When you play a TRPG, you can stick to the rules and follow the content that was made for the game. You can also make your own games at home. These are campaigns and adventures that you can make yourself.
You don’t have to just make quests; you can also make NPCs, weapons, classes, magical items, spells, and even scary monsters to fit your campaign. You can even change the story of a module or campaign that has already been made.
I have run a few homebrew campaigns over the years, but most of my experience comes from making changes to existing campaigns and hardcovers and adding my own monsters and items to them.
Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, it’s fun to see what people come up with and figure out how to use it in my campaign.
Then I found a well-made monster with a scary theme: a False Hydra. Check out this False Hydra 5e guide to learn how to use this scary creature in any D&D campaign.
What is a False Hydra?
This monster made by a fan has become popular in a number of communities and online forums. Yes, the fact that a homebrew monster shows up in many D&D Tiktoks and Youtube channels may confuse some people.
This means that it is not an official Wizards of the Coast monster. Instead, it was made by Goblin Punch.
It is a scary-looking monster that makes you feel paranoid. It doesn’t really exist, but it creeps around in the back of your mind. This monster can get out of your mind and move around as if it were not there.
Imagine going into a town where all the houses are empty. When you meet a few people who still live here, they’ll tell you that it’s normal for the animals to freak out. Have you ever fallen for no reason?
Or maybe you thought you ran into someone but there was no one there? That someone was nearby or had just passed you? This shows that the thing that hides in your memories is not a ghost but a very big monster.
Going forward, I will use the stat block made by Skullsplitter Dice, but I will also add my own tweaks and ideas about how you should run the False Hydra.
All of this is Homebrew, and since the original creator did not make stats for this creature, he has left it up to us, the community, to do with it what we want.
Because of how the False Hydra acts and is seen, it is impossible to record anything about it. It has never been seen, and most people who do see it die soon after.
But it is thought to have a pale, fleshy body, several bald heads with huge mouths, and black eyes that don’t move.
It has long hands that look like human hands and necks that look like snakes. However, in some pictures, it has no hands and a snake-like body.
It is a pale white creature that only changes colour when it eats someone and is covered in blood. It is a large creature that is about 10 feet by 10 feet and has a number of heads that grows over time.
As it gets older, it gets more noticeable and grows more heads. It’s said that it keeps growing and could become huge or even gargantuan if nothing stops it.
With a few signs, you can tell if a False Hydra is nearby. They usually live under cities and towns because people are their main food source.
A False Hydra is likely close by if there are a lot of strange things going on in a village and people are going missing.
They like to stay underground, hide in dark places, and wait for their prey to come to them. If the town has a large sewer system or underground area, one of these creatures could be living there.
When it’s young, a False Hydra eats worms, rats, and other tiny creatures. But as it grows, so does its appetite, so it grows its hunting grounds to match.
Let’s say that a small town doesn’t remember when it had more people living there. If people you thought were there disappeared without a trace, it would be harder to find them.
For instance, if a family member or the innkeeper disappears out of the blue, no one thinks it’s strange. As if the person never existed in the first place.
In simpler terms, a False Hydra could live in large ghost towns or cities that are only half full. The fact that no one knows for sure if one lives there makes it hard to tell.
Scholars would say there is no such thing as a False Hydra, while other people would say it was a ghost.
Even if it isn’t there, some criminals and deserters might use it as an excuse for what they are doing.
This creature is hard to see because of its “Blind Song,” a powerful ability that didn’t have a stat at first. One way I’ve found to look at it is as a passive ability that forces each creature to make a DC15 Wisdom saving throw at the start of its turn.
If the creature fails, it doesn’t remember that the Hydra is there. If more than one head is singing at the same time, the roll of creatures that can hear the song goes down by 1d4.
This skill really shines when you realise that the original version of this song was meant to go for a few miles, and it could go far beyond the town and village edges and start a series of rolls right away.
The problem is that a normal person might not even hear the creature sing because the DC is made to be hard for normal people to pass.
On top of that, this song can come back to life like a Hydra. Even though they don’t always heal right away, their heads can grow back. Unlike a normal Hydra, they don’t have a weakness to fire and don’t grow two heads from one.
So, since this is a creature you made yourself, you can give it any attacks you want. I found it in a stats block that said it had one bite and one claw attack every turn.
The site has a +5 chance to hit and does 1d10+3 Piercing Damage. The claw attack also has a +5 chance to hit, but it does 1d8+3 slashing damage and has a chance of grappling.
Its skills make it unique, so in exchange for its powerful song, its attacks are pretty simple.
The things that make this creature stand out are its Constitution and Charisma. So it’s a given that they have a lot of health and a hard save roll. It is also stronger than average, making sure that the animals it grabs will stay in its grip.
Even though its attacks are better than average, its biggest strength is the song it keeps singing until you stop it or destroy its heads.
The False Hydra is much easier to hit than a normal Hydra. Even though they aren’t easy, their AC isn’t great for a mid-level party.
They don’t do much damage, and most of it comes from attacking a creature when it is alone and unaware.
It has low Intelligence and Wisdom modifiers and an average Dexterity modifier, so it would be a good idea to attack it with spells and try to disable it.
It can’t attack from a distance. But anyone can hear its song from far away. One way to avoid the song is to make yourself deaf, but this makes it hard to talk to other people. It can’t run away because it usually fights underground, but if you get far enough away, it can only follow you.
As has been said, it’s neither the smartest nor the brightest. This animal could be caught in a trap, even a simple one like a pitfall or caltrops.
Its low mental stats make it a good target for spells that weaken it, like Silence, Dominate Monster, and similar spells. Don’t try to charm the creature, or you might get charmed yourself.
What Made it Popular
This was made in 2014, but at first it didn’t get much attention. However, it quickly got noticed by different forums and communities that were looking for a new homebrew monster that could be used in horror-themed campaigns.
When you combine that with the rise of D&D Tiktok videos and the fact that different D&D YouTubers have brought attention to it from 2020 until now, you get a great monster with a lot of uses.
Even though it didn’t have any stats at first, there were a lot of notes about the False Hydra on the Goblin Punch page.
From then on, this creature started to scare players and DMs all over the world, even though no one could describe what it looked like.
As its fame grew, more and more game masters tried to add this creature to their games. Players talked about this creature because they made stat blocks and abilities for their own creatures.
From there, the cycle kept going: DMs saw it and ran it, and then players got together to talk about it.
How to Use it
Since there were no stats for this creature in the source material, how would it be used in a game?
You could talk about rumours or people who went missing in a nearby town. Maybe someone told them to find their brother in another city, but when they got there, it was empty.
If you choose for it to be a rumour, you should know that this creature grows in all ways as it eats. Getting smarter, bigger, and stronger as time goes on will only help it reach its perfect form.
You could also leave it as a rumour and let it live in the darkest parts of their minds. If they play in an evil campaign, they might want to make it happen.
If it is a quest, they may have to figure out why some villagers or townspeople have disappeared. On the other hand, no matter how many people come to this place to hide, it never seems to be full. The False Hydra could have been a pet whose owner thought it was easy to control until it got away.
Use it to make your players scared and move, since this growing monster only gets stronger as the campaign goes on.
How I Would Make it
Let’s talk about this monster’s main stats, the abilities I would give it, and why I chose them. If you think this block of stats could use some changes, go ahead and make them. After all, it was made at home.
I thought 15 was a good number for the Armor class. It’s not too high that a mid-level party would have trouble hitting it, but it’s high enough that a class that isn’t good at attacking would have a harder time.
HP, I chose 120 as a starting point and added 100 for each extra head it has. This is meant to show how it has grown and how big it is.
It moves slowly, with a base speed of 25 feet and a burrow speed of 10 feet. You can easily outrun this creature as long as it doesn’t charm you.
I gave it 16 points in Strength, 12 points in Dexterity, 16 points in Constitution, 10 points in Intelligence, 8 points in Wisdom, and 20 points in Charisma.
Even though most of its stats are standard, I put more emphasis on its Charisma because of its Blind song. It is stronger physically than the average person, but its mind is weaker and scarier.
I gave it proficiency in Strength, Charisma, Deception, and Persuasion saving throws. Older False Hydras have been known to be able to talk to their victims and get them to do what they want. Whether this is a magical effect or just how they are, I went with the more natural explanation.
It is immune to being charmed, stunned, and out of consciousness. I would say that because it has more than one head, even if you gave one of them one of these statuses, the others could help it get out of it.
As for its skills, it has the Multiple Heads skill that is typical of hydras, as well as the Reactive Heads, Wakeful, and Blind Song skills.
I wanted its abilities to be more like those of a normal Hydra, and I suggest giving it at least two heads when it fights the party.
The blind song is an ability instead of an action, which is more in line with the story, and it poses a unique threat to the players. I would say that if the Hydra uses the bite action, they would use that head and take it out of the total.
I gave it a generic bite attack and a claw attack that can grab enemies if it hits them. It makes sense, since the creature knows its prey can run faster than it can.