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Aatxe

A fierce, crimson bull trots across the grass, tossing its curved horns and snorting with anger.

Large celestial (shapechanger), lawful good

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 105 (10d10 + 50)
Speed 50 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
22 (+6) 12 (+1) 20 (+5) 10 (+0) 14 (+2) 14 (+2)

Skills Athletics +9, Intimidation +5
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages understands all but can’t speak
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Special Traits

  • Charge. If the aatxe moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 9 (2d8) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
  • Know Thoughts. The aatxe can use an action to read the surface thoughts of one creature within 30 feet. This works like the detect thoughts spell, except it can only read surface thoughts and there is no limit to the duration. It can end this effect as a bonus action or by using an action to change the target.
  • Limited Speech (Humanoid Form Only). The aatxe can verbally communicate only simple ideas and phrases, though it can understand and follow a conversation without issue.
  • Magic Resistance. The aatxe has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • Shapechanger. The aatxe can use its action to polymorph into a Medium male humanoid it has seen, or back into its true form. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Actions

  • Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d8 + 6) piercing damage.
  • Paw the Earth. The aatxe lowers its horns and paws at the ground with its hooves. Each creature within 30 feet of the aatxe must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the aatxe’s Paw the Earth for the next 24 hours.

Legendary Actions

The aatxe can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The aatxe regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Detect. The aatxe makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.
  • Gore (Costs 2 Actions). The aatxe makes one gore attack.
  • Bulwark (Costs 3 Actions). The aatxe flares crimson with celestial power, protecting those nearby. The next attack that would hit an ally within 5 feet of the aatxe hits the aatxe instead. Aatxe spend their considerable lifetimes protecting a swath of territory that contains several small villages and farming communities. In time, the aatxe becomes the embodiment of its communities’ values and traditions, upholding such tenets. If left without the guidance of the deity who assigned the aatxe to the area, an aatxe can become corrupted when a community’s values and traditions steer toward tyranny and oppression. A corrupted aatxe’s alignment changes to lawful evil, it has advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks, and its Bulwark legendary action changes to the following.
  • Punish (Costs 3 Actions). The aatxe flares crimson with celestial power, punishing those daring to harm it. The next attack that would hit the aatxe hits the attacker instead.

About

Earthbound Celestial Guardians. Aatxes serve as protective agents of benevolent deities, sent to watch over pious communities and provide them with a measure of protection from harm.

Walks Among the People. Though its true form is that of a great red bull, an aatxe can take on the form of a male humanoid to walk among the people it is tasked to protect—the better to uncover threats to their safety. An aatxe so disguised rarely takes on the appearance of anyone familiar to those it protects and avoids unnecessary communication and attachment, attempting to pass itself off as an uninteresting traveler.

Deceptively Cautious. Once it detects a threat to its charges, the aatxe will stalk the roads, fields, and wildernesses near its home, seeking to find its foes where it can dispatch them without harming the innocent. The aatxe is also known to chase bystanders back indoors when a threat is beyond its abilities, though it will also sacrifice itself to protect them, if necessary.

An Aatxe’s Lair

Aatxes prefer to make their homes in caverns or other secluded locations, though they will forgo that preference in favor of ruins or shelters which provide a view of the regions they protect.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the aatxe takes a lair action to cause one of the following magical effects:

  • The ground bubbles into a sticky muck in a 20-foot radius centered on a point that the aatxe can see within 120 feet of it. That area becomes difficult terrain, and each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be restrained by the muck. A creature can take its action to free itself or another stuck creature from the muck by succeeding on a DC 15 Strength check. The muck hardens back into earth when the aatxe uses this lair action again or when it dies. The aatxe targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. A glowing beam of red light tethers the aatxe to the target. An unwilling target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw to resist the tether. Each time the target takes damage, the damage is split evenly between the target and the aatxe, transferring along the red beam. While tethered, the aatxe has resistance to all damage, except for damage transferred along the beam. This tether lasts until the tethered target dies, the aatxe uses this lair action again, or the aatxe dies.
  • Motes of celestial light dance around the aatxe. Each hostile creature within 20 feet of the aatxe must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be covered in the motes of light. A creature covered in motes of light sheds dim light in a 10-foot radius and can’t benefit from being invisible. Any attack roll against a creature covered in motes of light has advantage if the attacker can see the creature. The motes of light last until initiative count 20 on the next round.

Regional Effects

The region containing an aatxe’s lair is changed by its celestial presence, which creates one or more of the following effects:

  • Nonmagical light illuminates an additional 10 feet within 3 miles of an aatxe’s lair.
  • From sunset to sunrise, birds within 5 miles of an aatxe’s lair do their best to draw attention to those lying in wait to ambush or stalking victims for nefarious purposes. A separate DC 15 Dexterity (Stealth) check must be made to avoid the attention of birds in the area while stalking or preparing to ambush an intelligent being. If the creature engaged in such activity is a fiend or undead, the birds will race to alert the aatxe to its presence.
  • Predatory beasts within 5 miles of an aatxe’s lair find intelligent beings unpalatable.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Creature Codex. © 2018 Open Design LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Dan Dillon, Richard Green, James Haeck, Chris Harris, Jeremy Hochhalter, James Introcaso, Chris Lockey, Shawn Merwin, and Jon Sawatsky.