Yeah. You read that right. Of all the 1561++ monsters currently available over at dndbeyond I somehow managed to roll the living avatar of an actual god. Now you get why I had to reroll yesterday’s monster, right? This is why. Luckily for us (mostly me, really) it so happens that I’ve felt Tiamat’s wrath first hand. Without any further ado, let us talk about one of Dungeons and Dragons most well known figures...
Oh boy, where to start with this one. There’s a reason Dungeons and Dragons has mostly stayed away from giving Gods and deity like monsters their own statblocks. Even this statted version of an avatar of Tiamat has some truly game breaking stats. We’re talking about a +8 in WIS and INT, +9 in CHA, and +10 STR and CON. Even their lowest stat, DEX, is an average +0.
Tiamat’s saving throws are very much as godly as she is with a +9 to DEX, +17 to WIS, and ridiculous +19 to her STR. She could literally roll a Nat 2 and still succeed most saves without even needing to burn a legendary resistance.
Speaking of which, “resistance” is definitely a word that pops up a few times in this creature’s block. Like any boss monster worth his or her salt, Tiamat has not one, not three, but FIVE Legendary Resistances. Sorry, did I say resistances? I meant to say immunities. We’re talking about immunity to Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Poison, a bunch of conditions, and the typical non-magical weapon attack resi– immunity. Oh yeah, also? Anything below a 6th level spell immediately fails since Tiamat has Limited Magic Immunity. If you’re wondering how your players are supposed to stop her, well, the simple answer is they can’t but do keep reading for the longer version.
If you thought we were done with the crazy numbers, you’re in for a treat. This gargantuan fiend (yeah, not a dragon or celestial for some reason) has an AC of 25, a hit point pool of 30d20+300, a flying speed of 120ft, and a passive perception of 36.
Yeah, that’s a +26 to any perception checks. Say goodbye to your Sneak Attacks, my fellow rogues. Oh, Invisibility? Enjoy Tiamat’s 120ft Truesight, as well as her 240ft Darkvision.
As if we didn’t have enough resistances and hit points to blow through, Tiamat also has a pretty neat Regeneration feature that just, tops her off for 30hp at the start of each of her turns.
But let’s talk about some of the damage that she can dish out instead. Of course the main “feature” if we want to call it that for this creature is that fact that, like a Hydra, there are multiple heads to deal with. Each of which has their own possible Legendary action for a Breath Weapon, at a cost of 2 of her 5 available at each round. I’ll spare you the details but just know that the averages for damages are between high 60s and low 90s. If you’re wondering what exactly you’re supposed to do with that last Legendary Action, well, you can just take a big chunk out of the Paladin with a Bite attack. Or you know, just take 5 bite attacks per round on top of your Claw-Claw-Tail Multiattack for a total of 8 attack rolls per round.
As if this monster didn’t already have enough things at its disposal, Tiamat also gets a 3/day access to the 7th level spell Divine Word, which can just instantly kill player depending on their current number of hit points.
I know I was trash talking the huge numbers this creature gets earlier in the article but, if anything I think the 240ft area to her Frightful presence should be increased. Just make it like two miles or something because holy sh–.
Oh, and just in case you somehow manage to “kill” her, she can’t actually die. She’ll just reform back at her place and plot revenge on whoever did the do.
Drawn from Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, Tiamat was known as the Goddess of the Sea. Although there are slightly different versions of the stories, basics are that she get betrayed by other gods and eventually births dragons as part of her revenge.
In terms of Dungeons and Dragons, she has been part of the world ever since 1975 when she was introduced as The Dragon Queen and although she has accumulated many other titles throughout the years, she continues to be an iconic figure in 5th edition.
She is known are one of the two primary Draconic Gods. Together with her brother Bahamut, she was once part of a single dragon deity named Io, who represented creation and was thought to have created the multiverse. Flash forward an unknown number of millennia and Io was defeated and cut through cleanly into two parts from which spawned Bahamut and Tiamat.
Chances are that if you’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a bit, you will have heard of Tiamat’s and Bahamut’s rocky relationship. While their rivalry and hatred for each other is well known, this wasn’t always the case. Nowadays though, it is most certain that if Tiamat were to escape her imprisonment she would focus on bringing about the destruction of all Metallic Dragons as one of her very first acts.
Although no longer included in her statblock for 5th edition (thank god), some of the lore for older editions described Tiamat as being able to watch and listen up to a 10mile radius around her, and being able to “poison” water or any substance containing water such as potions. She could also charm reptiles and teleport around planes and locations as wished. Just when you think she couldn’t get any more broken, am I right? Thankfully, as mentioned before, none of those seem to be current parts of her 5th edition skill set. What does remain as part of her stat block is the fact that she simply cannot be killed and will eventually reform and reappear to cause trouble.
Similar to most of her dragon children, Tiamat often presents herself a woman with dark hair, a sorceress sometimes known as the Dark Lady.
If you’ve ever fought an ancient chromatic dragon in your campaign, there’s a slight chance that they were in fact spawned directly from Tiamat and one of her multiple consorts.
As a Greater God, Tiamat doesn’t just represent all even dragons and reptiles, but also the ideals of conquest, greed, destruction, tyranny and a bunch of other nice stuff. Her hunger for power is such that she has in fact been killing and absorbing other Gods and their power for a very long time. Many believe this to be one of the reasons that prompted her getting banished.
If you’re wondering where exactly you can find this fiendish creature so that you may slay her once and for all, look no further than Avernus; first layer of the Nine Hells. Although trapped here, she is free to roam as wished. In the untold years since her imprisonment she has built a massive fortress from which she rules as she continues to seek for means to escape her imprisonment. Of course if you are thinking of approaching her there, you might have to deal with large numbers of other devils, as the Dragon Queen has a decent amount of support from Asmodeus himself.
Back on the Material Plane, the Cult of the Dragon, also known as Church of Tiamat, and the Keepers of the Secret Hoard are always hard at work attempting to free the Dragon Queen. The cult is explored in great detail in the 5th edition modules Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat, but for now, just know that Tiamat’s followers tend to be just a greedy and power hungry as she is. Those who achieve a certain amount of power and notoriety within the ranks become known as Wyrmspeakers. In terms of her dragon followers, chromatic dragons often commit atrocities and mass destruction in her name.
Look man, I get it. Dragons are cool and in a game half named after them, we definitely want to fight them, but Tiamat? Seriously? It’s your fiery funeral, but okay, let’s see…
Actually, let us start by discussing how we’re meant to fight her in one of WoC’s own modules. I suppose the whole article is a giant spoiler for the Rise of Tiamat Module as it is but just in case: Spoilers ahead!
At the end of the Rise of Tiamat module (second part of the Tyranny of Dragons adventure set) the party of heroes is meant to race against the Cult of the Dragon as the rush to complete a ritual that will free Tiamat from her imprisonment in the Nine Hells. It is stated several times throughout the book that the chances for the players to defeat Tiamat, if she is successfully summoned, are extremely slim. So slim in fact, that the adventure places several ‘clauses’ for the ritual that allow the players multiple ways to either stop the ritual completely or greatly weaken Tiamat’s avatar once she comes through into the Material Plane. From reducing her hit points and number of Legendary actions and resistances to lowering her AC, all so that the players might have a chance, just a chance, of sending her back to Avernus.
I bring this up because, unless you’re planning on this encounter to TPK your players and wipe out the board, you will definitely need to come up with some ways to give your players and edge and weaken Tiamat.
And this is just Tiamat (ha!) that we’re talking about here. If we’re going by lore alone she will definitely not be by herself when the time comes to rise. She will have a massive array of allies from cultists, to chromatic dragons and devils. What I’m saying here is that this is definitely not an encounter to through at your players lightly. It will require extreme balancing and preparation on your part as the Dungeon Master.
If your Rise of Tiamat players are unfortunate enough to not stop the ritual in time, or if you’re still set on subjecting your group to Tiamat’s wrath, do try your best to make the encounter memorable! Go all out and don’t be afraid to get creative with combat. This should be the kind of be all or end all final battle where all the player’s effort finally pays out as their allies assemble and prepare for a final assault against Tiamat’s forces.
Oh boy, that was a long one but I definitely enjoyed doing all the research needed for this piece. Even learned a few things I didn’t know despite having played through the Tyranny of Dragons module.
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