Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Jackalwere: Feral Kidnappers

Ah, the hybrid creatures. Beasts that turn into men and vice versa. Another staple of fantasy. Although a jackal is an interesting choice; usually its a wolf or a bear. Let’s see if that original concept works, shall we?

Lore: Demonic Beasts

Tainted by demonic powers, an ordinary jackal becomes a wandering murderer as a jackalwere. It takes three forms; an ordinary jackal, a human beggar, or its true hybrid form. It will only reveal the last when its victims invite it into their midst out of kindness or pity, and only to slay their hosts and to feed on the bodies.

Created by the demon lord Graz’zt, jackalweres were made to serve his servants, the lamias. To further this end, he granted them the ability of speech, as well as their humanoid forms. In doing so, he made them natural liars, so much so that they’ll wince when speaking the truth, a fact that a perceptive creature may notice. They’ll fight alongside others of their kind, as well as lead regular jackals. Under their leadership, jackals are made into deadly beasts indeed.

The primary purpose of a jackalwere is to kidnap those their lamia masters order them to. With its gaze, it can render its victims unconscious, making them easy to drag away or to help it escape a deadly enemy. Those taken by a jackalwere are often condemned to a life of slavery, if not an agonizing death.

There’s a surprising amount of depth in those three paragraphs. You could weave a ton of interesting plotlines out of it! Perhaps the party needs to rescue an established NPC from a jackalwere pack before they can be taken to the Abyss. Or maybe you could set up an encounter with a wandering traveler who turns out to be a hungry jackalwere. You could tie them into a greater campaign with Graz’zt and the lamias as the villains. The possibilities are grand! Even if the monster itself only plays a small role in it.

Design: Take a Guess

Wow. That’s… exactly what I was expecting.

I don’t even have a joke for this one.

This is a really boring design. You could replace it with any number of animal-humanoid hybrids and the effect would be the exact same. It’s just a man and a jackal smooshed into one. There’s nothing here to help it stand out.

Boring. Next.

Stats: Go To Sleep

Wow. This dude is made of tissue paper. No wonder its god gave it hypnosis powers.

This is not a bulky monster. Its AC is almost as low as its HP. If it weren’t for its immunities to non-silvered melee damage, it would die in one round. Maybe two if it is unlucky.

Or maybe one turn if there’s a wizard in the party.

Now, this monster doesn’t just have one form. There’s its jackal form, human form, and hybrid form. The jackal form has access to its bite attack, the human form its scimitar, and the hybrid form can use both. Aside from that, there isn’t much of a difference between forms. And given how weak each attack is, the difference there is is miniscule at best.

Make no mistake, though. In a pack, these guys are deadly. At least for a low-level party. With Pack Tactics, they have advantage on all attack rolls, so long as they’re within five feet of an ally. With Keen Hearing and Smell, they have advantage on perception checks related to those senses, which makes ambushing them or hiding from them rather difficult.

Most dangerous of all is Sleep Gaze. Gazing at a target within 30 feet of it, it can force a Wisdom save with a fairly low DC. Fail, and they will be rendered unconscious for ten minutes, ensnared in a magical sleep. Should they succeed, they’ll be immune to the effect for 24 hours.

This is definitely not a monster you want to send at your party one at a time. Alone, they aren’t all that threatening. But in a pack? You can push your players to the brink fairly early on if they have to deal with a group of these guys. Between Pack Tactics and Sleep Gaze, you could quickly overwhelm them. And if they lose, you don’t even need to kill them! You can have the jackalweres kidnap them and take them away to move the story forward!

Placement

This was a surprisingly interesting low-level monster. Its design is incredibly boring, yes. But its lore and stats more than make up for it! There is a ton you can do with this one, at least early on in a campaign.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Werejackal on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Dragon Turtle
  4. Green Dragons
  5. Red Dragons
  6. Blue Dragons
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  16. Copper Dragons
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  18. Chuul
  19. Gibbering Mouther
  20. Intellect Devourer
  21. Chimera
  22. Death Knight
  23. Fomorian
  24. Bone Devil
  25. Dracolich
  26. Faerie Dragon
  27. Hobgoblins
  28. Night Hag
  29. Green Hag
  30. Ankheg
  31. Hook Horror
  32. Storm Giant
  33. Hill Giant
  34. Empyrean
  35. Efreeti
  36. Grimlock
  37. Dao
  38. Cloud Giant
  39. Drow (all four of ’em)
  40. Shadow Demon
  41. Marilith
  42. Drider
  43. Aarackockra
  44. Azer
  45. Demilich
  46. Spectator
  47. Hydra
  48. Marid
  49. Harpy
  50. Werejackal <——————–
  51. Half-Dragon
  52. Cambion
  53. Fire Giant
  54. Animated Armor
  55. Banshee
  56. Basilisk
  57. Yochlol
  58. Bulette
  59. Cloaker
  60. Darkmantle
  61. Doppelganger
  62. Ghoul and Ghast
  63. Ettin
  64. Pit Fiend
  65. Erinyes
  66. Chain Devil
  67. Bearded Devil
  68. Barbed Devil
  69. Spined Devil
  70. Ice Devil
  71. Djinni
  72. Nalfeshnee
  73. Glabrezu
  74. Chasme
  75. Grell
  76. Barlgura
  77. Horned Devil
  78. Balor
  79. Shadow Dragon
  80. Vrock
  81. Dretch
  82. Gnolls (all three)
  83. Goristro
  84. Hezrou
  85. Manes
  86. Frost Giant
  87. Duergar
  88. Quasit
  89. Dryad
  90. Flumph
  91. Goblin
  92. Githyanki
  93. Planetar
  94. Imp
  95. Clay Golem
  96. Flameskull
  97. Displacer Beast
  98. Carrion Crawler
  99. Githzerai
  100. Grick
  101. Invisible Stalker
  102. Rug of Smothering
  103. Bugbear Chief
  104. Bugbear
  105. Flesh Golem
  106. Vine Blight
  107. Twig Blight
  108. Needle Blight
  109. Bullywug
  110. Hellhound
  111. Ettercap
  112. Gas Spore
  113. Cockatrice
  114. Lemure
  115. Homonculus
  116. Solar
  117. Deva
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  120. Griffon
  121. Cyclops
  122. Centaur
  123. Ghost
  124. Fire Elemental
  125. Water Elemental
  126. Air Elemental
  127. Stone Giant
  128. Deep Gnome
  129. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  130. Iron Golem
  131. Stone Golem
  132. Earth Elemental
  133. Galeb Duhr
  134. Helmed Horror
  135. Flying Sword
  136. Crawling Claw
  137. Violet Fungus
  138. Shrieker
  139. Gargoyle

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