Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Scarecrow Stat Block
medium Construct Chaotic Evil
Understands the languages of its creator but can’t speak
1 (200 XP)
While the scarecrow remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from an ordinary, inanimate scarecrow.
The scarecrow makes two claw attacks.
Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (2d4 + 1) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened until the end of the scarecrow’s next turn.
The scarecrow targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the scarecrow, the target must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or be magically frightened until the end of the scarecrow’s next turn. The frightened target is paralyzed.
- Suggested Party Size: 3-4
- Suggested Party Level: 1-3
Quick Tactics for Scarecrows
- Let them get close; get them alone
- Focus on the frontliners
- Beware of fire
False appearance means that scarecrows have a decent chance of getting the drop on their enemies, which means that prioritizing the right target is key. While picking off a squishy spellcaster first may seem tempting, spellcasters are much more likely to have access to fire-based attacks. Terrifying Glare and the scarecrow’s resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage actually make the scarecrow remarkably well suited to fighting martial characters at melee range.
What Are Scarecrows?
Scarecrows are medium-sized, humanoid constructs that are indistinguishable from ordinary scarecrows until they attack. They tend to be created by hags and witches by binding an evil spirit to the inanimate straw and cloth and are often used as protectors.
A strange sight lurks among this year’s ripening harvest. There is a distorted figure among the crops keeping a silent vigil.
On closer inspection, the figure appears to have a pumpkin for a head. Its body is made from straw and sackcloth. The crows circling above are cautious and dare not come near it.
But this is no ordinary scarecrow, and it is on the lookout for more than just crows. Seemingly inanimate, the Scarecrow harbors a hidden, unnatural lifeforce.
A tormented soul, the Scarecrow haunts lonely fields and towns hellbent on missions of terror and mayhem. It will do anything in its power to carry out its creator’s wishes.
Because Scarecrows are spirit-powered constructs, they have nightmarish potential. With unyielding patience, the Scarecrow waits and watches. Players would be wise to keep their guard up if these creatures are near.
Where Do Scarecrows Come From?
Scarecrows are brought to life by witches, hags, and other practitioners of the necromantic arts. Like their unanimated counterparts, most Scarecrows are made of sticks, sackcloth, or other common materials.
A Scarecrow is given life when someone一or something一binds a soul to these mundane objects. And with this new life comes monstrous abilities. The Scarecrow’s frightening gaze can paralyze a player. Its razor-sharp claws will easily cut down an inexperienced adventurer.
While the spirit of the Scarecrow usually comes from devils and demons, the souls of other creatures will serve just as well. Once the Scarecrow has been awakened, it loses all memories of its former self.
And though the Scarecrow’s old personality may sometimes reappear, all that remains of the dead is the creature’s tormented soul,
Scarecrow History and Lore
Once a creature’s soul has been bound to the Scarecrow, it loses all memories of the past. From that moment on, the Scarecrow becomes loyal to its creator, vigilantly obeying his or her commands.
Even in the event of the death of the Scarecrow’s creator, it will attempt to carry out the last command it received. In some cases, a Scarecrow will seek revenge for the death of its master, hunting down anyone it suspects of the deed.
Scarecrows typically don’t seek the company of others, besides their creators, preferring solitude in single-minded pursuits. When a Scarecrow’s master dies it may choose to terminate its own life, or else seek solitude far away from other creatures.
Not all Scarecrows are evil, however. Scarecrows will occasionally gain consciousness by other methods than necromancy. Sometimes a powerful deity chooses to bring a Scarecrow to life, providing it with a soul.
On very rare occasions, the Scarecrow will come to life spontaneously, gaining consciousness and personality for no apparent reason.
These naturally forming Scarecrows are usually more benevolent than those created through necromancy.
They often display curiosity and kindness. In very rare circumstances, these good Scarecrows are accepted by a town or other community, and the Scarecrow will serve as a guardian for its new friends.
Any Scarecrow that remains motionless is indistinguishable from a normal scarecrow.
Scarecrows often use this ability to lay traps, waiting for just the right moment to ambush their prey. The most steadfast of sentinels, the Scarecrow is unaffected by foul weather.
Because it is a magical construct, the Scarecrow has no need for air, food, or drink. Scarecrows also require no sleep, meaning they can watch their post tirelessly.
Often created from the souls of demons or other evil creatures, Scarecrows retain their dark essence even after the binding process is complete. Though these creatures have lost their memories, they retain a thirst for chaos and destruction.
In fact, the Scarecrow will often find enjoyment in its role as an agent of terror, wreaking havoc upon the innocent in the name of its creator.
The Scarecrow’s haunted gaze can leave its enemies immobilized. Anyone who sees the Terrifying Glare of a Scarecrow must make a Wisdom Saving Throw, becoming temporarily paralyzed on a failed save.
How Should Players Fight Scarecrows?
Players who find themselves fighting a group of Scarecrows should be cautious. With their Terrifying Glare ability, Scarecrows can frighten nearby players, leaving them vulnerable to razor-sharp claw attacks. Each Scarecrow gets two of these per round.
Characters with ranged attacks will have an easier time against the Scarecrow, granted those attacks are magical.
Any player who doesn’t want to end up paralyzed should keep his or her distance from the Scarecrow, as it can’t use its Terrifying Glare ability beyond a range of 30 feet.
The Scarecrow attacks twice with its claws. A successful attack has a chance to frighten players. To make matters worse, Scarecrows are resistant to damage from ordinary weapons.
Players without magic weapons will have a difficult time vanquishing this vicious monster.
Scarecrows are also immune to poison, so Rogues are advised to save their poisoned blades for another fight. The Scarecrow’s weakness is fire. Because they have a vulnerability to fire, damage of this type will be doubled against the Scarecrow.
Scarecrow Tactics for DMs
With a CR rating of 1, Scarecrows are great for low-level campaigns. In greater numbers, Scarecrows will be especially dangerous. If several Scarecrows use their Terrifying Glare ability in the same round, chances are at least one attack will land, stopping a player in his or her tracks.
What’s worse, Scarecrows are resistant to nonmagical attacks and are immune to being charmed, frightened, exhausted, paralyzed, poisoned, or unconscious. If players lack magical weapons or spells of their own, a Scarecrow ambush could prove fatal.
DMs planning to run the Scarecrow should consider the abilities of the players in the game.
Do the players have a way of dealing fire damage? Do any of the players have magic weapons or abilities that temporarily transform normal weapons into magic ones, such as the Paladin’s Magic Weapon spell?
The answer to these questions will determine how difficult the encounter with the Scarecrows will be. If the players are a formidable group, the DM can add more Scarecrows, or consider mixing in other creatures. Adding a Shadow or two could make things interesting.
It might also be a good idea to offer players a way of dealing damage to the Scarecrow. Access to a Scroll of Burning Hands will give the players just the edge they need to defeat a Scarecrow ambush.
Roleplaying Scarecrow NPCs
Some famous characters come to mind when thinking about Scarecrows. Whether as foes or as allies, these monsters can add mood and excitement to a DnD game, especially if the adventure or campaign is set during the harvest season.
In certain areas, players are likely to find Scarecrows a common part of the scenery. This can create a sense of tension as the party will never know whether a Scarecrow is an enemy or not.
Most Scarecrows the players will meet are likely to be the malevolent servants of evildoers. Occasionally, however, players may run across a benevolent Scarecrow. Natural Scarecrows, for example, come to life through unknown means, seemingly finding consciousness of their own volition.
These Scarecrows are likely to be curious and friendly, and perhaps even a little frightened themselves.
As constructs made from demons’ souls, Scarecrows are especially frightful creatures.
Because of the Scarecrow’s resistances, it can prove a surprisingly dangerous enemy. Scarecrows are perfect to use in harvest-themed campaigns where they haunt the twilight hours eager to ambush unsuspecting adventurers.
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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].