Thunderbird (Spheres)

Climate, Thunderbird (spheres) (CR 15)

XP 38,400
N Huge magical beast (climate)
Init +14; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, mistsight; Perception +28


AC 27, touch 18, flat-footed 17 (+10 Dex, +9 natural, -2 size)
hp 189 (17d10+104)
Fort +16, Ref +20, Will +19; +4 vs. lightning strikes
Defensive Abilities improved evasion, mist form (40% concealment vs. attacks); DR 10/bludgeoning; Immune ability damage, ability drain, electricity, poison, weather (Precipitation, Storm, Wind); Resist fire 25


Speed 35 ft., fly 105 ft. (good)
Melee 2 talons +29 (1d8+10 plus 4d4 electricity), 2 wings +24 (1d8+7 plus 4d4 electricity)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Special Attacks attuned mantles (severity 6), shape the skies, skylord’s wrath (vertical lightning bolt, 16d6 electricity to target and 8d6 within 30 ft., deafened, Ref DC 26, usable every 1d4+1 rounds)

  • Borne Aloft (mantle, wind); 80 ft. fly speed with poor maneuverability
  • Fluidity (mantle, precipitation); +11 Escape Artist, one size smaller for squeezing, +5 ft. reach
  • Lightning Rod (mantle, storm); +4d4 electricity damage with weapon attacks; +4 on saving throws vs. lightning strikes
  • Mist Form (mantle, precipitation); 40% concealment vs. weapons; stacks with concealment in fog
  • Sodden (mantle, precipitation); resist fire 25, can put out Huge fires with a touch, +5 damage vs. fire subtype
  • This Sparks Joy (mantle, storm); +4 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls and Will saving throws
  • Whispering Winds (mantle, wind); can whisper and hear others under mantle
  • Wind Tunnel (mantle, wind); ranged attacks take no penalties due to wind and gain a +3 bonus on attack rolls
  • Zephyr’s Flight (mantle, wind); increase all movement modes by +25 ft.


Str 22, Dex 31, Con 23, Int 14, Wis 27, Cha 15
Base Atk +17; CMB +25; CMD +45
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Finesse, Wingover
Skills Diplomacy +19, Escape Artist +21, Fly +30, Knowledge (nature) +19, Perception +28
Languages Auran, Common
SQ shape the skies, skylord’s wrath, thunderbird’s blessing, weather attunement (Precipitation, Storm, Wind), weather warden

Special Abilities

Shape the Skies (Su)

As a full-round action, a thunderbird can change the weather. This functions as the Weather sphere control weather sphere effect in a 2-mile radius, except the thunderbird can change any number of weather severities and the changes immediately (maximum severity 6). This is an instantaneous effect which can alter natural weather conditions (such as calming a natural rainstorm or changing a hot desert into a thunderous typhoon in an instant).

The area’s natural weather returns to its normal, forecasted weather patterns in 3d4 days.

In addition, this ability allows the thunderbird to dispel other magical, weather-altering effects and stymie further attempts to. When the thunderbird uses this ability to change the weather, it can also attempt a magic skill check against any number of magical, weather-altering effects in a 2-mile radius. A successful check dispels that weather-altering effect. The thunderbird uses its Hit Dice as its magic skill bonus when attempting this check (1d20 + 17 against the magic effect’s MSD). The affected area is considered to be under the thunderbird’s magic for 1 hour, as though the thunderbird were concentrating on a Weather sphere control weather sphere effect. Any attempts to control the weather require a successful magic skill check against MSD 28.

Skylord’s Wrath (Su)

As a standard action, a thunderbird can call down a massive bolt of lightning, conjuring it from a nearby cloud or from its own feathers. This bolt strikes down at a chosen square in a vertical line (like a bolt of lightning).

A creature in the chosen square takes 16d6 electricity damage and any creatures within 30 feet of the chosen square take 8d6 electricity damage. Any creature damaged by this ability is deafened for 1 minute. A DC 26 Reflex save halves this damage and negates the deafened condition. The save DC is Wisdom-based. A thunderbird must wait 1d4+1 rounds between uses of this ability.

Thunderbird’s Blessing (Su)

Once per day as a full-round action, a thunderbird may touch a willing creature, granting boons. The thunderbird chooses one (mantle) from its attuned mantles ability. The target gains the chosen (mantle) plus the Whispering Winds (mantle) as constant supernatural effects, treating the minimum severity for those (mantles) as severity 4. A single creature may not have more than one thunderbird’s blessing at a time. This effect can be removed by a break curse spell or Life sphere Break Enchantment sphere effect, with a MSD equal to 11 + the thunderbird’s Hit Dice (MSD 28). The thunderbird can revoke this blessing as a free action, and if it does, may choose to immediately target the previously blessed creature with its skylord’s wrath ability (even if the target would be indoors or normally safe from such an attack).

Weather Warden (Su)

The thunderbird can use its Knowledge (nature) bonus in place of Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft when attempting checks about magical weather.

In addition, the thunderbird is automatically aware of the location of each magical, weather-altering effect in a 2-mile radius (such as the Weather sphere control weather sphere effect or control weather spell). The thunderbird can attempt Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft checks to identify any effect it is made aware of through this ability, and a successful check informs the thunderbird of the intent and precise effects of that magical, weather-altering effect. Thunderbirds are rarely concerned for minor weather adjustments, especially those it can tell are meant to aid with agriculture or ease a drought.


Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

This enormous bird appears to carry rain and thunder itself across its impressive wingspan, each beat of its wings carrying the sound of thunder.

Thunderbirds are exceedingly rare, long-lived massive birds which control and manipulate the skies themselves, bringing with them good and bad weather alike. Few thunderbirds exist in recorded history, and some rumors even suggest that only a single thunderbird exists at a time. Thunderbird nesting habits vary by region, some legends even saying they live in the clouds above the tallest mountains themselves. Thunderbirds are otherwise aloof and mysterious to the conflicts of those on the ground, but are known to show great acts of kindness, especially to those who rely on the good weather to survive.

The thunderbird possesses powerful weather-altering power which it uses to calm the skies and maintain normal weather patterns, rarely using this power to destroy or cause harm. Despite wielding such power itself, a thunderbird is a staunch oppositionist to those with weather-altering magics, seeing such power as a perversion of nature.

The only known enemy of the thunderbird is the great white owl, a being of similar origins which is said to usher winter, where the thunderbird ushers summer. The clashes of power between these two creatures are said to cause the transition seasons of spring and fall, as their opposing powers wane and wax.

The thunderbird is revered as a minor deity by agricultural communities as a guardian of the growing seasons, its presence ushering growth during spring and extending the summer from the transition to winter, allowing for great autumnal harvests. While not deific in their own right, thunderbirds are often courted by deities of nature who recognize the thunderbird’s power and influence to serve as their heralds or champions. When a thunderbird serves a deity, its alignment is changed to match that deity’s (the sample thunderbird is not in service to any particular entity).

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Spheres Bestiary: Magical Beasts and Climactic Encounters, © 2021, Drop Dead Studios; Author: Steven Alpert.

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