Thursday, August 13, 2009

Weekly What the Heck Monsters - Now With Playtesting!

I thought during hiatus would be a good time to revisit the WWtH monsters and try them out in actual 4e combat encounters. I've used a few of them before, but probably less than half a dozen out of the over 40 the feature has generated.

So Monday evening the girls whipped up a four-PC party covering the four 4e roles and all four power sources. They brought to the table:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

We got through one encounter: the sample encounter I whipped up for the beelion (3 kobold skirmishers and a beelion). The map was Dwarven Outpost from the Miniatures Game Starter Set, with the fight concentrated around one of the corner start areas as the bad guys came at them from ambush. The bad guys won initiative and used all their shifting abilities (the kobolds' shifty and the mounted beelion's guided frenzy) to surround the party and get some hits in on the softer targets (the bard and the ranger).

The gnome used fade away to get clear and the invoker slowly backed off as the warden marked almost all the enemies on the field and pulled the mounted kobold off the beelion. The beelion used lion's frenzy to get another hit on the ranger even while marked. The warden soon managed to mark all four enemies at once and got hit by all four for lots of sneak attack damage for her trouble. Impressively, she was still standing. After that round the PCs' attacks started taking a toll and kobolds started to drop. Unfortunately, the beelion's alluring gaze dazed the warden, leaving her unable to get out of the blast area of the invoker's next attack, and that coupled with more hits from the kobolds managed to take the warden down. After the warden had failed one death save, the last kobold (4 hp left) mounted the beelion (11 hp) and they flew away.

I need to make two small tweaks to the beelion. The alluring gaze is way too powerful to be at-will. I'll make it recharge 5 or 6 and drop the attack bonus by 1. Since I don't want two recharge powers on one monster, and lion's frenzy is only useful in specific circumstances anyway (next to 3 or more foes) I'll make that one at-will. The updated stat block is below:

    • Level 1 Elite Skirmisher
    • Beelion
    • Medium natural magical beast (mount)
    • XP 200
    • Initiative +5
    • Senses Perception +1
    • HP 62; Bloodied 31
    • AC 17; Fortitude 16, Reflex 16, Will 13
    • Saving throws+2
    • Speed 6, fly 8
    • Action points1
    • Bite (standard; at-will)
    • +6 vs. AC; 2d6 + 1 damage.
    • Bee's Frenzy (standard; at-will)
    • The beelion makes two bite attacks.
    • Alluring Gaze (minor 1/round; recharge 5 6) • Gaze, Psychic
    • Close blast 3; targets enemies; +1 vs. Will; the target is pulled 1 square and dazed until the end of the beelion’s next turn.
    • Lion's Frenzy (standard; at-will)
    • Close burst 1; targets enemies; +6 vs. AC; 2d6 + 1 damage.
    • Guided Frenzy (while mounted by a friendly rider of 1st level or higher; at-will) • Mount
    • A beelion with a rider may shift 2 squares between bite attacks when using bee's frenzy.
    • Align. Evil
    • Lang. Common
    • Skills
    • Str 13 (+1)
    • Dex 16 (+3)
    • Wis 13 (+1)
    • Con 15 (+2)
    • Int 6 (--2)
    • Cha 8 (--1)
    • Equipment ---
    • Tactics A beelion prefers to begin a fight in the air, choosing a landing spot that gives it a positional advantage. It tries to stay in a flanking position with its allies while surrounding itself with enemies to target with its lion's frenzy.
      Source Weekly What the Heck
    • Created with's DM Tools

Two other things I took away from this fight:
1) Goliath wardens can soak sick amounts of damage.
2) Maxed-Cha bards make clerics and warlords look like healing amateurs.

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