Satyr Tactics

I’ll wrap up “fey week” with a look at satyrs, a.k.a fauns (depending on whether you’re feeling more Greek or Roman), the sex-, drugs- and rock-and-roll-loving party animals of fairyland. These creatures aren’t inclined to start a fight, but if you start one, they have ways of finishing it.

Average to slightly above-average in Strength and Constitution but well above average in Dexterity, satyrs will avoid melee fights in favor of ranged sniping. In a way, this is disappointing, because the most distinctive and delightful attack in their arsenal is ramming—but they have no good reason to use it. On average, it has a poorer chance to hit than a shortsword or shortbow attack, it does marginally less damage than either of those, and it doesn’t even knock the target down. It would have been much better if their stat block had included a Charge feature, which would have given the satyr’s ram some real punch. A satyr engaged in melee is better off using its action to Dodge.

When a fight breaks out, satyrs scatter. They take cover behind trees and Hide if they can, counting on their enemies to be unable to keep track of them all. Their ideal range from their enemies is 40 to 60 feet: well within normal bow range, close enough that their enemies can hear the tunes from their enchanted pipes, far enough away that those enemies can’t close the distance in a single round.

If the satyrs in an encounter number roughly the same as their opponents, they’ll either shoot (if within ideal range at the start of the turn); shoot, then move (if closer than 40 feet); or move, then shoot (if farther than 80 feet). If you’re using the Satyr Pipes variant, one satyr within 60 feet of all its opponents will use its Panpipes to play a Frightening Strain, which imposes disadvantage on the attacks of enemies who fail their saving throws and can’t be ended prematurely, as Charming Melody and Gentle Lullaby can. (These latter tunes are more likely to played for mischief than in self-defense.)

If the satyrs outnumber their opponents significantly, they adopt a deadlier tactic: while one satyr plays its pipes, half of the rest shoot at their opponents, while the other half move to new positions, out of their last targets’ field of view, and Hide. The following round, those who are hidden shoot with advantage, giving their positions away, while those who just shot Hide themselves again, taking advantage of their opponents’ distraction. They do less damage per round this way, but they also take less damage per round, and their use of Stealth to dictate the pace of combat works to their advantage, as their chance to hit goes up from, say, 55 percent to nearly 80 percent against armor class 15, while their careful use of tree cover boosts their own AC from 14 to 19.

Satyrs’ Intelligence is high enough for them to coordinate an attack in this way, but their merely average Wisdom means they’re not particularly discriminating about target selection. Because they have Magic Resistance, they’re not more apprehensive about spellcasters than they are about anyone else. On the contrary, if they’re going to focus fire on anybody, it’ll be whoever’s biggest—or whoever’s managed to get within attacking reach of one of their brethren. Otherwise, they shoot at whoever’s closest.

Satyrs do their best to stay out of melee range of their opponents; if someone does manage to close with one, they’ll Dodge and retreat, using their full 40-foot movement distance. (Their Intelligence is high enough for them to understand what Disengaging is, and their speed would make it advantageous, but their Wisdom isn’t high enough for them to possess the discipline to do it.)

A seriously wounded satyr (reduced to 12 hp or fewer) will Dodge while retreating further into the woods. If at least 60 percent of a group of satyrs are all seriously wounded or slain, they stop Dodging and Dash away—wounded and unwounded alike.

Next: devils.

2 thoughts on “Satyr Tactics

  1. “In a way, this is disappointing, because the most distinctive and delightful attack in their arsenal is ramming—but they have no good reason to use it.”

    Err — ’cause they’re drunk?

    Creatures notorious for the amount of time they spend drunk out of their minds are probably going to indulge in some suboptimal tactical decisions just because. Or they think it’s funny. Or on a dare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.