While we got our first taste of the Kryn’s special tools of war back in episode 13 following the collapse of the Zauber Spire in Zadash, in addition to the often-used Fragments of Possibility from the stolen Beacon, the Nein’s first direct encounter with the Kryn Empire on the front lines of the war provided a much stronger preview for dunamancy, Matt’s new branch of magic, and the individuals capable of wielding it. Despite the disadvantage in numbers, the Kryn soldiers’ use of dunamis to manipulate the battlefield provided a remarkably strong advantage, potentially honed over generations of Beacon use. While full details will almost certainly be unveiled at a much later, unspecified time, we’ve taken the liberty to catalog what we have learned about these new dunamancy-based classes.
Dunamis appears to heavily rely on quantum mechanics, including the Many Worlds Interpretation that results in multiple versions of us existing based on the possibilities explored or left to explore to another version of ourselves in another timeline. Each of the members of the Nein have experienced this sensation in their use of the Fragments of Possibility. However, having much more experience with this magic, the Kryn seem able to call upon their alternate selves to aid them in battle, in the forms of shadows....
Encounter Appearance: 2-51 Xhorhas
Armor Class 16
Speed 30 ft
99 damage taken
The Kryn mage was proficient enough in the armor he wore to grant him an AC of 16 while still being able to cast, something Caleb can’t do currently. He also had more than double the hit points of Caleb, and could cast at least fifth level spells, which none of the Nein can do until 9th level. The mage’s spells allowed him to dominate the battlefield, adjusting enemy speed and positioning while controlling what actions they could take in response.
Special Dunamis abilities and spells outside the standard collection available to arcane casters include:
Gravity Well (ability). After affecting another creature with any spell effect, he could use this ability to push the target 10 feet in any direction of his choice.
Manifest Echo (bonus action). The mage summoned an echo of himself on his turn that was able to cast a spell on its own… in addition to allowing the mage himself to cast another spell at the same time.
Compress Gravity (spell). This spell, cast via the mage’s shadow, dealt force damage to Fjord and Caleb and halved their speed despite their successful Constitution Saves.
Vacuum Blast (spell). Cast by the mage himself, this spell dealt additional force damage. Fjord and Caleb succeeded, taking half damage. Kaulden failed, taking the full damage and getting pulled 20 feet into a vacuum-like hole, which tore his body to shreds.
In addition to these special abilities, the mage also used Counterspell in an attempt to contain Caleb’s Wall of Fire, Cloud Kill to poison the opposition and disperse them from their otherwise secure positions, and Dimension Door when it was clear that the Kryn’s echoes could not take the brunt of defeat for them.
Encounter Appearance: 2-51 Xhorhas
Armor Class 19
Speed 30 ft
Con +4, Wis +1
195 damage taken, plus 9 to Shadow Martyr
The warrior had a Beau-level AC of 19 in its chitinous armor and a Yasha-level greatsword. Besides the standard Fighter abilities, the warrior demonstrated two additional dunamancy abilities:
Multiple times throughout the fight, he Manifest Echoes of himself to aid in attacks, effectively granting him three strikes in place of two. With the addition of action surge, this granted him a total of six strikes in a single turn. (In the third round, he landed all six strikes, knocking Jester unconscious to the point of near-death and killing the dragonborn ranger.)
His Shadow Martyr ability allowed him to summon an echo to take an attack for him, requiring a roll on his part to determine if the echo absorbed the strike or if it still damaged him. He used this once to successful absorb one of Beau’s strikes, though the effect failed when he tried to use it in the last round.
The warrior had already demonstrated himself as a powerful force on the battlefield during the ambush round, striking down multiple scouts. Beau’s initial challenge brought a sneering smile to his face, though her willingness to burn a lot of ki to stun the warrior went a long way towards helping keep her party on its feet. Not only did it prevent Matt from showing us far more that the warrior could do at the expense of the Nein, it also gave the standing Muck Men chances to chip away at the warrior before they were eventually cut down.
Caleb, Nott, and Fjord helped keep the mage occupied while Beau, Jester, Caduceus, and Yasha focused their attention on the other side of the Wall of Fire. While Nott, Yasha, Jester, and Fjord concentrated on dealing damage, Beau and Caleb helped contain the battlefield. Jester and Caduceus’ Bless saved the party on multiple occasions, helping them brave the mage’s Cloudkill and allowing the combatants’ attacks to get through the Kryns’ high armor classes.
Both the Muck Men scouts and the gnolls were simple parts of their respective sides of the battlefield, providing a relatively even challenge for each other and and fodder for the opposing sides’ heroes. The gnolls made their greatest impact in the surprise ambush, but were made largely inconsequential by Fjord’s barlgura and Caleb’s fireball. The scouts, likewise, were almost all wiped out by the warrior’s swift blows and the mage’s spells that controlled the reality of the battlefield. Gnolls have already demonstrated that they are nothing to sneeze at, and although Matt stated that the Empire’s scouts were hardier than could usually be expected, the Nein’s tale has officially shifted to another level of power.
At the end of the encounter, the body count ended at 8 Muck Men, 5 gnolls, and 1 barlgura. Although the Nein could still consider it a victory, the ramifications of still having two powerful Dynasty soldiers alive who know their descriptions remains to be seen.