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I wanted to put a Boggart into my 5e game, similar to a Boggart from the Harry Potter franchise. For those who don't know, it's a magical shape-shifting creature that can transform into the worst fear of whom ever looks upon it.

A point of contention I have is what type of creature should it be? Undead? Aberration? Construct? And, what Challenge Rating should the creature be? (I'm think about putting it at around 5-7). Also, if it is unbalanced in some way, how can I make it balanced? Anyway, here it is...

Boggart

medium aberration, neutral evil

Armor Class 13

Hit Points 67 (9d8+27)

Speed 0 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover, only when unseen)

STR 6 (-2) DEX 16 (+3) CON 16 (+3) INT 12 (+1) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 15 (+2)

Damage Immunities Necrotic, Poison

Damage Vulnerabilities Radiant

Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Prone,

Languages Can understand deep speech but doesn't speak it

Incorporeal Detection When a Boggart is not being directly observed it is considered invisible, specifically when it comes to divination based spells. It is also immune to magics that can read its mind.

Shapechange Weakness Unlike other shapeshifters, the boggart is susceptible to transmutation spells like polymorph. If the boggart is transformed against its will into something the creature does not fear it is unable to use Terrifying Apperance.

Terrifying Appearance When a creature looks at a Boggart, the Boggart must use its reaction to immediately cast True-Polymorph on itself to transform into whatever the viewers worst fear is. The viewer must make a Wisdom Saving Throw (DC 15) or be frightened by the Bogart while it remains within line of sight. A creature can remake the saving throw at the end of their turn if they are not within line of sight, or if they willingly enact the blindness condition in some manner. It will take on all game statistics of its new form but it retains its original health. If the viewers worst fear is an inanimate object the boggart will transform into an animated version of that object as if under the Animate Objects spell. If multiple creature are observing it or if the creature has multiple worst fears, the boggart will cycle through them at random after each turn. Anytime the boggart is not in the form of whatever the viewer fears most, the viewer automatically succeeds the saving throw against being frightened.

My idea is to have Polymorph be the equivalent of Riddikulus, Is this a good idea or should I create a home-brew spell specifically for that purpose?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you been through the Creating a Monster section of the DMG to determine for yourself what the CR would be? Cam you give us an idea of why that wasn't helpful and/or what you find confusing? Also, in regards to the very bottom of your question: whether something is a good idea or whether you should do something is subjective and not something this site is built to handle so I would suggest removing that from the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Aug 3 '18 at 6:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey I'll go over it again in case I missed something, but I don't know how to interpret the transformation element of the creature into CR. \$\endgroup\$ – Youjay Aug 3 '18 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tiggerous What I ment by that was I have CR 5-7 inmind as a general range when I was creating the creature, but if the creature is a perfect CR 10 or something like that I would be fine with it so long as its pointed out and explained. \$\endgroup\$ – Youjay Aug 3 '18 at 7:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then maybe you should ask about that (if that's your real problem) instead of asking us to determine whether an incomplete-ish monster is balanced. Or at the very least show the effort you've put into researching this problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Aug 3 '18 at 7:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does it only use its own stat block against blind creatures? On which circumstances would its actual stats be relevant? \$\endgroup\$ – LordHieros Aug 3 '18 at 7:04
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Not balanced by a long shot

There's nothing inherently unbalanced about its other features --- damage and condition immunities are normal at all challenge ratings --- but Terrifying Appearance is asking for trouble. Picture a party where the PCs' worst fears are Kraken, Dragons, Beholders and Pit Fiends. Contrast with a party whose members fear kittens, maggots, bats and mustard. The first party is likely to be obliterated by the Boggart, while the second is likely to suffer little more than one party member being frightened at a time. Savvy players will metagame by choosing fears they know they can simply bash their ways through, and the rest... well, this'd punish them for not metagaming.

Emulating the Boggart from Harry Potter in DnD is about more than just making the stat block for it, because its way of hurting people is not represented in DnD. Molly Weasley's Boggart turns into the corpses of her children and this deeply unsettles her, beyond the Frightened condition which is an inconvenience at best.

To get closer to emulating the Boggart's long-term stress inducing effect, you might want to adapt the Fear and Horror mechanics from Dungeon Master's Guide (page 266 onwards, DnDBeyond link).

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    \$\begingroup\$ The explicit mechanical effect that the proposed boggart tries to have is very close to the spells Phantasmal Force, and Phantasmal Killer. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 3 '18 at 14:24
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No

And it doesn't even matter what CR you give the creature, because it will never be balanced in the way you're setting it up. You're essentially giving players full control over the CR of this creature, due to its Terrifying Appearance property.

Player 1: "Yeah, my character is really scared of squirrels."

DM: "Ehm... okay, it turns into a CR 0 squirrel I guess."

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