Obscure Mythical Monsters

Author: DHBoggs /

I don't often indulge in creating new monsters, but over the years I've put together a few here and there.  Some of these I briefly published elsewhere, but they haven't seen the light of day for a decade, and others I just found in a recent perusal of old papers.

In my anthropology work I have had exposure and access to a range of mythologies from people and places not well known (or known at all) by the general public, and a few of these are drawn from such obscure origins. 

Stats are either Basic or AD&D, according to what I was playing at the time.  Adapt/adopt as you please.  Art is courtesy Michael Hill - rights reserved.

Aswang   Varieties - Mananaangal, Penanggalan, Nukekubi

 Armor Class 9
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 9"
Attacks per round 1
Damage – 1d6 + sleep inducing bite.   

Aswang are young female blood sucking infected undead.   Due to their limited magic powers, Aswang are often described as a combination of vampire and witch.  Aswangs are able to change their appearance, normally appearing as shy but typical females (although they usually have bloodshot eyes and unusually long tongues), but changing at night to ghoul like creatures that enjoy eating unborn fetuses and small children, favoring livers and hearts in particular.  Some even grow long proboscises, which they use to suck children directly from their sleeping mothers' wombs.   Aswangs will also suck the blood of males they find attractive – about a pint at a time, but it is usually not their preferred meal.  

The bite of the Aswang injects a sleep inducing drug.  The victim must make a Constitution Save to avoid going to sleep in one round.

Aswangs also have limited spell casting ability - they can cast 3 Charm spells a day.

Aswangs live no longer than normal humans.  Those who have reached the age of 40 transform into Mananangal.   Despite being older females, Manananggal are quite beautiful.

The Mananangal gains an additional Level Dice but is identical to Aswang most of the time.  However during the full moon, the Mananangal is able to split itself in half and fly through the air to hunt for victims.   The head and shoulders, ofthe Mananangal flies through the sky using huge bat-like wings, while the attached entrails (heart, lung, liver, intestines, spine.) glow and sparkle like fireflies

The lower torso is left in a secluded lair for safety.  While the head, neck and organs are detached, the torso becomes inanimate, standing like a headless statue.  Of the Mananaangal's two halves, the lower torso is thus the more vulnerable.  It is said that if one finds this torso and either sprinkles salt or sand on it or burns it, the Mananaangal will die with the coming dawn.

An aswang/manananggal can be revealed by using a bottle of a special oil extracted from boiled and decanted coconut meat and mixed with certain plant stems upon which special prayers have been said.  When an aswang comes near or roams around the house at night, the oil is said to boil (or froth into bubbles) and continue boiling until the aswang departs.

 Behind the Curtain:  Variation of this monster are common throughout southeast Asia and rural japan.  Although it has been written up elsewhere, this version takes a deep dive into several related mythologies, particularly those of differing regions of the Philippines.

Glory Hand

Frequency: Rare
 # Appearing: Solitary
Armor Class: 7
Move: 12", can hop 15 feet.
Hit Dice: 2 +2
% In Lair: none
Treasure Type: nil
Attacks per round: 1
Magic Resistance: Immune to Fire, Cold, Sleep
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Neutral
Size: 5' 4" long
Damage – 1d6

A Glory hand is a severed human/humanoid hand cut from the victim of a violent death and animated by necromancy.  Although greatly restricted in many ways, the small size and great mobility of the glory hand has a great many uses, being able to get in almost anywhere, unnoticed.  The hand will usually obey it's master, whoever it understands that to be, but can act on its own accord.

 Behind the Curtain:  The Glory Hand is a late medieval/early modern folk tale found in england.  Of course it is a familiar trope.


 # Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 2
Move: 13"
Hit Dice: 4
% In Lair: 16%
Treasure Type: A
Attacks per round: 1
Magic Resistance: High
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Size: 7' tall
Damage – 4d8 or weapon

Shaggy, amphibious giants standing twice the height of the average man, Hafgygr have large jaws with sharp teeth, sharp hard nails, and very tough hides.  They are cold blooded and live in swamps and lakes, often raiding more civilized areas for prisoners and food.  Hafgygr are aggressive, selfish creatures who seethe with hatred toward any perceived slight or wrongs, and being notoriously territorial, they will attack anyone who trespasses, wittingly or not.  Hafgygr disdain the use of weapons, preferring to rend and pummel their victims or simply scoop them into their great, deadly maw.  Nevertheless, magical arms and armor are often found in their treasure.

Behind the Curtain:  Half-Gygr literally means half giantess in old Norse, meaning a creature who's mother was from the realm of the giants and monsters.  The description here is based very closely on that of the monster Grendle in Beowulf. 


 Armor Class 8
Move: 9"
Hit Dice: 6

The Hoyauk is a giant water serpent with a pointed shark like snout and slim head and tail.  It also has long, wing like fins with which it can sail up to 100 feet through the air.  It frequently launches itself through the air in this fashion to catch large birds of prey hovering near the waters or hunting for fish.  It also attacks people in open boats in the same manner.  Hoyauk have a terrible stench, and exhale a caustic gas that causes burns and blisters to anyone standing within 10 feet of its head.  The stench can cause vomiting (+3 on Saving Throw) and the breath does an automatic 2 points of damage per turn on exposed skin. 

 Behind the Curtain: The hoyauk is a traditional monster of the tribal Ainu people on  the island of Hokkaido.


 Armor Class 5
Move: 12"
Hit Dice: 6
% in Lair: 16%

The Jimru is a large, dangerous and cunning beast the size of a large bear, and vaguely similar in appearance, although the head is shaped more like that of a tiger and the tail resembles that of an elephant with the tuft at the end being made of quills, not hair.  The overall color of the Jimru is also an elephant like stone grey.  The creature is covered, porcupine like, with quills instead of fur.  These quills are barbed so that any bare flesh that touches them will very likely be impaled and stuck.  The Jimru often catches prey this way.  It is capable of relaxing the musculature that holds in the quills at will so that it can detach a stuck creature at leisure – after it has been killed by the Jimru’s deadly bites, usually.

Behind the Curtain: The jimru is a greatly feared monster of the native people on the Andaman islands in the Indian ocean.

Snow Serpent

Climate:  Cold
Frequency: Very Rare
 # Appearing: Solitary
Armor Class: 6
Move: 9"
Hit Dice: 10
% In Lair: 90%
Treasure Type: nil
Attacks per round: 1 
Special Attack: Constriction: 3-30 HP per round
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Animal
Alignment: Neutral
Size: 7' 10" long
Damage – 1d10

This furred, white snake burrows itself in mounds of snow near mountain trails from which it will ambush passers by.  The serpents are entirely carnivorous, and have been know to eat anything up to the size of a bear.  Creatures too large to swallow whole are chewed into manageable pieces.  Snow Serpents live a solitary, wandering existence, staying in one place only until they feed, after which they move to a new snow mound in a new area.  The single exception to this habit is that a pregnant Snow  Serpent will burrow deep into a snow mound to create a nest, where she will remain untill her eggs have hatched.  The fur of a snow sertent is rare and highly valued. 

Behind the Curtain:  When I was very young my father managed a ski resort (Bear Rocks, Pa) and the workers there used to tease newby customers about watching out for the snow snakes that liked to hide in the moguls.


AC: 2, M: 1"/48", HP: 14, #ATT: 1, DAMAGE: 1-6, SPECIAL ATTACKS: can steal the spirit of the dying, SPECIAL DEFENSE: Teleport, MAGIC RESISTANCE: 75%, ALIGN: Neutral Evil

Spirit Ravens are indistinguishable in appearance from normal ravens but they are much tougher and more intelligent.  They are capable of carrying spirits from place to place and are employed by some gods to steal spirits from others, especially during battles.  The ravens have the ability to teleport from plane to plane and from place to place within a plane.

Spirit Ravens will often wait when they anticipate death in the hopes that they can steal a spirit.   Naturally, people take the sight of a raven as an ominous sign.

It is believed that these ravens can be called upon by exceptionally strong casters  or to simply spy and report back or even to transport a the caster's spirit from plane to plane.  A spirit and  spirit raven thus bound together are each affected by damage suffered by the other.  If the raven dies the spirit will cease to exist and vice versa.  


Frequency: Rare
 # Appearing: 2-14 (4-30)
Armor Class: 4
Move: 13"
Hit Dice: 4
% In Lair: 40%
Treasure Type: A
attacks per round: 1
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Size: 4 1/2' tall
Damage – 1d6 or weapon

Trows are horrid fairy creatures found in cool, and damp climes.  They stand about 4 ½ feet tall on average and are very ugly, being covered with thick, greasy, flea infested green black hair – the older the trow, the darker the green.  They have long, snotty noses, big ears, a short tail and peach colored skin.  Trows stink.  They love to eat or wreck – in that order – everything they chance to find.

Trows speak crude common, prefer to dwell in caves, and are good swimmers.  They have infavision up to 60',

Trows take such bad care of everything they find that capture weapons and tools are soon ruined from corrosion, but they can bite and claw effectively.  They will use hand weapons should they happen to have them, but rarely will a troll bother to carry more than a spear or a knife when traveling.  Trows love to set up an ambush, and will always do so if given a warning that an opponent (just about everybody) is coming.  They also love to hide under dark bridges and demand a toll of passers by.

Trows, will occasionally kidnap a human baby to raise as a slave, sometimes leaving a sickly trow baby in its place.  Trows also love to torture small creatures and other huldufolk for entertainment.

Older Trows are capable of brewing a concoction that affects them with symptoms much like that of alcohol consumption for humans.  Should any of this potion of Trow Strickening come into contact with the flesh of any creature not a trow, that unfortunate must make a Saving Throw at -2 or be paralyzed for 1d4 turns and develop an itchy rash for 24 hours. 

Society – Trows live in small, matriarchal family groups – usually 2-10 individuals.  The “Mama” of the group rules with an iron fist.  She is very protective of her “babies”.

Ecology – Trows dwell exclusively in caves.  They are omnivorous and none to picky eaters, being immune to most poisons and diseases.  Eighty percent of all Trows are male.  Trows cannot tolerate sunlight.  If a Trow is caught in the light of the sun it will be Earthbound until the sun sets.  Earthbound trows are still as statues, unable to move or speak, but otherwise unchanged.  Some trows know how to make a magical helmet – called by them a sun shield – which prevents the trow from becoming Earthbound when it is worn.  It has no other effect.  Trows wearing such a helmet are at +1 to AC and -1 to all Chance to Hit rolls when in daylight.   Trows thus equipped tend to wander much farther than those without sunshields.

Behind the Curtain: "Trow" is a name for a miserable troll like creature found in the areas of Scotland settled by the Norse in the early middle ages.  This monster incorporates those Norse inspired myths, with a heavy dose of the trolls as depicted in the popular Gnomes book and cartoon.  This is probably the first monster I attempted to create and it went through several updates.  N.B.    An Encyclopedia of Fairies by Katharine Mary Briggs was a go to resource for me and its influence is present in several of the monsters here including this one.

Water Cobra

Climate:  Freshwater/Temperate
Frequency: Uncommon
 # Appearing: 1-8
Armor Class: 8
Move: 12"
Hit Dice: 3 +3
% In Lair: 40%
Treasure Type: nil
Attacks per round: 1
Special Attack: Poison
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Animal
Alignment: Neutral
Size: 5' 4" long
Damage – 1d6 

Because of the snakes chameleon-like ability to change color to match the color of the surface beneath it, this water dwelling snake is effectively invisible most of the time (95%).  The bite of the water cobra is a deadly poison.  

Behind the Curtain: Found this one handwritten on a 2e form but I don't remember doing it.  I *think* it was an original.


Each of these spirits is able to exactly control the intensity of their powers.  No roll is necessary.  These spirits can also move at incredible speed 20 times normal rate and can spread their effects over hundreds of miles or localize them to within a few feet.

S:10, I:19, W:12, D:19, C:19, CH:17 

AC: -5, MOVE: 1000", HP 55, # ATT: 4, DAMAGE: (varies), MAGIC RESISTANCE: 50%, ALIGN: Neutral

Jack Frost: 
Spirit of cold.  Jack Frosts touch causes instant cool to freezing.  1d20 damage range when used against living creatures.

Spirit of heat.  Sunmeisters eyes emit a ray of heat that can range from a gently warmth to a blazing intensity.  1d20 damage range when used against living creatures.

Wind spirit.  Howlers breath causes gentle breezes to hurricane force winds.  2mph to 200mph.  

Precipitation spirit.  Pelter creates water in its hands at any temperature including freezing, and in any size ranging from fine mist to three inch diameter balls.  Once created, this precipitation is flung and can cover an area ranging from a few feet to several hundred miles.

Spirit of the mists.  Darkfog's breath can create any fog from light to dense. 


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