s stomp attack has a reach of 5 feet.
Maddened Ychen. An ychen bannog kept from a goal grows increasingly agitated and eventually becomes enraged. It has advantage on saving throws against spells and effects that cause it to become charmed or frightened. Additionally, the ychen bannog has advantage on its attack rolls, and attack rolls against it have advantage. Finally, it can make one additional attack when taking a Multiattack.
The ychen bannog loses its Peaceful Creature trait.
Siege Monster. The ychen bannog deals double damage to objects and structures.
The ychen bannog loses its Overrun trait.
Unstoppable. The ychen bannog gains immunity to the grappled, paralyzed, restrained, and stunned conditions.
The ychen bannog loses its resistance to bludgeoning damage.
New Magic Items and Spells
The following magic items and spells are inspired by the ychen bannog.
Wondrous Item, Rare
When you spend 10 minutes sharpening a weapon that deals piercing or slashing damage on this chunk of petrified ychen bannog horn, the weapon becomes powerfully sharp for 8 hours. If you score a critical hit with the weapon, it deals triple its damage dice (no other dice are tripled, however).
Horn of the Ychen Bannog
Wondrous Item, Very Rare
This hollowed-out ychen bannog horn produces a resonant note similar to the creature’s signature bellow. It has 3 charges.
You can use an action to blow the horn, which delivers an intensified version of the bellow in a 60-foot cone that can be heard up to 1 mile away. Each creature, unattended object, and structure must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 5d6 thunder damage and is deafened for 1 minute. On a successful save, a creature takes half as much damage and isn’t deafened. Objects and structures take 10d6 thunder damage instead of 5d6.
Additionally, you can use an action to blow this horn to summon an ychen bannog, which appears within 60 feet of you. You have advantage on Wisdom (Handle Animal) checks to overcome its Peaceful Creature trait. Once the horn has been used for this effect, it can’t be used again to summon an ychen bannog until 1 month has passed.
The horn regains 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn.
Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)
While wearing those boots fashioned, in part, from an ychen bannog’s hooves, you can make a melee attack with the boots, dealing 2d10 bludgeoning damage on a hit. If you hit a creature, it must succeed on a DC 18 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
5th-Level Evocation | Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (60-foot cone)
Components: V, S M (an ychen bannog’s horn)
You produce a bellow that can be heard up to 1 mile away. Each creature, unattended object, and structure in a 60-foot cone must make a Constitution saving throw. A creature takes 5d10 thunder damage and is deafened on a failed save, or half as much damage and is not deafened on a successful one. An object or structure takes 10d10 thunder damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using spell slot of 6th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d10 (or 2d10 against objects or structures) for each slot level above 5th.
1st-Level Enchantment | Druid, Ranger
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (30-foot radius)
Components: V, S M (an ychen bannog’s tail)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
You instill calm in all beasts around you. Each beast in a 30-foot radius must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become unable to attack for the duration. Another creature can end this effect by using its action and making a Wisdom (Animal Handling) check against your spell save DC. The effect also ends for a beast subject to an attack.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the radius increases by 10 feet for each slot level above 1st, to a maximum of 100 feet. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, the spell affects monstrosities in addition to beasts.
Ychen Bannog Adventure Hooks
- A stone giant must drive an ychen bannog through a dangerous pass, but the giant has no rapport with animals. They seek adventurers who can guide the creature and fend for themselves in the mountains and against hostile creatures.
- An ychen bannog, separated from its mate (thanks to a group of trolls who absconded with the creature) rampages through an inhabited valley in search. Villagers affected by the ychen bannog’s destructiveness pool their resources to hire a party to reunite the creature with its mate, or to put it down, if worse comes to worst. If the party rescues the mate, the pair serve the group for at least a month as mounts and draft creatures.
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.
5 thoughts on “Tome Unleashed: Ychen Bannog”
Love the fact that Ychen Bannog means literally ‘Horned Oxen’ in Welsh. A good tip for DMs creating monster names for their own creatures: just use Google Translate for the basic monster description, pick a relatively little-known language, and voila, you have a cool-sounding name for your new monster.
I used this idea when coming up with place names for mountains, forests and rivers in my homebrew world. I agree, this is a great idea for coming up with names, and you can even replace a simple vowel or consonant to make the spelling or sound unique.
A good tip for DMs who want to name their own monsters is to use Google Translate to translate the basic description of the monster into a language that not many people know. Then, pick a language that not many people know, and you have a cool-sounding name for your new monster.
Does the horn of the ychen bannog use its charges? It currently does not.
Some features are perfect for writing about in certain times of year, such as the beginning of summer vacation or at the winter holidays.