Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monsters Of The Bible: Cockatrice

"And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den." -Isaiah 11:8

I found it interesting that the Cockatrice was mentioned in the King James version of the Bible. Other editions just refer to snakes or serpents. Could this be a reference to the Chicken-Headed Wyvren of mythology? More than likely it's a translation issue. Either way it would be a great idea for a Biblical/Sword & Sandal campaign!

From the Holmes Edition:


Move: 90 feet/turn,
180 feet flying

Hit dice :5

Armor class: 6

Treasure Type: D

Alignment: neutral

Attacks: 1

Damage: 1-6 points

A smallish monster with the head, wings and legs of a cock and the tail of a serpent. The cockatrice can fly and it turns opponents to stone with it's touch if it scores a hit.

The monster is not intelligent.


  1. Funny, I just finished reading The Book of the Dun Cow, so cockatrices have been on my mind. The word cockatrice seems to date to the 12th Century and the "evolution" of the chicken-wyvern seems to be pretty convoluted.

  2. I find myself of two minds here. As a scholar, of course, it's to have the most accurate translation of the Bible we can produce. As a gamer, I think we should all celebrate 2011 by going back to the Authorized or King James translation for reasons just like this!

    Yeah, the cockatrice/basilisk seems to have started out as the same mythological beast, but D&D fleshed them out as two distinct beasties, and there's plenty of grist in the differing descriptions and illustrations to supply that process. It's heraldic rareness is a shame: I'm glad that the Pathfinder world-setting uses it for an order of cavaliers.

  3. King James is da bomb. I really dislike modern restatements.

    Word ver: blesses. How weird is that.

  4. I've always equated the Basilisk with the Cockatrice for some reason, but I didn't realize that they may have actually been the same referenced creature.

    KJV is a fun read, almost like reading Shakespeare. Interesting word verification.