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D&D 5E 5e Updates: Monstrous Compendium


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Stalker0

Legend
I've updated the Red Wyrmling through the Red Adult after feedback. I will get to the older dragons after a bit of a break, but still probably later today.

Young Red Dragon - You could probably add like 1-2 damage somewhere, by my napkin math its basically 5.5 CR, with the CR just a smidge below a true 6, and I always feel dragons should be on the upper threshold of their CR.

I think the new unstoppable is a reasonable compromise. It "consumes" a reaction without "using" a reaction, which avoids the messy interaction with certain conditions.

For breath weapon, its getting there, that thing is nice and scary:) The reason I had recommended the disintegrate effect against spells, is what I have found in my high level games is Wall of Force type spells are just boss enders for monsters that don't have Teleport effects. Especially if the fight is in a Dragon's lair, it is trivial for mages to section off entire areas of the terrain and effectively cage the dragon. For an 18 CR boss monster to compete, it really needs some way to counter these kinds of effects. I thought it was flavor appropriate that a dragon, instead of evading these obstacles as a "lesser" creature would....simply bowls them over with its breath. Dispel Magic is not enough to do that, hence the disintegrate note.

I'm noting the change to the claw the now inflicts prone (I think that is new). I'm all for it, but you had mentioned concerns about the dragon getting too much advantage on its attacks, and the claw proning will ensure that a lot of advantage will be had. That said, the dragon does have to hit and the saving throw failed for that to kick in, compared to the detect which simply works.

The Disintegration note aside, this Dragon looks like a scary encounter. He opens with a breath, blooding half the group and knocking them out of the first round of combat, while stripping away a lot of buffs a high level group is going to be used to...which suddenly puts all the old tricks back on the table (no matter how much you prepare...you cannot outplan a full adult dragon). Second round, the dragon gets to use its fear....and unlike other encounters at this level where the party often has anti-fear magics....this party is going to suffer that fear. Then one player is going to get malled by the dragon, which considering the breath damage may knock them out (maybe a kill but that's really optimistic for these levels). On the flip side, 270 hp ain't much when your dealing with characters that can dish out ~100 damage. So its literally a question of whether the players can survive the incapacitation, stun, and fear effects long enough to bring enough pain before the next breath....as that next breath may signal death to several members. I imagine the players will watch that breath recharge roll as if it was the most important roll of their lives....because it absolutely might be.

Yeah....that's a f***ing dragon!


I also took a look at dragon scales, as I was just curious how well the dragon scales worked against "mob" type encounters. So as an example, a military unit of 20 basic 12 dex archers (aka +3 attack), would deal 11 damage to the dragon on a given round if firing at 150 feet or closer. By mob rules, 4 of the attackers would hit, and 50% of the hits would do damage past the dragon scales (aka 5+ on a d8 longbow roll). So 4*.5*5.5 (avg damage for a longbow with +1 dex) = 11 (this is basically the same reduction as resistance to nonmagical weapons would offer). So effectively 25 volleys could kill the dragon...whether that is 1 unit attacking 25 times or 25 units attacking once. So this just gives you an idea of how "riff raff resistance" your Adult Red Dragon is. So a strong city that could field ~500 "good" archers (+1 dex are good stock, I would never assume any higher for large numbers of units unless its an "elite" unit or elven archers) would be nigh adult dragon proof if they were disciplined and there was enough warning in the city to call them to arms (aka literally take out a dragon out of the sky before it did much damage). And up to about 200 archers would still ensure the dragon is unlikely to attack more than a 2 rounds before being scared off.

In smaller areas that could only field a few units....the dragon would of course reign supreme, as its going to kill a full unit flat dead with its breath weapon, and a few archer units are not going to do damage quickly enough to stop a dragon flying in and just shredding them to bits.

And once your at the Elder range of Dragon Scale 8, now the archers drop to 2.75 damage a round per unit....your now at the point of nigh "invulnerability" vs non-hero forces.

The stealth bonus on larger dragons may be a little off, I have never thought of Dnd dragons are particularly "stealthy", especially Red Dragons (maybe black dragons who hide underwater or something". A +9 stealth is actually very solid
 
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No. It basically means first or primal. In this case, specifically not a god, but this first primal dragon of evil. That from which all other evil dragons spring.
I'm terrible with spellcasting, I usually just have them for flavor and would do the same for atropus. Handle its relevant abilities in its stat block and have the spells as extra flavor. You can always go with a version of the 3e list:

View attachment 126993

However, Atropus is not a primordial*, so I wouldn't use them as a template. I think you have to go with something unique. Currently I am thinking very high CR but only one mythic stage. The concept being that all the initial damage just "cracks" it shell and then exposes its vulnerable core. Of course you could always make it more of a terrain and less of a monster, but I am not sure how to do that.

*The idea that Atropus was a primordial came up in 4e, but it doesn't make a lot of sense (atropals are stillborn gods afterall). I would go with the original ambiguous lore.
Here lies Atropus, the Moonlet!
I did give him 2 mythic actions. Partly because there are two cores in the average planet: the outer core and the inner core. I think this gives the opportunity to add up some length onto the battle, and for Atropus to use all his spells (his spell list allows for some deadly combinations). Also because a planet needs a crap ton of HP.
And because I wanted him to be more powerful than Annam. A beach ball is more powerful than a gnat.
Also, yes his HP is way more than the CR guidelines. Think, however, of your swarms and Genius Loci! And he is immune to almost everything. But when PC's are this powerful, it's a trade-off of nuclear warheads! My line of thinking was that Atropus wasn't fully corporeal, like a mix of a gas giant and a solid planet.
atropus, the moonlet.png
 

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dave2008

Legend
Here lies Atropus, the Moonlet!
I did give him 2 mythic actions. Partly because there are two cores in the average planet: the outer core and the inner core. I think this gives the opportunity to add up some length onto the battle, and for Atropus to use all his spells (his spell list allows for some deadly combinations). Also because a planet needs a crap ton of HP.
And because I wanted him to be more powerful than Annam. A beach ball is more powerful than a gnat.
Also, yes his HP is way more than the CR guidelines. Think, however, of your swarms and Genius Loci! And he is immune to almost everything. But when PC's are this powerful, it's a trade-off of nuclear warheads! My line of thinking was that Atropus wasn't fully corporeal, like a mix of a gas giant and a solid planet.
Thanks for sharing! When I get back to the Epic Monsters I will get this added. I do want to point out that Atropus is not a literal planetoid it is just that shape. It doesn't necessarily have a crust or cores. Also, I don't see anything about its focus. Any particular reason you dropped that?
 

Thanks for sharing! When I get back to the Epic Monsters I will get this added. I do want to point out that Atropus is not a literal planetoid it is just that shape. It doesn't necessarily have a crust or cores. Also, I don't see anything about its focus. Any particular reason you dropped that?
Ummm... What do you mean by focus? 🤯
 


Stalker0

Legend
Also something I just thought of, its probably worth specifying is the breath's dispel magic works "before" or "after" the breath damage and incapacitation effect. This will matter a great deal if the party has fire resistance magic or saving throw magics etc. I would probably specify its after damage, so that they can enjoy their buffs for 1 round before they are shredded.

Also something I was thinking about even before you did all the dragon changes... the dragon breath weapon recharge. Most recharge effects in the game are nice buffs or good effects. The dragon breath weapon is a nuke...its a major part of the dragon's offensive CR.... so much so that I wonder if leaving it up to chance is a good mechanic. Again, a dragon that gets to breath 3 rounds in a row is a terror, a dragon that doesn't recharge ever in a 4-5 round fight is a shadow of its full glory.

Should a breath just have a 1 round cooldown? Something as simple as "you cannot use your breath weapon if you used the weapon on your previous action". This would mean a dragon could breath every other round (or twice in the normal 5e combat CR consideration). This would represent the most likely dragon fight scenario (breath in round 1, have a 66% chance of getting another breath by round 3). Or push it back 2 rounds, so you are saying a dragon will only ever breath once in a 3 round fight, and you only feel the pain in longer more extended fights.
 
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dave2008

Legend
Young Red Dragon - You could probably add like 1-2 damage somewhere, by my napkin math its basically 5.5 CR, with the CR just a smidge below a true 6, and I always feel dragons should be on the upper threshold of their CR.

I think the new unstoppable is a reasonable compromise. It "consumes" a reaction without "using" a reaction, which avoids the messy interaction with certain conditions.

For breath weapon, its getting there, that thing is nice and scary:) The reason I had recommended the disintegrate effect against spells, is what I have found in my high level games is Wall of Force type spells are just boss enders for monsters that don't have Teleport effects. Especially if the fight is in a Dragon's lair, it is trivial for mages to section off entire areas of the terrain and effectively cage the dragon. For an 18 CR boss monster to compete, it really needs some way to counter these kinds of effects. I thought it was flavor appropriate that a dragon, instead of evading these obstacles as a "lesser" creature would....simply bowls them over with its breath. Dispel Magic is not enough to do that, hence the disintegrate note.

I'm noting the change to the claw the now inflicts prone (I think that is new). I'm all for it, but you had mentioned concerns about the dragon getting too much advantage on its attacks, and the claw proning will ensure that a lot of advantage will be had. That said, the dragon does have to hit and the saving throw failed for that to kick in, compared to the detect which simply works.

So I took a look at dragon scales, as I was just curious how well the dragon scales worked against "mob" type encounters. So as an example, a military unit of 20 basic 12 dex archers (aka +3 attack), would deal 11 damage to the dragon on a given round if firing at 150 feet or closer. By mob rules, 4 of the attackers would hit, and 50% of the hits would do damage past the dragon scales (aka 5+ on a d8 longbow roll). So 4*.5*5.5 (avg damage for a longbow with +1 dex) = 11 (this is basically the same reduction as resistance to nonmagical weapons would offer). So effectively 25 volleys could kill the dragon...whether that is 1 unit attacking 25 times or 25 units attacking once. So this just gives you an idea of how "riff raff resistance" your Adult Red Dragon is. So a strong city that could field ~500 "good" archers (+1 dex are good stock, I would never assume any higher for large numbers of units unless its an "elite" unit or elven archers) would be nigh adult dragon proof if they were disciplined and there was enough warning in the city to call them to arms (aka literally take out a dragon out of the sky before it did much damage). And up to about 200 archers would still ensure the dragon is unlikely to attack more than a 2 rounds before being scared off.

In smaller areas that could only field a few units....the dragon would of course reign supreme, as its going to kill a full unit flat dead with its breath weapon, and a few archer units are not going to do damage quickly enough to stop a dragon flying in and just shredding them to bits.

And once your at the Elder range of Dragon Scale 8, now the archers drop to 2.75 damage a round per unit....your now at the point of nigh "invulnerability" vs non-hero forces.

The stealth bonus on larger dragons may be a little off, I have never thought of Dnd dragons are particularly "stealthy", especially Red Dragons (maybe black dragons who hide underwater or something". A +9 stealth is actually very solid
Thanks as always for the comments.

Regarding the breath weapon: What if I just say the spell or magical effect ends, and don't reference dispel magic or disintegrate. That is literal what dispel magic says so it should be clear. Wall of force has an exception for dispel magic, but not this effect.

Also, I added a "wall" option to the breath weapon. I like the concept, but not sure if it is clear. Let me know what you think.

I'm getting a 6 with the young dragon (there is +2 effective AC bump for the 3 saves which you reminded me to check!) and since the MM gave it a bump for fire immunity at this CR I am fine with it. PS. I try to hit the up end of the CR range to, but it doesn't always work out.

Thanks for the break down of dragon scales. Good to know and seems about right to me.

The stealth bonus is odd to me too, it is a left over from the MM. I think I will drop it.

Thanks so much for your help!
 

dave2008

Legend
Also something I just thought of, its probably worth specifying is the breath's dispel magic works "before" or "after" the breath damage and incapacitation effect. This will matter a great deal if the party has fire resistance magic or saving throw magics etc. I would probably specify its after damage, so that they can enjoy their buffs for 1 round before they are shredded.

Also something I was thinking about even before you did all the dragon changes... the dragon breath weapon recharge. Most recharge effects in the game are nice buffs or good effects. The dragon breath weapon is a nuke...its a major part of the dragon's offensive CR.... so much so that I wonder if leaving it up to chance is a good mechanic. Again, a dragon that gets to breath 3 rounds in a row is a terror, a dragon that doesn't recharge ever in a 4-5 round fight is a shadow of its full glory.

Should a breath just have a 1 round cooldown? Something as simple as "you cannot use your breath weapon if you used the weapon on your previous action". This would mean a dragon could breath every other round (or twice in the normal 5e combat CR consideration). This would represent the most likely dragon fight scenario (breath in round 1, have a 66% chance of getting another breath by round 3). Or push it back 2 rounds, so you are saying a dragon will only ever breath once in a 3 round fight, and you only feel the pain in longer more extended fights.
That is good point on the recharge. I would probably make it 2 round cool down, but I get your point. I will think about it.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Regarding the breath weapon: What if I just say the spell or magical effect ends, and don't reference dispel magic or disintegrate. That is literal what dispel magic says so it should be clear. Wall of force has an exception for dispel magic, but not this effect.

So if you want to go that route, you could do something like this:

"Any spell or effect that is 6th level or lower in the area or on a creature in the area ends immediately".


This removes the chance of stripping higher level effects (which the last version could technically do) but adds in the ability to knock down force effects and is easy to run (no rolling needed, just strip those effects off). That seems a very nice and clean way to do it.
 

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