This armor-plated creature’s toothy maw gapes wide as a fin-like dorsal plate rises between its shoulders.
Speed 40 ft., burrow 20 ft.
Str 23, Dex 15, Con 20, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6
A bulette can perform a special kind of pounce attack by jumping into combat. When a bulette charges, it can make a DC 20 Acrobatics check to jump into the air and land next to its enemies. If it makes the Acrobatics check, it can follow up with four claw attacks against foes in reach, but cannot make a bite attack.
A bulette’s bite is particularly dangerous. It applies 1-1/2 times its Strength modifier to damage inflicted with its bite attack, and threatens a critical hit on a 19–20.
Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art (c) Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games
A common artificial origin has spawned a number of monsters closely related to the bulette. Some of these are simple variations of the base bulette, with mottled skin colors, thicker armor plates, or smaller sizes, while others are distantly related, barely recognizable mutations or experiments.
Leprous Bulette: Bulettes can contract leprosy, usually by eating an infected humanoid, and pass the disease on to any humanoid lucky enough to survive the creature’s attack.
Spiny Bulette: Sages believe this is either a mutation or a new breed created with a hedgehog or porcupine as the base creature rather than an armadillo. Large spines jut from between its armor plates; anyone attacking it with natural attacks or unarmed strikes take 1d6 damage and must make a DC 16 Reflex save or have the quill break off and embed in his flesh. Lodged quills impose a –1 penalty on attacks, saves, and checks per quill. The save DC is Dexterity-based.
Xenarth (Ichor Shark): The most feared bulette mutations are the xenarths. Also called ichor sharks, xenarths are an incredibly rare species of bulette that most believe long vanished from the world. Since the original bulettes were created with infusions of demon ichor, many have long associated them with demons despite the fact that they’re simply magically created beasts. Xenarths, however, are actually demons. At the moment of the creation process when the fused animal parts were combined with demon ichor, xenarths were imbued with an excess of this essence, becoming demonic outsiders, creatures not of the Material Plane. Xenarths are covered in a slimy red ichor that burns like acid when touched and helps propel them through the soil much quicker than the bulette. Xenarths are brutal and even more frightening than their cousins. Bulettes eat to fuel an insatiable hunger—xenarths eat for the pure pleasure of destruction, and have been known to eat, regurgitate, and move on to other food.
Environment temperate hills
Organization solitary or pair
The creation of some unknown arcanist in millennia past, the bulette has bred true to become one of the fiercest predators of the hills. Burrowing rapidly through the earth just beneath the surface, sometimes with its armored fin cutting a distinctive wake behind it, the bulette launches itself free of stone and soil to tear into its prey without remorse, giving rise to the common appellation “landshark.”
Bulettes are notoriously foul-tempered, attacking far larger creatures with no regard for personal safety. Solitary beasts except for the occasional mated pair, they spend most of their time patrolling the perimeters of territories that can stretch up to 30 square miles, hunting game and punishing interlopers with a fury that shakes the hillsides.
Bulettes are perfect eating machines, consuming bones, armor, and even magical items with their powerful jaws and churning stomach acid. Lacking other food, the bulette might gnaw on inanimate objects, yet for unknown reasons no bulette voluntarily consumes elf flesh—a peccadillo many point to as evidence that elven wizardry was involved in its creation. Dwarves are also rarely eaten by the beasts, though the bulette still slaughters members of either race on sight. Halflings, on the other hand, are among the beast’s favorite meals, and no halfling with any sense ventures into bulette country casually.
The bulette is a cunning fighter, surprising foes with its impressive agility. One of its favorite tactics is to charge forward and launch itself into the air in order to drop on its prey with all four razor-sharp claws extended. Folklore claims that the flesh behind the beast’s dorsal crest is particularly tender, and that those willing and able to wait until the fin is raised in the excitement of combat or mating can target it for a killing blow—yet most who have faced the landshark agree that the best way to win a fight with a bulette is to avoid it entirely.
It is commonly believed that the bulette was created by crossing an armadillo with a snapping turtle, infusing the union with demon ichor. While the specifics have long been lost, some researchers have attempted to duplicate the experiment. Their notes state that especially large specimens of each animal are needed, as well as the spells animal growth, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, darkvision, jump, permanency, polymorph, and either barkskin or stoneskin. The animals are placed in a large sealable container, then doused with the ichor from a powerful demon, with stronger demons giving the reaction a greater chance of success. After adding the ichor, the creator seals the container, casts the required spells (alternately, potions of the weaker spells may be mixed with the ichor beforehand), and hopes for success. How reliable the process is remains difficult to determine,as few of those who attempt it are ever heard from again.