5E: Fifth Edition Monster Variants Inspired by Fourth Edition Sources

Cleon

Legend
Incorporated all changes suggested except Spirits of Possession - the reason I have adopted this is that having a character charmed in combat is really boring for the player. So this was suggested by slyflourish for one of his monsters (a reworking of vampire). In essence, it means the monster can momentarily possess an opponent to make an attack as an off-turn reaction but the player still controls their character on ntheir turn - a momentary possession.

My main objection is to the clunky "Creatures who can't be charmed automatically succeed on this saving throw" statements in the description, which seem superfluous.

There's little or no difference between the current Spirits of Possession and what would happen if the target was charmed for a fraction of a round, except it'd be a bit simpler and likely follow standard 5E rules more closely.

It could have something like "On a failed save, the target is charmed. The charmed target must use its reaction, if available, to move up to their speed and then make either a melee attack or fall prone as directed by the ghost shaman. The effect ends once the target uses their reaction or the ghost shaman finishes its turn."

The "boring bit" of being dominated is that a player loses control of their character for a protracted period and is unable to contribute to what's going on. The latter is little different from if a PC were paralyzed or petrified.
 

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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
ok incorporated rewording
 

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Cleon

Legend
ok incorporated rewording

A quite glance through couldn't find anything wrong with the numbers except passive Perception should be 17.

Oh, I checked the 5E stats of a Fomorian and it appears WotC gave them Speed 30 ft. so feel free to revert the Ghost Shaman back to its original 30 feet.

The standard 5E Fomorian also appears to have double proficiency in Perception: it has WIS 14 (+2) and Perception +8, so it must have added twice its +3 Proficiency Bonus.

If the Ghost Shaman also gets double-good Perception it'd have Perception +11 and passive Perception 21.
 




Cleon

Legend
Fomorian Ghost Shaman
Huge giant, chaotic evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor and aura of eyes)
Hit Points 189 (18d12 + 72)
Speed 30 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
21 (+5)​
10 (+0)​
18 (+4)​
11 (+0)​
17 (+3)​
16 (+3)​

Saving Throws WIS +7, CHA +7
Skills Perception +11, Stealth +4
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 21
Languages Giant, Undercommon
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP) Proficiency Bonus +4

Aura of Eyes. The ghost shaman adds its charisma bonus to its AC.

Actions

Multiattack. The ghost shaman attacks twice with its death's touch or makes one death's touch attack and uses Evil Eye once.

Death's Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (6d6) necrotic damage, and if the target is a creature it must make a DC 15 Charisma save. On a failed save, the creature is slowed: it can't use reactions, its speed is halved, and it can't make more than one attack on its turn. In addition, the creature can use either an action or a bonus action on its turn, but not both. These effects last for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a successful save.

Evil Eye. The fomorian magically forces a creature it can see within 60 feet of it to make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. The creature takes 27 (6d8) psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Spirits of Possession. The fomorian ghost shaman conjures a cloud of accursed ghosts. The shaman directs these spirits to either target one creature within 120 feet or target every creature within 20 feet of the shaman. If the target is injured by necrotic damage it must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target is charmed. The charmed target must use its reaction, if available, to move up to their speed and then make either a melee attack or fall prone as directed by the ghost shaman. The effect ends once the target uses their reaction or the ghost shaman finishes its turn.

Darksoul Mist (Recharge 4-6). The fomorian ghost shaman creates a 20-foot cube of dark mists centered on a point within 60 feet. Any creature within the cube when it appears must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save the creature takes 21 (6d6) necrotic damage and is slowed, on a success the creature takes half as much damage and is not slowed. A slowed creature can't use reactions, its speed is halved, and it can't make more than one attack on its turn. In addition, the creature can use either an action or a bonus action on its turn, but not both. These effects last for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a successful save.
 The cube of darkness remains for one minute, obscuring vision.

Curse of the Evil Eye (Recharges After a Short or Long Rest). With a stare, the fomorian uses Evil Eye, but on a failed save, the creature is also cursed with magical deformities. While deformed, the creature has its speed halved and has disadvantage on ability checks, saving throws, and attacks based on Strength or Dexterity.
 The transformed creature can repeat the saving throw whenever it finishes a long rest, ending the effect on a success.


Description

A fomorian ghost shaman can be distinguished by the aura of ghostly eyes that hover around its head and torso, warping and obscuring its appearance. It traditionally wears a necklace of skulls, signifying its kinship with death.
Pact with the Dead. Fomorian ghost shamen command ghosts to do their bidding, allowing them to warp the minds of opponents or drain their lives. Shrouded in darkness, they fight with ranged powers behind their allies.

(Inspired by the Fomorian Ghost Shaman in 4th Edition's Monster Manual 2 (2009).)
 
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Cleon

Legend
Okay, let's go through this one!

There's nothing mechanically awry with the everything before Actions.

As for those, Multiattack, Evil Eye and Curse of the Evil Eye look good to go.

The Spirits of Possession looks OK, although I'm not 100% sure of the "that has taken necrotic damage from it during the combat" wording as it's slightly vague as to how long a "combat" is and what happens if the target has been entirely healed of its necrotic damage.

What does the original 4E Ghost Shaman use again?

Here we go "targets creatures that have ongoing necrotic damage" and the Evil Eye does "ongoing 10 necrotic damage".

Hmm… we could change Evil Eye so it does ongoing damage but I'm not in favour of changing the wording from the official 5E Fomorian's Evil Eye unless we really have to.

Also, the original Spirits was AoE within a radius around the Shaman, while this version only affects a single target.

If you do want to make it targeted, I'd give it a range. As written the ghost shaman can throw Possession at a target anywhere. It could send a spirit to possess an enemy that's plane shifted and teleported to the other end of the universe!

Hmm… maybe instead of "The fomorian ghost shaman targets one creature that has taken necrotic damage from it during the combat. The target must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw." you could start it:

Spirits of Possession #2. The fomorian ghost shaman surrounds itself with a cloud of accursed ghosts. Any creature within [15 or 20?] feet of the shaman that is injured by necrotic damage must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw.​

Or, for a targeted version:

Spirits of Possession #3. The fomorian ghost shaman targets one creature within [60 or 120 ?] feet that is injured by necrotic damage. The target must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw.​

Or maybe combine the two?

Spirits of Possession #4. The fomorian ghost shaman conjures a cloud of accursed ghosts. The shaman directs these spirits to either target one creature within [60 or 120 ?] feet or target every creature within [15 or 20?] feet of the shaman. If the target is injured by necrotic damage it must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw.​

Do any of those appeal?
 

Cleon

Legend
The other problem is Death's Touch and Darksoul Mist don't have a duration for the slow effect, which the Mist aggravates by not saying an initial success prevents slowing.

I suggest the usual "1 minute, with saves per round to cancel" formula.

Also, slow isn't a standard condition in 5E, unlike 4E, so it needs some kind of explanation such as a reference to the slow spell or spelling out the effects. The precedent of the Slowing Breath of a Copper Dragon or a beholder's Slowing Ray is to spell it out.

Oh, and the Darksoul Mist has a "diameter" in it despite the mist being cubular. Circles have diameters, not squares!

So I'd suggest changing it to the following:

Death's Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (6d6) necrotic damage, and if the target is a creature it must make a DC 15 Charisma save. On a failed save, the creature is slowed: it can't use reactions, its speed is halved, and it can't make more than one attack on its turn. In addition, the creature can use either an action or a bonus action on its turn, but not both. These effects last for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a successful save.​
Darksoul Mist (Recharge 4-6). The fomorian ghost shaman creates a 20-foot cube of dark mists centered on a point within 60 feet. Any creature within the cube when it appears must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save the creature takes 21 (6d6) necrotic damage and is slowed, on a success the creature takes half as much damage and is not slowed. A slowed creature can't use reactions, its speed is halved, and it can't make more than one attack on its turn. In addition, the creature can use either an action or a bonus action on its turn, but not both. These effects last for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a successful save.​
 The cube of darkness remains for one minute, obscuring vision.​

I was also tempted to have it only affect living creatures since it's a necrotic/death effect, but the original monster could affect undead and constructs with those attacks' slow condition so we might as well let this version do so.

Presumably being a Ghost Shaman means the fomorian knows tricks to put the whammy on unliving opponents.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
incorporated all preceding. I like

Spirits of Possession #4. The fomorian ghost shaman conjures a cloud of accursed ghosts. The shaman directs these spirits to either target one creature within 120 feet or target every creature within 20 feet of the shaman. If the target is injured by necrotic damage it must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw.
 

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