Nagas: Serpents of Spirit and Bone

If you destroy me, I will return, and everyone you care about will suffer for it.

Explictica Defilus, Spirit Naga

Damn, this monster legit just said, “Talk shit, get hit.” That’s pretty cool! Let’s see if it loves up to that!

Lore: Arcane Egos

Residing within the ruins of ancient civilizations, nagas live to gather arcane knowledge and treasures. They were created long ago as guardian entities to a civilization long lost, but nagas chose independence when their creators vanished. Few creatures are as driven as a naga; in order to expand their knowledge or arcane collection, they will venture far out of their domain. It helps that they are immortal; when struck down, they gain a new body only a few days later.

Nagas rule their territory with an iron fist. Some are compassionate and rule kindly, others can reign among the most bitter and terrible of tyrants. In either case, the naga sees itself as the absolute ruler of its lands and will accept no other authority.

The ancient enemy of the nagas are the yuan-ti. Both sides view themselves as the highest form of serpentine evolution. As much as they despise each other, however, cooperation between the two races has been known to happen, should both have a common goal. Even still, the yuan-ti despise being ordered about by the uptight and narcissistic nagas.

Some yuan-ti even took their dislikes of the nagas to the next level. Using dark necromantic rituals, they can halt a naga’s regeneration. By doing this, they force it into the form of a Bone Naga, a significantly crippled version of its former self.

Guardian nagas can be considered the ‘good’ naga. They work to keep arcane powers out of sinister hands and actively play large parts in foiling evil plots. When provoked, they will try to solve the conflict peacefully. However, when its hand is forced, it is a formidable foe.

Spirit nagas are not so kind. They live purely off of spite, spending all of their time plotting revenge against those that have wronged them or could wrong them. Those that live within their dark domains do so as slaves. Spirit Nagas enjoy charming their prey, luring them into a false sense of security before attacking.

This is some really good lore, rife with potential for a campaign! Maybe they need to impress a Naga with arcane knowledge in exchange for a favor. Perhaps they need to find a way to turn a tyrannical Spirit Naga into a Bone Naga to kill it! Or you could explore the fallen realm from which they came! The possibilities are as boundless as they are exciting!

Design: Snakes with a Face

Remember those serpent dudes from Dark Souls 1? It’s kinda like that. Only a little less horrifying.

I really love these designs. Sure, they’re all fairly basic; two of them are just snakes with faces, and the third is a big ol’ skeleton. But the artists managed to squeeze out a ton of personality out of each one.

The Spirit Naga just looks like a rattlesnake that can voice its discontent. And it is discontent with everything. Plus, the black-and-red color pallet gives it a menacing appearance, completely unlike the gentle Guardian Naga, with its soft green color scheme and warm facial features.

Then there’s the Bone Naga. Which is an angry snake skeleton.

Stats: Hope you guys like spells!

When was the last time we had an entry that was just one monster? Can we go back to that sometime soon? Please? I’m so tired…

The Bone Naga is the simplest and weakest of the lot. Not to say that it’s a pushover; it’s AC is decent and its HP, while not monstrous, ain’t all that bad. Plus, it’s immune to poison damage, as well as the charm, exhaustion, paralysis, and poison conditions.

Melee wise, it only has one option: biting. And for a low to mid-level monster, this attack does some pretty hefty damage! 10(2d6+3) piercing with an added 10(3d6) poison is pretty scary for a party around levels three through five.

Then there are its spells. If you want this monster to have been a Guardian Naga, it has:

  • Cantrips (at will): mending, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
  • 1st level (4 slots): command, shield of faith
  • 2nd level (3 slots): calm emotions, hold person
  • 3rd level (2 slots): bestow curse

If it were a Spirit Naga, it would have:

  • Cantrips (at will): mage hand, minor illusion, ray of frost
  • 1st level (4 slots): charm person, sleep
  • 2nd level (3 slots): detect thoughts, hold person
  • 3rd level (2 slots): lightning bolt

Hope you like those lists, ’cause we got two more of ’em coming up.

Next is the Spirit Naga. This is only slightly harder to kill than the Bone Naga, but it is far more dangerous. Its bite attack does less piercing damage and more poison, and its Rejuvenation ability technically makes it immortal. Then there’s the spell list.

  • Cantrips (at will): mage hand, minor illusion, ray of frost
  • 1st level (4 slots): charm person, detect magic, sleep
  • 2nd level (3 slots): detect thoughts, hold person
  • 3rd level (3 slots): lightning bolt, water breathing
  • 4th level (3 slots): blight, dimension door
  • 5th level (2 slots): dominate person

Finally, we have the most powerful one of all: the Guardian Naga. Its AC and HP are both on the high end, making it the most durable of the three. Its bite attack deals a pitiful bit of piercing damage, along with a monstrous 45(10d8) poison damage, should the victim fail a Con save. Or it could skip the fangs and simply use Spit Poison, dealing the same amount of damage for the same save.

And, of course, there’s the spell list.

  • Cantrips (at will): mending, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
  • 1st level (4 slots): command, cure wounds, shield of faith
  • 2nd level (3 slots): calm emotions, hold person
  • 3rd level (3 slots): bestow curse, clairvoyance
  • 4th level (3 slots): banishment, freedom of movement
  • 5th level (2 slots): flame strike, geas
  • 6th level (1 slot): true seeing

All of that combined can make these three monsters fairly tricky and dangerous. How do the party members handle the various spells? Can they avoid panicking when they take that poison damage? How do they deal with an enemy that will simply come back to life a few days after they kill it? No matter which flavor you pick, any of these three can make for a pretty fun boss fight!


This is a top-tier monster for sure. The lore is fantastic, the design, while simple, is great, and the stats can make for a great boss fight. But the question is: are they top five worthy?

No. But they’re damn close!

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

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Mummy/Mummy Lord
  6. Nagas (all three of ’em) <———–
  7. Green Dragons
  8. Red Dragons
  9. Blue Dragons
  10. Black Dragons
  11. White Dragons
  12. Silver Dragons
  13. Couatl
  14. Behir
  15. Aboleth
  16. Sea Hag
  17. Lamia
  18. Bronze Dragons
  19. Brass Dragons
  20. Copper Dragons
  21. Gold Dragons
  22. Chuul
  23. Kuo-Toa
  24. Gibbering Mouther
  25. Kraken
  26. Intellect Devourer
  27. Chimera
  28. Death Knight
  29. Fomorian
  30. Bone Devil
  31. Dracolich
  32. Faerie Dragon
  33. Lich
  34. Magmin
  35. Kobold
  36. Kenku
  37. Hobgoblins
  38. Night Hag
  39. Green Hag
  40. Ankheg
  41. Hook Horror
  42. Storm Giant
  43. Hill Giant
  44. Empyrean
  45. Efreeti
  46. Grimlock
  47. Minotaur
  48. Dao
  49. Cloud Giant
  50. Manticore
  51. Drow (all four of ’em)
  52. Shadow Demon
  53. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  54. Marilith
  55. Drider
  56. Aarackockra
  57. Azer
  58. Demilich
  59. Spectator
  60. Hydra
  61. Marid
  62. Harpy
  63. Werejackal
  64. Half-Dragon
  65. Cambion
  66. Fire Giant
  67. Animated Armor
  68. Banshee
  69. Basilisk
  70. Yochlol
  71. Bulette
  72. Cloaker
  73. Darkmantle
  74. Doppelganger
  75. Ghoul and Ghast
  76. Ettin
  77. Medusa
  78. Pit Fiend
  79. Erinyes
  80. Chain Devil
  81. Bearded Devil
  82. Barbed Devil
  83. Spined Devil
  84. Ice Devil
  85. Mimic
  86. Djinni
  87. Merrow
  88. Nalfeshnee
  89. Glabrezu
  90. Chasme
  91. Grell
  92. Barlgura
  93. Horned Devil
  94. Balor
  95. Shadow Dragon
  96. Myconids (all four of ’em)
  97. Werebear
  98. Lizardfolk
  99. Vrock
  100. Dretch
  101. Gnolls (all three)
  102. Goristro
  103. Hezrou
  104. Manes
  105. Frost Giant
  106. Weretiger
  107. Werewolf
  108. Duergar
  109. Quasit
  110. Dryad
  111. Flumph
  112. Goblin
  113. Wereboar
  114. Wererat
  115. Githyanki
  116. Planetar
  117. Imp
  118. Clay Golem
  119. Flameskull
  120. Displacer Beast
  121. Carrion Crawler
  122. Githzerai
  123. Grick
  124. Invisible Stalker
  125. Rug of Smothering
  126. Bugbear Chief
  127. Bugbear
  128. Flesh Golem
  129. Vine Blight
  130. Twig Blight
  131. Needle Blight
  132. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  133. Bullywug
  134. Hellhound
  135. Ettercap
  136. Gas Spore
  137. Cockatrice
  138. Lemure
  139. Homonculus
  140. Merfolk
  141. Solar
  142. Deva
  143. Gorgon
  144. Hippogriff
  145. Griffon
  146. Cyclops
  147. Centaur
  148. Ghost
  149. Fire Elemental
  150. Water Elemental
  151. Air Elemental
  152. Stone Giant
  153. Deep Gnome
  154. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  155. Iron Golem
  156. Stone Golem
  157. Earth Elemental
  158. Galeb Duhr
  159. Helmed Horror
  160. Flying Sword
  161. Crawling Claw
  162. Violet Fungus
  163. Shrieker
  164. Gargoyle

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