Monster Analysis: The Iron Woe

Miniature design and creation by @russ_charles and @SteamforgedLtd;
Miniature painting by @PaintingTusk.

Liam made this year’s Burning Man one-shot a family affair, pitting the newly-introduced Lorelei siblings of Deastok against their own ancestry and ancestors. In the attempt to save their father, they ran against more of their family history than they had been aware… And learned that the family curse extended beyond mere lycanthropy.

Genevieve Lorelei: The Iron Woe

  • Armor Class 19
  • Speed at least 25
  • Legendary Actions
  • 282 damage taken, Unknown finishing blow by Benicio

As we discussed yesterday in our Master Post, the Lorelei family rose to prominence around Deastok during the battle between the Julous Dominion and the Dwendalian Empire by siding with the Empire. It was also during this time that Alfarr Lorelei was bitten, and passed the lycanthropy curse onto his bloodline. The Loreleis largely maintained their station, despite their wild lycanthropic streak, by undergoing The Taming, a ritual used to give them control over their were-forms.

Not all members of the family chose to go through The Taming, including Genevieve. At some point, she met a drow elf from Xhorhas, and had a son with him, Haldur. Genevieve’s relationship was frowned upon, especially by the Xhorhasian side. His family sent a party to retrieve him and take him back to his homeland. In the ensuing scuffle, Genevieve and his twin brother were both killed, and he was taken away to be re-indoctrinated in the loathing of all things Empire. Genevieve was interred in the Lorelei family crypt, her wild nature buried away as a disgrace to the family name with a statue guarding her secret and the walled-off section catacomb. The Lorelei siblings would find this statue destroyed and her crypt reopened… as well as her reanimated form as The Iron Woe.

The Iron Woe is a beast of an undead werewolf, powered solely by the primal grief, fear, and rage she died with. No soul remained to carry a coherent thought, and her overwhelming fury and sorrow overflowed to those in her immediate vicinity. This cloud of sadness and fright protected her from attacks of opportunity, and with effort on her part, could force anyone close by to gather their courage or become frightened of her on a failed wisdom save.

This was all in addition to the physical might her werewolf corpse still carried. She not only had the standard attack actions of a werewolf on her turn (bite and claw), but legendary actions that allowed her additional physical and the previously discussed psychological attacks. demonstrating her intense and ancient connection to both her lycan form and pain of her lost soul.

 

Grandfather

  • Armor Class < 17
  • Speed 30 ft
  • 68 damage taken, Unknown finishing blow by Aurra

Old Grandpappy Drow (we were never given his name, so we’ll have to stick with various nicknames for him), after being dragged back to Xhorhas, has had several human generations to sit and stew on his beef with the Loreleis. In the epilogue, Liam told of how he mustered “a small army” to storm the Lorelei Castle and kill everyone in it except his son, Haldur. He settled for just cutting off Haldur’s hand, forging letters to his grandchildren, and dragging Haldur to the family crypt, where he would raise his former lover from the dead and lie in wait for the siblings. Outside the crypt, he left his hired minions to raise the Loreleis from the dead (a practice that is very much outlawed in the Dwendalian Empire), which is where Aurra, Lucius, Portia, Lawrence, and Benicio found them.

Despite having a razor-sharp flail wrapped around Haldur’s neck, Benicio’s recklessness to pull his father away still saved the older Lorelei’s life (even if he fell unconscious and deeply wounded in the process). Without his hostage, Grandpappy found little reason to hold back, summoning the Iron Woe to aid him and pulling out his own magics.  A necromancer of some kind (presuming the skeletons and undead Grandmother can be considered adequate clues), Grandpappy let his spells do most of his work in his battle with his biological grandchildren.

These spells indicated that, in addition to being a necromancer, he was in the service of some divine power, as most of them were cleric-specific. He summoned a spiritual weapon, which he used to attack Benicio and Portia. He gave himself some cover by going invisible, allowing him to sneak up on Lucius and cast a fairly devastating Inflict Wounds. Because he cast a spell, however, he lost his invisibility, which would end up being his undoing. Once he could be seen, Lawrence laid into him with his shortswords and a fairly nasty Blood Curse, and Aurra simultaneously blocked his escape and killed him with her Wind Wall.

Mercer, Jaffe, and Ray

Left in the family graveyard to soften up the siblings before their final battle, these three hired hands were far outmatched by their foes. Ray, the rogue, was on sniper patrol, firing her crossbow at whoever she could see. Mercer and Jaffe were on dead-raising duty, carrying censers that woke the long-passed Lorelei ancestors to attack the siblings (or so they hoped).


We’ve discussed battling skeletons before, but to sum up: they’re very brittle (to the point that they’re vulnerable to bludgeoning damage), easy to kill in small amounts, and scarier to deal with in swarms (we think 16 counts as a swarm). Skeletons have no loyalty to anyone unless they’re being magically controlled, and have no problem stabbing the closest living beings to them… which, in this case, happened to be Mercer and Jaffe. To be killed by the very dead you raised is such a burn, man. (Most of us are not sorry for that pun.) Ray lived long enough to be interrogated by the siblings before she was mortally wounded for her part in their father’s abduction by the eldest of the Loreleis; Benicio was left to finally put an end to her suffering.