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

Cleon

Legend
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.

Updated the Fomorian Ghost Shaman.

Doesn't need much of anything as a Description, but I guess we ought to stick something in there.

I'll post a placeholder for the Fomorian Butcher but would rather avoid working on it until we've finished the Gnoll Beast Shaman.
 
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Cleon

Legend
Fomorian Butcher
Huge giant, chaotic evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor) or 17 (natural armor plus scraps armor)
Hit Points 250 (20d12 + 120)
Speed 40 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
27 (+8)​
12 (+1)​
22 (+6)​
9 (–1)​
14 (+2)​
16 (+3)​

Saving Throws CON +11, WIS +7, CHA +8
Skills Intimidation +8, Perception +12, Stealth +6
Senses darkvision 120 ft., truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 22
Languages Giant, Undercommon
Challenge 13 (10,000 XP) Proficiency Bonus +5

Actions

Multiattack. The fomorian butcher attacks twice with its falchion or makes one falchion attack and uses Curse of the Evil Eye once.

Falchion. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 27 (3d12 + 8) slashing damage.

Curse of the Evil Eye. The fomorian butcher stares at a creature it can see within 60 feet of it that is restrained by its Evil Eye. The creature must succeed on a DC 16 Charisma saving throw or take 27 (6d8) psychic damage and be paralyzed for 1 minute. If the creature's saving throw is successful, it takes half damage and is not paralyzed. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. The effect also ends if the fomorian butcher uses Curse of the Evil Eye against a different target.

Fomorian Butchery (Recharges 4-6). The fomorian butcher makes two falchion attacks against a living creature that is prone, restrained or paralyzed. If it hits with one or more of these attacks, the target must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take an additional 26 (4d12) damage and be cursed with magical mutilations. While mutilated, the creature has its speed halved and has disadvantage on ability checks, saving throws, and attacks based on Strength or Dexterity.
 The mutilated creature can repeat the saving throw whenever it finishes a long rest at full hit points, ending the effect on a success.

Shove. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: The target must make a DC 21 Dexterity or Strength saving throw (target's choice). The target takes 3 (d6) bludgeoning damage on a successful save, but on a failed save the target suffers the following:
 If the target is Large size or smaller, they are thrown 20 ft. (4d6 + 6) away from the fomorian butcher, or 10 ft. (2d6 + 3) away for a Large creature, moving in a direction chosen by the giant. When the target hits the ground it takes 7 (2d6) falling (bludgeoning) damage and lands prone. If the butcher shoves its victim over a cliff or into a pit that also causes falling damage, the target takes whichever falling damage rolls higher (do not add the shove's 2d6 falling damage to other falling damage).
 If the target is Huge size or bigger, the shove knocks them over, the target takes 7 (2d6) falling (bludgeoning) damage and falls prone.

Bonus Actions

Evil Eye. The fomorian butcher magically glares at a creature it can see within 60 feet of it. The creature must succeed on a DC 16 Charisma saving throw or take 11 (2d10) psychic damage and be restrained for 1 minute. If the creature's saving throw is successful, it takes half damage and is not restrained. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success, and it automatically succeeds on its saving throw if the butcher uses Evil Eye against a different target. The effect also ends if the fomorian butcher uses Curse of the Evil Eye.

Reactions

Fomorian Brutality. If the fomorian butcher scores a critical hit on a target affected by its Evil Eye or its Curse of the Evil Eye, it can use its reaction to make a falchion attack against that target.

Shoving Reflex. If an opponent moves within 15 feet of the fomorian butcher, the butcher can use Shove against that opponent as its reaction.


Description

A fomorian butcher is a grossly misshapen giant like the rest of its kin. It wears thick leather clothes, aprons and gloves, sometimes reinforced with metal scraps to form surprisingly effective armor. The giant wields an enormous falchion in two hands, a cleaver-like blade massive enough to chop an elephant in half. The fomorian's skin and equipment is covered in gore, ranging from fresh red blood to blackened dried stains. Its most obvious deformity is an enormous eye that glares with baleful intensity.
Fey Eye of Malevolence. Some fomorians retain traces of the vast magical ability they lost while invading the Feywild. This grants the giant truesight, allowing them to overcome the invisibility common to Fey, and often increases and alters the power of their Evil Eye. A fomorian butcher can restrain or paralyze opponents with a glance, and they can inflict their Curse of the Evil Eye repeatedly, unlike a common fomorian which must rest before it can use its cursed gaze a second time.
Obsessed with Slaughter. The mind of a fomorian butcher is twisted and brutal. It derives pleasure from slaughter and bloodshed, loving nothing better than slowly chopping a living creature into mincemeat. Once it picks a target, often the most beautiful or athletic among a group of humanoid or giant opponents, the fomorian butcher becomes obsessed with hacking them to death. This fixation can be a weakness, as it often causes the butcher to neglect other dangers in its lust to cleave the chosen victim's flesh. A fomorian butcher keeps slaves like other fomorians, but these usually die quickly to the butcher's bloody whims.
Gullible Associates. A fomorian butcher is no smarter than an ordinary fomorian and their obsession with butchery makes them easy to manipulate. Cunning and powerful creatures who can provide the butcher with victims sometimes exploit these giants as disposable champions. Powerful warriors who will slay the enemies of their "friend" for the price of a few captives.

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

Legend
Great minds think alike (or fools seldom differ?), since I was musing about an altered version of War Cry that would work on Spectral Hyenas or other allies with DEX-based melee attacks.

This is what I came up with as a first draft:

Hunting Cry. As a bonus action, the gnoll beast shaman can utter a horrible howl, choosing up to two allied creatures within 60 feet [or 30 like the spell?] who can hear or see the shaman to form a hunting pack with. Allied creatures must be conscious to join a hunting pack, and leave the pack if knocked unconscious. This pack targets one creature chosen as prey by the shaman; this may be a creature within 150 feet who the shaman can see or smell, or a creature whose tracks the shaman can see or smell within 10 feet. These tracks may be up to 24 hours old, but at the DM's discretion favorable or unfavorable circumstances can increase or reduce this time limit (e.g. rain or hard and impermeable ground are unfavorable, snowy ground or blundering prey that leave an obvious trail are favorable). The shaman can also choose prey using the scent of objects a creature wore, such as clothes or footwear.​
Hunting cry is an Innate Spellcasting ability that requires concentration. The beast shaman can use hunting cry when it already has an hunting cry active, using the bonus action to either change the hunting pack's prey creature (restrictions as above) or choose three creatures for the pack, up to a maximum of nine (the shaman plus eight allies).​
 The hunting cry lasts for 1 hour or until the shaman loses concentration. If the prey drops to 0 hit points, the shaman has until the end of its turn to make another hunting cry to choose a replacement prey creature for the pack; failing to do so ends the hunting cry. If a dispel magic spell targets a pack member or the prey creature, the target immediately stops being part of the hunt, this ends the hunting cry if the shaman is the creature dispelled. If the prey is dispelled, the shaman has until the end of its turn to use hunting cry to choose new prey (which may be the same as the old prey).​
 When a creature joins a hunting cry pack (which includes the shaman), they gain one hunting die, which the pack member must spend on the first melee attack it makes against the prey, adding 2 (1d4) to either its attack roll or its damage roll. The hunter rolls to hit first: if the roll to hit fails, it adds the hunting die to try turning the miss into a hit; if the roll to hit succeeds, it adds the hunting die to damage. The hunting die replenishes if the shaman chooses the creature with another hunting cry (it can choose itself). The shaman cannot give a pack member two or more hunting dice, if can only replace a die the hunter has spent.​
 In addition, as long as the hunting cry is active, all pack members gain the following trait:​
Predatory Senses. The creature has advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check it makes to find the chosen prey.​

Okay, for the Gnoll Beast Shaman we just need to decide on its Skill proficiencies (if any) and work out the Hunting Cry special ability.

Looking at the rough draft it's way too wordy. I'm sure I can boil it down to something more succinct.
 


Cleon

Legend
ok maybe give the Gnoll Beast Shaman survival (+6) ....tracking 'n' stuff. Possibly also intimidate and/or animal handling...?

How many skills are we giving it? The original 4E Chosen of Yeenoghu we're basing it on only has two and those are Arcana and Religion, suggesting it's more a spellcaster than a hunter.

An NPC Druid has three (Medicine, Nature, Perception) and the NPC Priest the same (Medicine, Persuasion, Religion), which seems about the right number.

There are a few third-party gnolls on 5Esrd.com that could serve as inspiration. The Gnoll Tribal Shaman doesn't have ANY skills, the Gnoll Gutter Pack Shaman (Arcana, Perception, Stealth, Survival) and Gnoll Plains Shaman (Arcana, Nature, Perception, Survival) both have four, but that might be a little excessive.

I'm more inclined to go for two or three skills, although I would consider four.

As for the actual Skills

Don't care for Intimidate as it's not on the 5E Druid skill list of Arcana, Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Religion and Survival and the original monster was more a leads-from-behind type.

It doesn't really need Animal Handling, as it uses its supernatural gifts to direct its spectral hyenas. Besides, would that even work on an undead?

I'm fine with Survival, as a "wise old gnoll" that advises/instructs/leads younger greener gnolls it's the kind of knowledge it'd need.

Would like either Arcana or Religion or both in there as it needs some knowledge of magic and the supernatural, but aren't much bothered which option that is.

Tempted by Medicine as that's a VERY traditional Shaman skill, but I'm not sure it fits very well with the Gnoll's brutally chaotic evil ethos, which seems extremely "everyone for yourself, eat your rivals in the pack if you can" in later editions of D&D.

There's always Perception. That's always a useful skill to have.

Would consider Stealth, but I imagine the Shaman and its spectral pack howling their heads off as they pursue/attack the PCs, which rather defeats the point of them being stealthy!
 




Cleon

Legend
oh yeah, add perception...

Updated the Gnoll Beast Shaman.

Updated the Fomorian Ghost Shaman.

Doesn't need much of anything as a Description, but I guess we ought to stick something in there.

I'll post a placeholder for the Fomorian Butcher but would rather avoid working on it until we've finished the Gnoll Beast Shaman.

Both the links go to the Ghost Shaman. Sure I fixed the second one a few days ago, but it didn't seem to take.

Hopefully the repeat attempt I just did will stick!
 

Cleon

Legend
Here's a revised version of Hunting Cry.

Hunting Pack #2 [or Hunting Pack?] (18 Dice, Recharges After a Long Rest). The gnoll beast shaman has a pool of 18 hunting dice it uses to form a hunting pack. This pool replenishes after a Long Rest.​
 As a bonus action, the shaman can utter a horrible hunting cry and chooses three creatures within 60 feet who can hear or see the shaman, each of which is assigned one hunting die and joins the hunting pack. The pack targets one creature chosen as prey by the shaman as it howls its hunting cry; this may be a creature within 150 feet who the shaman can see or smell, or a creature whose trail the shaman can see or smell within 10 feet. The tracks may be up to 24 hours old (at the DM's discretion a strong or weak trail may change this time limit). The scent of worn items such as clothes or footwear can be used to set prey.​
 The hunting pack can have a maximum of nine members (the shaman plus eight allies), which requires at least three hunting cries to gather. The gnoll beast shaman cannot assign more than one hunting die to each pack member.​
 If a pack member loses consciousness, abandons the hunt (a free action) or stops for a Long Rest, they leave the pack and lose the hunting die they were assigned. If the gnoll beast shaman leaves the hunting pack the pack disbands and all other pack members lose their hunting dice (the shaman retains any unassigned dice left in its hunting pool).​
 If the prey drops to 0 hit points, the shaman must use a hunting cry to assign at least one hunting die and choose new prey for the pack or else the pack disbands as above. The shaman has 10 minutes to find new prey, during which it has to maintain Concentration as if hunting pack were a spell.​
 A pack member must spend its assigned hunting die to add 2 (1d4) to either the attack or damage roll of the first melee attack it makes against the prey creature. The hunter rolls to hit first: if the attack hits, they add their hunting die to damage; if the attack missed, they add their hunting die to the attack roll, even if this has no chance of hitting. The shaman can use hunting cry to assign a new hunting dice to pack members who have spent theirs.​
 As long as the hunting pack is active, all pack members temporarily gain the following trait:​
Predatory Senses. The creature has advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check it makes to find the chosen prey.​
 
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