Monster Analysis: Gloomstalkers (Barbed Fields)

Thanks to @suraelis for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 1-101 Thar Amphala

  • First Encounter Appearance: 1-102 Race to the Tower

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-65 Chases and Trees

  • Armor Class 15

  • Speed 80 ft (flying), 40 ft teleport

  • Unknown resistances

  • Vulnerable to radiant damage

  • Disadvantage on attacks made in daylight

    • Gloomstalker 1: 89 damage taken, 30 HDYWTDT by Nott

    • Gloomstalker 2: 75 damage taken, 30 HDYWTDT by Caduceus

    • Gloomstalker 3: 60 damage taken, 17 HDYWTDT by Caduceus

    • Gloomstalker 4: 52 damage taken before fleeing

The Mighty Nein have reached the central portion of the Barbed Fields, a mere four hour ride to where a gigantic crater leftover from the Calamity mars the landscape. Familiar to viewers of campaign 1, gloomstalkers were first seen traversing the dismal plane of the Shadowfell, one of the two parallel planes to the Prime Material.  Between these shadow-touched scavengers and the Sorrowsworn, it’s clear that the Shadowfell had a profound effect on the Barbed Fields.

Unlike last time, we got to see the gloomstalkers’ array of abilities this campaign. Gloomstalkers are fast, flying at 80 feet per round, which would easily overtake a typical person on foot. Additionally, gloomstalkers have a 40-foot shadow-teleport ability to move even faster. Their bite deals additional necrotic damage, a sign of their Shadowfell lineage. A gloomstalker can also choose to make a snatch attack with its claws rather than a multiattack, grappling its victim if it fails a strength save.

Like their fellow Shadowfell natives, the Sorrowsworn Lost, gloomstalkers are pack hunters, and work together to take down their prey. As they demonstrated against the Nein, a gloomstalker shrieks out at their targets, paralyzing them until the victim’s next turn if they fail a constitution save. This is an ability that has to recharge, so it’s in the gloomstalkers’ best interest to use it right out of the gate to give them the best chance at hunting success. They can immediately follow a shriek with a multiattack of its bite and claws (at advantage and auto-crit if they hit a target they managed to paralyze).

Their gloomy nature isn’t without its drawbacks, though. As the Mighty Nein discovered, gloomstalkers are vulnerable to radiant damage, so all of their attacks with it dealt double damage. The Mighty Nein, with its two clerics with Guiding Bolt, Sacred Flame, and Spirit Guardians, were able to easily burn through the attacking gloomstalkers. And when the Nein were beset a second time, Fjord was able to distract most of the gloomstalkers with a big barlgura as easy prey, while Jester fired a 52 damage warning shot that sent the remaining gloomstalker flying straight back from whence it came.