Monday’s Monster Mash is a weekly series where monsters are selected from the three Monster Manuals and put together as an encounter group. A situation is discussed where these monsters would have been together and how their powers or status effects work together against the players.
Arcaniss, the Poisonscale Magus, had been charged with overseeing the construction and protection of the tomb for their recently deceased leader, Maekrix. With the majority of the construction complete, Arcaniss roamed the tomb deciding where various traps and constructs would be put in. As she silently moved from corridor to corridor, she felt as though she was being watched. Out of the darkness, a Su Sentinel came barreling towards her. She turned and caught him in a great hug. "Where have you been, Ir? You know you shouldn't be down here while I'm preparing the traps."
Ir was Arcaniss' personal guard. Several years ago, when venturing through the swamps, she came upon him caught in a snare laid by Yuan-ti. Arcaniss hid in the foliage until the Yuan-ti came. She watched as they taunted and teased the trapped Su Monster. Feeling a moment of compassion, she leapt upon the Yuan-ti and slaughtered the lot of them. As she freed Ir from his bonds, she tended to his wounds and spoke in soft, soothing tones to keep the Su Monster calm. In return, Ir followed Arcaniss out of the swamp and returned to the land of the Lizardfolk as her personal guard.
As Arcaniss began the rare and powerful ritual to bind an angelic spirit to the newly carved Sphinx statue, Ir's sat by waiting and watching for any signs of trouble or intruders. As she completed the ritual, Ir's senses alerted him to a nearby presence. Quickly, he pulled Arcaniss into the side chamber and quietly leapt into the rafters of the tomb...
|Monster Manual||Monster Manual 2||Monster Manual 3|
|Lizardfolk, Poisonscale Magus|
First off, let's take a look at the Sphinx. These things are usually setup to guard a sacred or magical location, come in pairs usually, and like riddles. They have a power called Sphinx's Challenge, where they actually pose a question to the party. If the party answers correctly (or recites the required holy verse) the Sphinx lets them pass, but keeps a close eye on their activities. If they start to tear things up, the Sphinx immediately attacks with its Frightful Roar (close burst 10), with all targets taking a -2 penalty to their attack rolls.
Next, we have the Su Monster, Su Sentinel to be specific. Next to clowns, I find nothing more frightening than a monkey/fey panther hybrid with psonic powers (aka NIGHTMARE FUEL). These beasts move silently through trees, attacking from above with some very wicked moves. Psionic Boost (triggered action, recharged when takes psychic damage) is trigger when it lands a Claw (at will, melee) or Flashing Talons (at will, melee) attack and deals 2d6 additional psychic damage. The Su Sentinel also has a special Skirmish trait allowing its attacks to deal another 5 additional damage if it moves at least 4 squares from its starting square.
Lastly, we have the Poisonscale Magus. This is a poison dealing turret, essentially. Poison Blood (standard, at will, ranged): 1d6+3 poison damage with an ongoing 5 poison damage. If that's not bad enough, Corrupt Poison (minor, at will, ranged) slides the target 3 squares and slows them until they roll a save. Then, there's Poison Barrage (standard, encounter, area burst 3) which hits for 1d6+3 poison damage and the target takes a -5 vulnerability to poison until they roll a save. But, if Poison Barrage misses, it still deals half damage and the -5 vulnerability lasts until the end of the targets next turn.
The party enters the tomb of a Lizardfolk king and are greeted by a Sphinx. After not being able to recite the king's motto in Draconic, the Sphinx attacks with its Frightful Roar as the Su Monster swoops in from the rafters with its Claw and Psionic Boost attacks. The Poisonscale Magus pokes her head out around the corner and beings launching volleys Posion Blood and Posion Barrage, draining the party of their precious life-force. With all the commotion in the tomb, the nearby Lizardfolk guards come to the aid of the Magus, only to find the broken bodies of the party members never made it past the entrance.
- What other monsters do you think could add an interesting flair to this group and how would you work them into the story?
- What other strategies could this group of monsters use against the party?
- What are some possible defensive tactics the party could use against these monsters, especially with all the poison damage being dealt?
- How could different party make-ups be better or worse against these monsters?