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Book of Beasts: Bakunawa

Book of Beasts: Bakunawa

The Bakunawa is a great sea dragon that hungers for the moon. Her mouth yawns the size of a lake, with a tongue red like blood and massive sharp teeth. With the help of her wings she can leap from the sea to the heights of the heavens.

Goddess of the Underworld

Bakunawa is the goddess and guardian of the underworld, cursed to stay in her dragon form as punishment for devouring the six additional moons that once shone in the sky. She makes her home in caverns at the bottom of the sea, and ever waits for the opportunity to swallow the last moon and cast the night into utter darkness.

Sea Dragon

Bakunawa can be a problem for ships at sea. Her movements sometimes cause great waves that can capsize ships. She also has the capacity to swallow entire ships whole. The more beautiful the ship, the more she will be drawn to devour it.

The Bakunawa is a great sea dragon that hungers for the moon.

A Love of Beauty

Bakunawa adores beautiful, glowing things. She can thus be distracted and redirected from her prey. Ships sailing at night must be careful to sail darkly, with little to no torchlight, lest they attract Bakunawa’s interest. Sea battles that turn ships and floating debris ablaze also run the risk of drawing Bakunawa to the surface.

Covetous and Self-Righteous

Bakunawa is an envious and vindictive goddess. She grows resentful of those who possess beautiful things, and will take whatever she can. Also, once wronged, she will enact destruction and revenge upon those who deserve it.

Designer Notes:

The Bakunawa is a dragon of Philippine mythology. Different variations of the Bakunawa myth can be found among the many ethnic groups of the Philippines. Some modern attempts have been made to combine various stories and pantheons into simpler, more unified narratives, which our take on the Bakunawa does to a certain extent.

One such retelling recounts how there once were seven moons in the sky, but Bakunawa ate them one by one, until only a single moon remained. When the creator god, Bathala, realized what Bakunawa was doing, he angrily forbade Bakunawa from touching the last moon. Lunar eclipses in ancient times were seen as Bakunawa’s disobedient attempts to swallow the moon once and for all.


Gargantuan dragon (diwata), chaotic evil

Armor Class 19 (natural armor)

Hit Points 402 (23d20 + 161)

Speed 40 ft., fly 120 ft., swim 80 ft.

STR 29 (+9)

DEX 14 (+2)

CON 24 (+7)

INT 17 (+3)

WIS 15 (+2)

CHA 20 (+5)

Saving Throws Dex +9, Con +14, Int +10, Cha +12

Skills Athletics +16, Deception + 12, Intimidation +12, Perception +9

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Damage Resistances radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from weapons that aren’t magical

Damage Vulnerabilities thunder

Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19

Languages Common, Abyssal, Aquan

Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)

Astral Amphibian. Bakunawa can breathe in air, water, and within the astral space where the moons reside.

Devour Magic. As a reaction, Bakunawa can attempt to interrupt the process of casting a spell and devour its magics. The caster must make a DC 20 Charisma saving throw. On a failure, the caster’s spell fails and has no effect, and Bakunawa gains temporary hit points equal to 3 times the spell’s level.

Legendary Resistance (3/day). If Bakunawa fails a saving throw, she can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Resistance. Bakunawa has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Siege Monster. Bakunawa deals double damage to objects and structures.


Lake-sized Maw. Bakunawa makes one bite attack against each creature within a 20-foot radius sphere, centered on a chosen point within her bite attack’s reach.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d8 + 9) piercing damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 22). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained. Bakunawa can grapple any number of targets within her maw.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 35 (4d12 + 9) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 22). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and Bakunawa can’t constrict another target.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 23 (4d6 + 9) bludgeoning damage, and the target must make a DC 24 Strength saving throw. On a failure, Bakunawa flings the target up to 60 feet in a random direction and is knocked prone.

If a thrown target strikes a solid surface, the target takes an extra 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown. If the target is thrown at another creature, that creature must succeed on a DC 24 Dexterity saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone.

Titanic Gulp. Bakunawa swallows all creatures and objects grappled by her. A swallowed creature is no longer grappled, and is instead blinded and restrained. It has total cover against attacks and other effects outside Bakunawa, and it takes 42 (12d6) acid damage at the start of each of Bakunawa’s turns.

If Bakunawa takes 50 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, she must succeed on a DC 25 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of her. If Bakunawa dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by her and can escape from the corpse using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone.

Legendary Actions

Bakunawa can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Bakunawa regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.

Drag the Moon (costs 2 actions). Bakunawa moves up to half her speed, dragging all grappled creatures and objects with her regardless of size. She can make one constrict attack at any point during this movement.

Regurgitate Magic (costs 3 actions). Bakunawa innately casts a spell that she has devoured this round, requiring no material, somatic, or verbal components. Her innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 20, +12 to hit with spell attacks).

Tail Attack. Bakunawa makes one tail attack.


Creative Director: Kevin Andrew Murphy

Lore: Brianna da Silva


Statblock: BJ Recio


Ink: Bien Flores


Colors: Carly Sorge


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As a devout reader of fantasy novels, Brianna has always felt the call to put pen to paper and will be embarking on her greatest adventure yet — releasing her debut novel, City of Reckoning in 2021. When she’s not writing, she can be found behind the camera directing films or behind the computer screen working on multimedia design projects. Brianna’s path has led her to contribute digital illustrations to SBA.gov and motion graphics for a multitude of nonprofits, and freelancing while traveling the world. Follow along to see what’s next on her journey at briannadasilva.blog.

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