Monster Analysis: Delilah Briarwood and the Remnants

CR-Delilah at the Orb.png

Thanks to @AgentPluto for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 24 The Feast
  • Encounter Appearance: 100 Unfinished Business
  • Armor Class: Unknown
  • Speed: 30 ft
  • Unknown HP and Resistances
  • No Damage Taken

The Delilah Vox Machina encountered by surprise had significantly more preparation than the last time they saw her. In the 383 days since her demise, she had time to rebuild her cult, start the ritual over again (without interruption) on the next Winter’s Crest, and practice her magic enough to learn 9th levels spells on top of her already deadly repertoire.

Delilah employed the same effective strategy that Ripley did in the last fight against Vox Machina: Summon protection (Prismatic Wall), take her turn to cripple the most dangerous opposition (Feeblemind on Pike), and let her underlings absorb the party’s damage and actions. Unlike Ripley, Delilah had a means to shut down Vox Machina’s might via the orb once it was obvious she was outnumbered, as well as an escape plan that could actually be executed.

More disturbing is her mastery over the orb, which was lacking in Vox Machina’s previous encounter with her in the Whitestone ziggurat. Not only did she manage to complete the doorway to the Shadowfell for her plans for The Whispered One, but now wields an amulet that she can use to change its function and grant safe passage through it.

It’s been pointed out that Prismatic Wall is immune to anti-magic fields. Although Vox Machina had found practical use for the orb in the Whitestone ziggurat as one, Allura has pointed out that its true nature as an arcane siphon means it doesn’t just dispel arcane and divine magic, but outright consumes it. Thus, even Prismatic Wall is not immune to its effects. Whether it’s the arcane or something with physical form, the doorway potentially crushes those who go through it in a form that can be presumably be used for The Undying One’s nefarious purposes. From what Vox Machina heard from the blackguard during Pike’s Speak with Dead, a “crafted stone” is required to pass through the siphon without risking being crushed. Whether that stone has any purpose beyond protecting the bearer from being crushed is unknown.

The Remnants

Delilah surrounded herself with a cadre of Vecna followers, all missing their left eyes. As we learned from Pike’s Speak with Dead casting, they consider themselves the “body” portion of the Remnants of Vecna. You may recall that both Anders and Daxio called themselves the “blood” of Vecna, and were missing none of their body parts (that is, until Vax daggered Anders’ left eye and Grog lopped off Daxio’s head). Delilah’s band of not-so-merry men on the Smoldercrown ziggurat included a blackguard, a war priest, a necromancer, several cultists, a slew of skeletons, and a minotaur skeleton.

Blackguard

  • Armor Class: ≤ 19
  • 181 damage taken, 45 killing blow by Vax’ildan

Blackguards, also known as anti-paladins, serve as the spiritual opposite to the typical paladin, pledging their oath and devoting their lives to evil and fiendish deities in exchange for unholy power. They are capable of commanding undead rather than simply rebuking it, and often lead legions against the forces of good. The blackguard facing VM had three attacks with a glaive, and could imbue his strikes with thunder and necrotic magic.

War Priest

  • Armor Class: ≤ 17
  • Took 122 damage (39 killing blow by Taryon)

Necromancer

  • Armor Class: 15
  • 172 damage taken, 8 HDYWTDT by Scanlan

Cultists

  • Armor Class: ≤ 15
  • Cult Fanatic Suggested, Max HP: 33, 54
  • 78 damage taken, one-shotted by Vax
  • 76 damage taken, one-shotted by Vex
  • 62 damage taken, 42 killing blow by Grog
  • 64 damage taken, 27 killing blow by Lionel

The war priest, necromancer, and cultists served as the main spellcasters, though the necromancer proved to be the most dangerous of three. The cultists had more in common with the Cult Fanatic archetype in the Monster Manual than the Cultist, having an increased health pool and spellcasting abilities. The first two cultists met quick deaths at the hands of Vax and Vex in the hallway, while Grog and Lionel cleaved through the remaining two just as quickly at the ziggurat. The war priest only had time to attempt a Flame Strike that got Counterspelled by Scanlan before being melted by Taryon’s Prismatic Spray. The necromancer cast two rather nasty area-of-effect spells: Cloudkill (5th) and Circle of Death (6th), dealing 59 damage and 210 damage, respectively.

Skeletons

  • Armor Class: ≤16 (suggested 13)
  • Approximately 25-32 HP each

Minotaur Skeleton

  • Armor Class: ≤19 (suggested 12)
  • Suggested, Max HP: 67, 108
  • Took 116 damage (38 killing blow by Keyleth)

Lady Briarwood’s skeletons made their return this episode. Though still extremely frail, brittle, and relatively puny, this batch of skeletons did receive a noticeable HP boost (15-22 HP to 25-32 HP). While Vox Machina hardly even gave the marching skeletons a chance to attack, we surmise that the new models have slightly enhanced combative and damage output to rise with Delilah’s increased skill in the dark arts.

The minotaur skeleton had significantly higher health than the regular skeletons, working off of a much more powerful frame. It attacked its greataxe, and with the nasty combination of its charge and gore (as both living and undead minotaurs are wont to do). Yenk the Goristro had a similar charge and gore attack, though Yenk’s was far more damaging than the minotaur skeleton’s.

Vox Machina

Scanlan’s Reverse Gravity did the most to turn the battlefield upside down (pun fully intended). With Delilah in her protective shell, the entrance to the encounter forcing melee combatants to the ceiling, and the Remnant casters taking shots at the party from a distance, there was very little strategy the party could take outside of “attack the available bad guys.” Fortunately, this direct approach worked rather well.

Scanlan’s attempt to confront Lady Briarwood directly via Dimension Door had high risk riding on it, but the party’s utter destruction of her comrades gave her pause to regroup rather than risk retribution for his offensive gamble.

The encounter only lasted just over two rounds, and none of Vox Machina found themselves knocked out, let alone on death’s doorstep. However, Delilah’s control of the situation, as well as the news of her mere appearance and existence, were more shattering than any direct effect she took against the party, Feeblemind included.