Last Updated on January 22, 2023
A “weird” is an old-timey name for something similar to an oracle or the spirit of a place. Often, they were prophetic creatures or guardians of a location.
They even lived in Shakespeare. The three “weird” sisters at the beginning of Macbeth? They weren’t just witches. They were evil guardians of dark energies. The Three-in-One, Mother-Maiden-Crone of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is another example. Also, the Oracle from Stephen King’s Gunslinger and the genius loci named Alfred of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files are weirds.
The Water Weird of Dungeons and Dragons 5e takes this theme and places this creature directly in a body of water. This manifestation of the Weird does not have prophetic or oracular abilities, but it does maintain its nature as a guardian spirit.
What Is a Water Weird in DnD 5e?
A Water Weird is a Large, CR 3 elemental creature that is bound to a specific body of water and will violently defend that location if necessary.
A Player’s Guide to Water Weirds
In this part of the post, we will get into the details of the stat block and explain what the strengths and weaknesses of the Water Weird are. From there, we will deduce what its typical tactics will be and then follow up with how you should counter those tactics.
Large Elemental, Neutral
- Armor Class: 13
- Hit Points: 58 (9d10 + 9)
- Speed: 0 ft., swim 60 ft.
- STR 17 (+3), DEX 16 (+3), CON 13 (+1), INT 11 (+0), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 10 (+0)
- Damage Resistances: Fire; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
- Damage Immunities: Poison
- Condition Immunities: Exhaustion, Grappled, Paralyzed, Poisoned, Prone, Restrained, Unconscious
- Senses: Blindsight 30 ft., Passive Perception 10
- Languages: Aquan — understands but doesn’t speak
- Challenge: 3 (700 XP)
- Proficiency Bonus: +2
Invisible in Water. The water weird is invisible while fully immersed in water.
Water Bound. The water weird dies if it leaves the water to which it is bound or if that water is destroyed.
Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (3d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage. If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 13) and pulled 5 feet toward the water weird. Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, the water weird tries to drown it, and the water weird can’t constrict another target.
This Water Weird prefers melee combat. We can tell from the very start of its stat block. As a Large Creature with a 17 strength and a swim speed of 60 feet, this monster will charge you and attack before you can say “Whaaa…?”
It is resistant to fire and to nonmagical attacks, and like all elementals, it is immune to a host of conditions that rely on a discernible anatomy with vital organs.
Since it has blindsight out to 30 feet, you won’t really be able to sneak up on it, and since its first ability is called Invisible in Water, chances are it will sneak up on you.
The Water in Weird is bound to a specific body of water, which means it will not chase you if you run away or somehow evaporate or drain the water in which it lives. Its main attack is a constricting attack that it will use to try to drown you. See below.
A Water Weird’s Tactics
The Water Weird thinks like an alligator. It asks itself, “Is the creature smaller than me, and does it need to breathe air?”
If the answer is yes on both accounts, then it will only do one thing. It will attack you with a watery tentacle and then get beneath the water where it will pull you down 5 feet at a time.
If the Water Weird is outnumbered, it will most likely attempt to grapple the person at the back of the line from a stealth position and pull them under so they can not cry out.
If this happens, the rest of the party will probably need to make perception checks in order to realize you are gone in the first place. By then, if you haven’t escaped or made some noise, then you will be well on your way to Drown Town.
Drowning Is Suffocating in Water
These are the rules for suffocation:
A creature can hold its breath for a number of minutes equal to 1 + its Constitution modifier (minimum of 30 seconds).
When a creature runs out of breath or is choking, it can survive for a number of rounds equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 round). At the start of its next turn, it drops to 0 hit points and is dying, and it can’t regain hit points or be stabilized until it can breathe again.
For example, a creature with a Constitution of 14 can hold its breath for 3 minutes. If it starts suffocating, it has two rounds to reach air before it drops to 0 hit points.
The first thing you should do if attacked by a Water Weird is be a lizardfolk, sea elf, merfolk, warforged, or water genasi, since they can breathe underwater or don’t need to breathe at all. If you elected not to be one of these races, you should really consider your life choices until it is your turn.
When your turn does come around, your first objective is to break the grapple it has on you. Either make the escape check vs. DC 13 or cast a spell such as thunderwave if you can do so without verbal components (you’re underwater, remember?).
If you are a spell caster (and therefore unlikely to escape the grapple) but cannot cast thunderwave, scroll through your spells known and see if you can cast minor illusion or any other communication-based spell to notify your party that you have been taken.
If that is not possible, consider casting any spell you can without a verbal component. Someone ought to notice something. Thunderstep is a good one.
If someone in your party has been dragged under, remember that you can not shoot the Water Weird with normal weapons or with fire spells. Instead, try to hit it with force damage or by swimming down there and attacking it.
Alternatively, you can swim down there and use the Aid Another action to help your friend escape. However, do not engage in underwater combat with a Water Weird unless you are confident you can consistently beat a DC 13 escape check.
Really, there is no clean way to beat this thing cleanly (that’s what makes underwater combat so difficult. In the end, you’ll need to either get wet or simply escape the body of water in which it lives.
Alright my fellow torturers, let’s talk about how to take this unique monster and make a truly harrowing encounter.
The most common place to use the Water Weird is in an underground cave system. This is great because it forces the characters to get outside of their comfort zone and deal with things like lack of light and water.
There is nothing better than watching your highly urbanized paladin/party leader realize they are blind and can’t swim in armor. Suddenly the rogue or the warlock they’ve been pestering all game is going to get a chance to play the mouse to this captured lion.
But rather than just ambushing them with the threat of drowning (although, don’t get me wrong — that is a GREAT thing to do), you could put the Water Weird in a different situation.
Consider that the Water Weird has average Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. It is just as capable of reason as any PC, probably more so in some cases. What if the Water Weird were the guardian of an underwater tunnel?
It could very well have the advantage over a high-level PC in the right environment despite its meek CR. What if the Water Weird rose up before the PCs entered the water and gestured to a puzzle or a game board on a cavern wall?
A good puzzle for this situation could be a phrase written in Aquan, the only language the Water Weird knows. If there are no characters who speak that language, perhaps an Intelligence check could help one of them sound it out and thus speak the password.
If the PCs solve the puzzle, the Water Weird will not only let them pass, but maybe it will help them through. Perhaps even the speed boost given to them by the Water Weird will be the only way they can swim fast enough to avoid drowning!
The Monster Manual implies that a Water Weird can be summoned.
Who would summon such an elemental? Obviously, a hydrophilic spellcaster would do just that if able.
But what if the Water Weird was summoned long ago by a religious ritual of a people who are no longer around, but the Water Weird is still living in their sacred well? Instead of fighting the Water Weird, perhaps the PCs could explain that it has served its purpose and it can now return the elemental plane it calls home.
Other monsters that could coexist with Water Weirds would be kuo-toa, sahuagin, aboleths, water-loving dragons, sea elves, merfolk, and any other soggy civilization. Being elementals, they are neither good nor evil, but being intelligent, they will take on characteristics of their neighbors.
This is a campaign idea that features Water Weirds in multiple situations. If you like this monster, consider how this storyline turns them into a calling card.
There is a Warlock of the Fathomless. If you haven’t checked them out yet in Tasha’s Cauldron, make sure you do so after you read this post.
This Warlock could be a respected member of the community trying to start a panic for political reasons, or he could simply be an itinerant madman. Your call. What matters here is how his class abilities align with his use of the Water Weird.
In the PCs first encounter, have the Warlock escape from the PCs by running down an alley he prepared ahead of time filled with horse troughs or simply big buckets of water. As he runs, he summons Water Weirds to cover his escape.
During the PCs downtime, casually mention the PCs could go to a bathhouse and clean up. If any of them say, “Sure, why not?” pull them into an instant random encounter. Turn their bath time into an opportunity to summon a number of Water Weirds that travel through the pipes or the aqueduct system to erupt out of every sink, toilet, and bath in order to attack the PCs when they are without armor and weapons.
In the final encounter, have the PCs be trapped in the sewers on a bridge over a large vat of water, deep enough for all of them to drown in. The Warlock is on one end of the bridge, and the PCs keep getting attacked from the sides by Water Weirds.
Make a truly staggering amount of Water Weirds manifest — enough for them to put their character sheets down and say, “What are you doing? There is no way.”
But there is a way! Because you are a prepared DM who reads Black Citadel and never does the obvious thing!
At the bottom of the vat of water is a drain. In order to defeat this encounter, the PCs have to open the drain at the bottom of the vat. Any time a PC is dragged underwater, give them a perception check to notice the drain or possibly even an Intelligence check to remember the existence of the drain (but only if they managed to see blueprints beforehand).
If it helps, feel free to take this magic item and use it to explain how the Warlock was able to manifest so many Water Weirds.
Very Rare, Wondrous
This dark blue gem contains within it a germ of a Water Weird. When thrown into any body of water of at least 3 cubic feet, it will manifest a Water Weird that will attack all creatures, including the summoner, for one minute.
If the body of water is too small to drag a creature completely under using its constrict ability, the Water Weird will simply attempt to drag the creature’s head into whatever body of water it resides in.
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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.