Monster Analysis: Sea Pirates

Thanks to @kwwins for this art piece!

What’s a trip out to sea without a pirate battle? Vox Machina and the crew of the Drensala Vis handily dealt with the pirate ship on the Ozmit Sea. Avast! Ahoy! Arrr! ...We’ll just start the analysis.

Buccaneers

The pirates were armed with rapiers and daggers, and had three attacks on each turn, unless one of their hands was occupied hanging onto the side of a ship. Once Percy dispatched two of the five off the side of the ship, the remaining three pirates served as a means of keeping the crew of the Drensala Vis busy, and as a battle-ending afterthought for Vox Machina.

Water Elemental

  • First appearance: 22 AraMente to Pyrah (as Keyleth)
  • Suggested Armor Class 14 (lowest stated hit 20)
  • Speed 30 ft., swim 90 ft.
  • Immune to poison, exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
  • Resistant to acid; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
  • Suggested average, max damage: 114, 168
  • 109 damage taken, 30 finishing blow by Percy

As we previously saw during Keyleth’s trial in Pyrah, water elementals have two attacks: Slam and Whelm. The water elemental in the pirate battle used both, though its Whelm was largely ineffective thanks to Trinket and Grog’s successful strength saves.

The water elemental was a temporary addition to the crew, summoned by the Marid. Once the Marid lost concentration, the elemental attacked of its own accord, including one of its former allies, drowning him with a slam attack. And speaking of the Marid...

Marid

Thanks to @JDIllustrates for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 87 Onward to Vesrah
  • Armor Class 18 (suggested 17)
  • Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft., swim 90 ft.
  • Resistant to Cold, Acid, Lightning
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 229, 306
  • 276 damage taken, 70 killing blow by Taryon

Marids, like the previously encountered Efreeti, are Genies. While not necessarily evil, marids view everyone as inferiors and potential slaves. Despite their piscine appearance, Marids are amphibious, being as comfortable in water as they are on land. They have both melee and ranged physical attacks, and can innately cast a number of spells. The marid opted to stay out of the fray from the Drensala Vis, which would have been a solid strategy had they attacked a ship without crew members who could easily traverse between ships.

In their battle with the Marid, Vox Machina only experienced two of its abilities, thanks to Vex’s early sighting and restraining of the genie. At the top of the battle, the marid summoned a water elemental, which it can do once per day. Because it had to maintain concentration on the spell, the marid was, thankfully for Vox Machina, unable to use its other spell attacks, like Control Water. However, it was able to use its unique Water Jet ability to deal damage on the Drensala Vis while still restrained on the back of its ship.

Naval Combat

Thanks to @drunken_pilot for this art piece!

The only real advantage that the pirate ship had over the Drensala Vis was its Fog Marker, cloaking its approach and allowing the pirates to get within striking distance. Further, it caused all of Vox Machina’s ranged attacks to be at disadvantage. This disadvantage was not an issue for the pirates themselves, as they only used melee attacks.

Unlike the sky ship, falling off the boat didn't automatically take a combatant out of battle. In Vox Machina’s case, every party member who went overboard at one point or another had a means of recovery, whether it was enhanced swimming capabilities or the option to take to the air to return to the ship. None of the Drensala Vis’ crew were tossed overboard, either. The pirates, on the other hand, did not have means of recovery from falling.

Like the airship battle in Episode 15, the sea pirates had no idea what they were up against. The airship pirates at least had the advantage of the wyverns and gryphons, while the sea ship pirates’ only ranged attacker was the (restrained) Marid. The invaders attempted to go for the element of surprise via fog, but this was quickly turned against them as Vox Machina took the majority of the battle to the other ship (as well as flat out sunk it).