Monster Analysis: Yuan-ti Cultists

Thanks to @LyallCallum for this art piece!

Yuan-ti are humanoids and monstrosities that are varying degrees of human-snake hybrids. These serpentine characteristics are seeing as blessings from the Cloaked Serpent (Zehir), one of the Betrayer Gods. Therefore, the more snake traits one has, the higher ranking the yuan-ti is considered. Before arriving at the temple, the Nein saw a variety of yuan-ti: purebloods with minimal snake-features, malisons with humanoid bodies and snake heads, and abominations that resemble massive snakes with arms. The ancestors of the yuan-ti living on Urukayxl were responsible for overtaking the temple to Zehir’s greatest creation, the leviathan Uk’otoa. They helped seal him away, and redecorated the temple with iconography of Zehir.

When The Mighty Nein arrived at the top of the temple, they discovered a table designed for sacrifice. We can’t know if that was part of the original design of the temple or that was a yuan-ti addition, but the yuan-ti have certainly put it to use. Once inside the temple, the Nein realized that the blood from the sacrifices dripped down into a fountain. They didn’t get much further than that before Nott triggered a staircase trap, causing them to fall unceremoniously into the first chamber to the feet of four yuan-ti: three pureblood priestesses and one malison, a mind whisperer.

Yuan-ti Pureblood Priestesses

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-39 The Temple of the False Serpent

  • Armor Class 11

  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 13

  • Speed 30 ft

  • Immune to poison and poisoned

  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 40, 72

    • PB1: 52 damage taken, 17 killing blow by Yasha

    • PB2: 19+ damage taken, unknown killing blow by Avantika

    • PB3: 21 damage taken before killed by own hand

Purebloods make up the lowest of the yuan-ti caste system. Unlike the rest of the species, they are considered humanoid, and may be mistaken for humans from a distance. Up close, though, the “blessing” of their serpentine nature is quite obvious in the scales on their skin and their yellow eyes.

In the little time they had to act, the cultists relied on their own ceremonial weapons and innate powers of suggestion. One of the cultists was dispatched before she could act, while another failed to get Beau to take a seat in a place with no chairs. Another tried to trounce Nott while she was still prone, but the rogue’s uncanny dodge turned a weak attack  into a mere scratch. Her continued assault against Nott, while as effective as she could muster, was barely enough to register as a threat for the party as they all made her very aware that she was the last one standing.

Yuan-ti Mind Whisperer

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-39 The Temple of the False Serpent

  • Armor Class 14

  • Darkvision 120 ft (including magical darkness), Passive 12

  • Speed 30 ft

  • Immune to poison and poisoned

  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 71, 117

    • 111 damage taken, 32 killing blow by Yasha

Unlike the purebloods, yuan-ti malisons like the mind whisperer have been mutated beyond the status of humanoid to full monstrosity, rendering them immune to spells like Hold Person. Their devotion to the Cloaked Serpent only enhances the mutation into a form more akin to their deity, allowing them a higher status among the yuan-ti than the purebloods, including that of spiritual leader.

The Mind Whisperer’s Mind Fangs ability allows a regular attack to go beyond its normal bounds and deal an incredible amount of psychic damage to its target. Fortunately, even if he had survived beyond the two rounds of the encounter, he can only pull that off twice a day, both of which were used on Beau and Caleb. The Mighty Nein took the mind whisperer out before he could get a second round turn. This still proved ideal; even without additional uses of Mind Fangs, he still had an entire slew of unused spells at his disposal, including Eldritch Blast, Expeditious Retreat, and Fly.

The Encounter

The loss of the element of surprise made the encounter slightly less straightforward than it had the potential to be. However, relatively speaking, it was still a fairly easy encounter. The priestesses, while certainly practiced in murder, were not built to take the damage in return. Beau, Yasha, and Avantika quickly mopped the floor using their might, while the rest of the party pinged the targets from range at the best of their ability. Clay put his Path to the Grave ability to use, paving the way for Yasha’s devastating killing blow against the Mind Whisperer and setting the party up for a new combo for future encounters. Beau tanked the majority of the damage from this encounter.

The party took one alive, who stayed alive long enough to demonstrate that Common is also a part of the yuan-ti tongue. She killed herself rather than blaspheme her god, forcing The Mighty Nein to figure out how to progress past the fountain on their own.

The sacrifice feeds the fountain.