Roc: Usurper Kings of the Sky

How many murder birds have we had now? Is this the fourth or the sixth? I’ve lost count.

Anyways, here’s another murder bird.

*By the way, you can turn this article into a drinking game. Take a shot every time the word bird pops up. Though I can’t recommend that; I’m fairly sure it’ll kill you.*

Lore: The Ultimate Bird of Prey

With a wingspan of two hundred feet, the roc is one of the largest birds of prey in the Material Plane, rivaling even dragons in size. In the ancient days, Annam, father of the giant gods, created rocs to help his followers challenge the dragons for dominance of the air. When the war was over, the rocs were freed from the giants and allowed to wander the world as they wanted. Despite their shared history, rocs still consider cloud and storm giants as potential prey.

Solitary by nature, a roc can live on its own for centuries. Making their nests with trees, tents, broken ships, and caravan remains, they live high in the world out of mortal reach. Their nests sometimes contain treasures left over from the materials they stole, but the roc cares little for valuables. They care more for their eggs, which are often the size of a fully grown human.

Minimalist as this lore is, it’s rife with potential! Maybe you could have a dramatic encounter where the players get caught in a scuffle between a roc and a dragon! Perhaps they could team up with a giant to try and tame one. Or they could climb up a perilous mountain to reach a roc’s nest and reclaim some lost treasure!

Is it worth being a BBEG? Definitely not. But as a short side quest or a cool encounter, this is definitely a strong pick!

Design: Big Ass Bird

Yup. That’s a bird. A big bird! But a big bird is still a bird.

I dunno what you guys want me to say. It’s a bird. A colorful bird, sure. But it doesn’t really do much to stand out from other birds. It’s a god damn bird. You get the point.

Boring. Moving on.

Stats: Massive Body, Little Variety

The big thing about fighting a roc is that it’s… big. Like, really big. You could straight-up make this thing into a Shadow of the Colossus battle in the sky if you wanted to.

Which would be more interesting than the actual stats allow.

Combat wise, the roc is as basic as you can get. It has high AC and tons of HP and it can slash you with its claws or pierce you with its beak. Aside from the fact that it’s basically Rodan, it has no unique abilities or special powers to help it stand out.

You know, for a monster that supposedly used to rival dragons, this sure is disappointing.


This one went downhill real fast. Its lore is really strong! But its design and stats fall short. This could have been a contender for the top twenty. As it is, it doesn’t reach its true potential.

With all that in mind, the Roc is going to #138 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. Gelatinous Cube
  34. Lich
  35. Peryton
  36. Remorhaz
  37. Orcs (all four of ’em)
  38. Magmin
  39. Kobold
  40. Kenku
  41. Hobgoblins
  42. Night Hag
  43. Green Hag
  44. Black Pudding
  45. Ankheg
  46. Hook Horror
  47. Oni
  48. Purple Worm
  49. Storm Giant
  50. Hill Giant
  51. Empyrean
  52. Efreeti
  53. Grimlock
  54. Minotaur
  55. Dao
  56. Cloud Giant
  57. Manticore
  58. Drow (all four of ’em)
  59. Shadow Demon
  60. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  61. Marilith
  62. Drider
  63. Aarackockra
  64. Azer
  65. Demilich
  66. Spectator
  67. Gray Ooze
  68. Ochre Jelly
  69. Hydra
  70. Rakshasa
  71. Marid
  72. Harpy
  73. Werejackal
  74. Otyugh
  75. Half-Dragon
  76. Cambion
  77. Fire Giant
  78. Nothic
  79. Pixie
  80. Animated Armor
  81. Banshee
  82. Basilisk
  83. Yochlol
  84. Bulette
  85. Cloaker
  86. Darkmantle
  87. Doppelganger
  88. Revenant
  89. Ghoul and Ghast
  90. Ettin
  91. Medusa
  92. Pit Fiend
  93. Erinyes
  94. Chain Devil
  95. Bearded Devil
  96. Barbed Devil
  97. Spined Devil
  98. Ice Devil
  99. Mimic
  100. Djinni
  101. Merrow
  102. Nalfeshnee
  103. Glabrezu
  104. Chasme
  105. Grell
  106. Barlgura
  107. Horned Devil
  108. Balor
  109. Shadow Dragon
  110. Myconids (all four of ’em)
  111. Piercer
  112. Werebear
  113. Lizardfolk
  114. Vrock
  115. Dretch
  116. Pseudodragon
  117. Gnolls (all three)
  118. Goristro
  119. Hezrou
  120. Manes
  121. Quaggoth
  122. Frost Giant
  123. Weretiger
  124. Werewolf
  125. Duergar
  126. Quasit
  127. Dryad
  128. Flumph
  129. Goblin
  130. Nightmare
  131. Wereboar
  132. Wererat
  133. Githyanki
  134. Owlbear
  135. Planetar
  136. Imp
  137. Ogres/Half-ogres
  138. Roc <——————-
  139. Clay Golem
  140. Flameskull
  141. Displacer Beast
  142. Carrion Crawler
  143. Githzerai
  144. Grick
  145. Invisible Stalker
  146. Rug of Smothering
  147. Bugbear Chief
  148. Bugbear
  149. Flesh Golem
  150. Vine Blight
  151. Twig Blight
  152. Needle Blight
  153. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  154. Bullywug
  155. Hellhound
  156. Ettercap
  157. Gas Spore
  158. Cockatrice
  159. Lemure
  160. Homonculus
  161. Merfolk
  162. Solar
  163. Deva
  164. Gorgon
  165. Hippogriff
  166. Griffon
  167. Cyclops
  168. Centaur
  169. Ghost
  170. Pegasus
  171. Fire Elemental
  172. Water Elemental
  173. Air Elemental
  174. Stone Giant
  175. Deep Gnome
  176. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  177. Iron Golem
  178. Stone Golem
  179. Earth Elemental
  180. Galeb Duhr
  181. Helmed Horror
  182. Flying Sword
  183. Crawling Claw
  184. Violet Fungus
  185. Shrieker
  186. Gargoyle

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