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Pathfinder: High Warpriest

When you are talking high level NPCs, their stat blocks can take quite a bit of time to create. Take the one we are featuring today, the high priest of Lirikellein, the goddess of the sun in this adventure: a high priest should be one that has accumulated quite a bit of abilities and gear. Detailing all that requires time, time a busy GM doesn’t have. Just like making high level adventures take quite a bit of time.

This is time we are happy to save you, just like how last week we showed off a very old solar dragon. With Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence, we have worshippers of the sun goddess using a ritual to pull the world into the sun. Yourdley, the high priest of the temple is one of those people involved in this endeavor. Now before you say, “killing everyone on the planet is evil,” let me ask you, is trying to bring people closer to a good deity evil? I mean, sure, most don’t take being “closer” to a deity quite so literally, but is it possibly just a good act that you may not like? If you said, “yes it is still evil,” you are right; it is still evil. But it is an act of one that is deluded into thinking that that is what their deity wants. Those that believe it can see it as an “ends justify the means” situation. Others might even believe that anything done to bring people “closer” to their god as good. What does Yourdley believe? You’ll have to read the adventure to find out.

One final point, keen observers will note that this NPC is of a CR equal to its character level. Normally the CR is 1 less than their character level but this NPC has far more gear than a heroic NPC of that level. As such, this NPC is more difficult than its heroic counterparts, raising its CR by 1.

Download Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence for your Pathfinder game at the JBE Shop. You can also find this 15th-level adventure at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

High Priest Yourdley CR 17

XP 102,400
Male dwarf warpriest of Lirikellein 17
N Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13


Defenses


AC 27, touch 13, flat-footed 27 (+9 armor, +4 deflection, –1 Dex, +5 natural)
hp 216 (17d8+102+17 temporary)
Fort +19, Ref +6, Will +19; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities
Defensive Abilities defensive training, fortification 50%, sacred armor (+4, 17 minutes/day) Resist fire 20; SR 29


Offense


Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 brilliant energy dispelling morningstar +23/+23/+18/+13 (2d6+12/19–20)
Special Attacks blessings 11/day (armor of flame, blinding strike, cleansing fire, fire strike), channel positive energy 9/day (DC 25, 6d6), hatred, sacred weapon (2d6, +4, 17 rounds/day)
Warpriest Spells Prepared (CL 17th; concentration +24)
6th—blade barrier (DC 23), harm (2, DC 23)
5th—flame strike (DC 22), righteous might, spell resistance, true seeing, wall of stone
4th—air walk, blessing of fervor APG, divine power, freedom of movement, spell immunity
3rd—bestow curse (2, DC 20), blindness/deafness (DC 20), daylight, invisibility purge, protection from energy (2)
2nd—align weapon, hold person (3, DC 19), owl’s wisdom, sound burst (DC 19), spiritual weapon
1st—bane (DC 18), command (2, DC 18), doom (DC 18), liberating command UC, sanctuary (DC 18), shield of faith, sun metal UC (DC 18)
0 (at will)—bleed (DC 17), detect magic, guidance, resistance, spark APG (DC 17)


Statistics


Str 18, Dex 8, Con 20, Int 10, Wis 24, Cha 10
Base Atk +12; CMB +21; CMD 29 (33 vs. bull rush and trip)
Feats Combat Casting, Critical Focus, Dazzling Display, Deadly Finish UC, Extra Channel, Great Fortitude, Greater Vital Strike, Improved Critical (morningstar), Improved Vital Strike, Sickening Critical, Shatter Defenses, Skill Focus (Intimidate), Toughness, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (morningstar)
Skills Appraise +0 (+2 to assess non-magical metals or gemstones), Climb +3, Heal +12, Intimidate +26, Knowledge (religion) +10, Perception +13 (+15 to notice unusual stonework), Sense Motive +12; Racial Modifiers +2 Appraise to assess non-magical metals or gemstones, +2 Perception to notice unusual stonework
Languages Common, Dwarven
Combat Gear potion of barkskin (CL 12th, used); Other Gear +1 moderate fortification adamantine half-plate, +1 brilliant energy dispelling morningstar, belt of physical might +4 (Str, Con), cloak of resistance +2

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5e: Conjure Minor Celestial

Not long ago we shared with you one of my favorite creations for 5e, the lantern archon. This little talking ball of light is a guide through the heavens and a great helper to servants of a deity. There’s just one little problem with it, a cleric has to be level 13 to summon one and they cannot cast resurrection that day if they want to do so. I mean, I like that little guy and all but not that much.

It never seemed fair to me that wizards and druids can conjure up some help at much lower levels, but not the cleric. In other editions clerics are just as good at calling up help from beyond as wizards. So it only seemed logical that I do something about it.

Conjure Minor Celestial

5th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 90 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
You summon celestials that appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. You choose one of the following options for what appears:

  • One celestial of challenge rating 2 or lower
  • Two celestials of challenge rating 1 or lower
  • Four celestials of challenge rating 1/2 or lower
  • Eight celestials of challenge rating 1/4 or lower.

A celestial summoned by this spell disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.
The summoned creatures are friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the summoned creatures as a group, which has its own turns. They obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from hostile creatures, but otherwise take no actions.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain an 8th level spell slot, you choose one of the summoning options above, and twice as many creatures appear.

Here’s the only problem with this spell, the MM as a total of 1 celestial you can conjure with this spell—the pegasus. Even worse, VGtM doesn’t add any. There are a decent number of beasts, fey (mostly evil ones), and elementals in that book, but not a single celestial a cleric can conjure up at any level. The flail snail is conjurable for wizards and druids (or crying out loud), but nothing for the cleric.

So I will continue to correct that oversight, both in our blog and in the book Book of Magic: Conjurable Creatures, coming late 2018/early 2019. This is without a doubt a book focused on spellcasting players, but it is also great for GMs as well. I mean, its a book of monsters; every GM can use more monsters, even ones that are primarily good ones. If you are a GM or someone that primarily players spellcasters, I hope you check this book out.

While you are at it, I hope you also check out all our other supplements for 5e. We have awesome adventures, radical races, and malicious monsters. Dive in at the JBE Shop.

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5e: Great Dodo

One of the problems that annoys me the most about Fifth Edition is the lack of character choice you have. Beyond 3rd level, there are very few choices for a character to make. Even spellcasters, the classes with the most numbers of choices regardless of edition get far less choice compared to other editions. This means that every choice you do make has to be more meaningful, far less choices can be a cute throwaway choice done just for the fun of it.

That is what makes the conjure spells so much fun for spellcasters. They can change their choices just because it seems like a good idea at that moment. If this one is silly, that’s ok because the next time you cast it can be completely serious. So while you have the opportunity, why not conjure up a great dodo. Before you go, “Wait, what?!?” here it is…

Great Dodo


Huge beast, unaligned


Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 152 (16d12 + 48)
Speed 30 ft.


STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 17 (+3)
INT 2 (–4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 5 (–3)


Saving Throws Con +6
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Flapping Run. When taking a Dash action, a great dodo treats its speed as 45 ft.
Actions


Bill Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 36 (6d10 + 3) bludgeoning damage. On a successful hit, the target must succeed a DC 16 Constitution save or be stunned until the end of the great dodo’s next turn.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 42 (6d12 + 3) piercing damage.

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5e: Lantern Archon

The little helper angel, the lantern archon, is one of my favorite and it really disappointed me that it was not in the MM. This is a perfect creature that a cleric should be able to conjure up for help. Heck, you could even say this is the spirit that takes on an animalistic form from the find familiar spell when finding a celestial.

Be sure to check out all of our 5e monsters, class options, races and adventures at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Lantern Archon

Tiny celestial, lawful good
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 76 (17d4 + 34)
Speed fly 30 ft.
STR 3 (–4) DEX 19 (+4) CON 14 (+2)
INT 12 (+1) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 15 (+2)
Saving Throws Wis +6
Damage Resistance radiant
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, petrification
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages all
Challenge 2 (450 XP)


Innate Spellcasting. The lantern archon’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12). The lantern archon can innate cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:
At will: aid, detect evil and good
Magic Resistance. The lantern archon has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions


Multiattack. The lantern archon makes two light rays attacks.
Light Rays. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 60 ft./360 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) radiant damage.
Healing Touch (1/Day). The lantern archon touches another creature. The target magically regains 9 (2d6 + 2) hit points.

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Traveller RPG: Spiders

It has been a very long time since we posted anything Traveller related on our website, let alone published anything. Short of the long, we are working on it. With Pathfinder ending it required us to throw out our whole schedule and quickly adjust. Fortunately we are almost done with our last 1e Pathfinder project and then we can go back to Traveller. And to show how much I love this game, I am sharing with you today a nice little spider.

Did I say nice? And little? Yea, this thing needs killed with fire. Nuke it from orbit; it is the only way to be sure.

Spiders

Description

Ranging from the tiniest of creatures to those as large as humans, spiders come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Several have distinctive spots or designs on their bodies. They possess eight legs, a poisonous bite and compound eyes on their head. Many spiders create webs to capture and hold their prey in place while they scurry close to feed.

Combat Tactics

All spiders are aggressive predators that use their poisonous bites to subdue or kill prey. They prefer to surprise their prey and repeatedly bite until either they have eaten enough, are driven off or have made their target helpless.
Spiders come in two general types: hunters and webspinners. Hunters rove about, while web-spinners usually attempt to trap their prey in their web. Hunting spiders can spin webs to use as lairs, but cannot use their webs as weapons the way web-spinners can.

Ecology and Habitat

Universally, spiders prefer dark places with little wind or sound vibrations. Apart from that they differ greatly between individual species. Some prefer dank caves, others prefer corners in homes, while other still prefer grasslands. Wherever there is life, there are spiders. Even though spiders are more common and larger in warmer climates, they still populate colder environments.

Animal Hits Speed
Stalking Spider 12 12 m
Skills Melee (bite) 1, Recon 2, Stealth 1, Survival 2
Attacks Bite (2D + Poison)
Traits Armour (+1), Poison (12+/2D/1 minute for 6 minutes), Small (–1), Spider Climb
Behaviour Carnivore, Killer

You’ll note that this one has a new trait on it: spider climb. Here’s what it does:

Spider Climb: The animal can walk at its full speed on any surface that is not designed to be slick and perfectly smooth.

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5e: Vampiric Young Blue Dragon

Today I would like to share with you a fun mash up of two monsters: dragon and vampire. We are so use to vampires being humanoid that we forget that a vampire can be of any shape. So when creating it in another form, why not marry it a creature that is already scary like a dragon. Done like this, it opens up some new design space. You can make adjustments to the standard vampire abilities that fit a dragonic form much better. For example, we changed the ability Legendary Resistance to Legendary Scales. This is both familiar while still being unique for this specific monster.

As always, check out all our Fifth Edition products at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store. Supporting us lets us to bring you more monsters every Wednesday and other blog posts throughout the week.

Vampiric Young Blue Dragon

Large undead, neutral evil


Armor Class 20 (natural armor)
Hit Points 123 (13d10 + 52)
Speed 40 ft., burrow 20 ft., fly 80 ft.


STR 21 (+5) DEX 16 (+3) CON 19 (+4)
INT 22 (+6) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 20 (+5)


Saving Throws Str +10, Con +9, Wis +9, Cha +10
Skills Athletics +10, Perception +9, Stealth +8
Damage Resistances lightning, necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Common, Draconic
Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)


Legendary Scales (3/Day). If the dragon succeeds a saving throw that would normally deal half damage on a successful save, the dragon can choose to take no damage from the attack. Any conditions that would be applied on a successful save are still applied.
Regeneration. The dragon regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight or running water. If the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn.
Vampire Weaknesses. The dragon has the following flaws:
Forbiddance. The vampire can’t enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.
Harmed by Running Water. The dragon takes 20 acid damage if it ends its turn in running water.
Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the dragon’s heart while the dragon is incapacitated in its resting place, the dragon is paralyzed until the stake is removed.
Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The dragon takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack roll and ability checks. .

Actions


Multiattack. The dragon makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (3d12 + 5) piercing damage plus 5 (1d10) lightning damage and 5 (1d10) necrotic damage. The target is grappled (escape DC 18). The dragon cannot bite another target while grappling. The target’s hit points maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the dragon regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A dragon slain in this way and then buried in the ground or a mound of copper, gold, and silver rises the following night as a vampiric dragon spawn under the dragon’s control. If a humanoid is slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the dragon’s control.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d8 + 5) slashing damage.
Terrify. The dragon targets one dragon or humanoid it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the dragon, the target must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be terrified of the dragon. The terrified target regards the dragon as a imposing image that must be obeyed. Although the target isn’t under the dragon’s control, it takes the dragon’s requests orders that must be carried out or suffer the consequences. Additionally, it is a willing target for the dragon’s bite attack.
Each time the dragon or the dragon’s companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until the dragon is destroyed, is on a different plane of existance than the target, or takes a bonus action to end the effect.
Black Lightning Breath (Recharge 5–6). The dragon exhales lightning infused with necrotic energy in a 60-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw, taking 44 (8d10) lightning damage and 44 (8d10) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

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Pathfinder: Spectre Spawn

Back when I was creating Shadowsfall, I wanted it to feel both familiar yet different. One way I wanted to accomplish this was by making higher and lower level versions of existing monsters. By allowing players to encounter a monster that is normally not seen until higher levels, it gives the feeling that this monster is more common, that this type of danger is more prevalent then say your average goblin. Similarly, by making a higher power version of the monster, you are saying that conditions are right for it to flourish and grow.

Take the spectre as an example. This classic monster is only in Pathfinder as a level 7 monster. However, by making its spawn a CR 5 monster, you can have groups of level 3 take it on and live, albeit they will be wiping their brows and healing up afterwards, but that is the point of a weakened monster. The players get experience with that kind of monster so when the face off against the normal monster, they have an idea of what they will be facing and not only be better prepared but also be weary of its deadly powers, especially if they realize that the higher CR monster looks like it can dish out more pain. Not only that, by encountering a spawn, you know that something must have spawned it, meaning there is more danger to come.

Before we share with you the spectre spawn’s stat block, I would like to point out that the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane is on sale at the JBE Shop for 75% off their regular price along with just about all of our other Pathfinder PDFs. If you prefer your Pathfinder books in print, head over to DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and order our Pathfinder books for 20% off. This is the last day of the sale so grab it now!

Spectre Spawn CR 5

XP 2,400
LE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +15
Aura unnatural aura (30 ft.)


DEFENSE


AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+1 deflection, +3 Dex)
hp 33 (6d8+6)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +8
Defensive Abilities incorporeal, channel resistance +2; Immune undead traits
Weaknesses resurrection vulnerability, sunlight powerlessness


OFFENSE


Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +8 touch (1d6 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks create spawn, energy drain (1 level, DC 14)


STATISTICS


Str -, Dex 16, Con -, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 18
Feats Blind-Fight, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (touch)
Skills Fly +11, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (history) +11, Knowledge (religion) +11, Perception +15, Stealth +12, Survival +9
Language Common


ECOLOGY


Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, gang (1 spectre or spectre lord and 2-5 spectres spawns), or swarm (2-4 spectres or spectre lords and 5-10 spectre spawns)
Treasure none


SPECIAL ABILITIES


Create Spawn (Su) Any humanoids slain by a spectre spawn becomes a spectre spawn themselves in 1d4 rounds. Spawn so created possess the above spectre spawn stats. A spectre spawn created by a spectre spawn are under the command of the spectre or spectre lord that created the spectre spawn and remains enslaved until its death, at which point the spectre spawn become a full-fledged and free-willed spectre (as described in the Bestiary). A spectre spawn does not possess any of the abilities it had in life.
Resurrection Vulnerability (Su) A raise dead or similar spell cast on a spectre spawn destroys it (Will negates). Using the spell in this way does not require a material component.
Sunlight Powerlessness (Ex) A spectre spawn is powerless in natural sunlight (not merely a daylight spell) and flees from it. A spectre spawn caught in sunlight cannot attack and is staggered.
Unnatural Aura (Su) Animals, whether wild or domesticated, can sense the unnatural presence of a spectre spawn at a distance of 30 feet. They do not willingly approach nearer than that and become panicked if forced to do so unless a master succeeds at a DC 25 Handle Animal, Ride, or wild empathy check. A panicked animal remains so as long as it is within 30 feet of the spectre spawn.

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Pathfinder RPG: Bladecypher Protean

When it comes to outsiders, proteans are an interesting addition. In a game that is frequently a game of good and evil, proteans are neither. Infact, they are defined as chaos incarnate. That is their hook. Proteans are to destroy and remove all semblance of order to reality.

When I first wrote the bladecypher, there were only few proteans created. So I wanted a powerful force for nothingness for the players to face. My first thought was that it should be able to unmake just about anything in a certain range. Not only that, they should make lawful creatures pay just for the insult of being near the protean. That was the original concept of the bladecypher. I hope you enjoy it.

PaizoCon is this weekend but you don’t have to be there to enjoy yourself. Going on right now is the We’re Not Going to PaizoCon Sale. Order all our Pathfinder print books from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow at 20% off. Also all our Pathfinder PDFs at the JBE Shop, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store are available at 75% off. Grab them today.

Protean, Bladecypher

This flying creature’s body is covered with enormous plates resembling an exoskeleton. Long blades extend from several of its fingers and its head appears to be the skull of a terrifying demon.

Bladecypher CR 20

XP 307,200
CN Huge outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, protean, shapechanger)
Init +8; Senses blindsense 120 ft., darkvision 60 ft., detect law; Perception +41
Aura lawbane aura (60 ft.)


Defense


AC 37, touch 17, flat-footed 28 (+8 Dex, +1 dodge, +20 natural, –2 size)
hp 396 (24d10+264); fast healing 15
Fort +25, Ref +22, Will +18
Defensive Abilities amorphous anatomy, freedom of movement; DR 15/epic and lawful; Immune acid, polymorph; Resist electricity 10, sonic 10; SR 36


Offense


Speed fly 80 ft. (perfect), swim 80 ft.
Melee 2 bladeclaws +29 (2d8+7/17–20 plus 4d6 chaotic), bite +29 (2d6+7 plus 2d6 bleed and warpwave), tail +27 (2d6+3 plus grab)
Ranged disintegrating ray +30 touch (25d6)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (2d6+3)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 21st; concentration +25)
Constant—detect law, tongues
At will—chaos hammer (DC 18)
3/day—dispel law (DC 19), quickened chaos hammer (DC 18), summon (level 7, 1d4 imentesh B2 80%)
1/day—cloak of chaos (DC 22, self only), summon (level 8, bladecypher 60%)


Statistics


Str 24, Dex 26, Con 32, Int 16, Wis 30, Cha 18
Base Atk +24; CMB +33 (+37 grapple); CMD 52
Feats Ability Focus (disintegrating ray), Alertness, Combat Expertise (–7/+7), Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Dodge, Greater Feint, Improved Critical (bladeclaw), Improved Feint, Magical Aptitude, Multiattack, Quicken Spell-like Ability (chaos hammer)
Skills Bluff +31, Fly +12, Intimidate +31, Knowledge (arcana, planes) +30, Perception +41, Sense Motive +41, Spellcraft +34, Stealth +27, Swim +15, Use Magic Device +35
Languages Abyssal, Protean; telepathy 100 ft., tongues
SQ change shape (greater polymorph)


Ecology


Environment any (Limbo)
Organization solitary, pair, disruption (3–5)
Treasure none


Special Abilities


Bladeclaw (Su) This primary natural weapon deals extra chaotic damage equal to 4d6 to lawful creatures and 2d6 to neutral creatures. No extra damage is dealt to chaotic creatures. A bladeclaw threatens a critical hit on a 19–20.
Disintegrating Ray (Su) Once every 1d4 rounds, a bladecypher can release a thin green ray as a standard action. Upon a successful touch attack against a target within 300 feet, the target sustains 25d6 points of damage. If the target is killed with a disintegrating ray, it is reduced to a fine dust. A disintegrating ray affects living creatures and objects, including those composed entirely of force, such as a wall of force. A successful Fortitude save (DC 28) reduces this damage to 10d6. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Lawbane Aura (Su) All lawful creatures within 60 feet of a bladecypher suffer 2d6 points of chaotic damage and are staggered for the round. A lawful creature that succeeds on a Fortitude save (DC 26) receives half damage and is not staggered. The save DC is Charisma-based.

If a keketar is a priest and prophet of primal chaos, then a bladecypher is a holy warrior and inquisitor. Cunning, dangerous and determined to put an end to all order, a bladecypher can cut lawful creatures to shreds in no time at all. It brings down all threats to the community, whether external or internal. What drives it forward, however, is making sure that worshippers of chaotic deities do not fall into a regular pattern, bringing order into their lives. The non-euclidean armored plates on its body keep it safe from most attacks and prevent non-epic weapons from dealing any substantial damage.

A bladecypher is constantly changing its height and weight, but it typically is between 12 and 15 feet tall and weighs between 7,000 and 15,000 pounds.

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5e: Halfling Warlock Skeleton

I just thought I would take a break from my regular posting of expanding the number of creatures you can summon with the conjure spells in your Fifth Edition game and post a monster I made just for fun. How to make NPCs for 5e is a quesiton I don’t have a good answer for since examples in the MM do not coorelate to levels in the PHB and their stats are completely off from what a monster of that challenge level should be in the DMG. The archmage is a prime example, Its an 18th-level spellcaster, is a challenge 12 monster but the hit points and armor class of a challenge 2 monster. Let me repeat that: the 18th level NPC has hit points and an armor class of a monster 16 levels below what it should be.

So how do I adjust that when I make an NPC? Short answer: The level of the NPC is it’s challenge rating. That 18th level archmage should be a challenge 18 NPC. How do I have it meet the stats of a challenge 18 monster? It gets as many hit dice as needed to be in that range. Think of it as that the NPC also has levels of aristocrat, commoner, or warrior—to use a 3.5/Pathfinder-ism. From there I make option choices to get all the other numbers where they should be.

Take the halfling warlock skeleton below as an example. I settled on a level 3 warlock, so I designed for a challenge 3 monster. We placed the 14 (from the standard 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 ability score array) in Dexterity where it gains a +2 from the halfling race, making it a 16. That +3 ability modifier means its armor class is 13, right where a challenge 3 monster should be. Sure it has only 3 levels of warlock, but that few hit points is going to put it squarely in CR 1/8 territory. So we added as many hit dice as necessary to get it in the 101-115 range. Now considering that the skeleton gave it a damage vulnerability to bludgeoning weapons and an immunity to poison, I felt letting it have 10 hit points more than the normal value was wall justified. The attack bonus on eldritch blast is +4 but its 8 damage falls short so we added repelling blast, making it push its opponents away. This will make coordinating attacks more difficult for the players. It does not make up for it fully, but it is a consideration. Having said that, the halfling warlock skeleton casts burning hands as a 2nd-level spell. That will deal an average of 14 damage each time it is used, counting as 28 considering it damages more than 1 creature. That is close enough to the damage expected for a monster of that level and can be considered balanced for its level, as described by the DMG.

I hope you enjoy this monster and remember to download our other Fifth Edition gaming material at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Halfling Warlock Skeleton

Small undead, chaotic evil


Armor Class 13
Hit Points 126 (28d6 + 28)
Speed 25 ft.


STR 8 (–1) DEX 16 (+3) CON 13 (+1)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 16 (+3)


Skills Deception +5, Intimidation +5,
Saving Throws Wis +3, Cha +5
Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Abyssal, Common, Halfling
Challenge 3 (700 XP)


Brave. The halfling warlock skeleton has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Dark One’s Blessing. The halfling warlock skeleton gains 6 temporary hit points when it reduces a hostile creature to 0 hit points.
Eldritch Invocations. The halfling warlock skeleton has the following invocaitons: agonizing blast, repelling blast
Halfling Nimbleness. The halfling warlock skeleton can move through the space of any creature that is size Medium or larger.
Lucky. The halfling warlock skeleton can reroll a 1 rolled on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, but must use the new roll.
Naturally Stealthy. The halfling warlock skeleton can hide behind a creature that is Medium or larger.
Spellcasting. The halfling warlock skeleton is a 3rd-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The halfling warlock skeleton knows the following warlock spells:
Cantrips (at will): eldritch blast, mage hand
2nd level (2 slots): blindness/deafness, burning hands, charm person, command, comprehend language, hold person, protection from evil and good, scorching ray

Actions


Eldritch Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +4 to hit, range 120 ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) force damage. A creature hit by the halfling warlock skeleton’s eldritch blast is moved 10 feet away from the halfling warlock skeleton in a straight line.

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5e: Shadow Elemental

In our quest to increase the number of creatures you can bring to the table with the conjure spells, the most obvious place to expand is the number and type of basic elementals in existence. My interests in the shadow lands means a shadow elemental should be in the game. Naturally that also means there’s a light elemental somewhere but we’ll save that for another day. Today I just hope you enjoy this one.

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Shadow Elemental

Large elemental, neutral


Armor Class 15
Hit Points 90 (12d10 + 24)
Speed 0 ft., fly 90 ft. (hover)


STR 14 (+2) DEX 20 (+5) CON 14 (+2)
INT 6 (–2) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 6 (–2)


Damage Vulnerabilities radiant
Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
Senses see in darkness, passive Perception 10
Languages Shadowspeak
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)


Aura of Darkness. All non-magical light in a 20-foot radius from the elemental is treated as 1 level lower (bright light is dim light, dim light is darkness).
Light Blindness. The shadow elemental is blinded when in bright light.
See in Darkness. The shadow elemental can see in dim light and darkness like a human can in bright light.
Shadow Form. The shadow elemental can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. It can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.

Actions


Multiattack. The elemental makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage. The target must succeed a DC 15 saving throw or be blinded by shadows until the start of the shadow elemental’s next turn.
Douse Light (Recharge 4–6). A shadow elemental’s touch puts out nonmagical light sources (such as flames) of Large size or smaller and magical light sources of 3rd level or lower. The elemental can dispel magical light sources of 4th level or higher it touches with a Wisdom ability check against a DC of 10 = the spell’s level; a successful check dispels the light (as dispel magic).

Few things are as symbolic of Shadowsfall as a shadow elemental. They are dark, dangerous, all-concealing, and fatal to those unprepared for such an encounter. Summon one at your own peril.
—Irodia, “Collected Knowledge on the Shadow Realm

Composed of physical darkness, a shadow elemental wings its way about the shadowlands concealed in a deeper darkness. It is truly the horror of midnight imagings, but reports typically describe a black four-legged creature with only a pair of slitted eyes and a toothy grin clearly discernible. The elemental glides through the darkness as easily as a ghost through the ether. Swallowing any light encountered, it prefers to strike targets from this natural concealment catching them unaware.