Monster Analysis: Ropers

Thanks to @HitokiriChibi for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 2-50 The Endless Burrows

  • Armor Class 20

  • Speed 10 ft., Climb 10 ft.

  • Darkvision 60 ft., Passive 16

  • Suggested, Max HP: 93, 143

  • Roper 1: 158 taken, HDYWTDT by The Mighty Nein

  • Roper 2: 133 taken, 19 HDYWTDT by Fjord

The Nein’s first encounter in the tunnels to Ghor Dranas was a classic combat encounter against a pair of ropers that had disguised themselves as mere stalagmites. We know you’re here for stone-cold analysis, but we’ll be honest: the Stats consensus reaction to the ropers’ appearance was, “NO. Eww. Gross! Gross gross gross.”

(Aw, I thought they were kinda cute. They just want to give hugs! ~A)
(That’s a lie, A. ~Badger)
(Hugs with teeth are not hugs, A. ~L
)

...The general Stats consensus, at least. Spot the Dungeon Master.

Stone Cold Analysis

Ropers are one of the few creatures in the Monster Manual whose non-adult stage gets its own classification separate from its adult form, the piercer. Frumpkin spotted a piercer inching its way along the cavern ceiling the night after the Nein battled the adult ropers, so it seems that they nearly managed to stumble on a nest. A piercer’s attack is dropping from the ceiling of wherever they’re hiding and attempting to land on a creature. Should it fail, it has to crawl its way back up to the ceiling to attack again because it lacks the tentacles necessary to pull its prey to it. This would have made for a frightening surprise round of combat had the Nein not been hidden by Caleb’s Hut. However, without its parents to help it out, the piercer would have been slaughtered fairly quickly.

The roper, on the other hand, has up to six fully developed tendrils that it uses to grapple and reel in its prey. They have no speed to speak of at 10 feet per round, but each tendril can lash out to 50 feet, and the reel can pull a creature in half that distance in a single turn. The tendrils themselves don’t deal any damage; that comes when the roper bites a grappled creature, and that bite is nasty. Ropers will eat anything. Anything. That’s not to say that they can successfully digest everything, but the list of items they can’t digest is very limited (platinum, gems, and magical items).

The Encounter

The Mighty Nein and the Roper Zwei both had their moments of excellence and failure. The ropers were very successful in their attempts to sneak up on and grapple the party, managing to get a tendril around everyone except Fjord, mostly in a surprise round. Thanks to the advantage granted by their tentacles’ grappling, they each landed a critical bite on one of the party members. Thankfully for Caleb, Caduceus was able to use Sentinel at Death’s door to reduce his damage down to 28 (which is still over half of his 47 hit points).

The Nein struggled a little more than normal to land a hit on the ropers with their armor class of 20, initially. Luck was on their side in the long run, though. Beau managed to stun one of the ropers, then Caleb slowed them both, and then Jester banished the one that wasn’t stunned. That gave the party enough time to finish off the non-banished one and get well out of its 50 foot tendril range of the other by the time it came back so they could lay into it with ranged attacks and get the chaotic group All Out HDYWTDT.