Dire Lionfish

Large beast, unaligned

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 136 (16d10 + 48)
Speed 0 ft., swim 60 ft.

17 (+3) 15 (+2) 17 (+3) 3 (–4) 12 (+1) 10 (+0)

Skills Perception +4, Stealth +5
Damage Resistances poison
Senses passive Perception 14
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +3


  • Charge. If the lionfish moves at least 30 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a Headbutt attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 9 (2d8) piercing damage.
  • Coral Camouflage. The lionfish has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in underwater terrain that includes plant life or coral reefs.
  • Envenomed Spines. A creature that touches the lionfish or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 7 (2d6) poison damage.
  • Poison Affinity. The lionfish has advantage on saving throws against being poisoned.
  • Water Breathing. The dire lionfish can breathe only underwater.


  • Multiattack. The dire lionfish makes one Bite attack and one Headbutt attack.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) piercing damage.
  • Headbutt. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage.
  • Forceful Spit (Recharge 4–6). The dire lionfish launches a stream of pressurized water from its mouth in a 30-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, a creature takes 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage and is pushed up to 20 feet away from the lionfish and is knocked prone. On a success, a creature takes half the damage and is pushed up to 10 feet away from the lionfish and isn’t knocked prone.
  • Keen Sight and Smell. The dire owlbear has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight or smell.


  • Multiattack. The dire owlbear makes one attack with its beak and one attack with its claws.
  • Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 5) piercing damage.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) slashing damage.


This large orange and red fish has dozens of long spines extending from its body, and its magnificent fins display black stripes.

It stalks the coral with intent, aggressively protecting its underwater home.

Dire lionfish are especially deadly creatures with morphology accentuated from minor Plane of Water influences and the sacred coral groves tended by sea druids. Many times the size of their cousins, dire lionfish can weigh well over 1,500 pounds and eagerly throw their weight behind fierce headbutts and powerful bites. Dire lionfish venom, while still deadly, decreases with potency as they grow in size. The tradeoff for these marvelous beasts is an increased constitution and remarkable resilience against the toxins of others.

Deep Sea Bullies. Dire lionfish are highly territorial, and whatever they cannot eat, they doggedly pursue. Many fishermen recount tales of being harassed for leagues by dire lionfish and a few claim the beasts spit torrents of water at them, knocking them into the sea. Sahuagin, alpha fish, and even the bigger pelagic blush worm have to fend off the highly combative dire lionfish. Some merfolk know how to assuage these beasts’ savage nature and employ dire lionfish to guard their sunken secrets.

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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