Perytons – DM’s Pocket Guide
Welcome to DM’s Pocket Guide, where we discuss the rules, spells, and monsters of Dungeons and Dragons, 5th edition.
Tricia: Today we are going to talk about the creature Perytons… or peritons, paratons?
Rachel: I think you were right the first time: Perytons.
T: These are found on page 251 of the Monster Manual and they’re truly terrifying. I suggest that you look at the book for this one. It is like a giant bird with a stag’s head and antlers, but also like a bonehead with giant teeth.
R: Yeah, I mean, that’s not a stag’s head. That’s a terrifying Halloween version of a stag’s head.
T: Yes, yes, it is. It is awful. But these are actually kind of like lower level monsters. It’s only a CR2. They’ve got an armor class of 13 and only 33 hit points. So, these are a great creepy thing to throw at a level 3 group of adventurers.
R: Can my druid become a peryton?
T: It cannot, because these are monstrosities. Chaotic evil monstrosities, not beasts.
R: Hah hah! No perytons for you, Druid.
T: These have a speed of 20 on the ground and a fly speed of 60, so –
R: That makes sense. Faster in the air, they sort of waddle around on the ground.
T: Yeah, it’s a bird.
R: When you’re playing this monster, it’s probably gonna be in the air most of the battle.
T: Yes. And as far as different attributes, it’s strong, but not very intelligent and it particularly has a really good perception skill of +5.
R: Like when it’s rolling to try and see you?
T: Yes. And additionally, with its Keen Sight and Smell, it has advantage on perception checks that rely on sight or smell.
R: Oh, wait. So it’s gonna roll twice, it’s gonna add five–
T: Yeah. It’s gonna find you!
R: Oh man, I feel hunted already.
T: Good! As far as the damage resistances go, it is resistant to all bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.
R: Oh okay, so your regular village folk aren’t gonna have the means to drive a peryton – or not as effective at driving a peryton away.
T: Exactly. And some of the flavor text actually mentions that. That this is a good way for adventures to be summoned, that perytons will be attacking villages and oh no, these villagers don’t have magical weapons. So they’re gonna hire you!
R: Yeah, of course, because they also have an unnatural hunger for humanoid flesh – elves, half elves, humans.
T: So yeah, I can’t get enough of them.
R: Particularly enjoys the heart part of the human as I understand.
T: Yes, yes. We’ll get there. It does speak – nope, just kidding. It understands common and elvish, but it cannot speak it. So it will listen in on what you’re saying–
R: And understand it.
T: Yeah. Yeah. But it won’t speak back.
R: No. No, with that mouth it won’t.
T: Some of its special attacks: It has a Dive attack which is a bit like hooves with your horses, if it is flying and dives at least 30 feet in order to make its melee attacks on you, it can deal an extra 9 damage or 2d8.
R: Oh, okay. Like charging with a horse.
R: Okay cool.
T: Also, this one is a really good one. It has Flyby. This is when the peryton does not provoke an opportunity attack when it flies out of an enemy’s reach.
R: Oh, that’s so cool. Yes, I can imagine myself in a combat that I swooped by with this thing, and then one of my players would be like, “Wait, don’t I get enough opportunity attack?” and I will be like, “Ah ah ah maybe. Yeah, sure, go ahead.” But no, because this creature has the feature Flyby.
T: Yeah, that’s great. And when it does attack you, it has a multi-attack. It can both gore you and talon you. So beak and the claws!! To reference our owlbears.
R: Oh, maybe the horns? Gore you with the horns?
T: Yeah, that’s great. I think you should gore with whatever you got.
R: Yeah. We’re all about gore positivity on this podcast.
T: When it does gore you, it will do 1d8 +3 piercing damage and when it talons you, it will do 2d4+3 piercing damage.
R: Okay, that’s not the most damage ever.
T: No. What really makes this monster creepy is what you referenced earlier. It loves hearts.
R: Oh that’s cute. Valentine’s Day is its favorite?
T: Oh my gosh. We should definitely make a Valentine’s Day peryton adventure because it requires hearts in order to reproduce.
R: Oh, cool.
T: So female perytons literally cannot reproduce unless they have ingested a humanoid heart. And once they like, latch on to the heart that they want, they will not stop until they get it.
R: Adorable! I mean, horrifying.
T: Horrifying and adorable, the D&D sweet spot. And so yeah, it’s going to pursue creatures until either it dies or the creature dies. But I do think this is a good monster to use at like circling back around. Make it leave before it dies the first time and pursue you.
R: Yeah, it does say if the peryton is driven away, it’ll wait for its opportunity to come back, which I love that. I think these guys’ terrain is like mountain, like high mountain ridges. So if you’re doing a big travel episode, just having this peryton just come back again and again and again–
R: Just choose one player in the party, and it’s like, “That. I want that one.” It just keeps coming after them.
T: Yes. So creepy. What also is creepy is the very weird fact that its shadow does not look like a bird. It looks humanoid.
R: Oh, interesting. So like if they were, if the players were seeing the shadow, the pictures like up above–
T: Oh, there’s someone up there? Oh, it’s a bird! It’s gonna eat you! Except for when it has just ingested a heart. It’s shadow will appear in its true form.
R: Oh, cool.
T: So really weird stuff that would be fun to play with.
R: Yeah, I can imagine trying to work that into a session.
T: Yeah. So one last creepy thing is about its origin story of how perytons were created. Yeah there’s the boring version which is just, oh maybe humans were transformed by a hideous curse or magical experiment.
R: Gah!! Not a hideous curse!
T: Yeah. Or the bards tell a different story, a different story that is a little bit sexist and a lot stereotypical. In which a woman finds out her husband has been cheating on her and cuts out the heart of the younger, more beautiful lady.
R: Oh, is that in there?
T: Yes it’s literally in there. The ritual succeeded, but the woman was exposed and hung for her villainy and then all of the little like, carrion birds nipped at her, and turned into perytons.
R: The story leading up to that is terrible, but the idea of creatures being transformed by the thing that they feed on, I could really see working out into a session.
T: Yeah, well, I mean, I honestly just, I just think it’s lazy storytelling of like, oh, women’s vanity! Women’s blah blah, you know? But if you genderswap it and turn it into a man who thinks that his wife is cheating on him and so he cuts out the heart of the younger, more beautiful man, I’m way more into that.
R: I mean I guess so! Any kind of any kind of crime of passion, I think.
R: Anything that involves the heart is the food for a potential peryton.
T: Yeah, yeah. It’s a very good story. I just get a little tired of older women being jealous of younger women.
R: Oh yeah. It’s always about, you know, oh you’re more beautiful and like, that’s not the only thing that matters.
T: Yeah. What if it was a younger woman being like “Oh, that older woman is so experienced and majestic. I’m so jealous.”
R: I think that’s how you get zombies. Brains! Brains!
T: We’ll look at that a different time. For now, this has been Perytons on page 251 of the Monster Manual.
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