Neogi Tactics

Neogi have the bodies of spiders, the heads of some kind of sharp-toothed worm-thing and the hyper-hierarchical worldview of an 18th-century aristocrat. Nearly all their relations—with other species and with one another—revolve around power. Anything other than deference to the powerful and domination of the powerless is foreign to their way of thinking.

However, neogi are physically weak: their power comes from their psychic abilities. In terms of their ability scores, a neogi’s high Dexterity and Constitution, combined with its low Strength, indicates a preference for skirmishing and for outnumbering opponents. But neogi of equal status will cooperate only under the command of a higher-status neogi; a lone neogi must fend for itself, and will strive to avoid any engagement in which it doesn’t have a clear advantage.

Neogi have darkvision (the standard 60 feet) and proficiency in Perception, so it’s to their advantage to engage either at night or underground. They also have proficiency in Intimidation; this plus their above-average Wisdom suggests that when they’re outmatched, they’ll try to bluff and bluster their way out of having to fight.

The neogi’s Multiattack consists of a claw-bite combo. The claw does straight slashing damage, but the bite does substantial poison damage and also has a chance of imposing the poisoned condition. In fifth-edition Dungeons and Dragons, being poisoned imposes disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks but is otherwise a relatively nonthreatening condition. Mainly, it helps the neogi prevent its target from fighting back effectively.

Once per combat encounter, a neogi can use its Enslave feature to try to take command of a target creature’s mind. However, nothing else the neogi does can improve its chance of succeeding in the use of this feature (being poisoned doesn’t impose disadvantage on saving throws). Neogi know better than to try Enslaving creatures with advantage on saving throws against being charmed, such as elves and gnomes.

A neogi’s whole reason for fighting is to try to capture a creature it can then Enslave. Its most promising potential victims are those of weak will, and fighters, rogues and maybe bards are most likely to have made Wisdom their dump stat. Anyone else a neogi encounters is an obstacle to this goal. Starting with their most fragile opponents—and doing their best to avoid the tougher ones, making maximum use of their climbing movement to stay out of reach—neogi try to get as close as they can to their targets, then strike using their Multiattack. If they can’t get close enough to a target to attack him or her, they’ll use the Dodge action in the meantime.

A single neogi will retreat when moderately wounded (reduced to 23 hp or fewer), again using the Dodge action until it’s in the clear, then Dashing. But neogi fighting in a group will stick around until they’re seriously wounded (reduced to 13 hp or fewer). When more than half of a group of neogi have fled, the rest follow suit.

A neogi master isn’t all that much more powerful than a regular neogi, but it has more than twice the hit points and can cast spells. It has only two slots to cast leveled spells with, and the runaway winner is hold person, which can immobilize up to three targets when cast using a 4th-level slot. Since hold person requires concentration, that rules out casting fear, hunger of Hadar or invisibility at the same time, but that’s OK, because hold person is the ideal way to shut down not only the poor sap the neogi master plans to enslave but also the hard-to-kill, sword-swinging ruffians who may try to come to his or her defense.

If hold person doesn’t yield the expected results, and the neogi master gets rushed, it can fall back on arms of Hadar to deliver 5d6 of nasty necrotic damage to everyone within 10 feet or dimension door to exit, stage left. Otherwise, it’s always got eldritch blast, which which it can fire two salvos of arcane force, each of which does 1d10 + 4 damage on a hit. But its Multiattack is still better, on the whole, if it can get close enough to its desired target. Eldritch blast is more appealing to a neogi master that can hang back while other neogi minions do its dirty work for it.

Neogi hatchlings are even weaker than full-grown neogi, and they’ll only fight in self-defense. If they’re feeding on a great old master, they’ll want to stay put and will bite at any other creature that comes near; they’ll neither flee nor pursue. But if there’s nothing to keep them where they are, they’ll Dash away, preferably straight up a wall and across the ceiling.

Next: vampire warriors and spellcasters.

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