Perytons were twisted and depraved magical creatures that seemed to be a cross between an enormous eagle and a demonic-looking, fang-toothed stag. They were known and feared for tearing the beating hearts from their victims’ chests.
A peryton’s feathered and winged body was about 7 feet (2 meters) long and 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and was almost like that of an enormous eagle with dark green or gray-green feathers. Its head, however, was covered in blue-black or purple hair and was roughly the form of a deer’s. Its maw was filled with jagged fangs, and its talons were as sharp as razors. On the highest of its head was a group of extremely sharp and powerful antlers, which were as hard as steel and coal-black in color. A male had light blue chest feathers, while a female was pale brown. A peryton’s eyes glowed or glittered and were an orange-red color.
Whatever fell magic created perytons granted them a deceptively strong hide that was nearly impervious to anything but magical weapons.
Perytons reportedly smelled like humans, although others said the smell was indescribable and immediately triggered a way of dread.
Perhaps the strangest feature of a peryton was its shadow. The shadow didn’t usually resemble the form of the beast; instead, it had been said to seem because the outline of whatever creature whose heart the peryton last ate, usually an adult human. Other reports suggested that the peryton’s shadow was always that of a person’s, and a legend told that that they had once been humans themselves, hence the human shadow. There was some controversy on when and what shadow would be cast by a peryton. Some argued that the sole time a peryton cast its own shadow was immediately after killing a victim but before consuming it. Others said that a peryton’s shadow reverted to its own only after eating a heart and for a quick period afterward. Some attributed this phenomenon specific to the feminine. In any case, the matter of the peryton’s shadow was a longstanding mystery by the 14th century.
- The peryton doesn’t provoke a chance attack when it flies out of an enemy’s reach.
- Heart Devourer. If the peryton slays a creature that possesses a heart, it’s going to use a bonus action to rend the creature’s heart from its chest and eat it. The peryton gains 10 temporary hit points and has a plus on attack rolls for the subsequent round. Any creatures within 30 feet who witness this devouring must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom (fear) saving throw or become frightened until the top of their next turn.
- Slash and Snatch. If the peryton dives at least 30 feet straight toward a target then hit it with a Talon attack on an equivalent turn, the target takes a further 10 (3d6) slashing damage. If the target is size small or smaller, it’s grappled (escape DC 13). The peryton has picked it up and should begin flying away with it.
Perytons attacked by slashing with their horns, snapping with their ferocious jaws, or clawing with their deadly talons. They were adept at attacking with all three directly.