Dungeons & Dragons creature
Alignment Neutral Evil
Type Aberration
Source books 3E Monster Manual 2, Dragon#299, 1E Monster Manual 1, Master Boxed Set, Rules Cyclopedia, Monstrous Manual
First appearance
Image image

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, the catoblepas (plural- catoblepi) is an Aberration.

Creative originsEdit

The catoblepas is based on the catoblepas,an Ethiopian legendary creature from Greek myth.[1]


The habits of catoblepi are somewhat shrouded in mystery. The creatures dwell in caves and other such lairs in the dreary depths of their harsh environment, and emerge only to eat. For the majority of the month, a catoblepas will feast on carrion, poisonous plants, and foul tasting scrub which grow low to the ground, saving up energy for a proper hunt.

Though the catoblepas eats mostly plants, it requires a monthly serving of meat. When it has eaten enough plants for the month and saved up enough energy, it ventures out to find prey. When it finds its prey, it first weakens it by beating it with its tail, before blasting it with a deadly beam it emits from its eyes. The beam can either burn, paralyze, kill, or turn to stone. When it has won a fight, it feasts on the corpses. Afterwards, it returns to its lair to feast upon plants once again until next month. Catoblepi can also bite and grapple.

Catoblepi are fairly dominant creatures in their environment and have virtually no predators.


Catoblepi are found in dismal swamps, scrublands and wastelands.

Typical physical characteristicsEdit

A catoblepas has a large, bloated, bison's body with short, stumpy legs like those of a hippopotamus. At the front of its body is a shaggy mane of dark brown hair, from which sprouts a long, snake-like neck. The creature's head like that of a warthog with bloodshot eyes. The beast's coiling tail has a stony mass of stubby spikes at the end. The catoblepas is orange-reddish-brown, and its hide is covered with warts, scabs, and bits of encrusted dung.


Catoblepi are typically neutral evil.


The catoblepas is a social creature which mates for life, and is usually found with a mate and one offspring. Being a semi-intelligent creature, it treats opposing parties with respect, can learn from past mistakes and mishaps, is cunning and sly, and attacks only out of hunger or when threatened.

Catoblepi cannot speak, but understand Common.

Catoblepi in the Forgotten RealmsEdit

In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, catoblepi are sometimes kept by powerful, evil mages, kings from Zakhara, and other such people. Some of these captive creatures are milked to produce a strange and deadly food known as "death cheese" (in reference to the creature's deadly stare).

In a Forgotten Realms product from the 1990s, Marco Volo described "death cheese" made from the milk of catoblepas dwelling in the Vast Swamp at Cormyr's border. In the current (3.5th edition) Dungeons & Dragons game the catoblepas is described in Monster Manual II as:

a bizarre, loathesome creature that inhabits dismal swamps and marshes...(it) is a meandering grazer...but once a month, usually under the light of a full moon, it hunts for meat to round out its diet of reeds and grasses.[2]


  1. DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2005-02-19. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  2. Monster Manual II by Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, Steve Winter. First printing September 2002


  • Elliott, Chris, and Richard Edwards. "The Ecology of the Catoblepas" Dragon #73 (TSR, 1983).

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