Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday's Monster Mash #4 - The Enemy of My Enemy

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.

The story...

Magdiana has seen many lifetimes. It has been ages since she followed her sister Breemita to this mortal realm, where she became stuck in this retched mortal form. Breemita had said they could bring light to this realm, but what is a single wick in the deep, black fathoms of the Underdark? The Underdark is not all darkness though. There are several caverns of piping hot magma. It is from these areas Magdiana was first introduced to the Hell Hounds. They resisted her will at first, but just like all other creatures, submitted in time. Now, with her army of Hell Hounds, she has set her sights on the Kuo-Toa settlement between her and her ultimate goal: Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders.

Berrol, the Kuo-Toa Lash, had sent scouting parties when he heard the Hell Hounds' lair had been conquered. His Kuo-Toa Cutters returned with stories of a great, evil angel controlling the Hell Hounds and heading towards the Kuo-Toa settlement. He instructed his Kuo-Toa Mad Ones to take defensive positions. As Berrol began preparing the rest of his people to defend their home, he was brought a rumor of a group of adventurers nearby causing trouble. Today was not going to be a good one...

The monsters...

Monster Manual
Monster Manual 2
Monster Manual 3
Hell Hound
Page 160
Deva Fallen Star
Page 62
Kuo-Toa Mad One, Lash, and Cutter
Pages 124 - 125

The powers...

First off, let's take a look at the Deva Fallen Star. This creature does everything in its power to stop the players from dealing damage to it. Fateful Transposition (immediate interrupt, encounter) allows the creature to swap places with a target and split the damage of the trigger attack between itself and the newly transpositioned creature. If that is not frightening enough, the Deva Fallen Star also has Fate Manipulation (free, recharges when first bloodied) allowing it to add or subtract 1d8 from any attack roll, ability check, or saving throw made by any creature within 10 squares or itself.

Next, we have the Hell Hounds. These beasts have a Fire Shield (aura 1) that deals 1d6 fire damage to any creature that enters or begins its turn in the aura. And a nasty Fiery Breath (standard, recharge 4 5 6, close blast 3) dealing a massive 2d6+3 amount of fire damage to the entire party.

Finally, we have the Kuo-Toa. All Kuo-Toa have the Aquatic trait, allowing them to breathe underwater and gain an additional +2 to attacks against nonaquatic creatures. The Kuo-Toa Mad One have an Eldritch Scream (at will, close blast 3) dealing psychic damage to a group of foes. The Kuo-Toa Lash has multiple lightning attacks, the worst being Forked Lightning (standard, area burst 2, recharge when bloodies an enemy or reduces an enemy's HP to 0 or less) which not only deals 2d6+6 lightning damage but blinds the target until the start of the Lash's next turn. The Kuo-Toa Cutter has a triggered action called Swift Strike (at will) which triggers when an enemy misses it with a melee attack and allows the cutter to shift 4 squares and attack with its Barbed Dagger (at will, melee) attack.

The encounter...

The party had been adventuring in the Underdark for a few days now and had been successful in their ventures. As they rounded the next bend in the maze-like tunnels, they saw a small Kuo-Toa village under siege by an army of Hell Hounds. Always in need of allies, especially in a place as treacherous as the Underdark, the party decided to move forward and help the Kuo-Toa fend off the attack. As they approached, the Kuo-Toa leader and Deva Fallen Star struck up a quick bargain to work together against this band of top-siders before the intruders could take advantage of their warring situation.

As the party rushed in on the Hell Hounds, taking damage from their fire sheilds, the Kuo-Toa Mad Ones rushed the party, Clawing and (Eldritch) Screaming as they worked the party's defenses down. The Kuo-Toa Cutters darted in swiftly and landed multiple Crippling Strikes, dealing extra attacks with their Barbed Daggers as they dodged the party's attacks. The Deva Fallen Star moved in to attack with its Rebuking Rod, but noticed the Kuo-Toa Lash beginning to target her. The Deva quickly drew the attention of the party's casters and used her Fateful Transposition to switch places with the Kuo-Toa Lash. The Lash took the brunt of the party's attack, but not before launching several volleys of Forked Lightning.

It was a close battle, but the smoke cleared with the one who had been victorious on the battlefield. The Deva Fallen Star laughed to herself as she surveyed the damage and wondered if fate would have a common foe appear near Menzoberranzan when it came time to attack. Perhaps she would find this common foe herself and infiltrate the Drow stronghold as a friend, coming to warn of the attack. Yes, these plans would work out nicely.

The discussion...

  • 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, Kuo-Toa Cutters being so "shifty"?

  • How could different party make-ups be better or worse against these monsters?

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