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I am trying to come up with a creature that is worshiped by a cult for my character, and because I am not particularly creative, I decided to rip off Team Magma from third generation pokemon.

For those unfamiliar, the cult worships the legendary pokemon Groudon, a giant lizard/dinosaur like creature with abilities centered around fire and lava.
Is there a creature that already exists in 5e that can serve as an equivalent, or do I need to come up with one myself?

Ideally the creature would be able to create land, which would be a motivating factor for worship by the cultists.
Strength would ideally be something strong enough that it would be unlikely to die in combat to PCs or NPCs, however it does not have to be some world ending force of nature that could single-handedly destroy the realm if it desired.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What CR rating are you looking for? How powerful should this be? I've got something in mind, but it's not necessarily Uber powerful. Does the creatures dnd lore matter or is it the form you're looking for? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 26 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have access to the Monster Manual? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 26 at 12:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Let me take another look ... lava breathing, or lava emitting being your desired characteristic? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 26 at 12:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Either would be good, but if I had a preference then breathing would probably make more sense in the context of the cult. \$\endgroup\$ – adickinson Feb 26 at 12:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Groudon is a fairly epic Pokémon. Is this supposed to be a mortal creature that the characters are expected to fight? If, say, a bunch of level 8 PCs took the creature on, would you expect them to just barely defeat it, or get wiped out? \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Veeder Feb 26 at 15:24
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An Ancient Red Dragon.

You won't find a much more archetypal "giant lizard/dinosaur like creature with abilities centered around fire and lava" than a red dragon.

As a lair action, an ancient red dragon can cause a magma eruption:

Magma erupts from a point on the ground the dragon can see within 120 feet of it, creating a 20-foot-high, 5-foot-radius geyser. Each creature in the geyser’s area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

When that magma cools, new land would be created. Through repeated use in the same or close by areas, it could add up to a significant landmass.

In addition,

Small earthquakes are common within 6 miles of the dragon’s lair

These earthquakes could also cause new landmasses to appear out of the ocean.

So you've definitely got the fire and magma theme going, and an (admittedly somewhat contrived) ability to create land. A red dragon technically breathes fire, but it's not a huge leap for the particular red dragon your cult worships to be breathing magma instead. In terms of the game's mechanics, there would be no real difference.

And of course, an ancient red dragon is unlikely to be defeated by any but the most powerful PCs or NPCs.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Duh! I can not believe I missed that :) +1 \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 26 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does have the issue that the lair action only applies within 120 feet of the lair. They can create land, but their reach for same is pretty short. They aren't going to be making acres of the stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Feb 26 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Could always move their lair. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 26 at 16:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden it might not be too much of a stretch to consider all of a big magma field to part of its "lair" that it can expand. Alternatively, to rule that out-of-combat, the dragon can take its time and do a lot more. \$\endgroup\$ – mbrig Feb 26 at 20:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to take some of the lore from 4e Volcanic Dragon and just use 5e Red Dragon stats for simplicity 1d4chan.org/wiki/Catastrophic_Dragon#Volcanic_Dragon \$\endgroup\$ – Artur Biesiadowski Feb 27 at 13:58
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Salamander

This may be what you're looking for. While it doesn't breathe lava, it does have a heated body that deals fire damage if something touches it that could be fluffed to be lava coming out.

Your goals:

  1. Lizard form - Check!
  2. Lava relationship - Check!
  3. Breathe Lava - No check. But the heated body may be a good substitute
  4. Creating land - No literal check, but cultists may not understand what the Salamander is actually doing. If they know that it's moving around in magma, and as the magma hardens it turns to land, they may think there's a connection there.
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What about taking inspiration from a Magma Mephit?

Whilst this isn't quite right, since it's made of magma rather than being a lizard creature and is significantly weaker than what you're looking for, it does give you a starting point to potentially reflavour a creature to fit your own needs.

For example, you could give the Death Burst and Fire Breath traits (scale the damage depending on the CR of the creature you want to add these to) to another creature, such as a Salamander (as per NautArch's answer) or maybe a Giant Lizard or even a T. Rex (if you wanted to keep to a "lizard" aesthetic, although that would need to be tweaked further, such as changing it's type to elemental and giving it immunity to fire, maybe borrowing the Heated Body trait from the Salamander too).

If ever you need a creature which doesn't exist in D&D, but there are similar things that do exist, you can always tweak them or combine them to suit your needs without having to actually come up with a whole new creature yourself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Being made of magma rather than being a lizard creature doesn't have balance issues, so a DM can just reskin their Magma Mephit as looking like a lizard. Sadly, it doesn't have the land creation ability. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Bonner supports Monica Feb 26 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1 Mephits are only challenge rating 1/2. That is going to be remarkably weak for the primary antagonist of an entire adventure. OP specifically asked for a creature that is "strong enough that it would be unlikely to die in combat to PCs or NPCs." \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin I meant it as a basis to homebrew something, not to use as-is. Most of this answer is about taking the flavour of a Magma Mephit and applying it to another, more powerful creature... but whatever, the Adult Red Dragon answer is clearly the correct answer either way. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Feb 26 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ugh, it looks like they changed their mind on the difficulty from what they wrote in comments to what they put in the question. Sorry, NathanS. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 26 at 17:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS Good point, I took my downvote back. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 17:14

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