Guardian Archaeopteryx

Family: Dinosaurs

Small beast, unaligned

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 36 (8d6 + 8)
Speed 15 ft., fly 50 ft.

7 (–2) 14 (+2) 13 (+1) 5 (–3) 14 (+2) 12 (+1)

Skills Perception +4
Damage Resistances poison
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages understands Common but can’t speak
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +2


  • Flyby. The archaeopteryx doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemy’s reach.
  • Magic Resistance. The archaeopteryx has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.


  • Multiattack. The guardian archaeopteryx makes one Beak attack and one Talons attack, or it makes two Spit Thorn attacks. If the archaeopteryx hits one creature with two attacks, the target must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or take 2 (1d4) poison damage and be poisoned until the end of its next turn.
  • Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) piercing damage plus 2 (1d4) poison damage.
  • Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage.
  • Spit Thorn. Ranged Spell Attack: +4 to hit, range 60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage plus 2 (1d4) poison damage.


  • Imbue Poison. The guardian archaeopteryx chooses a friendly creature it can see within 30 feet of it and imbues that creature’s attacks with magical poison. The next time the friendly creature hits with an attack before the start of the guardian archaeopteryx’s next turn, the target of the attack takes an extra 2 (1d4) poison damage and must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until the end of its next turn.


This small flying creature is covered in hair-like fibers, and its mouth resembles that of a rattlesnake. The jeholopterus is an acrobatic flying reptile about the size of a goose that dwells in warm swamps and jungles and along tropical coastlines. It feasts on insects, especially those attracted to bloody wounds on other creatures. A particularly hungry jeholopterus might take this a step further by making its own fresh wounds. After landing on a suitable target and securing itself with its hand and foot claws, the jeholopterus latches on with its fangs. It then uses its plier-like jaws to squeeze the wound and keep the blood flowing to attract insects.

An enormous archaeopteryx, easily the size of a small dog, stares down from its high perch. Its plumage is a muted blue, and its eyes shine with intelligence.

Guardian archaeopteryxes are enormous feathered dinosaurs bred by ancient druids to guard sacred sites. Their glowing green eyes hint at the ancient magic that still suffuses their forms.

Prehistoric Guardians. In a time before writing, ancient druids infused archaeopteryx with magic and bred them to guard the druids’ most sacred sites. The resulting creatures could spit enchanted thorns and poison foes beset by their lesser kin.

Flock Leaders. Guardian archaeopteryxes gather flocks of their smaller brethren to help perform their duties. The mundane archaeopteryx alert the guardians to intruders, scare off smaller creatures, and hunt for the shared nest, ensuring the flock grows strong. When a significant threat arrives, the guardian peppers foes with thorns and imbues the flock with magical poison.

Made Obsolete by Time. In the millennia since the guardians were first created, many of the sites they once guarded have been destroyed, profaned, or changed biome from the passage of time. Additionally, when a flock grows too large for a sacred site to support, the youngest guardian archaeopteryx leaves with a section of the flock, looking for a new site to guard. All of these processes create ‘orphaned’ flocks that guard ruins or verdant bits of forest, unrelated to their ancient purpose.

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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