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Krakens have been in the game since AD&D, but here they get some extra lore.

The Lore

At the beginning of time, long before the creation of the first mortals, the Krakens escaped from the Far Realm and entered the middle world and the Astral Sea, trailing the debris of other broken worlds behind them.

They had a good time for a while, but then a great cataclysm (perhaps the Dawn War) scattered them. In our narrative present most of the surviving krakens are hidden in the deepest trenches of the middle world’s oceans, or slumbering in forgotten corners of the Astral. Every once in a while, though, one of them will leave these dark holes and once again wreak havoc.

These creatures are extremely intelligent, though their mentalities are very alien to mortals. They’re hostile to mortal sapients for incomprehensible reasons, and are drawn to wherever large groups of sapient minds can be found. When they emerge, groups of cultists soon gather around them, composed both of mortal worshippers and aberrant creatures. Krakens are more than smart enough to command and use these cults to help fulfill their destructive goals.

So yeah, Krakens are Great Old Ones.

The Monsters

We have two varieties of kraken here. One is more geared towards the classic “giant squid attacks ship” scenario, and the other leans more on the Great Old One aesthetic. Both are Gargantuan Aberrant Magical Beasts.

Sea Kraken

A kraken that lives in the seas of the middle world. It is said that terrible storms follow in their wake. They love to attack ships, and any vessel grabbed by a Sea Kraken is likely doomed unless it happens to be transporting a party of particularly badass adventurers.

Sea Krakens are Level 10 Solo Soldiers with 432 HP, which makes them a bit lower-level than I anticipated given their general lore. They have darkvision, a ground speed of 6, and a swim speed of 10. I think this makes them faster in water than most ships.

Sea Krakens are obviously Aquatic, which means they can breathe underwater and gain a +2 attack bonus against non-aquatic creatures fighting them in the water. They also have Threatening Reach 3. As you might guess, this is a grabby monster. Escaping its grabs requires a DC 26 Athletics or DC 22 Acrobatis check.

The kraken’s basic attack involves its Crushing Tentacles, which are Reach 3. They damage and grab on a hit, and the kraken can have up to 8 creatures grabbed by this attack. The monster can spend a minor action to sustain all of its grabs and deal an automatic 5 damage to all victims.

Devourer of Ships is a literal anti-vehicle attack - it can only target vehicles, and it’s what the beast uses to coil around a ship. It deals heavy damage to the target ship and restrains it while the kraken remains within 3 squares of it. While restrained, the ship takes 20 damage at the start of the target’s turn. Its pilot can spend a Standard action to give the ship a saving throw, and if it passes it escapes the grab.

And don’t worry, krakens don’t have to split their attention between a ship and its crew. Coils of Doom is an at-will power that allows them to use Crushing Tentacles twice and Devourer of Ships once with a single action.

Once per encounter they can also use an ability named Wavewrack to create a zone in a Close Burst 3 around themselves. This zone is difficult terrain. When an enemy starts their turn inside, they take 5 damage and are slid 2 squares. The Kraken can spend a minor action to slide this zone up to 3 squares. Do note that a Close Burst 3 around a Gargantuan creature is much larger than one around a Medium creature.

Aside from moving the zone, the kraken can spend minor actions to activate any of the following abilities. Fatal Plunge is an attack against a grabbed creature that deals light damage and slides the target 3 squares. As the name implies, this can allow the kraken to drag them underwater. It can also Fling a grabbed creature, sliding them adjacent to another creature and making a lightly-damaging attack against both. This ends the grab. And finally, it can shoot Venom Bolts that deal poison damage and blind (save ends).

We’re not done yet! If a grabbed creature damages the kraken, the monster can use Vengeful Constriction as a reaction to deal 5 automatic damage to every creature it’s grabbing.

Astral Kraken

Astral Krakens are “sea monsters” in the same way the Astral is a “sea”. Their bodies are made of stars and shadow, their eyes two black lightless voids. Madness precedes them and follows in their wake. You might say they’re closer to their original forms than the sea kraken, as they never had to acclimate to the middle world. You know how some people worship Aboleths as god-like beings older than time? I bet Aboleths worship astral krakens in the same way.

Astral Krakens are Level 25 Solo Controllers with 925 HP, putting them in the same “weight class” as godforged and primordial colossi, divine and demonic exarchs, and most ancient dragons. It takes the sea kraken chassis and adds madness-themed abilities on top. It has a flight speed of 10, and Blindsight 20. Invisibility won’t save you.

The kraken’s melee attacks have Threatening Reach 4. Its Tentacles From Beyond work like the sea kraken’s, damaging and grabbing. The escape DC is 41 for Athletics, and 37 for Acrobatics. Sustaining the grab deals 15 psychic damage to all victims.

Absorb Psyche targets all grabbed victims at once, attacking Will and dealing psychic damage. A hit also grants the Kraken a +5 bonus to attack with Touch of Madness (below) for the rest of the encounter.

Touch of Madness targets a single creature’s Will. It does no damage, but it forces the target to use its highest-level encounter power against another target of the Kraken’s choice. This happens even if the power was already expended, and doesn’t expend the power if it hasn’t.

Devourer of Ships is here too, and works much like the Sea Kraken version. Despite its higher accuracy, it deals exactly the same damage. I guess this makes sense, since a ship’s HP varies less than a PC’s as level goes up.

As a minor action, the astral kraken can release a Nullifying Pulse in a Close Blast 4. This non-damaging attack targets Will and dazes (save ends) on a hit. There are no other minor action attacks, but it doesn’t need any more with such a powerful multi-daze at its disposal.

Its triggered actions are pretty scary too! When someone misses the kraken, they’re forced to Behold the Horror. This is a reaction attack that targets Will, deals psychic damage, and dominates for a turn. Luckily it can only happen at most once per round, since it’s a reaction.

Once per encounter, when the kraken is first bloodied, it lets out a Psychic Scream, which covers a large enough area (Close Burst 10!) that it’s likely to target every enemy. This attacks Will, and on a hit it deals psychic damage and stuns (save ends).

Final Impressions

When it’s time to release the kraken, these two will not disappoint.

Sea krakens have a lot of straightforward multi-attack capability, and they’re really hard to shake from your ship once they grab on. If the ship manages to escape, they don’t have to divert their attention from the crew to grab the vessel again.

The astral kraken’s multi-attack capability is less straightforward than the sea kraken’s, but it has excellent action denial, and can be terrifying if you give it time to set things up properly.

Both monsters don’t seem to have much defense against being dazed or stunned other than the standard +5 solo bonus to saves, so doing that is a good way to neutralize their firepower. If your party is heavy on the action denial powers, you can make things harder for them by adding a sprinkling of cultist minions and a leader-type that can grant them extra saves.