Monsters that Swallow: In the Belly of the Beast

Monsters that swallow, the Skyswimmmer
The Skyswimmer, from The Guidmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, one of the two flying creatures that can swallow

I have to say, there are few things that bring me more joy in the coliseum than watching one of my monsters swallow a contestant. Honestly, I’m not sure why. It doesn’t give me that much of an advantage. The contestant is restrained and blind, but they also have full cover from everything outside the monster.

It does create a moment in combat, though. One of our heroes is buried inside the flesh of their foe. Will they hack their way out? Maybe they’ll hit it in the guts so hard that it expels them, or perhaps their friends will have to rush to their rescue and free them from their meaty tomb.

Usually the one to get swallowed is the idiot barbarian who ran way out ahead of their allies. Sadly, this character is uniquely equipped to survive such glaring errors in judgement, and can probably resist the damage and overcome the restraint well enough to deal my beautiful monster a killing blow. I’ll have to visit Vexia in her workshop and see if she can find me something that can sooth the savage heart while it is slowly digested…

Other Monsters that Swallow

Thanks to 5eTools, I can quickly assemble a list of monsters for you to put your contestants in the belly of:

CreatureBook
Astral Dreadnought MTF
Banderhobb VGM
Behir MM
Clockwork Behir OoW
Core Spawn Worm EGW
Froghemoth VGM
Frost Worm EGW
Giant Frog MM
Giant Ice Toad TftYP
Giant Subterranean Lizard TftYP
Giant Toad MM
Juvenile Kraken GoS
Kraken MM
Necrotic Centipede BGDIA
Neothelid VGM
Old Croaker EGW
Purple Worm MM
Purple Wormling SKT
Reduced-Threat Remorhaz TftYP
Remorhaz MM
Runed Behir WDMM
Skyswimmer GGR
Slarkrethel SKT
Sperm Whale IDRotF
Tarrasque MM
Tromokratis MOT
Udaak EGW
Wurm GGR
Young Purple Worm PotA

Wanna know what other monsters are on my Hotlist? Or, maybe instead of the deadliest monsters that provide interesting challenges outside of combat? Check out my Blocklist.

Balhannoth: I Dream of Tentacles

Balhannoth: I Dream of Tentacles
Balhannoth – Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, P. 119

I got to play a Balhannoth for the first time last week. Now we’re friends forever. It has everything I’m looking for in a monster. Four tentacles, a mouth, and the ability to turn invisible, teleport or bite at the end of other character’s turns. The tentacle attacks restrain. The teleport can move a grappled enemy against their will. Oh, and they’ve got a climb speed.

Plus they’ve got a face even a parent would have a hard time loving. Having a truly repellent monster with tentacles and a horrifying maw really helps set the tone, especially in a campaign where you can make use of this creature’s abilities to take advantage of the desires of their prey.

The Balhannoth in Combat…

They are very capable in combat. I was able to stand up to a minotaur fighter and a hexblade warlock in close combat for an extended period of time. Not only that, I was able to use the creature’s mobility and invisibility to keep combat from turning into a slugging match.

…And in Campaign.

At CR 11, a balhannoth is on the low end of challenge for creatures that have legendary actions. An encounter with a balhannoth is deadly for a party of four level 7 pcs. I think that the balhannoth lore is just as interesting as their combat ability, and would make them a lot of fun in a campaign. They are able to attract beings by making them believe that the thing they are looking for is in their lair. They can also transform their lair with illusions to make it appear true.

I would love to create an encounter towards the end of a campaign, where, using a balhannoth’s ability to read minds the party was fooled into thinking that the balhannoth’s lair was the site of their epic final battle, only to find that they’d been dragged off course by a monstrosity from the Shadowfell. Maybe the monster uses it’s grappling ability to grab up on of the players and carry them through a portal to the another plane, dragging the party even further away from their final goals as they race to rescue their ally.

Wanna know what other monsters are on my Hotlist? Or, maybe instead of the deadliest monsters that provide interesting challenges outside of combat? Check out my Blocklist.