Monday, August 1, 2011

Monsters of the Trollhaunt VI: Encounters W2, W3

Monsters of the Trollhaunt: Index – Previous - Next

These articles update monsters in adventure P1: King of the Trollhaunt Warrens – reading them may spoil encounters in the module!

Something is rotten in the Trollhaunt Warrens – and it’s the monsters in today’s article!

Marrowmaw Mauler (Level 8 Soldier)

1. Issues identified

  • Claw attack is redundant, serves no purpose
  • Relies too much on Bite for damage.
  • Lack of mark punishment

2. Changes introduced

  • Attacks: reduced accuracy, increased ranged damage. Damage shifted from Bite to Greatclub. Note that this monster’s melee damage was already competitive with MM3 guidelines thanks to minor action Bite.
  • Defenses: –1 Fortitude
  • New power: Enduring Stench
  • Removed power: Claw

8-Marrowmaw Mauler

Kasszt (Level 9 Elite Controller - Leader)

1. Issues identified:

  • Claw attack is redundant, serves no purpose
  • Cavern Curse is extremely weak, no point in casting it.
  • Chant of Renewal has not enough impact for an Elite standard action power.

2. Changes introduced.

  • Attacks: Increased damage and accuracy for Quarterstaff, increased damage for Poison Ray, Cavern Curse. Quarterstaff now pushes. Cavern Curse is now at-will.
  • Powers: Double Ray now gives a choice of Poison Rays or Cavern Curse. Chant of renewal now costs a minor action.
  • Defenses: –2 AC, –1 For.
  • Removed power: Claw


Nothic Stalker (Level 11 Skirmisher)

1. Issues identified

  • Dazing Gaze too annoying as an at-will. Also, triggering Dazing Gaze off a Retaliate is too frustrating
  • No Skirmisher mobility

2. Changes introduced.

  • Attacks: Increased damage and accuracy for Claw, increased damage for Dazing Gaze. Dazing Gaze is now recharge 3+. Claw now grants extra shift.

11-Nothic Stalker


Troglodyte Mauler (Level 6 Soldier)

Using level 6 monsters against PCs of level 11 or 12 is downright silly. These should have been minions instead. I used 2 types of minions for this: Troglodyte Grunts, and Troglodyte Warriors.

Troglodyte Grunt (Level 12 Minion Skirmisher)

There is a skirmisher troglodyte minion in Monster Vault, which could be used with minimum update effort, once I had added some levels to it.

1. Issues identified

  • Lack of a ranged attack. I wanted at least some of my minions to have a Javelin attack, since the encounter was designed with Maulers, which have one.

2. Changes introduced.

  • Level Up:  +6 to attack and defenses, +3 to damage. +5 Initiative.
  • Attacks: I added a slide effect to the Club attack, to make it a bit more interesting.
  • Defenses: –3 For, +1 Ref, +1 Wil
  • New Power: Javelin ranged attack.

12-Troglodyte Grunt

Troglodyte Warrior (Level 12 Minion Soldier)

1. Issues identified

  • Old school minion. The warrior lacked a proper role, decent damage, and compelling abilities. Basically, this called for a completely new design.

2. Changes introduced.

  • Soldier Role: Since the Maulers I were replacing with minions were soldiers to begin with, I wanted these Warriors to be Soldiers, too.
  • Attacks: +2 attack and damage for Club.
  • Defenses: +3 AC, +1 Ref, +2 Wil
  • New Trait: Defender Aura. I could have used a mark as usual, but I wanted to experiment with different mechanics.
  • New Power: Ferocious Bite. I liked the Mauler’s Bite attack, but minor action attacks don’t make a lot of sense for minions. This is a vicious ability for this kind of monster
  • New Power: Ferocious Reflexes. I needed a mark-enforcing power, and the threat of Bite should be an effective deterrent.

3. Gameplay Notes

To my knowledge, there is no precedent for monsters with defender’s aura. I have been playing for months in a party with a Cavalier, and I must say I loved the mechanic and wanted to see how it played out on the monster side. And it was quite a success! These minions were not particularly sticky (since they did not punish enemy shifts), but the ability to defend a zone works great when present in multiple creatures. My players took a while to get used to it, but it felt fair, fun, and quite different from traditional mark mechanics. I’ll definitely use this for future monsters, both minion and not.

      12-Troglodyte Warrior


      Marrowmaw Impaler (Level 9 Artillery)

      See Encounter W1

      Ssark, Battle Champion (Level 11 Elite Soldier - Leader)

      1. Issues identified:

      • Excessive damage. The Battle Champion Tactics trait combined with two attacks from Double Attack and a third from Bite combines for impressive amounts of damage, that can be concentrated on a single PC. I found this to be too dangerous for a monster of its level.
      • Redundant Claw attack.
      • Inspiring Assault is very unimpressive. I had the luck of scoring a critical hit during my encounter with Ssark. Unfortunately, I can’t say this highly situational trait did much for the monsters – it needs to provide a better reward.
      • Soldier without marks. Too common in older monsters.

      2. Changes introduced.

      • Attacks: Reduced accuracy and increased damage for regular attacks. Bite damage was reduced, because Ssark already gets a damage boost with combat advantage. Added mark to Greatclub and Bite, and leader effects to Greatclub and Javelin. Changed Double Attack to prevent using both attacks on a single target. Changed Javelin to target one or two enemies.
      • Defenses: –2 AC, –1 For
      • Traits: Battle Champion Tactics damage reduced to 1d10
      • New Power: Champion’s Revenge – the necessary mark punishment mechanic.
      • Removed Power: Claw


      All images are (C) 2010 Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved. I tried to generate the statistics blocks using the D&D Adventure Tools, but I’m fed with the endless bugs. I ended up writing them on Word instead.

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