[5e] (Home)Brewing a "Zombie Recruiter" - looking for feedback
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  1. #1
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    [5e] (Home)Brewing a "Zombie Recruiter" - looking for feedback

    First time trying to brew an original monster (as opposed to modding an existing monster) and want some feedback on it! Aiming for CR 6-7 here. This monster might be surrounded by some corpses when players discover it, as well as other mooks or other zombies that feed into its signature abilities, and it provides something a little nastier than your average undead.

    Zombie Recruiter

    A Zombie Recuiter is created when a necromancer channels extremely powerful ritual magic into the bodies of several freshly killed beings until they merge and the creature overflows with necromantic energy. It looks like an undead humanoid with an extremely strong smell of rotting flesh whose parts seem oddly mismatched and enlarged, but walks or runs on all fours and has long sharpened claws on each limb. It stands 12-16 feet high.

    AC 18 (natural armor)
    Hit Points - 180
    Speed - 45 ft

    STR - 20, DEX - 10, CON - 16, INT - 10, WIS - 6, CHA - 6

    Undead Fortitude (as standard)
    Condition Immunities - charmed, frightened, poisoned

    Actions:
    A zombie recruiter can attempt to take up to three actions each turn - one bite attack and one attack with each claw. It may forego one of these attacks to use its "recruit" action.

    Bite: +8 to hit, one target. Hit: 2d6+5 piercing damage

    Claw: +8 to hit, one target. Hit 2d8+5 slashing damage. The target must make a CON save (DC 13) or take an additional 1d6 of damage at the start of their next turn due to bleeding.

    Recruit: The zombie recruiter attempts to recruit up to 2 corpses visible to it in a single straight line at a distance of up to 60 feet using a flow of its excess necromantic energy. Recruited corpses move equal to their movement, make a melee or ranged (non-spell) attack on any target within range, and immediately return to death. If the corpse takes any damage while temporarily animated, the body immediately falls apart and can no longer be used.

    Final Surge: When a zombie recruiter is below 25% health, it will become frenzied and enraged and begin trying to take in power from the surrounding corpses rather than reanimating them. It no longer has access to the recruit action. Instead, the recruiter can magically absorb all energy from a nearby corpse (within 60 feet) to deal an additional +2 damage on any attack. When it does so, those corpses are annihilated and can no longer be used.
    Last edited by theelkspeaks; Saturday, 10th November, 2018 at 03:33 PM. Reason: fixed title

  2. #2
    The Recruitment action is a neat idea. Since the zombies just fall back dead after their action, they don't provide any defense for the recruiter, though, which feels like a lack. I'd fill that lack by giving the recruiter another feature, that raises 1 or 2 zombies and immediately drain them of power, destroying the zombie but healing 50 hit points to the recruiter. (When I give monsters healing abilities, I like them to heal a lot)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by theelkspeaks View Post
    A Zombie Recuiter is created when a necromancer channels extremely powerful ritual magic into the bodies of several freshly killed beings until they merge and the creature overflows with necromantic energy. It looks like an undead humanoid with an extremely strong smell of rotting flesh whose parts seem oddly mismatched and enlarged, but walks or runs on all fours and has long sharpened claws on each limb. It stands 12-16 feet high.
    Interesting critter.

    Recruit: The zombie recruiter attempts to recruit up to 2 corpses visible to it in a single straight line at a distance of up to 60 feet using a flow of its excess necromantic energy. Recruited corpses move equal to their movement, make a melee or ranged (non-spell) attack on any target within range, and immediately return to death. If the corpse takes any damage while temporarily animated, the body immediately falls apart and can no longer be used.
    What constitutes a "corpse"? Is a corpse a zombie? This needs to be defined, because even though the corpse returns to death immediately, during its immediate movement it could provoke opportunity attacks (what's its AC?), enter a damaging spell zone (what are its saves?), etc.

    If it's meant to be 2 zombies, consider that a zombie's attack is +3 to hit, average 4.5 damage (so 9 damage for two zombies). Whereas the Zombie Recruiter's current Bite attack (what Recruit would replace) is +8 to hit, average 12 damage. In other words, the tradeoff is no good, its Bite attack will always be better.

    Final Surge: When a zombie recruiter is below 25% health, it will become frenzied and enraged and begin trying to take in power from the surrounding corpses rather than reanimating them. It no longer has access to the recruit action. Instead, the recruiter can magically absorb all energy from a nearby corpse (within 60 feet) to deal an additional +2 damage on any attack. When it does so, those corpses are annihilated and can no longer be used.
    You might look to the Wounded Fury trait of the quaggoth for cleaner implementation of this idea. Here's how I'd rewrite this trait for your Zombie Recruiter...

    Wounded Fury. While it has 45 hit points or fewer, the Zombie Recruiter has advantage on attack rolls but it loses its Recruit trait. In addition, it deals an extra 7 (2d6) damage to any target it hits with a melee attack.

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