Combining the head of a goat and the body of a monkey makes the creature odd enough; combining the social grace of a baboon with pretensions of a scholar makes it more comical than threatening.
Fiendish pests that infest derelict wizards’ towers and laboratories, the kalkes are either the by-product of botched gates into the lower realms or the personification of an evil deity’s contempt for wizards. All kalkes act with the arrogance of magi while having the social characteristics of baboons. Being of fiendish blood, kalkes do not age and require neither food nor drink. Though lacking any formal spellcasting ability, all kalkes can produce magical effects through the dramatic mumming of largely spontaneous and unstudied rituals.
Hoard Magical Paraphernalia. The drive to produce ever more fanciful rituals gives a kalke the compulsion to accumulate spell components, magical foci, and other occult paraphernalia. Although these objects serve no purpose, the kalkes seek out spellcasters in their vicinity and steal any paraphernalia they can find. Because they have no ability to distinguish what’s magically useful from what isn’t, they grab any jewelry, pouches, sticks, or ornate objects they uncover. Sometimes children, animals, or other small humanoids are taken to be used as sacrifices, if they can be easily carried away.
Perform Rituals. Troops of kalkes inhabit trees, caverns, and ruins around sites of significant magical activity. Twice a month, or more during major astrological and seasonal events, the kalkes gather to perform—by way of dance, chant, and sacrifice—an imagined rite of great magic. The effort has an equal chance of achieving nothing whatsoever, causing dangerous but short-lived misfortunes (snakes raining on the countryside, creatures summoned from the lower planes), or triggering calamities (great fires or floods).
An additional side effect of these rituals is that the troop may gain or lose members magically. If the troop numbers less than 13, a new kalke appears as if from nowhere; if it contains 13 or more members, then 3d4 of them find themselves mysteriously gated to the nearest location of magical activity—often hundreds of miles away. Those teleported arrive in a state of hysteria, with individuals extinguishing flames, grabbing frippery, and running in all directions. Because kalkes have no control over their displacement, it’s not surprising to find them in abandoned dungeons or keeps, clutching the property of some long-lost wizard.
Hagglers. The kalkes will return the goods they’ve taken, in exchange for a ransom or fee. These exchanges need to have the outward appearance of being impressively in the kalke’s favor. A particularly generous (or devious) spellcaster may be able to reach an accommodation with a persistent local troop of kalkes.
Small fiend, neutral evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 9 (2d6 + 2)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
|8 (-1)||17 (+3)||12 (+1)||13 (+1)||7 (-2)||13 (+1)|
Skills Perception +0, Stealth +5
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Abyssal, Common, Infernal
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
Extinguish Flames. Kalkes can extinguish candles, lamps, lanterns and low-burning campfires within 120 feet as a bonus action.
Detect Spellcasting. Kalkes can sense spellcasting in a 5-mile radius, as long as the effect is not innate.
Magic Resistance. Kalkes have advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) piercing damage.