This article is meant for both players and DMs alike as we dive into discussion and all the info you’ll ever need on the Behir.
What Is a Behir?
A Behir is a lizard/snake-like creature that resembles a cross between a centipede and some sort of reptile. It’s a cavern dweller that carves narrow tunnels that lead to its lair.
Behirs are known to detest dragons and anything related to them as they were created to destroy them. As such, they possess some interesting abilities and are definitely a monster you don’t want to come across.
Huge monstrosity, neutral evil
- Armor Class: 17 (natural armor)
- Hit Points: 168 (16d12 + 64)
- Speed: 50 ft., climb 40 ft.
STR 23 (+6), DEX 16 (+3), CON 18 (+4), INT 7 (-2), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 12 (+1)
- Skills: Perception +6, Stealth +7
- Damage Immunities: Lightning
- Senses: Darkvision 90 ft., Passive Perception 16
- Languages: Draconic
- Challenge: 11 (7,200 XP)
Multiattack: The Behir makes two attacks: one with its bite and one to constrict.
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: (3d10 + 6) piercing damage.
Constrict: Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one large or smaller creature. Hit: (2d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage plus (2d10 + 6) slashing damage.
The target is grappled, escape DC 16, if the behir isn’t already constricting a creature and the target is restrained until this grapple ends.
Lightning Breath (Recharge 5-6): The Behir exhales a line of lightning that is 20 feet long and 5 feet wide.
Each creature in that line must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw, taking 66 (12d10) lightning damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one.
Swallow: The Behir makes one bite attack against a Medium or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is also swallowed, and the grapple ends.
While swallowed, the target is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the behir, and it takes 21 (6d6) acid damage at the start of each of the behir’s turns. A Behir can have only one creature swallowed at a time.
If the Behir takes 30 damage or more on a single turn from the swallowed creature, the Behir must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate the creature, which falls prone in a space within 10 feet of the Behir.
If the Behir dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse by using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone.
Now that you’ve seen the stats of the Behir, it’s time to dive into the specifics.
Encountering a Behir
What They Do
Behirs are very large snake-like creatures and behave a lot like an extremely hungry and territorial 10-legged boa constrictor, that’s the best way I can summarize them.
They typically attack most trespassers on sight. They do their best to wrap themselves around their prey and either continue to bite them or swallow them whole if possible.
What Should I Do?
Your best bet, if they go for this tactic, is to use ranged attacks and spells to keep them at bay, but be careful as Behirs also have a lightning breath attack that they WILL use at some point.
If you happen to be in a large group and find yourselves in combat with a Behir, it’s almost a given that they will use their lightning breath.
Their lightning breath does have a recharge (rolling either a 5 or 6 on a d6), and the saving throw DC is relatively low (dex save DC of 17); however, this does not mean that even on a success you won’t lose a fairly large chunk of hit points as the damage is 12d10 lightning damage.
That’s comparable to some ancient dragon-breath attacks damage-wise, so be very careful.
Even if you manage to get up close to the Behir, it can and will likely still use its breath attack; however some do try and use their constrict ability and bite attacks more often at close range.
If you manage to encounter a Behir, do not use any lightning spells or attacks as they do have immunity to lightning damage.
This may come as odd given their snake-like look, but this serves as their only immunity, so you shouldn’t have an issue working around it.
The best way to fight a Behir is to maneuver around the lightning breath as it’s only in a 20-foot line that’s merely 5-feet wide.
Once the lightning breath is down, hammer it with ranged attacks. Do your best to not get up close and personal with it, but if you must, make sure you have someone that can get out of grapples quite well.
Behir Habitats, Size, and General Information
Behirs prefer to keep their habitats/lairs away from any sort of dragon whatsoever. They were created by giants to combat dragons and thus have an intense dislike for them.
They will never make their lairs near any dragon lair or even in the vicinity of one, so keep that in mind.
If they do make a lair, however, it will typically be underground with a great many narrow tunnels leading to it. Behirs are like burrowing snakes; they prefer darkness, caves, and well-secluded areas.
Behirs are quite large. An adult Behir is around 40-feet long and weighs around 4,000 pounds give or take – certainly no small creature.
As stated before, a Behir can swallow its prey whole like a snake. Sometimes they regurgitate certain items after they digest the corpse, such as weapons or armor that can’t be digested.
If you happen to come across a bunch of loose items, gear, or even armor chunks and you happen to be in a cave that you found via a narrow tunnel, you may have found yourself in the lair of a Behir.
In some cases, however, much smaller items, such as gems, aren’t digested but are too small to regurgitate. Unfortunately, the Behir buries its waste away from its lair/nest, so these items are far harder to find and recover.
Behirs are solitary creatures typically, which means if you find one, the odds of finding another are quite low unless they have a nest located in their lair, in which case it’s best to turn around.
Female Behirs are extremely protective of their eggs. It’s even been recorded that sometimes male Behirs attempt to eat the eggs for food in which case the female will defend her eggs at all costs, even if she ends up killing the male.
Behirs typically have 10 or so legs, two claws, and a large snout like a crocodile.
They have hardened scales all over their body and are around 40-feet long. They are typically an electric blue color usually or a darker cave-like blue color.
Unique Behir Facts
There’s some interesting things other than what has been discussed previously.
- Despite what you may have heard, Behirs can speak Draconic to others.
- Behirs are also in fact rideable. It would be like riding a giant lightning-breathing snake. Imagine how fun it would be if you became friends with one and it could take you through subterranean caverns and such – pretty cool.
- Behirs aren’t in fact dragons; they were created to destroy dragons.
- A Behir’s organs can serve as fuel for potions, spells, and scrolls.
- Their scales are also worth a decent amount of gold (around 500gp usually).
As a DM, Should I Use a Behir? Is It Too Strong?
As a DM myself, you should definitely use one. They are a very flexible enemy (literally) as they are a primary melee monster with some limited yet strong ranged-damage potential.
It can force a mid-level party to rethink their strategy once that lightning breath comes out. In my opinion, I would say that an 8- to 10-level party would be able to handle this encounter with some difficulty.
A Behir encounter can be really interesting too. You could have the party track down some missing miners that got lost in a tunnel. The party could soon discover that they were mining into a Behir lair.
Perhaps you need a certain hostile red dragon gone from an area; you could track down a Behir, and maybe convince it to help you as Behirs hate dragons.
That last one might be a stretch, but there are so many applications that you could use them for. I used a Behir once as a summon. It was called upon by a powerful demon to help kill a silver dragon, which it couldn’t resist.
Behirs aren’t particularly intelligent creatures, but they can make for some fun encounters as they have average AC, Dmg and very good HP. This makes them perfect for mid-level party encounters or even low-level party encounters.
You could have a lower-level party escape from a cave system while being chased by a Behir. They have a lot of potential, and every DM should give them a try and implement one.
Behirs are an extremely unique monster in 5e. They look like a cross between a centipede, a snake, and a crocodile.
The sight of them can make most players wonder, “What the hell does this creature even do?” which as a DM, would put a smile on my face.
They have good damage, Hp, a variety of attacks, and ways to hinder and kill players, and they have a very interesting ecology.
I have implemented a Behir before, and it was a very interesting encounter for my players. Behirs hate dragons, which is a very important fact when considering using them as a DM.
In my opinion, I would like to see more variations of Behirs. Perhaps an Elder Behir or other different elemental-based Behirs, since they were created to combat dragons.
This is something my fellow DMs can implement for your next encounter, which, hopefully after reading this article, will involve a Behir.
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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.