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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    In 3.5 Eberron game, I've used a plot where House Vadalis sold tiny magebred Ankhegs to farmers to help deal with pests and to aerate the soil with their tunnels (I think that was mentioned in the MM as a beneficial side effect of their presence, but tiny version is obviously less destructive to the crops). But then, for unknown reasons, some of them started to grow back to the original size. Vadalis sold a lot of those buggers...can the players find what's going on and stop it before the whole country is overrun with horse sized, acid spitting, burrowing insectoids?
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    juvenike
    Some kind of adolescent victory goddess?

    Zeus: "Turn down that damn music! You're giving me a headache again!"
    Juvenike: 1, Zeus: 0

    Another victory!

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    I find it odd that Azer could be rivals to Efreeti. Mainly because of their differences in CR. I can't imagine the Efreeti not conquering them.
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    For some reason this feels really fitting; I got a mental image of a bunch of psions setting up a LAN party.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    The answer is right in the Azer's fluff: if the Efreeti try to conquer the Azers, Azers will reveal secrets of City of Brass to everyone. And if they do it first, there won't be anything stopping Efreeti from invading...Azers are blackmailing them to keep their war cold (as far as that's possible on Elemental Plane of Fire)
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    juvenike
    Some kind of adolescent victory goddess?

    Zeus: "Turn down that damn music! You're giving me a headache again!"
    Juvenike: 1, Zeus: 0

    Another victory!

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    The answer is right in the Azer's fluff: if the Efreeti try to conquer the Azers, Azers will reveal secrets of City of Brass to everyone. And if they do it first, there won't be anything stopping Efreeti from invading...Azers are blackmailing them to keep their war cold (as far as that's possible on Elemental Plane of Fire)
    Ahh. I need to reread that. I assumed that was ancient history.
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    For some reason this feels really fitting; I got a mental image of a bunch of psions setting up a LAN party.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Kobold

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralanr View Post
    I find it odd that Azer could be rivals to Efreeti. Mainly because of their differences in CR. I can't imagine the Efreeti not conquering them.
    It's also possibly a difference in numbers. I have a hard time imagining an individual Efreeti forming a ranks of 20 soldiers deep to go fight the Azer. They all seems like rulers or generals and use lesser races as armies and fodder. So while an Azer army consists of a bunch of Azer stat blocks and all an Efreeti army has Azer, Salamanders, Fire elementals, magmins, and possibly conscripts from the material plane.

    That's just personal opinion and not supported by any fluff. Azer as good builder also probably have solid defenses in place for when the Efreeti come a calling.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    MonkGirl

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    If nothing else. azer can be used as another fire monster in a fire themed classic dungeon (presumably with an efreet waiting at the bottom)

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Azer (and all of the elemental races) have always posed a problem in that they are on a different plane of existence. Particularly the Elemental Planes, which I've usually run as incredibly dangerous to end up on without some serious prep. That, and there is so much stuff going on in prime that they never get around to getting there in the first place.
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    I always mean to send the party to different planes, but never get around to it.

    Although my current group had a chance to go to Pandemonium and they all decided it seemed like a horrible idea and turned around. I mean, they probably would have died, so I suppose they were right.

  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Kobold

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    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    I always mean to send the party to different planes, but never get around to it.

    Although my current group had a chance to go to Pandemonium and they all decided it seemed like a horrible idea and turned around. I mean, they probably would have died, so I suppose they were right.
    It's a damn shame when your players don't take the rope you're giving them to hang themselves.

    I like planar stuff happening so run a lot of plots where elementals get brought to the prime for one reason or anther. Having the largest variety of monsters means the fire plane gets tapped into the most. Well except maybe demons/devils. Those are a hoot.

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Kobold

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    MrConsideratin, you did a great job on the Azer post, but you missed one aspect of them I was very excited to hear about, the fact that Azers can be the ultimate Tucker's Kobolds.

    They are the best non-divine crafters in the multiverse, are terrified of invasion, and keep to themselves. Also, their species is built, not born, so even the least among them must know how to build things. Also, they clearly know how to make great traps and secret passageways, as The City of Brass is apparently so filled with such things that such knowledge being known terrifies the Efreet.

    Imagine having to breech an entirely metal city where the zealous defenders don't need to eat, drink or sleep, are probably all armed with magic weapons, have more traps per square inch than you could imagine, is filled with magical wards capable of keeping genies out, and everything is either on fire or steampunk. That's what attacking an Azer fortress is like.
    Last edited by Brendanicus; 2015-08-20 at 04:52 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #131
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    I have to agree. I've never been to another plane as a player or DM'd travel to other planes. I always find my players are too engrossed with hooks on the Prime Material, and their aims and ambitions are all on the Prime Material - they're Prime Material girls livin' in a Prime Material world.

    I also find the idea of traveling around the Elemental Plane of Fire a bit difficult to imagine - isn't it all on fire? Can you walk there at all? Do you need some kind of fire-proof suit? Is there even any oxygen to breathe or is it all being consumed by the fire all around?

    I love your interpretation, Brendanicus. The Clockwork Fortress of the Azer could be a great module.
    Last edited by MrConsideration; 2015-08-20 at 05:16 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Kobold

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    Quick correction. The Azer's were never slaves in backstory (Though of course some have been captured and made slaves in the skirmishes the two have.). It remarks that they were allied with the Efreet and therefore on equal standing. They helped the Efreet create the City of Brass one of the most wondrous places in creation. The Efreet decided to be jerks and decided to they wanted to use the Azer's as slaves so they could use their talents as they pleased and protect the secrets of the city. The Azer's were strong enough to fight the Efreet off and remain free. Causing their rivalry and cold war.

    So it's not really like the Gith who were the Mind Flayers slaves for untold generations before breaking free. The Azer's were allies and friends of the Efreet who were betrayed. And now they are rivals.


    Quote Originally Posted by MrConsideration View Post
    I also find the idea of traveling around the Elemental Plane of Fire a bit difficult to imagine - isn't it all on fire? Can you walk there at all? Do you need some kind of fire-proof suit? Is there even any oxygen to breathe or is it all being consumed by the fire all around?.
    The DMG answers how the Elemental Planes work.

    Here is a nice piece of art of the Inner planes.



    Pretty much there are 3 sections to the Elemental Planes. The boarder Elemental Planes were the plane resembles the Material Plane dominated by one of the elements. (This map is of the Boarder Elemental Planes.) Then as you go father and farther into the plane you reach. the Inner Elemental Planes which normal creatures can't survive in as it pretty much becomes purely that element. If you go farther into the Inner Elemental planes you eventually reach the Elemental Chaos were the Elemental Planes start mixing together at random.
    Last edited by Envyus; 2015-08-20 at 05:39 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brendanicus View Post
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    Dwarf Fortress where you don't have to keep your dwarves supplied with food and booze, they won't go take nap in the middle of a battle and they are immune to poison and burning despite being already on fire? Sounds like !!!Fun!!!
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    juvenike
    Some kind of adolescent victory goddess?

    Zeus: "Turn down that damn music! You're giving me a headache again!"
    Juvenike: 1, Zeus: 0

    Another victory!

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    BardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    Animated objects also have a long fantasy tradition; when the Great Magical Event took place, the very furnishings gained a form of life. This can be amusingly Disneyesque as in Beauty and the Beast or as dark as the Fritz Leiber story where the "protagonist's" anger suffused everything around him, so that his typewriter keys started attacking him as he tried to write, the band-aids attempted to smother him, and so on. I think Stephen King did a short about that idea, too.

    So in addition to "a wizard did it!" and "there's just a whole lot of free-floating magic here", you can add Animated Objects as a sort of special no-turn undead; the overwhelming rage / anger / sadness / love / lust / loneliness of the former inhabitant manifests itself through the furnishings of the place.

    They are amusingly cheesy in my opinion, and certainly no more "This exists for players to kill it!" than oozes and Dire Wombats.
    John Varley's "Press Enter" is at the dark end of the tradition, although it's specifically about electronic devices. http://www.amazon.com/Press-Enter-Sc.../dp/1568652798 I briefly misremembered the author as Jack Vance, which would have made for a cooler reference.

    It might actually make for an interesting campaign plot, although you'd have to come up with a way for the PCs to win.
    Last edited by Corey; 2015-08-20 at 08:34 PM.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    The Banshee

    The Banshee is another creature with an obvious mythological basis and instant recognition. This can be great as most of the encounter writes itself in your player’s heads, but also demeaning because players instantly know how to respond.

    The Banshee seems to be best used as a quest-based monster – a random encounter with a banshee will feel cheap and lack the appropriate gravitas (especially as it has a fair chance of striking lucky and murdering an entire party in a single move – more on that later). Encountering a Banshee is a quest, and should lead to social encounters or investigations that uncover the history of the spirit.

    Art
    I really like the art for the Banshee. It looks appropriately ethereal whilst still having some kind of definition, and manages to look furious and haunted all at once. The sense of motion is also quite an achievement, as the Banshee is clearly emerging from some desolate place.

    Purpose and Tactics
    Running a Banshee tactically seems silly – it is a tormented spirit, and is probably fairly disinterested in throwing down with some grubby murderhobos. I would ensure a Banshee’s damage is always incidental, not tactical.

    In battle the Banshee takes a punt on an insta-kill move. A very unlucky party could be TPK’d by this, and said party will probably throw the dice at you if this happens. Combining this with the automatic fear ability could scatter your players long enough for death saving throws to be made and possibly failed. The chance of this is fairly low, however, and once all players have made saves, the Banshee functions as something of a tank – low hit-points are offset by a fairly massive list of immunities and resistances, pinging away at your players with a fairly weak melee attack whilst they wear it’s HP down. This will probably make for a fairly boring fight – everything is decided by the results of the Wail/Horrifying Visage combo at the outset, followed by a slog. I’ve always felt the D&D approach to ghosts to be completely absurd: you respond to hauntings by beating a ghost to death. This implies Ghosts are sufficiently alive to be ‘killed’ again, and it completely undermines the point of Ghosts – to function as a story monster. At the risk of tooting my own warhorn, I did write a blog post on exorcisms and hauntings for 5e which you could easily adapt to fighting the Banshee here. Any decent DM would make dealing with a Banshee a quest to salve whatever lead to its creation or simply banishing it somehow – not relying on your +1 swords and Magic Missile to make it even deader.

    An intelligent party who knows they’re facing a Banshee can easily nullify its main ability with a variety of spells like Heroism or Protection from Evil, which will make this fight completely trivial for a fourth-level party. There are no rules to this effect, but Silence or Deafness should presumably protect you against the Wail – both spells a fourth-level party should have easy access to. Whilst springing a Banshee on party unawares seems unfair, a prepared party should have no trouble kicking her teeth in. I also find it bizarre that if you stand 31 feet away and can still hear the Wail you are completely unharmed, yet someone stood a foot in front of you could literally keel over dead – I’d rule that the Wail affects creatures in earshot. Perhaps a tell-tale sign of a Banshee’s haunt would be that everything is dead? Birds fallen from the sky, grass turned brown and inert, herd animals lying dead without a wound on them.

    Fluff

    The origin story seems a bit vague, but there’s an obvious Gothic ancestor somewhere in there – Banshees are Elves that squandered their beauty. How exactly you squander beauty, I don’t know – maybe all attractive Elves are obligated to become supermodels in order to hold back the Banshee threat. This seems like it would cause dire economic consequences for Elvenkind, and perhaps explains why their development is so slow in comparison to humans. Banshees apparently used their beauty to ‘corrupt and control’ others, which is something straight from an MRA forum. There’s an element of the Virgin Madonna in the Banshee which I don’t really like.*

    I’d chuck out the origin story but retain other aspects – the fact the curse starts to occur in life is a brilliant quest hook. The hoarding of beautiful objects helps make the lair a distinctive environment whilst giving you an excuse to chuck a load of art object treasure in there. I’d go closer to the mythology for an origin. Perhaps the Banshee is a curse suffered by silenced women, whose rage and desire to be heard can only emerge after death. Perhaps the Banshee is a seer or prophetess whose warnings were not heeded in life. Perhaps they are scorned women whose rage could find no outlet in mortal life. In all likelihood, your players will only ever counter one Banshee so you can freely call it the Screaming Ghost of Neverwinter and treat it as a wholly unique phenomenon with a personalised origin story.

    Hooks

    An Elven Noble of some means has grown listless and apathetic to life. She has been told that should she die, she will rise as a Banshee and torment the living. Eager to avoid this fate she seeks adventurers to find a cure or means of containment….or to end her misery if all else fails.

    An art critic desires a specific lost work by an Old Master which no one has seen in a generation. Where will the trail for this masterpiece lead?

    At the river where the locals once washed their clothing there is now a region of desolation, called only The Stillness. Nothing there lives, and none who venture there return. Can your players uncover the mystery and restore The Stillness to life?



    Verdict: Great monster, too tied to D&D logic to perform well.

    *The feminist theory, not to be confused with Like a Virgin, the Madonna single from 1984, which I actually really like.
    Here is my DIY D&D blog, where I post my thoughts and homebrew ideas, mainly for 5e.


    Here is where I post my Let's Read of the 5e Monster Manual.

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrConsideration View Post
    I’ve always felt the D&D approach to ghosts to be completely absurd: you respond to hauntings by beating a ghost to death. This implies Ghosts are sufficiently alive to be ‘killed’ again, and it completely undermines the point of Ghosts – to function as a story monster. At the risk of tooting my own warhorn, I did write a blog post on exorcisms and hauntings for 5e which you could easily adapt to fighting the Banshee here. Any decent DM would make dealing with a Banshee a quest to salve whatever lead to its creation or simply banishing it somehow – not relying on your +1 swords and Magic Missile to make it even deader.
    3.5 ghosts, at least, are only slain permanently if the reason for their existence is dealt with. I can't remember the rules about 5e ghosts and banshees—my group just got the MM a bit ago—but I don't think +1 swords are ever meant to be a permanent solution. Fighting it just gives you breathing room in order to contend with the core issue—or perhaps time to leave the dungeon and throw rocks at your DM for putting you up against incorporeal undead (although those are a lot easier this edition than previously).

  17. - Top - End - #137
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    I think the Banshee fluffy origin is inspired by Dragonlance. I'm not sure about the specifics (Dragonlance isn't my favorite setting, but I've read a lot of DL novels), but apparently, there was a group of beautiful female elves who convinced lord Soth (still alive then) that his wife was unfaithful to him and turned him away from his mission to warn priest-king that the gods doesn't approve of his action, leading to Soth killing his wife and getting cursed to be a Death Knight, the elves turned into undead spirits (banshees), and gods dropping a huge meteor to Krynn, destroying Isthar and turning away from mortals for some time.
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    juvenike
    Some kind of adolescent victory goddess?

    Zeus: "Turn down that damn music! You're giving me a headache again!"
    Juvenike: 1, Zeus: 0

    Another victory!

  18. - Top - End - #138
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    The 5e Banshee fluff is silly. I'd go with a CE female elf and leave it at that.
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  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrConsideration View Post
    The Banshee

    The Banshee is another creature with an obvious mythological basis and instant recognition. This can be great as most of the encounter writes itself in your player’s heads, but also demeaning because players instantly know how to respond.

    The Banshee seems to be best used as a quest-based monster – a random encounter with a banshee will feel cheap and lack the appropriate gravitas (especially as it has a fair chance of striking lucky and murdering an entire party in a single move – more on that later). Encountering a Banshee is a quest, and should lead to social encounters or investigations that uncover the history of the spirit.

    Art
    I really like the art for the Banshee. It looks appropriately ethereal whilst still having some kind of definition, and manages to look furious and haunted all at once. The sense of motion is also quite an achievement, as the Banshee is clearly emerging from some desolate place.

    Purpose and Tactics
    Running a Banshee tactically seems silly – it is a tormented spirit, and is probably fairly disinterested in throwing down with some grubby murderhobos. I would ensure a Banshee’s damage is always incidental, not tactical.

    In battle the Banshee takes a punt on an insta-kill move. A very unlucky party could be TPK’d by this, and said party will probably throw the dice at you if this happens. Combining this with the automatic fear ability could scatter your players long enough for death saving throws to be made and possibly failed. The chance of this is fairly low, however, and once all players have made saves, the Banshee functions as something of a tank – low hit-points are offset by a fairly massive list of immunities and resistances, pinging away at your players with a fairly weak melee attack whilst they wear it’s HP down. This will probably make for a fairly boring fight – everything is decided by the results of the Wail/Horrifying Visage combo at the outset, followed by a slog. I’ve always felt the D&D approach to ghosts to be completely absurd: you respond to hauntings by beating a ghost to death. This implies Ghosts are sufficiently alive to be ‘killed’ again, and it completely undermines the point of Ghosts – to function as a story monster. At the risk of tooting my own warhorn, I did write a blog post on exorcisms and hauntings for 5e which you could easily adapt to fighting the Banshee here. Any decent DM would make dealing with a Banshee a quest to salve whatever lead to its creation or simply banishing it somehow – not relying on your +1 swords and Magic Missile to make it even deader.

    An intelligent party who knows they’re facing a Banshee can easily nullify its main ability with a variety of spells like Heroism or Protection from Evil, which will make this fight completely trivial for a fourth-level party. There are no rules to this effect, but Silence or Deafness should presumably protect you against the Wail – both spells a fourth-level party should have easy access to. Whilst springing a Banshee on party unawares seems unfair, a prepared party should have no trouble kicking her teeth in. I also find it bizarre that if you stand 31 feet away and can still hear the Wail you are completely unharmed, yet someone stood a foot in front of you could literally keel over dead – I’d rule that the Wail affects creatures in earshot. Perhaps a tell-tale sign of a Banshee’s haunt would be that everything is dead? Birds fallen from the sky, grass turned brown and inert, herd animals lying dead without a wound on them.

    Fluff

    The origin story seems a bit vague, but there’s an obvious Gothic ancestor somewhere in there – Banshees are Elves that squandered their beauty. How exactly you squander beauty, I don’t know – maybe all attractive Elves are obligated to become supermodels in order to hold back the Banshee threat. This seems like it would cause dire economic consequences for Elvenkind, and perhaps explains why their development is so slow in comparison to humans. Banshees apparently used their beauty to ‘corrupt and control’ others, which is something straight from an MRA forum. There’s an element of the Virgin Madonna in the Banshee which I don’t really like.*

    I’d chuck out the origin story but retain other aspects – the fact the curse starts to occur in life is a brilliant quest hook. The hoarding of beautiful objects helps make the lair a distinctive environment whilst giving you an excuse to chuck a load of art object treasure in there. I’d go closer to the mythology for an origin. Perhaps the Banshee is a curse suffered by silenced women, whose rage and desire to be heard can only emerge after death. Perhaps the Banshee is a seer or prophetess whose warnings were not heeded in life. Perhaps they are scorned women whose rage could find no outlet in mortal life. In all likelihood, your players will only ever counter one Banshee so you can freely call it the Screaming Ghost of Neverwinter and treat it as a wholly unique phenomenon with a personalised origin story.

    Hooks

    An Elven Noble of some means has grown listless and apathetic to life. She has been told that should she die, she will rise as a Banshee and torment the living. Eager to avoid this fate she seeks adventurers to find a cure or means of containment….or to end her misery if all else fails.

    An art critic desires a specific lost work by an Old Master which no one has seen in a generation. Where will the trail for this masterpiece lead?

    At the river where the locals once washed their clothing there is now a region of desolation, called only The Stillness. Nothing there lives, and none who venture there return. Can your players uncover the mystery and restore The Stillness to life?



    Verdict: Great monster, too tied to D&D logic to perform well.

    *The feminist theory, not to be confused with Like a Virgin, the Madonna single from 1984, which I actually really like.
    I don't really like the fluff that banshees got. I like the old Irish myths about them basically being a supernatural warning system to a family line, and I'd adapt that to turn them into supernatural bodyguards who protect their family with their existence, but cannot be forever destroyed until the family line is. Which leads to a really nasty fight with a Necromancer with his Banshee guardian. But the guardian can be removed by eliminating his poor old mother who is living a simple life in the country (still have to fight a Banshee either way though)


    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    I think the Banshee fluffy origin is inspired by Dragonlance. I'm not sure about the specifics (Dragonlance isn't my favorite setting, but I've read a lot of DL novels), but apparently, there was a group of beautiful female elves who convinced lord Soth (still alive then) that his wife was unfaithful to him and turned him away from his mission to warn priest-king that the gods doesn't approve of his action, leading to Soth killing his wife and getting cursed to be a Death Knight, the elves turned into undead spirits (banshees), and gods dropping a huge meteor to Krynn, destroying Isthar and turning away from mortals for some time.
    Or this fluff. Banshees are cursed by god(s) for the crime they committed. And thus there is a bunch of variants on the curse, like making them guardians, or forcing them to perform certain actions, or allowing it to be bypassed with a charm from the god in question.
    In order to understand recursion you must first understand recursion.


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    I don't care about RAW. I only care about RAI (Rules as Interpreted/Intended), RACS (Rules as Common Sense) and RAF (Rules as Fun).

    Please don't bother to respond to me if all you want to talk about is RAW.

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    I think the Banshee fluffy origin is inspired by Dragonlance. I'm not sure about the specifics (Dragonlance isn't my favorite setting, but I've read a lot of DL novels), but apparently, there was a group of beautiful female elves who convinced lord Soth (still alive then) that his wife was unfaithful to him and turned him away from his mission to warn priest-king that the gods doesn't approve of his action, leading to Soth killing his wife and getting cursed to be a Death Knight, the elves turned into undead spirits (banshees), and gods dropping a huge meteor to Krynn, destroying Isthar and turning away from mortals for some time.
    I don't know much about Dragonlance. In the 1e MM a banshee, also called a groaning spirit, is the spirit of an evil female elf. It doesn't specify whether all evil female elves become banshees or just some of them, however. I greatly prefer the real world folklore version personally, and that's what I would use in my world.
    Last edited by JoeJ; 2015-08-24 at 12:32 PM.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Fluff: All elves are beautiful and if the women don't use their beauty for good they'll become a banshee!

    That's what I got out of it. That's pretty stupid/sexist if you ask me. All elves are beautiful? There's no such thing as an elf with bad teeth? How about an overbite? Or just being really fat.

    WHERE ARE THE FAT ELVES?!
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    For some reason this feels really fitting; I got a mental image of a bunch of psions setting up a LAN party.

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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralanr View Post
    WHERE ARE THE FAT ELVES?!
    0. Maybe that's where dwarfs actually originated. (Oh dear, all of those +3 dwarven throwers coming my way .... what's going on here? )
    1. Elves are not human.
    2. When you mostly exist in longtime, perhaps you don't overeat.

    About Banshees ...

    The original inclusion of Banshees was a slight twist on the legendary creature from Irish folklore, whose wail was an omen that someone would soon die.
    is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from another world. In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die
    . D&D twisted that to "when she wails, someone will die ... if they don't save versus death" so while technically correct, first wail, then die, the banshee's agency in death is an add on to make the game creature dangerous.

    Banshee as monster predates Dragonlance, JackPhoenix. From 1e MM page 50 a few points ...

    ARMOR CLASS: 0 ... NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 ... DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8 ... SPECIAL DEFENSES + 1 or better ... MAGIC RESISTANCE: 50%
    INTELLIGENCE: Exceptional ... ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil
    ... the spirit of an evil female elf ... returns to harm the living.
    Note an evil female elf, not all female elves who die.
    The groaning spirit can attack by its chilling touch, causing 1-8 hit points of damage/attack when it strikes. ... save versus magic or die on the spot ...

    Fear spell ...

    It can wail but once per day, and only during darkness.

    Exorcism kills them.
    Given the general predilection for D&D elves to trend toward neutral or good, the rareness of evil elves as formative stock for a banshee argues that this was a rare monster indeed.

    I agree with those who see the Banshee as a quest monster: Mr Consideration's set ups are pretty good.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2015-08-24 at 01:06 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #143
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Well, there's 3.5's Mialee...

    edit: I do realise that banshee's origin is older then DL (and D&D itself, of course), the first part of the Banshee's MM fluff (Divine Wrath) strongly reminded me of that bit of DL history. It wasn't 3.5 core monster, though, so I wasn't aware of it's older fluff.
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2015-08-24 at 01:10 PM.
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    Another victory!

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    MonkGirl

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Except as a member of a larger incorporeal undead 'ghost army' storyline I'm not sure I've ever used or fought a banshee

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    Nifft's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    I don't really like the fluff that banshees got. I like the old Irish myths about them basically being a supernatural warning system to a family line, and I'd adapt that to turn them into supernatural bodyguards who protect their family with their existence, but cannot be forever destroyed until the family line is. Which leads to a really nasty fight with a Necromancer with his Banshee guardian. But the guardian can be removed by eliminating his poor old mother who is living a simple life in the country (still have to fight a Banshee either way though)
    That's badass, and I'm totally stealing it.

  26. - Top - End - #146
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    MonkGirl

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    Mythologically they were not body guards really since there was nothing you could do to 'fight fate' once you heard their cry (and they would be fae not undead), they were at best a warning to get your affairs in order

  27. - Top - End - #147
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    I find that when core fluff vs. player fluffy ideas vs. DM fluffy notions come up, I like to ferret my way into/out of such situations with the following argument.

    Mortal sages can get details wrong. Immortal sages like to write propaganda. Undead sages write bad fanfiction.

    That way, I can have the same stats for critters like the banshee, and still have 5-138 different In-Game representations of it! That, or I'm lazy and have to be reminded to be consistent in campaign details...

  28. - Top - End - #148
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Yeah, I think that's the best way to go about presenting most 'mystery' monsters like Werewolves. Vampires etc (it will be a long time before we reach those here!) Keep them unique, keep players guessing - and ham up the threat if you can!

    Basilisk

    The Basilisk is another ancient mythological beastie, and another creature toting a nasty save-or-die effect despite a fairly low CR. The depiction here is quite removed from Pliny the Elder, where the Basilisk was a normal snake....that could kill with a glance.



    Art

    The artwork for the Basilisk takes quite a unique direction, making the beast much stockier and more hale than the usual serpentine depiction. As a monster this makes it seem more animalistic, rather than cunning. The mess of legs and huge maw make the creature distinctive image. Another great piece of monster art.

    Purpose and Tactics
    Basilisks, being of animal intelligence, are unlikely to appear as anything other than one-shot antagonists of the party in an appropriate region or locale.
    The Basilisk is a melee monster whose passive gaze ability mainly works to keep his enemies in disarray. As a solo encounter, he’s tough for low-level characters doing just that. If you opt to have him as a cohort to another powerful enemy the passive control he exerts with his gaze is extremely powerful.

    The rules for adjudicating the dreaded gaze are a little unwieldy. If any character directly looks at the Basilisk – and are within 30 feet – they need to make the save. If they declare themselves to be covering their eyes they needn’t – but this presumably imposes disadvantage on attacks akin to Blindness. To an informed party the gaze is something of a ‘fleet-in-being’; never actually being utilised but existing as a threat to keep the party stumbling around in a bizarre mix of slapstick and combat while the Basilisk chews on the softer members. For the DM using a battlemat, it creatures the conundrum of whether you rule that characters are aware of their position and the relative position of enemies and allies. Personally I’d leave them to their Three-Stooges-style antics whilst the Basilisk eats his fill, but I’m a sadist like that. Do feats like Sentinel still work if you’re covering your eyes? There is a lot to consider for the Basilisk’s Gaze, and it’d an effort to not make it seem like a cheap way of counteracting the player’s abilities.

    The difficulty of attaining a Greater Restoration at third level (Druids and Clerics get can cast it at level 9) makes risking the Constitution save extremely dangerous for your players. In many settings, my own included, high-level clerics aren’t easy to find, and the prospect of lugging your statuesque friend back to town for de-petrification isn’t appealing. If you’re using the Basilisk at a high level as part of a composite encounter petrification might be only a temporary inconvenience, even if it could still swing the battle easily enough.

    The 30ft limit, much like the Banshee, seems far too game-y, and creates the same bizarre image of someone standing 31 feet away enjoying a staring contest with the Basilisk whilst their comrade a few inches nearer is becoming a fetching lawn ornament. It also exposes a Basilisk to ranged attacks, so avoid using this creature out in the open.

    The defences of the Basilisk seem a little weak, probably to counteract the poor performance of your motley blinded players – but the damage is hefty enough from its bite attack to make it very dangerous, even at higher levels.

    Fluff
    Much Basilisk fluff focuses on their uses to humanoids. They can be domesticated and are useful for alchemists. This is all a little bland, but necessary for plot-hook generation beyond the old staple ‘the Basilisk wants to eat you and is in your way’. Their ability to devour stone is a great explanation for why their gaze exists (otherwise they’d be depriving themselves of prey with every kill) and the idea of the chewed-upon stone reforming into flesh in the digestive tract is an appropriately disgusting end of foolhardy player characters. This doesn’t seem to gel with the fact that you recognise their lair by the abundance of statues – wouldn’t the big bad Basilisk have eaten them all? Adroit players will always recognise a random mess of statues as the lair of a Basilisk (or Medusa or Gorgon) and will begin using mirrors and covering their eyes immediately. Perhaps to really screw with them you should place a mess of statues in some other monster’s lair?

    Hooks
    The Shah desires a Basilisk for his Garden of Deadly Delights. Anyone who can claim an egg for him (or claim an egg convincingly is a Basilisk egg…) will be given his pick of the Shah’s treasure.

    An amazing outsider-artist is taking the city by storm. He is infamous for incredibly lifelike depictions of the human form in stone, and the maudlin nature of his works: individuals screaming, fighting, begging, weeping. Most shockingly, the artist is blind! Can your players link his mysterious success and a series of disappearances?

    A young dragon is trying to establish himself in a region of wilderness, but many local monsters refuse to accept his sovereignty. Can you push, persuade, cajole or kill a recalcitrant Basilisk out of the region in return for a share of a dragon’s hoard?


    Verdict: Fun and appropriately disruptive – can easily be added to higher-level encounters, too. As a monster, it provokes thinking in your players.
    Last edited by MrConsideration; 2015-08-25 at 03:47 AM.
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  29. - Top - End - #149
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    NecromancerGirl

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    How much do you think unlimiting its stone gaze range would increase its effective challenge rating by? (Within reason of course, if you're standing a kilometer away and the basilisk itself is just a tiny pinprick it 'aint gonna be stone-gazing you.)

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    My idea of a Basilisk, and probably many other folks' as well:



    It seems there's a later one that's well heftier:

    Last edited by Corey; 2015-08-25 at 04:31 AM.

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