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I'm planning an encounter where my players will need to traverse a geyser-fed lake, where the water can range from uncomfortable to boiling, depending on the closeness to the nearest font. I'd like them to have to fight something that lives in these perilous waters (with the constant threat of falling into scalding water), but I am drawing a blank. Most of the monsters associated with heat are more acclimated to fire than boiling water or even highly humid environments.

Is there any published monster that would fit these criteria — aquatic, but able to resist high heat?

I'd prefer something from 5e, but previous editions are acceptable; I can adapt them. Also, I could easily just take any aquatic monster and give it Damage Immunity to fire, or any monster with Damage Immunity to fire and give aquatic adaptation. I'm looking for something that already thematically fits. Further, although extraplanar monsters are OK, I would prefer a "natural" or Prime Material Plane threat.

I know I could just give immunity to any existing 5e monster. That's simple to do, but I'd rather mechanically convert a thematically correct existing monster from a different edition than just make a boil-resistant hill giant.

My players are 5 characters of 7-8 level, but again, I can adjust.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joshua "although extraplanar monsters are OK, I would prefer a "natural" or Prime Material Plane threat." \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Feb 2 '17 at 23:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not posting small or incomplete answers. Prior comments containing answers have been removed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 3 '17 at 0:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Voting to Close as a shopping question. I could see it work if you rephrased it like "how do I know if I can use a monster in this way...?" \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Feb 3 '17 at 2:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ An important question! In good company with will a monster blend? ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Lexible Feb 7 '17 at 19:30

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Firenewts. Volo's Guide to Monsters, page 142. They're amphibious, live in areas of hot springs and volcanic activity, are immune to fire damage, and are CR ½.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Lots of great answers, but I think this is the best one. They are expressly built for this environment, natural to the PM plane, and can be pumped up enough in number to be a credible threat (especially since enough of them might tip the boat or pull it toward hotter water. As a bonus, they are intelligent, so they can be bargained with or bribed. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Feb 3 '17 at 15:10
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I would go with a Dragon Turtle or many Steam Mephits.

Both of these monsters are implied to live in such conditions, like Dragon Turtles breath a steam breath, or Steam Mephits consist mostly of steam.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Back in the Planescape Setting, Steam Mephits were explicitly native to the quasielemental Plane of Steam, which was adjacent to the elemental Plane of Water, so steam was literally their native environment. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 2 '17 at 20:54
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Like Jared said, a Dragon Turtle would be a good fit.

A Water Weird is another option - They're nice variety of Water Elemental, who come with Resistance to Fire. CR is only 3, so you'd have to adjust up a fair bit.

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Literally any monster immune to fire is also immune to "heat" as stated in the DMG for environmental hazards. This means you can find any monster immune to fire and put it in a spring. Technically this would extend to resistance as well arguably since it is an environmental thing.

Then if you are worried about drowning simply applying amphibious traits to it solves that issue. Reskinning is a long standing tradition where a great many of our monsters spring... grippli was just a reskinned grig if I recall correctly.

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Any ooze or jelly would fit well with the boiling water theme.

After all, what is worse than acid spray from a monster? Boiling acid spray!

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There are any number of hyperthermophiles that hang around hydrothermal vents in the real world. Giant tube worms, crabs, snails, shrimp, fish, eels... Take any of the normal versions from the Monster Manuals and declare it a hyperthermophile.

Tell your party they encounter "a cluster of 8 foot long tube worms living in nearly boiling hot water snaking out of their long shells at you to feed" and watch the fun!

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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't appear to be offering a “published monster that would fit these criteria”. Anyone can come up with ideas off the top of their head, so when an off-target answer is offered, we look for how well it justifies going off-target. Could you edit this to explain why this is the best possible answer even though it's not what the question is asking about? Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 3 '17 at 0:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I don't think it's the best possible answer, whatever best might mean, just a good idea to play around with. The OP asked for a "natural threat" and a "thematically correct existing monster" and something "to fight something that lives in these perilous waters". Hyperthermophile giant crabs sound like just the thing! Use the existing Giant Crab and other aquatic fauna that already exist, or adapt any number of worms. It's not fire resistant or anything like that, it can just live in near-boiling water. \$\endgroup\$ – Schwern Feb 3 '17 at 0:41
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Just as an alternate answer as food for thought, perhaps something that can fly? If you define aquatic as relating to water then something that lives by the water and requires it for all of its food source may be accepted. Something like a kingfisher lives nearby and scours the lake looking to grab floating fish off the surface that were accidentally cooked would potentially work as well. Since it's D&D, you have to make it a giant kingfisher of course. You can make its base stats from one of the birds in the MM and then apply the rules for making things giant.

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If you have access to the famous White Plume Mountain module (they may have re-released it in the Tales from the Yawning Portal 5e book), I do recall that there was an encounter involving a steam bubble hazard combined with a huge crab monster.

Refer to Wikipedia Summary (paragraph 4).

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Salamanders, the original amphibious kind, were associated with fire and heat and poison. They would make an excellent monster in scalding water.

The problem is that the name is already associated with a scaly fire snakepeople who wield spears in DnD.

I would generate a gigantic salamander who could lurk and menace the heroes, that behaved more like a gigantic crocodile, but with the abilities of Salamanders and Firenewts. It could bite off pieces of a flimsy rowboat and when people think they're free of it have it rampage onto land.

Make sure to give it damage immunity to fire and then you can play around with its other abilities. You could have the Monsterous Manual Salamanders and Firenewts accompany it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't appear to be offering a “published monster that would fit these criteria”. Anyone can come up with ideas off the top of their head, so when an off-target answer is offered, we look for how well it justifies going off-target. Could you edit this to explain why this is the best possible answer even though it's not what the question is asking about? Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 3 '17 at 0:07
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Currently don't have access to my books but is a pyrohydra still available in the 5e MM? If not, just add fire resistance/immunity to a hydra and give it a red/gold dragon's breath weapon and you're ready to go. (Don't know the CR by heart either but as you said, you can adjust.)

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