Dragon Encounters

Creative Combat Encounters, and other ways of using the monsters of dungeons and dragons

BEHIR: Attempting the Deadly Pursuit


Combat rating 14


1 Behir (CR 11)

2 Ettins (CR 4)

1 Roper (CR 5)


Combat rating 16


1 Behir (CR 11)

2 Earth elementals (CR 5)

2 Alpha gricks (CR 7)


Combat rating 19


2 Behirs (CR 11)

2 Cloakers (CR 8)


Combat rating 20


1 Behir (CR 11)

2 Galeb Duhr (CR 6)

1 Purple worm (CR 13)

How to Use – Combat Encounters (difficulty 12)

The behir’s strategy is simple. It will ambush the PCs, constrict one of them the first turn, drag them to a safe[er] area if possible, and swallow during the second turn. After that, it will flee through a tunnel. If it fails to constrict or swallow, it will flee immediately, to try again a bit later (I’ll suggest some ambush ideas later on.)

If the Players follow it, they will be in a [relatively] narrow tunnel, and it will be a perfect setup to let the behir hit most or all of them with its lightning breath. If they continue to follow, it will lead them in circles, ambushing them occasionally and hitting them with its lightning breath if and when it recharges.

(I wouldn’t use the lightning breath during the ambush, especially not the initial ambush. Even if you can target all the players with it by doing so. It doesn’t lead to swallow, and it doesn’t get advantage from surprise. Also, I’m counting on using it to discourage pursuit.)

When setting up a behir encounter, I would make a rough map showing 8-10 caverns with multiple tunnels connecting the caverns. (This isn’t a battlemap, as you won’t want your players to see more than the cavern they’re in, and as the caverns and tunnels need to function in three dimensions, as you’ll see in my cavern and tunnel suggestions.) Many, probably most, of the caverns will have several tunnel exits to allow the behir an alternate exit if the players cut one off.

The players might be able to cut if off inside a tunnel with wall of stone or wall of force (although I don’t know if you can cast a spell if you can’t see the area, especially since tunnels curve frequently and so you can’t just aim straight. Darkvision has limited range.) If they do, the behir will turn around and run through the PCs, its huge size preventing the PCs from blocking it. It will attack while doing so, using bite on a random target and constrict on the last target it can reach (so it won’t have to drag them further than necessary.)

I am going to present a few ideas for ambushes, caverns and tunnels. None of these ideas are strictly necessary, but they’ll give more variety to the encounter. When making the map, mark out which areas are special and in which ways.

Not every cavern or tunnel should be special. The behir doesn’t have the intelligence to set up something before. At best it has the intelligence to use these things once it finds them. (As it happens, most of them don’t rely on the behir to consciously use them.)


The initial ambush will be the behir sneaking up on the PCs and hopefully achieving a surprise attack. You can keep using this type of ambush for all later ambushes if you want. Alternatively –

  • The tunnel is behind a heap of loose rock (perhaps inadvertently created by the behir when it cleared out the tunnel after a collapse.) As the players come near, the behir surges out of the tunnel and through the rocks, burying some of the PCs under the rocks.
  • The behir sneaks up on them from behind, under the cover of darkness. (The darkvision of most PC races is thirty feet. The behir’s movement is fifty.
  • The behir drops down on them from a tunnel entrance high up on the wall (crawling down to about 10-15 feet and then jumping.)
  • The PCs are in a large cavern, dotted with many stalactites and stalagmites, as well as columns where the two have joined together to make a pillar. The behir crosses the cave by jumping from stalactite to stalactite, until it reaches a point where it can drop down on the PCs. (While the behir understands cave formations well enough that it won’t put its weight on a stalactite or column that can’t support it, when fleeing it might in its haste not be careful and thereby cause stalactites and columns to fall behind it (although it will have already jumped to the next one.) In addition, it the players try to bring down the behir with area-of-effect spells they might potentially cause a lot of stalactites, columns, and stalagmites to break of and fall. Falling obstacles can cause bludgeoning damage and/or trap PCs under them.)


As above, most tunnels are just that, tunnels. These are the ones that aren’t.

  • The end of the tunnel is loose rock/dirt. As the players reach that point, they start to slide on it, and barring any action on their part they will fall out of the tunnel into the next cavern. To make matters worse, the tunnel exit might be well above the floor level. (The behir doesn’t slide or disturb the floor because it instinctively switches to walking on the tunnel wall,)
  • There is a large crack in the tunnel floor which the players have to find a way over. The tunnel ceiling may not be high enough for jumping, and the tunnel may not be straight smooth and its floor may not be smooth. Either of these will prevent running jumps. Also, the behir might hide in the crevice and then attack the back of the party and/or double back to the previous cavern, though probably not without the players noticing.
  • The tunnel may start going straight up instead of being horizontal. A smart behir will only use this if it’s taking too much damage and needs to escape. A less intelligent behir may not realize that the players can’t climb the way it does.


  • The tunnel entrance or exit is high above the floor and hard to access (already mentioned in tunnels.)
  • The tunnel comes out at a ledge that runs along the side of the cavern. The ledge isn’t strong enough for the entire party and collapses [entirely or partially] under their weight. (The behir put most of its weight on the wall, traveling at climbing speed as a result.)
  • A good portion of the floor is loose boulders which can shift under the players, making them fall and possibly get crushed between boulders as the boulder a PC is on knocks the PC down and then continues to shift until it bangs into the adjacent boulder. Since this floor is just as difficult for the behir, I suggest putting the next tunnel where the behir can reach it by going across the wall.
  • The cavern contains ropers, gricks, or other unintelligent cave monsters. Very possibly, the behir went here in order to escape the PCs (as the monsters will at least slow them.)

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About Me

I have been a DM for several years, and I was designing home RPG games since my young childhood. I have been a fan of many different types of games (computer, board, RPG, and more) and have designed several for my own entertainment. This is my first attempt to produce game content for a wider audience.