Monster Analysis: Conan O’Brien

  • Appearance: Critical Role Extra - Liam’s Quest!
  • Armor Class 17 (14 without Nightmare)
  • Speed 30 ft, Nightmare 60 ft.
  • 54 damage taken (estimate 50 total)
  • 14 IWMWYLTKT by Taliesin

Countless years into the future, the world has been desolated. The only thing standing is a single water tower, a point of focus for an army of O’Briens, led by one particular devious, timeless undead wizard. This entity rode high above on his treacherous steed, allowing the lich to weave expertly away from the heroes’ attacks while blasting them with spells, out of their reach.

Conan’s favored spell was Ray of Frost, cast three times over the course of the battle (18th level caster, 4d8 cold damage). The only other spell cast was Power Word Stun on Travis at the beginning of the encounter, burning one of the fighter’s turns before he saved at the end of it.

Conan’s most powerful ability was in exploiting the tenuous relationship between in-game Sam and Travis, resulting in a (truly hilarious) set of decisions that pushed the party toward individual instead of group preservation. Had two kickass level 20 PCs not intervened, a TPK would not have been out of the question. (We’re also told that this betrayal was not-so-subliminally suggested on one of the character sheets, though…)

Unlike a MM lich, Conan was lacking a number of abilities (e.g., legendary actions), which is understandable for an encounter for level 1 characters. But beware! Liches usually do not permanently die unless their phylactery is destroyed, even if you carry their heads around in your gym bag….

Supporting Conan was a Nightmare, a hellish horse that is the result of tearing the wings from a pegasus and turning it to the path of evil. Consumed in hellfire, these creatures are a favored steed of evil entities. Both the nightmare and its rider can fly, travel to and from the Ethereal Plane at will, and have resistance to fire damage. The horse was banished when the time warp removed Mercer and Marisha after their timely rescue, forcing Conan to battle the heroes from the ground.

There was also the matter of the Tiny Liams, who were more present for intimidation than any other factor. Even though they moved very fast and had comparable ACs to the players, their incredibly low HP totals (every single one was killed in a single hit) and their relatively small damage output ensured that they were present for psychological instead of physical trauma. Delicious, delicious psychological trauma.