Tag: celestials

  • Mercane Tactics

    Mercanes are neutral parties, traders that ply the Astral Sea and sell their wares to whoever’s buying. They’re not ones to get into a fight except in self-defense, or perhaps against someone who’s doing something disruptive to commerce. They usually travel alone—that is, without other mercanes, although they may have bodyguards or other followers, the nature of which the flavor text doesn’t specify.

    The mercane’s stat block suggests two design goals: to make killing one fairly challenging, and to make sure that anyone who picks a fight with a mercane is thereby picking a fight with all mercanes. The latter is the obvious explanation of the Mercane Telepathy trait, which lets them hold telepathic conversations with other mercanes across any distance. The wording of the trait leaves it unclear whether it allows them to communicate between different planes, although the flavor text implies that it does. Make an enemy of the mercanes, through either violence or dishonesty, and best-case scenario, none of them will trade with you ever again. Worst-case scenario, depending on how badly you’ve done them wrong, they might put out a bounty on you. I bet mercanes are very good at fundraising for special projects.

    As for the other thing, mercanes have a hybrid ability contour with an unambiguous primary defensive ability, Constitution, which gives them a nice hit point maximum, but some fuzziness around what should be construed as their primary offensive ability. The biggest number is their Intelligence, but the only thing this ability score seems to affect is their saving throw DC, and none of their psionic “spells” calls for one. It comes into play only in a rider on their Psi-Imbued Blade, which is a melee weapon attack. The next primary offensive ability candidates are Strength and Wisdom; as far as I can tell, Wisdom doesn’t come into play at all except in their Insight and Perception skills (in which they have expert proficiency), so I guess what we have here are Strength/Con brutes. But they’re brutes with psionic ability, who may not be interested in fighting in the first place and can use psionics to influence a battle … a bit.

  • Reigar and Zodar Tactics

    Reigar take the phrase “creative destruction” to a new level. Alien aesthetes with a penchant for the old ultraviolence, they destroyed their home planet as some kind of epic performance art piece, and apparently they now travel around making sequels to it.

    Despite their exceptional Strength, their primary offensive ability is their extraordinary Charisma, indicating that they favor their psionic powers over their melee weapon attack. With a high Dexterity and a merely above-average Constitution (effectively, it’s their “dump stat”), they prefer to keep their distance from their opponents in combat, even though they get two Trident attacks per action from their Multiattack versus a single Chromatic Bolt. That one bolt deals as much or more damage on a hit than two weapon hits, anyway.

    Aside from Chromatic Bolt, the reigar has one use per day each of mass suggestion and sending and two per day of dimension door and phantasmal force. Set aside the dimension doors, which are for entry and exit, and sending, which has no direct combat application. Mass suggestion is more powerful and affects more targets at once, so that’s obviously the go-to. Phantasmal force, which deals 1d6 damage per turn at most to just one target hardly seems worth casting at all, to be frank. It’s such a weak hit that mid- to high-level PCs will immediately suspect that what they’re seeing isn’t real, and its sensory effects are limited to a 10-foot cube. I honestly wonder how this spell was intended to be used—purely for embellishment, perhaps?

  • Monsters of the Multiverse: Celestials, Fey, Elementals, Constructs, Oozes and Beasts

    Lots of monster types in this batch, but not that many monsters. The overwhelming majority of the mechanical changes in Monsters of the Multiverse went into humanoids and fiends; whether because they were designed and balanced better to begin with or because they just aren’t encountered as often, other monster types got away pretty clean.


  • Radiant Idol Tactics

    The radiant idol is another Eberron entity that didn’t survive the transition to Eberron: Rising From the Last War intact. Originally, every radiant idol was a being with its own unique domain, sort of like the cleric domains in fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons, and powers that related directly to that domain. In this most recent sourcebook, radiant idols are simply fallen celestials, with no particular bailiwick and the same powers across the board. Craving adoration, they amass cults of devotees, but the relationship sends both worshipers and worshipees into spirals of psychological disintegration.

    Radiant idols’ ability scores are uniformly high, in a gently sloping contour that you don’t see too often. Five of those scores form a straight, from Intelligence 17 to Charisma 21; their highest ability score, Strength, takes a hop up to 23. This deviation—which really isn’t much of one—gives them a slight bias toward melee engagement. But with ability scores like these, radiant idols can fight pretty much any way they like. Unlike most creatures, which have one favored combat role and stick to it, radiant idols are distinguished by their flexibility.

    One way this flexibility manifests is an extreme unwillingness to get into any fight they can’t win, and another is a pronounced preference for talking first. Whenever they can, radiant idols try to get their way without fighting. With that extraordinary Charisma and proficiency in Persuasion, Deception and Insight, along with an immunity to being charmed and an Aura of False Divinity that can passively charm others, radiant idols can dominate social interaction encounters in a way they can only wish they could in combat. And if logos, ethos and pathos don’t do the trick, they can always try dominate person or mass suggestion, depending on whether they’re trying to sway one or many. (more…)

  • Kirin Tactics

    The kirin (inexplicably hyphenated “ki-rin” in Dungeons and Dragons products going all the way back to the original D&D book Eldritch Wizardry, which preceded even Advanced Dungeons and Dragons—kirin, unhyphenated, is a Japanization of the Chinese 麒麟 qílín) is a mythical creature whose appearance portends the births and deaths of great rulers and sages. A deerlike beast with scaly skin, grand antlers and dragonish facial features, the kirin is often characterized in Western writing as the “Japanese unicorn” or “Chinese unicorn” because of its virtuousness and standoffishness and because it’s sometimes depicted as having a single horn rather than a pair of antlers. The link is reinforced in fifth-edition D&D, as both unicorns and kirin are categorized as celestials.

    Kirin are reclusive, and being lawful good, they prefer to avoid violent encounters. Combat with a kirin is going to take place in only two instances: Either a player character has attacked the kirin, or the kirin is fending off an intrusion by an intrinsically evil creature, such as a fiend or undead.

    A kirin’s extraordinary Strength is nearly matched by its Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma, making it one of the few creatures that’s equally well-suited to melee combat and spellcasting. With proficiency in Perception, it’s hard to catch by surprise, and with proficiency in Insight, it knows which of its opponents are genuinely hostile and which are simply misguided. (more…)

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