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Book of Beasts – Ninki Nanka

Book of Beasts – Ninki Nanka

Something moves in the mist. The muddy water stirs and ripples, rocking an intruder’s canoe. As the adventurer fumbles for a mirror, a reptilian monster emerges. Its horned head towers above, dripping water onto the boat from its gleaming scales. The mouth yawns wide, and fire glows in its cavernous throat.

River Monster

The Ninki Nanka is a huge, reptilian river monster that brings death in its wake. It has three horns, a long neck, a horse-like face, and a body with shiny, reflective scales. It can also breathe fire.

A Deadly Sighting

Merely seeing the mysterious Ninki Nanka is a death sentence. Those who have been unfortunate enough to spot the monster will die within a few weeks by disease, injury, or other means. This makes the monster an omen of imminent death, sparking fear in those who hear mention of its name. While it is possible to fight a Ninki Nanka, and even defeat one, killing the creature does not negate the deadly effects of having seen it.

Protection with Potions

A victim who has fallen ill from seeing the creature can avoid the deadly effects of the encounter by drinking the right herbal potion. This potion consists of honey, ginger, and lemongrass leaves steeped in hot water and cast with a spell of healing.

Protection with Mirrors

The only thing the Ninki Nanka fears is its own reflection. The monster can be chased off by showing it a mirror. Gazing at an image of itself will cause the Ninki Nanka’s scales to heat and burn against its body, leading to a painful death.

Designer Notes:

The Ninki Nanka is a creature of West African folklore, especially Gambia. Stories of the creature serve as warnings for rebellious children. It is said that if children disobey their parents and go into the swamps, they will be taken by the elusive monster and never seen again.

There are many stories of Ninki Nanka sightings, and there was even a 2006 expedition to investigate these claims. However, because Ninki Nanka encounters are often blamed on people’s deaths, it is difficult to hunt down firsthand experiences. Many who allegedly see the monster do not live long to tell the tale. That being said, descriptions of the creature vary, some likening it to a crocodile, a dinosaur, and a dragon.

Ninki Nanka

Huge dragon, chaotic evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)

Hit Points 105 (10d12 + 40)

Speed 30 ft., swim 50 ft.

STR     DEX      CON     INT       WIS      CHA

21 (+5)    9(-1)  18(+4)  6(-2)  10(+0)   7(-2)

Skills Perception + 3, Stealth +5

Damage Resistances Fire

Damage Immunity Poison

Condition Immunity Poisoned

Senses Passive Perception 13

Languages Draconic

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)                     Proficiency Bonus +3


The Ninki Nanka can breathe air and water.

Accursed Appearance

Any creature that starts its turn within 30 feet of the Ninki Nanka and can see it must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw against disease or become poisoned until the disease is cured. Every 24 hours that elapse, the target must repeat the saving throw, reducing its hit point maximum by 5 (1d10) on a failure. The disease is cured on a success. The target dies if the disease reduces its hit point maximum to 0. This reduction to the target’s hit point maximum lasts until the disease is cured.

A creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can’t see the Ninki Nanka until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the Ninki Nanka in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

If the Ninki Nanka sees its own reflection within 30 feet of it in bright light, it suffers its own curse. Rather than becoming poisoned and taking damage once every 24 hours, however, the scales of the cursed Ninki Nanka become superheated, inflicting 11 (2d6) fire damage at the end of each of its turns on the Ninki Nanka and any other creature in contact with it. The Ninki Nanka’s fire resistance applies to this damage. This damage only ends when the Ninki Nanka’s hit points reach 0.


Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage.

Fire Breath (Recharge 5-6). The Ninki Nanka exhales fire in a 40-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 35 (10d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


Creative Director: Kevin Andrew Murphy

Lore: Brianna da Silva


Statblock: Eugene Marshall


Ink: Bien Flores


Colors: Carly Sorge


Sensitivity Editor: Pamela Punzalan


Art Director: Aaron Acevedo


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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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