Huge monstrosity, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 161 (17d12+51)
Speed 50 ft., swim 30 ft.

21 (+5) 12 (+1) 17 (+3) 7 (-2) 12 (+1) 14 (+2)

Saving Throws Con +6, Str +8, Wis +4
Damage Vulnerabilities thunder
Skills Athletics +8, Perception +4
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common (can’t speak)
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)


  • Color Aversion. Nians have a deep-seated aversion to the color red. When confronted with a large amount of the color (a person wearing an entirely red outfit, a waving red flag, a field of red flowers, etc.), it recoils. Red objects don’t harm the nian; they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling nian must stay at least 5 feet away from the red object and cannot touch or make attacks against the object or a creature near it. After 1 round, the nian can overcome its fear of the color and function normally if it succeeds a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw each round it is exposed to the color.
  • Sensitive Eyes and Ears. Nians find loud noises extremely painful. Whenever it takes thunder damage, it must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or it must move at least 15 feet away from the source of the thunder damage. A nian that succeeds on this Wisdom saving throw typically attacks the source of the sound, attempting to destroy it or at least stop the noise. A nian has disadvantage on saving throws against being blinded by bright lights.
  • Twisting Prowl. Despite its apparent bulk, a nian is very agile and able to weave effortlessly through crowds across the battlefield. This erratic, undulating motion causes all opportunity attacks made against the nian to have disadvantage.


  • Multiattack. The nian makes one bite attack, two claw attacks, and one gore attack.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, 1reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) acid damage.
  • Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, 1reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8 + 5) slashing damage.
  • Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, 1reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6 + 5) piercing damage.


The nian is a ravenous creature that is equally at home in high mountain areas or in coastal seas. While a nian can subsist on nearly anything animal or vegetable, it prefers meat and savors the taste of humanoid flesh. A nian will venture into inhabited areas to prey on isolated settlements near its home, especially in deep winter, when prey and forage are scarce and humanoids are cloistered against the cold with stockpiles of food. The nian prefers to hibernate all winter long if it can, emerging ravenous to gorge itself on whatever it can catch and kill or raid from storage houses before returning to its lair.

Most nians have a rather dull intellect, but they are cunning and take great pride in their abilities as a predator. Nian consider other predators, especially other monstrosities, aberrations, and dragons, as competition. On occasion, brave and clever individuals have been able to deter a nian by playing on its pride. An individual might mention the terrible prowess of a competing predator and convince the nian to challenge it for the territory. The nian might also be convince to hunt more dangerous prey to demonstrate its might. Such measures may only be temporary. Once a nian has satisfied its pride by eliminating competing predators or wiping out larger, more difficult prey, it will return to hunt where food is easiest to find.

Settlements within a nian’s hunting territory will attempt to protect themselves from attack by using the creature’s inherent weaknesses against it. Festivals are held at the start of spring when the nian is likely to be abroad. Loud music is played on drums and horns. Houses and other buildings are draped in red decorations and fireworks are set off to deter the nian and convince it to seek food elsewhere.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Asian Monsters (5E) © 2021, Legendary Games; Authors Miguel Colon, Jason Nelson, Andrew Ha, Aurélien Lainé, Dan Dillon, Ismael Alvarez, James-Levi Cooke, Robert J. Grady, Jeff Ibach, Matt Kimmel, and Thurston Hillman

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