Monster Manual A-Z is a series of quick looks at each and every monster presented in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. New monsters go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in alphabetical order, touching on lore, mechanics, and ways to use them in your campaign. To search for all Monster Manual A-Z articles, search MMAZ in the search bar as we’ve excluded them from our Roleplaying Games tag to keep things tidy.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat- it’s pronounced “boo-lay”. Okay, now that that’s settled, the Bulette is a large, terrifying monster with a jagged maw and slight resemblance to a shark. They are without fear, attacking monsters stronger or more numerous than themselves from the ground so that they may eat, and this includes other Bulettes! While the exact way that Bulettes came to be is unknown, there is no doubt their sole purpose in life is to devour, and their favorite thing to devour is plump, delicious halflings.
No doubt, a Bulette’s tough exterior helps keep them from harm, as does their hearty constitution. While be hard to damage and harder to slay, the Bulette can sleep well knowing that it’s as offensively capable as it is defensibly. Its jagged maw and enormous claws dole out some serious damage, and the fact it can leap up in the air 15 feet from a standstill makes it terrifying to witness. Beyond biting their prey, a Bulette may attempt to use that jumping prowess to jump up and land onto a group of enemies, knowing them down and pinning them beneath them, if not crushing them outright. Even in darkness there is no hiding from these monsters, as they posses the ability to see in the dark and sense vibrations out to 60 ft away, and their ability to dig as fast as they run means there’s no good route to take except up into the air.
Bulettes make the perfect “monster terrorizing X” scenario, where X may be a village, town, farm, tunnel system- you name it! I myself used one terrorizing a major tunnel that stopped trade that the players had to take care of, lest tensions between the two nations sharing the tunnel rise. Another way I’d love to use a Bulette is the same way that sharks are used for dramatic effects, just underground. Imagine it- the adventurers are traversing through some dangerous tunnels, on edge. A rumble here, some pebbles fall there. Things are safe… until a Bulette busts through the tunnel walls like the Kool-Aid man, but instead of a tasty sugary beverage it only brings death and suffering. And then, before the group can dispatch it, have the Bulette dig away at an awkward angle that is hard to follow, so that it make come back and terrorize the group again, at a much less convenient time.
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