Monster Analysis: Zsundie the Marid, Algar, and Water Elementals

Marid

  • First Appearance: 1-87 Onward to Vesrah

  • Armor Class 18 (suggested 17)

  • Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft., swim 90 ft.

  • Resistant to Cold, Acid, Lightning

  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 229, 306

  • 10 damage taken

Water Elementals

  • First appearance: 1-22 AraMente to Pyrah (as Keyleth)

  • Suggested Armor Class 13 (medium), 14 (large)

  • Speed 30 ft., swim 90 ft.

  • Immune to poison, exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious

  • Resistant to acid; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons

  • Suggested average, max damage: 114, 168

    • Medium Elemental 1 (first battle): 64 damage, 4 killing blow by Caleb

    • Medium Elemental 2 (first battle): 79 damage, 17 killing blow by Nott

    • Large Elemental (second battle): 135 damage, 17 killing blow by Yasha


While we’ve analyzed both water elementals and marids previously, the marid in this particular encounter had significant less self-agency than the one Vox Machina encountered in the previous campaign. While all genies prefer to be the slaver rather than the enslaved, powerful mortal magic can bind them to servitude in turn (and marids are the most powerful of all genies… at least, according to them). Commands granted to a marid must be made very carefully, lest the commanded find loopholes that match the letter of the order but fail to match its intent, often at the downfall of the commander.

Marids command a complete mastery over water, and can innately conjure water elementals to do their bidding. On their way through Nicodranas’ underground and underwater tunnel system, The Mighty Nein were first greeted by two water elementals that functioned as a line of defense against intruders (such as themselves). Matt described these elementals as only being about 4 ½ feet tall, making them smaller than an average elemental, which is considered Large. As such, they both had fewer hit points and a lower AC than their larger versions. Thankfully, they only got in two solid hits, one against Caleb and one against Beau, before the Nein put them down.

The Nein were, for the most part, very adamant that they did not intend to kill Zsundie. Although Zsundie showed no intent to offer them the same courtesy (especially since to do so would be against the command he was given), the large water elemental offered an acceptable target for the party to deal with in the meantime. Given the hearty hit point total of the average marid, this was probably a wise decision so as not to spread the party’s damage dealing potential too thin.

Zsundie himself relied heavily on his Water Jet ability, which he could perform every round without need of a recharge. With a 60 foot range and a small tunnel holding several easy targets, this blast easily depleted half the party’s hit point total while keeping them knocked off their feet, The watery terrain may have limited TM9’s movement, but gave Zsundie practically free movement to control the area with his astronomical swim speed. He was prepared to use his trident to multiattack, but circumstances beyond his control compelled him to put it down.

Algar

  • First Appearance: 2-33 The Ruby and the Sapphire

  • Armor Class 13+

  • Speed 30 ft.

  • 52 damage taken, 7 knockout blow by Fjord

    • Unknown amount healed from first potion

    • Currently conscious, second potion total unknown

Dwarven Bodyguards

  • First Appearance: 2-33 The Ruby and the Sapphire

  • Armor Class 13+

  • Speed 25 ft.

  • Guard 1: 68 damage, 10 killing blow by Fjord

  • Guard 2: 51 damage, 12 killing blow by Jester

Algar, on the other hand, only commanded as much power as those at his command could muster. His actions consisted of giving orders, taking a potion, failing a death save, and cowering in terror. His bodyguards did what they could to keep him alive, with one giving him a potion when he was down two death saves. Ultimately, however, they served to increase the terror of their boss as they helplessly fell to a barrage of magical attacks, with one being temporarily resurrected upon death as a nautical spectre.

The Party

Thanks to @Cyanide_Lemons for this art piece!

Hearkening back to Vox Machina’s battle with the kraken, the original intention of the battle with Algar and company was not an entirely straightforward “kill ‘em all” circumstance. Their ultimate goals were to survive and to convince Algar that he needs to leave Marion and her clients alone. The situation was complicated by Zsundie’s presence and Algar siccing the marid on the Nein, and Zsundie siccing a water elemental on the Nein, before the Nein could get into more advantageous positions.

Beau was affected most by their less than ideal setup. She got a couple of attacks in, but she had to spend most of her time making her way up and over to Algar, rather than attacking. Nott took as much advantage as she could, using the hallway as a means of avoiding the marid’s wrath each round, allowing her to come through the battle completely unscathed.

On the offensive side, Caleb, Yasha, and Fjord took the lead in damage dealing. Caleb’s Fireball against the guards and Algar went a long way towards damaging and intimidating them. He was limited by his positioning in the tunnel, though, which put him in eyesight of the marid, which knocked him out twice with water spouts. Yasha steadfastly slashed away at the full-size elemental, resisted its whelm, and sent it evaporating back to the Plane of Water.

Fjord was able to make the most of his turns thanks to the Summer’s Dance falchion, which gives him a single casting of Misty Step. From his closer position to Algar and guards, he cast a rather painful Thunder Step, followed by a Hunger of Hadar. The Hunger of Hadar prevented the guards from escaping, and knocked Algar unconscious. He killed one of the guards with an Eldritch Blast, intimidated Algar, then cut off his hand that was adorned with the bracelet that controlled his “servant beneath the city.”

On the defensive side for the Nein, Jester takes MVP. By bringing Caduceus back to life twice in the encounter, not only did she save Taliesin from having to roll another new character, but this extended into the healing Caduceus was then able to offer to Caleb. Caduceus also saved Fjord from a world of pain by reducing the elemental’s attack of opportunity against him from critical damage to regular damage with his grave domain ability, Sentinel at Death’s Door. He opted to end the battle by going invisible, which will wear off at the start of his next turn.