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Landsharks cut through prairies, topple forests, and only leave devastation in their wake – Lore & History of the Bulette

Read the post and see the Bulette land across the editions on Dump Stat

The Bulette is another creature created from the strange pack of rubber toy figurines that was the inspiration for the owlbear and the rust monster. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable yet terrifying creature in Dungeons & Dragons lore. Whether it’s an oddly french looking name – it’s pronounced boo-lay, not bullet – or the fact that it is an armor-plated, vague dinosaur-looking creature that feels like something from a bad kids show, the Bulette is a creature you think you should be laughing at when it appears. It’s not until you realize that its armor makes the Bulette nearly impenetrable and that it can, and will, eat you, your friends, family, horse, and treasure without a second thought. Hard to laugh when this creature is standing on top of you, its razor-sharp teeth inches from your face.

If you’ve ever had to face one of these creatures, you have Tim Kask to thank for creating this creature at the last minute for a tight deadline.

“The bullette (boo-lay), as it was first called, was the first monster I invented. Why is the more interesting part of the story. I had decided to add a feature to DRAGON that would mean a new monster every issue; problem was, I had to launch an issue early because an ad didn’t come in. I wrote it up very late at night; the nickname “landshark” was a reference to a character that the original Not Ready for Primetime Players had done on Saturday Night Live. I went to Dave Sutherland for an emergency drawing (drawings could be submitted to the printers after the copy was set) and he did a dandy job on almost no notice.”

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OD&D – Bulette

Number Appearing: 1 (90%) -2 (10%)

Armor Class: -2

Move: 14”

Hit Dice: 6-11 (8-sided)

% in Lair: 5%

Magic Resistance: None

Damage/Attack: 4-48/mouth, 3-18/feet

Treasure: None

The Bulette makes its debut in Dragon #1 (June 1975), becoming the first monster the magazine ever published. It’s pronounced boo-lay, and if anyone has a problem with that, Tim Kask is more than happy to explain why you are wrong. Created by Tim Kask, the Bulette is an odd creature that is nicknamed the Landshark, even if it looks nothing like a shark. Instead, it appears as the horrifying combination of the snapping turtle and the armadillo. What little we know of the Bulette is quite limited as no one has ever seen a Bulette that wasn’t fully grown, which makes it rather hard to figure out their ecology. It could be they are incredibly camera-shy, or maybe they are born fully grown, which must be horrific for the mother and anyone dealing with a Bulette infestation.

Now you might be wondering how they got the nickname, the Landshark, and it has nothing to with their looks. Instead, they have a big appetite and will eat pretty much anything, though if they get a choice, they are eating horses and mules. Though, you are lucky if you are a dwarf or an elf as, for whatever reason, they find you disgusting and will avoid eating you. But it’s not just the equine that they are interested in, their favorite meal is humanoid flesh, and this time it isn’t human like every other monster. Instead, they crave the taste of halfling and will attack them even in their homes, digging out the burrows and chomping the tasty bite-sized morsels.

Unlike in future iterations, the Bulette is not a burrowing monster. In fact, the source talks about how they are never found underground, a fact that gives little comfort to the halfling family currently screaming in terror as the Bulette is attempting to dig them out of their underground burrows. Instead, these creatures just lumber across the surface with surprising speed, they are faster than giants, vampires, and most horses. It’s probably for the best they are faster than horses, else they’d never get a favorite snack. Of course, you might look at these walking tanks and think that at least you’ll hear them before they attack, and you’d be dead wrong, emphasis on the dead part. They are almost impossible to surprise, they stalk incredibly silently, and can jump eight feet with blinding speed, which all goes to make a terror-beast who moves across the land as silently as a shark swims through the oceans.

As mentioned before, it takes after two creatures, the snapping turtle and the armadillo. The snapping turtle we get, they are vile and crotchety turtles who attack anything that gets close to them. The armadillo is a bit harder to grasp but apparently, it is because armadillos are known for their speed and digging ability. While we aren’t experts, it seems as if some armadillos can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour, or 48.28 kilometers, so that checks out. Also, armadillos love digging holes in search of tasty insects to devour, so looks like that checks out as well!

In addition to speed, temper tantrums, and burrowing; the Bulette also gets an incredibly hard bone-shell-armor thing. They have a -2 Armor Class, which means that they are harder to hit than dragons, umber hulks, and even grand master monks. Pretty much the only things that have a better armor class are demons though even Orcus only has a -6 AC. They do have two weak spots one should be aware of when attacking them. First, its beady little eyes have a 4 AC, but they are tiny and that’s also where their mouth is so good luck with that. The second place is underneath a hinged section of their back that they raise only in the fiercest battles when they are facing life and death. It makes sense, right? Fighting for your very life seems like exactly the right time to expose your weakest point. Maybe there’s a reason why they are so rare.

 

AD&D – Bulette

Frequency: Very Rare

No. Appearing: 1-2

Armor Class: -2/4/6

Move: 14” (3”)

Hit Dice: 9

% in Lair: Nil

Treasure Type: Nil

No. of Attacks: 3

Damage/Attack: 4-48/3-18/3-18

Special Attacks: 8’ jump

Special Defenses: Nil

Magic Resistance: Standard

Intelligence: Animal

Alignment: Neutral

Size: L (9 1/2' tall, 12'+ long)

Psionic Ability: Nil

The Bulette makes its hardcover debut in the Monster Manual (1977). While there are few changes from the article in Dragon, much of the information is rehashed and expanded upon. This tank of a beast is still known as the Landshark, but now because the crest of a burrowing Bulette will break the surface like the dorsal fin of a shark appearing out of the water. This means that the Bulette can now be found underground when before you’d never find one down there. In addition, the Bulette being the crossbreed of a snapping turtle and an armadillo is cemented as fact because a wizard got a little too excited playing god and even threw in some demon ichor for good measure. There is no information on what happened to this mad wizard, but we can safely assume that if you are playing around with demon ichor, it’s going to end poorly.

Fighting a Bulette still means you’ll be dealing with a creature possessing a -2 AC, unless you can poke it in the eye, or it hurt it so badly that it exposes the area under its bone crest on top of its head. This will only happen, once again, when the fight is going against the poor creature. Though, now it gains a new tactic where it will leap into the air and smash down on a creature.

Typically the Bulette just uses its maw and its front legs to attack, making three attacks each round. If you badly hurt it, or back it into a corner, the Bulette will jump up to 8 feet into the air with amazing speed and grace, creating an awe-inspiring moment of beauty. The jump isn’t especially a problem, but the landing on top of you is. When it lands, it hits a single creature with all four of its feet as it comes crashing down in a whirlwind of death, blood, and hundreds of pounds of muscle and bone. If you aren’t instantly turned into a cloud of red mist, every bone in your body is probably broken.

Only a little bit more information is revealed about the Landshark, but it makes for an impressive monster. They are solitary creatures, and while they do mate, their mates will live in the same territory but not hunt together. We aren’t sure how long they stick together, but we can’t imagine it's for very long. Baby Bulette are still unseen by the world at large, though plenty of younger Bulette have been found and killed, and it seems like they can get quite large with the biggest reaching 11’ feet tall while on all fours. They have bluish-brown heads and hind sections, plates and scales cover the rest of the body in a grayish-blue to grayish-green color, and their natural armor is highly valued as materials for magical shields. When you go to stab them in the eyes, you’ll be lost in their yellow with dark green pupil eyes, until their dully ivory-colored teeth and nails rip you apart, staining them with glistening red blood.

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The Ecology of the Bulette, written by Chris Elliott and Richard Edwards, can be found in Dragon #74 (June 1983), which is a reprint of the article from Dragonlords – Yet Another Fantasy & Sci-Fi Roleplaying Magazine. For a bit of background, Dragonlords was a parody magazine that pokes fun at fantasy games and their monsters. The article tells the story of a hunter hired to kill a rogue albino Bulette, named Mobh Idich. According to the story, the Bulette secretes a slime from its skin that easily allows it to pass through the earth similar to how a transmute rock to mud spell functions, except the Bulette’s slime is much weaker and only works on the surrounding soil touching it. It no longer burrows through the ground but swims gracefully through it. When traveling underground in this way, the Bulette can retract its limbs while it uses its powerful tail to propel it forward at tremendous speed. It gets the name of Landshark because its upper dorsal bone-crest can sometimes rise out of the ground, creating waves in the earth. It also must occasionally breach the surface as it only breathes air, similar to that of a dolphin, which can be quite frightening for those in the vicinity!

The authors also introduce a pseudo-tremorsense-like ability, as the hunter informs the crowd that the Bulette hunts by sensing the vibrations on the ground above it. He captures a kobold and uses it for Bulette bait, a capital offense in our books, and it is effective in drawing the creature to the surface as he forces the kobold to run in circles for hours to attract it. When it emerges, he drops the beast with a single shot from his crossbow, shooting a poison-covered bolt straight down its throat. So much for having to worry about targeting its eyes!

 

2e – Bulette

Climate/Terrain: Temperate/Any terrain

Frequency: Very Rare

Organization: Solitary

Activity Cycle: Any

Diet: Carnivorous

Intelligence: Animal (I)

Treasure: Nil

Alignment: Neutral

No. Appearing: 1-2

Armor Class: -2/4/6

Movement: 14 (3)

Hit Dice: 9

THAC0: 11

No. of Attacks: 3

Damage/Attack: 4-48/3-18/3-18

Special Attacks: 8’ jump

Special Defenses: Nil

Magic Resistance: Nil

Size: L (9 1/2’ tall, 12’ long)

Morale: Steady (11)

XP Value: 4,000

Introduced in the Monstrous Compendium Vol. 2 (1989) and the Monstrous Manual (1993), the Bulette undergoes few changes except to make it even viler. Its origin story about being a crossbreeding experiment between an armadillo and snapping turtle gone terribly wrong is now not believed as fact but merely conjecture. The poor Bulette is also now shunned by all other living creatures, which seems a little mean. Just because the Landshark is aggressively solitary and will eat everything in its territory except elves, and maybe dwarves, doesn't mean that it doesn’t want a friend or two for a snack later.

The Bulette hunts by burrowing under the ground's surface, bursting forth when it senses something moving above it. It doesn’t make a lick of difference to the Bulette what that something might be, for once it senses movement, it will burst forth, leaping up to 8 feet into the air to land on and devour its prey. If you survive this attack, your best bet to strike a mortal blow to the creature is either the eyes or under its bone-fin on top of its head. Of course, its eyes are only each an 8-inch wide target, and it only exposed the bone-fin in times of intense combat, so repeat after us; There is nothing wrong with running away.

If you are looking for a patch of inexpensive land in this hot real estate market, may we suggest looking for a place within the Bulette’s territory? The good news is that there will most likely only be one living in this area as they are normally solitary creatures. They still could have a mate, but since no one has seen a newborn Bulette, let alone an extended family, you should be safe in the knowledge that there is only one around. The bad news is that after your offer is accepted, you should wait until all living creatures in the area have either run away or been consumed. Otherwise, you could find yourself becoming its next meal. As its meal, it will consume you whole, including anything you may be holding or wearing. It may even nibble on any inanimate objects that may be near you, including chests full of treasure, as their motto is eat first and think later, which, coincidentally, is the same motto our dogs have. We recommend keeping an eye on halfling neighborhoods since the Bulette still loves the flesh of those little humanoids but don’t limit yourself as humans, trolls, and even giants will put their homes on the market when a Bulette moves in.

We normally don’t talk about monsters and the many random encounters they make an appearance in, but we can’t pass up on Dungeon #37 (Sept/Oct 1992). It introduces a mutated Bulette in the adventure The White Boar of Kilfay, written by Willie Wash. A wizard, known as Shivnar, is not satisfied with the Bulette, as is it, and decides to experiment on one that he somehow captures. He succeeds in granting the creature the ability to breathe fire, making it one more reason to avoid these creatures at all costs, and it is up to a group of adventurers to help a celestial white boar destroy it before it can wreak devastation across huge swaths of countryside.

If you think the Bulette can’t get worse, wait until you stick your nose into Elminster’s Ecologies (1994). This book is all about the monsters and their ecologies in the Forgotten Realms, and while we typically avoid things like this due to article bloat, we couldn’t keep this fun tidbit to ourselves, and you're welcome. This book provides valuable information about the mating rituals and births of Bulette. To attract a mate, a male will slowly gather up dozens and dozens of corpses of deer and wild boar, ringing its territory with their corpses. They then slowly extract all their bones and then toss them into a large pit where they have dug a ‘nest’. Then, for about a week, the male Bulette slowly grinds and chews the bones until they are nice fine powder and spreads this powder along the bottom of the pit, creating a strange odor that attracts a mate.

Within a month, if a female is interested, they’ll show up to the next, drop to the bottom, where the male launches itself out from the ground, mates, and then runs off, leaving the nest for the female to deal with. After a single day, the female lays about a dozen rock-hard, spine-covered eggs, and by the following morning, the eggs hatch. The female announces the hatching, for reasons we don’t know why, by making an elephant-like trumpeting sound. Once the young are hatched, they immediately jump at their mother and begin trying to kill her. The mother then starts killing them. The hatchlings, and the mother, fight to the death, sometimes the mother wins, but most of the time, the baby Bulettes win and they get to the feast on their dead mother and any dead baby Bulettes. Once they are full, they’ll slowly disperse to go become big, mean Bulettes, repeating this beautiful cycle of life and death all over again.

A Bulette variant known as the Gohlbrorn appears first in Dragon Annual 1 (1996) and is later reprinted in the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume 4 (1998) because what the world needs is an intelligent Bulette. Terrorizing the Underdark, these creatures are smaller than their cousins but with much bigger brains. They travel and hunt in packs, communicating in their guttural language, probably talking about the best way to kill you. No one knows if they can understand other languages, or even speak them, and no one has yet learned to interpret their language, probably because they were eaten too soon.

They are everything the Bulette is, but the opposite of that. They are typically small, highly intelligent, use tactics, and are quite discerning when it comes to who they attack. They even work together in small tribes so that they can ambush creatures in the Underdark, striking fast and hard, then darting back into the soil and earth around them so they can strike again. If you think running away will help, don’t worry because the Gohlbrorn can also spit rocks at you that they store in their gullets for digestion. It doesn’t quite seem fair to the rest of the Underdark that these armored shelled terrors have a ranged attack now, but the place is full of mean and evil creatures, so they probably deserve it. Like most creatures in this realm, the Gohlbrorn fear the illithids and find the svirfneblin annoying, so they don’t usually bother with them. Interestingly, and unlike their Bulette cousins, the Gohlbrorn will seek out the elves of the Underdark, the drow, as they find them a delicious treat.

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There seems to be more information known about Gohlbrorn than the Bulette, and since they are so closely related, we can glean a bit more information. Gohlbrorn, and presumably Bulette, lay eggs but soon allow the young to fend for themselves. There is a high mortality rate among Gohlbrorn young, but we can only assume that the Bulette have a higher rate as the Gohlbrorn watch over their young and travel in packs with the elders minding the children while the adults hunt for food for everyone. Maybe the Bulette could take some notes on child-rearing and their kids won’t turn out to be the literal worst.

 

3e/3.5e – Bulette

Huge Magical Beast

Hit Dice: 9d10+45 (94 hp)

Initiative: +2

Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares), burrow 10 ft.

Armor Class: 22 (–2 size, +2 Dex, +12 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 20

Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+25

Attack: Bite +16 melee (2d8+8)

Full Attack: Bite +16 melee (2d8+8) and 2 claws +10 melee (2d6+4)

Space/Reach: 15 ft./10 ft.

Special Attacks: Leap

Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., lowlight vision, scent, tremorsense 60 ft.

Saves: Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +6

Abilities: Str 27, Dex 15, Con 20, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6

Skills: Jump +18, Listen +9, Spot +3

Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Track, Weapon Focus (bite)

Climate/Terrain: Temperate hills

Organization: Solitary or pair

Challenge Rating: 7

Treasure: None

Alignment: Always neutral

Advancement: 10–16 HD (Huge); 17–27 HD (Gargantuan)

Level Adjustment:

The Bulette first is found in the Monster Manual (2000/2003) and little changes except to bring the terminology up to this edition’s standard. The tremorsense quality is officially now a thing, and the Bulette can sense you moving up to 60 feet instead of just the Dungeon Master deciding the whole world is its tremorsense. The creature is still known for its amazing jumping ability, though the edition doesn’t provide you with how far they can jump, instead, they are given a big bonus to their jump of +18. The height that they can jump is based on what DC they can hit, with a high jump’s DC equal to the number of feet they want to jump up multiplied by 4. This means that, without even trying, a Bulette can jump 4.5 feet up, and if they happen to get a 20 on the d20 roll for a total of a 38, they can jump up to 9.5 feet up, not too shabby for a creature that probably weighs as much as an elephant.

The rest of the information is largely copied over from the previous editions with the most interesting thing being that they are slightly stronger than before. In the 2nd edition, they were worth about 4,000 XP which translates to a rough CR 4 to CR 5 creature. Now, they are a CR 7, slowly pushing themselves to greater extremes of strength, danger, and massive feasts of halfling bodies. Luckily for the Bulette, they are given plenty more chances to shine in this edition… which is unlucky for everyone else.

In the Manual of the Planes (2001), the Bulette gets busy with the Axiomatic template, which is used to create the perfect creatures of law and order, though a creature must first be neutral or lawful in alignment. We aren’t sure that a Bulette could count as neutral, seeing as how they destroy and kill every living creature they come across, but we can’t help but appreciate a Bulette known as the Axiomatic Bulette or the Perfect Landshark. They are the perfect form of the Bulette found on the material plane, with a cleaner, shinier, and somehow even more heroic look to them. They are the first examples of their kind, with those found in the material world only a cheap imitation of their grandeur. In addition to looking like they are cosplaying as Frieza from Dragon Ball Z, they also gain new abilities to destroy their enemies. They can smite chaos, which means they deal additional damage to a single chaotic creature of their choice each day, as well as linked minds which allows them to communicate with others of their kind that are within 300 feet of them. This allows them to avoid being attacked by surprise as they all can communicate with each other, giving each other valuable information on the new piece of prey walking through their territory.

In Dragon #289 (Nov 2001) one of, if not the, greatest Bulette stomps its way across the small island of Tsujoku in the article Thunder & Fire by James Jacobs. The island of Tsujoku is home to the kaiju, colossal monsters whose very steps can cause earthquakes. The greatest and most feared of all of them is the Gareshona, which appears like a Bulette in massive proportions with metallic glistening ridges instead of the bone protrusions of the lesser Bulette. Its armor-plated hide features massive spikes running down its back, its jaw has three rows of gigantic teeth, and it still has a great ability to jump which is just horrifying to imagine a small hill jumping on top of a fighter and the fighter somehow surviving. In addition, it can send forth shockwaves by slamming into the ground, shoot out rays of electricity, and if you somehow deal a fatal blow to Garshona, it explodes in a burst of electrical energy, leveling pretty much everything within a few hundred feet of it.

Our last Bulette comes to us from the Eberron campaign setting in the Five Nations (2005) sourcebook. If you have ever wondered what happens to the mountains of corpses left behind from the massive wars in Eberron, look no further than the Karrnathi Bulette. They are responsible for cleaning the battlefields of the rotting bodies left behind, though it's not a task anyone gave them, they just like a free meal even if it is a bit sickly. They are rather slow by Bulette standards, and in fact, much of their flesh is slowly rotting off of them as many of them carry wretched diseases from eating rotting flesh and dealing with bodies rising to become undead. In fact, they have become so used to eating rotting flesh that when they kill something, they leave it to rot for a few days before they come back to gobble it up, so if you see a pile of bodies slowly rotting, we suggest running before you join in on the pile-up.

 

4e – Bulette

Level 9 Elite Skirmisher

Large natural beast / XP 800

Initiative +7 / Senses Perception +5; darkvision, tremorsense 20

HP 204; Bloodied 102; see also second wind

AC 27; Fortitude 26, Reflex 21, Will 21

Speed 6, burrow 6; see also earth furrow

Action Points 1

Bite (standard; at-will) Before it bites, the bulette can make a standing long jump (as a free action) without provoking opportunity attacks; +14 vs. AC; 2d6 + 7 damage, or 4d6 + 7 damage against a prone target.

Rising Burst (standard; at-will) Close burst 2; the bulette sprays rock and dirt into the air when it rises out of the ground; +13 vs. AC; 1d6 + 7 damage.

Earth Furrow (move; at-will) The bulette moves up to its burrow speed just below the surface of the ground, avoiding opportunity attacks as it passes underneath other creatures’ squares. As it burrows beneath the space of a Medium or smaller creature on the ground, the bulette makes an attack against the creature: +8 vs. Fortitude; on a hit, the target is knocked prone.

Ground Eruption The squares into which a bulette surfaces and the squares it leaves when it burrows underground become difficult terrain.

Second Wind (standard; encounter) ✦ Healing The bulette spends a healing surge and regains 51 hit points. It gains a +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of its next turn.

Alignment Unaligned / Languages

Skills Athletics +16, Endurance +15

Str 24 (11) Dex 13 (+5) Wis 12 (+5) Con 22 (+10) Int 2 (+0) Cha 8 (+3)

This edition brings us the Bulette and the Dire Bulette, both of which can be found in the Monster Manual (2008). This old-school Landshark sees little change to its lore in this edition but gets quite a few extra abilities to more than make up for it. They still burrow beneath the ground, but now their movements beneath the earth can knock creatures prone, which is not exactly the best place to be when they launch themselves out of the ground, spraying rocks everywhere that damages anyone standing, or laying, too close to the eruption. Once they land, they start chomping down on anyone, ripping and tearing through a victim with ease. If you are lucky enough to seriously hurt it, it retreats underground and licks its wounds, judging whether it should return to the fight or find a bit of an easier morsel to devour.

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If you are looking to find one, for whatever reason, you can find them deep below the surface in caverns and underground cysts where they like to relax after a day of eating anything they come across. Though they rarely burrow more than a few dozen feet down, so at least you don’t have to dig too much to reach these creatures who, according to when they were first created in 1975, never go underground.

The Bulette get a new friend in Monster Vault (2010) with the addition of the Young Bulette. As you might expect from such a name, these Bulette are still children and so are not as powerful as a fully grown Bulette. They lack the leaping attack that the Bulette is known for but can rise from the earth and attack creatures at once, kind of like a shark rising from the dark depths of the ocean and biting a poor swimmer as they attempt to reach the safety of the shore. There is also a fun tidbit that we learn about the Bulette in that large-scale combat situations above-ground often attract any nearby Bulette who just can’t resist an opportunity to feed. If the Landshark decides to join the fray, it doesn’t pick sides, but instead, it cuts large swaths from troops from both sides. It’s all a matter of chance of where it will strike in the battle, creating confusion and chaos everywhere as it just obliterates troops. A wise commander may use some battlefield control tactics to maneuver enemy troops into the path of a Bulette to turn the tide of battle, though there is no guarantee on when or where it’ll strike. It’s a strange way to gain victory, and once the opposing troops have all been eliminated, you’ll only have the still hungry Bulette to deal with!

The edition comes with two more Bulette in Dungeon magazine with the first being found in Dungeon #166 (May 2009). In the adventure Throne of the Stone-Skinned King by Logan Bonner, the Scarred Bulette is unleashed. It has been tortured by fomorians and comes with the unique ability to spray tainted blood on its enemies, causing them to become weakened from exposure to it. The next Bulette appears in Dungeon #204 (July 2012) features the Deep Bulette in the adventure The Sword Collector by Michael E. Shae. The Deep Bulette is an ancient creature who is awakened by the death-screams of a balhannoth and is an overpowered Bulette with some serious power behind its bite. We suppose, if we had been slumbering peacefully for years beneath the ground, we’d be angry too when the balhannoth-alarm clock woke us up before we were ready to get up.

 

5e – Bulette

Large monstrosity, unaligned

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)

Hit Points 94 (9d10+45)

Speed 40 ft., burrow 40 ft.

STR 19 (+4) DEX 11 (+0) CON 21 (+5 ) INT 2 (-4) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 5 (-3)

Skills Perception +6

Senses darkvision 60ft., tremorsense 60ft., passive Perception 16

Languages

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Standing Leap. The bulette's long jump is up to 30 feet and its high jump is up to 15 feet, with or without a running start.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 30 (4d12 + 4) piercing damage.

Deadly Leap. If the bulette jumps at least 15 feet as part of its movement, it can then use this action to land on its feet in a space that contains one or more other creatures. Each of those creatures must succeed on a DC 16 Strength or Dexterity saving throw (target's choice) or be knocked prone and take 14 (3d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 14 (3d6 + 4) slashing damage. On a successful save, the creature takes only half the damage, isn't knocked prone, and is pushed 5 feet out of the bulette's space into an unoccupied space of the creature's choice. If no unoccupied space is with in range, the creature instead falls prone in the bulette's space.

The Bulette appears in the Monster Manual (2014) and the great news is that we don’t have to spend the first paragraph complaining that yet another creature is ruined in this edition. While it might not be as powerful as its 3rd or 4th edition cousins, it’s still quite close to the power level of the first few editions, which is something we are willing to look past, this time.

The Bulette burrows through the ground with its strong claws, destroying everything in its way and leaving behind only devastation. Apparently, they don’t quite understand that it’d be easier to change direction slightly while underground, but instead, burrow through tree roots, leave behind sinkholes, and are just generally a nuisance to everyone trying to enjoy a nice day in the forest. They have no lair to speak of, but rather are always on the move, claiming 30 square miles of territory at a time as they eat everything that moves before they drift away. This includes other Bulette, attacking their kind cause they stick to their motto of eat first and think later. If the Bulette gets a choice though, they will avoid elves and dwarves, though might end up killing them before realizing how gross they are, and love the taste of halflings, happily chasing them down across prairies. We can only imagine that they play with their halflings, letting them run a few feet forward before they jump high into the air, crashing down in front of their prey over and over again until the halfling is worn out and just crawls into their mouth for them.

The Landshark is still blessed with tremorsense up to 60 feet and woe to any adventurers that draw its attention. Its jumping ability is now described in terms of length and height, and both are impressive for a creature of its size. The Bulette can long jump up to 30 feet and high jump 15 feet into the air. If it jumps at least 15 feet in a direction, the Bulette can attempt to land on a space occupied by a few creatures, crushing them under its enormous weight. Luckily you get a chance to dodge this sudden cannonball of a creature, but if you aren’t fast enough, you get to find out what it’s like to have a creature the size of Clifford land on your chest.

Sadly, the Bulette has little to do in this edition but does get some action in Princes of the Apocalypse (2015) where they are the mounts for a group of earth cultists who follow Ogrémoch. Their riders, known as Burrowsharks, are magically bound to a Bulette which allows them to remain mounted while the Bulette burrows and gives them the Bulette’s tremorsense while riding it. In addition, a brief mention of the Ghohlbrorn is made in Out of the Abyss (2015) and Dungeon of the Mad Mage (2018), though it is simply to state that Ghohlbrorn is dwarven for Bulette and there is no mention of the small, intelligent Bulette of the second edition. We suppose the world isn’t yet ready for an intelligent Bulette that can plan and launch tactics, that would truly begin the end of the world as we know it.

The Bulette has gone through only a few transformations, from a creature that never goes underground, to creatures that reside there anytime they aren’t attacking a peaceful halfling village. These creatures are the ultimate random encounter monster, as you never know when you’ll see their bone-fin protruding through the surface of the ground, signaling that you are about to meet the jaws of a Landshark.

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