Monster Analysis: Taryon Darrington (and Doty!)

Thanks to @tressela for this art piece!

Here’s the full battle analysis: in three rounds, Taryon got a single turn to show what he could do. Doty at least got the option to attack in all three, surprise round included. While we still learned a lot about Tary, the encounter was less to see what he could do and more about breaking him down so that Vox Machina could actually work with him.

With that out of the way, that leaves us room to talk everything we know about Taryon Gary Darrington (and Doty!).

Daring Taryon Gary Darrington

  • First Appearance: 85 A Bard’s Lament
  • Encounter Appearance: 86 Daring Days
  • Armor Class 15
  • Speed 30 ft
  • Spell DC 17
  • 106 total health
    • 120 damage taken, 28 healed mid-combat

On the most recent Talks Machina, Sam spoke about wanting a character who was almost entirely reliant on his items over his personal combat skill (much like a young Iron Man). Matt, seeing the opportunity to have a level 13 character get to that level by such toys, gleefully granted Sam access to the artificer and the included arsenal. Sam also shared that Taryon takes some inspiration from Richard Branson, with the hair of either Barry or Robin Gibb.

We can consider ourselves fortunate that Taryon both thinks so highly of himself and had the crap beaten out of him as both have proven useful means of gaining information. Hailing from Diastock in the Truscan Empire on the continent of Wildmount, Taryon is the son of Definitely a Real Estate Mogul and Not a Mob Boss Howard Darrington and saintly Maria Darrington, with made maid MaryAnne set to take over the family business unless Taryon can “prove himself.” His best friend is a magical robot he invented himself that willingly takes orders, transcripts, and trouncings as required by its creator.

Taryon once commanded the brave toy ship, the S.S….(that’s it) though the tumultuous Bathtub Bubbles, and led a hired band of mercenaries on his own adventures (before the tired of his employ). Known by his (nonexistent) friends as Tary, he promptly became known by Vox Machina as TaryJumbo, Blond Chin, Ermahgerd Swaringen, and Ole Tary J. He also apparently sounds like a llama being mauled by a pack of wolves when hit hard enough.

On Artificers

Now that we are 100% sure of Taryon’s class, we feel comfortable going into more detail about artificers in general. Artificers are crafters of magical objects. While bards and rogues can gain expertise in particular skills, Artificers develop expertise with tools. As such, at particular levels, an artificer can craft a new magical item. Tary’s Bag of Holding, Robe of Useful Items, and Chime of Opening were all created by the daring adventurer himself.

As experts in magical items, artificers are allowed to attune to four items starting at level 5 and five items at level 15. Artificers aren’t necessarily limited on items already in existence, as they are inventors by nature. The rod that Tary showed off in Episode 85 that turned into whatever weapon he wanted doesn’t match a particular item in the DMG, so we think it’s of his own creation. (However, it is fair to point out that the way someone can say a weapon’s name and the rod produces it is similar to the functionality of the Alchemy Jug.)

Remember in Episode 85 when Tary tried to toss a coin at Vex, claiming that it could grant her invisibility? He wasn’t lying; another artificer ability is Infuse Magic. An artificer can spend one minute infusing an object with a spell that they know (that a casting time of one action) so that the spell can be used by someone within the next 8 hours. Tary can do this up to four times a day (his Intelligence modifier). Artificers can’t learn spells beyond 4th level, and, like rangers, know their chosen set of spells and can’t replace a spell until they level up. From what we’ve seen thus far, we know that Tary knows Sanctuary as one of his four first level spells, and Invisibility and Alter Self as two of his 3 second level spells (Alter Self was on his Alpha character card).

There are two specialization paths an artificer can choose at level 1: Alchemist or Gunsmith. The Gunsmith creates a magical weapon called a Thunder Cannon, and the abilities of the weapon are largely rooted in magical types of damage. Tary is definitely an alchemist. He carries with him specially-crafted draughts, which increase in strength and type as he levels up. At level 13, he knows how to create five: alchemical fire, alchemical acid, and three others. We know one of those three others is the Healing Draught, which we saw him use in Episode 86 after eating dirt.

And Doty!

  • First Appearance: 85 A Bard’s Lament
  • Encounter Appearance: 86 Daring Days
  • Armor Class Unknown (Likely 12 or more)
  • Speed 30 ft
  • Multiattack (between +4 and +7 to hit)
    • Fist: 2d6 + 5 bludgeoning
    • Headbutt: 1d8 + 5 bludgeoning
    • 9 damage taken, total HP unknown

Unlike Golems or Helmed Horrors, the mechanical companion is only a semi-magical construct, functioning half by magic and half by its physical construction. The Unearthed Arcana page for the Artificer states, “Though magic fuels its creation, the servant is not magical itself” (p4). It follows its creator’s directions as much as it can, able to understand the languages the creator speaks, but unable to speak itself. Artificers finish this creation at level 6.

Game-mechanically speaking, Doty’s combat abilities are based on that of a Large creature of Challenge Rating 2. Based on this encounter, we know that Doty has two bludgeoning attacks (see above). Deducing which dice are used for them, these attacks narrow down the base Beast creature to two options. We find each hilarious for their own reasons: the saber-toothed tiger (an homage to Minxie), or a polar bear (which is, strictly mechanically speaking, a stronger bear than Trinket). Given our doubts that Doty has a “pounce” ability, and the burn potential of Sam also getting a bear companion, we suspect that Doty has a +7 to hit.

While Doty would normally take the AC of the beast it is modeled after, Matt mentioned to Laura that it looks like armor has been added to it, so we will have to see what Doty’s AC ends up being. Matt and Sam mentioned on the most recent Talks Machina that Doty is smarter than the beast it is modeled after, which is how Doty can write, but is not quite as strong.

In addition, Doty shares immunities with most constructs (charmed, poison), and can react on its own to defend Taryon. Should Doty fall in battle, it could be revived using Revivify. However, it can also be repaired back in a workshop at a cost of gold and resources, the total depending on the amount of damage it sustained.

Magical Bling

To top off the tricks that Taryon brings to the table with just his class, we also need to discuss the items on his person (i.e., the true source of his abilities). While most are constructed by virtue of Taryon’s profession, a few of these certainly speak of money spent.

  • Helm of Brilliance: Via various gems embedded in the helm, the wearer can cast Prismatic Spray, Daylight, Fireball, Wall of Fire (DC 18). The wearer has resistance to fire damage. The helm glows when an undead entity is within 30 feet, and can cause a weapon to emit flame, dealing extra fire damage (which is what Tary did to the Dwarven Thrower in Episode 86). The Helm could have been destroyed if Taryon had rolled a one on a special check after being hit with the fireball and failed his dexterity save. This is an item that Tary would have had to obtain, rather than create.
  • Robe of Useful Items: Has patches that can be used to create an assortment of objects. This was the item he learned how to craft at level 5.
  • Chime of Opening: VM’s new secret weapon against their greatest enemy, DOORS. This was the item he learned to craft at level 10.
  • Ring of the Ram: Produces a spectral ram’s head to attack a creature or break an object. This is an item he would have had to obtain.
  • Rod of Mercurial Form: As described earlier, Tary’s Weapons ‘R’ Us rod doesn’t fit with any particular DMG item, so we suspect that he invented it himself. The character card on Alpha has it labeled a Rod of Mercurial Form. Update: We have gotten a ton of suggestions that it is a Rod of Lordly Might. We agree it seems similar, but there are some key differences that speak to it being homebrew. The Rod of Lordly Might does not have a crossbow or a non-fiery sword. There were also numerous aesthetic differences in Matt’s description versus those in the DMG for the Rod of Lordly Might. Obviously we’ll need to see more to be 100% sure, but we’re fairly certain it’s a homebrew item.
  • Daddy Issues: …Self explanatory.