Just as the great hydra grows from the severed head of the original Lernaean Hydra, the lesser hydra grows from the severed head of a greater hydra. While the greater hydra feels constant pangs of separation from the original, a lesser hydra has no recollection of that great, perfect whole.
A lesser hydra is far less poisonous and far less dangerous than the greater. While it is also less intelligent, it is more independent. When the head of a greater hydra is severed, the head will spout small legs, fins or tentacles in order to make its escape while the attacker is occupied with the two new heads growing in its place.
This head will then seek shelter and begin its week-long transformation into a hydra body about 3 meters long. The body shape is determined by the means the head took to escape. It could have a tail, tentacles, legs, fins or perhaps even wings. In most cases, the head will seek the nearest safe spot. During this week of transformation, it is extremely vulnerable to attack and can be treated as a 1HP mass of meat. Once the transformation is complete, 1d6 necks and heads will sprout.
The lesser hydra is usually dominated by its progenitor. The greater hydra can send simple telepathic commands to the lesser, provided they are about a mile apart or less. The slave hydra can send back simple answers such as “alarm” or “food” or images. The lesser hydra is somewhat disloyal. If it has a reasonable chance of escaping this one mile radius without being caught, it will try. Should the greater hydra wish, it can kill the lesser with a thought within that mile radius.
Lesser hydra are often posted on guard duty or sent hunting for food, for a greater hydra is a very hungry animal. When alone, a lesser hydra will seek a home anywhere it can find one. They are very vicious and still exude the poison that is the hydra’s nature. Much like other hydra, any head that is severed is replaced by two more unless fire or acid is used to cauterize the stump of the neck. For a lesser hydra, this means using a full flask of oil or acid. The severed head will attempt to escape, growing any needed appendages to do so while the attackers are distracted. Within 3 days the head will now be the body of a dwarf hydra.
Lesser hydra can spit poison as a cobra and have a poisonous bite. Some (30%) can breathe a poisonous cloud (save or take 1d4 HP/round until cured) once per day. Their blood is an effective poison if ingested and can corrode or eat through non-magical armor, weapons and other materials in a period of hours. Its blood is a much sought-after ingredient in witches’ brews and blasphemous rituals.
No. Encountered: 1-3
Alignment: Chaotic or Chaotic Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
[S&W Move 9]
AC: 5  (heads), 6  (body)
HD: 14 HP/head, 50HP for body
Attacks: 1 bite/head or 1 venom spit/head (as 8 HD Monster) 30 foot range
Breath 1 times/day as chlorine gas breath weapon (30% have this attack)
Bite 2d6 + poison (1-4 hp/round until cured)
Breath weapon as dragon—HP of all heads combined as damage, save for half
Poison spit cloud 1d4 hp damage + 1d4/round save vs. poison for 1-2 half damage
Save: Fighter 6 / Immune to all poisons
Hoard Class: X
Challenge Level / XP: 1 per head plus 2 or 3HD for Challenge Level Modifications