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Jan Jonston, Historia naturalis de quadrupedibus, Amsterdam 1614

The Catoplebas has a boar-like head with short antlers, a thick bullish body covered in spines, and cloven hooves on its stumpy legs.

The catoblepas is an aggressive beast at the best of times, willing to knock down trees, fences, even small houses to eat whatever it finds interesting, be that meal plant or animal or human being. Though it prefers swamps, the catoblepas has been known to forage in plains and forests for short periods before returning to the buoyant support of water and mud.

Few creatures linger near a catoblepas’s feeding ground because of the monster’s bad temper and poisonous breath, and only rot-loving predators such as oozes or exceptionally large otyughs have any interest in hunting them.

A catoblepas’ primary motivation is hunting and exerting its dominance over lesser creatures in its territory. Easily detected by its foul odor, the creature tolerates the presence of wild animals, humanoid tribes, and even predators that it can bully as long as these things flee or act submissive when the poisonous brute lumbers into view. The catoblepas is known to engage in physical battles with other large swamp creatures such as crocodiles or even froghemoths. Some humanoid tribes claim to know techniques to domesticate a catoblepas for use as a guard animal, but the monster’s intractable nature and not insignificant intelligence almost certainly means magic is involved, as the creature has little need for alliances and can wipe out entire villages with its breath. Some have been known to use their breath underwater, creating a churning cloud of bubbles that kills fish in the area and starves out other creatures.

A catoblepas’s sense of smell is blunted by its own ungodly stench, and it can’t easily recognize rival odors such as skunk musk (though this provides the beast no immunity to odor-based effects from other creatures).

A catoblepas is 15 feet long and weighs 2,200 pounds.

D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Catoblepas

Catoblepas DnD 5e BANNER.jpg

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

Coming to us from the continent of Africa, this oxen has a fearsome mane (which is here, curiously, not depicted as terribly fearsome) and just loves munching on poisonous herbs—enough of them that it can breathe toxic gas! It’s also known to pop up on its hind legs and splay out its mane, scaring whatever so offended it before the poison breath is unleashed to mute and blind its foes. If you are like, “wait a minute there Mike, this sounds like a gorgon,” you’re kind of right! The catoblepas is also referred to as a gorgon in the 400 year old book The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents, which is probably where the confusion that led to the modern steely incarnation in 5E began. Its first appearance in D&D was in the 1976 TSR magazine The Strategic Review #7 followed the next year with full statistics in the AD&D 1E Monster Manual where it rocks a big whipping tail that stuns and a death stare (which offers no saving throw to resist, but its crazy long neck has a low chance of rising high enough to use the gaze so it’s not necessarily TPK-ing all the time).


Large beast, unaligned
Armor Class 10
Hit Points 37 (5d10+10)
Speed 35 ft.

18 (+4)​13 (+1)​15 (+2)​2 (–4)​13 (+1)​4 (–3)​

Skills Perception +3
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses passive Perception 13
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Charge. If the catoblepas moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 7 (2d6) piercing damage.

Prodigious. The catoblepas counts as Huge-sized when determining its carrying capacity.

Startling Rear. The catoblepas can use a bonus action to rear up in a manner that terrifies its foes. Each creature in a 30-foot cone must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or drop whatever it is holding and become frightened for 1 minute. At the end of each of its turns, a frightened creature can repeat the saving throw, 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 catoblepas’ Startling Rear for the next 24 hours.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage.

Poison Breath (Recharge 5–6). The catoblepas exhales poisonous gas in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature that fails its save by 5 or more is poisoned for 1 minute. While poisoned, the creature is blinded and unable to speak. At the end of each of its turns, the poisoned creature can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Catoblepas CR 12

XP 19,200
N Large magical beast
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +25; Aura stench (30 ft., DC 23, 10 rounds)


AC 27, touch 8, flat-footed 27 (–1 Dex, +19 natural, –1 size)
hp 161 (14d10+84)
Fort +15, Ref +8, Will +8
SR 23


Speed 40 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee bite +18 (3d6+5), gore +18 (2d8+5/19–20), 2 hooves +16 (1d8+2)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (60-ft. cone, poison, Fortitude DC 23, usable every 1d4 rounds), trample (4d6+7, DC 22)


Str 20, Dex 8, Con 22, Int 5, Wis 15, Cha 10
Base Atk +14; CMB +20; CMD 29 (33 vs. trip)
Feats Diehard, Endurance, Improved Critical (gore), Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Multiattack, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Perception +25, Swim +13; Racial Modifiers +8 Swim
Languages Aklo


Poison Breath (Ex)

A catoblepas’s horrid, stinking breath is 60-foot cone of poison gas. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Breath—contact; save Fort DC 23; frequency 1/ round for 6 rounds; effect 1d6 Con damage; cure 3 consecutive saves.


Environment any swamps
Organization solitary, pair, or herd (3–6)
Treasure incidental

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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