Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Grognard's Grimore: Ulthai

Ulthai (Gloom Kraken) (Old School Essentials)

An ulthai by Jason Sholtis

An ulthai is a frightening, cephalopod with eight 12-foot arms covered in barbs. Originally native to the deep caves beneath the Enu Esari Highlands of central Elagal, these creatures have since become a widespread menace. Paranoid sorcerers bind ulthai to guard treasures in subterranean lakes and other bodies of water by means of a ritual first set down in the Had Anura. If an ulthai loses half or more of its arms, it will flee beneath the water, attacking again only if it is pursued or to defend any treasure it has been bound to guard.

AC 2 [17], HD 10 (44hp), Att 8 × arms (1d8 + constriction) or bite (1d10), THAC0 11 [+8], MV 90' (30'), SV D6 W7 P8 B8 S10, ML 10, AL Matter, XP 900, NA 1 (1), TT None (see above) 

  • Constriction: Arms grab and constrict after a hit. Each constricting arm inflicts: 1d8 automatic damage per round, plus a –1 penalty to attacks.
  • Severing Arms: Requires a hit with a cutting weapon inflicting 8 or more damage.  
  • Vulnerability to Magical Light: Light deals 2d6 damage if cast upon an ulthai, while continual light deals 4d6 damage. A successful saving throw versus spells indicates half damage.


  1. I don't know if it is intended, but this does remind me of the lake creature at the entrance to Moria in The Fellowship of the Ring. Placed there by dark powers not to guard treasure but to guard the entrance.

    1. It's not specifically intended but I no doubt drew on that and similar monsters in coming up with it.

  2. hmmm you should add "-1 Cumulative to dex saving throws for each arm that successfully hits" to really crank this up.

    1. The thing's pretty big. Getting more than one tentacle wrapped around a human-sized target (much less a halfling or gnome) seems a bit implausible.

      Could probably use a note about re-growing lost tentacles outside of combat over the course of several hours or days so the party can't count on the thing still being at half strength if they have a rematch after driving it off the first time.