Thanks to Jet for this art piece!
- Encounter Appearance: 55 Umbrasyl
- Estimated Challenge Rating: 22
- Armor Class 22
- Speed 40 ft, Flying 80 ft
- Blindsight 60 ft, darkvision 120 ft, Passive 26
- Immune to acid damage
- Lair Actions, Legendary Actions
- Legendary Resistance (1 remaining and spent)
- Max HP: 825 (thanks to Matt for confirming!)
- 759 damage taken away from lair
- 574 healed between battles
- 640 damage taken in lair
- 18 + 4 necrotic HDYWTDT by Grog
In the Sky
With three rounds spent dealing with the direct attentions of a desperate, fleeing dragon and a final fourth and fifth spent plummeting, the only reason no party members died was pure ingenuity. Vax and Scanlan weathered Umbrasyl’s attempts to digest them, successfully fighting their way to the surface, while Grog kept steady on the creature long enough to fall at the most convenient time possible. The extra 68 points of damage didn’t hurt the party’s chances, either.
Vax’s acceptance as the Raven Queen’s champion, while not enough on its own to save him from falling to his death, granted enough time for him to be saved midair in addition to opening up the potential future support from the deity. Scanlan’s incredibly inspired uses of Bigby’s Hand, as well as the choice to drop it to make Grog a giant eagle (and also smarter) provided a very unexpected and heroic rescue for the three vestige bearers. Even Keyleth’s use of the gate stone, while not entirely mechanically effective, did get her closer to the troubled party members and resulted in one seriously badass moment of RP.
Over the course the party’s cautious trip up the mountain and their short rest, Umbrasyl healed up 574 points and set traps for their arrival. However, the party really needed the time to tend to their own wounds. Grog spent all of his hit dice recovering. Keyleth regained her Wild Shape, and Pike regained her Channel Divinity. Percy attuned to the Dragonslayer Longsword while Vax reclaimed his Displacer Cloak.
Additionally, any defenses the lair had in the form of terrain or traps held little threat against the party. Vox Machina (plus Shale!) was able to successfully scale the mountain with little issue, circumvent the Old Magic traps, and sneak right up to Umbrasyl without giving him an extra surprise round of attacks.
In the Dragon’s Lair
Umbrasyl took full advantage of his lair, about as much as a desperate ancient dragon on the verge of death could. Even for a makeshift home, it came fully furnished with pools of acid and every possible variation of lair action available. The swarming insects, the grasping tides, and the two bubbles of darkness were just wrinkles added to the fight.
His invisibility probably served him best of all, as the first couple of rounds proved not nearly as effective as the damage they were able to him deal out in the open. His last Legendary Resistance was spent to maintain it for another round against Keyleth’s first Faerie Fire, but a failed Concentration check made him visible to the invaders.
Most terrifying of all was his near constant use of his acid breath. The party was very fortunate that three uses of it were not concentrated on any particular individuals more than twice. Umbrasyl also made great use his legendary actions, spending all three for all rounds but the first (when it was just him verses Vax).
The Party’s Strategy
We’d consider Keyleth’s Faerie Fires the play of the battle. Although the first use lost Grog’s acid resistance and was negated by Umbrasyl’s final legendary resistance, this opened up Umbrasyl to fall victim to it in the third round. It’s here where Vox Machina took back the battle, with the party dealing 303 damage (42% of the damage from this portion of the battle!), much of which would not have been possible without advantage. This includes crits from Percy with the Dragonslayer Longsword (who dealt a total of 172 damage in that single round courtesy of his action surge) and Grog as a freaking barbarian (who dealt a total of 91 damage in that round with 4 fewer hits than Percy).
While Keyleth provided the offensive support, Scanlan provided extremely valuable defensive support. His Cutting Words, while miniscule, reduced damage from the acid breaths enough to ensure that the party stood until the very last round (e.g., Shale had 2 HP left, which would not have been without damage reduction). Cutting Words also ensured that Umbrasyl failed a number of key saves, including the aforementioned Faerie Fire. Scanlan’s Stinking Cloud also forced Umbrasyl to hold off an acid breath attack for another round. There was also the matter of, Bigby’s, um…
The party used the space of the cavern fairly well. Vax, Shale, Trinket, Grog, and Percy provided valuable distractions, whittling away at Umbrasyl while Vex fired from the shadows. Pike’s War God’s Blessing resulted in additional 22 points of damage from Vex and 27 from Grog, and her critical Guiding Bolt enema lit up the dragon in a way that proved just as useful for morale as for the damage total.
The final acid breath resulted in the first party KOs of the battle (which is pretty impressive on the party’s part). It also triggered Grog’s brand new 14th level barbarian reaction that also resulted in the HDYWTDT. (For those curious, Grog dealt an additional 27+ Unknown points of necrotic damage over the course of the battle thanks to five separate reminders!)
Speaking of damage, let’s get the final damage totals for this fight:
- Grog 370
- Percy 321
- Vex’ahlia 219
- Pike 117
- Vax’ildan 99
- Scanlan 93
- Shale 20
- Keyleth 8