Monster Analysis: Kryn Mage and Warrior

Monster Analysis: Kryn Mage and Warrior

Thanks to @nikkidawesdraws for this art piece!

While we got our first taste of the Kryn’s special tools of war back in episode 13 following the collapse of the Zauber Spire in Zadash in addition to the often-used Motes of Possibility from the stolen Beacon, the Nein’s first direct encounter with the Kryn Empire on the front lines of the war provided a much stronger preview for dunamancy, Matt’s new branch of magic, and the individuals capable of wielding it. Despite the disadvantage in numbers, the Kryn soldiers’ use of dunamis to manipulate the battlefield provided a remarkably strong advantage, potentially honed over generations of Beacon use. While full details will almost certainly be unveiled at a much later, unspecified time, we’ve taken the liberty to catalog what we have learned about these new dunamancy-based classes.

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Monster Analysis: Gnolls (Abandoned Mine)

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Gnoll Pack Lord

  • First Appearance: 2-05 The Open Road
  • Encounter Appearance: 2-07 Hush
  • Armor Class 16
  • Speed 30 ft
  • Darkvision 60 ft, Passive 10
  • Suggested average, max HP: 49, 89
  • 59 damage taken, 19 HDYWTDT by Nott and Jester

Despite already engaging in multiple combat encounters, and Beau getting kicked down a pit, this encounter against the Pack Lord was significantly less dire and terrifying than the encounter the party entered relatively fresh. Why?

The psychological game played a much bigger role in Alfield, for starters. Even if the party did not engage an entire army of gnolls, the still overwhelming number of gnolls present in Alfield quashed any potential heroic decisions. The party also had much more time to plan their attacks against the admittedly fewer gnolls in the mine, as well as spread out the encounters rather than taking on the full strength of the gnolls all at one time. The option to take a short rest to recharge spells and hit points in between only made the effort that much less risky.

In Alfield, the party contended with 11 hostiles total within 30 seconds. This penultimate encounter leading to the final chamber in the mine took place in fewer rounds than the Alfield encounter and only involved six enemies. Even with Beau getting knocked off the previously-unseen ledge, the party was well-equipped to handle the gnolls’ attacks, especially with the addition of Shakäste as both support and an additional source of damage.

It can also be noted that the total damage the party dealt to the pack lord this time was less than that dealt in Alfield. From a narrative standpoint, this can be explained by the lack of time for a full rest in order to complete the ritual for the gnoll’s monstrous patron. From a metagame perspective, take note, DMs: it’s okay to readjust your boss baddies when you know that your party is going to face something more difficult immediately after!

Monster Analysis: Gnolls (Alfield)

Monster Analysis: Gnolls (Alfield)

Thanks to @GalacticJonah for this art piece!

“When gnolls are weakened, they seek out isolated settlements, maim and disable its inhabitants, and feed upon them as they rest and regain strength.” - Volo’s Guide to Monsters, p153

Long ago, carrion hyenas fed upon the grisly remains of the rampage of a demon lord. As their numbers grew, their form began to take on the cursed blessing of this entity, following him in an ever-growing pack of evil and reckless carnage until he was banished to the Abyss. In his disappearance, these cursed humanoids spread across the world, a sign of Yeenoghu’s persistent threat, interest in, and ongoing massacre of the entire Material Plane.

While their ever-present hunger for flesh and destruction guides their every action, gnolls will still choose their battles, targeting weak and exposed villages and victims that allow them to dominate and continue their path of destruction. They are even more disinclined to target defended settlements when their numbers are weakened, implying that the war band at Alfield, while overwhelming, are not necessarily at full capacity. It’s unclear at this time if the bodies loaded on the cart represent anything more than an addition to the gnolls’ food reserves, leaving a mystery for the party and the forces of Alfield to investigate.

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