Monster Analysis: Smelter Guardians

Thanks to @TheRequiemMan for this art piece!

  • Encounter Appearance: 108 The Core Anvil
  • Armor Class 20
  • Immune to fire damage (absorbs as HP)
  • SG1: 213 damage taken, 19 HDYWTDT by Percy
    • Healed 38 from fire damage
  • SG2: 149 damage taken, 12 killing blow by Vax’ildan
  • SG3: 158 damage taken, 31 killing blow by Grog

The challenge of the guardians of the smelting chamber was two-fold: it required that Vox Machina possess both the strength and finesse to accomplish not only the smelting procedure itself, but also to disarm (and behead) the constructs without dealing irreparable damage to the molds. In the end, the party proved that they had the necessary strength and wisdom to continue, as well as respect for the Allhammer’s tenets of crafting.

The Guardians' Tactics

The metallic entities stood at nearly half the height of the 30-foot-tall chamber, making Vex's usual strategy of flying out of range less effective than usual. With a +15 to Athletics checks, +12 to hit with their greatswords with an already long 10 foot reach, and an average of 33 damage per successful hit, the smelter guardians proved formidable in the first round.

While certainly not the most charismatic individuals (+1), they were intelligent enough to take note of their opponents and work in sync against the magic-based targets. Even after being disarmed, one of the constructs used the relatively low ceiling to its advantage to bring Vex back down to the battlefield. With her, Scanlan, and Keyleth in an effective cone area, another guardian took advantage to blast them with fire from its chest. This had the added strategic benefit of healing its ally and removing the need for tactical sacrifice that typically comes with Area of Effect spells. Though the fire successfully burned half of Vox Machina, the healing construct alerted the party early on to the fact that fire-based spells would not be helpful in this fight.

Vox Machina

In the first round, Percy got off a successful disarming shot, enabling Scanlan to pick up one of the construct’s greatswords with Bigby’s Hand and use it against them. Keyleth provided both support and utility by using a Tidal Wave spell to put out the fire burning Vex, as well as creating steam over a large portion of the map, giving everyone partial cover.

Despite rolling low initiatives and taking multiple blows and attacks of opportunity, Vox Machina recovered from the surprise threat of the lesser guardians in full by the second round. Grog, Vax, and Percy poured on the damage in both rounds, easily dispatching the attackers before they had an opportunity to retaliate. After felling the last guardian, Vox Machina set to work using the voids within the constructs’ faces to forge the (eventually golden) key. This would lead them to take on a much more challenging foe, one that exploited the party’s every weakness.

After much difficulty, Vox Machina would finally defeat the dreaded door to find the Core Anvil and the final guardian within.