A hulking effigy carved from solid bloodstone clings to the sanctuary steeple. A closer look reveals a sinister winged creature of elemental earth that bears the loathsome likeness of a demonic statue with long, curving horns and a prodigiously wicked grin. The sound of grinding stone and the blinking of two luminous crimson eyes precede the gargoyle’s lightning-swift assault.
The Bloodstone Gargoyle of Bratislor Pass
Large elemental, chaotic evil
Blood and Stone. Journeyed pathfinders and loyal servants of the Blood Goddess Marena know of a seldom-used mountain pass, south of Bratislor along the Great Northern Road, where a secluded monastery is situated in grim isolation. Here, the Bloodstone Gargoyle of Bratislor Pass watches balefully over the crumbling walls of the Vermilion Abbey from atop its black granite steeple. A coterie of ghouls and vampire spawn occupy the abbey’s lightless sanctuary, patiently awaiting the return of their Red Sister mistresses under the tireless guidance of their unholy sentinel.
Grim Sentinel. Born from a massive slab of chalcedony, the Bloodstone Gargoyle of Bratislor Pass gleefully serves the cruel interests of its sanguine masters and has watched over the Vermillion Abbey’s mountain sanctuary for at least a century. The precise origin of this peculiar elemental menace remains a mystery, for none quite like it has ever been chronicled. Yet despite this surreptitious history (or perhaps because of it), the tale of the guardian has become a prized fable among Midgard storytellers with a fondness for horror.
Evil to the Core. An accursed gemstone known as the heliotrope heart is buried deep within the bloodstone gargoyle’s stony chest. This magical orb can only be retrieved if the gargoyle is slain, at which point the rest of the earthen creature crumbles to dust. A scant few entities are even aware of the orb’s existence, such as the Arch-Devil Parzelon, Midgard’s most learned sages, and the Red Goddess Marena herself.
Elemental Nature. The bloodstone gargoyle doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 72 (8d10 + 28)
Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft.
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t adamantine
Damage Immunities poison
Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6
Condition Immunities exhaustion, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Terran, understands Common but can’t speak, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 5 (2,300 XP)
False Appearance. While the bloodstone gargoyle remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from an inanimate statue.
Multiattack. The bloodstone gargoyle makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the bloodstone gargoyle regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A humanoid slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the bloodstone gargoyle’s control.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage.
Fiendish Charm. The bloodstone gargoyle’s eyes sparkle with crimson light as it targets one humanoid it can see within 60 feet of it. If the target can see the bloodstone gargoyle, the target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be charmed by the bloodstone gargoyle. The charmed target regards the bloodstone gargoyle as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under the bloodstone gargoyle’s control, it takes the gargoyle’s requests or actions in the most favorable way it can, and it is a willing target for the gargoyle’s bite attack.
Each time the gargoyle or the gargoyle’s companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until the gargoyle is destroyed, is on a different plane of existence than the target, or takes a bonus action to end the effect.
The bloodstone gargoyle can take one legendary action, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The bloodstone gargoyle regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Detect. The bloodstone gargoyle makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.
Hurl Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 40/120 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
The Bloodstone Gargoyle’s Lair
The Bloodstone Gargoyle of Bratislor Pass serves as the sleepless sentinel of a crumbling mountain temple to the Blood Goddess Marena, where he perches upon an ebon steeple. Known as the Vermillion Abbey, this black granite edifice also houses a restless pack of ghouls and a small cadre of vampire spawn birthed from the gargoyle’s sinister bite.
The craggy region surrounding the bloodstone gargoyle’s lair in Bratislor Pass has been corrupted by the creature’s unnatural presence, creating the following effects:
- There’s a noticeable increase in the population of bats in the region.
- Plants within 1,000 feet of the lair are withered, and their stems and branches have become twisted and thorny.
- Shadows cast within 1,000 feet of the lair seem abnormally gaunt and sometimes move as though alive.
If the bloodstone gargoyle is destroyed, these effects end after 3d6 days.
Bloodstone Gargoyle of Bratislor Pass Plot Hooks
Characters could find themselves encountering the Bloodstone Gargoyle of Bratislor Pass for a variety of reasons:
- While traveling the Great Northern Road, the characters encounter the lone survivor of an ill-fated adventuring party. Two prodigious bite marks on the fellow’s shoulder betray his encounter with the bloodstone gargoyle, which he describes in vivid detail before succumbing to his wounds. As the lone adventurer dies, he beseeches the characters to purify the unholy altars of the Vermillion Abbey by destroying them.
- A cabal of Red Sister acolytes has kidnapped the characters who find themselves imprisoned within the lightless dungeon of the Vermillion Abbey. If they manage to escape their blasphemous jail, will they survive the abbey’s bloodstone sentinel and his retinue of undead minions?
- A powerful druid of Wendestal Forest tasks the characters with retrieving the heliotrope heart from the bloodstone gargoyle’s earthen remains. In return, she promises to reward the characters with a magical boon (such as the spells greater restoration, reincarnate, or scrying in a time of need) and safe passage through the Wendestal.
- A blistering snowstorm drives the characters into the Bratislor Pass for shelter as they make their way north or south along the Great Northern Road. During their first rest, one of the characters—or perhaps a friendly scout in their midst—is beset by a trio of ghouls who drag the hapless victim toward the shadow-steeped threshold of the Vermillion Abbey…
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