Monster Analysis: Darkmantles

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Thanks to @DeMarcoDraws for this art piece!

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-15 Where the River Goes
  • Armor Class 11
  • Speed 10 ft, flying 30 ft
  • Blindsight 60 ft (via echolocation), Passive 10
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 22, 35
    • Darkmantle 1: 27 taken, 6 killing blow by Nott
    • Darkmantle 2: 30 taken, 9 killing blow by Molly
    • Darkmantle 3: 29 taken, 9 killing blow by Beau

Darkmantles hide in dark caves, blending in with the stalactites above until they sense unwitting prey below them, who they wrap their bodies around heads like surprise hats. Darkmantles float through the air with webbed tentacles and umbrella bodies, much like squid in water. (Think a terrifying fantasy combination between a Wallmaster and a Blooper.)

Their blindsight via echolocation pairs well with their innate ability to cast a sphere of darkness around themselves, making it difficult for rescuers to aid prey while the darkmantle suffocates and crushes their meals. Mercifully, unlike the Rug of Smothering, damage dealt to a darkmantle wrapped around a party member does not also transfer to the darkmantle’s victim.

With Yasha and Jester on boat steering duty, the rest of the Nein defended against three darkmantles that attached themselves to the faces of Nott, Fjord, and Caleb. Fjord got the first successful hit of the battle using an Eldritch Blast before the darkmantle could create a sphere of darkness. Beau’s Flurry of Blows damaged the darkmantle attached to Fjord, enough so that Molly could slice it off Fjord’s face with a single strike. Despite aiming into the darkness with disadvantage, Caleb managed to get three Scorching Rays to land on the darkmantle that attacked Nott, setting her up to kill it on her next turn. Nott also did 20 points of damage in one strike to the Darkmantle that attacked Caleb, setting it up for Beau’s killing blow on the following turn as she leapt between the boats.

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Thanks to @sephiramy for this art piece!

The scuffle of combat also alerted a pair of lumbering earth-based creatures, described as powerful but extremely slow moving entities. Thanks to the speedy paddling of both Jester and Yasha, we unfortunately (but mostly fortunately) never learned what the strange moss-covered rock creatures are or what they could do. Their retreat back to their previous positions once it was obvious they couldn't catch the party demonstrated that they were more concerned with defending their territory than finishing off intruders.