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Gourd Empress


Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 161 (17d10 + 68; bloodied 81)

Speed 50 ft., burrow 30 ft., climb 40 ft.

Proficiency +4; Maneuver DC 16

Saving Throws Str +8, Dex +7, Con +8, Int +8

Skills Deception +9 (+1d4), History +8 (+1d8), Insight +9 (+1d6), Nature +8, Perception +9

Damage Resistances cold; damage from nonmagical weapons

Damage Immunities necrotic, poison, psychic

Senses  darkvision 200 ft., passive Perception 19

Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarvish, Elvish, Squash, Sylvan

Legendary Resistance (2/Day). When the empress fails a saving throw , she can choose to succeed instead. When she does so, leaves wilt off of her body.

Mistress of Despair. Each time the empress deals 16 or more necrotic and psychic damage to a creature it becomes frightened of her. At the start of each of its turns a frightened creature repeats the saving throw , ending the effect on itself on a success.

Regeneration. The empress regains 10 hit points at the beginning of each of her turns as long as she has at least 1 hit point.


Multiattack. The empress attacks twice.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 3 (1d6) necrotic damage and 3 (1d6) psychic damage

Vines. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 2 (1d4) necrotic damage and 2 (1d4) psychic damage. If the target is Large or smaller it is grappled (escape DC 16).


Sap Life (Recharge 6). When the empress hits a creature she is grappling with her slam, she regains hit points equal to half the damage dealt. No mundane plantlife grows in a 5-foot radius around the creature for the next 1d100 years.


Psychic Contortion. Melee Spell Attack: +9 to hit, reach 0 ft., one grappled creature. Hit: 7 (2d6) necrotic damage plus 7 (2d6) psychic damage.


The Gourd Empress can take 2 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. She regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.

Seedling. The empress plants seeds within 20 feet that grow into 3 (1d4 + 1) squashlings which emerge at the start of her next turn.

Vine. The empress attacks with her vine.

Dance of Ruin (Costs 2 Actions). The empress twirls and bounds, moving up to 25 feet without provoking opportunity attacks . At the end of her movement each non-plant creature within 60 feet makes a DC 17 Intelligence saving throw , taking 13 (2d12) necrotic damage and 13 (2d12) psychic damage on a failure, or half damage on a success.

Growth (Costs 2 Actions, 2/Day). The empress tears a piece of herself free and throws it onto a patch of earth or soil within 60 feet. At the start of the next creature’s turn it grows into a gourdling that immediately attacks.

Legends and Lore

With a History, Nature, or Religion check, characters can learn the following:

DC 10 As a wrathful god from ancient times that demands considerable sacrifice, to defy the Gourd Empress is madness.

DC 15 Squashlings are heralds of the Gourd Empress. Though they appear benign and even friendly, they can warp the mind to force people to help them in their often grisly tasks; sometimes they are accompanied by much larger plants that do as they command.

DC 20 The Gourd Empress is not a god, only an extremely dangerous spirit. Once defeated she departs to find new victims next year, but settlements that give in to her dire demands begin a horrible cycle of suffering.


The oldest myths talk of an angry and spiteful giantess that appears during the harvest: the Gourd Empress. Those who pay her great reverence and respect by giving tributes are spared her wrath—any that dare deny her are decimated, their lands left blighted and abandoned by the time her anger is sated.

Bane of the Southwest. Blighted places dot the Hinterlands, the ruins of settlements nearby as abandoned by life as their neglected fields. These are echoes of the Gourd Empress’ fury and feared by all but foolish travelers unversed in the region’s history. Though they may seem vacant, these places are not entirely deserted, for her gourdling servants might still linger there beneath the spoiled soil. People local to the Hinterlands know better than to interact with her underlings, however, as slaying them can bring their mistress’s attention back to a region she’s previously deemed unworthy.

Endless Worship. So far there are no known ways to sate the Gourd Empress’ desire for devotion. At first her minions might make her tribute seem paltry and small, only growing to an abundance by sheer volume in the final days before her arrival as her squashlings persist on ever more—a few scores of harvested vegetables 10 and picked fruits to start. She subsumes these in but a few moments then demands more from the folk of a settlement. Those that refuse watch her capture and devour loved ones (young and old) until she’s witnessed enough suffering, melting away into the wilderness where she disappears with the winter snows. The next year collections of gifts for the Gourd Empress are more aggressive, her lesser minions come accompanied by gourdlings that simply take what is not freely given until at least half of a settlement’s harvest awaits their empress. Any years that follow (if the people nearby are not smart enough to flee) are even harsher, inevitably driving her to new villages to spread despair in.

Spooky Arrival. In the evening of Rivengate (the 28th day of Thynar), the green and purple mist that’s been roiling around the realm at midnight seeps up out of the ground with the setting of the sun. As the witching hour draws nearer, this unnatural miasma gathers at the spot the empress’s underlings have marked for her arrival, forming into magenta leaves that the Gourd Empress emerges from when the moment of the Bleak Gate’s rivening is at hand. Attempting to burn, cut, or remove this growth is impossible, as it is insubstantial like shadows, but this dismays and angers her minions, who in turn reveal those that tried to interfere with her coming. When the moon is at its highest point the Gourd Empress sprouts from the ground with demands for adoration on her lips, fury behind her words, and an insatiable desire to take all she can from the world around her—starting with anyone daring enough to oppose her.


1–2 Squashlings or gourdlings gathering and stockpiling the corpses and bones of slain humanoids.

3–4 Minions of the Gourd Empress building gruesome effigies of their mistress that are part corpse and part plant.

5–6 Gourdlings mashing corpses into ground cover to create a macabre, verdant carpet.


1 Strange and indecipherable patterns of flattened stalks in unharvested fields.

2 Trails of blood that disappear into the wilderness, sometimes replaced by the tracks of very small vined-feet.

3 Leaves falling early after turning a dark and troubling shade of purple.

4 A green and purple mist briefly appears for an hour around midnight


It’s hard to say where the Gourd Empress will put down her horrid roots next, but she has been known to appear in forests, grasslands, hills, jungles, mountains, ruins, and swamps

CR 0–2 squashling ; 2 squashlings

Treasure coins totaling 100 gp or gallow hand

CR 3–4 3 squashlings ; gourdling ; squashling and gourdling

Treasure coins totaling 160 gp and dust of sneezing and choking

CR 5–10 2 squashlings and gourdling ; 2 gourdlings ; 4 squashlings and gourdling ; 2 squashlings and 2 ourdlings ; 3 gourdlings ; 4 squashlings and 2 gourdlings

Treasure coins totaling 250 gp, pumpkin bomb

CR 11–16 Gourd Empress or 5 squashlings and 2 gourdlings ; Gourd Empress and squashling or 4 gourdlings ; Gourd Empress and gourdling ; Gourd Empress , 2 squashlings , and gourdling

Treasure coins totaling 1,080 gp, 4 amber (worth 100 gp each), death’s essence pendant , pearl of power , potion of growth , skull liqueur

CR 17–22 Gourd Empress and 2 gourdlings ; Gourd Empress , 3 squashlings , and 2 gourdlings ; Gourd Empress , 2 squashlings , and 3 gourdlings

Treasure e coins totaling 2,000 gp, 3 sapphires (worth 1,000 gold each), +3 hide, necklace of prayer beads

Monster Type Description

Plant creatures are magical fungoid or plant-like creatures. Ordinary plants, such as trees, are not plant creatures. A treant is an intelligent plant creature that resembles a tree.