Animated Symphony

Family: Animated Objects

Gargantuan swarm of Small constructs, neutral

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 201 (13d20 + 65)
Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)

12 (+1) 18 (+4) 20 (+5) 10 (+0) 8 (–1) 22 (+6)

Saving Throws Dex +7, Con +10, Wis +4, Cha +11
Skills Performance +16
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses blindsight 120 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 9
Languages understands Common but can’t speak
Challenge 15 (13,000 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +5


  • Antimagic Susceptibility. The symphony becomes incapacitated if it ends its turn in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the symphony must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute. The symphony has advantage on this saving throw.
  • Construct Nature. The symphony doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.
  • False Appearance. While the symphony remains motionless and isn’t flying, it is indistinguishable from a large collection of musical instruments and performance paraphernalia.
  • Grand Composition. While the symphony occupies another creature’s space, that creature has disadvantage on Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration, and the creature can’t cast spells with verbal components.
  • Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the symphony fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
  • Magic Resistance. The symphony has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • Swarm. The symphony can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the symphony can move through any opening large enough for a Small musical instrument. Except for the Harmonize legendary action, the symphony can’t regain hp or gain temporary hp.


  • Multiattack. The symphony uses Musical Arrangement. It then makes two Hammer Note or Pulsating Cacophony attacks.
  • Hammer Note. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target in the swarm’s space. Hit: 36 (8d8) bludgeoning damage, or 18 (4d8) bludgeoning damage if the symphony has half its hit points or fewer.
  • Pulsating Cacophony. Ranged Spell Attack: +11 to hit, range 60 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (4d10) thunder damage plus 13 (2d12) psychic damage, or 11 (2d10) thunder damage plus 6 (1d12) psychic damage if the symphony has half its hit points or fewer.
  • Musical Arrangement. The symphony plays one of the following:
    • Ballet of Quickening Steps. The symphony plays a lilting ballet that picks up pace in startling fashion, increasing its movement speed by 10 feet and allowing it to take the Dodge action as a bonus action on each of its turns. This song lasts 1 minute or until the symphony plays a different song.
    • Harrowing Hymn. The symphony plays a foreboding verse. Each creature within 30 feet of the symphony that can hear it must succeed on a DC 19 Wisdom saving throw or become 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 symphony’s Harrowing Hymn for the next 24 hours.
    • Concerto for the Luckless. The symphony plays a compelling piece, pitting nearby listeners against their own misfortunes. Each creature within 60 feet of the symphony that can hear it must succeed on a DC 19 Charisma saving throw or be cursed for 1 minute. While cursed, a creature can’t add its proficiency bonus to attack rolls or ability checks. If the cursed creature rolls a 20 on an attack roll or an ability check, the curse ends. Alternatively, the curse can be lifted early by a remove curse spell or similar magic.
    • Four Winds Canon. The symphony trumpets gale force winds in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 19 Strength saving throw. On a failure, a creature is pushed up to 30 feet away from the symphony and forced prone. On a success, a creature is forced prone, but it isn’t pushed. The winds also disperse gas or vapor, and it extinguishes candles, torches, and similar unprotected flames in the area. It causes protected flames, such as those of lanterns, to dance wildly and has a 50 percent chance to extinguish them.
  • 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.


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

  • Move. The symphony moves up to its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.
  • Harmonize (Costs 2 Actions). The symphony tunes its worn-out instruments back to working harmony, regaining 20 hp and ending one condition affecting it.
  • Orchestral Flourish (Costs 2 Actions). The symphony plays a short, fierce melody. Each creature within 10 feet of the symphony, including creatures in its space, must make a DC 19 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) thunder damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • Syncopated Melody (Costs 3 Actions). The symphony mimics a spell that was cast since the end of its last turn. It makes a Performance check where the DC is the caster’s DC + the level of the spell the symphony is trying to mimic. If successful, the symphony casts the spell, using the original caster’s DC and spell attack bonus.


The region containing the animated symphony’s lair is warped by its presence, which creates one or more of the following effects:

  • Life-Giving Music. Periodically, an inanimate object within 1 mile of the symphony’s lair temporarily comes to life to sing and dance and realize the dreams it could never achieve while it was inanimate.
  • Pervasive Stings. Within 5 miles of the symphony’s lair, situation-appropriate music audibly, though not loudly, punctuates decisive actions, potentially providing advantage in moments of brilliance or disadvantage in inopportune circumstances, usually in accordance with the symphony’s long-term goals. If the animated symphony dies, these effects fade in 1d10 days.


An animated symphony’s lair is typically an unoccupied music hall, defunct bardic college, great cathedral, or the grand ballroom of an abandoned palace. The magical influence of the animated symphony alters its lair, stretching out the space to increase spectator capacity, adding balconies and private viewing boxes, and insulating walls to maximize the acoustics. When encountered in its lair, the symphony has a challenge rating of 16 (15,000 XP).

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the animated symphony takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the symphony can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:

  • Backup Music. The symphony calls for backup instruments to assist in the performance, summoning 2d4 animated instruments or 1 animated quartet in unoccupied spaces it can see within 120 feet of it. The creatures act immediately and on initiative count 20 each round. The creatures act as allies of the symphony and remain for 1 hour, until the symphony dies, or until the symphony uses this lair action again.
  • Horn Blast. The symphony’s horn section blasts a harsh note at a point the symphony can see within 120 feet of it. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must make a DC 19 Constitution saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) thunder damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful saving throw.
  • Timekeeper. The symphony’s percussion section attempts to magically alter the tempo of one creature it can see within 120 feet of it. A friendly target gains a +2 bonus to its AC, has advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and can make one attack as a bonus action on its turn. A hostile target must succeed on a DC 19 Wisdom saving throw or reduce its AC by 2, have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, and can use either an action or bonus action, but not both, on its turn. The effect lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round. The piano began to play a tune on its own, and the tavern patrons turned to look. The piano then floated upward, clipping a startled waiter, and everyone in the tavern turned to flee.


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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