Dungeons and Dragons Wiki
This material is published under the OGL
Thanatos, Large Thanatos, Gargantuan
Size/Type: Large Undead (Aquatic) Gargantuan Undead (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 10d12 (65 hp) 25d12+15 (177 hp)
Initiative: -1 -1
Speed: Swim 40 ft. Swim 80 ft.
Armor Class: 16 (-1 size, -1 Dex, +8 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 16 21 (-4 size, -1 Dex, +16 natural), touch 5, flat-footed 21
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+16 +12/+38
Attack: Bite +12 melee (2d6+7 plus energy drain) Bite +22 melee (4d6+14 plus energy drain)
Full Attack: Bite +12 melee (2d6+7 plus energy drain) Bite +22 melee (4d6+14 plus energy drain)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft. 20 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Energy Drain, Improved Grab, Shallow Whole Energy Drain, Improved Grab, Shallow Whole
Special Qualities: Blindsense, Damage Reduction 5/magic, Darkvision 60 ft., Fast Healing 3, Keen Scent, Immunity to Cold and Electricity, Low-light Vision, Undead Traits, Vile Luminescence Blindsense, Damage Reduction 10/magic, Darkvision 60 ft., Fast Healing 5, Keen Scent, Immunity to Cold and Electricity, Low-light Vision, Undead Traits, Vile Luminescence
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +12 Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +19
Abilities: Str 24, Dex 8, Con —, Int 1, Wis 16, Cha 10 Str 38, Dex 8, Con —, Int 1, Wis 16, Cha 10
Skills: Listen +8, Spot +11, Swim +15 Listen +17, Spot +17, Swim +15
Feats: Improved Natural Attack (bite), Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite) Improved Natural Attack (bite), Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness x5, Weapon Focus (bite)
Environment: Any aquatic Any aquatic
Organization: Solitary Solitary
Challenge Rating: 12 19
Treasure: Standard Standard
Alignment: Always neutral evil Always neutral evil
Advancement: 11-15 HD (Large); 16-20 HD (Huge) 26-30 HD (Gargantuan); 35-45 HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment:

This whale of a fish stinks like the carrion which clings from its enormous teeth. It bears fins and flippers of bleached bone, solid blue eyes, and a vibrant orange glow across its grayskinned body.

Spawned by evil, the thanatos is a great undead fish which exists only to spread that evil. As often as great wars tear apart the land, there are just as many that wage across the ocean depths. Thanatos are one of the earliest attempted at an aquatic doomsday weapon. Created by ancient magic held by sahuagin clerics, the gargantuan versions of these undead fish were sent against all good-aligned aquatic creatures, slaying hundred if not thousands of souls before the assault was countered. And while the sahuagin were obviously unsuccessful in their bid for total domination, dozens of gargantuan thanatos remain today as a chilling reminder of that time; warning all aquatic races that not all stories of the past are fiction.

The sahuagin have no direct method of creating more thanatos in modern times, but secret rituals known only to the high clerics enable those who can find a thanatos to command it. Other rituals allow the mutation of whales into large thanatos, but not gargantuan ones.


A thanatos is not a subtle foe. Drawn by the scent of life, it angrily seeks to devour any creature that crosses its path.

Blindsense (Ex): A thanatos can locate creatures underwater within a 30-ft. radius. This ability only works when the thanatos is underwater.

Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures struck by the bite of a thanatos gain one negative level; if the thanatos is gargantuan or larger, this is increased to two negative levels. The save DC to remove the negative level is 15 for a Large thanatos and 22 for a Gargantuan thanatos; these saves are Charisma-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the thanatos gains 5 temporary hit points. Living creatures killed by this energy drain rise in 1d4 rounds as zombies. These zombies are not under control of the thanatos, but do not attack the dead fish; they either attack the nearest living creature or simply swim off into the depths.

Improved Grab (Ex): When a thanatos hits a creature with its bite attack, it can deal normal damage and attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. No initial touch attack is required. If it wins the grapple check, the thanatos establishes a hold and can try to swallow the victim on the following round. This ability can only be used on creatures that are at least one size category smaller than the dead fish.

Keen Scent (Ex): A thanatos can notice creatures by scent in a 360-foot radius and can detect blood in the water at a range of up to 5 miles.

Swallow Whole (Ex): A thanatos can swallow a grabbed opponent that is at least two sizes smaller by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature takes 2d6 bludgeoning damage and loses 1d4 Strength each round he remains within the stomach of the thanatos. He can cut his way free by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to inflict a total of 25 points of damage on the thanatos, but the fast healing ability of the creature counts against this. The fast healing ability quickly seals any exit, and each swallowed victim must cut his own way out.

  • A Large thanatos can hold 2 Small, 8 Tiny, or 32 Diminutive or smaller creatures in its stomach. A Gargantuan thanatos can swallow 2 Large, 8 Medium, 32 Small, or 128 Tiny or smaller opponents.
  • The gullet of a thanatos has one other unusually property. Incorporeal and ethereal creatures cannot escape from the stomach of the thanatos; the flesh of the monster has the same effect as an object enchanted with the ghost touch ability.

Vile Luminescence (Su): A thanatos gives off an eerie, pale glow. At night, this can allow enemies to see the thanatos approaching them far away (+8 to Spot checks). However, this ghostly glow has a useful function; it duplicates the effects of the spell unhallow in a 40-foot radius surrounding the thanatos. This also duplicates the effects of a magic circle against good, gives all checks to turn undead a -4 penalty, and gives all checks to rebuke undead a +4 bonus.

Skills: A thanatos receives a +8 racial bonus to any Swim check to perform a special action or to avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take a 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided that it moves in a straight line.


Standard — Thanatos generally lair around shipwrecks and other coastal disasters where the aura of death and despair is strongest. Not that the creatures derive any sustenance off these areas; just that they are more comfortable in these areas. The treasure list given here represents the more common thanatos, the Large size:

  • Black pearl (x6) [500 gp each]
  • Masterwork rapier (x2) [320 gp each]
  • Potion of water breathing [750 gp]
  • Cloak of resistance +1 [1,000 gp]
  • Horn of fog [2,000 gp]
  • 4,000 sp
  • 2,010 gp

In Your Campaign[]

Like a few other undead creatures, thanatos remnants can provide some useful magical components. If a craftsman possesses thanatos teeth, he can create a life drinker axe or nine lives stealer without needing to cast finger of death or enervation. The scales of a thanatos allow the wizard to create ghost touch armor and shields without needing to cast etherealness. Of course, it can be hard to recover scales and teeth from the corpse of a thanatos, as it sinks to the bottom of the sea as soon as it is destroyed. A mission to recover the teeth from the corpse of a thanatos can be a challenging salvage operation for the PCs.

A finger-stall carved from a tooth of a thanatos adds +2 to the damage the wearer can cause with chill touch and similar necromantic spells.

If a character is unfamiliar with certain necromantic rituals, he can craft a small rod out of the tooth of a gargantuan thanatos. Used an additional arcane focus, this can enhance the effect of certain spells such as animate dead (add +2 caster level), chill touch (add +2 to damage rolls), energy drain (add +1 negative level), enervation (add +1 negative level), and ray of enfeeblement (add +1 Strength drain).

Back to Main Page3.5e Open Game ContentMonsters
Back to Main Page3.5e Open Game ContentSourcebooksDread CodexMonsters