Monster Analysis: Nergaliid

Thanks to @AnnaLandin for this art piece!

  • Encounter Appearance: 03 The Midnight Chase
  • Armor Class ≤ 17
  • Darkvision, Devil’s Sight
  • Speed 30 ft, 60 ft leap
  • 90 damage taken, 14 HDYWTDT by Fjord
    • Healed 4 damage

Described in Zemnian folklore as a scaled, rotund fiend that feeds on people and leaves undead Husks in their wake, the Nergaliid is a Mercer original fiend, inspired by the Mesopotamian deity and hailing from Wildemount’s far east in  Xhorhas. Kylre the Devil Toad successfully hid under the weirdness of the carnival folk for years, including from an individual trained to combat fiends (among other dark creatures).

Through the three rounds that Kylre was alive, the fiend managed to do very little damage on his own. His claw attack against Nott and Jester included a low DC of 10 to avoid extra poison damage, which both party members managed to succeed on. Kylre’s Siphon Life required Caleb to make a wisdom save or be stunned and take damage. Even with Caleb’s save, the four psychic damage the wizard took translated to four full points of healing to Kylre (as opposed to the half heal granted by similar abilities, like Vampiric Touch). At higher levels, that damage wouldn’t be a big deal, but at level two, that was enough to rob Caleb of a third of his health.

Perhaps Kylre’s most devastating ability was casting Summon Devil, which summoned three imps into the fray and certainly put the worst hurting on our band of adventurers.

Imps

  • First Appearance: 1-92 Deals in the Dark
  • Armor Class 13
  • Darkvision 120 ft, Passive 11
  • Speed 20 ft, 40 ft flying
  • Resistant to cold and nonmagical, non-silvered weapon damage
  • Immune to fire, poison, and poisoned
  • Suggested average, max HP: 10, 15
    • Imp 1: 16 damage taken, 7 killing blow by Mollymauk
    • Imp 2: 10 damage taken, 6 killing blow by Jester
    • Imp 3: 12 damage taken, 12 killing blow by Beau

Despite being among the lowest of the devils, imps are not to be trifled with, especially if you have fewer than 20 HP.  In the Tal’Dorei campaign, Vox Machina was such a large and high-leveled group that Matt regularly increased enemies’ suggested or average damage, DCs, ACs, HPs, etc. However, with the players being at a much lower level, the imps generally match their textbook-suggested rating, and still provided a hearty challenge. While their tail strikes still had difficulty striking their squishier targets, the 3d6 poison (DC 11) damage, in addition to 1d4+3 piercing damage, was enough to down both a disheveled wizard and a falchion-wielding warlock.

Toya, Young Dwarf

  • Combat Appearance: 03 The Midnight Chase
  • 8 knockout blow by Beau

At this time, we know nothing more about Toya other than what has been explained by the carnival folk (“couldn’t hurt a fly” and “can take care of herself”), and can only assume that she is, in fact, a dwarven child. Jester confirmed that she was not a fiend, unlike her possessive guardian. Toya told Jester and Nott that she was from a city much further north, that her mother is dead, and was found by Gustav while she was singing on the streets for money. She was scared when she came in, and she and Molly found their voices together. Now she sings for the carnival for money and considers the carnival folk wonderful.

From Toya’s account to Jester and Nott, she met Kylre when she was brought in by Gustav off the streets to sing at the carnival. Though her interaction with Nott and Jester in the tent seemed to indicate that Kylre was her benevolent protector, her oddly scratchy speaking voice belied something more sinister. Molly indicated that Toya was able to take care of herself, so she wouldn’t necessarily require a protector like Kylre, yet there he constantly was. Caleb’s book on fiends mentioned that Negaliids will siphon away life from their victims slowly “while they sleep,” which casts an even deeper shadow on the scene Nott and Jester found in the tent.

When the party discovered the zombified crownsguard, Kylre did not simply flee; he took Toya away with him. When Kylre got hurt and felt threatened, he demanded that Toya sing because “they’re trying to take you away,” despite the fact that it would largely prevent her from physically protecting herself. Her singing required those who could hear it to make a wisdom saving throw (DC ≤ 14) or have disadvantage on their attacks for the next round. Beau spent two rounds attempting to deal with Toya before she simply knocked the girl unconscious with a single attack.

The Encounter

Jester’s Invoke Duplicity served her well, negating the disadvantage she would have taken in the first round had she attacked instead. It also tricked one of the imps into wasting its last attack, likely preventing yet another party member’s fall. Molly worked effectively against the imps, dispatching one imp with two strikes of his scimitar and using his Vicious Mockery against another. This ensured that Nott didn’t get attacked by its poisonous tail. On top of that, Blood Curse of the Eyeless forced disadvantage on the imp for attacks against Nott.

Caleb accidentally became the party’s (short-lived) tank, drawing Kylre’s ire almost immediately, though he managed to cast Dancing Lights and Chromatic Orb before going unconscious. Nott served a supporting role by targeting the imps and bringing back Caleb to consciousness.

Beau’s concentration on Toya ensured that the party would not have to continue making saving throws against the songs. Beau’s positioning also took her out of range of the imp’s fire. Despite enraging Kylre, with the fiend surrounded by attackers, Kylre was forced to focus his attention on the immediate threats rather than chase after her for vengeance.

Fjord took the role as primary damage dealer against Kylre, dealing 64 damage between his falchion, Hexblade’s Curse, and Wrathful Smite, which prevented Kylre from attacking Beau or approaching the unconscious Toya, and forced the fiend to attack with disadvantage.