Monster Analysis: Kamadan

Thanks to @LyallCallum for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 2-38 Welcome to the Jungle

  • Armor Class 14 (Suggested 13)

  • Speed 30 ft

  • Passive 14, Stealth +7

  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 67, 108

    • Kamadan 1: 88 damage taken, 20 HDYWTDT by Yasha

    • Kamadan 2: 112 damage taken, 19 HDYWTDT by Fjord (and Nott)

Monstrous in nature but bestial in personality, kamadan are large, leopard-like cats of prey with snakes coming out of their body. They are extremely territorial, and hunt either alone or in mated pairs. In combat, they will seek to neutralize any standing threat rather than go in for a quick kill, using their sleep breath to aid in pacifying larger groups. Their poisonous snake heads may allow their silhouettes to be mistaken for displacer beasts, but there is no relation in either ability or genealogy. (Kamadans made their D&D 5e debut in the Tomb of Annihilation adventure, though they have been included in nearly every previous edition.)

The pair that struck at Caduceus and Jester had an established hunting routine, as well as the element of surprise. The initial pounce is the kamadan’s bread and butter; if it can pin its target after leaping from 20 feet away, all of its heads get another round of attacks as a bonus action. Had both clerics been unable to sound the alarm before either falling to their poison or sleep breath, the encounter could have gone much differently. However, once the rest of the Mighty Nein was informed, the feline hunters put up relatively little resistance to a full party assault. Another kamadan appeared after everyone had gone asleep, albeit unable to strike due to the protection of the Tiny Hut.

The kamadan encounters add to the danger and mystique of Urukayxl Island. Combined with the lizardfolk, Yuan-ti, and threat of malaria, the island’s wildlife only adds to the journey to the temple of Uk’otoa (especially with a particularly serpentine flavor).