Daily Monster #55: Eblis

Today we take a look at another staple monster from the jungles of Chult. This evil bird is smart enough to put everyone’s childhood bird pets to shame.

When you ask most people what sort of animals they grew up with, most of the time you’ll get the typical dog or cat response. Some of us were never quite as fortunate, however. Me? I had a parrot and, if there’s something I learned from that experience, it’s that all birds are evil, which is why I’m not surprised today we’re talking about the…


The basics

Let’s get right into it with some numbers; all things considered, the Eblis has stats that aren’t too far from what some low level adventurers might start with. We’re looking at a DEX of +3 followed by matching +1s in CON, INT, and WIS. This alone already makes our monster smarter than a large portion of player characters. That’s without even mentioning that this smart bird (technically a monstrosity) has no negative stats, but rather average +0 STR and CHA. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve definitely rolled lower stats than these in the past.

As we will discuss in detail for later sections of this article, Eblises are neutral evil monstrosities of CR 1. They have a +4 to Perception checks as well as a passive perception of 14, which are both pretty high for their CR, especially with combined with their superior movement of 30ft and 40ft flying.

The Eblis’ intelligence is showcased both in the fact that they can speak two languages (Aquan and Common) and their Innate Spellcasting ability which allows them to cast the following spells:

1/day each: blur, hypnotic pattern, minor illusion.

Other than these spells, however, we don’t get much in the way of attacks; our only option being to multiattack using the Eblis’ Beak attack.

The lore

This particular Dungeons and Dragons monster can be traced back all the way to 1st edition, where it made an appearance in a 1983 module.

The Eblis is an oversized crane like bird that can be uniquely found in the areas near Chult. In many ways it shares some traits with common birds but in others, such as its intelligence, it greatly differs.

Thanks to their high intelligence, these monstrosities are quick to build communities near riversides that work together to increase their communal pile of treasure. In fact, it could be that, as a result of their extreme greed, the Eblis have turned towards an evil alignment. That said, offering treasure to these creatures is one of the few ways one might use to avoid their wrath and perhaps even gain their aid. On the other hand, It’s not unheard of for particularly spiteful Eblis to lure travelers into traps so that it can have easy picking of their belongings afterwards.

Because of their generally evil disposition, many Chult locals hold the belief that the Eblis are a form of reincarnation for evil humans who have committed heinous crimes.

In terms of combat, even though today’s creature can use its beak and claws as weapons, it greatly favors using its magic instead.

The execution

While running large powerful creatures is certainly fun, there’s just something very special about being able to run encounters that solely rely on intelligent baddies. Today’s creature in particular offers quite a few possibilities to create an encounter around them. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Stolen treasure: As mentioned in the lore section, these creatures have one particular trait that they share with dragons and that is their greed; from stealing valuables jewelry from the local noble family, to taking away a little girl’s favorite doll, there could be a long list of potentially valuable items for our party to have to recover from the Eblis. Unlike the other two ideas featured in this article, this particular method offers your players the possibility to use their sneaking skills. The great thing about this one is that the item in question could be just about anything you need it to be.

The retrieval: You know that scene in Jumanji where, just as our heroes are about to get their hands on the prize, a pelican swoops in and steal it away prompting a pretty comical chase scene? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting here. This idea is somewhat similar to the first, but rather than sneaking around, you might have the opportunity to call for some group checks.

The guide: What’s better than having an NPC show up to aid your players when they need it most? I’ll tell you what: having a trickster NPC show up when the party needs it the most only to lead them into a trap so that they can steal the party’s treasure. I think out of all three set-ups I like this one the best, I think it would be pretty interesting to see how long it takes for the players to realize that their savior is in fact out to get them.

Aaaand that’s it for today. If you enjoyed this article and want to see other similar content, don’t forget to visit our social media so we can let you know when we post new articles. We put up new content every day of the week!

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