Friday, January 30, 2015

Fiend Folio Friday: Berbalang

I yet again revisit my love of the Fiend Folio in order to provide a new adaptation of a Fiend Folio creature for 5th edition. I'm going to try to do this once per week for a while, skipping to the creatures I actually like or wished I could like and loosely going in alphabetical order.

I will certainly alter details to suit my own idea of what would be improvements to the creature, so while these will largely be true to the source, don't count on slavish devotion to reproducing creatures.


The berbalang is a solitary biped with leathery skin and bat-like wings. Its eyes are white and watery. DM note: the Berbalang is a low-level mystery monster, a terror that strikes and returns no matter what the PCs do. It's a menace that strikes at and devours people in a village, and even when the PCs are able to kill it off, it comes back looking for revenge, perhaps multiple times, until its lair can be found and the creature killed.

A Dual Life on the Astral Plane

The creature spends the greater part of each month in an apparently dormant state, hibernating preferably in a well-hidden cave. Though seemingly comatose, the berbalang is actually roaming the Astral Plane where it spends its time hunting and killing creatures weaker than itself and engaging in bizarre and complex courtship and mating rituals with other berbalangs. If its body is discovered and interfered with during the creature's astral roaming, the berbalang will attempt to return to the body and animate it; however this can take a long time (1-100 rounds) depending on the berbalang's actual distance away across the planes. If the body is destroyed, the astral berbalang dies as well. For this reason the creature takes a great deal of care in hiding itself and is very ingenious in this regard.

Duplicate Projection 

For three days each month at the time of the full moon, the berbalang returns to its material body, only to alter its form of trance and send forth a physical projection of itself upon the Prime Material Plane. The projection flies in search of food — a freshly-killed human corpse. The projection is physical in the sense that it can receive and inflict damage — in this respect it is a duplicate of the original. The berbalang can use all of the senses of the projection and will command (and essentially 'is') the projection in its quest for food. The projection can range up to 3 miles from the material berbalang body. The projection fights, if it needs to do so.

If the projection is hit and suffers damage it immediately takes flight, returning  to the body which will be unable to project again for a number of days equal to the number of hit points lost. If the projection is 'killed' it disappears, and the berbalang must make a DC10 CON save. If it fails the save, it falls to 0 hit points..

If the berbalang survives an attack, it will eventually seek revenge upon its attacker, though this may be delayed while the body recovers. If a wounded projection is followed back to the berbalang lair, the followers may be taken aback when they confront the unwounded physical creature.

If the protection is forced back to the body before the berbalang was able to feed, or if the projection was destroyed before feeding, a new projection will go forth again as soon as possible (after the compulsory period of recovery) regardless of the phase of the moon.

Sneaky Bugger  

To keep from depleting its food supply or arousing too great a local alarm, a berbalang will move its physical body to a new area every three or four months. They always travel by night and avoid confrontations when they are actually physically present. Since berbalangs live on the edge of civilisation, where lack of organisation allows them free rein, a berbalang is very rarely encountered in its physical form unless adventurers happen upon its lair or follow its projection back to its body.

Eat on the Run

If a projection kills a human it will immediately pick up the body and fly, at full rate, back to the host which will immediately emerge from its trance. While in flight, the projection will be feeding on the body — a fully-grown human can thus be devoured in one turn, leaving only the bones, garments and equipment.


How the berbalang derives sustenance when only its projection feeds, and how it reproduces when all mating activity takes place on the Astral Plane, are mysteries so far unexplained.


Medium humanoid, chaotic evil

Armor Class: 13
Hit Points: 19 (3d8+6)
Speed: 30 feet, 60 feet flying

STR 10 (+0), DEX 16 (+3), 14 CON (+2), INT 15 (+2), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 10 (+0)

Skills: Perception +3, Stealth +5
Senses: Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages: Common, Deep Speech
Challenge: 1


  • Multiattack: the berbalang attacks with its claws and a bite.
  • Claws: melee weapon attack, +5 hit, reach 5 feet, one target 8 (2d4+3) slashing damage.
  • Bite: melee weapon attack, +5 hit, reach 5 feet, one target 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.