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Bunyip – Colorized version with added clouds and contrast adjustments.

A disturbing combination of shark and seal, this brown-furred creature has a wide mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth.

The bunyip is a fierce and avid hunter, possessing a primal ruthlessness that seems almost evil in its rapacity. A bunyip typically inhabits large freshwater inlets or sheltered coastal sea caves where food is plentiful—the bunyip is equally at home in fresh or salt water. It prefers feeding on animals of Small size or larger, though it isn’t averse to eating humanoids when presented the opportunity. Bunyips are quite territorial, and readily attack when intruders threaten their hunting grounds. Bunyips mate annually, during the late spring. During this period, bunyips become even more aggressive. After mating, couples split, with the female wandering off to find a place to birth a small litter of four to six pups. Females watch their pups for a few days, until they become independent enough for the mothers to move on.

Reports of bunyip sightings come from every end of the map. Though the accuracy of all such reports remains doubtful, enough reliable accounts exist to confirm their widespread adaptability. The species thrives in numerous ecological climes, from frigid polar fjords to idyllic tropical lagoons. The bunyip is not a deep-sea creature, and even avoids larger freshwater lakes, as it prefers to lurk near shorelines where its favorite food is more common.

D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Bunyip

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D&D 5E – Epic Monsters: Bunyip | EN World | Dungeons & Dragons | Tabletop Roleplaying Games

The name of the bunyip (also referred to at times as kine pratie or katen-pai) is translated by Aboriginal Australians today as “devil” or “evil spirit”, and modern scholars think it has a connection to Bunjil, “a mythic ‘Great Man’ who made the mountains and rivers and man and all the animals.” The Sydney Gazette was the first publication to use the word in 1812 describing it as “a large black animal like a seal, with a terrible voice which creates terror.” Within four decades in Australia (which has a river and town named Bunyip) it became synonymous for imposter, pretender, and humbug (including “bunyip aristocracy” for aspiring aristocrats).

What exactly the creature is, however, is an altogether different conundrum. George French Angus concluded that it is a “water spirit” from the Moorundi people of the Murray River “much dreaded by them…they have some difficulty describing it. Its most usual form…is said to be that of an enormous starfish.” Not what you think of with these right? The Australasian newspaper in 1851 printed about an outline of a creature called the “Challicum bunyip” etched into the bank of Fiery Creek in Victoria (though it no longer exists), and in 1878 Robert Brough Smyth spent 10 pages of Aborigines of Victoria to ultimately say, “in truth little is known…respecting its form, covering or habits; they [Aboriginals] appear to have been in such dread of it as to have been unable to take note of its characteristics.”

Sightings of bunyips are typically one of two general types, with a slight majority claiming to have seen creatures like seals (4 to 6 feet in length with dark-haired coats, large ears, whiskers, and no tail) and a small minority talking instead of long-necked small-headed beasts (5 to 15 feet long, a similar coat and ears, small tusks, horse- or emu-like head, a 3-foot maned neck, and a tail like a horse). What’s not really disputed is that they are amphibious nocturnal predators of lakes, rivers, swamps that can swim very quickly and unleash a terrifying roar.

The myth of the bunyip is thought to be from seals that traveled long distances inland via waterways because of physical similarities “the smooth fur, prominent ‘apricot’ eyes, and the bellowing cry are characteristic of the seal”, but that’s not the only theory. Dr. George Bennet of the Australian Museum posited in 1871 that the bunyip might be a cultural memory of extinct marsupials like the diprotodon, nototherium, palorchestes, or zygomaturus (maybe, paleontologist Pat Vickers-Rich and geologist Neil Archbold claimed in the 1990s, because of discovered prehistoric bones or the last specimens of the species). There are other lines of thought too, ranging from distorted remembering of interactions with deadly giant cassowary birds to the Australasian bittern which has a male breeding call described as a low-pitched boom, giving it the nickname the bunyip bird to conflations with European myths (like the Irish Púca.

Huge beast, unaligned
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 150 (12d12+72)
Speed 20 ft., swim 50 ft.

23 (+6)​15 (+2)​22 (+6)​3 (–4)​12 (+1)​8 (–1)​

Saving Throws Dex +5, Wis +4
Skills Athletics +9, Perception +7, Stealth +8, Survival +4
Damage Resistances cold, thunder
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 17
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Brave. The bunyip has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Hold Breath. The bunyip can hold its breath for 1 hour.

Keen Hearing and Smell. The bunyip has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Terrifying Howl. The bunyip can use a bonus action to unleash a terrifying howl. Each creature of its choice within 120 feet of the bunyip that is able to both see and hear it must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the bunyip’s Frightful Howl for the next 24 hours.

Multiattack. The bunyip attacks once with its bite and twice with its slam.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d12+6) piercing damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the bunyip can’t bite another target.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10+6) bludgeoning damage.

Bunyip CR 3

XP 800
N Medium magical beast (aquatic)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, keen scent 180 ft.; Perception +8


AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 32 (5d10+5)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +1


Speed 10 ft., swim 50 ft.
Melee bite +7 (1d8+1/19–20 plus bleed)
Special Attacks bleed (1d6), blood frenzy, roar


Str 13, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Atk +5; CMB +6; CMD 19
Feats Improved Critical (bite)B, Skill Focus (Perception), Skill Focus (Stealth), Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Escape Artist +5, Perception +8, Stealth +10, Swim +9; Racial Modifiers +8 Swim
SQ amphibious


Blood Rage (Ex)

A bunyip’s blood rage ability activates whenever it detects blood in the water using its keen scent, but otherwise functions as the universal monster rule of the same name.

Roar (Su)

A bunyip’s roar is supernaturally loud and horrifying. When a bunyip roars (a standard action the creature can perform at will), all hearing creatures with 4 or fewer HD within a 100-foot spread must succeed on a DC 13 Will save or become panicked for 2d4 rounds. Whether or not the save is successful, creatures in the area are immune to the roar of that bunyip for 24 hours. This is a sonic, mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.


Environment any aquatic
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure none

While bunyips vary in appearance, all possess similar basic physical structures. The bunyip’s head exhibits strong seal-like features, save for its shark-like jaws. Its upper torso is thick and muscular, with long, fin-like limbs. Some species even have a single, shark-like dorsal fin. The remaining portion of the body extends into a long tail. Those with fur usually only grow a short coat on the upper body in shades of pale gray, brown, or black.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2, © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Graeme Davis, Crystal Frasier, Joshua J. Frost, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal MacLean, Martin Mason, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Greg A. Vaughan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

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