Animated Instrument

Family: Animated Objects

Tiny construct, unaligned

Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 17 (7d4)
Speed 0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)

1 (–5) 12 (+1) 11 (+0) 1 (–5) 5 (–3) 15 (+2)

Skills Performance +6
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 7
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +2


  • Antimagic Susceptibility. The instrument is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the instrument must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.
  • Construct Nature. The instrument doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.
  • False Appearance. While the instrument remains motionless and isn’t flying, it is indistinguishable from a normal musical instrument.


  • Trouble Clef. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 1) bludgeoning damage.
  • Orchestra Hit. Ranged Spell Attack: +4 to hit, range 60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) thunder damage.
  • Spirited Solo (Recharge 5–6). The instrument improvises a tune to draw listeners into entrancing thought. Each creature within 30 feet of the animated instrument that can hear the song must make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, a creature is incapacitated until the end of its next turn. On a success, a creature has an epiphany and gains advantage on Charisma (Performance) checks for 1 day.
  • Courageous Anthem (1/Day). The instrument plays a song that bolsters its allies. Each friendly creature within 30 feet of the animated instrument that can hear the song has a +1 bonus to attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws until the song ends. The animated instrument must take a bonus action on subsequent turns to continue playing the song. It can stop playing at any time. The song ends if the animated instrument is incapacitated. A creature can benefit from only one Courageous Anthem at a time.
  • Alternate Critical (Source: Monster Crits for 5e). When the animated instrument scores a critical hit, it doesn’t deal extra damage. Instead, the target creature is deafened until the end of the animated instrument’s next turn.


Delicate in frame but clever in design, animated instruments are crafted with formidable magic to serve maestros and savants for purposes ranging from bodyguards to performance backup. Favored by bards, nobles, and virtuoso liches these often-beautiful works of craftsmanship are designed and imbued with magical effects that can enthrall, confuse, and even terrify listeners. Any instrument is suitable for animation, though some are more common than others. Lutes, flutes, and other more compact instruments are prime candidates for traveling bards.

Pianos and harpsichords make for excellent guards in the homes of the wealthy. Horns and drums are often chosen for armies on battlegrounds to bolster weary soldiers and frighten oncoming enemies.

Compelling Melodies. Songs of wondrous power are woven into the enchantments that impart the chosen instrument with unique musical gifts. Other times, usually when an instrument is enchanted in haste, the instrument recalls the pieces of music it was used to play when it was only an object. In any case, the animated instrument can play magical melodies. All animated instruments, even the simplest of harps or tambourines, can strike at unruly listeners with thunderous effect and charming melodies.

Menacing Harmonies. An animated instrument alone is more than enough for most heroes to handle, but not all instruments are brought to life for solo acts. Just as often, formidable quartets of instruments are created, typically horns or drums. Quartets act with unified purpose in accordance with their enchanter’s instructions and do so in perfect harmony. Though most animated instruments are seen alone or as a quartet, animated instruments’ capacity for animation is limited only by the arcane aptitude and creativity of the enchanter.

Mighty Symphonies. Truly magnificent works of art and sorcery, animated symphonies are massive swarms of animated instruments. The magic required to uplift entire symphonies is both mighty and rare. In all cases, animated symphonies develop hive-mind egos that are twisted caricatures of the composers who wrote for the instruments or that are rooted in the style of music their individual components played before their transmutation. The personalities of these symphonies are as varied as the music of the world.

The statistics presented here describe a Tiny instrument, such as a flute, shawm, or tambourine, but instruments of any size can be animated. To create an animated instrument of a different size, use the statistics presented here except as described below.

  • Small. A Small instrument, such as a lute, sitar, tabor, or violin, is portable and often requires two hands to play. A Small animated instrument has 17 (5d6) hit points, and its Trouble Clef and Orchestra Hit each increase by one die type. It has a challenge rating of 1/4 (50 XP).
  • Medium. A Medium instrument, such as a cello, kettledrum, or marimba, is nearly the size of a human and often requires the musician to remain stationary to play it. A Medium animated instrument has 27 (6d8) hit points, and its Trouble Clef and Orchestra Hit each increase by two die types. It has a challenge rating of 1/2 (100 XP).
  • Large. A Large instrument, such as an alphorn, harp, or piano, is larger than a human, often requires multiple people or magic to reposition it, and, in some cases, can be played by more than one person. A Large animated instrument has a walking speed of 30 feet in addition to its flying speed and 27 (5d10) hit points, and its Trouble Clef and Orchestra Hit each increase by three die types. It has a challenge rating of 1/2 (100 XP).
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Tome of Beasts 3 © 2022 Open Design LLC; Authors: Eytan Bernstein, Celeste Conowitch, Benjamin L. Eastman, Robert Fairbanks, Scott Gable, Basheer Ghouse, Richard Green, Jeremy Hochhalter, Jeff Lee, Christopher Lockey, Sarah Madsen, Ben Mcfarland, Jonathan Miley, Kelly Pawlik, Sebastian Rombach, Chelsea Steverson, Brian Suskind, Mike Welham

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