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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Waldman

Monster Monday #20: Clurichaun

Updated: Mar 4, 2023


I'm back again with yet ANOTHER Monster Monday post, and this time inspired by the zodiac sign Aquarius, as voted by Twitter! As Aquarius represents the 'Cup Bearer' I really wanted something that would evoke the image, and inspiration hit very recently when some spare time deep-diving into Irish folklore led me to this fellow - the Clurichaun. Otherwise known as the Clúrachán is known for being a solitary fairy that loves drinking and usually haunts pubs, breweries, and wine cellars. Usually more than a little tipsy, this creature is certainly a character whether he's being helpful or a hindrance. Named Clurichauns such as Naggeneen or Little Wildbean appear in a number of Irish folk tales, taking care of the family or business owner that he attaches himself to but also making mischief and playing tricks to keep people on their toes.


It is difficult not to draw comparisons to the Clurichaun's far more famous cousin, the Leprechaun, when talking about them! They are generally regarded as separate beings with Leprechaun folklore putting more emphasis on a creature that delivers luck and gold, though they definitely share some characteristics and do both find themselves associated with treasure and shoemakers. Some folklorists believe them to be a drunker regional variant rather than a separate creature as a result. The Clurichaun also draws a lot of comparison to a Biersal, a type of Kobold or Domestic Spirit from Germanic folklore. These helpful spirits are also associated with cellars and breweries and, so long as offerings of beer are left for them, will helpfully wash up bottles, move around casks, and clean tables. Both spirits have a real dislike of being mistreated or taken advantage of, and will react angrily if mocked or neglected.


In pop culture, you are far more likely to see a Leprechaun than a Clurichaun as they are seen almost everywhere in modern media and are something of a trope. Sometimes, they are a little drunker and wilder than you might expect from the usual Leprechaun stereotype however, and this might be influenced by the Clurichaun. A great example of this comes from Mad Sweeney in American Gods. They are also referenced specifically in another of Neil Gaiman's works, The Sandman comics! They are also specifically referenced in Four Different Faces, a book by C.J. Cala; in Dorothy Dunnett's novel Queens' Play; and in the famous Arlo & Janis comic strip.

 

Now that we have a little understanding of the lore, lets have a look at some stat blocks!


I was surprised that Wizards Of The Coast didn't actually have a whole lot that was suitable! The closest thing I could find was their suggestion for a stand-in Leprechaun stat block - the Quickling (Volo's Guide To Monsters, page 187).


Elements of this CR 1 Tiny Fey creature work and I can see why they've chosen it. It has a trickster's nature and uses it's 120 ft. speed to zoom from place to place in the blink of an eye. In fact, a lot of it's abilities are very speed based, using daggers to make tiny stabs and it's Blurred Movement making it hard to hit. The CR works relatively well here too. I do find the use of this creature just a little too...vague? Whether I'm thinking of a Leprechaun to a Clurichaun, speed is not the first thing that comes to mind. I also think it could do with increasing it's size category to small and having just a little more magic in it? A Pixie (Monster Manual, page 253) might be better in this regard - remove it's Fly speed, make it Small instead of Tiny and you have a Fey creature that has a lot more magical potential for mischief.


There's a stat block I like a whole lot better though, even if it doesn't have the right aesthetic. Check out Agdon Longscarf (The Wild Beyond The Witchlight, page 73).


This CR 2 Medium Fey (another one I would change to Small) is sure to present a little bit of a challenge to lower level parties, especially if there are more than one. It is also packed with quite a bit more personality than the Quickling. Firstly, it has a scarf related mechanic that could easily be swapped for something else (perhaps when drunk it's abilities are boosted instead); Evasion, Uncanny Dodge, and Standing Leap which give the impression of a surprisingly nimble trickster; the Quick Fingers bonus action which allows it to steal from your party (something that a mischievous Clurichaun might have a lot of fun with, especially if they keep a bit of alcohol around); and it's Branding Iron is a quite punishing weapon that could be swapped for something else with a bit of flavour? The fair folk are known for exacting some rather nasty justice if they feel disrespected in some way and this feels like a way of doing it!


So what about some other stat blocks from third party sources? Kobold Press have done an epic job creating exactly what I wanted - a stat block for the Clurichaun (Tome of Beasts, page 67) specifically!


The lore written and art created (right down to the red clothing worn by most solitary fey in Irish folklore) for this CR 1/4 Tiny Fey creature is awesome, really injecting life into a spirited figure of folklore! My favourite feature? Clurichaun's Luck! This creature has a lot of real-world folklore rooted in doling out good and bad luck so it makes perfect sense! It also has Innate Spellcasting and Magic Resistance, and most of the spells really make sense for it. I also quite enjoy the Unarmed Strike and Improvised Weapon melee choices as it gives it a rougher Tavern Brawler fighting style and its not unheard of in folklore around the creature to see them get a little physically rough with their targets! I still think it would be a Small category rather than Tiny, but this is an easy adjustment to make if it suits your depiction. Also, check out the Rum Gremlin (Tome Of Beasts, page 239) or the Silenal (Tome Of Beasts II, page 328) for another option with some great alcohol based abilities!


I had a little nose through some other options too and I found that the Legendary Bestiary Expanded contained some extra action and ability ideas for the Quickling (page 25) to give it something a little more unique! I also really loved the Wine Spirit (page 210) in Dave Coulson's Monsters Of The Infinite Planes as it is a CR 2 Fey creature that has abilities that really capture the essence of the Clurichaun - Intoxicate, Command Drunk and Spoiled Wine Spray! There is also a Leprechaun (page 83) stat block in Timothy Gonzalez's The Book Of The Fey which might serve as a good jumping point to build your own stat block!

 

So now for some plot hooks!

  1. The party enter a tavern in which there is only one empty table with a full ale sat on top. They are warned not to sit there if they don't want to invoke the wrath off the Clurichaun that has laid claim to this establishment. Throughout the night, perceptive members of the party will notice that the ale is decreasing but see no signs of movement or the culprit.

  2. A small, slightly tipsy man appears at the bar with the party and entertains them with outlandish stories of distant, magical lands. He is pleased if the party buy him more alcohol and will reward them with some form of luck or blessing, though he is easily offended also.

  3. A pair of tavern owners understand that their establishment is being inhabited by a strange creature that appears in the basement. One sees it as a sign of luck and fortune, while the other dismisses such notions and treats it as a pest.

  4. A brewery seems to have been blessed with exceptionally god fortune recently, and a rival offers to pay the party to find out and if possible steal their secret.

  5. There are rumours of an abandoned tavern being haunted after the owner mysteriously died, and the locals blame a creature that lives inside the building, urging the party to rid them of it. If the party pursue, they will find a very lonely Clurichaun who had tried and failed to protect the owner from a wicked but beloved member of the village. Both the creature and the townspeople want the tavern up and running again.

 

And there we have it! I hope you enjoyed this Monster Monday! Have you ever heard of a Clurichaun? Let me know!

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4 Comments


Daniel Riquelme
Daniel Riquelme
Mar 29, 2022

When I first found out of the Clurichaun in the book of Tome of Beast, I was really fascinated by it! I had trouble to implement it in my games but, as always, you come up with wonderful plot hooks that I can use! Thank you Kat!

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Katrina Waldman
Katrina Waldman
Apr 03, 2022
Replying to

Thank you Daniel! I always smile when you leave a comment on my posts! I stumbled upon them in the same way and had to write about them!

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Elven Firefly
Elven Firefly
Mar 29, 2022

I've never heard of Clurichaun. This is an excellent breakdown of the lore, the reason why we might not heard of it and possible stat blocks. Very useful!

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Katrina Waldman
Katrina Waldman
Apr 03, 2022
Replying to

Thank you! When I saw them I was super intrigued, I find stuff like this so fascinating!

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