The Frost Tiger may have been published earlier, but the Drought Hawk was the first monster we created for the Weekly Beastie series. It’s not especially powerful and doesn’t embody any magical flourishes – unless your GM feels like adding some – but it has a few tricks in its wings to make for some memorable gameplay.
First of all, players will almost never face a lone Drought Hawk. They travel in large flocks that reflect the party’s combined challenge rating, so they’ll have an advantage in numbers right off the bat.
Second, Drought Hawks are clever enough to realize when they’re in a losing fight – but they won’t abandon prey either. Instead, a wounded flock will take to the sky and follow the party from a distance, attacking when they’re distracted or trying to sleep. If the players can’t find a way to lose these birds, they’ll prevent you from taking crucial long rests.
Finally, they’re called Drought Hawks for a reason – they thrive in dry desert climates. If the party has a long journey through the wilderness and don’t prepare rations accordingly, the presence of these creatures might finally push them over the edge.
A pay-what-you-want, OGL compatible PDF of the Drought Hawk can be found at DriveThruRPG. The beastie text itself can be found below:
Medium beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (natural armor), 15 when flying
Hit Points 20 (4d8 + 4)
Speed 20 ft., fly 40 ft.
STR 13 (+1) DEX 14 (+2) CON 13 (+1) INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 10 (+0)
Senses Passive Perception 13
Damage Resistances Heat
Proficiency Bonus +2
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
Persistent. If a Drought Hawk flock is reduced by half, make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 10 + the party’s average level). On a success, all remaining birds take to the air and follow their prey from a distance. They attack if the party is resting, asleep, or an opportune circumstance arises. While airborne, +1 new Hawks join the flock per hour until it reaches its original size. On a failure, the flock flees to seek other meals.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6 + 1 piercing damage.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d8 + 1 slashing damage.
Wherever water sources have dried, plants are withered, and the heat of the sun becomes unbearable, the Drought Hawks to flourish. Their hideous forms and bloodshot are stark reminders that local wildlife is just as dangerous as dehydration itself.
Commoners consider them blights on the landscape, cursed beasts which drains moisture from the earth as their numbers grow. Most wise men and soothsayers dismiss this as nonsense, but even they acknowledge that Drought Hawks are a sign of arid days to come. All agree that individual Hawks should be attacked on sight, as they attract persistent flocks
These featherless, dwarf-sized birds are often found in dry or desert climates. Players can identify them quickly by their yellow leathery skin, bloodshot eyes, and impressive wingspan resembling that of a small dragon.
Drought Hawks have a seemingly unnatural sense for when droughts are settling into a region. They tend to migrate to a community just before or at the cusp of disaster, seeking out weak and dehydrated targets. While typically scavengers, they become surprisingly bold in the company of other Drought Hawks. Once most defenseless targets are killed or have fled a region, Drought Hawks form flocks that hunt targets within their combined challenge rating.