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The first people to use the Scarecrow were the Egyptians, as they used them to protect wheat fields from the fearsome and evil quails that would devour their crops. These Scarecrows aren’t the typical man shape horror we all know, but rather were traps, as the farmers would put our a wooden frame covered with a net in the fields, then herd the quails into the nets.
After the Egyptians, we have the Greeks, who carved Scarecrows from woods, painted them purple, armed them with a club and a sickle, and placed them in the fields to scare away birds. The club symbolized protection and was meant to scare away the birds while the sickle was meant to represent a prosperous harvest. These Scarecrows were made to look like the Priapus, the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, who apparently was ugly as sin. Hera cursed poor Priapus with impotence, ugliness, and foul-mindedness while he was still in Aphrodite's womb because she was pissed that the hero Paris judged Aphrodite more beautiful than her, and this was her revenge. Greek gods were jerks.
Around the same time period, Japanese farmers began to use Scarecrows to protect their rice fields. These Scarecrows were known as Kakashi and were outfitted with a raincoat and a round straw hat, and instead of a club and sickle, the Kakashi wielded a bow. The Japanese book Kojiki (ca. 711 CE)
tells the story of Kuebiko, a scarecrow that is actually a god. Unfortunately for Kuebiko, he cannot walk or move, trapped to forever stand in the fields and watch the world go by.
Traveling forward in time, and across the ocean, Scarecrows have a rich history amongst the cultures originally living in North America and those that immigrated here. Various Native American tribes used scarecrows to protect their fields, many times taking on an adult male's appearance. The Zuni tribe was known to have a contest to see who could make the most frightening scarecrow. The pilgrims of the northeast were known to use scarecrows created out of both straw and wood. German immigrants built scarecrows called “bootzamon,” a term we know today as the bogeyman. These scarecrows are what many people envision when they think of a scarecrow, as their attire consisted of old farmer’s clothes with a red handkerchief tied around the neck.
Modern popular culture is littered with Scarecrows. The most famous of all the Scarecrows is our straw-stuffed friend from the Wizard of Oz
, who only wants a brain. One of Batman's original enemies, the Scarecrow, was introduced as a villain and enemy of the caped crusader in 1941. Marvel Comics even got into the act with its own version of the Scarecrow, who has done battle with everyone from Ironman to Wolverine to Ghost Rider. There was the godawful movie Scarecrow (2013)
, where a group of teens is terrorized by, you guessed it, Scarecrow. Now, let’s expore the rich history of the Scarecrow in Dungeons & Dragons
… well, rich is probably stretching it a bit.
AD&D - Scarecrow
Frequency: Very rare
No. Appearing: 1-6
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 5
% in Lair: Nil
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: 1-6 plus special
Special Attacks: Charm
Special Defenses: Nil
Magic Resistance: Standard
Alignment: Evil (lawful, neutral, chaotic)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Level/XP Value: IV/165+5 per hit point
The Scarecrow is introduced in the Fiend Folio (1981)
and is essentially a regular old Scarecrow that someone with ill-intent enchants not only to scare you but quite possibly to kill you. No two Scarecrow are alike, as various materials will be used to create them, ranging from wood, straw, and vegetables though they will always appear evil. The creation of such a creature is not as simple as stuffing a shirt full of straw and sticking on a pumpkin as a head, however.
Construction time takes up to three weeks and requires some magic to get everything going, a simple farmer can’t just make their sentient Scarecrows to attack their rival’s farm. There are two ways to bring your creation to life. First, you could employ a high-level cleric to cast animate object
, and command
on it. While the building materials for the Scarecrow are only a gold piece per hit point, we don’t imagine hiring a cleric to cast a 6th-, 5th-, 3rd-, and 1st-level spell comes cheap. Your second option is to use a special manual. The creature description is extremely vague about what this tome of Scarecrow creation is, but we are confident it’s not a book you can check out of the local library.
Now that you’ve built and animated your Scarecrow, it will serve you and only you to the extent that a creature with straw for brains can. Any orders given are followed to the letter, but you’ll need to keep them simple. If the Scarecrow is required to think independently, it won’t understand the command and will just stand there unable to do anything.
A creature that will do your bidding is awesome, especially when they come so cheap! You can ‘purchase’ your very own Scarecrow at only 5 gp to 40 gp, which is a great deal, especially when you learn what specifically makes a Scarecrow dangerous. For a creature that has no brain or measurable Intelligence, it’s a bit ironic that only intelligent creatures are affected by its super ability of charming creatures. If you lock eyes with the Scarecrow, and fail your saving throw against magic, you are charmed - and not because you found your Prince Charming. You just stand there, jaw agape, unwilling and unable to do anything as it begins tearing you apart.
If you think you’ll just fight the Scarecrow with a blindfold, think again as if it does get a chance to run its claw-like fingers through your hair, you have to save against being charmed by its touch. It’s kind of a crazy circumstance, this horrible Scarecrow can stare at you so hard that you stand there, probably overcome with such fear that you freeze up and can’t do anything. Then again, if you can survive staring at this horror, you then have to survive it touching you and making you paralyzed in fear again, all the while dealing 1d6 points of damage to you.
So let’s say you get stuck, staring in terror at the Scarecrow and you want this situation to end. Well, it's not going to end for at least 5 rounds, as it is similar to the hold person
spell, or you have to wait for the Scarecrow to leave the area or die. That’s 5 rounds of being ripped apart by a Scarecrow while you, and your friends, watch with your mouth hanging open, unable to move, or do anything to protect you. You basically become that one generic character in a horror movie who just stands there and screams, letting the evil creature maim and murder them while doing nothing.
Maybe you decide that you’ll fight the creature with a bow and from really far away… but how far can you be without locking eyes with your Prince Scaring? Luckily for you, in Dragon #130 (February 1988)
, in the article If Looks Could Kill
by Malcolm Bowers, we get more information on gaze attacks and their range and effects. The range of the Scarecrow’s dashing looks is only 20 feet, you need normal light to see the… straw? eyes of the Scarecrow, and you can view them from a distance with magic and not be affected! But that isn’t everything we learned about gazes, and in fact, the next bit of knowledge is likely to get some players killed. We’ll let the article talk for us:
Note that immobilized characters (those affected by the gaze of the ultrodaemon, floating eye, scarecrow, yeti, or revenant) are subject to double the usual number of attacks for automatic hits and maximum damage (plus incidental damage where appropriate), if their attacker chooses to attack.
Dragon #130 (Feburary 1988)
Well, that’s bad news for those who don’t make their save. Two attacks and 12 points of damage every round until you decide to stop standing their with your mouth all agape.
2e - Scarecrow (Golem)
Frequency: Very Rare
Activity Cycle: Any
Intelligence: Non- (0)
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 5
No. of Attacks: 1 + gaze
Damage/Attack: 1-6 + charm
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: M (6’ tall)
Morale: Fearless (19-20)
XP Value: 1,400
The Scarecrow is first shown off in the Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix (1990)
and later shows up in the Monstrous Manual (1993)
. The Scarecrow is still constructed in this edition, still takes 3 weeks, and 1 gold per hit point. Construction is slightly adjusted in that the Scarecrow must be constructed from specific materials, with the frame of the Scarecrow being made from wood bound with hemp rope - not that weird, though it gets weirder. The creator can cover the frame with whatever clothing and accessories they wish, and they can be stuffed with straw or grass if so desired. The head is a hollow gourd with a face carved into it, which means you can pick a traditional pumpkin or go more exotic for butternut squash, or go big and pick one of those creepy, long snake gourds that looks like a cross between a watermelon and cucumber. But that’s not weird.
We promised weird, and here it goes. If you dress your Scarecrow in the clothes worn by a creature, when you animate the Scarecrow you can utter the word of the spell used in its creation, quest
. Doing so causes the Scarecrow to immediately move in a direct line toward the victim, and once it gets there, focuses all of its raw power and anger on the person it has been quested to kill. While it is a great tool to quickly find the lich who you killed and stole its robes and are now trying to track down's phylactery, it does have the side effect of the Scarecrow magic dissipating and collapsing to dust after killing its target - so its a one-time use creature-seeking missile if you specifically want to kill the farmer across the valley from you.
Apart from being super creepy as you are building the Scarecrow, once you animate it, it gets pretty cool… and terrifying. A magical fire burns within the gourd-head, shining through its eye sockets, giving it an incredibly creepy glow. To top that off with, while a Scarecrow is normally mute, during battle it lets loose with crazed laughter like that from an animal or a madman. If you are ever walking through a cornfield at night, during the fall, and start hearing laughter, we recommend running… or setting the whole field on fire - Scarecrows hate fire and it's probably better to ruin a farmer’s entire harvest than it is to have to deal with a Scarecrow.
Things largely stay the same for the Scarecrow with only a few minor modifications. Still requires a 9th-level priest to create the creature, though now the last piece of the creation process requires the spell quest
to be cast last and under a full moon - nothing good ever comes from creating monsters under a full moon. If you are hit by the creature, you still take 1d6 damage and still must save against its charm or stand there while it cuts you open with its stick hands.
The biggest change is to the creature’s gaze attack. Once a round it can make a claw attack and then use its gaze on another creature up to 40 feet away. That’s double the distance from the last edition! While the previous edition was a bit wishy-washy when the gaze would actually goes out, this edition clarifies it can only target one creature per round, which is probably for the best. No one wants the entire table to fail their saving throw and then the other players are forced to watch as their ally is brutally murdered in front of them while they can’t attack, run, or scream.
But you might be wondering what happens if the priest who created the Scarecrow were to suddenly stop living? Probably at the end of your sword. Well, most of the time, any created Scarecrows will simply collapse and fall apart, whatever magic holding them together is lost. On some rare occasions, 10% of the time, the Scarecrow obtains consciousness and can act of its own free will. According to their own free will, they just want to murder and destroy - how typical of evil creatures created to do one thing. All they ever want to do is that one thing.
These conscious Scarecrows hide during the day, probably in the fields, and attack at night. They enjoy destroying any living creature, and even going out of their way to do so. When a Scarecrow gains consciousness, a path of death follows in its wake as it heads north, away from warmer climates, and to the cold climates as they are afraid of fire, even vulnerable to it, while they are immune to the cold. Doesn’t make the most sense to us about the cold immunity, as plants can freeze and die in the cold, but we weren’t consulted on this.
While the Scarecrows are not the smartest creatures in the world, they at least know they hate fire and will walk hundreds of miles to find some cold climate that they can haunt. Jokes on them though, there’s still fire in the frozen wastes.
The Monstrous Manual
makes a few changes, and most of them are not a huge deal. The biggest change is that it now costs 100 gp to construct a Scarecrow, which is a pretty big increase compared to 1 gp per hit point. Even if you went for all 40 hit points, you’d only be looking at 40 gold - now you have to pay 100 gold! It just goes to show that gold doesn’t go as far as it used to and that inflation is ruining the golem-crafting industry.
If you find spending 100 gold a bit steep on building a rather flimsy Scarecrow, you could look at investing in different golems, though they are quite expensive. The next cheapest golem is the necrophidius, which costs a cool 8k in gold to bring to life. Despite their costs, the magic that brings the Scarecrow to life is the same magic that is used in every golem, which is an elemental spirit from the Plane of Earth. What this spirit is exactly is still a matter of debate, but one thing is for sure; it hates all other life. Once the spirit is bound to the Scarecrow’s form, it is, in turn, bound to the priest that created it.
Our last bit of lore for this edition simply describes how it walks. Their arms and legs are pieces of wood bound together by a rope, which isn’t known for being very anatomically correct. When it walks, its limbs bend forward and backward, giving it a rather gangly and uneven, jerky gait. Their heads spin freely around their neck, seemingly looking everywhere at once with those burning eye holes carved into the gourd. This doesn’t provide anything for the Scarecrow, it’s just super creepy and we thought we’d help with your nightmares.
3e/3.5e - Scarecrow
Hit Dice: 47 (5 HD) Dslashing or blugeoning
Speed: 20 ft., (4 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+4 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+5
Attacks: 2 claws +5 each (1d6+2 plus cowering touch)
Full Attack: 2 claws + 5 each (1d6+2 plus cowering touch)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: cowering gaze, cowering touch
Special Qualities: camoflauge, cold immunity, construct traits, darkvision (60 ft.), vulnerable to fire, unsettling presence aura (60 ft., DC 12)
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 11, Cha 10
Skills: Search +4, Spot +4
Advancement: 6-10 HD (medium), 11-15 HD (large)
Unfortunately for the Scarecrow, 3rd edition almost completely forgets about it. Though there is a spot of light as rears its ugly pumpkin head in Dungeon #84 (2001)
, but it isn’t until Dragon #355 (2007)
that it gets any of the respect it deserves. It first appears in the adventure The Dying of the Light
written by Chris Doyle - fun fact, this is also the adventure that first showed off the winged owlbear! This writer just has the best monsters… even if they are only used as side encounters. The Scarecrows, as there are only 2 of them, act as the ‘guardians’ for the vampire Haroun who has taken over a temple formerly dedicated to Pelor. He has brought the foul taint of Nerull to the temple and built some Scarecrows that attack the party. That’s it.
Their stats are pretty lackluster and if they wish to gaze lovingly into someone’s eyes, it takes their action to do so - this is only useful if the creature is 25 to 40 feet away as a Scarecrow can only move up to 20 feet. Luckily, their claws can still hold
people, so if someone is within 20 feet, they are going to get hit for… 1d6 + 1 slashing damage from their claws… The character then must make a will save or become held, as if under the hold person
spell, for 6 rounds. Not a lot going on, but at least they are pretty similar to the previous edition and don’t feel completely useless.
Up next, is Dragon #355
and the Scarecrow is featured in the Creature Catalog VI
. The Scarecrow has an updated stat block and comes with a few new abilities to terrify your players. It gains an unsettling aura, which causes other creatures to be shaken who fail their saving throw. For those who have never played 3rd edition, when you become shaken, you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. Not a great way to start off the encounter.
Not only does it have an aura, but it also has its old gaze ability which causes creatures to cower for 2d4 rounds, though it takes its action to do so. Maybe the Scarecrow doesn’t want to use its action to target one creature and, in fact, victims are within 20 feet of you. So what happens if they decide to hit you? Good news! For it. It now has two claw attacks, and if just one of them hit, you still have to make a save against their cowering touch or begin cowering for 1d4 rounds. Now, cowering sounds a lot better than simply being held in a hold person
spell… but we’ve been wrong before. Let’s go ahead and look up what happens to someone who is cowering.
Frozen in fear and unable to take actions. A cowering character takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class and loses her Dexterity bonus (if any).
Player’s Handbook - 3.5e (2003)
Alright, it still sucks to fail the save against a Scarecrow.
The article also goes over how a character might make their own Scarecrow, and it's not cheap - then again, it isn’t incredibly expensive like most other constructs so there is that. If you wish to make your own, you will need 500 gp worth of materials, which includes two candles that have continual flame
cast on them. Then, you must be a 7th level caster, you have Craft Construct, you know the spells fear
, lesser geas
, and mending
… and you still have to pay another 2,750 gp for the crafting costs and give up 180 experience points. It’s almost like the system didn’t want a bunch of characters running around with an army of Scarecrows taking over the world.
Also, not to be too nosy on how you constructed your Scarecrow… you didn’t happen to use a gourd grown on unhallowed ground, did you?
It’s not that important, but if you did. Well… The article also provides three variants for the Scarecrow and one of them includes an unhallowed gourd. If you use gourds from evil ground, whether on purpose or not, you can create a Conscious Scarecrow that gains fiendish sentience and doesn’t follow your orders unless they choose to do so, meaning you are as evil or eviler than they are. These Scarecrows will run around causing havoc until they are destroyed.
Up next is the Dread Scarecrow, in case you thought that a regular Scarecrow wasn’t scary enough. Necromancers and evil clerics will bind an undead spirit to their straw man, thus creating a powerful Scarecrow that can summon swarms, wields a vicious sickle, and has resistance to electricity… which seems weird, but whatever kills the party faster we’re down with. These Dread Scarecrows are just a variant of the variant Quested Scarecrow, so it’s kind of Scarecrows all the way down or something.
The Quested Scarecrows are just like the ones from the previous edition and must be built with clothes that were once worn by their target. There’s no information on what happens to the poor Scarecrow if the clothes were hand-me-downs and have been worn by three different people, but we assume it gets a headache and just attacks one of them at random… or whoever wore the clothes last. That probably makes more sense.
Our final Scarecrow information comes from another Dungeon Magazine
in Dungeon #154 (March/April/May 2008)
where a Scarecrow attacks a priest. It's a simple one-encounter adventure and is… well, it doesn’t reveal anything. In fact, we have no idea why we are even talking about it except it has a rather creepy looking Scarecrow with a large pumpkin for its head in the artwork!
4e - Scarecrow (Haunter)
Level 13 Lurker
Medium fey animate (construct) / XP 800
Initiative +14 / Senses Perception +9
HP 99; Bloodied 49
AC 27; Fortitude 24, Reflex 26, Will 25
Speed 6 , low light vision
Immune disease, poison, sleep; Vulnerable 10 fire
Lurking Horror When the haunter hits a creature that cannot see it, the attack deals 5 extra damage and increases any of the attack’s forced movement by 2 squares.
Claws At-Will Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +18 vs. AC Hit: 2d6 + 9 damage.
Haunting Echoes (charm, fear, psychic) At-Will Attack: Area burst 2 within 10 (enemies in burst); +18 vs. Will Hit: The haunter slides the target 2 squares. The target then makes a melee or a ranged basic attack against a creature of the haunter’s choice.
Fluttering Straw (polymorph) At-Will Effect: The haunter shifts 6 squares and then is invisible and insubstantial until the end of its next turn.
Terrifying Gaze (fear, psychic) Recharge Attack: Close blast 3 (enemies in blast); +16 vs. Will Hit: 1d6 + 5 psychic damage, and the haunter pushes the target 2 squares.
Alignment Unaligned / Languages Common
Skills Stealth +15
Str 14(+8) | Dex 18 (+10) | Wis 17 (+9) | Con 15 (+8) | Int 11 (+1) | Cha 10 (+6)
Equipment light shield, spear
While we have to wait until Monster Manual 3 (2010)
to get to the Scarecrow, it’s at least an improvement over 3rd edition. These creatures largely reside in the Feywild and are the servants and creations of hags from long ago. Scarecrows roam the Feywild and are used by various creatures, including the eladrin, gnomes, and ritualists. It should come as no surprise then that the Scarecrow appears in the adventure of the most famous of all hags, Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut from Dungeon #196 (November 2011)
. While Baba Yaga doesn’t make an actual appearance in the adventure, two Scarecrows do, along with many other incredibly dangerous creatures.
While it was the hags that first created the Scarecrow, their dark secrets have leaked throughout the rest of the worlds. The Scarecrow can be a powerful guardian for cultists, hags, and others, especially those who want to watch over a specific area as Scarecrows can not leave their designated ‘haunting grounds’. The evil and cunning of the creator flow to the Scarecrow, making them an extremely dangerous creature to encounter. Even if you are successful in defeating the creator, the Scarecrow continues to exist, carrying on with the last commands of its master until the end of its days.
The Monster Manual
gives us three different Scarecrows to scare our parties with. The Scarecrow Shambler is the least effective of Scarecrows, usually produced in large quantities. They are hastily put together; its body barely held together by the magic used to animate it. That does not make it any less dangerous, as upon its destruction, it’s Toxic Straw ability releases mold and spores into the air. If you are unlucky enough to end your turn in this hazardous terrain, you’ll suffer 10 points of poison damage.
The Guardian Scarecrow resembles the Scarecrow from the recent Dark Knight movies, as its head is made up of a burlap sack with two eye holes cut into it. Hags love using these creatures as lookouts and watchers, hanging them high in the air from whatever is available. From this vantage point, the Scarecrow can keep an eye over the Hags domain, hence the name Guardian Scarecrow. However, these Scarecrows do more than watch, for they will attack any unfortunate soul unlucky enough to stumble into the hag’s territory. This Scarecrow gets back their gaze attack that has two ways of being used. They can use their Horrid Gaze which immobilizes a target, making it easy to rip them apart, or they can use their Luring Gaze which pulls targets closer to the Scarecrow.
Our last Scarecrow are the Haunters who are unique in that an actual humanoid heart is placed inside it. This heart must be one that was killed by a Scarecrow, as the sheer terror the victim felt as they died fuels the Haunter and its abilities. The Haunter also gains a Haunting Echoes attack that compels a target of their choice to attack an ally with a melee or ranged attack. After that, the Haunter also has a Terrifying Gaze that targets any creature too close to them and pushes them away from them. They can then go invisible and begin attacking creatures who even more ferocity.
If having three different types of Scarecrow and uplifted lore isn’t enough for you, in Dungeon #183 (October 2010)
, an Ecology of the Scarecrow
is released. This article, written by Steven Townshend, contains a wealth of detail and lore that includes several more Scarecrows, information on how to build your own, and augmenting existing Scarecrows with unique abilities. As with many of these articles, there’s the development of existing lore, creation of new things, and conflicting information of items found in the core text. Hags are still the birthmothers of the Scarecrow, and legend has it that one of the legendary hags, Baba Yaga, Morgan, or Iggwilv, also known as Tasha from the infamous spell, was the original creator, although the truth has been lost to time. Scarecrows are still considered constructs, although the author goes out of their way to describe them as neither living nor undead and constructs that are more powerful than those that one may traditionally think of. They are not animated by magic as much as the souls of the dead, making them a unique creature.
Specifics are given about the construction and materials that need to go into creating a Scarecrow. The creature's cloth can target the soul of a creature the maker wishes to attract and then trap the soul within it. The head is the most frightening part of the Scarecrow, whether it be the image of the soul trapped inside the body, a fiery pumpkin, or that of the demon that possessed it. The stuffing that fills the Scarecrow now takes on great importance, as it can be arcane, rags, or sand. Arcane stuffing is made up of papers covered in arcane sigils, providing the Scarecrow with the ability to teleport. Rag stuffing is soaked in the blood of murder victims or the insane, giving the Scarecrow extra protection against attacks. A Scarecrow made of sand is a silent but deadly defender. The sand must come from an hourglass owned by a necromancer and allows the Scarecrow to begin phasing in and out of our world.
With all these different construction methods, it comes as no surprise that even the thread is important. A common thread can be used, but more powerful Scarecrows are bound with the thread woven by hags from dream matter. This thread is known as Nightmare Thread, which is a powerful item that, when used outside of a Scarecrow, can be burned and a creature that you target can not get closer to you due to an overwhelming sense of fear. In a Scarecrow, it simply makes them stronger and more ‘stable’ than Scarecrow made without it.
The article continues to give as we learn how a player can make their very own Scarecrow! Who said that making friends was hard? With this 14th-level ability, you can begin a very complex and expensive ritual, though it only takes 1 hour and there is no mention of having to do it during a full moon, which is great for those who want to make friends at a more reasonable time around lunch. The only magic this ability requires is for you to gather up 5,000 gp worth of components and have a Key Skill of Arcana. At the end of the ritual, you make an Arcana check and on a success, you have built a Scarecrow that can’t leave a 60’ x 60’ area! On a fail, you make up to 6 Scarecrow Shamblers that can’t leave a 60’ x 60’ area! While their range is a bit horrendous, you can command the Scarecrow to leave the designated area, but they immediately gain their freedom and may not like you or your party and want to go out and see the world through their own gourd-eyes.
A few more Scarecrows are introduced, with the first being the Scarecrow Horror, who can turn your dreams into nightmares when you look upon the face. Its face is that of a victim whose face has been peeled off and fastened to the Scarecrow’s head with metal hooks. The Harvest King Scarecrow is the Danse Macabre leader, a parade of undead horrors including skeletons, zombies, wraiths, and ghouls. If you haven’t put your jack-o’-lantern out, this group of baddies will stop and teach you a lesson in respecting the dead… by making you join their ranks.
It’s a great article, and if you have the time and are interested in this topic, we highly recommend reading it.
5e - Scarecrow
Medium construct, chaotic evil
Armor Class 11
Hit Points 36 (8d8)
Speed 30 ft.
Str 11 (+0) | Dex 13 (+1) | Con 11 (+0) | Int 10 (+0) | Wis 10 (+0) | Cha 13 (+1)
Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from non magical attacks
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages understands the languages of its creator but can't speak
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
False Appearance. While the scarecrow remains motionless, it is indistiguishable from an ordinary, inanimate scarecrow.
Multiattack. The scarecrow makes two claw attacks.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (2d4 + 1) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened until the end of the scarecrow's next turn.
Terrifying Glare. The scarecrow targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the scarecrow, the target mu st succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving th row or be magically frightened until the end of the scarecrow's next turn. The frightened target is paralyzed.
The Scarecrow makes it into the big leagues and appears in the Monster Manual (2014), with such great recognition we are sure that the Scarecrow is in for a real treat in 5th edition! Of course, we’ve said that a lot about other monsters, and always ends up being wrong. We’re sure this time will be different though.
The Scarecrow is brought down to be a CR 1 creature, though it keeps several of its oldest abilities to help it feel special. The amount of lore for the Scarecrow can fit on a stamp and is largely just a bunch of fluff with no real substance to it. The past editions explored a lot of different themes with the Scarecrows and provided some fascinating looks into such a mundane monster. 5th edition doesn’t provide anything new and falls back on 4e’s lore.
Scarecrows are the bound spirits of demons, created by hags and witches. They drop all the cool gaze abilities of 4th edition and go back to AD&D, nerfing it a bit. Now, when you fail your saving throw against its gaze ability, you are frightened and paralyzed. Unfortunately for its claws, you are just frightened so it can’t go to town and rip you apart with its claws.
One improvement for the Scarecrow is that it is now resistant to all non-magical attacks from weapons, immune to poison, and has a wide variety of conditions it is immune to like most constructs. It’s interesting that we don’t see anything about it being immune to the cold since everyone knows Scarecrows can’t get cold. But, even with all these defenses, it is still vulnerable to fire damage and, with its horrible 36 hit points, can be easily knocked out by a sorcerer with a penchant for burning everything they come across.
This brings us to the most burning question, where else can we find out more information on these fascinating creatures? The Scarecrow pops up in a few adventures, though not really to much effect. In Tomb of Annihilation (2017)
, a coven of hags, known as the Sewn Sisters, have a Scarecrow servant who is magicked to look like a human and they have named Mister Threadneedle. He serves food and acts as a butler for the hags and that’s all he does.
Bit disappointing, but maybe in the spookiest adventure in 5th edition, Curse of Strahd (2016)
we can get a bit more excitement! There are several Scarecrows in this adventure, all hanging out with a powerful hag, Baba Lysaga. The hag lives in solitude, creating Scarecrows whose purpose is to hunt and slaughter the ravens and the were-ravens in Sthrad’s domain. They also protect Baba Lysaga from harm, though by the time the party is dealing with Baba Lysaga, the Scarecrows are more of a pest than an actual threat. Poor Scarecrows, never getting the love they deserve.
The Scarecrow, across the editions, actually has some exciting lore wrapped around it like a set of ill-fitting clothes that wrap around some straw. If you find yourself pumpkin picking or exploring a corn maze, keep an eye on any Scarecrows - though if their eyes light up, look away and start running. You don’t want to die fascinated by the creatures coming to kill you.
Past Deep Dives