The Balaur

Primordial Hydra -click to visit the artist's deviantart gallery
Primordial Hydra by Chasestone (click to view artist’s gallery)

This is a preview of one of the beasts featured in my upcoming module: The Warlock’s Curse. What follows may change a bit between now and when the product is playtested and completed.

The Balaur is a mythical creature made real by the dark powers plaguing the land of Morminte. It rampages across the countryside killing and taking livestock and people back to its lair. A foreign monster-hunter has been on its trail for over a week and can’t seem to find it, to the frustration of the locals.

This creature from Romanian folklore is, for all intents and purposes, a Hydra. The key difference is that its spittle can create precious gemstones.

Despite that, this creature is unique and even more terrifying than the usual beastie from Monster Manuals.


(gradually goes from 1, which is false, to 6 which is true)

  1. It fears and is warded off by the color yellow.
  2. It is completely immortal unless you slay it on a Holy Day.
  3. It seeks out only one kind of victim (1-males, 2-females, 3-infants, 4-red-heads, 5-clergy, 6-bastards)
  4. It leaves a trail of precious gemstones in its wake
  5. Remove one head and another grows back to replace it
  6. Fire prevents it from growing new heads.

Appearance and Abilities

The Balaur is a bizarre creature. Use the following lists to give it a truly weird and frightening set of features and abilities. Some are purely cosmetic, others grant additional abilities (update the stat blocks accordingly).

Terrible Torso

  1. A scaly toad with vestigial bat wings: can make gigantic leaps into or out of combat
  2. A fat, black lizard with 2d3 tails: can attack that many times at its rear
  3. A white goat with 3d8 legs: Speed increased to 180′
  4. An oozing, slimy slug tail: impossible to grapple, adjacent terrain is difficult
  5. A bloated, spiky fly: can fly at a speed of 90′
  6. A flame-colored lion: can make an extra claw attack at 1d6 damage

Horrible Heads

Extending from its torso are 1d8+5 long, snake-like (or tentacle-like) necks, each one ending in a monstrous head. Choose or randomly determine their overall appearance:

  1. Snakes
  2. Wolves
  3. Goats
  4. Eels
  5. Humans
  6. Vultures
  7. Cockroaches
  8. Caterpillar

Malevolent Maw

Between all of its necks, on its body, is a single, huge mouth. Choose what kind or roll 1d8 to determine the type (mix two or more results for a very memorable encounter):

  1. Angler Fish: huge sword-like teeth, armor-piercing
  2. Squid: huge parrot-like beak, extra 1d6 damage
  3. Lamprey: circular, with many rings of pointy teeth, vampiric drain
  4. Shark: powerful, with rows of teeth, bite does maximum damage
  5. Sea-slug: grotesque, muscular sphincter, suffocating
  6. Machine: rotating blades and a serrated grinder, destroys armor and items
  7. Wolf: a giant, fanged canine snapping jaw: frightening
  8. Giant face: huge human face, Balaur has Intelligence 18

Other Strangeness

Enchanted Spittle: After a battle with the Balaur one can find 3d10 gemstones encrusted into any stone on the surrounding walls, floor or statues (which must be chiselled or broken out). Each is worth 10gp.

Wakefulness: One of the Balaur’s heads is always awake while it sleeps.

Stat Blocks


(Labyrinth Lord and Lamentations of the Flame Princess)

The Balaur

Armor 15/5, Move 120′, 10 Hit Dice, 170hp, 1d10 bite for each of its heads. Anyone bitten must save vs Paralysis/Petrify or be paralyzed for a number of hours equal to the number of heads that it has left. Morale 9. One of the heads will die if the Balaur takes 10 or more points of damage from a single hit. If all its heads die, the Balaur dies. At the end of its turn, two heads regenerate for each one that has died since its last turn (regaining 10hp in the process), unless it has taken fire damage in that time.

The Balaur’s Young

Armor 10/10, Move 60′, 2 Hit Dice, 50hp, 1d6 bite for each of its heads (starts with 1d3+1). Morale 5. When the Balaur’s Young take 6 hit points of damage in a single hit, 1 head dies. If all of its heads die, the Balaur dies. These Young do not have their magical spittle nor their regenerative abilities yet (this appears in about 20 years, but not in captivity).

Dungeon World

The Balaur

Solitary, Large
Bite (d10+3 damage); 16 HP; 2 Armor
Close, Reach
Special Qualities: Many heads (1d8+5), Petrifying Bite, Regeneration

Instinct: To feed and protect its young.

  • Attack many enemies at once
  • Regenerate two heads when one is cut off
  • Leave precious gems in its wake

The Balaur’s Young

Group, Small
Bite (d8 damage); 6 HP; 0 Armor
Special Qualities: Several heads (1d3+1)

Instinct: To feed.

  • Cower and look pathetic
  • Lash out and bite a non-threatening target