Native to the Shadowfell, the vicious, predatory balhannoth alters reality in its lair to make the place appear inviting to travelers. A limited form of telepathy enables a balhannoth to identify images of places where its prey expects their needs and desires to be met, such as an inn or a temple offering healing. It then warps reality around itself, hiding itself and remaking its environment to resemble such a place. The imitation is imperfect, but it’s good enough to fool greedy or desperate creatures. Once its prey enters the trap, it snatches the targets and teleports away to feed on their fear and despair.
Dungeon builders and Underdark tyrants sometimes venture into the Shadowfell to capture balhannoths for use as guardians.
A Balhannoth’s Lair
In the Shadowfell, balhannoths make their lairs near places inhabited by creatures they hunt. They typically haunt well-traveled roads and paths, snatching people who come along. A balhannoth used as a guardian in the Underdark might lair in caves near Underdark passages and guard the ways in and out of its keepers’ enclave.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), a balhannoth can take one of the following lair actions; the balhannoth can’t take the same lair action two rounds in a row:
The balhannoth targets one creature within 500 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw, or the target, along with whatever it is wearing and carrying, teleports to an unoccupied space of the balhannoth’s choice within 60 feet of it.
The balhannoth targets one creature within 500 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw, or the balhannoth becomes invisible to that creature for 1 minute. This effect ends if the balhannoth attacks the target.
The balhannoth warps reality around it in an area up to 500 feet square. After 10 minutes, the terrain in the area reshapes to assume the appearance of a location sought by one Humanoid whose desires the balhannoth has sensed (see Regional Effects below). The transformation affects nonliving material only and can’t create anything with moving parts or magical properties. Any object created in this area is, upon close inspection, revealed as a fake. Books are filled with empty pages, golden items are obvious counterfeits, and so on. The transformation lasts until the balhannoth dies or takes this lair action again.
A region containing a balhannoth’s lair becomes warped by the creature’s unnatural presence, which creates one or more of the following effects of Sense Desire and Supernatural Lure. The balhannoth can sense the strongest desires of any Humanoid within 1 mile of it and learns whether those desires involve a place: a safe location to rest, such as a temple, a home, or somewhere else. Creatures within 1 mile of the balhannoth’s lair experience the sensation of being close to whatever they desire most. The sensation grows stronger the closer the creatures come to the balhannoth’s lair.
If the balhannoth dies, these effects end immediately.