Finally. We’ve made it to the monster that started me on this little project.
When I read the brief description of the nundu, my instant though was: “I want this in my Dungeons & Dragons”. I’m sure other people have got here before me, but I need to make this one myself.
It’s that one line that makes this monster so compelling:
…it has never yet been subdued by fewer than a hundred skilled wizards working together.Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
One. Hundred. Skilled. Wizards. The nundu is supposed to be one of the most dangerous things in the wizarding world, and if we use D&D monster challenge ratings correctly, this monster is going to be top tier in both fantasy realms.
Every D&D character has 1-20 levels, and every D&D monster has a Challenge Rating. The CR indicates what a group of four characters would find a ‘medium’ challenge. So a CR 5 creature would give four level 5 characters a reasonable amount of grief.
If you had 100 level 1 wizards – which sounds great but would be a problematic game to run – a single creature would need a very impressive Challenge Rating to pose any problems. It would need to be CR 13 to pose a slight risk, and CR 16 to be a ‘hard’ encounter that the nundu’s description implies.
That already raises the nundu to the level of most ‘adult’ dragons in D&D. Pretty impressive. However, the description says skilled wizards, which means we need to prep something more than a bunch of level 1 initiates.
So I calculated a few variations. 100x level 3 wizards, a big group of level 2 wizards with some level 5 pros… and CR 23 became the most rational outcome. That puts the nundu on par with most ‘ancient’ d&d dragons. This makes nundu extremely dangerous (without leaning into ridiculously powerful, god-level tiers). Only the most powerful adventuring parties are going toe-to-claw with the nundu.
The size of this creature is tricky. On the one hand, the book says ‘gigantic’, but the movie version was about ‘large’ or ‘huge’ in terms of D&D. The artwork in the book however, shows the nundu next to a village… and well… it’s humongous. So ‘gargantuan’ size it shall be.
The disease aspect is especially rough. I almost gave the nundu poison breath, but necrotic damage suits the fact that the breath carries a “virulent disease”. It’s also much less likely for a character to have any resistance to necrosis.
A well equipped party will have arcane means of stopping the disease on themselves, but not to save an entire village. The harrowing story beats/scenarios that this could create are very very interesting. For example, they may have to decide which townsfolk they are going to spare in time, or whether they should cure themselves or the civilians. Most commoner NPCs are simply not going to make the saving throw to end this disease. It is, after all, a breath that can easily take out an entire village.
Aside from the death breath, the speed of this monster will put the pressure on your high level groups. 50 foot movement speed is fine on its own, but giving the nundu the ability to whizz around at the end of other creature’s turns means that you are always in the danger zone.
A lot of beasts have a ‘pounce’ or ‘charge’ ability, but in order to capitalize on this, the creature has to move away and come running back, which opens them up to a free strike from what they want to leap on. Being able to slip away outside of its turn without provoking an attack means that the nundu can keep on smacking
its prey the party to the ground for a free bite without risk.
Combining ‘magic resistance’ and ‘legendary resistance’ also means that locking down or debuffing the nundu is not going to be easy. Those 100 skilled wizards call all blast the nundu at once and watch every single spell splutter out or glide off the monster’s back. Even if they do get through, charm spells have no effect whatsoever.
Oh, and on a mechanical note, you can assume that anything that has advantage on perception checks gets a +5 bonus to their passive perception scores. So if the party wants to sneak up on a nundu from upwind, they better all roll more than 25 on the stealth check!
Thank You For Reading!
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