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D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Mad Hatter

Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? In other words we’ve a great addition to Epic Monsters today: the Mad Hatter!

Mad Hatter DnD 5E BANNER.jpg


In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the protagonist stumbles upon the Mad Hatter amidst a tea party with the March Hare and the Dormouse. He is in fact always having tea, stuck by Time forever so as to avoid decapitation for trying to sing in front of the Queen of Hearts. As his name implies, he is very eccentric and nonsensical, acting with very little rhyme or reason. Later on he briefly appears in the trial of the Knave of Hearts as a witness, and then in the sequel (when interpreting the character of “Hatta” as the Mad Hatter) as a messenger of the White King and convict of crimes-to-be-committed.

Note: We’ve got the Cheshire Cat too! Also the term “mad hatter” originated in the textile industry (including hat making) where exposure to mercury often led to a variety of ailments. The afflicted were often sent to asylums where they would farm, put on plays, and yes—have tea parties. Also a reminder that we’ve got an Easter Bunny and a far-superior build on my website (so we’ve technically got LOTS of Easter Bunnies.)

Design Notes: The following statistics seem pretty simple on the outset because they’re short, but this is probably the most complicated entry yet. So the Mad Hatter here is like a Schroedinger’s Box-monster: he’s only really moved through and to a space after he’s moved through one of two routes, which he chooses at the beginning of each turn. To effectively fight him, adventurers need to be anticipating and targeting both his potential routes! It is strongly recommended that this NPC only be used in fights by himself or with very limited, very simple creatures alongside him. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG came in at 6.25, the Blog of Holding at 7.4, and together that rounds out to Challenge Rating 6. Fortunately he’s not dealing a ton of damage so should make for an interesting boss fight tier 1 play! :D


Mad Hatter

Medium humanoid, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 78 (12d8+24)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
8 (–1)​
21 (+5)​
15 (+2)​
15 (+2)​
8 (–1)​
18 (+4)​
Saving Throws Dex +8, Con +5, Wis +2
Skills Acrobatics +8, Persuasion +10; cook’s utensils +6
Damage Resistances psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, stunned
Senses passive Perception 9
Languages English
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Evasion. When the Mad Hatter makes a Dexterity saving throw to reduce the damage of a spell or attack, on a success he takes no damage and on a failure he takes half damage.

Here and There (Recharge 5–6). At the start of the Mad Hatter’s turn, he chooses a square within 30 feet of the square he began his most recent turn in, teleporting to that square. Everything that occurred to the Mad Hatter since the beginning of his last turn changes based on which position he chooses to have been in.
The Mad Hatter regains a number of hit points equal to the damage he’s taken since the beginning of his last turn so long as an attack or spell is not within reach of his new location, and any conditions or effects inflicted since the beginning of his last turn are removed. The Mad Hatter’s new path of movement provokes opportunity attacks and damages him if any effect would have, as if he had taken this movement normally.


ACTIONS
Multiattack. The Mad Hatter makes three cup of tea attacks.

Cup of Tea. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4+5) fire damage.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

dave2008

Legend
Interesting and strange little hatter. I do have one suggestion (don't I usually): For Here and There I would suggested a fixed HP regain. As a DM I don't want to have to keep track of turn by turn damage on top of total damage. Also, I am not sure what that idea adds to the narrative?
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
Interesting and strange little hatter. I do have one suggestion (don't I usually): For Here and There I would suggested a fixed HP regain. As a DM I don't want to have to keep track of turn by turn damage on top of total damage. Also, I am not sure what that idea adds to the narrative?
The idea is a quantum mechanic—he's in both places at once until he decides which one he's in—because the Mad Hatter is buddies with Time, which is who/what is keeping him out of the Queen of Heart's clutches.
I should've said Schrödinger's cat, not box (although a box is involved in the thought experiment). Either path of movement the Mad Hatter takes (and the damage therein) happens but also, depending on how the quantum event resolves (his choice of position) it doesn't happen. It is a frustrating concept that makes for a unique fight, both of which I figured are appropriate for this maddening fellow.
 

dave2008

Legend
The idea is a quantum mechanic—he's in both places at once until he decides which one he's in—because the Mad Hatter is buddies with Time, which is who/what is keeping him out of the Queen of Heart's clutches.
I should've said Schrödinger's cat, not box (although a box is involved in the thought experiment). Either path of movement the Mad Hatter takes (and the damage therein) happens but also, depending on how the quantum event resolves (his choice of position) it doesn't happen. It is a frustrating concept that makes for a unique fight, both of which I figured are appropriate for this maddening fellow.
The damaged regained is based on his last turn, not where he may or may not go in this turn. I'm not suggesting you change how he does or does not get the regen, just use a fixed number. I don't under stand how the following is anything but easier on the DM:

Here and There (Recharge 5–6). At the start of the Mad Hatter’s turn, he chooses a square within 30 feet of the square he began his most recent turn in, teleporting to that square. He regains 10 hit points so long as an attack or spell is not within reach of his new location, and any conditions or effects inflicted since the beginning of his last turn are removed. The Mad Hatter’s new path of movement provokes opportunity attacks and damages him if any effect would have, as if he had taken this movement normally.
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
The damaged regained is based on his last turn, not where he may or may not go in this turn. I'm not suggesting you change how he does or does not get the regen, just use a fixed number. I don't under stand how the following is anything but easier on the DM:

Here and There (Recharge 5–6). At the start of the Mad Hatter’s turn, he chooses a square within 30 feet of the square he began his most recent turn in, teleporting to that square. He regains 10 hit points so long as an attack or spell is not within reach of his new location, and any conditions or effects inflicted since the beginning of his last turn are removed. The Mad Hatter’s new path of movement provokes opportunity attacks and damages him if any effect would have, as if he had taken this movement normally.
I got that, but disagree that the simplicity is worth compromising the narrative of what's going on.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. With that change, if the Mad Hatter chooses a movement that makes it so he doesn't take a critical hit that dealt 20 points of damage, he would start his next turn with 10 fewer hit points. Is that right?
 


dave2008

Legend
I got that, but disagree that the simplicity is worth compromising the narrative of what's going on.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. With that change, if the Mad Hatter chooses a movement that makes it so he doesn't take a critical hit that dealt 20 points of damage, he would start his next turn with 10 fewer hit points. Is that right?
Dang, it took me quite a bit of time to figure out your example. However, after writing and rewriting a response, my answer is, yes. Also, if he took 5 hp, he would regain 10 (to be clear 10 was just a number I pulled out of air).

However, it is more clear to me what your trying to do. You are suggesting the previous turn didn't happen by removing all the damage from that turn, is that correct?
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
Dang, it took me quite a bit of time to figure out your example. However, after writing and rewriting a response, my answer is, yes. Also, if he took 5 hp, he would regain 10 (to be clear 10 was just a number I pulled out of air).

However, it is more clear to me what your trying to do. You are suggesting the previous turn didn't happen by removing all the damage from that turn, is that correct?
Precisely. He both was there and wasn't there.

(It's quite mad right?)
 

dave2008

Legend
Precisely. He both was there and wasn't there.

(It's quite mad right?)
I get it now, it was just hard to visualize the intent from a first read. New suggestion then, perhaps include some fluff in there to explain it? Not something 5e does a lot of, but I think it would help DM's visualize what is going on. Of course maybe I'm just dense! I blame COVID
 


dave2008

Legend
You're not at all dense! Quantum mechanics just really don't jive with how we perceive the world. Honestly I still don't fully understand it, although other people are making good progress cracking it.
Oh, it wasn't the quantum mechanics itself (though I agree with you), it was just the idea that this trait was trying to model quantum mechanics that I didn't grasp. Please note that I tend to read your stat block before I read you description.
 


Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
Could you simplify Here and There by saying that all attack rolls against the Mad Hatter are made with Disadvantage?
You could, but that'd lower his CR a good bit (choosing to time hop around attacks is a grade or two up from displacement) and I think be less fun. If you've got a gaggle of mad hatters though? By all means displace away.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Its a cool idea, but I agree its awfully complicated, and I feel like we can still get it right and make it simpler if we just plug away at it. Here is an idea based on the mirror image concept:

Here and There: The Mad Hatter is constantly shifting in space, often seeming to be at two places at once. Whenever the mad hatter is hit with an attack, spell, or area effect, roll a d20. On a 6 or higher, the mad hatter teleports to a space within 30 feet. If the new space is out of the range of the original attack, the effect automatically misses.

Vulnerable Movement: When the Mad Hatter moves, he seems to move in every direction at once, causing confusion but opportunity. All of his movement provokes Opportunity Attacks.

So I tried to maintain the "he's in two places at once" and the "he's moving down many paths which can provoke OAs" but in a simpler model. See what you think.
 


Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
Here and There: The Mad Hatter is constantly shifting in space, often seeming to be at two places at once. Whenever the mad hatter is hit with an attack, spell, or area effect, roll a d20. On a 6 or higher, the mad hatter teleports to a space within 30 feet. If the new space is out of the range of the original attack, the effect automatically misses.

This works for a simpler approach (better than standard displacement for sure) but I dislike that it takes away changes the NPC's agency and changes how a fight can play out (more like fighting Nightcrawler).
It's not bad though and is a nice mechanic.

Do you have a build for Alice? I am seeing her as being a very easy or very complex character to create. View attachment 135172

I do not but she's on the queue. Might get a build as a fatebender-turned-monster? Not sure.
 
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Uta-napishti

Explorer
Don't worry about teleporting / regen . A simpler way to accomplish a Schödingers turn is just to play both alternatives out and choose.

Quantum Turn (Recharge 5–6)
On his turn the Hatter instead plays out two turns as alternate possibilities to each other. At the end of playing out both turns The Hatter chooses which of the two turns he wishes to keep. All effects of his other turn vanish. Those that witnessed the Quantam Turn remember both possibilities occurring.

Sure, two turns is a pain, but as it is a boss monster, it's not too much bookeeping for a one time memorable fight. And it's WAY simpler to understand. Recharge works as usual, i.e. the Hatter starts with a Quantam Turn, and may regain the ability to use a Quantam Turn on 5-6. To really mess with things, maybe rolling Quantum Turn recharge also happens inside the Quantam Turn, so the Hatter could put their finger on the scale here too.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
Quantum Turn (Recharge 5–6)

I like this. An issue with the original is that an awful lot of stuff can happen between two turns. As you say, there could be a lot of bookkeeping. This is more elegant.

But are you both confusing round with turn? Remember that a turn can be an Action, a Bonus action, a Reaction, a move, or a combination thereof. Your wording restricts QT to turn and not round.



Here and There (Recharge 5–6). At the start of the Mad Hatter’s turn,

Mike, if you mean round and not turn you might want to rephrase it:

Here and There (Recharge 5–6). On the Mad Hatter’s initiative count, he chooses a square within 30 feet of the square in which he began the previous round, teleporting to that square. Everything that occurred to the Mad Hatter since the beginning of his last initiative count changes based on which position in which he chooses to have been.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Don't worry about teleporting / regen . A simpler way to accomplish a Schödingers turn is just to play both alternatives out and choose.

Quantum Turn (Recharge 5–6)
On his turn the Hatter instead plays out two turns as alternate possibilities to each other. At the end of playing out both turns The Hatter chooses which of the two turns he wishes to keep. All effects of his other turn vanish. Those that witnessed the Quantam Turn remember both possibilities occurring.

Sure, two turns is a pain, but as it is a boss monster, it's not too much bookeeping for a one time memorable fight. And it's WAY simpler to understand. Recharge works as usual, i.e. the Hatter starts with a Quantam Turn, and may regain the ability to use a Quantam Turn on 5-6. To really mess with things, maybe rolling Quantum Turn recharge also happens inside the Quantam Turn, so the Hatter could put their finger on the scale here too.
I think this is another solid approach, and all you really need to track is how much each Hatter did (which he has simple attacks so easy to do) and how much damage each hatter took. In the grand scheme this is actually pretty simple DM tracking.

I like it.
 

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