Shale Spitter

Family: Shale

Medium elemental, unaligned

Armor Class 16 (natural armor), 18 while Curled Up
Hit Points 26 (4d8 + 8)
Speed 25 ft., burrow 30 ft., climb 25 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
15 (+2) 12 (+1) 15 (+2) 3 (-4) 12 (+1) 7 (-2)

Skills Stealth +3
Damage Resistances piercing and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t adamantine
Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +2

SPECIAL TRAITS

  • Rock Stride. The shale spitter ignores difficult terrain in caves and rocky areas.
  • Stone Camouflage. The shale spitter has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in rocky terrain.

ACTIONS

  • Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d10 + 2) slashing damage.
  • Spit Shale. The shale spitter violently regurgitates a hail of rock and dust in a 15-foot cone. Creatures in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5 (2d4) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • Drop Stalactites (Recharge 5-6). The shale spitter glows bright orange and emits a magical shockwave, causing spires of rock to fall from the ceiling in a 20-foot radius centered on a point within 120 feet of it. Creatures in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The area becomes difficult terrain until the debris is cleared.

REACTIONS

  • Curl Up. When the shale spitter would be hit by an attack made by a creature it can see, the shale spitter curls up, adding 2 to its AC, including against the triggering attack. While curled up, the shale spitter can attack but can’t move. It can use an action to uncurl.

ABOUT

Earthen isopods that subsist on crystals and stones in order to proliferate under mighty mountains, shale spitters run the gamut in terms of the challenges they pose to spelunking adventurers. The lowliest of shale spitter kind are little more than scuttling nuisances or, at worst, swarms of stony spawn. On the other end of the spectrum are behemoths that might be called mountains in themselves-looming terrors that dominate entire caverns and give form to whole underground ecosystems. All share one common characteristic that makes every shale spitter highly sought after by fortune-seeking monster hunters: Their crystalline waste matter is literally worth more than its weight in gold.

Resembling not much more than a pile of overlapping pieces of slate rock at first glance, the stalwart shale spitter is a skittering isopod with a rocky carapace. It thrives in mountainous and underground areas, where it gathers minerals for sustenance and reproduces asexually.

Similar to how common pearl oysters produce beautiful beads of polished nacre, shale spitters produce unique, iridescent tourmaline gemstones as a byproduct of their digestion process. These gems remain embedded in shale spitters’ digestive tracts and help break down hard minerals, but people in fashionable social circles prize the tourmalines for jewelry and decoration. This makes the harvesting of shale spitter gems an emerging enterprise-albeit a dangerous one, since as of yet, no one has quite figured out how to tame these crafty critters.

Shale spitters are notoriously territorial and typically congregate in small packs of three to five. Their social proclivities are hardly a result of a desire for companionship; shale spitters give their fellows a modest berth. Rather, these animals gather only to cast a wide defensive net in case intruders or predators threaten their feeding and breeding grounds.

Adventurers or miners hunting shale spitters must first slay a shale spitter before cracking it open to retrieve the tourmaline inside, but subduing these isopods is no easy task.

Shale spitters have developed senses for detecting the faintest vibrations in their rocky homes, as well as sharp claws and teeth for burrowing away from threats. From the safety of a nook or hole, shale spitters can discourage predators by spitting stones at deadly speed or, amazingly, tapping into some primal connection with caves in order to instantaneously conjure stalagmites or stalactites.

The source of shale spitters’ amazing ability to summon rocky protrusions from the stone around them has stumped researchers for centuries. Cave druids maintain that the unique gemstone inside a shale spitter is responsible for this power, but so far, all experiments to eke out the tourmaline’s magic have failed.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Battlezoo Bestiary (5E) © 2022, Skyscraper Studios, Inc.; Authors: William Fischer, Stephen Glicker, Paul Hughes, Patrick Renie, Sen.H.H.S., and Mark Seifter.

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