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Creatures of Theros


Art by Lars Grant-West

Theran giants are an ancient race of towering humanoids born from the land itself. They get their strength from the ancient rocks of the hills, the roots of old-growth trees, the surging waters of great rivers, and even the darkness of echoing caverns.


Art by Min Yum

When a dead person escapes the Underworld, they lose their identity and become one of the faceless Returned. But in this process of severing the physical body from the "soul," an eidolon is also created. An eidolon is the spectral embodiment of the lost identity, but without its body, it has no agency. Unlike the Returned, it has no sense of what it lost. The Returned and its severed eidolon are never reunited, nor are they aware of one another's existence.

While some eidolons forever wander, others linger in a certain place. This "haunt" isn't chosen because of a connection to its former life. More often, it's near a place where a nymph lives. It's believed that eidolons are instinctually drawn to nymphs' magic, like a cub is drawn to the warmth of its mother. The nymphs are usually sympathetic to these creatures.


Art by Phill Simmer

Majestic but fearsome creatures with the bodies of lions and the wings and heads of eagles, griffins are reclusive creatures that live along the borders of Phoberos. They hunt for food in the chaparral, and their keen eyes sense the slightest movement in the scrubland. Wild griffins are ferocious and hunt small humans, killing them with a single blow and carrying them off into their treetop aeries to devour them. Several Meletis hoplites have managed to tame griffins as mounts over the years.


Celestial Archon | Art by Matt Stewart

Archons are a relic of Theros's past, a race of mysterious conquerors who soar on the backs of giant winged bulls. Archons once ruled as overlords of huge expanses of Theros, using armies of other races to triumph over their lands. Archons saw themselves as champions of a strict, merciless justice, and ruled with an iron fist. But the age of the archons came to an end. As the archon overlords were toppled one by one, their holdings became the poleis. Individual archons still roam the world, eager to right what they see as the great wrongs perpetrated in this age of Theros.


Art by Daarken

Sirens are a race of bird-winged humanoids whose enchanting songs and natural illusion magic are the subject of legend. Sirens feed on fish and sea birds primarily; their songs help lure creatures toward them. But sirens feed on humanoid flesh just as happily. The legendary beauty of their song often lures passing sailors, who risk unsafe tides and currents to hear their melodies. Many shipwrecks and drownings are attributed to sirens' songs.


Art by Dan Scott

These monsters are the product of overambitious magecraft—the fusing of essences from three, four, or even five creatures to create a new and dangerous one.

Most of these living amalgams fly, and some breathe fire or possess a deadly gaze or a poisonous bite or sting. Some believe they are the product of Keranos's folly; that he "inspired" a mage with lightning, leaving the mage's mind damaged but impassioned in one stroke. Others believe the secrets to the creation of chimeras come from a long-forgotten polis where magic was wielded too recklessly.


Art by Steve Prescott

Sphinxes are long-lived Theran monsters of dizzying intellect. Sphinxes do not set out to be enigmatic; their abstract thoughts only seem riddle-like to mortal minds.


Shipbreaker Kraken | Art by Jack Wang

Krakens are fearsome, destructive gargantuans of the sea and the most terrifying entities of Theran depths. The arrival of a single determined kraken can spell the end of an entire polis, and even casual actions by a kraken can wipe out fleets of ships or decimate fishing grounds.

Krakens' destructive power comes not only from their immense size, but also because they seem able to breathe air and can crawl on land, meaning they can create swaths of destruction along the coasts or even deeper inland.


Art by Christopher Burdett

A foul, ox-like creature with deadly, toxic breath, the catoblepas is thought to be the result of a curse by the gods. A herder bragged that his livestock was the finest in all of Theros because it had been created by Heliod and Nylea themselves. He grew rich from the lie, and the gods grew angry at the injustice. Heliod convinced Mogis to place a curse on the cattle, transforming them into poisonous, fetid creatures.


Art by Kev Walker

A harpy is a vicious creature with the head of a woman and the wings and legs of a vulture. Harpies are shrieking buzzards of the badlands and the forests that border them, intent on robbing, harassing, and even killing anyone who enters their territory. They tend to avoid attacking adult humans, preferring to injure them and take their belongings. Their aeries are filled with stolen objects they have no use for.


Art by Chris Rahn

It is not known how many gorgons exist. On occasion, mortals attempt to capture a gorgon in order to force her to tell the secret of immortality. These mortals usually end up as statues, petrified by the gorgon's gaze; only the favor of the gods can turn stone back to flesh. Gorgons take delight in dispensing valuable secrets at the cost of deadly risk, and more than one medicinal breakthrough has come from someone surviving a gorgon's test.


Art by Slawomir Maniak

Some souls in the Underworld come to despise their afterlives, growing more and more hateful over time. The most malicious, the ones whose hate reaches the level of true evil, become demons. The transformation occurs quickly, in an incredibly painful vortex of black-mana energy. Once it is complete, the demon can, with great effort and risk, fly back over the Rivers That Ring the World and return to the realm of mortals. Demons that survive the journey use their "second lives" in a variety of ways. Some take up residence in remote places, causing animals to flee the area and plants to blacken and die. Others wander, finding opportunities to torment the living along the way.


Art by Svetlin Velinov

These fearsome creatures roam the mortal-realm side of the Rivers That Ring the World. Each cerberus is at least four feet tall at the shoulder and has two or three heads. The cerberus have paws like half-molten stone, and they leave seared, smoking tracks as they walk. As a result, the land that borders the first of the Rivers That Ring the World is a blackened, smoldering wasteland that's several hundred meters wide. The nature and origins of the cerberus are unknown. They are not creations of the gods, and they are feared by the living and the dead alike. Because of their boundless hunger for meat, especially that of humanoids, cerberus can be lured away from the riverbank, then set loose on an area.


Art by Raymond Swanland

Solitary, belligerent, and relatively stupid, the cyclopes are territorial and feared for their unrelenting aggression and inability to feel pain. Once a cyclops has its eye on you or your village, there's no stopping it. It takes a truly heroic effort to take one down—or a small army of battle-hardened hoplites.


Concept Art by Steve Prescott

These rare creatures live in the far reaches of Theros, beyond leonin lands. A manticore has the body of a lion, a human-like head with many rows of teeth, and a deadly tail. Akroans say each manticore is the reincarnated spirit of a once-great warrior, part of an army slaughtered defending its homeland from archons. The warriors were so full of life and valor that the gods intervened and transformed them into manticores.


Concept Art by Richard Whitters

Phoenixes make their nests within the craters of volcanoes and are therefore associated with Purphoros. A phoenix lays just one egg during its centuries-long life, at the end of which it plunges itself into the volcano near which it lives. On that day, the egg hatches and a new phoenix is born.


Art by Slawomir Maniak

On Theros, dragons range from about the size of a monitor lizard to the size of a small kraken. They rule the skies above the highest mountains of Theros, preying on rocs, griffins, and large animals such as boar. The Akroans revere the majesty of the large dragons and fashion their helm crests to resemble a dragon's dorsal crest.


Art by Wayne Reynolds

Reptilian monsters with a venomous bite and a deadly gaze, basilisks are an unpredictable threat for travelers through remote wilds. They range from a few feet to almost twenty feet long and can move with startling stealth and speed. Despite the dangers in acquiring it, there is a market for basilisk blood. Healers use diluted blood in potions and oracles use it in prophecy rituals. It's said that Pharika hid many secrets in basilisk blood, although most die trying to learn them.


Art by Ryan Pancoast

What krakens are to the sea and dragons are to the sky, hydras are to the land of Theros. These towering, many-headed monsters have rapid regenerative properties and acidic blood. They can withstand countless attacks, and some even grow stronger if wounded but not killed.

Hydras can spend years dormant, but they continue to grow during this time. Great thickets grow over the largest sleeping hydras, hiding them from wanderers. When they awaken, they go on rampages that destroy great swaths of land.