Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) Dragon
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) Dragon

Nidhogg, the tearer of corpses, is the most powerful of the terrifying serpents that gnaws perpetually at the deepest root of the world tree Yggdrasil, hoping to destroy it.

A fearsome creature hundreds of feet long, with a scaly hide so tough no blade can pierce it, though his most peculiar attribute is that he enjoys arguing with anyone who will listen.

Originally Posted by Palindrome of the Dicefreaks forums.

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Gnawer of Yggdrasil, The Devouring Wyrm, The Render of Souls
Symbol: A grey spiralling serpent with the head in the center and the tail at the exterior.
Home Plane: Niflheim
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Portfolio: linnorm, undead
Worshippers: linnorm, necromancers
Cleric Alignment: NE, CE
Domains: Death, Destruction, Evil, Pain

Favored Weapon: Bite

Colossal+ Dragon (Evil, Extraplanar) Virtual Age Category 20
Virtual Divine Rank13
Hit Dice72d12 (outsider) plus 2088 (2952 hp)
Initiative+9 (+1 Dexterity, +8 Superior Initiative)
Speed180ft., burrow 50 ft., Swim 50 ft.
AC101 (-8 size, +13 cosmic, +72 natural, +1 Dexterity, +13 deflection), touch 23, flat-footed 100
Face/Reach15 ft. by 15 ft./10 ft.
Base Attack/Grapple+72/+122
AttacksBite +93 melee and 2 claws +91 melee and tail slap +91 melee or +93 melee touch or +65 ranged touch
Full AttackBite +93/+88 melee (8d6 plus +29 plus +1 (vile)) and 2 claws +91 (4d8 plus +14 plus 3 negative levels (Fort DC 72) plus +1 (vile)) and tail slap +91 (4d8 plus +14 plus +1 (vile)) or +92 melee touch or +65 ranged touch
Special Attacks Ashes to Ashes, Belch, breath weapon (34d10 acid damage, Ref save 71 for half), constrict (4d8 plus +42 plus +1 (vile)), crush (4d6 plus +37), death touch (1/day kills creature with lower than 41d6 hp), Feast of Souls, smite 3/day (+4 Atk, +82 damage), spells, spell-like abilities, tail sweep (2d6 plus +37 plus +1 (vile)), Talons of Unholy Death
Special QualitiesBleak Aura, Blindsight 120 ft., Cosmic Divinity (vDR 13), Cosmic Presence, Cosmic Realm (Hvelgelmir), draconic knowledge +33, immunities (acid, fire), keen senses, Patron Omniscience, Patron Qualities, SR 68
SavesFort+60, Ref +35, Will +49
AbilitiesStrength 68, Dexterity 12, Constitution 68, Intelligence 38, Wisdom 44, Charisma 37
SkillsAppraise +45, Bluff +72, Concentration +104, Decipher Script +49, Diplomacy +22, Intimidate +88, Knowledge (Arcana) +88, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +49, Knowledge (Geography) +49, Knowledge (local-Grey Wastes) +49, Knowledge (nature) +40, Knowledge (religion) +88, Knowledge (the planes) +49, Listen +73, Move Silently +36, Search +83, Sense Motive +62, Spellcraft +94 (+97 scrolls), Spot +91, Survival +37 (+41 avoid getting lost/natural hazards, aboveground, extraplanar, +43 find/follow tracks), Swim +59, Use Magic Device +48 (+52 scrolls)
FeatsDark Speech (B), Draconic Knowledge *, Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Eschew Materials, Extra Smiting, Heighten
, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Improved Initiative, Improved Snatch, Power Attack, Quicken Spell, Rapid Strike (bite), Snatch, Snatch and Swallow *, Tail Constrict*, Vile Natural Attack
Epic FeatsEpic Spellcasting, Expeditious Metamagic, Great Smiting, Ignore Material Components, Improved Spell Capacity (10th-16th) (all bonus), Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Multispell, Superior Initiative, Undead Mastery (B), Zone Of Animation
Climate/TerrainHvelgelmir, (Niflheim)
OrganizationNidhogg plus undead Horde (40-50 Spectres, 20-30 Dread Wraiths, 100-200 Skeletons,100-200 Zombies)
Challenge Rating56
TreasureQuintuple Standard
AlignmentNeutral Evil

Located across the Outer Planes is the great tree, Yggdrasil . As much as it might be possible, planar travellers avoid the roots of Yggdrasil more than almost anywhere else in the planes of festering disease and hopelessness, as located at it’s base are the nine largest linnorm in existence, constantly gnawing on it’s roots.

Far worse is the monstrosity responsible for their creation; for lurking underneath where Yggdrasil first penetrates the befouled and frozen soil of Niflheim is Nidhogg, a sinister and ancient power of death and undying torment to the living as well as the dead, and the greatest linnorm in existence.

Out of all of the cosmic entities related to dragons, Nidhogg’s origins are the most elusive.Nidhogg is so foul that he was cast to the base of Yggdrasil and the offspring that Nidhogg had created rendered sterile so they could no longer propagate their vileness. While this particular theory explains why, as far as anyone can tell, no new linnorm have been born as far back as anyone can remember.

Yet another unanswered question about Nidhogg is why he chose to settle at the base of Yggdrasil and spend eternity gnawing away at it’s base. As most of his most powerful offspring among the linnorm prefer to reside near graveyards, a common speculation is that there is something even older than Nidhogg himself actually dead and buried below Hvelgelmir which attracted first Nidhogg and then Hel. The answer to this question may only be known to both of them, or perhaps the most ancient undead minions that Nidhogg has created and the eldest wyrms that he has fathered.

Nidhogg is accompanied by an army of undead that do his bidding. The army of undead accompanying Nidhogg is truly enormous by virtue of the fact that Nidhogg has had endless millenia to create them, to the point where it is rumored that several novel forms of undead accompany him and defend a hoard said to rival dread Tiamat’s in size and scope. A significant portion of Nidhogg’s army of undead is additionally various incorporeal types (wraiths, spectres, et cetera). Nidhogg, even more than most dragons, is exceptionally paranoid about any free-willed creature approaching his hoard, and so prefers the company of the uncounted undead which he spawns and controls through his vast power.

Nidhogg’s relations with most of the other inhabitants of Niflheim, not surprisingly, are exceedingly poor. Every soul that goes to Nidhogg and is turned into either a petitioner in Hvelgelmir or joins his legions of undead is another soul unsuitable for sale as a larva as far as the Hags in the Grey Wastes are concerned. As a result, it is believed that they have sent various mercenaries to try and frustrate Nidhogg’s plans, allegedly including one or two Altroloths. So far the only response they have recieved for their efforts has been a series of vicious attacks by linnorms against their territories in the Grey Wastes.

Nidhogg is also believed to have, at a minimum, a tenuous alliance with Hel herself, who allegedly sends Nidhogg some portion of the worst souls that she receives as petitioners into his realm as food and future beings to be animated. The servitors of Hel have been responsible for the deaths of many unwise dragon hunters.

Nidhogg’s cosmic realm is Hvelgelmir, an enormous subterranean labyrinth of isles and lakes located below the ground of Niflheim and filled with galleries of wood as hard as rock. These are the roots of Yggdrasil itself. Hvelgelmir is filled with wandering packs of undead, the remains of those that have strayed into Nidhogg’s territory and have been consumed accordingly or those that may have been fed to Nidhogg by Hel. A significant portion of the lakes are additionally filled with fuming acid; as a result, clouds of toxic fumes waft throughout his realm.

One of the limiting factors upon Nidhogg’s sheer destructiveness and malign evil is the difficulties involved in reaching him, or for that matter, him reaching the rest of the Planes. While Hvelgelmir can be entered by those foolish enough to attempt it through several different passageways in the frigid catacombs below Helheim, this also entails passing through the realm of Hel, who does not suffer living visitors gladly. It can also be accessed through Climbing all the way down Yggdrasil, although the ratatosks will attempt to warn and scare off anyone using Yggdrasil for such a purpose once they encounter them, and when that does not succeed, to frustrate their efforts, lest Nidhogg send a relatively small fraction of his army of dead or worse, linnorm, in revenge against intruders.

In turn, as far back as anything can actually remember, Nidhogg has never left Hvelgelmir. Nobody has even found a tunnel large enough to allow him passage, although considering Nidhogg’s magical prowess, this could simply be because he has used spells either cast himself or by the undead which serve him to have it concealed. Certain planar scholars speculate that when Nidhogg actually manages to gnaw completely through Yggdrasil, the treefall will create an opening large enough for him to actually travel through, and even worse, allow him free access to every single plane that Yggdrasil was connected to. This transplanar catastrophe is generally considered to be closely associated with a war between the good-aligned deities on the Prime Material Planes that are familiar with Nidhogg against him, Hel, and their armies of undead.

Nidhogg is so large that the very few beings that have seen him move and survived the experience have described it as watching a slithering range of hills with fangs at one end. Nidhogg is fully 300 feet long, were his body to be extended to full length which it almost never is, and approximately 30 ft. tall. His upper body and foreclaws are completely black and covered in hardened growths where rocks have begun to form on top of his skin, while the scales on his underside are a gray the color of a cloudy sky. Nidhogg lacks wings and rear legs, and instead moves quickly across the ground with a combination of slithering and crawling with his powerful foreclaws, occasionally rearing himself up some 50 feet into the air on his own body mass in order to better examine his surroundings. His scales are harder than most rocks, and are virtually impenetrable to weapons. Nidhogg’s voice when he deigns to speak has been described as rocks grinding each other into dust, and his breath reeks both of the stench of the millions of still-moving corpses he has feasted upon and of his own, acrid venom.

Nidhogg has two foreclaws. His face is a horror to look upon, as the scales around his jaws have rotted and pulled away, revealing interlocking fangs as sharp and long as longswords, and with black acid constantly drooling off of them onto the ground, while his eyes are a solid red without pupil or iris.

In terms of his personality, Nidhogg has no patience with the living. As a result, he will either kill them and then interrogate their dead souls if he thinks they have useful information, or he will kill them, animate them, devour and dissolve them, and then belch them back up in order to add them to his undead hordes.


Nidhogg rarely enters combat for the simple reason that virtually every living creature with a shred of Intelligence, prefers not to disturb him. However, those foolhardy enough to attempt to attack Nidhogg may expect him to use the following tactics.

Nidhogg will almost always attempt to inspire utter, paralyzing fear in those who encounter him using his Cosmic Presence in order to weaken foes. Like most beings with breath weapons, he is extremely adept at distance combat, and is equally adept at keeping his opponents at a distance from him while he uses his Bleak Aura to prevent healing and regeneration and weakens them with his spells in particular harm to do damage and blade barriers and dimensional anchors to prevent their escape. As Nidhogg has the capability to see through the eyes of his created undead and send them messages through various means, he often engineers deathtraps and ambushes from a great distance, or ‘herds’ his prey towards him so he can personally torture them and enslave them using undeath.

Possessions: Details of Nidhogg’s possessions are very difficult to ascertain for clear reasons. However, it can safely be assumed that since he has been hoarding treasure for untold years, as well as collecting the treasure that his minions collect, he has access to virtually any magical item that he could want, as well as at least one major artifacts.

Belch (Sp): Nidhogg may belch forth a small fraction of the undead within his stomach that he is currently digesting, bringing forth one undead creature with a CR of 35 or lower, or three undead with CR 20. Nidhogg may belch six times a day.

Spell-like abilities (Sp):

At will: Angry Ache, animate dead, blasphemy, cause fear, contagion, create undead, death knell, death ward, desecrate, destruction, disintegrate, dispel good, fly, harm, inflict critical wounds, inflict light wounds, inflict light wounds (mass), Liquid Pain, magic circle against good, Pox, protection from good, Sadism, shatter, slay living, Thousand Needles, unholy blight, Wave of Pain, Wrack.

1/day: control undead, darkness, dimension door, enervation, etherealness, polymorph self, speak with dead, spectral hand, vampiric touch, water breathing.

6/day: create greater undead, earthquake, Eternity of Torture, implosion, summon monster IX, (evil creatures only) symbol of pain, unholy aura, wail of the banshee.

Nidhogg casts his spell-like abilities at 72nd level; save DC 24 + spell level. The saving throw DC’s are Charisma-based.

Cosmic Presence (Ex): The physical presence of Nidhogg is so powerful and awe-inspiring that it causes lesser creatures to succumb to his magnificence. All creatures within 1000 feet of Nidhogg must succeed in a Will save 59. Failure indicates that the creature succumbs to an emotion of Nidhogg’s choosing.

Domain Powers: Nidhogg casts evil spells at +1 level; Nidhogg may smite three times a day with a +4 bonus to the attack roll and doing an additional 82 points of damage due to the feats Great Smiting and Extra Smiting; may make a death touch once a day that kills a creature with fewer than 41d6 hit points; once a day may convert damage that he deals in one blow into 41 points of healing for himself.

Patron Qualities (Ex):

  • Nidhogg is immune to fire and acid.
  • Nidhogg possesses cold and electricity resistance 20
  • Damage Reduction: Nidhogg possesses DR 30/epic and mithril and DR 20/good
  • Nidhogg has regeneration 18/cold iron and good
  • SR 68
  • Watchful Eye: Nidhogg can sense anything within one mile around the mentioning of his name, titles, an item of importance to him, or something which triggers its Patron Omniscience ability, for up to one hour after the event. This power is barred from places associated with beings with divine ranks or virtual divine ranks of higher than the Patron.
  • Divine Rank 13: Nidhogg is immune to polymorphing, petrification, or any other attack that alters his form. Nidhogg is not subject to energy drain, ability drain, or ability damage. Nidhogg is immune to mind-affecting effects. Nidhogg is immortal and cannot die from natural causes. Nidhogg does not age, and he does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe. They only way for Nidhogg to die is through special circumstances.
  • For the purpose of gate and similar spells, Nidhogg is treated as a unique creature.

Patron Omniscience (Ex): Nidhogg senses any event that affects linnorms or undead up to 13 weeks in the past.

Breath Weapon (Su): Nidhogg’s breath weapon is an 80 foot long cone of boiling, corrosive acid that does 34d10 points of damage which he may use once every 1d4 rounds. The Ref save for half damage against his breath weapon is 70.

Spells (Sp) (0th-16th level): 6/10/9/9/9/9/7/7/7/7/2/2/2/2/1/1/1 Nidhogg casts spells as a 41st level Cleric. Nidhogg may cast 9 epic spells/day with a maximal Spellcraft DC of 104. Nidhogg may rebuke undead 16/day, with a rebuke/command check of 1d20 + 21 and a check to dispel turning of 2d6 + 52. Saving throws against Nidhogg’s Clerical spells is DC 27 + spell level. The saving throw DC’s are Wisdom-based.

Typical Clerical Spells Chosen:

Swallow Whole (Su): Nidhogg may choose to swallow whole any creature two size categories or more smaller than himself. Beings swallowed whole by Nidhogg take 4d8 points of acid damage, 2 negative levels, and 4d8 points crushing damage each round they remain in Nidhogg’s stomach. However, if they actually die the real torment begins, as any creature that dies through being devoured by Nidhogg is immediately transformed as through the Feast of Souls.

Ashes to Ashes (Su): At all times, Nidhogg possesses the power to bring forth a small prelude of the cataclysm that shall befall existence upon his release. Seven times a day, Nidhogg may lash the ground with his enormous tail, causing the ground within a 1300 foot radius of himself to shake and crack as a baleful gray light erupts, followed by clouds of choking ash and tiny fragments of bone that extend several hundred feet into the air and then fall to the ground.

To be standing on the ground is dangerous enough, as all living creatures risk falling into the defiles and cracks created by this power (treat as an Earthquake), but far worse are the consequences to any living being that inhales the ashes that erupt out of the ground, for they are the fouled remains of the dead. All living creatures within the area affected by Nidhogg’s power must make a Fort save DC 74 or else catch a far more advanced form of linnorm rot, inflicting 1d6 points of Strength damage and 1d3 points of Constitution damage once a round until dead. This dread infection may only be removed by the casting of remove disease by a 31st level or higher good-aligned Cleric.

Bleak Aura (Ex): Those rare beings that have survived encounters with Nidhogg invariably notice that any sources of flame or light around him, whether natural or magical in origin, glow an eerie grey instead of white or yellow. This is the power of Nidhogg’s Bleak Aura. Within a 130 foot radius of Nidhogg, all spells, spell-like abilities, and salient abilities originating from beings of lower Divine Rank than him that use positive energy to heal or repair ability damage or drain automatically fail. Additionally, all beings that enter this radius must make a Fort save DC 56 or else become unable to use fast healing, regeneration, or natural healing for the rest of that entire day.

Feast Of Souls (Ex): The most dreaded power of the Devouring Wyrm is his ability to cause pain and suffering not only to the living, but to the dead to the point where his very name is mentioned to the undead as a threat.

Nidhogg may feast on the soul of any corporeal creature which is dead (whether undead or petitioner) that he manages to swallow. For each HD of a creature feasted upon, Nidhogg recieves a +1 profane bonus to all attacks and saves for an hour. If the source of Nidhogg’s meal was undead, then Nidhogg’s digestive tract utterly annihilates their animated body while leaving their spirit intact, in the process changing them into any type of incorporeal dead of his choosing that has a CR of 13 or less for the base type of undead involved. undead transformed in this manner are also completely loyal to Nidhogg until the end of their days, and the dead may make a Will save DC 59 in order to avoid this horrific fate.

Nidhogg may also control his own undead through the following means:

Destroy: As a standard action, Nidhogg may destroy up to 13 undead creatures which he has created that are within a 130 foot radius of him. Those undead which he opts to destroy explode in a vapor of acid, doing 13d6 points of damage within a 20 foot radius of them, half of which is unholy in nature (Ref save DC 75 for half damage).

Devouring Wyrm’s Voice: Nidhogg may speak through the undead creature which he has created, imbuing them with a tiny fragment of his own horrific power. Nidhogg may also cast one spell of his choice through one particular undead creature once in it’s unlifetime, but to channel his power through such a weak vessel is destructive to the undead involved, and they take one quarter of the damage that the spell that Nidhogg casts through them.

Eyes of the Accursed: Nidhogg may see through the eyes of any undead creature within 13 miles of himself that he has enslaved through his Feast of Souls.

Talons of Unholy Death (Su): Even more so than his offspring, Nidhogg’s talons are weapons of unholy death, infused with the power to absorb life from his victims. As a result, any creature struck by them receives 3 negative levels, with a Fort save DC 74 in order to remove them a day later. For each negative level that Nidhogg inflicts upon his opponents, he heals himself of 10 points of damage. Should Nidhogg manage to successfully grapple an opponent with his claws they continue to receive additional negative levels each round they are successfully held in place.