Last Updated on November 9, 2023
Large Monstrosity, Unaligned
- Size: Large
- Creature Type: Monstrosity
- Alignment: Unaligned
- STR 16 (+3), DEX 17 (+3), CON 16 (+3), INT 4 (-3), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 8 (-1)
- AC: 13 (natural armor)
- Hitpoints: 4d10+12 (34 avg)
- Speed: 40 ft., climb 30 ft.
- Skills: Perception (+4), Stealth (+7)
- Senses: 60 ft. of darkvision, and 14 Passive Perception
- Challenge Rating: 1 (200xp)
Nondetection: they cannot be targeted or detected by any divination magic or perceived through magical sensors of any kind.
Pounce: If the cat moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
If the target is prone, the cat can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
Spell Turning: The cat has advantage on saving throws against any spell that targets only the cat (not an area). If the cat’s saving throw succeeds and the spell is of 7th level or lower, the spell has no effect on the cat and instead targets the caster.
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) piercing damage.
Claw: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.
Source: Storm King’s Thunder, page 240
Crag Cats are a relatively new addition to the D&D catalog of monsters. They take the stealthy element of cats, even larger cats, and turn it up to 11 with a magical twist.
Did you know that the first instance of Crag Cats in D&D was in the adventure Storm King’s Thunder?
Environment & Behavior of the Crag Cat
Crag Cats live primarily in mountainous terrain, though officially, they can be at home anywhere (except for the deep forest). At the end of the day, they are quintessentially large cats built for camouflage in rocky terrain and the snowy world.
However, their behavior is a little more sinister than an ordinary snow leopard. These cats have a taste for human flesh.
Being magical creatures, their intelligence is a little higher than the ordinary beast, and they use that to lure people into ambushes with a cry that sounds like a human scream and track people until they camp for the night, exhausted.
While these cats are still animals, they have enough intelligence to pull dangerous moves. They might look like cats, but they behave like predators designed to hunt people.
Often, the Crag Cat will be encountered on its own. Despite being only a CR 1 encounter, you can expect to face environmental or situational difficulties if you face these monsters in their own territory.
Crag Cats are likely to attack the party when they’re on thin ledges or in crevasses where the cat can use its climb speed to its advantage.
Crag Cats don’t have a high hit-point total, but if they can get back to total cover between their turns, that low hit point won’t matter.
These cats are also excellent at picking their battles. If you or your party camp out in the mountains, you should be sure to set up watches.
Remember that Crag Cats have Nondetection, and your DM might rule that means the Alarm spell doesn’t work on cats.
For players looking to strike back against Crag Cats, the tactics are simple. Don’t rely on magic.
Crag Cats can be effective, but if you can tailor your tactics to avoid rather than overwhelm their magical defenses, you can reduce them to the effectiveness of dire wolves.
In fact, dire wolves might even be a little more effective than Crag Cats with their ability to use pack tactics.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll be trivial, but it does mean you can use more traditional anti-beast tactics against them.
Fog Cloud, traps & pits, keeping the party together, and readied actions can all be perfectly effective against these cats without having to face their ability to reflect spells and hide from magic.
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Growing up I spent most of my time reading, so when I first started playing RPGs in middle school and got a copy of DnD 3.5’s rules I loved their collaborative take on storytelling. These days I like to use RPGs to develop my creative problem-solving skills as well.