5e Homebrew Monster Monday: The Heart Collector, a Valentines Day Devil for D&D 5e
So, Monster Monday is a bit late, and that means that so too is Throwdown Thursday. It’s been a crazy week. My wife had a birthday on Monday and I’ve been trying to get my third installment of the Company of the Chain books up on Amazon. But fear not, friends, you’re not forgotten.
I don’t tend to do holiday stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love holidays, and I have been known to run spooky one-shots for Halloween or whatever. But, I think that doing holiday-themed Dungeons and Dragons often enough descends into narm territory. How many times are we going to save a village from Krampus, or make sure that jolly old elf’s toy delivery goes off without a hitch? How many Turkey-Saurus Rexes are we going to hunt to throw the big harvest feast? Don’t get me started on drinking contests with the culturally insensitive fey creatures…ugh.
I don’t think I’ve heard a podcast or read a warstory about Valentines Day D&D though. Maybe it’s because this particular Hallmark Holiday doesn’t stir up the nostalgic warm-fuzzies that other holidays do. Maybe people just don’t feel the love (heh) for roleplaying through playing matchmaker or falling head over heels in character. I can’t say I blame them. Valentines Day isn’t my favorite…but there’s some grist for the mill in there somewhere.
I felt inspired, so I sat down and I brewed up a Devil that feeds on heartbreak. Enjoy, guys.
Somewhere in the world a woman waits at the crossroads at midnight, her lantern guttering. Her lover was supposed to be here by now. They had arranged the meeting and everything had been planned so carefully. Nothing would keep them apart. But the minutes tick by like years, and now she is not so sure. Something sinks in her chest as she imagines all of the things that could have gone wrong. Perhaps her lover had reconsidered. Perhaps there would be no running away for them. “Perhaps,” whispers the devil over her shoulder. “Perhaps there are no happy endings.”
Where heartache and sorrow abound, wherever misery keeps lonely vigil, whenever two lovers find their stars too ineffably crossed, there lurks the Heart Collector. Towering, coal black, leathery-skinned humanoids with impassive, featureless faces crowned with a set of spiralling horns, the Heart Collector burns with an inner fire stoked only by the immolation of the hearts of sentient creatures.
Angels of Sorrow. In the earliest of times, it is thought that the beings that were warped and twisted into the Heart Collectors were once angelic creatures, messengers of the goddess of Love. In their new guise, they still alight to visit those who’ve fallen head over heels, albeit with very different intentions. Where they once brought blessings upon new couples, ensuring harmony and joy, now they whisper hateful half-truths and stoke the fires of jealousy and paranoia.
These creatures are dispatched to the Prime Material Plane for one purpose and one purpose alone: seek out love and burn it to ashes. With singleminded devotion, they linger in the shadows, hollowing the hearts of mortal beings, until such time that they may separate a likely meal from the rest of the herd.
A Burning Hunger. A well-fed Heart Collector is easy enough to discern. The entirety of its chest is lit from within by a lurid glow, flame billowing forth like a well-stoked forge. This internal fire is only extinguished if a Heart Collector is starved or slain. It is said that only those who have known heartbreak can feel the skin-crisping heat of the Heart Collector’s pyroclastic animus, for it is the slow consumption of mortal hearts that drives on the Heart Collector.
Whispering Corruptors. To ensure that it never goes hungry, the Heart Collector descends upon the mortal realms and sows discord and dissent amongst those who trust and those who love. Like manifestations of jealousy and paranoia, they cling to the shadowy edges of communities, the places where trysts and confidences are most common.
Using their inborn powers of telepathy and their native proclivity for prying into mortal minds, the Heart Collector looks for the seed of mistrust, of jealousy, of fear. With whispered warnings, black premonitions, and spiteful rejoinders it poisons the well of love and fosters hate. When a mortal has succumbed to despair, the Heart Collector reveals itself to collect a well-seasoned heart. Tears are far better than salt in their alien estimation.
Fairytale Weaknesses. As beings of the pit, manifestations of despair, Heart Collectors are repulsed by beauty and purity. Tokens of affection can be used to hold these creatures at bay, and so have since become customary to exchange on the days when the veil which separates the Prime Material Plane and the realm of ash and darkness which the Heart Collector calls home weakens. Flowers, roses picked in fullest bloom are chief among these. The arterial red of a rose, according to tradition, may be used to lure away the Heart Collector…for a time.
Love letters, chocolate, favors of cloth or jewels may be brandished to hold the Heart Collector at bay for a moment, but the devils are canny and posessed of long memories. If they turn away, know that they are only seeking another avenue of attack. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Large Devil, Lawful Evil
- Armor Class 18 (Natural Armor)
- Hit Points 142 (15d10 + 60)
- Speed 30 ft. fly 20 ft.
|16 (+3)||16 (+3)||18 (+4)||13 (+1)||14 (+2)||18 (+4)|
- Condition Immunities Charmed
- Damage Resistances cold; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons.
- Damage Immunities Fire, Psychic
- Senses darkvision 120 ft passive Perception 14
- Languages Infernal, Telepathy 120 ft
- Challenge 9 (5000 XP)
Devil’s Sight. Magical Darkness doesn’t impede the devil’s darkvision.
Magic Resistance. The devil has advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Innate Spellcasting. The devil’s innate spellcasting ability is Charism (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). The devil may cast the following spells innately, requiring no spell components.
- At will: detect thoughts, disguise self, mage hand, minor illusion.
- 3/day: charm person, detect magic, invisibility, major image, suggestion
- 1/day: dominate person, plane shift, true seeing
Aura of Heartbreak. Each creature that the devil’s choice that is within 20 ft of the Heart Collector must succeed on a DC 16 Charisma saving throw or be overwhelmed with heartbreak and doubt, becoming vulnerable to Psychic damage for 1 minute. A creature may repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. A successful saving throw renders the creature immune to the devil’s Aura of Heartbreak for the next 24 hours.
Suscept Mind. (Recharge 5-6) The devil offers a glimpse of whatever a single target within sight most deeply desires. The affected creature must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be slowed. On a failure, the target must attempt the saving throw again on the following round or be paralyzed for 1 minute.
Bitter Rejection. When a creature makes an attack upon the Heart Collector and misses, the devil may immediately take a reaction to deal 11 (2d6+4) psychic damage to the attacker with a crushing psychic wave of doubt and ruminations on failure.
Rend Heart. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10ft., one target. Hit 13 (2d8 + 4) If the creature hit is Charmed, then damage is 17 (3d8+4). On such a hit, the Heart Collector is healed by half the amount of damage inflicted.
Tragic Ending. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10ft, one incapacitated creature. Hit: 55 (10d10) piercing damage. If this damage reduces the character to 0 hit points, The Heart Collector and plunges its hand into the creature’s chest and removes the heart. Creatures killed in this manner rise in 24 hours as Wights.