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


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Cleon

Legend
Ok aligned - so question is whether to cap at 6 or 8 spectral hyenas then

I think I'd cap it at six, since we've made them CR 1/2.

Now if I remember correctly, summoned creatures still count as part of their summoner's Challenge like they do in 3E?

That is, the CR of an Xth-level druid is assumed to include the CR of any allies they summon with conjure animals, conjure elemental or the like.

Presumably we'll need to make similar allowances for the Beast Shaman.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
I can't see anything in DMG on this. Maybe if a person is getting CR for hte spectral hyenas then they are getting the reward separately? Or for calculating difficulty of encounter, the spectral hyena CRs are being added separately, hence if including in shaman CR is being added twice..?
 

Cleon

Legend
I can't see anything in DMG on this. Maybe if a person is getting CR for hte spectral hyenas then they are getting the reward separately? Or for calculating difficulty of encounter, the spectral hyena CRs are being added separately, hence if including in shaman CR is being added twice..?

I'd assume that the Beast Shaman's Challenge includes the spectral hyenas it can summon.

That was one of the reasons I proposed giving the Spectral Hyenas the same "to hit" as the Beast Shaman, so we could just include their attacks in the Shaman's CR Calculation…

Fourthly, the Bite should be higher than +2 to hit. With DEX 14 and CR 1/4 shouldn't it be +4. I'd suggest making it a rank higher DEX to 16 or 17 (+3) so it has +5 to hit like the Beast Shaman.

The 4E Hyena Spirit and Chosen of Yeenoghu both have +12 vs. AC melee attacks and I'd favour these 5E spectral beasts also being Level-matched companions to their boss and having the same to hit in melee.

Come to think of it, don't we need to specify how long the Spectral Hyenas can remain on the Prime Material? Its Spectral Pack are the Shamans main "quirk" after all.
 

Cleon

Legend
Let's run some numbers.

If we use the current version, its Bite and Quarterstaff do piddly damage compared to its Bolt of Ruination, a mere 11 average with Multiattack compared to the 39 its Bolt does. Heck, it can Multiattack with a Bolt and its Staff for 45 damage.

Oh, it also can Spirit Strike or Summon Hyena as a bonus action for another 7, making 52.

Running those numbers through the CR Calculator says its CR is 7, it'd be CR 6 with a 39 DPR from just the bolt damage.

If it has six Spectral Hyenas in the fray as well then those would each add another 7 necrotic damage to the DPR, for 42. If it summoned its pack on the first round, then Multiattack with bolt & staff on the next two, its theoretical max average damage would be 42+7 = 49 on round #1 and 45½+42+7 = 94½ on round #2 and #3, which is a DPR of 79⅔. That'd punch it up to Challenge 9!

Compariwise, the Brute and Flail with triple-attack Multiattack that's currently the Enworld Working Draft has a Multiattack average damage of 41, or 32 if we cut the +3 proficiency bonus to damage, which I'm leaning towards doing.

Gnoll Beast Shaman
Medium humanoid (gnoll), chaotic evil
Armor Class 16 (demonhide)
Hit Points 117 (18d8 + 36)
Speed 30 ft.


STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
17 (+3)​
12 (+1)​
15 (+2)​
10 (+0)​
14 (+2)​
15 (+2)​

Saving Throws CON +5, WIS +5, CHA +5
Skills Skill +#, Skill +#
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Gnoll
Challenge 7? (2,900 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the beast shaman hits with it (included in the attack).

Demonhide. A beast shaman's skin is supernaturally tough and covered in shaggy fur, the shaman's AC can't be less than 16, regardless of what kind of armor it is wearing.

Rampage. When the gnoll reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack on its turn, the gnoll can take a bonus action to move up to half its speed and make a bite attack.

Actions

Multiattack. The beast shaman makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its flail.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d4 + 6) piercing damage.

Flail. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Bolt of Ruination. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 150 ft., one target. Hit: 39 (6d12) necrotic damage. A spectral hyena within 30 feet of the beast shaman teleports to within melee range of the target.

Bonus Actions

Conjure Spirit. The beast shaman summons a spectral hyena, which materializes within 30 feet of the shaman.

Spirit Strike. The beast shaman spurs one spectral hyena within ## feet to make a bite attack with advantage.

Hmm… it might be easier to have the spectral pack damage "built into" the Beast Shamans action economy, so it needs to use some kind of action to get the whole pack to attack. Then it wouldn't double-dip by being able to do Bolt damage with its entire pack.

Also thinking we might need to cut the Brute, higher Strength and damage proficiency to keep the DPR under control.
 
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Cleon

Legend
One problem is the Bolt of Ruination does an awful lot of damage for an at-will. 39 is way more than an average giant's thrown rock.

By comparison, a Warlock's 1d10 eldritch blast only does 5 and a half points per blast, and the most a Warlock can hurl is four for 22 damage.

Hmm… how about use eldritch blast as a model, only instead of force bolts the Beast Shaman is shooting spectral hyenas at the enemy?

Jaws of Ruination. The beast shaman makes two ranged spell attacks (+5 to hit) with a range of 120 feet. Each attack causes a spectral hyena from the shaman's Spectral Pack to teleport to a location within melee range of the target. On a hit, the hyena bites the target for 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. On a miss, the hyena appears next to the target but the creature takes no damage.​

That's an average of 14 damage, so is roughly on par with the eldritch blast from an 11th to 16th level Warlock (which do three 1d10 blasts, for 16½ on average).
 


Cleon

Legend
You might notice I mentioned a Spectral Pack in the above Action, that's 'cause I was thinking of making it a trait.

REDUCE STRENGTH TO 15 (+2)​
Special Trait
Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the beast shaman hits with it (included in the attack).​
Demonhide. A beast shaman's skin is supernaturally tough and covered in shaggy fur, the shaman's AC can't be less than 16, regardless of what kind of armor it is wearing.​
Rampage. When the gnoll reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack on its turn, the gnoll can take a bonus action to move up to half its speed and make a bite attack.​
Spectral Pack. The gnoll beast shaman is surrounded by a ghostly pack of hyenas. Normally intangible and harmless, the shaman can summon spectral hyenas from this pack to serve it on the Material Plane. The number of spectral hyenas the shaman can summon cannot exceed four/six [?]. If the number of spectral hyenas would exceed four/six [?] then some must vanish to reduce the number to four/six [?] or less, the beast shaman can send any spectral hyena it summons back to the spirit realm as a free action.​
 A spectral hyena from the Spectral Pack can be "killed" while on the material plane, but this merely vanishes them back to their normal ghostly form; all materialized spectral hyenas will vanish if the beast shaman is killed or knocked unconscious.​
Actions
Multiattack. The beast shaman makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its flail.​
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) piercing damage.​
Flail. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage.​
Jaws of Ruination. The beast shaman makes two ranged spell attacks (+5 to hit) with a range of 120 feet. Each attack causes a spectral hyena from the shaman's Spectral Pack to materialize at a location within melee range of the target. On a hit, the hyena bites the target for 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. On a miss, the hyena appears next to the target but the creature takes no damage.​
Summon Spectral Pack (Recharges 4–6). Up to three/four [?] spectral hyenas from the shaman's Spectral Pack materialize within 30 feet of the gnoll beast shaman.​

Let's see, if we keep the Bonus Action options to summon a spectral hyena or spur one to attack, that should keep the DPR manageable. I'm thinking the Conjure Spirit Hyena could do with a range increase to, say, 120 feet like, say Jaws of Ruination. Also wondering whether to make it Conjure Spirit Hyenas so it can call one or two spectral hyenas.

Let's see how the DPR works.

If it uses Summon Spectral Pack and Conjure Spirit Hyenas on the first round, it makes no damage but has either four or six spectral hyenas, depending on what we want to set the cap too, which might be able to attack on round #1 if they roll initiative that's lower than the shaman - not that likely with their Dex's +3 Initiative vs the +1 of the Shaman's Dex, but still possible.

On an "average round" the spirit hyenas would be doing 28 damage (four hyenas) or 42 damage (six hyenas) while the shaman would be doing 18 damage (Multiattack) or 14 damage (Jaws of Ruination).

That's within the DPR range of Challenge Rating 7, although it could theoretically bump into Challenge 8 in ideal conditions (Multiattack 18 plus 42 Spectral Pack plus 7 Spirit Strike).

However, the great bulk of the damage is being done by the Spectral Hyenas.

They're contributing up to three times more damage than the Gnoll Beast Shaman, which I don't really care for.

I'm thinking we should either reduce the damage of the Spectral Hyenas by, say, making it 4 (1d8) necrotic or 5 (2d4) necrotic for Challenge 1/4 (50 XP) or maybe 3 (1d6) necrotic for Challenge 1/8 (25) OR increase the damage of the Beast Shaman's attacks (boost the Multiattack, give them back a high-damage Bolt of Ruination or similar attack, et cetera.).

Or maybe do both?

Yes, that would work. For Challenge 7 we want the DPR to be between 45 and 62.

If we bring back the "two attacks: one with its bite and one with its flail" Multiattack that's 29 damage. Make the Jaws of Ruination three 2d6 attacks for 21 (it doesn't have to match the bite damage of the spectral hyena.)

So that's 25 damage plus any Bonus Action or Reaction damage it'll do on average. Let's say another 7 for 32 DPR.

If we add six to eight 1d6 damage spectral hyena bites that's another 21 to 28 damage, so the Spectral Pack is contributing roughly half the damage rather than most of it.

That ought to keep the DPR inside the Challenge 7 range, although I'd be fine kicking it up a notch to Challenge 8.
 

Cleon

Legend
alright, let's go with that

Wondering whether this rephrasing is better:

Jaws of Ruination. The beast shaman makes two ranged spell attacks (+5 to hit) with a range of 120 feet. On a hit, the target takes 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. Each attack materializes a spectral hyena from the shaman's Spectral Pack within melee range of the target, the hyena appears regardless of whether the attack hits or misses.​
 

Cleon

Legend
I'm thinking we should either reduce the damage of the Spectral Hyenas by, say, making it 4 (1d8) necrotic or 5 (2d4) necrotic for Challenge 1/4 (50 XP) or maybe 3 (1d6) necrotic for Challenge 1/8 (25) OR increase the damage of the Beast Shaman's attacks (boost the Multiattack, give them back a high-damage Bolt of Ruination or similar attack, et cetera.).

Or maybe do both?

Yes, that would work. For Challenge 7 we want the DPR to be between 45 and 62.

If we bring back the "two attacks: one with its bite and one with its flail" Multiattack that's 29 damage. Make the Jaws of Ruination three 2d6 attacks for 21 (it doesn't have to match the bite damage of the spectral hyena.)

So that's 25 damage plus any Bonus Action or Reaction damage it'll do on average. Let's say another 7 for 32 DPR.

If we add six to eight 1d6 damage spectral hyena bites that's another 21 to 28 damage, so the Spectral Pack is contributing roughly half the damage rather than most of it.

That ought to keep the DPR inside the Challenge 7 range, although I'd be fine kicking it up a notch to Challenge 8.

I'm liking 3 (1d6) damage for a revised Spectral Hyena. That's the bite damage of a regular Hyena, only they do piercing instead of necrotic.
 

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