From Tyrannosauruses to weird monsters from the appendices of adventures, here are five monsters you won’t believe you can Awaken.
Awaken is one of the best spell s in 5th Edition. It’s a 5th level spell that’s readily available to Bards and Druids, and if you can get to a high enough level in your adventures to cast it, it’s always always worth picking up. If you don’t know why, here’s what Awaken does:
After spending the casting time tracing magical pathways within a precious gemstone, you touch a huge or smaller beast or plant. The target must have either no Intelligence score or an Intelligence of 3 or less.
The target gains an Intelligence of 10. The target also gains the ability to speak one language you know. If the target is a plant, it gains the ability to move its limbs, roots, vines, creepers, and so forth, and it gains senses similar to a human’s. Your DM chooses statistics appropriate for the awakened plant, such as the statistics for the awakened shrub or the awakened tree.
The awakened beast or plant is charmed by you for 30 days or until you and your companions do anything harmful to it. When the charmed condition ends, the awakened creature chooses whether to remain friendly to you, based on how you treated it while it was charmed.
That’s right, you can literally make new friends out of the animals that the DM throws in your path. And plants too! Now it’s not without its costs, the spell has an 8 hour casting time, and takes an agate worth at least 1,000 gp for its components–so if you can play the long game, you can Awaken something with an action with a Wish, but for the low price of 1,000 gp you can have your own intelligent AND friendly t-rex. Or a number of other surprising monsters that you wouldn’t think you’d be able to awaken, but by RAW, you can.
Let’s start with the big guy. The T-Rex is the king of the dinos, and weighs in at CR 8. It’s also the one you get without having to consult any other books, or question the rules–but you do have to figure out how to keep a T-Rex from eating you for 8 hours while you cast the spell. The T-Rex isn’t the only dinosaur you can awaken, you can also get an Allosaurus or Ankylosaurus, but a surprising number of dinos can’t be awakened. If you were dreaming of an Awakened Velociraptor, they’re too smart to be affected by the spell.
In Out of the Abyss, players might run across those who have been brought back to life by the reanimating spores of a myconid sovereign. This means that they are fungi, which in the classification of species in D&D is technically a plant. Which is how you get awakened Hook Horrors or awakened Quaggoths. Just find the Spore Servant version and you can do it!
This one lurks in the pages of Princes of the Apocalypse. A young bulette, for whatever reason, is considered a beast, not a monstrosity like it’s adult form. So just find ’em before they change into monstrosities and you can have an intelligent land shark friend when it’s older. The spell’s duration is instantaneous, so all you have to do is cast it once and it’s done for good, can’t be dispelled or anti-magic fielded away.
This is one of the weirder ones out there. But. In Ghosts of Saltmarsh, you can run into a swarm of Sahuagin Hatchlings. And, they will try to eat you. But if you can convince your DM to let you capture a single hatchling, they’re technically considered a swarm of tiny beasts, so a single hatchling would be a tiny beast of 3 Int. Which means you can awaken it and have a super intelligent, some might even say, boss-worthy baby Sahuagin. I don’t see how that could possibly go wrong.
Giant Lightning Eel
Finally, the Giant Lightning Eel out of Tales from the Yawning Portal is full of electricity and, though its cousin, the Giant Sea Eel is Int 7, the Giant Lightning Eel doesn’t need as much intelligence because it has some shockingly efficient tools to hunt its prey. Which means you can Awaken one and call it Zappy.
And all that’s not even touching on the many lethal plants you can Awaken either, but that’s a story for another time.