Libris Monstrum: Withering Salt-eater

The weak-looking withered husk was crusted with salt, dry and diminished from thirst, spreading the white crystals in a cloud as it leapt upon the Professor who was drained of fluids in an instant.

Still above from the CW’s Vampire Diaries

WITHERING SALT EATER
Medium undead, chaotic evil


Armor Class. 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points. 136 (16d8+64)
Speed. 30 ft.


STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
16 (+3)14 (+2)18 (+4)11 (+0)10 (+0)12 (+1)

Saving Throws. Con +6 Wis +2
Skills. Perception +2, Stealth +6
Damage Resistances. Necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from non-magical weapons
Condition Immunities. Petrification
Senses. Darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 12
Languages. The languages it knew in life
Challenge. 3 (700 xp)


Regeneration. The withering salt-eater regains 5 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight. If the salt-eater has consumed water or succeeded a bit attack this amount increases to 25 hit points which diminishes by 5 each round until reaching 5 again. If it has taken radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of its next turn. Should it happen to consume the holy water, the salt-eater takes damage from the holy water at the beginning of each round instead of regaining hit points. It may make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw at the end of each turn to eliminate this effect.

Vamprie Weaknesses. As a type of vampire, salt-eaters have the following weaknesses:

Desperate Hydration. When water, or a container it knows to contain water, is within the salt-eater’s view, it will spend any necessary actions to take a drink. While it’s regeneration is enhanced from drinking, the salt-eater can resist this urge.

Forbiddence. The salt-eater can’t enter a residence without invitation from one of the occupants. This includes temporary dwellings such as tents.

Sunlight Sensitivity. The salt-eater is prone to drying out and cannot use it’s regeneration ability while exposed to sunlight. Additionally, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.


ACTIONS

Multiattack. The salt-eater makes two attacks with its claws or bite, only one of which can be a bite attack.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage. Instead of dealing damage, the salt-eater can grapple the target (escape DC 13).

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft. one willing creature, or a creature that is grappled by the salt-eater, incapacitated, or restrained. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the salt-eater regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target drinks some extra water and finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

Salt Spray (Recharge 6). The salt-eater spits a cone of abrasive salt in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking 18 (4d8) acid damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. Creatures that fail their save are stunned until the end of the


The salt-eater is a strange vampire off-shoot that is created in the driest, most arid places on the planet. Named for the habit they have of consuming salt in attempts to make their rare meals last longer, these creatures tend to be withered husks of their potential power. In their attempts to feed they have learned to expell the abrasive mineral with enough force to burn their victim, the salt causing pain in the lungs and eyes enough to distract them long enough to be consumed.

The sun does not kill the salt-eater outright but its presence speeds up the drying process and is anathema to the vampire. An adventurer would do well to avoid their territory at night or in the dark recesses of ancient tombs. Water is a distraction to the salt-eater as the desparation for hydration of any kind is overwhelming. Be warned, though, that getting fluids back into their bodies empowers the vampire and makes them more capable opponents ready to use their slaked thirst to feed their hunger.


Design Notes

The salt-eater is a concept I had playing in my mind for the purposes of one of my campaigns recently where the party was headed into the desert. Here the ancient tombs of a race of serpent folk are located and, in ways not yet revealed fully to the party, that ancient race is connected to vampirism. Mostly I like the idea of a snake like vampire, but to connect that to the dried tombs centuries or millenia later I also needed a different form of vampire. Enter a salt vampire.

Instead of leaning into draining salt from a victim, I decided to lean into the salt being a form of preservative. Perhaps through the burial of ancient dead packed in salt, perhaps from execessive consumption to stop a rapidly drying body. Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B. Either way this version is known as withering due to a (very) long-lasting thirst. This is not a vampire at full power, but an ancient thing dried and caked with salt and desperately thirsty.

In order to make this creature unique mechanically, I decided to enhance the concept and remove the normal water-based traits of vampires and reduce the sun sensitivity. That can be seen in the enhanced regeneration after drinking. While 25 seems like a lot, it has diminishing returns and comes with the added weakness that clever and informed adventurers can manipulate to their advantage.

Finally I wanted to give it something even more shocking: that salt spray attack. I went with acid damge because that is the closest equivelent to an abrassive salt storm scouring your skin. I also went with a stun effect for two reasons. First, salt in the eyes and lungs would be a pain in the ass and, second, it gives the vampire an opportunnity to drink since stunned is considered incapacitated. To balance that out I went Recharge 6 so it is unlikely this will get used more than once or twice, but its presence will still be impactful.


If you like the looks of the new Libris Monstrum, please let me know and come back on Mondays for more new monsters to use in your game! If you really enjoy my work, consider dropping over to Patreon and supporting my efforts, it is much appreciated!

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