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Multiple angry snake-like heads rise from the sleek, serpentine body of this terrifying monster.

Hydra CR 4

XP 1,200
N Huge magical beast
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +10


AC 15, touch 9, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +6 natural, –2 size)
hp 47 (5d10+20); fast healing 5
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +3


Speed 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee 5 bites +6 (1d8+3)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks pounce


Str 17, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 9
Base Atk +5; CMB +10; CMD 21 (can't be tripped)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Perception +10, Swim +11; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
SQ hydra traits, regenerate head


Fast Healing (Ex)

A hydra's fast healing ability is equal to its current number of heads (minimum fast healing 5). This fast healing applies only to damage inflicted on the hydra's body.

Hydra Traits (Ex)

A hydra can be killed by severing all of its heads or slaying its body. Any attack that is not an attempt to sever a head affects the body, including area attacks or attacks that cause piercing or bludgeoning damage. To sever a head, an opponent must make a sunder attempt with a slashing weapon targeting a head. A head is considered a separate weapon with hardness 0 and hit points equal to the hydra's HD. To sever a head, an opponent must inflict enough damage to reduce the head's hit points to 0 or less. Severing a head deals damage to the hydra's body equal to the hydra's current HD. A hydra can't attack with a severed head, but takes no other penalties.

Regenerate Head (Ex)

When a hydra's head is destroyed, two heads regrow in 1d4 rounds. A hydra cannot have more than twice its original number of heads at any one time. To prevent new heads from growing, at least 5 points of acid or fire damage must be dealt to the stump (a touch attack to hit) before they appear. Acid or fire damage from area attacks can affect stumps and the body simultaneously. A hydra doesn't die from losing its heads until all are cut off and the stumps seared by acid or fire.

Hydra art by Raynaldo Perez. Used with permission.
Cryohydra (+2 CR): The cryohydra lives in cold marshes or on glaciers and breaths frost.
Pyrohydra (+2 CR): The pyrohydra prefers deserts or volcanic mountains and breathes fire.
Other hydra variants are easy to create by adding thematically appropriate special abilities, such as all-around vision, pull, or rend (requiring two bites), or by extending the hydra's reach in creative ways, such as allowing it to ignore partial cover or allowing heads to provide flanking for each other, increasing its CR by +1 for every two such abilities added (minimum CR +1). Thanks to their naturally diverse nature and the foul experimentations of wizards, Hydras already have numerous variants throughout the world.
Schism Hydra (+0 CR): A schism Hydra possesses only three heads (but still has 5 Hit Dice), and its unique makeup makes it more akin to an ooze-like creature than a serpent-its body is capable of splitting into two identical copies. A schism Hydra does not possess the rules for sundering or regenerating heads, and instead gains the split (piercing or slashing, 9 hp) defensive ability. After combat, a schism hydra's strongest remaining body swallows the others in order to heal itself. A schism hydra's split ability is not affected by acid or fire as a normal hydra's is, and the only way to stop it is to drive it below the specified number of hit points.
Warden Hydra (+2 CR): Warden Hydras are guardians of cultic sites and great treasures, either trained to protect such areas or simply drawn to the mystical energies therein. Their keen senses give them blindsense 60 feet and Blind-Fight as a bonus feat, and they automatically disbelieve illusions. Warden Hydras also have all-around vision and a racial bonus on Perception checks equal to their number of heads (rather than +2). A warden Hydra gains a +4 bonus to its Dexterity. Mind-affecting effects do not affect a warden Hydra unless they can affect as many targets as the Hydra has heads.
Grave Hydra (+3 CR): These vile Hydras are the result of dark wizardry, imbued with necromantic energies that fill them with hatred and taint them with evil. A grave Hydra has an alignment of neutral evil, possesses negative energy affinity and DR 5/magic, and has an unnatural aura of 30 feet. In addition, a creature struck by a grave hydra's bite attack must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the hydra's Hit Dice + the hydra's Con modifier) or take 1 point of Constitution damage.
Miasma Hydra (+9 CR): These powerful Hydras are found only in the most polluted or dangerous swamps. They have four legs and 12 heads, and their blood flows with a burning toxin.

Dhirgiska is an example miasma hydra.