Desert Bestiary: Des’Qum, The Sand Warriors

Ages ago the struggle between the Plane of Air and the Plane of Earth spilled over into the Material Plane. The elemental armies of the two sides met in battle among the endless dunes of the desert. The ever-shifting sands may bear no scars from the hostilities, but the desert was changed none the less.

The Great Storm

The phrase “once the dust had settled” did not apply in the days following the end of the battle, for the dust did quite the opposite. Infused with the remnants of elemental magic it began to vibrate lifting above the desert floor. The dry, hot air welcomed the tiny particles of sand and ferried them further up until a sandstorm had formed. Sandstorms were not uncommon in the desert, but this one was greater than any that had ever existed.

The Great Storm endures to this day, travelling along on a seemingly random path throughout the desert. The front of the storm is a wall of sand one mile high and the storm’s size exceeds 10 square miles. Wind speeds in the storm are intense and propel it along at a speed of 120 ft. per round. Sand and dust fill the air within the storm blocking out the sunlight and creating a world of eerie darkness.  Torches and lanterns are not able to penetrate the darkness and are quickly extinguished by the winds. Creatures with darkvision or truesight can see normally within the storm provided their eyes are properly protected from the blowing and swirling sand. Magical light is usable but interacts strangely with the charged sand particles, creating an aura of tiny sparks around the light source.

The magical energies that churn within the Great Storm fuel it and give life to an army of elemental warriors unique to the storm.

The Des’Qum, or sand warriors, are an unnatural combination of elemental magic from the Plane of Air and the Plane of Earth. The Des’Qum normally exist as loose clouds of sand floating along within the Great Storm. When a target presents itself these sand warriors compact their bodies down into  dense, vaguely humanoid sand creatures. They attack without warning or provocation carrying out distorted orders from an ancient war.

Most settlements in the desert have constructed some form of physical or magical barriers to protect against the assault of the Des’Qum. Travelers out in the open desert are often without such protection and many a name has been made by surviving a chance encounter with the Great Storm and the elemental army within.

Des’Qum 

Medium elemental, neutral

                                                                                                                                  

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)

Hit Points 55 (10d8+10)

Speed 30 ft., fly 90 ft.

                                                                                                                                  

STR               DEX                CON               INT                WIS               CHA

17(+3)        14(+2)           13(+1)           6(-2)             10(+0)            5( -3)

                                                                                                                                  

Skills Stealth +8

Damage Resistances lightning, bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrain, unconscious

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive perception 10

Languages Auran, Terran

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

                                                                                                                                  

Desert Camouflage. The Des’Qum has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in desert terrain.

Sand Shift. The Des’Qum is able to shift its form into a cloud of sand and fly at a rate of 90 ft. Any creature within the path of the cloud must make a DC 10 Strength saving throw. On a failure, a target takes 10 (2d8+2) bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone.

ACTIONS                                                                                                  

Multiattack. The Des’Qum makes two slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft. one target.

Hit: 14 (2d8+5) bludgeoning damage.

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