Monster Analysis: Dust Titan

  • Encounter Appearance: The Search for Bob

  • Armor Class 26 in sandstone form

  • Armor Class ≤ 23 in whirlwind form

  • Resistant to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage

  • Speed unknown, 60 ft flying in whirlwind form

  • 187+ damage taken in whirlwind form

  • 0 damage taken in sandstone form

Once again, we return to the lightless chaos of Pandemonium! Vox Machina couldn’t escape the plane without a little trouble, despite their attempts at being stealthy. Their very presence drew the ire of a massive dust titan, determined to snuff out the extraplanar intrusion.

In Exandrian lore, the elemental titans formed deep within the fabric of creation and did not take kindly to the creator gods’ attempts to tame the elements to give their children (elves, dwarves, etc.) a safe place to live. The titans rose up to tear creation asunder, allowing demons, devils, and other chaotic beings into the Prime Material Plane. Those gods that sided with chaos and destruction became the Betrayer Gods, while those that defended Exandria and their children became the Prime Deities. Eventually, the titans were defeated, ushering in the Age of Arcanum. 

When Vecna teleported the city of Thar Amphala over from the Shadowfell, he placed it on the remains of an earth titan, which he reanimated to stomp on the city of Vasselheim. The dust titan Vox Machina faced in Pandemonium is their second encounter with a being from the dawn of creation, though this one was decidedly not undead, was significantly smaller in size, and matched the surrounding landscape of Pandemonium like the earth titan matched Exandria.

While Vox Machina and friends could have taken on the dust titan in a fight to the death, it would have been a rough battle. The titan is a legendary creature, with three legendary actions per round to boot. It could use those legendary actions to make an attack (costing one legendary action) or switch between its sandstone and whirlwind forms (costing two legendary actions).

Vox Machina primarily faced off against its whirlwind form. The whirlwind had movement similar to a fire elemental, where a creature in its path takes damage just from the misfortune of its placement at the time. It had slam attacks like air, earth, and water elementals, but with the added danger of the target becoming engulfed like the whelm ability of the water elemental should they fail on a DC 20+ strength save. To add injury to… well, injury, the engulfed creature also took damage at the start of its turn from being battered around. It’s probably for the best that Vox Machina jumped planes before they could see what the titan had up its metaphorical sleeve once it switched to its 26 AC sandstone form.

Vox Machina function like a well-oiled machine, like one would imagine that a level 20 group that’s been fighting together for years would. Vex took the lead on finding the tuning fork, since she was the one who already had a beat on it from her Locate Object spell. Keyleth and Pike kept the titan’s attention while Lieve’tel, Scanlan did their best to keep them alive. Lieve’tel provided the healing needed to keep Keyleth alive long enough for her to transform into her own elemental form, fly away from the titan, and get in position by Vex to get the tuning fork. She also used the grave cleric’s favorite move, Sentinel at Death’s Door, and reduced a critical hit on Pike. Scanlan insulted the titan to the point of distraction, preventing it from hitting Keyleth and her one remaining hit point with another 58+ damage slam attack. Scanlan also used his signature Bigby’s Hand to free Pike from the titan’s grapple so she could get to the group to teleport out.

Speaking of grapples, Pike got to call on Sarenrae to do what no one else could: grapple the titan. It didn’t last very long, but long enough that the titan was forced to waste its turn and one of its legendary actions to break out, assuring that Vox Machina avoided taking three slam attacks and possible engulfing. (Can we pause for a moment to marvel that Ashley got to roll strength checks for a god?!) Percy and Grog took shots at the titan while Bertrand ineffectively searched for their belongings with Bob. Bob spent his turns rummaging around while protected by his adamantine construct.

Their tuning fork, bag of holding, and Pike’s spell components found, and all of Vox Machina in hand (Literally, because that’s how Plane Shift works. ...Most of us aren’t sorry for the pun), our intrepid band of adventurers made their escape back across the Divine Gate to the safety of Whitestone.