Monster Analysis: Salamanders and Efreet

  • First Appearance: 46 Cindergrove Revisited

Salamander

  • Salamander Armor Class 15
  • Speed 30 ft
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 10
  • Vulnerable to cold damage (unimplemented)
  • Immune to fire damage
  • Resistant to nonmagical weapon damage
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 90, 144
    • S1: 53 total, 44 by Gern
    • S2: 96 total, 44 by Gern 
    • S3: 254 total, 56 by Vax’ildan

While a fire elemental may accidentally set fire to the environment, salamanders not on the Plane of Fire take great pleasure in setting the surrounding areas ablaze. They hatch out of their eggs by melting the shell that contained them, and mature from armless fire snakes to full-sized adults with arms by their first year. Even their blood is so hot that anyone who attacks them takes damage by proximity.

Salamanders are no strangers to slavery after many ages of forced servitude to the Efreeti. Even “free” salamanders find themselves drawn to a similar model of self-government, where the most powerful rule mercilessly and the weak fall in the pecking order.

Efreet

  • Efreet Armor Class 17
  • Speed 40 ft, 60 ft flying
  • Darkvision 120 ft, Passive 12
  • Immune to Fire
  • Spellcaster, DC 15
  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 200, 272
  • 280 taken, 28 HDWYTDT by Scanlan

Efreeti are fire genies, tyrants who crave power and enjoy long conquests on the material realm. Anyone who isn’t a genie is a potential slave, and only the cruelest and most loyal slaves rise among their masters’ ranks. Salamanders are the most common subjects, but both fire elementals and captives from neighboring planes form the foundation, pride, and validation of an efreet’s throne of power.

Efreeti are also proud, vengeful creatures. While other elemental-based genies may be willing to grant a Wish for a mortal (usually with strings attached), an efreet would never even consider stooping so low as to cast a Wish for a lesser being. Anyone that is able to get their hands on a efreet’s treasure can expect the full vengeance of it to follow. Efreeti can summon fire on a whim, can cast a series of potent spells, and are rather proficient with scimitars.

First Encounter: Salamanders and Elementals

  • Estimated Challenge Rating: Easy to Medium (CR 13, DR 11100)
    • Salamander 1 (1600)
    • Salamander 2 (1800)
    • Big Elemental (2200)
    • Small Elemental (1800)

This first battle was an introduction to the new combatants. The party had already faced Fire Elementals before, but the more intelligent and vicious salamanders provided a change. Between Gern’s two cold-based attacks, Keyleth convincing one of the elementals to flee, and most of the party keeping their distance to avoid taking any splash damage from the salamanders and the fire elementals, the party expertly handled the new threat before moving closer to the rift. In fact, both this encounter and the one that followed it were made easier thanks to Keyleth convincing the intended first encounter to go away.

Second Encounter: Efreet, Salamanders, and Elementals

  • Calculated Challenge Rating: Hard (CR 20, DR 25800)
    • Efreet (7200)
    • Large Salamander (2800)
    • Elementals (1800 x4)
    • Estimated Challenge Rating: Medium (Explanation below)

This encounter especially goes to show that, no matter what the calculated challenge rating of the encounter is, luck and player ingenuity can just as easily turn it from an intimidating battle to… Well, one where your heavy hitter is trapped in a hamster ball while the rest of the combatants are brushed aside by an unexpected tide of water. The efreet was utterly useless this battle thanks to Scanlan’s sphere and counterspell, which was a very good thing considering the array of spells it would have had at its disposal.

The party came prepared to a fire fight, reducing the majority of damage they took pre-battle while countering with a successful series of arcane responses. Even with the surrounding lava pools and the continued threat of elementals flooding out of the rift, Vox Machina never had to face the threat of more than three foes per round. By isolating each foe and forcing them to wait to attack until their numbers were down, the players actually reduced the challenge rating of the encounter into three separate battles of CR 11 (child’s play for VM) instead of one CR 20 (notable challenge).

We had to see exactly how bad Matt’s luck with time around. The worst encounter he’s rolled up to this point was during Episode 31 verses Scanbo, with 5 missed attacks and 14 failed saving throws. In comparison, Matt rolled 6 missed attacks, and 14 failed saving throws for the Efreet and elementals of this specific encounter. That’s not accounting for the successes or total saves he had to make in each episode, but… It was pretty bad for the Fire Plane invaders.