Last Updated on January 22, 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.
Barlguras live in the abyss in large violent packs and are always hunting to pass the time. They can be summoned to the material plane, but if you’re lucky you, won’t ever see one. With its spellcasting ability (that’s right, it’s a spellcaster), you might not even know you have seen one until it slobbers on your head.
Luckily, we made this guide here for you. In this post, you will find everything you need to know about the Barlgura in case you come up against one (or several) in your gaming session.
For the DMs, we’ve got you covered too. We’ll talk about nifty ways to include the Barlgura in your adventure as well as give you a story seed if you want to make them more of a feature and less of a nightmare-inducing surprise encounter. Although, that’s always acceptable.
What Is a Barlgura in DnD 5e?
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.
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.
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. I’m sure one could pick up an improvised weapon, like a femur, and throw it, but that is not its preferred method of killing PCs. This thing wants to get in your face and bite it off.
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.
That will be hard, I know, but you’ll have to ignore the demon slobbering in your face in order to better take down the demon that is slobbering in the wizard or the rogue’s face. If you do that, the player whose bacon you just saved will come help you out.
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 three 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. To be honest, that is a great place for them. They’re nasty. So long as they are there, nobody gets killed unless they deserve it. 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. Imagine a pack of them swinging through the trees as the PCs do their best to run away or hide. 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 if they could be bribed or intimidated into service, you could have an evil witch living in an abandoned castle guarded by giant rabid monkeys. Because that’s never been done before.
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.
Alternatively, instead of making them pawns and minions, you could also make them the leaders of their organization. A pack of them could have subdued and forced a clan of goblins into servitude, and now the goblins have to keep expanding and taking more and more prisoners just to stop their new overlords from eating more goblins.
If you feel inspired to take the Barlgura and give it a more central part in a series of adventures, consider this story frame. You’ll have to make the NPCs and locations, but this outline should be enough to get you started and impress your friends.
This is a Tier 2 or 3 adventure.
One year ago, a Barlgura attacked an outlying farm of a metropolitan suburb during a full moon. One month later, two Barlgura attacked a different farm during the full moon. Another month later, it was three. Now that a year has passed, we have every reason to suspect that 13 Barlgura will attack at the next full moon.
Rumors of a clan of wild people living in the forest have started to circulate, and they say that these wild people can turn invisible and use ambush just like the Barlgura do.
When one of the wild people is captured, it is revealed to be a Firbolg. He says his people are tracking their missing clansmen; but one of the councilmen, a real estate developer, thinks otherwise.
He thinks that Firbolg are sending the Barlgura against the city because they want to see it destroyed. The councilman hires the PCs, either directly or indirectly through their contacts, to capture a Barlgura.
When they succeed, they will discover that the Barlgura transforms into a Firbolg at dawn. The transformation process kills the Firbolg, and an Arcana or Religion check reveals the process was neither natural nor willing.
This will be enough for the councilman to call an emergency session and try to declare war on the Firbolg and destroy the forest for 50 miles in all directions. The councilman will be outvoted, regardless of PC intervention. However, there is still the matter of whether there will be another attack in the next month.
During the next month, the PCs discover that another adventuring group is going out to attack the Firbolg and take prisoners. If the PCs can infiltrate or follow this group, they discover that the group will abduct 14 of the Firbolg and return them to a warehouse.
In the warehouse, the Firbolg are subjected to a magical ritual by a cabal of demonologists that will transform them into Barlgura. The demonologists will then try to release them into the city to cause murder and mayhem.
However the PCs intervene is irrelevant. What matters is that in the aftermath, the PCs investigate or discover that the warehouse was owned by the councilman and that the leader of the cabal of demonologists was his brother whom everyone thought was dead. A little more digging will reveal the councilman has been wanting to cut down more forest and buy the land for over a decade. See where this is going?
We hope this gets your next game going and that your next Barlgura encounter will be one your players remember for years.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.