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Charon (Boatman of the Lower Planes)

José Benlliure y Gil, The Barque of Charon (La Barca de Caronte) Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia en su Historia, Valencia Date: 1919 Technique: Oil on linen, 176 x 103 cm

Charon is the ferryman of Hades.

He takes the newly dead from one side of the river Styx to the other if they had a coin to pay for the ride. Corpses are buried with a coin underneath their tongue to pay the fare. Those who can’t had to wander the banks of the Styx for a hundred years. The heroes Heracles, Orpheus, Aeneas, Dionysus and Psyche have all journeyed on the boat of Charon.

Charon is the son of Erebus and Nyx.

He was depicted as a cranky, skinny old man.

First appeared in the Monster Manual II (Gary Gygax, 1983) and converted by Scott Greene. In the book of Daemons

Charon (Boatman of the Lower Planes)
Medium-Size outsider (Evil)
Hit Dice46d8+276 (483 hp)
Initiative+9 (+5 Dexterity, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed50 ft
AC38 (+5 Dexterity, +23 natural)
AttacksStaff +55/+50/+45/+40/+35 melee
DamageStaff 1d6+8 and Paralysis
Face/Reach5 ft by 5 ft/5 ft (10 ft with staff)
Special AttacksSpell-like abilities, psionics, fear gaze, control water, summon daemons
Special QualitiesDamage reduction 40/+4, SR 34, daemon qualities, telepathy, immortality, Darkvision 60 ft
SavesFort +32, Ref +30, Will +32
AbilitiesStrength 26, Dexterity 21, Constitution 22, Intelligence 23, Wisdom 24, Charisma 28
SkillsBluff +58, Concentration +36, Diplomacy +39, Hide +25, Intimidate +44, Intuit Direction+56, Knowledge (arcana) +36, Knowledge (history) +36, Knowledge (planes) +55, Knowledge (religion) +36, Listen +56, Move Silently+45, Scry +31, Search +46, Sense Motive+56, Spellcraft +46, Spot +56
FeatsBlind-Fight, Cleave, Dodge, Combat Expertise, Great Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Mobility, Power Attack, Sunder, Weapon Focus (staff)
Climate/TerrainAny land (Lower Planes, River Styx only)
OrganizationSolitary with Bone Skiff
Challenge Rating25
AlignmentAlways neutral evil
AdvancementBy character class

The river Styx links the topmost layers of the Lower Planes, and its branches can be found anywhere from the Nine Hells to the Abyss. When encountered, the river is a deep, swift, and uncontrolled torrent. Those who touch or drink from the river Styx must succeed at a Will save (DC 20) or completely lose their memory, forgetting everything about their past life. If the save is made, treat the effects as a feeblemind as cast by a 15th-level sorcerer.

Charon may be summoned to the banks of the Styx by casting any of the following spells: blasphemy, Holy word, or symbol of death, symbol of fear, symbol of insanity, symbol of pain, symbol of persuasion, symbol of strife, symbol of stunning, symbol of weakness.

He will appear in a large black skiff that can hold up to 10 people of Medium-size. If requested ferry, he will charge a magic item, a silk bag of 100 pp, or two gems of 500+ gp value. Charon never carries this treasure. It is distributed among his servants, the charonadaemons

Charon will not transport those who refuse or fail to pay his price.


Charon will attack using his spell-like abilities, gaze, and staff. If things are going against him he will summon charonadaemons or hydrodaemons to deal with the attackers, and teleport away, taking his boat with him.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will-alter self, charm person, contagion, invisibility, see invisible, silent image, and teleport without error (self plus boat only).

These abilities are as the spells cast by a 20th-level sorcerer (save DC 19 + spell level).

Psionics (Sp): At will—detect good, detect magic, and detect thoughts.

These are as the spells cast by a 20th-level sorcerer (save DC 19 + spell level).

Fear Gaze (Su): 30 feet range, Will save (DC 42) or flee in terror 2d6 rounds.

Paralysis: Anyone hit by Charon’s staff must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 20) or be paralyzed for 3d6 minutes.

Control water (Su): As the spell cast by a 20th-level sorcerer. Charon may control the river Styx causing the water to rise up and attack as a 16 HD water elemental. Anyone hit by the elemental must make a Will save (DC 20) or forget everything about their past life. If the save is made, treat the effects as a feeblemind spell cast by a 15th-level sorcerer.

Immortality (Ex): Charon is native to all five Lower Planes, thus when his form is destroyed on one plane, he ceases to exist there, but still exists on the other four. When destroyed on any plane, it takes but a single day for his form to return.

Summon Daemons (Sp): Charon can automatically summon 2d6 charonadaemons or 2d6 hydrodaemons.

Daemon Qualities (Ex): Immune to poison and Paralysis, immune to mind-influencing effects; acid, cold, and fire resistance 40.

Telepathy (Su.): Daemons can communicate telepathically with any creature within 500 feet that has a language.

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