Karrnathi Undead Soldier Tactics

Karrnathi undead soldiers constitute the bulk of the army of the kingdom of Karrnath. Seeking to stave off defeat in the face of failing fortunes, Karrnath allowed necromancer-priests to bolster its army by raising the dead. After the war, many of these undead soldiers were sealed away from the world—but not all of them.

As combatants, they’re not complicated. With very high Strength and Constitution, they’re brute melee fighters that seek to close the distance between themselves and their foes as quickly as possible. However, they also have respectable Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom, indicating a fair measure of flexibility. Unlike your off-the-rack skeleton or zombie, Karrnathi undead soldiers are clever and perceptive. Their compulsion is to triumph, by whatever means are at hand, and they’re capable of exercising sound and nimble independent judgment to determine what the best means are. They aren’t flummoxed by a deep trench, for example—rather than stop in their tracks, like a skeleton, or march right into it, like a zombie, they’ll build a bridge.

Thanks to their darkvision, Karrnathi undead soldiers can and do march on their foes at night, Multiattacking with Longbow until they close with their opponents, then switching to Longsword. The fact that they can’t see farther than 60 feet in darkness doesn’t deter them if they know where their enemies are: Since they already have disadvantage on Longbow attacks from between 150 and 600 feet away, the fact that their targets are shrouded in darkness doesn’t make their chances any worse, and their Multiattack gives each of them three shots per turn. The only range in which the limit of their darkvision matters is between 60 and 150 feet, and they can cover this ground with one round of Dashing plus one round of normal movement. To avoid any letup in their barrage, they divide into two equal groups, one of which Dashes forward while the other keeps shooting, then shoots while the other Dashes to catch up. Continue reading Karrnathi Undead Soldier Tactics

Dolgaunt and Dolgrim Tactics

Sincere apologies to everyone for disappearing for the entire month of October. I have a good excuse: I was spending what little free time I had working furiously on finishing my next book, which will include some entities that certain readers have been awaiting for a long, long time.

Today, I return to Eberron with a couple of quasi-humanoid aberrations, the dolgrim and the dolgaunt, both of them species that originated as goblinoid races warped by evil magic.

Dolgrims look like the result of a transporter malfunction, each one the fusing of two goblin individuals into one horrible entity with four arms, two mouths and two dissociated personalities. Unlike ordinary goblins, dolgrims are shock attackers, with high Strength along with high Dexterity and merely above-average Constitution. They also have less Intelligence than the average goblin, no doubt the result of the clashing noise in their heads. However, their split personalities do confer one advantage: advantage on saving throws against certain mind-affecting debilitating conditions.

Because their Strength and Dex are roughly equal—the base scores differ, with Strength slightly higher, but the modifiers are the same—they can flex between attacking at range and in melee. But that higher Strength gives them a slight preference for melee, so they have a simple approach to combat: Regardless of what range they begin at, they charge, shooting with their crossbows as they run, throwing spears when they come within 60 feet and finally switching to their morningstars upon arrival.

Their Multiattack gives them three attacks per turn, but this doesn’t supersede the loading property of the hand crossbow: “You can fire [sic] only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.” [Linguistic nitpick: You don’t “fire” weapons that don’t use gunpowder. You “shoot” or “loose” their ammunition.] Thus, as long as they’re attacking with Hand Crossbow, they can shoot only once per turn. There’s no range at which it makes sense to shoot once rather than throw three spears, not even between 20 and 30 feet (unless the target has AC 19 or greater, and that’s not an assessment dolgrims are equipped to make). Continue reading Dolgaunt and Dolgrim Tactics