The Thayan's of Faerun and the Draxians of my games have many things in common, and amongst them are some of the spells they favour. I remember reading about Darkenbeasts back in 2nd edition AD&D, whilst reading Red Wizards in 1992, and really liking the idea of them. They have, usually when the groups are dealing with Draxia and its allies, appeared in my games from time to time, and I do believe, at least one character (I suspect either the Lich Gimble Brandersnatch, or the other Lich Memento Mori) got their fleshless fingers on that edition's version of the Create Darkenbeast spell.

Anyway, here we are in 5e, and the PUG are pissing off a group of mages that left Draxia to found their own little pocket of Hell on Arbel in the 2nd Age (around the volcano, that would one day form the foundation for the Port of Scarrathane - which should be familliar to you if you have read any of the Shnecke game reports here). Amongst the many monsters that the group are about to face, are two types of Darkenbeast - the "normal" ones (Shrikes) and an earthbound, melee based version (Drudge). Below are the stats for both....as well as the spell that can be used to make them.


Create Darkenbeast
5th level Trasmutation

Druid, Wizard, Sorcerer

Casting Time: 1 Hour (Ritual)
Range: Touch
Area of Effect: One animal of Intelligence 2 or less
Components: V, S, M (Black pearl worth at least 200gp which is consumed)
Saving Throw: No
Duration: Instant (see below)

This vile spell transforms an animal with an Intelligence score of 2 or less into a Darkenbeast under the caster's conrol. The spell must be completed in an area of near to total darkness, as the monster created is vulnerable to sunlight (see various Darkenbeast statistics for more information).

Once completed, monster is under its creator's telepathic command, as long as it remains within 5 miles of them. The creator can command the creature as a bonus action, and if it is not given a command, it simply attempts to obey the last command given, or does nothing. The caster can, as an action, see through the monster's eyes, gaining the benefits of its sight and senses.

The spell ends if either the monster is transformed by sunlight, it is slain or it moves beyond the master's control. The caster can control one Darkenbeast without any additional efforts. However, if they wish to control more than one at a time, they must use an attunement slot. If they wish to control 5 or more, they must use two. They cannot control more at any one time than their Spellcasting Attribute's bonus, and must still use a bonus action to issue each a command.

At Higher Levels: For each level higher than 5th the spell slot used to cast this spell is, the distance at which the monsters can be cotrolled increases by +1 mile.