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Prehistoric Bestiary Part II: Megafauna


Megafauna

While the term “megafauna” is used by scholars to describe any animal of Medium size or larger, it is most commonly employed by laypeople to describe gigantic primeval beasts that dwell in ancient landscapes.


Giant Ground Sloth

Unlike the familiar tree sloth, giant ground sloths are neither slow nor harmless. Growing to over ten feet in height, these browsing behemoths are incredibly territorial, using their large, hooked claws to strike at any perceived threats to themselves or their young. The ground sloth’s ability to dig enormous tunnels through earth and stone makes them prized as living siege weapons, but their tempers make them difficult to tame.


Giant Ground Sloth

Huge beast, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 66 (7d12+21)

Speed 40 ft., burrow 10 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA

20 (+5) 8 (-1) 17 (+3) 2 (-4) 13 (+0) 5 (-3)

Senses passive Perception 12

Languages

Challenge 4


Cave Borer. The ground sloth can burrow through solid rock at a rate of 5 ft. per hour.

 

Actions

Multiattack. The sloth makes two attacks with its claws.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8+5) slashing damage.


Glyptodont

These immense relatives of armadillos resemble mammalian turtles with large, dome-shaped shells that make them nearly invulnerable to harm. Glyptodonts are peaceful grazers, but males occasionally fight one another in spectacular duels, using their spiked tails as enormous bludgeons.


Glyptodont

Large beast, unaligned

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)

Hit Points 30 (4d10+8)

Speed 15 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA

16 (+3) 9 (-1) 15 (+2) 2 (-4) 11 (+0) 5 (-3)

Senses passive Perception 12

Languages

Challenge 1

 

Actions

Tail Club. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) bludgeoning damage.


Indricothere

Among the largest mammals to ever live, indricotheres are enormous, hornless rhinoceroses which roam deserts and savannas. Using their prehensile, trunk-like lips, they are able to strip vegetation of leaves with surprising dexterity. Only the largest of predators dare to attack such a beast, but some hunters use traps and trickery to bring them down. A single indricothere can feed an entire village, but only if the hunters have the means to transport such a large quantity of meat. Stone giant nomads often employ indricotheres as mounts or beasts of burden.


Indricothere

Gargantuan beast, unaligned

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)

Hit Points 101 (7d20+28)

Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA

23 (+6) 8 (-1) 19 (+4) 2 (-4) 11 (+0) 8 (-1)

Skills Perception +3

Senses passive Perception 13

Languages

Challenge 6


Trample. The indricothere can move through the space of a medium or smaller creature. The creature must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone. If the creature is knocked prone, the indricothere can make a stomp attack against it as a bonus action.

 

Actions

Stomp. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 33 (5d10+6) bludgeoning damage.


Megaloceros

Megaloceros, sometimes called giant deer, are among the most common megafauna. Even more than their great size, megaloceros are distinguished by their magnificent antlers, which can measure twelve feet across. While a megaloceros can make an excellent mount for a medium-sized creature, they are more often hunted in order to make their antlers into tools or trophies.


Megaloceros

Large beast, unaligned

Armor Class 11

Hit Points 19 (3d10+3)

Speed 50 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA

17 (+3) 13 (+1) 12 (+1) 10 (+0) 12 (+1) 9 (-1)

Skills Perception +3

Senses passive Perception 13

Languages

Challenge 1


Charge. If the megaloceros moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a ram attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 9 (2d8) damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

 

Actions

Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) bludgeoning damage.


Short-Faced Bear

Distinguished from other bears by their long legs and eponymous blunt snouts, short-faced bears are enormous predators which can kill large animals like horses and camels, or chase away smaller predators from their kills with their brute strength. Like all bears, short-faced bears supplement this meat-based diet with plant material such as leaves, berries, and roots.


Short-Faced Bear

Large beast, unaligned

Armor Class 12 (natural armor)

Hit Points 89 (7d10+21)

Speed 50 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA

21 (+5) 12 (+1) 16 (+3) 2 (-4) 12 (+1) 7 (-2)

Skills Perception +3

Senses passive Perception 13

Languages

Challenge 3


Keen Smell. The bear has advantage on Perception checks based on smell.

 

Actions

Multiattack. The bear makes two attacks, one with its bite and one with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6+5) slashing damage.


Teratorn

While teratorns resemble gigantic vultures, they are not scavengers but active predators. While they are excellent soarers and can fly for days without resting, teratorns are also surprisingly fast on the ground, using their long legs to chase after prey. In the rare case that a teratorn can be tamed, it can be used as a mount by a small-sized creature.


Teratorn

Large beast, unaligned

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 16 (3d10)

Speed 25 ft., fly 50 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA

13 (+1) 15 (+2) 11 (+0) 2 (-4) 12 (+1) 7 (-2)

Skills Perception +3

Senses passive Perception 13

Languages

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Keen Sight. The teratorn has advantage on all Perception checks that rely on sight.

 

Actions

Multiattack. The teratorn makes one attack with its beak and one with its talons.

Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6+1) piercing damage.

Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (2d4+1) slashing damage. If the target is Small or smaller, it is grappled (Escape DC 12). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the teratorn cannot attack another target with its talons.


Thylacoleo

Among the strangest megafauna, thylacoleo are ambush predators which lurk in trees, leaping down onto unwitting prey which they grapple with their hooked claws. These hunters are in fact marsupials, and are one of the few species of that group to become apex predators.


Thylacoleo

Medium beast, unaligned

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 11 (2d8+2)

Speed 40 ft., climb 15 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA

13 (+1) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 2 (-4) 11 (+0) 6 (-3)

Skills Acrobatics +4, Perception +2

Senses passive Perception 12

Languages

Challenge 1/2


Arboreal Ambusher. If a thylacoleo drops onto a creature from at least 10 feet above it, it reduces the damage it takes from falling by 2d6 (minimum 0). If it then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, the claw attack deals an extra 3 (1d6) points of damage, and that target must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the thylacoleo can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

 

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6+1) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8+1) slashing damage.


Variant Fauna

Besides the megafauna presented here, many megafauna have statistics nearly identical to those of their more common modern counterparts. Some examples include:

Cave Hyena: These hyenas dwell in cold steppes and tundras rather than deserts and savannas. They have the same statistics as an average hyena, but have a Strength score of 12 and a Constitution score of 14, affecting their hit points and bite attack accordingly.

Entelodont: While these strange omnivorous mammals are closely related to hippopotamuses, they more closely resemble enormous pigs. An entelodont has the statistics of a giant boar, but its tusk attack is replaced with a bite attack which does piercing damage.

Mastodon: These forest-dwelling elephants have lower profiles and straighter tusks, and are sometimes covered in fur. They have the same statistics as an elephant.

Terror Bird: These tall, predatory birds are apex predators in wide open savannas. A terror bird has the statistics of an axe beak but its beak attack deals piercing damage and has a reach of 10 feet, and it has four hit dice.

Wooly Rhinoceros: Wooly rhinoceros have shaggy coats to protect them from cold weather. They have the statistics of a rhinoceros but have advantage on saving throws against extreme cold and their thick fur increases their Armor Class by 1.


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