Last Updated on November 15, 2023
Imagine an orangutan and a silverback gorilla had a baby that was raised by a baboon… in hell. That is what this demon is. It is big and apish with giant teeth, even more gigantic fists, not a lot of emotional maturity, and a perverse joy in taking trophies from its prey.
Large Fiend (Demon), Chaotic Evil
- Armor Class: 15 (natural armor)
- Hit Points: 68 (8d10 + 24)
- Speed: 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
- STR 18 (+4), DEX 15 (+2), CON 16 (+3), INT 7 (-2), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 9 (-1)
- Saving Throws: DEX +5, CON +6
- Skills: Perception +5, Stealth +5
- Damage Resistances: Cold, Fire, Lightning
- Damage Immunities: Poison
- Condition Immunities: Poisoned
- Senses: Blindsight 30 ft., Darkvision 120 ft., Passive Perception 15
- Languages: Abyssal, Telepathy 120 ft.
- Challenge: 5 (1,800 XP)
- Proficiency Bonus: +3
Innate Spellcasting. The Barlgura’s spellcasting ability is Wisdom (Spell Save DC 13). The Barlgura can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
- 1/day each: entangle, phantasmal force
- 2/day each: disguise self, invisibility (self only)
Reckless. At the start of its turn, the Barlgura can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls it makes during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.
Running Leap. The Barlgura’s long jump is up to 40 feet, and its high jump is up to 20 feet when it has a running start.
Multiattack. The Barlgura makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its fists.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.
Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage.
What Is a Barlgura?
A Barlgura is a Large, CR 5 Fiend (demon) that brutally attacks with fists and tusks after using its deceptive magic abilities to get close enough to ambush.
Stat Block Breakdown
Starting from the top, we can see this is a Large fiend with a lot of Hit Points and a fast movement speed. Luckily, its AC isn’t super high, so this thing can be beaten.
The question is whether you can beat it before you are stuck in melee with it. With these stats, the Barlgura is a monster made for melee. It has an 18 Strength and a 7 Intelligence.
This might make you think the Barlgura is dumb. It isn’t. With a 14 Wisdom, this makes it observant, cunning, and good at guessing what its prey will do next. It’s just bad at math and probably couldn’t write an essay.
It has the standard demonic damage resistances and immunities, blindsight, darkvision, and telepathy. Already it has the makings of a powerful, if simple, foe.
But then we see the innate spellcasting ability. For a big bruiser meathead like this, you would think it could cast something combat oriented like shield or expeditious retreat.
You’d be wrong. This demon casts disguise self and invisibility. Weird, right? Why would a bruiser cast such deceptive and crafty spells? Well, because it’s a bully, and bullies know how to get close to their victims.
How To Fight a Barlgura
A Barlgura’s Tactics
Barlgura are exclusively melee combatants.
With a closer look at the spells, we can see that if at a distance, the Barlgura will pin you down with entangle and phantasmal force while it gets into position.
If that doesn’t work, it can always turn invisible and dash 80 feet (running, jumping, or climbing) to close that distance. If the Barlgura is patient, which it can very well be, it could disguise itself to look like your riding horse before turning around and eating you.
I don’t know how I could make it more clear than to say: this is an ambush monster.
It will use its superior tactics to set you up and then knock you down. And then eat you.
Knowing that this monster will ambush you, you can be one of those hyper-paranoid types that took the Alert feat and makes your horse memorize a password phrase before you jump on. Most people don’t do that, however. So, your best bet is to remain on the move.
See, the Barlgura wants to use its reckless ability, which grants it advantage on all of its melee attacks. The downside for the Barlgura is that this leaves it open to all attacks against it having advantage.
Therefore, the tank of the party should be the bait and should stay on the move, leaving everyone else to attack and take them down one at a time. Every player should focus all of their attacks on a single Balgura that leaves itself open instead of attacking different ones.
The rogue and the monk should take the dodge actions while everyone else takes out the Barlgura attacking them.
They, in turn, will flank and take the aggro off of the spell casters, who can then get a little space to do what they do best either by supporting the other players or turning the Barlgura into crispy critters.
For the DMs
Alright, put the kids to bed. This is for the DMs.
If you, like me, are a bit nit-picky about where and how your monsters show themselves, the next two sections will help you to put the Barlgura in a proper place and make the next encounter a memorable one.
The only environment listed in the Monster Manual for these demons is The Abyss. But if you really want to make your players quiver in their seats, put them in a forest, on a cliffside, or in a large city.
You see, the Barlgura have a 40-foot climb speed. This will leave most players unable to maneuver past or away from them, forcing them onto their back foot and making the players have to react. This will up the tension and the adrenaline at the table very quickly.
Imagine one of these mini-King Kongs swinging through a darkened warehouse and picking up PCs and pulling them into the stacks.
How about a pack jumping from rooftop to rooftop hell-bent on attacking an orphanage full of
As demons of the abyss, these monsters could conceivably be summoned. I don’t imagine they would appreciate such a summons, but they could be bribed or intimidated into service.
They could be summoned by other demons or powerful spellcasters, or even a relic of the ancient past could have gotten loose, and the Barglura keep getting summoned to retrieve it.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].