Belabra

Dragon Magazine #94.  Back when this issue came out, I was 12 years old, and this was one of my favorite covers.

This issue also includes the Creature Catalog II, so look forward to a bunch of monsters.  The first is the belabra, by Ed Greenwood.  My conversion here was based more off of the 2nd edition Forgotten Realms Monstrous Compendium and the Pathfinder version from Frog God Games “Tome of Horrors Complete”.

Belabra
Medium aberration, neutral
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 34 (4d8+8)
Speed 5 feet, fly 20 feet

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
14 (+2)
15 (+2)
14 (+2)
7 (-2)
12 (+1)
11 (+0)

Skills Stealth +3
Senses darkvision 60 feet, passive Perception 11
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Acidic Blood  Each time a belabra is hit with a slashing or piercing weapon, all creatures within a 10-ft. radius must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity save or be sprayed by the creature’s acidic blood.  A creature that fails its save is blinded and overcome with fits of sneezing. Both effects last 1d6+2 rounds.


Actions

Ram. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 7 (2d4+2) bludgeoning damage.


Tentacles. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: The target is grappled (escape DC 13). Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained and has disadvantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws, and the belabra can’t use this attack again on another target.  While grappled, the belabra automatically hits with it’s beak attack.  When the victim escapes, it takes 4 (1d4+2) slashing damage from the barbed tentacles.

Beak. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 7 (2d4+2) slashing damage.



The belabra, also called “tangler”, is a most unusual creature, highly sought after because it can sometimes be domesticated.


The typical belabra has a large, hemispherical shell that measures some two feet in diameter and is generally black or dark grey in color. Extending from the underside of the shell are the creature’s 12 rubbery tentacles, its deadly grey beak, and its pale white belly. The monster’s four eyes extend above its shell on short eye stalks.


When in close combat, a belabra bounds about so that it can shield its soft underside with its hard shell. When given an opening, the belabra attacks either by bounding at its targets and ramming them with its shell or by entangling them in its barbed tentacles and tearing at them with its beak.  When employing the former method, the belabra kicks with its tentacles to hurl itself into the air.


The belabra is a solitary creature that is found primarily in wooded regions throughout the world’s temperate regions.


When at rest or waiting for prey, the creature draws itself up inside its shell and remains perfectly still. In this position, it is often mistaken for a large rock by the unwary. The belabra can sense its prey by both sight and scent.


Biologically, the belabra are most unusual creatures. They have only one sex, although they are not truly asexual as a lone creature cannot reproduce. The offspring begin as buds on the inner wall of their parent’s stomach. Here they gestate for six to ten months before being ejected by the parent.
If taken at a young age, a belabra can be trained to obey simple commands and act as a guard or hunter. If so trained, it identifies with its master and remains with him even in the heat of battle. Morale rolls are required only if the situation is unusually dangerous.


Training a captured belabra takes 4d4 weeks and requires a skilled instructor, a number of live animals (to serve as practice kills), and the frequent presence of the person who will be the creature’s master. Adverse conditions can greatly extend the training period.


Once their training is completed, the belabra can be employed in the same manner as an attack dog. A young belabra that has been raised for two years can be taught to capture and hold a victim without trying to kill it.


A captured belabra young is worth some 1,500 gold pieces on the open market.
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