Level 9 Update: NEIN

Thanks to @johannamation for this art piece, and thanks to @Anodesu for the character portraits!

Welcome to level 9, Mighty Nein! At level 9, all characters receive an improvement to their proficiency bonus (now at +4), so all attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws that a character is proficient (or expert) in get a bump. Everyone’s spell save/monk ability DCs also go up. Most of the spellcasters now also have access to 5th level spells, and a certain monk can now parkour a little more easily.

Beauregard

  • HP: 76

  • Ki points increase to 9

  • Monk ability DC increases to 15

  • Slow fall damage reduction increases to 45

  • Unarmored Movement improvement

Beau’s already fast. At level 9, she gets to use that speed to climb up vertical surfaces and run across liquids without falling during the move. At her current max speed (135 ft/round with a bonus action dash), she could easily scale 100-foot high walls. With a Haste spell from Caleb, she could push that to 360-foot high objects, which is starting to approach tower range. She could also easily cross the river that Fjord parted outside of Asarius on her own, or run out to the the Balleater if it’s starting to leave the dock. With the Slow Fall damage reduction increase, Beau won’t need to fly to get to those airborne creatures that plagued Grog for much of the first campaign; as long as she’s got a nearby wall, she can just run up it and fall. With style.

Caduceus

  • HP: 77

  • Spell save DC increases to 17

  • One additional 4th level spell slot (total of three)

  • 5th level spell slot

  • Two additional domain spells

It’s a simple but powerful upgrade for Caduceus this time. Clerics of 9th level increase their number of 4th level spell slots per day to 3, and gain access to 5th level spells with a single slot per day. With access to 5th level spells, clerics gain two more domain spells that do not count against their number of prepared spells each day. For Grave Domain clerics like Caduceus, these domain spells are Antilife Shell and the ever-important Raise Dead. While both Jester and Caduceus have had access to Revivify for some time (it’s a domain spell for Caduceus, so he doesn’t even need to prepare it), Raise Dead gives some flexibility to resurrections, albeit at an increased cost. Not only can it be cast up to ten days after a target has died, in Matt’s rule set, it can be used as a last chance if a Revivify fails in the heat of a battle.

As Taliesin also pointed out, both clerics now have access to Mass Cure Wounds, which for Caduceus is particularly powerful: if he’s the last one conscious and everyone is within 60 feet of him, he can bring every one of the M9 (except for himself) up to 29 HP with a single action without rolling thanks to his Circle of Mortality feature.

Caleb

  • HP: 57

  • Spell save DC increases to 17

  • Two additional spells in spellbook

  • One additional 4th level spell slot (total of three)

  • 5th level spell slot

Caleb yet again can add two spells to his spellbook for free, but this time, those spells can be up to 5th level. In addition to some powerful combat magics (you might remember Cone of Cold from Lorenzo and Cloudkill from Lythir), he now has access to some very useful utility spells.

Chief among these is Teleportation Circle, should he choose to take it. No longer will the Mighty Nein have to slog overland for weeks at a time to get to a town on the other side of Wildemount. Now, all they need is a minute for Caleb to cast the spell, provided he’s seen and memorized a sigil in the area first and has the spell prepared. At the moment, the only sigil he’s definitely been able to memorize is the one in Yussa’s tower in Nicodranas, but that at least gets the Mighty Nein back from Eastern Wynandir without weeks of travel. (Or risking getting caught in the Empire.) Given the people that are likely in charge of the useful sigils in the Empire, it will be interesting to see if Caleb will be able to get access to any of them, but recent events seem to indicate that he might be able to memorize some in Xhorhas. If he does, the M9 will be able to safely travel back and forth between Nicodranas and Xhorhas instantaneously.

Fjord

  • HP: 88

  • Spell save DC increases to 17

  • One additional spell known (total of 10)

  • Spell slots upgrade to level 5

  • One additional known Invocation

Like clerics and wizards, warlocks get access to 5th level spells at level 9. Everything Fjord casts is now automatically cast at 5th level, though he still only gets two slots per short or long rest. His new spell can also be of 5th level, and like Caleb, he has several interesting combat and utility options to choose from. One particularly interesting choice could be Far Step, which allows the caster to teleport 60 feet using a bonus action for a minute. This could easily replace the Sword of Fathoms’ current ability to Misty Step once per day should Fjord ever decide to consume a new blade, and provide a quieter/less destructive alternative to Thunder Step.

In addition, Fjord gets to select an additional warlock invocation this level. At this point, there are over 30 different invocations he could choose, several of which synergize well with the Sword of Fathoms or Eldritch Blast, several others of which would be very useful utility choices. Given the sheer variety of options, we’ll refrain from speculating further here.

Jester

  • HP: 74

  • Spell save DC increases to 17 (13 for racial abilities)

  • One additional 4th level spell slot (total of three)

  • 5th level spell slot

  • Two additional domain spells

Like Caduceus, Jester gets an additional 4th level spell slot per day and gets access to 5th level spells with a single slot per day. This includes Raise Dead, but unlike Caduceus, she’ll have to choose to prepare it if she wants to cast it. The Trickery Domain spells for 9th level clerics are Dominate Person and Modify Memory. We saw Scanlan make excellent (and usually hilarious) use of the latter spell during campaign 1, most notably when he saved Vox Machina from an army of efreet guardsmen after they killed the Nine Hells’ ambassador to the City of Brass in broad daylight in the middle of the slave market. We can only imagine the chaos a cleric of the Traveler could create with that kind of power (and we can’t wait to see it).

Most of the 5th level cleric spells fall more in the realm of utility or buff spells, but given Jester's penchant for dealing damage, we'd be remiss if we didn’t point out that she'll now have access to the classic cleric spell Flame Strike and the new Xanathar spell Dawn as well. Both of these deal massive AoE radiant (and fire in the case of Flame Strike) damage, which could come in handy if the Ghostlands live up to their name and reputation.

Nott

  • HP: 74

  • Spell save DC increases to 15

  • Sneak attack damage increases to 5d6

  • Magical Ambush

  • Fury of the Small damage increases to 9

Like the primary spellcasters, Nott gets an improvement to her magical abilities this level, though hers doesn’t come in the form of new spells or additional spell slots. Starting at level 9, Arcane Tricksters have Magical Ambush: whenever Nott is hidden from a creature when she casts a spell on it, that creature has disadvantage on all saving throws against the spell that turn. Since her spell save DC is somewhat lower than the rest of the M9, this could be vital to her ability to incapacitate a creature with Tasha’s Hideous Laughter or fool it with Silent Image. In addition to this archetype bonus, Nott’s sneak attack damage increases to 5d6, further incentivizing aggressive use of her Hide feature.

 

Yasha

  • Rage damage increases to 4

  • Racial ability DC increases to 10

  • Brutal Critical

  • Healing Hands healing increases to 9

  • Necrotic Shroud damage increases to 9

Remember the absolutely massive amounts of damage Grog dealt every time he rolled a critical hit on an attack? That was because of Brutal Critical, an ability Yasha now has access to at level 9. Whenever she rolls a critical hit on a melee attack roll, in addition to doubling the dice damage, she can now roll an additional weapon die and add it to the damage dealt. For Magician’s Judge while she’s raging, she’ll double the 2d6 from the weapon and the 1d6 from her divine fury, tack on the usual bonuses (STR+Rage+Divine Fury), and then add an additional 1d6 for the Brutal Critical (yes, it is only a single d6, despite the greatsword damage being 2d6). If she swaps to a different weapon (say, a greataxe), the Brutal Critical die changes to whatever weapon she’s using (1d12 for the greataxe). This feature will improve as she gets to even higher levels.