The Aboleth 5e is pretty Lovecraftian for a D&D creature. It’s an enormous primordial being whose power over mortals was stolen by the gods, and its expansive mind is filled with as much psychic poison as its disease-ridden tentacles. No one truly knows what the Aboleths are planning in the deep murky waters where they make their lairs. And given how deadly they can be, most don’t want to find out.
If you do want to learn more about the DnD Aboleth, you’ll find all you need to know below. Dungeon Masters can then add Aboleths to their DnD monsters repertoire. If you’re after more player details, though, be sure to check out our DnD races and DnD classes guide while you’re here. We can even help you pick the best DnD character creator.
For now, let’s head below the surface. Here’s everything you need to know about Aboleths in 5e:
What is an Aboleth?
An Aboleth is an aberration that looks like all of the worst sea creatures imaginable spliced together. They have long tentacles and an eel-like body. Their mouths, much like the lamprey, are round and filled with rows of sharp teeth. Oh, and did we mention they’re big? You won’t get hold of these creatures with a fishing rod.
Long ago, Aboleths ruled over the mortal realm of D&D with god-like power. Then the actual DnD gods turned up and took over. As you’d expect, the Aboleths are still pretty bitter about it. Aboleths have long memories, and they can technically live forever, their bodies rebuilding in the Elemental Plane of water if they’re slain. That’s a long time to hold a grudge.
D&D Aboleth stats
|Challenge rating||10 (5,900xp)|
An Aboleth can breathe both air and water, but it’s more at home in the depths. For example, it moves fastest when swimming, with a swim speed of 40ft compared to its ambling 10ft walking speed. An Aboleth can also surround itself with a mucous cloud while underwater (gross). If you’re touched by the Aboleth that released this slimy mist, you could contract a disease that only lets you breathe underwater.
This beastie has 120ft of darkvision, a telepathy range of 120ft, and a passive perception of 20. Being telepathic comes with extra perks, as an Aboleth can learn the deepest desires of a creature it communicates with in this way.
An Aboleth’s tail does regular bludgeoning damage, but its tentacles have a nasty extra surprise – another disease. This one turns your skin slimy, and you won’t be able to regain hit points unless you’re underwater. In fact, you’ll take acid damage for every ten minutes you’re on land unless someone moisturises you regularly.
This slimeball also has the (thankfully limited) ability to charm its foes and render them powerless against it. Any charmed creature is then susceptible to its psychic drain, which takes 10 (3d6) psychic damage and gives those hit points back to the Aboleth.
Aboleth lair actions
An Aboleth’s powers are so potent that its mere presence has an impact on the surrounding environment. Underground surfaces within a mile of its lair are perpetually wet and slimy (in rules’ terms, that’s difficult terrain). Additionally, all water sources within the same radius are stagnant and undrinkable.
Aboleths can also create illusions of themselves within the same range, and it remains as long as the creature can maintain concentration. It moves, senses, and speaks as its original caster does, and it only disappears once it takes damage.
As soon as you’re within 90ft of the lair, you’re at risk of an Aboleth attack. These beasts can deal 7 psychic damage to any creature it sees in water that’s within range. Even being near water puts you in danger; an Aboleth can knock opponents prone or pull them into the water at the same range with a lair action.
They can also cast Phantasmal Force without components on any number of creatures within 60ft. You can avoid being affected with a successful saving throw or some other form of immunity.