Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 121 (22d8+22)
Speed 20 ft. (with body), fly 60 ft. (without body)

14 (+2) 16 (+3) 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 15 (+2) 22 (+6)

Saving Throws Str +5, Con +4, Wis +5
Damage Resistances cold, fire; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from weapons not made silver
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Skills Deception +9, Intimidation +9
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Abyssal, Common
Challenge 8 (2,300 XP)


  • Innate Spellcasting. The penanggalen’s spell casting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 17). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
  • Light Sensitivity. The penanggalen is weakened when separated and exposed to bright light, reducing its hit points by 7 (2d6) at the end of every turn it remains in this state.
  • Separate. During the day, a penanggalen has the same appearance as it did in life and does not detect as undead (though she is still an undead creature). At night, it can detach its head. Its physical but now hollow body exists as dead flesh but can be destroyed if it suffers damage equal to the penanggalen’s normal hit point total. Before a penanggalen can return to its body, it must soak its entrails in vinegar for 1 hour-it can then reattach to its body, at which point any damage done to the body immediately heals (although damage the penanggalen itself suffered remains). A penanggalen whose body is destroyed can never again walk the day in living form but is otherwise unharmed (save for no longer having a safe way to travel in direct sunlight). When a penanggalen wears its body, it cannot use its Bite attack or its fly speed.


  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (4d6 + 2) piercing damage plus 28 (8d6) necrotic damage. If the penanggalen kills a female humanoid with its Bite attack, the humanoid rises as a manananggal under the penanggalen’s control the next sunset. This manananggal is under the command of the penanggalen who created it and remains enslaved until that penanggalen’s destruction. The penanggalen can have no more than 3 manananggals under its control at any time.


The hideous penanggalen is one of the most horrific vampiric monstrosities. By day, a penanggalen appears to be a normal humanoid, but at night or when provoked, the creature’s head rips free from the rest of her body, coils of viscera and entrails dangling from her throat as she launches into the air, seeking blood to sate her unholy thirst.

Willful Undeath. Unlike most undead, the penanggalen is more akin to the lich in that she willfully abandons both her mortality and morality to become a hideous undead monster.

While penanggalens are traditionally female spellcasters, any creature capable of performing the vile ritual of transformation can become one. Similar to a lich, a creature works toward becoming a penanggalen. More than one such transformation ritual exists, but all require heinous acts that symbolize the casting aside of kindness, benevolence, and any semblance of feelings other than cruelty. Many of these rituals call for the repeated consumption of blood, bile, tears, and other fluids drawn from captured and tortured innocents.

Vinegar Vat. A penanggalen keeps a vat of vinegar in her lair. When returning from a night of feeding, a penanggalen’s organs are swollen with blood. In order to fit back into her body, the penanggalen must soak for 1 hour in this vat of vinegar. Once reduced, a penanggalen slides back into her body. If a penanggalen is slain away from her body, the body rapidly deteriorates into foul-smelling grit.

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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