Sunday, August 14, 2011

Monsters of the Trollhaunt VII: Encounter W5, W6

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

There’s one of these in every dungeon…

Adult Black Dragon (Level 11 Solo Lurker)

The template for fun, challenging dragons has been laid out in the Monster Vault, so the following stat block won’t be much of a surprise to anyone. Still, not all levels of dragons appear in that book, so I’ve had to scale the Young version all the way to level 11. For the most part, I left the original design untouched, except for one significant exception.

If you are interested in further discussion on dragon redesign, I recommend my previous articles on black dragons (now obsoleted by more recent books) and white dragons.

1. Issues identified

  • Acidic Blood is a beating. Seriously, I’m all for tough solos, but acidic blood can wreck any party moderately reliant on melee attacks, unless they are loaded with acid resistance potions. Shroud of Gloom aggravates this to ridiculous proportions.

2. Changes introduced

  • Level up: I used the Young Black Dragon from Monster Vault as baseline, and increased its stats.
  • Acidic Blood nerfed: I simply changed the damage to ongoing damage. This prevents multiple triggers from stacking, but is still painful enough for PCs to try and find a workaround, particularly if Shroud of Gloom is active (which it will).

3. Errata

  • Breath Weapon is enemies only. I missed this from my stat block (didn’t realize it had changed!), but it was not an intended change on my part. Note that I haven’t simply fixed the stat block due to the way the Monster Builder works (it doesn’t) – once I have saved as an image, I’m pretty much done with the monster, unless I want to start again from scratch. Incidentally, this is why I have switched to Word for stat blocks of later monsters.


Option for Encounter W5: one Water Elemental (Level 11 Controller)

I felt like the dragon encounter could use some spicing up, so I decided to add a Water Elemental lying in the pool. In this case, I merely took the monster from Monster Manual 3 and used it as written – I love when I can do that!

Warren Troll (Level 11 Brute)

See Encounter W1.

Boulder Troll (Level 9 Artillery)

One of the trolls is supposed to stand back throwing stones, so I switched it for a more appropriate artillery version. The Boulder Troll is described in Encounter 1

Nothic Gazer (Level 11 Artillery)

1. Issues identified

  • Lack of variety. Rotting gaze is not a bad attack, but it’s the only one. I usually like some encounter or rechargeable attack, to make a monster more interesting.

2. Changes introduced.

  • New power: Rot Burst. This is a strong area attack that requires rotting gaze to be active on a target. Typically, it will take a nothic gazer several turns before rot burst can be active, since an enemy can save against the rot before the nothic’s next turn. However, when you have multiple nothics in an encounter, they can focus fire on a target so that the second nothic will be able to use rot burst if the first one hit. Then again, a significant portion of the damage from rot burst is non-stacking ongoing damage, so a third nothic might prefer to use rotting gaze against a different target. At any rate, the mechanics encourage players to keep away from rotting allies, which is a flavorful and fun effect.

11-Nothic Gazer

All images are (C) 2010 Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved. These statistics blocks were generated using the D&D Adventure Tools, despite the tons of bugs.

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