Modern Myths and Local Legends – Contemporary Horrors


Stories of monsters changes through the ages, adapt to different societies and views.  Some tales and creatures alike die out, while new ones are born.  These can be from new developing trends or even tragedies.  Wherever they’re spawned from, their dastardly ways will terrorize much like their predecessors before them.

In a world closer to our own, when the stories truly connect to us on some level, we truly begin to think about it… and when we dwell on the thought, then we get scared.  This is the true effect of horror.  Now please, look behind you so we can be properly acquainted…


Author’s Note:  Ah, nice to meet you in person!  Can’t see me…  well, that’s too bad.  Horror metahumor aside, I wanted to do some creatures based on contemporary horror pieces, twisted them to fit a more general horror genre character.


Corrupted Animatronic

“*Childish Laughter*”

Animatronics are already unnerving.  These robotic creatures are meant to mimic life in some manner, often to entertain.  For countless years before they were eventually phased out for other technologies, audiences have remarked that something was uncanny, menacing, simply wrong.  But, it’s just a bunch of twitchy machines operating with glitched servos, right?  That is what it is, one would hope…

Large construct/undead, lawful evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 38 (4d10+16)

Speed 30 ft. (movement is often not detected without magic, only when they suddenly end movements)

STR 19 (+4), DEX 9 (-1), CON 18 (+4), INT 13 (+1), WIS 15 (+2), CHA 7 (-2)

Saving Throws.  Dexterity +1, Intelligence +3, Charisma +0

Skills. Perception +6, Stealth +3

Damage Resistances. bludgeoning, piercing, slashing from non-magical sources

Damage Immunities.  cold, necrotic, poison, psychic

Damage Vulnerabilities. lightning

Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, frightened, poisoned

Senses. Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16

Languages.  Understands languages the possessing spirit knew in life

Challenge 4 (2,300 XP)

Jump Scare.  If the Corrupted Animatronic has gone undetected for too long, it will leap at a victim.  It gains a high critical hit ratio of 18 – 20 for its first attack.  In addition, checks against the shocked target have advantage.  This could be a grab check, an attack roll or something related.

Slam into Animatronic.  Upon being brought to 0 HP, the creature will attempt to drag the target’s body to an “empty suit” and shove their body.  The process of dragging them to the suit takes up to 1 minute (1d10 rounds.)  The grappling Animatronic must uses its action to force the subject into the suit.  The target must then make a Constitution saving throw (DC 14) or immediately die.  Upon a successful save, the target instead gains a death saving throw failure.  If the victim has died from failed Constitution save, they must roll one last Wisdom saving throw (DC 14).  Upon failure, the victim will return as a Corrupted Animatronic 1d4 rounds later.  If the target dies while in the suit, they still suffer the same effect as above.  Destroying the suit and casting spells as strong as Resurrection can bring a dead character back to life in this manner.  However, most Corrupted Animatronics are too far warped by dark energies to be brought back in this manner.  Player characters are likely the exception.

NOTE:  If there are no extra animatronic suits, this creature cannot perform the above action.

Spirit Bound.  A Corrupted Animatronic is a mechanical construct that is haunted by the spirit of a brutally slain person.  For all intents and purposes, the ghost is the driving force behind the animatronic’s actions.  Any checks that affect undead will affect the construct as a result.


Multiattack.  The Corrupted Animatronic may attack three times per turn.

Robotic Crunch.  Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.  Hit: 10 (1d12+4) piercing damage.

Sharpened Claws.  Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.  Hit: 11 (2d6+4) slashing damage.


Cursed Statue (Deadly Trap, at least 11th level)

A disturbing grave momento dedicated to some fallen hero, Their face distorted by dark magic.  Worse yet, the statue seems to appear seemingly out of no where, causing havoc wherever it shows up.  A tell tale sign is distorted and reversed sounding music from nowhere.  More often than not, the statue will go after creatures that have inherently wronged it in some way.  This could mean something as benign as simply existing…

The statue is both a trap and a monster.  It can be detected by an Arcana check (DC 18) as an unnatural and evil entity.  Spells that reveal magical effects or trace them, like Detect Magic, also work in this manner.  Failure to do so will result in the statue choosing a victim if it comes within 60 ft. of it.  The target must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 17) or face lethal torment at the hands of the statue.  The target levitates off the ground, becomes paralyzed and takes heavy damage; 44 (8d10) fire damage and 44 (8d10) lightning damage.  After the initial failure, the target must save again on their next turn.  Failure results in them taking another 11 (2d10) fire damage and 11 (2d10) lightning damage; remaining paralyzed and floating as well.  Success frees the target from the statue’s grasp, they can no longer be targeted for 24 hours.  If a target is killed, it will attempt to focus on another target within reach.  Dispel Magic (DC 17) will end the statue’s grab over a victim.  However, only using a spell such as Banishment will remove the evil statue’s influence… for now.


The Bundled Man

Image result for fire man

“Why won’t the flames end?  They never extinguish!”

The Bundled Man is a mutilated humanoid with bundles of sticks and wood pieces tied and grafted to him.  He’s always seemingly on fire, even with attempts to extinguish.  Anything that gets too close or within the Bundled Man’s grasp catches on fire.  Curiously, anything that the Bundled Man doesn’t focus on never does… however, it always looked burnt or even charred.  Many figure he’s undead, but the strange thing about him is he never died… he became living flame, a life that he forever hates.

Medium monstrosity, neutral evil

Armor Class 13

Hit Points 102 (12d8+48)

Speed 0 ft., hover 30 ft.; teleportation (see below)

STR 15 (+2), DEX 16 (+3), CON 18 (+4), INT 10 (+0), WIS 17 (+3), CHA 8 (-1)

Saving Throws. Intelligence +3, Charisma +2

Skills. Intimation +5, Perception +6

Damage Resistances. poison, psychic, radiant

Damage Immunities.  fire

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained

Senses. Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16

Languages.  Common, Infernal

Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Amorphous Flame.  Despite the wood bound to him remaining the same, he can bend his body to avoid being captured or paralyzed.  His body can never truly be frozen in place, as it’s semi-amorphous flesh and living fire.

Endless Screaming.  If the burning wasn’t bad enough, the shrieking is absolute torture.  The Bundled Man has disadvantage on all checks to Stealth, but advantage on all checks to Intimidate in an attempt to frighten a target and can do so as a free action once per round.  Creatures who are intimidated by the Bundled Man are frightened for up to 1 minute.  Attempts to shake this off require the target to make an Intelligence saving throw (DC 14) at the end of their turn.

Eternal Flame.  The Bundled Man is always on fire and radiates a horrible and oppressive heat.  Those who get too close to him wind up badly burned.  Any creature that starts its turn within 30ft. of the creature must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 14) or take 14 (4d6) fire damage.

Unnatural Health.  Despite constantly burning, the Bundled Man has both supernatural physique and ability.  The Bundled Man has advantage on saving throws against poison and disease.  Furthermore, he has advantage on checks to do physical activity via Athletics or Acrobatics checks.


Incendiary Hand.  Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 28 (4d12+2) fire damage.  Targets  are also set on fire, taking 6 (1d12) fire damage at the start of their turn.  They must take an action to put the fire out.

Flaming Chunk.  Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, ranged 40ft./80ft., one target.  Hit: 14 (2d10+3) bludgeoning damage plus 16 (3d10) fire damage.


Vanish Completely.  The Bundled Man will always disappear after taking more than 20 damage in one round.  It will often materialize upwards to 5 minutes later (at maximum) in a nearby place within 300ft. from where it vanished.


Skinnin’ Bones

“I’m gonna skin you!”

Medium undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 13
Hit Points 45 (7d8 + 14)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 12 (+1), DEX 17 (+3), CON 15 (+2), INT 12 (+1), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 10 (+0)

Skills.  Acrobatics +5, Perception +4, Stealth +5

Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning

Damage Resistances slashing, piercing, necrotic
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, frightened, poisoned

Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 10
Languages knows all languages it knew in life
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Cowardly.  If facing more than 1 enemy at once or sustaining any damage in the round, Skinnin’ Bones may use a bonus action to use the disengage action.

Crafty Killer.  When Skinnin’ Bones has advantage on a target or catches them by surprise, it may add 10 (3d6) damage to that attack.  It may only do this once per round.

Flaying Obsession.  Upon killing a victim, it must resist the compulsion to try to skin them.  It must make a wisdom saving throw (DC 10) or use its action to slice into the corpse.  If attacked, it will immediately stop doing this.

Innate Magic.  Skinnin’ Bones may use spells innately, using its Intelligence as its casting stat (DC 11).

At-Will: Invisibility (self only), Vicious Mockery

1/Day Each: Charm Person, Hold Person


Multiattack.  Skinnin’ Bones may attack twice per round.

Cutlass. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.
Duelist Sword. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.


Psychotic Swashbuckling.  Upon being attacked, Skinnin’ Bones may use a reaction to defend itself while it is holding a weapon.  For the duration of the attack, Skinnin’ Bones gains +5 to its AC.


Masked Judge

“*Scrape, scrape*”

Large aberration, lawful evil

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 187 (22d10 + 66)
Speed 25 ft.
STR 22 (+6), DEX 17 (+3), CON 16 (+3), INT 10 (+0), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 12 (+1)

Saving Throws. Intelligence +5, Wisdom +7

Skills.  Athletics +11, Insight +7, Perception +12

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, slashing, piercing
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened

Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 10
Languages knows all languages it knew in life
Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)

Legendary Resistance (3/Day).  Upon failing a saving throw, the Masked Judge can choose to succeed instead.

Devil Sight.  The Masked Jude can see in magical darkness.

Magic Resistance.  The Masked Judge has advantage on all saves against magical effects and spells.

Repentant Suicide.  If the targets atone for their sins against the Masked Judge, it will impale itself with its sword.

Weapons of Cruel Judgement.  The Judge’s sword attacks are magical in nature.


Multiattack.  The Masked Judge can attack with Slashing Blade up to three times per round.

Slashing Blade. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 33 (6d8 + 6) piercing damage.

Pike Stab. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.  Hit: 58 (8d12 + 6) piercing damage.  The target must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 19) or be impaled by the pike.  While impaled, the target is paralyzed and is stuck 10 ft. away from the Masked Judge.  In addition, they take an additional 26 (4d12) piercing damage.

Terrifying Grip.  Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.  Hit: 39 (6d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage.  The target is also restrained and must make an escape action (DC 19) to break free.


Plague Zombie

“Send more cops!”

Medium undead, unaligned

Armor Class 8

Hit Points 22 (3d8 + 9)

Speed 20 ft.

STR 13 (+1), DEX 6 (-2), CON 16 (+3), INT 7 (-2) , WIS 10 (+0), CHA 9 (- 1)

Saving Throws Wis +2

Damage Resistances. necrotic

Damage Immunities. poison

Condition Immunities. poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages understands the languages it knew in life but can’t speak… usually.

Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Grab and Bite (Recharge 5 or 6).  The zombie may forgo damage on a slam attack to grab the victim.  It may then use a bonus action to attack them with a different attack, including ranged attacks without suffering penalty.

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Infectious.  Any creature hit by a Viral Undead’s natural attacks risks becoming infected.  After being hit by an attack, the target must roll a Constitution saving throw (DC 10).  If the target fails, they have contracted the Zombie Plague.

Viral Awareness . Viral Undead haven’t lost all of their intellect during infection.  Viral Undead gain advantage to deception checks to disguise as regular corpses.  They will never attack any other undead creature created by the same plague as them.


Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 4 (1d6+1) piercing damage.

VARIANT ZOMBIE: Intelligent – While it looks much like other zombies, this one shows clear signs of thought.  In fact, it’s able to communicate too.

  • Increase Intelligence to 10 (+0) and Charisma to 10 (+0)
  • Give the zombie saving throws to Intelligence +2
  • Give the zombie proficiency in Deception (+2) and Intimidation (+2)
  • Is capable of speech, can speak any language it knows… but not too well.
  • Gains a new action: Rally the Dead.  It may make a Charisma (persuasion) check.  If meeting DC (15), all nearby zombies within 100 ft. will make their way towards either the Intelligent zombie or towards desired targets.
  • Becomes Challenge 1 (200 XP)

VARIANT ZOMBIE: Corrosive – Withered by all sorts of chemical agents, this zombie reeks of acidic vapors.

  • Increase Dexterity to 10 (+0)
  • Gains a new action: Projectile Vomit (Recharge 5 or 6).  +2 to hit, range 10 ft./20 ft., one target.  Hit: 17 (5d6) acid damage.  All creatures within 5 ft. of the impact point must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 10) or take 3 (1d6) acid damage.
  • Increase to Challenge 1 (200 XP)

VARIANT ZOMBIE: Explosive – This zombie is horribly bloated and far more disfigured than many others like it.  It seems to glow from a pent up gas inside of it.

  • This zombie does not get Undead Fortitude.
  • Increase Strength to 16 (+3)
  • Increase hit points to 30 (4d8 + 12)
  • Gain a new reaction: Death Throes.  When brought to 0 Hit Points, the zombie explodes into an cloud of viscera and destructive chunks.  All creatures within 20 ft. within the dead zombie must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 13) or take 5 (1d10) piercing damage plus 5 (1d10) bludgeoning damage plus 5 (1d10) poison damage.
  • Increase to Challenge 2 (450 XP)

VARIANT ZOMBIE: Fiery – Quite simply, a zombie that is on fire.

  • This zombie has disadvantage on saves for Undead Fortitude.
  • All attacks deal an extra 4 (1d8) fire damage.
  • Gain a new action: Flame Smother.  Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit:  The target is grabbed.  In addition, they must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 11) or take 7 (2d6) fire damage.  Success results in half damage.


Zombie Plague:

The Zombie Plague is a viral contagion capable of wiping out an entire town in less than 1 day.  However, it’s not the initial sickness that causes destruction, but the after effects.  This illness resides in plague zombies, who carry and transfer this illness through their attacks.

It takes 6d10 minutes for the plague to begin to manifest in the victim.  They look deathly and begin to have chills, as it begins to take hold of them.  The victim suffers one level of exhaustion and their maximum hit points is reduced by your 1 hit die equal to your maximum hit points gained in a level.

Upon taking a short rest or long rest, the victim must make another save (equal to the Plague Zombie’s DC) or take another level of exhaustion in addition to losing maximum HP as your skin looks rotten and you begin to look like a zombie.  A successful save causes no change.  There is no true way to cure this disease.  The only way to undo the victim turning into a zombie is by casting Gentle Repose on the victim; followed by Raise Dead, Resurrection or a related spell.  However, they still suffer from the effects of the disease and look like a zombie.  Only a Regeneration spell can undo the deterioration they have suffered.

A creature that dies normally or from the disease returns as a plague zombie 1d10 minutes later.  They cease any necrosis as the plague changes to reanimating and invigorating the corpse instead.

IMAGE CREDIT: Bloodyface – American Horror Story (FX); Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 Title Screen – Scott Cawthon; Fire Man – Khorasan Razavi; Ben Drowned – Ale Redwolf; Pirate Skeleton Portrait – VegasMike; Pyramid Head – Silent Hill 2 (Konami); Zombie – Resident Evil Remake (Capcom)

Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.  All rights reserved.


One thought on “Modern Myths and Local Legends – Contemporary Horrors

  1. Pingback: Diseases and Plagues – Sinister Sickness for D&D 5th Edition | Daemons & Deathrays

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