The ascomoid is, on the surface, a stupid monster. It’s essentially a leathery plant boulder that farts and smooshes things. As fun as that sentence was to write, it doesn’t describe the sort of monster most DMs like to put into their games.
Okay, maybe I’m not doing the ascomoid justice with my brief description. The ascomoid is a ten-foot diameter fungal ball that, while unintelligent, rolls towards living creatures in order to crush them and cover them with spores. If killed by an ascomoid, the victim will rot and sprout a new ascomoid in short order. It’s also important to state the ascomoid doesn’t have to be next to a creature to cover them in spores as the many, many orifices dotting its surface can spray jets of spores up to 30’ away.
Nope, that didn’t help. It’s still a stupid monster.
I love the ascomoid. I always have, and I’ve used it throughout many editions of D&D and Pathfinder. Sure, it isn’t a clever monster with intricate plans, nor does it lend itself to a variety of different uses, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used in a handful of interesting ways. After all, it’s been in the game in some form or another since the Monster Manual II in 1983. That must mean it has more value than some of the other monsters we haven’t seen since the early days (looking at you, uh, boobrie).
I mean, think of it. A massive boulder begins rolling down a ramp toward your players. They manage to dive out of the way as the boulder speeds past…and then stops…and then rolls back up the hill to finish what it started!
Or maybe they’re lost in a maze. You know what loves fresh meat – er…players – stuck in twisting, narrow passages? That’s right, ya boy the ascomoid.
And maybe some clever player thinks they’ve outsmarted the boulder of doom by casting fly or spider climb. After all, if it can’t pancake you, it’s no threat, right? WRONG! Here’s 30 feet of spores in your face!
The ascomoid isn’t the most versatile monster in the manual but it really doesn’t have to be to be useful or interesting. I think it exists in this fringe space between monster and trap, much like its other fungal buddies the violet fungus and the shrieker mushroom. Sadly, despite how much fun clever DMs can have with this monster, the folks over at WoTC haven’t updated it for 5E yet.
But I have! I proudly present to you the definitive 5E ascomoid, ready to roll through your next dungeon and squash’n’spore your slow-moving adventurers.
Large plant, unaligned
Armor Class 14 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 108 (12d8 + 48)
Speed 40 ft.
STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 18 (+4) INT 1 (-5) WIS 10 (0) CHA 1 (-5)
Damage Resistance Bludgeoning, Cold, Fire
Damage Immunities Lightning, Poison
Condition Immunities Blinded, Charmed, Deafened, Frightened, Poisoned, Prone
Skills Athletics +6
Senses Blindsight 60 ft. (Blind Beyond This Radius), passive Perception 10
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Bowl Over. The ascomoid can attempt move through the space of medium or smaller creatures. Creatures occupying a space an ascomoid is attempting to move through must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or take 2d8 damage and be knocked prone. If the save attempt is successful, the creature takes no damage and ascomoid must stop its movement.
Flatten. The ascomoid scores a critical hit on a 19 or 20 vs prone creatures.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage. Creatures hit by a Slam attack must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Spores. The ascomoid sprays a cloud of spores that is 30 feet long and 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, taking 20 (4d8) poison damage and becoming infected with a disease on a failed save. On a successful save, creatures will take half as much damage and will not suffer from the disease. Creatures immune to the poisoned condition are immune to this disease.
A creature suffering from the spore-based disease will perish in a number of hours equal to 2d12 + the creature’s Constitution score, unless the disease is removed. In half that time, the creature becomes poisoned until they are cured or until they succumb to the disease. Should the creature die while suffering from the disease, 1d4 Tiny ascomoids will sprout from the body. They will reach full size in 30 days.