Monster Spotlight: Vargouille, Half Bat, Half Man, All Nightmares
With a paralyzing screech and a kiss that will have you following them home, the vargouille is a truly weird monster that nobody deserves to meet.
Vargouilles are one monster that’s sure to get a-head in life, no matter what. Take a look.
On the surface the vargouille looks pretty terrible. Appearing as a humanoid head with tentacles and bat-wings they take flight at nigh and find refuge in caves and caverns during the day because they hate the light. But when you get beneath the surface and really take a deep and careful look at vargouille…. they’re somehow even worse. On top of being air-faring nightmare fuel, their bite is so poisonous that hit points lost to them are lost forever unless the adventurer makes a successful saving throw against poison for each individual bite endured. vargouille are a great way to let your players know that you hate them just a little.
vargouilles don’t speak, but they do shriek when they are about to attack and all who hear this shriek must pass a saving throw or be paralyzed. Once a victim is paralyzed the vargouille’s attack will hit, but once they are free of the paralysis the adventurer is immune to paralysis for the rest of the encounter. If you encounter a vargouille who doesn’t feel like attacking however, they can kiss a paralyzed victim, triggering a horrible transformation where their ears grow into wings and their hair is replaced with tentacles until finally their head flies away independent of its body and they turn compositely into a brand new fully functional vargouille.
Not too much changes between second and third edition for the noble and majestic vargouille. Now they speak infernal as well as ungodly shrieks, which is good for them but bad for any adventurers who may be worried by the prospect of them organizing and mobilizing with any other infernal speaking monsters. That said, the mental image of vargouilles in a community college classroom learning infernal from a tiefling TA immediately came to mind and was delightful.
5E paints vargouilles in a slightly different light, describing them as a nuisance or a pest. Sort of like mosquitoes if mosquitoes came from other planes of existence and had mosquitoes bite that turned people into more small hell bugs. It feels as though vargouilles are the mosquitoes of the less inviting planes of existence, where unknowable horrors are just another Tuesday, but on the Material Plane where people are they are truly a terrible monster.
Have you encounter the vargouille? Was anyone in your party unlucky enough to begin the transformation into a vargouille? Did you rescue them from becoming a head-bat or did somebody at your table find themselves rolling u pa new character? Let us know in the comments.