Desert mythology is full of legendary creatures that can be adapted into a fantasy RPG setting. Two new entries for the desert bestiary come right out of these tales of the desert. The Nasnas comes from Arabian myths and is traditionally portrayed as a type of djinn. I have transformed into a demon for the desert bestiary. From Mesopotamian mythology comes the lammasu. This creature has previously been adapted for use in D&D, but was left out of 5e.
Desert Bestiary: Nasnas
The nasnas is an evil demon that preys on unsuspecting desert travelers. It is a horribly misshapen humanoid with one entire side of its body and head missing. Because of this deformity the nasnas moves very slowly and must use trickery to capture prey. The creature lurks around oases using its shape-shifting ability to take on the appearance of a hobbled old person. The nasnas uses this disguise to lower the guards of its targets. Once a traveler lets their guard down, the nasnas reveals its true form and strikes at its prey, paralyzing and killing them.
Medium fiend (demon), chaotic evil
Armor Class 9 (natural armor)
Hit Points 20 (3d8+6)
Speed 15 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10(+0) 8(-1) 15(+2) 10(+0) 10(+0) 15(+2)
Skills Deception +5
Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning, bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned, paralyzed
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive perception 10
Languages Auran, Terran
Challenge 1 (1,800 XP)
Shapechanger. The nasnas can use its action to polymorph into a human form. Its statistics are the same in this form with no change in speed.
Magic Resistance. The nasnas had advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft. one target.
Hit: 3 (1d6) piercing damage and the target must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 1 minute.
Desert Bestiary: Lammasu
The lammasu is a classic D&D creature with a version appearing in every Monster Manual up to 3.5e. Although this creature usually appears in the game as a hybrid between a human, a lion and a bird, another version appears in Mesopotamian mythology that is a winged bull with a human head. This is the version that appears in the desert bestiary.
Lammasu’s are celestial beings that live in the desert. Even though their alignment is lawful good they rarely interact with the denizens of the sands often ignoring evil that occurs within their own territories. However, the lammasu are servants to deities and will always act when called upon by a lawful good god.
Large celestial, lawful good
Armor Class 20 (natural armor)
Hit Points 60 (7d10+21)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
23(+6) 12(+1) 17(+3) 16(+3) 17(+3) 14( +2)
Skills Persuasion +7, Insight +8, Perception +10, Arcana +10
Damage Resistances lightning, bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive perception 13
Languages Common, Celestial, Draconic
Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)
Innate Spellcasting. The lammasu’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14). The lammasu can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components:
At will: light, sacred flame, thaumaturgy, protection from evil and good
1/day each: create or destroy water, detect evil and good, daylight, magic circle, banishment, divination
Trample. If the lammasu moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with two hoof attacks on the same turn the target takes an extra 2d6 bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 18 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Magic Resistance. The lammasu has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Magical Weapons. The lammasu’s weapon attacks are magical.
Multiattack. The lammasu makes three attacks; one with its horns and two with its hooves.
Horn. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft. one target.
Hit: 15 (2d8+6) piercing damage.
Hooves. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 10 (1d8+6) bludgeoning damage.
Lammasu image by Trjames