How to (Not) Fight a Kraken

Vox Machina faces the daunting task of stealing from a Kraken…without disturbing said Kraken. Headmaster Uvenda, Heart of the Tides of the water tribe who would know more than anyone about the Plane of Water and the Kraken, gravely warned Vox Machina that to try to face a Kraken is folly. So, we’re going to approach this not as a preview to a battle, but through the lens of trying to avoid a battle with the pet of the Titans.

Know Where You’re Going

Despite the name, the standard-DMG Plane of Water is not entirely water! It's an endless sea, called the Sea of Worlds, that is dotted with small, occasional islands and atolls that rise up amidst enormous coral reefs. The largest of these is called the Isle of Dread, which is connected to the Material Plane by the endless storm that sweeps over the island.

Above the surface of the sea, the weather is extreme, ranging from completely calm to raging storms, with the occasional rogue wave that sweeps everything from islands to ships underwater. The few air-breathing denizens of the plane fight constantly over any dry spots they can get, be it land, ship, or even something as simple as a raft.

Most natives of the plane, however, never break the surface of the sea. The region near the surface is called the Sea of Light, and flourishes with life, most notably the marids, who like the efreet and their City of Brass in the Plane of Fire, have their own city amongst the reefs called The City of Ten Thousand Pearls. The deeper regions are known as the Darkened Depths, and are rife with monsters and leviathans like the infamous kraken.

Stay Away, Not Just Out of Sight

With many monsters, going invisible is enough to avoid detection, but not so with the Kraken. Kraken have Truesight to 120 feet, so trying to sneak up on one is almost out of the question. Ah, but Stats, you may be saying, Keyleth can use Animal Forms, Polymorph, or Beast Shape to disguise Vox Machina! Alas, but creatures with Truesight can see any shapeshifting creature’s true form.

Furthermore, all of the Kraken’s lair actions and abilities have a maximum range of 120 feet (including telepathy to that distance), so getting anywhere vaguely near the Kraken is asking for trouble. That being said, RAW Krakens don’t understand Common… but Matt’s big bosses are always modified. Krakens are also very intelligent and fairly wise, so trying to outsmart one in the heat of the moment is unlikely to succeed.

Bring Lightning Resistance

Two of the three Lair Actions of a Kraken are lightning-based, one of which is giving creatures within 60 feet of the Kraken lightning damage vulnerability for a round. Further, the Kraken can use at least one of its Legendary Actions and its turn to use a Lightning Storm (with a frighteningly high DC). So, even if VM plans to completely avoid the Kraken, it’s in their best interest to still have lightning resistance.

Don’t Talk to (Animal) Strangers

If VM plans to curry favor with the local aquatic life to get around the Kraken, they will find their efforts sorely misplaced. All aquatic creatures with an Intelligence of 2 or lower are not just charmed by the Kraken, but hostile to intruders in the area.

Have an Exit Strategy

VM is tasked with escaping the Plane of Water with three load stones without killing the Kraken or drawing it into the Material Plane. Those load stones weigh enough to hold the city of Vesrah afloat, so they need to have a specific plan for how to get them out. A Bag of Holding has a carrying capacity of 500 pounds, and they have two at their disposal… but we don’t know how heavy each load stone is yet. Keyleth can cast Plane Shift twice if she doesn’t use her 8th level spell slot, which would get VM out with whatever they can carry and then back to the Plane of Water to get whatever they left behind, but they’ll have to get creative with their final escape.