Before the gates of the Underworld stands a massive hound with three slavering heads and baleful red eyes. The end of its tail separates into a nest of writhing serpents. It appears watchful and alert, scenting the air for intruders.
Cerberus is the mythical guardian who guards the entrance to the Underworld. Those seeking entry into the land of the dead without the consent of Hades, or his consort Persephone, must face this creature. He never shirks his duty as guardian to the gates of the Underworld of Hades.
He is almost always found at the gates, although his master does occasionally allow him to roam the earth freely. He will always allow dead people to enter the gates, but living people must present a tasty treat as a bribe to get him to let them enter. He will not allow any being, alive or dead, to leave the underworld. If Cerberus is killed and therefore sent to the underworld, Hades simply allows him to leave and journey back to the land of the living. The hound of Hades guards the gates of the Underworld keeping the dead within and the living without.
For a time, Heracles, whole stole the monster to complete his Twelve Labors, kidnapped it. Since, Cerberus returned to Hades realm and maintains its vigilant watch for those seeking to break in or out of the mist shrouded forlorn realm of death.
Cerberus understands, but does not speak, all mortal tongues.
Epic Monsters: Cerberus (5E)
This three-headed (possibly as many as 100 heads depending on where you look) canine keeps the dead from escaping the afterlife—really though Cerberus’ claim to fame is his capture by Heracles/Hercules as one of the twelve labors, a story celebrated again and again throughout both Greek and Roman arts.
The hero is initiated into the Eleusian Mysteries and then travels into the underworld probably by way of a cave in Tainaron, guided afterward by Athena and Hermes. Once he’s down there Heracles/Hercules runs into Theseus and Pirithous (held captive for trying to rescue Persephone from hell—that whole pomegranate seeds and winter thing) then wrangles the beast. How he does so (and much more) is written about in great length and changes from author to author, but at the end of the day comes back up with Cerberus, typically with Theseus, and sometimes Pirithous too.
Huge monstrosity, neutral
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 152 (16d12+48)
Speed 50 ft.
|22 (+6)||15 (+2)||17 (+3)||7 (-2)||12 (+1)||10 (+0)|
Saving Throws Dex +5, Con +6
Skills Insight +5, Perception +7, Stealth +5, Survival +4
Damage Resistances cold, fire, necrotic, radiant
Senses darkvision 200 ft., passive Perception 22
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)
Ageless. Cerberus cannot suffer from frailty of old age, die from old age, or be aged magically.
Snake-Tail. Cerberus’ uses its Dexterity modifier for attack and damage rolls with its snake-tail.
Three Heads. Cerberus gains double his proficiency bonus to and has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks. In addition, he has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, or knocked unconscious.
Multiattack. Cerberus makes three bite attacks and one snake-tail attack.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d10+6) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Snake-Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage.
Poison Foam (Recharge 5-6). Cerberus exhales a spray of toxic liquid in a 20-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw, taking 35 (10d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
| Trojan War: Roleplaying in the Age of Homeric Adventure|
A Mythic Vistas Sourcebook for the d20 System
Written by Aaron Rosenberg
with elements from
Section 15: Copyright Notice – Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3, © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
|Cerberus, the Guardian of Hades|
|Gargantuan magical beast (Extraplanar, Evil)|
|Hit Dice||30d10+300 (465 hp)|
|Speed||60 ft. (12 squares)|
|Armor Class||41 (-4 size, +2 Dexterity, +43 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 39|
|Attacks||Bite +41 melee (2d8+22 plus poison spittle)|
|Full Attack||Bite +41 melee (2d8+15 plus poison spittle), 2 bites +39 melee (2d8+7), tail snakes +39 melee (2d6+7 and poison)|
|Space/Reach||20 ft./ 20 ft.|
|Special Attacks||Petrification gaze, poison, poison spittle, trip|
|Special Qualities||Damage reduction 15/epic, frightful presence, immune to cold, disease, fire, poison, regeneration 15, resistance to acid 20 and electricity 20, Scent, Spell Resistance 39, Cerberus’s Jaws, Soul Scent|
|Saves||Fort +27, Ref +19, Will +11|
|Abilities||Strength 40, Dexterity 15, Constitution 30, Intelligence 11, Wisdom 14, Charisma 13|
|Skills||Listen +28, Search +15, Spot +28, Survival +13|
|Feats||Awesome Blow, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Power Attack, Track|
Cerberus is a vicious opponent. It opens combat by using its petrification gaze on the obvious spellcasters, before launching in with its bite attacks. When fi ghting in melee combat, it opens with its central head attack, and if the poison from its spittle does not kill the foe, Cerberus makes a trip attack to drag the unfortunate victim to the ground before worrying it with its two extra head attacks, and the nest of serpents serving as its tail. For the purpose of overcoming damage reduction, Cerberus melee attacks all count as magical, evil, and epic.
Cerberus’s Jaws (Su) Curse – bite; save Fort DC 28; effect forbidden to leave plane. Any creature afflicted by this curse is affected as if by a more potent and persistent version of the spell dimensional anchor.
This effect is treated as the spell, though it has no visual expression. Spells attempting to move multiple creatures from a plane that also target those affected by Cerberus’s jaws work normally for all but the cursed. In addition to spells, the cursed cannot make use of portals or similar extraordinary methods of leaving a plane, finding themselves either physically barred from such passages or having the effect simply fail to function for them. remove curse ends this effect as normal. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Petrification gaze (Su): As a full round action, Cerberus can turn a single opponent within 30 feet who fails a DC 26 Fortitude save to stone. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Trip (Ex): If Cerberus hits with a bite attack, it can attempt to trip the opponent (+27 modifier) as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip Cerberus.
Frightful Presence (Ex): Cerberus is unsettling simply by being in its presence. Whenever Cerberus attacks, charges, or bays, all living creatures with 60 feet must succeed on a DC 26 Will save or suff er one of the following effects based on their Hit Dice. Creatures with 4 HD or less that fail their Will save become panicked for 4d6 rounds, those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds. Major divine off spring and the gods are immune to Cerberus’s frightful presence. Th e save DC is Charisma-based.
Regeneration (Ex): Damage from holy or sacred sources deal normal damage to Cerberus. If Cerberus loses a head, another regrows in 3d6 minutes.
Soul Scent (Su) This ability functions as the Scent ability, except that Cerberus gain a +4 bonus on Survival checks made to find or follow the tracks of the undead. In addition, they can detect the passage of soul stuff with this ability, allowing them to Track incorporeal undead just as normal creatures.