Monster Analysis: Victory Pit, Round 2

Round 2! This round of creatures cut out half of the competing groups, and for good reason. As with our last article, we’ll focus our attention on the Mighty Nein’s trial before scratching the surface of the other group’s beasts.

Winter Wolves

Thanks to @Joshua_Mock for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 2-17 Harvest Close
  • Armor Class 13
  • Speed 50 ft
  • Immune to cold damage
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 75, 120
  • Wolf 1: 87 damage taken, 23 HDYWTDT by Yasha
  • Wolf 2: 88 damage taken, 7 HDYWTDT by Molly

These dire wolf-sized creatures are more intelligent than your average beast, able to carry simple conversations in Common and Giant as well as communicate with each other in standard wolf speak. They are common allies of the frost giants, guarding their territory and stealthily stalking prey under the cover that snow provides their white fur.

The Nein were very fortunate that neither wolf was able to regain their cold breath (DC 12) after they both expended them in the first round. This 15-foot ranged cone attack damaged five of the seven party members during round one, halving Caleb and Molly’s health in one attack. One of the wolves managed a bite attack on Yasha, who felt every bit of the 12 damage it dealt her since she was out of rages.

Caleb’s decision to use Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp was extremely effective, keeping both wolves apart and negating their Pack Tactics ability (advantage on all attack rolls if within 5 feet of an active ally). Even though the wolf broke out in the following round, not only did it waste its action to escape, but Beauregard’s Sentinel feat prevented it from getting close to its buddy.

For more information on Winter Wolves, see page 340 in the Monster Manual.

Minotaurs

  • First Appearance: 2-17 Harvest Closet
  • Armor Class 14
  • Speed 40 ft
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive Perception 17
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 76, 117

Minotaurs are the result of demonic rites of the cults of the demon lord Baphomet. Like the Abyss itself, minotaurs are chaotic and malicious. It’s impressive that the Victory Pit committee got their hands on not just one but two minotaurs for this battle. Minotaurs tend to live by themselves in their own labyrinths, hunting whatever lost souls find their way in there.

These creatures aren’t for clever tactics; they seek to brutally murder their prey as quickly as possible, and rend it in half. After dividing the Last Line and carving through their numbers, they were outsmarted long enough for one to fall to the last soldier standing… But not long enough before the last minotaur finished him off. After watching the Last Line fall to the brutal assault of the minotaurs, the Mighty Nein were encouraged to partake in yet another round of healing before re-entering the Pit.

For more information on minotaurs, see page 223 in the Monster Manual.

Owlbears

Thanks to @LyallCallum for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 1-44 The Sunken Tomb
  • Encounter Appearance: 2-17 Harvest Close
  • Armor Class 13
  • Speed 40 ft
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive Perception 13
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 59, 91

Ah, the infamous owlbear. Known for its incessant questioning of the most minute game rule details, it wanders the plains hooting its unmistakable call, “Well, technically…”

We kid. The owlbear’s in-game origins are a mystery and change depending on who’s answering (though their OOG origins are certainly worth learning about). Owlbears are known for their stubbornness and aggression, willing to attack bigger foes without hesitation. They fight just as eagerly alone as they do in mated pairs, as the Victory Pit owlbears did with aplomb. Despite the Mountain Makers’ advantage in numbers, the owlbears’ sheer ferocity was too much for the gnomes and dwarves to handle.

For more information on owlbears, see page 249 in the Monster Manual.

Displacer Beasts

  • First Appearance: 2-17 Harvest Close
  • Armor Class 13
  • Speed 40 ft
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive Perception 11
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 85, 130
  • Defeated by the Stubborn Stock

The Stubborn Stock’s second Victory Pit battle pitted them against two displacer beasts, creatures with origins in the Feywild where they were bred to be vicious hunters. They also hunt for fun, even when they’re not hungry. They’ll hunt alone or with others, where they use ambush tactics to take down their prey. (Vox Machina had a cloak made from the hide of a displacer beast, taken from their first victory over Lady Briarwood.)

The displacer beast’s most notorious features are its tentacles that it uses to bludgeon its enemy. These tentacles also carry an effect, appropriately entitled Displacement, that makes it difficult to determine where their actual position is. Like a more universal version of the rogue and monk’s evasion ability, displacer beasts only take half damage on a failed saving throw and no damage on a successful one. Displacement forces disadvantage on attackers, but disappears upon a successful hit. The beast requires its next turn to reorient itself and the illusion. Using this weakness in the displacer beasts' defenses, the Stubborn Stock were able to swarm and dispatch the creatures.

For more information on displacer beasts, see page 81 in the Monster Manual.