Monster Analysis: Ghurrix the Pit Fiend + Erinyes + The Illuminated (Efreeti)

Thanks to @TheRequiemManfor the art!

Ghurrix the Pit Fiend

  • Encounter Appearance: 76 Brawl in the Arches
  • Armor Class 21 (suggested 19)
  • Truesight 120 ft, Passive 14
  • Speed 30 ft, 60 ft flying
  • Resistant to cold and nonmagical, nonsilvered weapon damage
  • Immune to fire and poison
  • Fear Aura (20 ft)
  • Suggested average, max HP: 300, 408
  • 484 total HP
  • 491 taken, 29 HDYWTDT by Scanlan

Ghurrix came with the usual Mercer modifications: an increased AC and health pool, with appropriately terrifying abilities straight from the MM. His Aura of Fear had mercifully little effect due to its relatively short range (20 ft) and a series of lucky rolls from the party. More effectively, Ghurrix’s poisonous bite nearly landed Vex in the lava the first time she went down, and took full effect against Pike and Vex thereafter. This poison (Con Save DC 21) prevented them from gaining any healing as long as the poison flowed in their veins.

Ghurrix’s four-fold attacks were almost entirely spread out across the party. The exception to this rule was his last round, as no other targets other than Vex and Scanlan were available as the party fled for the safety of the mansion. His successful opportunity attacks also crushed the optimism of the party, lending further to the party’s choice to lean toward a defensive, rather than offensive, style of combat.

Erinyes

  • Encounter Appearance: 76 Brawl in the Arches
  • Armor Class 18 (Reaction: Increase AC by 4 vs. melee attack)
  • Truesight 120 ft, Passive 14
  • Speed 30 ft, 60 ft flying
  • Resistant to cold and nonmagical, nonsilvered weapon damage
  • Immune to fire and poison
  • Suggested average, max HP: 153, 216
  • 256 taken, 31 finishing blow by Keyleth

Erinyeses are fierce warriors, devils who are suspected to have once been angels long ago. They are extremely loyal to their masters, bringing swift vengeance to those they are directed against. A pit fiend can summon an erinyes to their side once per day, and will fight along their side for either a minute or until either the erinyes or the pit fiend is defeated, whichever occurs first.

The combat prowess of an erinyes can be seen through their familiarity with a variety of weapons, all of which deal significant poison damage on a hit. While an erinyes’s poison does not come with the strong status effect that the pit fiend bestows, their arrows can still inflict the basic poisoned status. The erinyes can also take a reaction to parry a melee attack (adding 4 to their AC). That’s not including the Rope of Entanglement, which can be used to tie up a Strength save failing opponent. (Raging Grog was a poor choice for it.)

This particular erinyes formed a nuisance to the party, spending most of her time entertaining Grog while getting in a few additional pot shots. She also formed a convenient target for the party to focus their attacks when her boss was not in view.

Thanks to Brian Foster for this shot of the battlemap!

Vox Machina’s Strategy

Vox Machina spent the majority of the battle attempting status effects, both on their adversaries and on each other. Percy and Vex attempted to respectively ground and restrain Ghurrix while still dealing damage. Grog forced Ghurrix to waste an action with a successful grapple, while Keyleth did the same to the erinyes with her Watery Sphere. Scanlan had much worse luck, attempting Dominate Monster and two instances of Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere and failing on all counts. Meanwhile, Vax granted bonuses to the party before throwing his daggers, and Pike spent most of her time healing the party when she couldn’t use her spiritual weapon. It can be argued that the late game retreat was very necessary to keep the party alive. No one knew how close Ghurrix really was to defeat, and the late-game support was less an option than pure necessity.

During the first episode of Talks Machina, Laura stated her regret that the party did not have a Heroes’ Feast beforehand. Indeed, that would have had a significant impact on the battle: Ghurrix alone dealt 57 points of poison damage, included 4 failed death saves specifically caused by his poison. Additionally, Keyleth received an unstated amount of poison damage from the erinyes’ longbow. Considering that each arrow’s attack dealt at least 3d8 poison damage, each arrow would have been significantly less impactful with poison immunity.

The mansion was a mixed blessing for this battle. While it did provide some extremely needed cover for both them and the aasimar boys and gave Vox Machina a place to bring Vex and Pike back from the brink of death in safety, it also nearly cost them on multiple counts due to the inability to communicate while separate between the mansion and the streets. Vex failed to realize that Pike was nearly dead from the poison. The party’s hiding prevented them from realizing the most opportune moments to attack, or seeing where Ghurrix and his ally hid between rounds.

The Illuminated (Efreeti)

  • First Efreeti Appearance: 46 Cindergrove Revisited
  • First Illuminated Appearance: 74 Path of Brass
  • Armor Class 17
  • Darkvision 120 ft, Passive 12
  • Speed 40 ft, 60 ft flying
  • Immune to fire
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 200, 272

Vox Machina’s first encounter with an efreeti resulted in what was likely planned to be a challenging encounter to a somewhat humorous romp with the first successful use of Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere. A couple of levels later, and a single efreeti poses much less of a threat.

However, the efreeti in this encounter stood for something much more powerful than himself. As Matt explained at the end of the encounter, The Illuminated are the guard of the City of Brass, over 50,000 soldiers strong with absolute loyalty to the Sultan and the law, in that order. The party wisely chose not to engage the initial Illuminated, instead opting to convince him to join their side. Unfortunately for them, Ghurrix’s status and reputation far exceeded theirs, and the pit fiend’s call to aid was significantly more convincing.

This is where Scanlan earned his MVP status for this battle. Even had Ghurrix been defeated without any party KOs, the Illuminated always posed the greater threat. By means of “a series of lucky rolls and a perfect use of Modify Memory,” Scanlan ensured the party would actually be able to travel the city unheeded to return to Juuraiel to earn both their freedom and the Plate of the Dawnmartyr.