Dread Examiner

Large aberration, neutral evil

Armor Class 19 (natural armor)
Hit Points 322 (28d10 + 168)
Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover), swim 30 ft.

20 (+5) 16 (+3) 22 (+6) 25 (+7) 23 (+6) 25 (+7)

Saving Throws Con +13, Int +14, Wis +13, Cha +14
Skills Arcana +14, Intimidation +14, Nature +14, Perception +13, Stealth +10
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire
Damage Immunities poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 23
Languages all, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 21 (33,000 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +7


  • Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the dread examiner fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
  • Magic Resistance. The dread examiner has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • Otherworldly Form. The dread examiner’s form is tentative in its cohesion, as well as its adherence to physical laws. It is immune to effects that cause the loss of limbs, such as the effects of a sword of sharpness or vorpal sword. It is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form, and it can move through a space as narrow as 1 foot wide without squeezing.
  • Psychic Awareness. If the dread examiner is being directly observed at the start of its turn, it can immediately make a Wisdom (Perception) check to notice the observer. Once it has noticed the observer, it always knows the observer’s exact location regardless of cover, obscurement, or invisibility, as long as the observer is within 120 feet of the examiner.
  • Sense Magic. The dread examiner senses magic within 120 feet of it at will. This trait otherwise works like the detect magic spell but isn’t itself magical.


  • Multiattack. The dread examiner makes three Force Swipe or Force Blast attacks. It can replace one attack with a use of Spellcasting.
  • Force Swipe. Melee Spell Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 43 (8d8 + 7) force damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 20 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 feet in a direction of the dread examiner’s choosing.
  • Force Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +14 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 43 (8d8 + 7) force damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 20 Strength saving throw or be forced prone.
  • Spellcasting (Psionics). The dread examiner casts one of the following spells, requiring no spell components and using Charisma as the spellcasting ability (spell save DC 22):


The dread examiner rarely stays in one place for long, perhaps a year or two at most in one area, performing its experiments on living beings before moving on. It finds an enclosed area, often underground tunnels or an abandoned building where it can act without interruption. Here it fabricates tools, holding facilities, and machines out of the materials available to it, forming an elaborate, device-filled laboratory. When finished, the dread examiner unmakes its devices, leaving nothing but debris when it departs. Occasionally, the dread examiner leaves functional equipment behind, intending to return to the lair and resume its work.

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

  • Animate Device. A device the dread examiner can see within 120 feet of it briefly animates, reaching out with grasping appendages at a creature within 10 feet of the device. The target must succeed on a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw or take 14 (4d6) bludgeoning damage and be restrained. A creature, including the restrained creature, can take its action to break free by succeeding on a DC 20 Strength check.
  • Psychedelic Gas. Canisters of strange gas release their contents in a 20-foot radius centered on a point the dread examiner can see within 120 feet it. Each creature in the area must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, Random objects float together in mutual orbit. As they move, shifting perspectives, their body doesn’t change but its shape appears to, gaining an elongated head and stretched limbs that end in terrible talons. Another turn, and its form is lost again, appearing simply as floating shapes. The dread examiner is clearly not of this world, perhaps not even of this universe. A powerful creature without pity or mercy, the dread examiner abducts creatures of all types and subjects them to mind and body-altering experiments. These experiments often combine the flesh of several beings into new, terrible amalgams, such as a fire-breathing, fire-resistant troll. The dread examiner’s motives for this behavior are unknown.


The dread examiner 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 dread examiner regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Teleport. The dread examiner magically teleports, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 120 feet to an unoccupied space it can see.
  • Reform (Costs 2 Actions). The dread examiner rearranges its disjointed parts and regains 36 (8d8) hp.
  • Psychic Surge (Costs 3 Actions). The dread examiner releases a wave of psychic energy. Each creature within 20 feet of it must make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, a creature takes 21 (6d6) psychic damage, can’t use reactions, and has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks until the end of its next turn. On a success, a creature takes half the damage and ignores the other effects of this legendary action. It takes 11 (2d10) poison and 11 (2d10) psychic damage and is poisoned until the end of its next turn. On a success, it takes half the damage and isn’t poisoned.
  • Shrieking Crystal. A glowing crystal the dread examiner can see within 120 feet of it emits a screech and burst of light. Each creature within 20 feet of the crystal must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or be blinded and deafened until the end its next turn.


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

  • Bountiful Aberrations. Within 5 miles of the lair, aberrations and mutated creatures are more common.
  • Hallucinations. Creatures with an Intelligent score of 5 or higher regularly see mirages and experience similar visual hallucinations while within 1 mile of the lair.
  • Strange Phenomena. The dread examiner’s psychic emanations have strange effects on wildlife within 3 miles of the lair, causing one or more of the following phenomena: flocks of birds flying in strange formations, ominous symbols forming in the air from clouds, pollen, floating leaves, or similar airborne objects, Beasts becoming uncharacteristically aggressive or reckless. If the dread examiner dies or departs the region for more than 24 hours, these effects fade over the course of 1d10 days.


Perhaps there is some grand scheme behind its machinations, an ineffable goal beyond the understanding of mortal minds.

Body by Necessity. To anchor its presence in this reality, the dread examiner creates a body for itself out of whatever materials are at hand when it arrives on the Material Plane. Rocks, tools, debris, carrion, whatever happens to be at hand is bound together with psychic force. The material undergoes a profound change, becoming rubbery, slick, and organic with a purplish-blue, slimy surface, though the original shapes of the objects used to construct the body remain. The collection moves together in a tight orbit, perceived differently by those viewing it, depending on the angle at which it is viewed. From one angle, the dread examiner might have a humanoid form, but this impression changes as it or its observers move, ranging from a malformed giant to a random collection of flying shapes. The body serves no other purpose than to anchor the dread examiner in physical reality. When the body “dies,” the examiner departs this realm to return at a later time.

This return may take months, years, or even centuries.

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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