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Book of Beasts: The Adarna


The Adarna is a fey creature that bears an affinity to the most beautiful of avian shapes. Capable of shifting from songbird to raptor, it can always be recognized by its striking plumage of many colors, looking like a rainbow in flight. A thoroughly tropical creature, the adarna enjoys the balmy days and cool nights of mountainous jungles, dining on the native fauna and flora depending on its given shape that day. Ameliorating Avian Fairy Chanteuse.  Reclusive, it hides itself from mortals who desire to capture it for its feathers and potent songs of healing. The songs of an adarna are known to cure any disease and free listeners from their ailments, making it a being that is frequently sought and hunted for by those with enough wealth and power to commission such misadventures. Fortunately, the adarna also has a wide arsenal of magic at its disposal to defend itself. Though normally gentle, it punishes would-be captors by lulling them into an enchanted slumber, then petrifying them for good measure. Hunters who manage to resist such effects and continue their attempted predation must be prepared to meet the full fury of a fey being skilled in the arts of healing – with the warning that those who heal also know how best to break.

Sensitive to Selflessness. The appeal of the adarna lies in its ability to heal any ailment. Grievous wounds and injuries are erased in the wake of an adarna singing in full voice. The creature however, is a fickle and temperamental performer; like any true diva, it will not sing for just anyone. When an adarna is spotted, supplicants are advised to send their most selfless and appreciative proxies to ask the adarna for its aid; their own needs preclude approaching it. Flattery is meaningless to the bird; gifted with preternatural insight, it knows the intentions of those that approach it. Any being who approaches the adarna with even an iota of self-interest is thoroughly rebuffed. Furthermore, the adarna despises any who believes it is something to be possessed. Should the proxy’s character prove acceptable, the adarna may willingly accompany them to sing the supplicant to health.  

Dropping Derision. If an adarna detects avarice from a proxy, it may sing anyway – probably the last thing they will ever hear. A potent soporific, this song from the adarna’s repertoire lulls even the halest warriors into an unwakeable slumber. When its targets are thoroughly doused in its magic, the adarna flies above them and expels its droppings in derision. These droppings carry another magic – a transmutation that renders the adarna’s violators to stone. Because of this, an adarna’s nesting area soon resembles an amphitheatre of statues in repose. An adarna who lives in its preferred terrain long enough dots the landscape with copseslittered with statues. Those unfamiliar with the adarna might think a sculptor of random genius has made residence in the area.  

Bird of Glorious Forms. Hunters that manage to resist the adarna’s song of sleep have two choices: to leave or menace the bird further. Those that depart are ignored; the adarna seldom feels the need to punish those who show late good sense. A being that decides to press its agenda however, deserves no mercy. An adarna that engages in combat is a terror to behold. It begins combat by shifting into a raptor of the largest size native to the area. Given its natural habitat, it is not uncommon for the adarna to shift into an eagle that boasts wingspans of 7 or greater feet. As it shifts, the adarna’s plumage turns resplendent with its fury. Scintillating and brilliant, the bird causes the eyes of those who look at it to water and close. To press its advantage, the adarna enters battle with a song of awe, filling its opponents with fear and shame for daring to possess such a glorious creature.  

Strategic for Freedom. The adarna does not hesitate to reveal its spite for those who would hunt it. Though a healer, it is also a creature efficient in its violence. It strikes at throats, eyes and other sensitive organs to end combat as early as possible, preferring to incapacitate and leave opponents with permanent reminders of what happens when trying to hunt an adarna. If thoroughly pressed, the adarna does not hesitate to retreat and heal itself to fight another day, considering its continued freedom as the final objective of any battle.  

Dangerous Captive. Despite their magic and ferocity, adarna have been captured before, often by duplicity and subterfuge. Soft-hearted adventurers who volunteer as proxies are sometimes horrified to learn later that they served as adarna bait for their treacherous supplicants. A captive adarna can be compelled to sing for its captors but the keeping of an adarna is oft seen as folly by wiser beings. A captive adarna broods and plots its freedom in its cage, ready to strike and flee when given an opportunity.


Medium fey (shapechanger), chaotic good

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 127 (17d8 + 51)

Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft.

STR     DEX      CON     INT       WIS      CHA

15(+2)  18(+4)  16(+3)  11(+1)  18(+4)  13(+1)

Skills Insight +10, Perception +7

Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks

Condition Immunities  Charmed, Frightened, Petrified

Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 17

Languages Common, Sylvan

Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)                  

Proficiency Bonus +3  

Innate Spellcasting. The adarna’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 15). It can innately cast the following spells, using song as the verbal component and requiring no material components:

At will: healing word, inflict wounds, sleep 3/day each: fear, lesser restoration, prayer of healing 1/day each: greater restoration, mass cure wounds

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

Petrifying Droppings. As an action while in flight, the adarna can expel droppings toward one creature directly below it. The creature must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be struck by the droppings. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the creature is instantly petrified. Otherwise, a creature that fails the save begins to turn to stone and is restrained. The restrained creature must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end of its next turn, becoming petrified on a failure or ending the effect on a success. The petrification lasts until the creature is freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic.

Shapechanger. The adarna can use its action to polymorph into a Large and colorful bird of prey or back into its true form. Other than its size, its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. The adarna reverts to its true form if it dies.

Scintillating Raptor. While in its Large raptor form, the adarna’s feathers become bright and colorful, emanating patterns of light. When a creature starts its turn within 30 feet of the adarna and is able to see the adarna’s plumage, the creature must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be Blinded until the beginning of its next turn. Unless surprised, 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 adarna until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the adarna in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.  

Actions Multiattack. The adarna makes two attacks: one with its beak and one with its talons.

Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d10 + 2) slashing damage.


Creative Director: Kevin Andrew Murphy

Lore: Mahar Mangahas Mahar AbreraMangahas | RPG Designer | RPGGeek

Statblock: Eugene Marshall https://arcanistpress.com/

Ink: Bien Flores https://www.deviantart.com/bienflores

Colors: Carly Sorge https://cbsorgeartworks.tumblr.com/

Sensitivity Editor: Pamela Punzalan https://www.patreon.com/thedovetailor

Art Director: Aaron Acevedo http://sigil.info/

This creature is from the upcoming Book of Beasts. Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new monster as part of our Monster of the Week series!

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Kevin Andrew Murphy writes short stories, plays, poems, novels, and roleplaying games. A long-standing contributor to Wild Cards (www.wildcardsworld.com), George R.R. Martin’s super-hero series, Kevin’s story for Mississippi Roll, “Find the Lady,” won the 2019 Darrell Award for Best Novella. On the gaming end, Kevin’s currently editor in chief for Savage Sign, the Savage Worlds roleplaying game magazine. Kevin’s next short story is “Anastasia’s Egg” coming out in October in Weird World War III edited by Sean Patrick Hazlett for Baen. A lifelong resident of California’s Bay Area, Kevin has recently relocated to Reno, Nevada.

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