A faint ticking and a blur of light and limbs almost too fast to see are the only warnings that trouble is coming.

Small fey, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15
Hit Points 55 (10d6 + 20)
Speed 50 ft.

14 (+2) 21 (+5) 15 (+2) 10 (+0) 12 (+1) 14 (+2)

Saving Throws Dexterity +8
Skills Acrobatics +8, Perception +4, Stealth +8
Damage Immunities lightning
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Elvish, Umbral
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Special Traits

  • Evasion. If the xiphus is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the xiphus instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.
  • Lightning Absorption. Whenever the xiphus is subjected to lightning damage, it takes no damage and instead regains a number of hp equal to the lightning damage dealt.
  • Siphon Time (Recharge 5-6). As a bonus action, a xiphus chooses one creature it can see. The xiphus’ clockwork heart vibrates rapidly, bending time to give the xiphus the upper hand against its chosen target. The xiphus chooses whether to have advantage on its attacks against that target or on saving throws against spells cast by the target until the start of the xiphus’ next turn.
  • Startling Speed. The movements of a xiphus are so swift that it is almost invisible when in motion. If the xiphus moves at least 10 feet on its turn, attack rolls against it have disadvantage until the start of its next turn unless the xiphus is incapacitated or restrained.


  • Multiattack. The xiphus makes three hidden dagger attacks.
  • Hidden Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4 + 5) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) lightning damage.


  • Borrowed Time (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). If damage is dealt to a xiphus that would kill it, it can attempt to temporarily borrow time from another creature to avoid death. One creature the xiphus can see within 30 feet of it must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take 10 (3d6) necrotic damage, and the xiphus regains hp equal to the damage taken. The target is stable and doesn’t die if this effect reduces its hp to 0. After 2 rounds, the xiphus takes necrotic damage, and the target regains hp, equal to the original amount borrowed.


These tiny beings have silver or white hair and bronze skin that shimmers no matter how much or little light is present. They have tall, pointed ears and slightly slanted eyes. A contraption of gears, pistons, and hourglasses filled with red sand spin and whir where the xiphus’ heart should be.

Gear-Hearted. Clockwork-enhanced fey, the xiphus were once quicksteps, but, long ago, they gave up on being merely flesh. When a xiphus comes of age, it undergoes an intense ritual in which its heart is replaced with a clockwork apparatus that beats like a heart and grants the fey power over time.

Brotherly Rivals. They consider the quicksteps somewhat dim-witted for not making the same adjustment, and the two speedy fey rarely get along well for any length of time.

Triple Speech. A xiphus speaks so rapidly that often it is not understood on a first pass-and so most xiphus will repeat themselves at least once and often twice when they are speaking to “the slow ones.”

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Creature Codex. © 2018 Open Design LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Dan Dillon, Richard Green, James Haeck, Chris Harris, Jeremy Hochhalter, James Introcaso, Chris Lockey, Shawn Merwin, and Jon Sawatsky.

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