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


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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
This thread's for alternative takes of officially published 5E Monsters based on versions of them that appeared in Fourth Edition D&D products. Mostly because some D&D Monsters have interesting game mechanics in 4E they lack in Fifth Edition incarnations.

Finished conversions will be added to the Completed Fifth Edition Creatures Index.


Index of Alternative Versions of Official 5E Monsters
NAME​
CR​
D&D Beyond [CC Post]​
Enworld​
Derro Chaos Savant
?​
Ettin Marauder
7​
Fomorian Butcher
13​
Fomorian Ghost Shaman
9​
Gnoll Beast Shaman
8​
Spectral Hyena
1/4​
Name—Subtype
#​
—​
...should this be "Index of 5e Versions of Official 4e Monsters"?
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
O-kay, tweaked/added some numbers for chaos savant and have this:
 

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Cleon

Legend
O-kay, tweaked/added some numbers for chaos savant and have this:

screenshot-2023-06-08-135220-png.287073

Looks pretty good at first glance.

It's a lot more powerful than a standard Challenge 3 Derro Savant. I'm assuming you want it to be Challenge 9 to match the PCs?

Actually, looking at its attacks it may be too weedy to be CR 9. Its damage output is only 42 DPR which is typical for a Challenge 6 character.

Will need to check the CR Calculator and see what is says.

It's got Innate Spellcasting rather than Spellcasting, although it's erroneously listed as Spellcasting like the official Derro Savant.

Not 100% sure about that. It is a bit more in keeping with the original 1E Savants, which had a random hodge-podge of SLAs rather than being regular spellcasters, but the standard 5E Savant is a 5th-level spellcaster.

Hmm, I guess it could be some kind of warlock-style caster instead of a wizard-style caster. That might fit the power suite.

In Skills I would reconsider the Perception proficiency. Wouldn't Arcana and maybe some other knowledge-based skill be more appropriate? It is a Savant after all.

How did you calculate its +4 to hit with a Chaos Staff? If it's STR-based it'd be +3. If it's DEX-based it'd be +6.

Its Ranged Spell Attack would be +8 to hit with CHA 18 and Challenge 9, not the +6 in its Bolts of Chaos. Speaking of which, it should probably have "spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks" in Spellcasting (or Innate Spellcasting).

Finally, if we're going this far we might as well go whole hog and give it a Window to Madness ability like the 4E Derro Savant.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
ok ditched perception, added arcana, and moved spellcasting back into actions. My intention was not exactly CR 9 but buffing it so significantly stronger than savant to mix up using derro at a range of levels. Happy to adjuct CR slightly
 

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Cleon

Legend
ok ditched perception, added arcana, and moved spellcasting back into actions. My intention was not exactly CR 9 but buffing it so significantly stronger than savant to mix up using derro at a range of levels. Happy to adjuct CR slightly

derrosavant2-jpg.287248

Don't mind it at Challenge 9 if that's where you want it. The 4E Derro Savant was a mid-level opponent of Level 16 after all. That's tougher than a Vrock or Hill Giant (both Level 13 in 4E, and CR 5 and 6 in 5E).

If it were just me doing the conversion, I'd aim for around Challenge 5 or 7 for a Derro Savant, but I'm fine pitching for 9 if you prefer.

Running the numbers of the above through the CR Calculator it comes to Challenge 6 with AC 17 and Challenge 5 if we trim the AC down a point or two.

I'll use CR 5 and AC 16 for my first rough draft.

I'll update the Enworld Derro Chaos Savant with said Rough Draft, which includes a few suggested tweaks, notably.

I'd rename the Fiendish Blessing to, say, Armor of the Insane and model it more on Mage Armor or Demonskin (i.e. it magically provides a substitute AC rather than boosting whatever mundane armor it is wearing).

Don't like the humanoid-average Wisdom. Derro have very low Wisdom. The standard Savant has WIS 5. I'd give it, say, WIS 7 and add a special trait that allows it to use CHA on certain WIS-keyed abilities like Saves and maybe Perception.

Heck, it's a Sage so maybe it can use Intelligence on Perception rolls instead of Wisdom?

Its Chaos Staff has a poor chance to hit and it's missing the damage penalty from the savant's low strength. So I had a realization: make it a Melee Spell Attack that uses the staff as an implement. That gives it a much better CHA-based to hit and means you don't have to apply the –1 damage penalty for its STR.

If we're giving it the Strength of Madness ability of the Fourth Edition Derro Savant that could boost its Chaos Staff attack to be competitive or better than its Bolts of Chaos. However, Strength of Madness only lasts for a round and I'm leaning towards it giving a bonus damage die and advantage to melee attacks like the 4E original.

I'd also suggest having its Staff attacks inflict the same special conditions as its Bolts (i.e. CON save or be necrotic/poison/cold/lightning hampered).

Oh, and I'd rewrite Mind Scourge to do some damage on a failed save. Maybe have it do 3d6 psychic when it hits and then the target rolls a save, and if they FAIL they choose whether to take more damage or be stunned the next turn?
 
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