The Cleric Beast (BBS)
The Cleric Beast is a twisted monstrosity born from the fears of man and the beastly nature within them. Its howls strike fear into the hearts of men, and its terrible grip crushes the life from their blood. When the unending night falls and the hunt begins, the Cleric Beast will emerge from the darkened hearts of men.
These wretched creatures were once members of a long-forgotten clergy who had discovered the power of an ancient blood. They consumed the blood to gain strength and drive away their fears, but in doing so drew themselves into the temptations of beasthood. It is said that humanity shackles the beastly nature, but the stronger the shackle, the greater the recoil is when the shackle is finally broken. Thus clerics made the largest and most twisted beasts. Though the church has long disappeared into the annals of history, the old blood remains in the memories of those who desire power or fear fear. For as long as mankind persists, the beast is not far behind.
Cleric Beast Tactics
The Cleric Beast is bestially instinctual in its approach and strategy. It crushes those beneath it, fears what hurts it, and when backed into a corner becomes more ferocious. It used to be a human cleric; only a spell of 7th level or higher has any hope of returning it to any semblance of its former self.
The Cleric Beast likes to start by using its leaping slam to punish as many prey as possible, and then let loose its frightening roar to rattle them. It then proceeds to alternate between multiattack and crushing grip on its turns. Sudden Leap keeps it from being boxed in, and side-swipe punishes those who stay too near. However, if no one is willing to grab the beast's attention, then that frees the beast up to target whoever it wishes, making it more likely for squishier targets to be targeted. With a 5 Intelligence, the beast's mind has degraded only to nearly that of a true beast's, so it is still capable of recognizing when a hostile prey is going unpunished.
Never forget that the beast's huge size allows it to move through the spaces of hostile creatures size Medium and lower. When it uses its leaping slam, it can land atop creatures before ending its turn in an empty space. When it multiattacks, have it leave a trail of destruction all the way to the back line. Having fallen to beasthood, it pays little attention to its prey's opportunity attacks.
The Cleric Beast is vulnerable to fire and slashing damage. When it takes damage of these types, it instinctively retreats using reactive leap. Creatures who deal these types of damage it will prioritize in crushing.
The Cleric Beast has the Paragon Fortitude and Paragon Fury features, which means it has multiple pools of hit points, and when the 1st hit point pool is reduced to 0, it gains an additional turn in the initiative order.
When its 1st hit point pool is reduced to 0, its leaping slam recharges, which it will use to punish the creature who last damaged it, assuming it can reach.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The creature's huge size and lack of armor makes it rather easy to hit. More significantly, it's vulnerability to fire and slashing damage makes it surprisingly easy prey. It makes up for these weaknesses with its incredible strength, mobility, and ferocity when weakened.
Obviously slashing and fire attacks are the most effective, but abilities that reduce its movement speed will also be helpful, as most of its mobility abilities derive from it.
It's crushing grip is somewhat difficult to land, as while it has advantage on grapple checks it does not add its proficiency bonus to them, but it deals the most damage and it's the only ability that adds its proficiency bonus to the saving throw DC, so squishy targets with low Strength or Dexterity should beware.
The minimum level of a 4 PC party should be 5, but that comes with a very high risk warning. The defensive CR of this creature is around 5, and its 1st stage offensive CR is ~7, but its 2nd stage offensive CR is 12! If you want to reduce its offensive power, consider changing its 1st hit point pool from 77 to 102 and its 2nd hit point pool from 77 to 52.
The Cleric Beast (BBS)
Huge Monstrosity, Chaotic Evil
- Armor Class 13
- Hit Points 77/77 (14d12 + 56)
- Speed 40 feet
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 20(+5) 17(+3) 18(+4) 5(-3) 13(+1) 14(+2)
- Saving Throws Strength +8, Dexterity +6
- Skills Intimidation +5
- Damage Vulnerabilities Fire, Slashing
- Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Force, Lightning, Necrotic, Poison, Radiant
- Condition Immunities Charmed, Frightened
- Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
- Languages ---
- Challenge 8-9ish
Paragon Fortitude. The creature has multiple pools of hit points, each of which is tracked separately. All damage and healing must be completely applied to only one pool. When a pool is reduced to zero, all ongoing conditions and effects affecting the creature end. Once a pool is reduced to zero, that pool cannot receive any healing until after a long rest. If all hit of the point pools are reduced to zero, the creature is killed.
Paragon Fury. The Cleric Beast may take one additional turn in each round of combat for each of its hit point pools that have been reduced to zero. The creature determines initiative normally for its first turn, though it gains advantage on the roll. Each subsequent turn the creature gains is inserted immediately after any one PC’s turn in the initiative order.
Keen Senses. The Cleric Beast has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell and sound.
Monstrous Grip. The Cleric Beast has advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks to grapple and escape grapples.
Monstrous Leap. The Cleric Beast can make running jumps standing, has a long jump max distance of 40 feet and a high jump max distance of 20 feet.
Bite the Bullet. The Cleric Beast takes 5 damage and ends any one condition or effect afflicting it. This damage cannot be reduced in any way. If the condition or effect comes from a spell cast at 3rd level or higher, it must take 10 damage instead. If it is unable to take an action on its turn, it can instead use this ability at the end of its turn, no action required.
Leaping Slam. The Cleric Beast jumps to a space within 30 feet and strikes the ground with its fists. Creatures within 5 feet of the space in which the Cleric Beast lands must make a DC13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 17 (3d10) bludgeoning damage and falling prone on a failed save, or half as much damage on a success. Once it uses this ability, it cannot use it again until the end of its next short or long rest.
Recharge Fortitude: When one Hit Point pool is reduced to 0, greater leap recharges and can be used immediately as a reaction.
Multiattack. The Cleric Beast makes 1 swipe and 1 slam attack.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage, and the target must succeed on a DC13 Strength saving throw or fall prone.
Swipe. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (3d4 + 3) slashing damage.
Crushing Grip. The Cleric Beast makes a grapple attempt against a creature within 10 feet of it. On a success, the creature is pulled to a space adjacent to the Cleric Beast, becomes incapacitated for as long as it is grappled, and must make a DC16 Strength saving throw, taking 19 (3d8+5) bludgeoning damage on failed save or half as much on a success. The creature then falls prone and the grapple ends.
Legendary Actions (3 actions)
Sudden Leap. The Cleric Beast jumps up to half its speed without triggering opportunity attacks.
Reactive Leap. When the Cleric Beast takes damage with a damage type it is vulnerable to, it jumps up to half its speed away from the source of the damage without triggering opportunity attacks.
Side-swipe. When a creature ends its turn adjacent to the Cleric Beast, it makes a swipe attack against that creature.
Frightening Roar. The Cleric Beast unleashes a terrorizing screech, forcing creatures within 60 ft. of it to succeed on a DC13 Wisdom saving throw or else become frightened until the end of the Cleric Beast's next turn. Once it uses this ability, it cannot do so again until the end of its next short rest.
Opportunity Attack. When the Cleric Beast makes an opportunity attack, it must use its swipe attack.
My last Big Boss Solo was Scaramouche the Merciless.
I've also written essays on:
Challenging Encounter Philosophy: Deconstructing the 6-8 Encounter Adventuring Day
Goal Oriented Encounters: How do I challenge my PCs without having to make monsters stronger?
Non-Resource Related Consequences: How do I get my players to care about my NPCs?
And if you've got a dollar to spare, or are already part of EN World's En5ider Patreon, please check out my character-count limited but artfully decorated Tinkerer class, Basic (Base class and 1 subclass) and Advanced (2 subclasses and more Power Appliances)! Also my free Guide to Designing Power Appliances.
Also maybe check out this Monarchsfactory youtube video because she references a feature from my Big Boss Solo Inserts essay at some point.