Daily Monster #20: Dybbuk

Today’s creature is the actual stuff of horror movies. If you’ve been looking for a spooky encounter to throw your players’ way, this might just be it!

This is not a drill folks, today it finally happened: we “rolled” 420 for our Daily Monster. I have to say that, although I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get a funky new creature for it, today’s creature is actually quite interesting. Without any further ado, let us discuss…


Dybbuks

The basics

Dybbuks actually have a -2 modifier to their STR. They make up for this handsomely with the rest of their stats however. These creatures have a +2 CHA and WIS modifiers as well as matching +3 CON and INT . But even these don’t compare to a Dybubbuk’s incredible +4 DEX.

These creatures excel at deception, intimidation, and perception, which makes them very interesting characters to add to any campaign; especially if you combine that with their 120ft of Telepathy and Darkvision.

They are considered medium demonic fiends and have an AC of 14 as well as a pool of 5d8+15 hitpoints. Their speed is also slightly above average with a fly (hovering) movement of 40ft. Dybuuks tend towards a chaotic evil alignment and are CR 4 creatures.

In terms of resistances and immunities, Dybbuks have quite a few of those. They have immunity to Poison as well as resistances to just about everything except for Psychic and Fore damage. Their list of condition immunities is quite extensive as well.

Thanks to their ghostly nature, these creatures have an Incorporeal Movement which allows them to pass through other creatures’ spaces. And if you’re looking for the perfect monster for a spooky one-shot they got you covered with their Violate Corpse feature which triggers a WIS save and the frightened condition on a failed roll. But we will expand more on this one in other sections.

They also get a nifty Magical Resistance as well as Innate Spellcasting for Dimension Door, Fear, and Phantasmal Force; which are all extremely fitting for this monster.

When it comes to their attack actions, there’s not a lot to choose from while it isn’t in possession of a body; the only choice being its Tendril attack, which at least has a side effect of temporarily reducing a target’s maximum hit points.

While the Tendril attack could be fun for a round or two, however, it is certainly not meant to be this creature’s main tactic. A Dybbuk’s defining trait is definitely its Possess Corpse ability. Once they have successfully possessed a fresh corpse, Dybbuks get a hefty buff to their hit points equal to that of the corpse’s original maximum health as well access to all of their abilities and statistics.


The Lore

Like many monsters in the Dungeons and Dragons world, this particular creature originates from real life folklore; in Jewish culture Dybbuks are known as malicious spirits that adhere themselves to living people before eventually possessing them. Mordekeinen’s makes a small deviation here by limiting their possession to non living beings.

When not in possession of a body, a Dybbuk’s true form looks a lot more like a ghostly looking jellyfish with a vaguely humanoid face. Because of their low stats in this form however, it is likely that they would already be found in a host body.

Unfortunately for Dybbuks, these creatures are only able to possess and control no longer living bodies. Because of this, they spend a lot of their time in search for a “perfect host” whose cold body hasn’t been marred by violence or injury. Once they have successfully found a suitable corpse, these creatures insert themselves into society and practice depraved and hedonistic acts until they are in need of a new body.

In terms of their behavior, these beings are not known to travel or live in groups. Chances are that, unless there’s a big source of bodies in the area, your party won’t encounter more than a single one of them at a time.


The Execution

Alright so hear me out… what we have here is an actual creature from nightmares if we play our cards right. Remember the Violate Body feature we briefly discussed earlier? Well, let me tell you a bit more about it; you know all the wall crawling and neck twisting stuff that happens in your typical horror movie? Yeah. That’s exactly what this is. The great thing about it too is that it doesn’t specify which kind of repulsive act the Dybbuk makes so we can be as creepy and repulsive as we want with this. Want to vomit on your players? Go for it. Want to pop out an eye or twist the Dybbuk’s body at unnatural angles? By all means. What’s more, as if these things weren’t scary enough already, Dybbuks also have unlimited access to Dimension Door. Imagine a haunted house with these guys, I’m honestly surprised we don’t see more of them in Curse of Strahd, but I digress… if you’re sold on the idea of scarring your players for life already, let’s look at some spooky ways that we could add these beings into our games:

One of the pillars of horror stories has always been familiarity. Got any NPCs or even former PCs that kicked the bucket lately? Why let them go to waste? Not only would their coming back catch the players by surprise, but imagine the characters reactions once they find out exactly what is going on. Perhaps at first they are fooled by our demon in disguise, confused but glad to have a valuable NPC back, after all, Dybbuks are nothing if not smart. It could be that the creature’s goal is to gain possession on a member of the party they see as the perfect host. If the group doesn’t immediately figure out what’s going on perhaps the demon starts to sabotage them in hope that that the PC will die so that they can take over the body. Adding a few unnatural hints to the Dybbuk’s puppet such as a faint smell of decay could go a long way too. Imagine your cleric’s or paladin’s face when they sense for Undead!

If you’re looking to throw more than one of these bad boys at your party that is still viable as long as there is a reason for these creatures to converge in the same area. One of the suggestions I came upon in me research suggested that perhaps a fresh battle field could be a good place for this. Do keep in mind though, that these creatures tend to stay clear of Undead as they have no use for them. Only the living will do!


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