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Type Hydra Fire-breathing
Species beast
No. Appearing 1 1 1
Behaviour solitary
Range jungle,
Size 10 ft. tall 10 ft. tall 10 ft. tall
Weight 600-1,400 lbs. 720-960 lbs. 1080 lbs.
Intelligence 4 4 4
Armour Class 5 5 5
Hit Dice 5-12 6-8 9
Action Points body, 3 AP; heads 1 AP each
Max. Stride 2 2 2
THAC0 14-18 16-17 15
Hp/Die d10, d4+d6
or d12
d10 or d4+d6 d4+d6
Attack Form 5-12 bites 6-8 bites 9 bites
Damage 2-12 2-12 2-12
Special Attack venom breath weapon,
immortal head,

Hydrae are large, serpentine beasts dwelling in partially or wholly submerged subterranean or ruinous lairs. They are the offspring of Typhon and Echidna; there are well over a hundred of them scattered from the Mediterranean throughout the Middle East and as far away as southern India. The creature has a large, fat body; the rear is about 10 ft. wide and 14 ft. long, ending in a stumpish tail. The body's front is supported on two immense stalk-like legs, similar to a brontosaur. From the forepart of this muscled, leathery mass emerges a forest of snake-like tentacles with ridged or knobbed heads, vaguely remiscent of dragons, with which the beast is purportedly related.


The ponderous body is protected by the quick-moving heads, which have a three-hex reach (15 ft.). The beast can attack in all directions at once. To protect themselves, they prefer to face enemies in water deep enough so that they can submerge, if attacked at a distance, and which hampers enemies who must wade in to fight them hand-to-hand. There is only a 1 in 10 chance of a hydra being caught out of water. The hydra is able to attack simultaneously with all their heads, and up to four heads are able to attack the same target simultaneously.

The hydra's venom requires a saving throw each time a hydra's head successfully hits. A failed save will cause the victim to suffer 2 hit points of damage per round, for six rounds. Further hits can intensify this effect, so that many who have the wherewithal to bear the damage caused by the hydra's bites will succumb to the poison.

Defeating the Hydra

The hydra's hit points are located in its body, which is protected by the hydra's heads. One or more heads will defend a combat hex surrounding the hydra's body, so that until the head is defeated, the body cannot be attacked. Damage done to the heads does not affect the body; the heads must be cut off. This can only be done with an edged weapon. To cut off a head, the attacker must cause 9 or more damage in a single hit. Hits that cause less damage are ignored. As the hydra's heads fall, the body is exposed and can be attacked directly.

Missile weapons and spells can attack the body, but this is why a hydra will keep its body submerged. When a hydra is reduced to less than half its original number of heads, if it is able it will submerge and flee, seeking a place where it can heal and regrow its heads. Following it will mean fighting the beast wholly underwater.

Fire-breathing Hydra

These creatures are like their more common breathren. They dwell in hot-water caves, with visible steam rising from the surface of the water, the temperature of which will resemble a hot bath. These creatures do breathe fire, in a jet that's one hex wide and two hexes long, causing 8 damage (half damage if saved against). There is a 4 in 10 chance that any given head will breathe each round; and once having done so, that head will require three rounds to recharge; after which time, the chance that it will breathe will be rolled again.

Fire-breathing hydras are also venomous, with the effects of their breathren as described above.

Lernaean Hydra

These are extremely rare creatures; it is guessed that there are less than a handful in existence. They are different from other hydras in two distinct ways. The first is that when the heads are cut off, over the course of two rounds the appendage will regenerate, sprouting not just a new head, but two new heads. Once regrown, the serpentine necks will split and separate, becoming indistinguishable from the hydra's other heads. After the two-round regrowth period, both new heads will be able to attack in the third round after the original head was cut off.

The Lernaean hydra will expand its number of heads until a maximum of 18 heads have grown. Once the beast is given a chance to retire, the extra heads will be shed over a period of weeks, until the Lernaean heads return to 9.

If encountered out of water, if fire is applied to the severed neck the round after the head is cut off, the Lernaean will not be able to regenerate two heads from it. This may be done with a torch, with burning oil or pitch, or with magic. However, as the beast will usually seek a watery place to fight from, it will defeat this tactic by immediately immersing the neck into the water at its feet, until it is able to regenerate.

The Lernaean also possesses one immortal head, which cannot be killed. It can be cut free of the body, but the amount of damage that must be done in one blow equals 18 damage. However, this will not mean the death of the head, which will be able to attack even after its separation. If not caught, it will roll or flip in an effort to escape, where it will, given an opportunity, grow a new body from itself. It is not known how long this takes, but surely it must require months and months. When attacking, the immortal head causes double damage. It, and all the heads of the Lernaean, possess the venom of other hydras, further increasing the danger presented by this beast.

See Also,