Daily Monster #21: Living Burning Hands

These creatures are examples of what happens when raw magic runs rampant. In places where magic has bled into the land, these powers eventually collect and physically manifest into “living” versions of the spells cast

Fresh of the press! Today we talk about our first Eberron: Rising From the Last War creature! I have to admit that I haven’t quite had the time to go through all of the creatures in this newest Wizards of the Coast book, but in my defense, that’s the whole reason for this series right? When I saw the name of today’s creature I was a bit perplexed so, without any further ado, let us discuss…


Living Burning Hands

The basics

These constructs come to us from the land of Eberron with a -2 to their WIS and CHA that is only outdone by their -4 INT. Their STR is an average +0 and only their DEX and CON are in the positives with a +1 and +3 respectively.

Living Burning Hands are considered medium constructs for 5th edition and are usually unaligned. In terms of numbers, their AC is 15, and they have a measly pool of 2d8+6 hit points.

As living spells, they get a standard non magical attack resistance, a few condition immunities, and and arguably more useful Fire immunity. Since these creatures embody magic itself, it’s not surprising that they also get a Magic Resistance feature.

Although their speed is a mediocre 25ft, because of their Amorphous nature they are able to move through spaces as narrow as 1 inch without squeezing.

For attacks these creatures have access to Magic Strike, which is a simple melee attack. Their Spell Mimicry (recharge 5-6) is very similar to a Dragonborn’s breath weapon.

I have to say that while the concept for these creatures is pretty cool, their stat block is one if not the most lackluster we’ve explored so far in this series.


The Lore

In a place as full of magic as Eberron, it’s no surprise that encounter creatures like this. According to their lore, Living spells (there are several others in this came category) are examples of what happens when raw magic has been left to run rampant. In places where magic has bled into the land, these powers eventually collect and physically manifest into “living” versions of the spells cast. Much like what happens when you cast the same magic in the same area for many spells, these creatures are almost echoes of the past.

The reason living spells are considered unaligned is because they are triggered indiscriminately by anything in their path, be it an innocent bystander or the mightiest of heroes.

Living spells are not natural lifeforms not are they able to communicate. Because of their construct nature, they have no self-preservation nor do they have goals or earthly desires. They are simply drawn to areas of immense arcane power.

Although there has been research done on them to find out exactly how to control them, no one has quite yet been able to artificially replicate the process by which living spells come to be.


The Execution

Funnily enough, by the time I’m doing research on these creatures I’ve actually just finished running a very similar monster/encounter concept for own of my own campaigns. Since I find this amusing, I figure I might as well convert that one encounter to fit Living Burning Hands.

You see, for the last couple of weeks my players have been traveling through a massive desert that was the result of a long fought ancient battle. The terrain is inhospitable even for the natives of this land. In character, the party has struggled with the more natural dangers of the desert for a few days and while they hasve already fought some of these more mundane elements I wanted to take this opportunity to explore a bit more of world lore.

After proving themselves in the desert for a couple of days and with the Ranger confidently at the front of this expedition, they began the last leg of their travel. What they didn’t know though, was that the massive storm that had been threatening to break was more than it appeared at first glance. As they made their way across the sand dunes the storm finally broke above them. At first it seemed like a regular storm until the Wizard spotted the telltale signs of magic in the air. Barely visible through the thick cover of sand around them, the party began to make out outlines and shapes of some sort of battle played out by sand figures. Before they could prepare, a pair of towering sand golems formed in front of them attacked.

Of course for this particular example we would have to tweak a few thing to make it more suitable for our Living Burning Hands, but not by much.

If you would rather have a more urban encounter or simply prefer to have the monster come to your players instead, these constructs are known to roam the land in search for areas with strong concentrations of magic. Perhaps they simply stumble into town and begin to attack anything and everything that moves.

If you end up using Living Burning Hands in your Dungeons and Dragons campaign, do remember to play up their lack of self preservation and intelligence.


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