5E Let's Read: Volo's Monsters

Hey all,


So now that I have Volo's guide in my grubby paws at last, I thought that it might be interesting to have a discussion in depth about each critter in chapter three. What you will find in this thread is a series of posts where I offer basic commentary on a monster entry in Volo's - plot ideas, how good the image is, how I'd use them in my game, what their combat routine is like, etc - and then various posters chime in with their own thoughts on the same. Usually their insights are more penetrating than my own! I've been posting one entry per day, so the discussion moves fairly quickly, and sometimes you will find that the conversation lingers on a different entry than the latest one, but that just rewards reading a bit longer. The focus here tends to be on fun storylines that you can tell with the monster, and how to use it in combat, but we do also have potted discussion of D&D history and how they have appeared in the adventures that Wizards have published. Anyway, welcome to the thread, and I hope that the discussion here is useful to you!

Contents
Each entry below is a hyperlink to my post discussing the monster, and you will find others' comments about the same following.

Banderhobb
Barghest
Beholderkin: Death Kiss
Beholderkin: Gauth
Beholderkin: Gazer
Bodak
Boggle
Catoblepas
Cave Fisher
Chitines
Cranium Rats
Darklings
Deep Scion
Demon: Babau
Demons: Maw Demon & Shoosuva
Demon: Devourer
Dinosaurs
Draegloth
Fire Newts
Flail Snail
Froghemoth
Giant: Cloud Giant Smiling One
Giant: Fire Giant Dreadnought
Giant: Frost Giant Everlasting One
Giant: Mouth of Grolantor
Giant: Stone Giant Dreamwalker
Giant: Storm Giant Quintessent
Girallon
Gnoll: Flind
Gnoll: Flesh Gnawer
Gnoll: Hunter
Gnoll: Witherling
Grung
Guard Drake
Hag: Annis
Hag: Bheur
Hobgoblin Devastator
Hobgoblin Iron Shadow
Ki-Rin
Kobold: Dragonshield
Kobold: Inventor
Kobold: Scale Sorceror
Korred
Leucrotta
Meenlock
Mind Flayer: Alhoon
Mind Flayer: Elder Brain
Mind Flayer: Ulitharid
Mind Witness
Morkoth
Neogi
Neothelid
Nilbog
Orc Society Overview
Orc: Blade of Ilneval
Orc: Claw of Luthic
Orc: Hand of Yurtrus, Nurtured One of Yurtrus
Orc: Red Fang of Shargaas
Orc: Tanarukk
Quickling
Redcap
Sea Spawn
Shadow Mastiff
Slithering Tracker
Spawn of Kyuss
Tlincalli
Trapper
Vargouille
Vegepygmies
Wood Woad
Xvarts
Yeth Hound
Yuan-Ti: Anathema
Yuan-Ti: Broodguard
Yuan-Ti: Mind Whisperer
Yuan-Ti: Nightmare Speaker
Yuan-Ti: Pit Master
Animals - Aurochs, Cow, Dolphin, Swarm of Rot Grubs

A list of all the Fey in the game can be found in this post, while the Gnoll Warband members are outlined here.

Let's start with the Banderhobb.



I've never seen these before, but I only really started D&Ding with any vigor this edition. They seem definitely to be there for a Hag storyline; the players meet and defeat this guy, and follow the trail back to the Hag. I'm envisaging him as a revenge tool, dispatched to cause carnage in a human village.


One really interesting thing about the statline is the way that he gets a teleport & attack routine. Too many monsters in the MM have melee attacks and teleport, but cannot do them both on the same turn, leading to an oddly static combat; to get around this, I’ve used Legendary Actions for Teleport on monsters who don’t technically have it. However, Mr Banderhobb has this covered.


However, the Banderhobb only gets the one big attack per turn, it seems. Makes him swingy, and also suggests that you’re really going to use Shadow Step or Swallow every turn if able. His HP also seems a bit low for CR 5, so I suspect again that he was designed to torment low level parties - teleporting around, hurting them, not necessarily lasting very long once they get a good view of him.


Anyone else have any thoughts? :)
 
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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Here is a particularly nasty combat routine for you:
Round one:
  • Shadowstep
  • Tongue (as part of Shadowstep)
  • Bite (bonus action from Tongue)
Round two:
  • Swallow the PC.
  • Get into position next to a hazard, such as a pit, fire, swampy quicksand etc. (take an OA, if you have to)
Round Three:
  • Tongue-Pull a different PC into said trap or a hazard.
  • Shadow Step Away
  • Hide (Bonus action)
  • Move away while hidden
Subsequent rounds:
You have two options here:
  1. PC's now have to help one PC out of a deathtrap, then track down a fleeing Banderhobb with a significant head-start. Eventually the Banderhobb will lead them to it's master, who may or may not be setting up a trap of their own.
  2. Banderhobb will hide in the shadows, doing hit-and-run disruption attacks, trying to pull more of the PC's into hazards. Hoping to grind them down via attrition.
 

mrpopstar

Explorer
Here is a particularly nasty combat routine for you:
Round one:
  • Shadowstep
  • Tongue (as part of Shadowstep)
  • Bite (bonus action from Tongue)
Round two:
  • Swallow the PC.
  • Get into position next to a hazard, such as a pit, fire, swampy quicksand etc. (take an OA, if you have to)
Round Three:
  • Tongue-Pull a different PC into said trap or a hazard.
  • Shadow Step Away
  • Hide (Bonus action)
  • Move away while hidden
Subsequent rounds:
You have two options here:
  1. PC's now have to help one PC out of a deathtrap, then track down a fleeing Banderhobb with a significant head-start. Eventually the Banderhobb will lead them to it's master, who may or may not be setting up a trap of their own.
  2. Banderhobb will hide in the shadows, doing hit-and-run disruption attacks, trying to pull more of the PC's into hazards. Hoping to grind them down via attrition.
The stuff of nightmares! :eek:
 
So next up is the Barghest! I googled for an image, and did not find the Volo's Guide one but did find this cracker:



The actual picture in Volo's is also great, and I really like how the artist managed to make the face in both forms of the Barghest look faintly similar.

I had a vague impression of these guys as fiendish dogs, and in Volo that is broadly true, however they are very tied into the Goblins. At CR 4 they are tough enough to be a true terror to the Gobbos, and I like the description of how a Goblin tribe that discovers one just goes into grovelling obedience to show how insignificant they are - very different from the responses to other 'hidden' monsters like the Frost Giant and whatnot.

Using them in an adventure seems a little tough. You can have one just, you know, wandering around, but that doesn't make good use of their lore. I can imagine one turning up when the party attacks a goblin cave - using the confusion to massacre and consume the tribe's most prominent members - leading to an engaging 3-way combat. To be honest, I think that it'd be easiest to use them in a Goblins-as-PCs game. Let one of the Players actually be the Barghest, even. That could be a lot of fun. Otherwise, the fact that the Barghest tries to hide itself means that your party isn't going to see one deployed as part of a Goblinoid defense, but will instead find a Goblin to be a surprising threat. Good for springing on overconfident players, perhaps.

The Yugoloth connection is a lot of fun though, and these guys are a solid addition to combats taking place against them, even if it means that you're not using most of the interesting elements of their lore.

In terms of combat, they get one strong attack, but no multiattack routine; they are pretty damn tough though, with standard Yugoloth damage resistances, AC 17, and 90 HP. So that makes them more of a tank (a large, terrifying looking, tank) in terms of how they'll operate in combat. The Fire Banishment thing means that they're going to be victimised by medium level wizards casting Wall of Fire, but that sort of 'clever win' is often fun for the party, so I don't mind it.

The Barghest comes with a bunch of spells, but they are mostly not ones that you'll see them use in combat against PCs I think. Suggestion is pretty good, but the rest not so much. They serve as a good explanation for how the Barghest can infiltrate Goblinoid encampments though, and provoke thoughts of a group of Player Character Goblinoids having to desperately hunt down a Barghest that is terrorising them - say, in an isolated, arctic facility? :D

Finally, the Soul Feeding ability is one of those fun things in the game that helps to explain 'how things work', but is unlikely to actually come up that often. A bit like Mind Flayers and eating brains - if it happens, chances are that the party already lost the fight, and you're narrating the aftermath. It does have option as a plot hook, however; having an important NPC's soul trapped in the gullet of the Barghest could make for an interesting reason for your party to try and track it down in a local Goblin tribe's lair.
 
One last thing about the Banderhobb - I googled it, and found this blog post by 'Steve' which discusses how he came up with it. Apparently this Steve worked on the 5e MM and DMG as well, but I'm failing to establish his last name from the blog.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The Barghest is more suited for a long con than a single encounter.

Imagine the following scenario:
Two tribes of Goblinoids having been waging what amounts to a turf war in the countryside. One of them has been a constant thorn in the side of the local populace for years. This new group is outmaneuvering the old group, despite having far weaker numbers. On the surface, it seems like the leader of the new group, a Young Hobgoblin warlord who isn't too adverse to working with the locals instead of just exploiting or pillaging them, is some kind of tactical genius and a bit of a folk hero. In reality, the Hobgoblin is merely a magically influenced puppet of the Barghest, who is "serving" as a trusted left hand goblin for doing the dirty work. The Barghest has been using this warband as a way to put some of the more juicy targets on the menu, and deflect attention from it's existence. Once the Barghest finishes it's quest, it will open a portal to Gehenna, and who knows what will come out?

The new warband may seek out the PCs as mercenaries, or perhaps the PCs seek out the warband as an ally against the old warband. Either way, it's a setup for the last two dishes on the Barghest's menu: The Old Warlord, and the New Warlord.

Of interesting note, the Barghest is immune to poison, and has full access to any weapons it may have had tucked away while in it's goblin form.

The final showdown:
The setup, both Warlords are on the battlefield, facing off for the fate of their tribes. The PC's are backing one side or the other and after a pitched battle, are probably a bit worn down, and ready to burn through what is left of their daily resources to finish the fight.

After one warlord falls, the Barghest pounces. (it's likely to survive to the end with little wear and tear due to it's resistances) Instructing it's most loyal of "followers" to unleash "The Mist" a heavy alchemical poison cloud that will obscure vision, cause poisoned status, and inflict damage to anyone caught in it's cloud for a just enough time to allow The Barghest to finish it's meal. The Barghest will then attempt to finish off the remaining warlord, and eat their bodies. Whatever remains of the warband will now turn on the PC's, drawing out the fight and perhaps setting up a flaming barricade to bar the PC's from entering the Mist to stop the ceremony (and maybe spilling the beans about what is going on to a particularly dense group).

Possible results:
The PC's save the Hobgoblin, and gain an ally (and their army) for life.
The PC's fail to save the Hobgoblin, but stop the Barghest from opening the portal. The warbands scatter, and cause general mayhem.
The PC's fail totally, and the portal is opened. All hell breaks loose.

A particularity nasty DM could perform the following dirty trick:
If the PC's elect to banish the Barghest before it finishes it's meal, but after the hobgoblin is dead, it wont stop the ritual, as the Barghest was banished while holding the hobgoblins heart. Just enough to finish the consumption and open the portal from the other side.
 

Shroomy

Adventurer
One last thing about the Banderhobb - I googled it, and found this blog post by 'Steve' which discusses how he came up with it. Apparently this Steve worked on the 5e MM and DMG as well, but I'm failing to establish his last name from the blog.
He's Steve Townshend.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Interesting thoughts, Leatherhead! I like the idea of the players ending up with a tribe of bad guys that they can call on for help - great fun for the future, and gives them some interesting "working with the devil" roleplaying opportunities. You've also shown how the Barghest could be a really interesting element that totally turns a 'normal' Goblinoid situation on its head.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
It should be noted that Barghests are nasty evil creatures and can eat the souls of creatures other then Goblins to empower themselves, but they go back to Gehenna once they eat 17 goblin souls.

Another way they could work is a barghest intimidates a goblin tribe into serving it then using it's army to trap other humanoids to eat them while eating the most adept goblins in the tribe every once in a while. This way they will be even stronger when they return to Gehenna.
 
Another day, another monster: this time we move onto the Beholderkin, with the Death Kiss. There are three new Beholderkin in Volo's (technically four, if you fancy including the Mindwitness) added to the Spectator and Beholder in the main Monster Manual. The Power Score chap has a blog post discussing all of the Beholderkin here.



The art in Volo's is surprisingly... cute. It looks like the Death Kiss is a blushing bride-to-be. I fear for the safety of the groom, however!

These busters are pretty interesting. Their writeup makes it clear that they can either be encountered individually or as lackeys of Beholders. The latter makes sense - it is a way to have a tough pre-boss fight in a Beholder's Lair, or to accompany the Beholder itself to avoid Banishment ruining your boss fight. Meanwhile, encountering them individually seems like a solid 'on the road' kind of encounter, perhaps in a cavern that the Death Kiss has claimed as its own. Being a vampiric aberration, there is some really strong horror potential here, and you could probably creep your players out something fierce with it.

The Death Kiss also has a middling intelligence, and the ability to speak. That gives it some potential for a bad guy to chat to; the party might find the Death Kiss whispering gently about them as it stalks them (admittedly, with its nonexistent Stealth score...) through its cavern. Who knows. I don't get the impression that this guy is much of a schemer, but he is a cross between a Vampire and a Beholder, both top tier boss monsters. As ever, I'd be tempted to transpose this guy into a city, to see how it goes there - no Sunlight Sensitivity here. "Where are all the homeless people?", "Well, the Guard keep dragging them off to that warehouse there..." will let you totally surprise the party by giving them this lad instead of a common or garden variety Vampire, once they break into said warehouse.

As to its stats, the Death Kiss works like other 'grappling monsters', such as the Roper. It grabs people, then does unpleasant things to them. Unlike the Roper, you cannot cut the individual arms off, however. There is real potential for a TPK level fight with this guy, I think, if he happens to have a good first turn (grappling three important party members) and can start healing on his second turn while doing loads of damage. However, it really isn't that hard to escape the grapple checks, so you'll likely want to aim at the squishies first, and be prepared to answer questions like "How can my fighter help the wizard escape the grapple?" I've found with that sort of question - similar to "can I close my eyes against a Medusa?" - that it can be easier and quicker to just tell the players how the rules work for it upfront, as otherwise you'll have to explain them repeatedly during the combat.

The Death Kiss also has a melee damage return thing, Lightning Blood, which doesn't seem like a big deal. However, I nearly had a TPK when my party (who relied on a Monk and a melee Fighter to do damage) went up against some Fire Elementals, and the Monk was taking more damage than he was doing per hit. To this day, they despise all Fire Elementals! At CR 10, it is less likely that the Death Kiss will cause that problem, but it is still a funny one to consider.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Death Kisses are surprisingly simple for a giant blood-sucking eyeball that is about as intelligent as a man. However, a Particularly clever one could leverage it's physiology in a unexpected way: By going underwater.

Breathing through it's tentacles, it could stay mostly submerged, affording the creature some measure of stealth, Resistance to fire attacks, and make it even harder to engage in melee combat. This also allows the Death Kiss to use all of it's tentacles at the same time. Dragging every target it can underwater, even the "passive" tentacles become a ticking clock over the heads of less physically inclined PCs, while it works on actively subduing the more robust members of the party.

Exceptionally malicious DMs will take note that Electricity and Water make for a shockingly lethal combination. Giving the Death Kiss some traps, items, or allies to exploit this connection and it's immunity would spice up the encounter. Or perhaps even going as far as modifying the damage of Lighting Blood to become an AoE while everyone is submerged, just to up the challenge a bit for those high end parties.,
 
Interesting. I rule that magic and physics don't interact, in my games; so electricity spells and water don't combine. (I find it easier that way, especially since I'm the arts graduate in a group of science nerds.) But hiding in water could be a nice way to give the party a tough choice, since you could rule that they are blinded by the water in respect to the Death Kiss, causing problems for magic users. Plus the Death Kiss rising out of the water, after the players get thoroughly confused by what they are fighting, could make for a really cinematic moment. Darklake in Out of the Abyss, for example, could be a great venue for this.

They are indeed pretty simple. Grab, suck, dish some lightning damage in melee. One of the rare 5e monsters that is intelligent but doesn't have spells.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Interesting. I rule that magic and physics don't interact, in my games; so electricity spells and water don't combine. (I find it easier that way, especially since I'm the arts graduate in a group of science nerds.)
I tend to go a step further and rule that magic is the physics of the D&D world. That way really weird or troublesome implications can be hand-waved while allowing room for crazy ideas. But then again I also rule that aberrations, (and especially creatures from the far realm or tied to some kind of psionic/dream power) are a walking paradox that rejects the rules of reality, so horrible twistings of what should happen are commonplace around them.

Mostly though, it's just a shout-out to how older editions handled electric damage under water. My group tends to like things like that.
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
I just finished reading the entry for the Death Kiss... and I'm stumped as to why their blood drain does lightning damage?

It fits the elemental theme of the creature generating electricity from blood, but allows creatures who resist lighting damage to resist having their blood sucked?

Anyways, this is an incredibly interesting thread.

I'll stick around to get crazy ideas on how to use some of these things, though I'll wait to talk about one of my new favorite monsters until we actually arrive at that entry
 
Anyways, this is an incredibly interesting thread.

I'll stick around to get crazy ideas on how to use some of these things, though I'll wait to talk about one of my new favorite monsters until we actually arrive at that entry
Glad you're enjoying it :D There are some super interesting monsters coming up, but feel free to jump in and discuss whatever catches your interest :)
 

So our trip through the Beholderkin takes us to the Gauth. I got curious about how many kinds of Beholderkin have existed in the past; the answer, apparently, is “a lot”.

Looking online, I actually managed to find the Volo’s Guide art; but I decided to keep using other sources, since that provides some nice variety, and also because this time I managed to find a Tony DiTerlizzi piece.



Fun, right? The Volo’s art is pretty decent, with an enjoyably complex arrangement of the eye-stalks and the texture of the skin being really well done, but it definitely lacks a sense of place or scale. That’s pretty common in the book, but the Gauth somehow really exemplifies it. I suspect that the art style was chosen specifically for making the pieces easy to see from across the table, when the DM holds up the book, rather than for being separate and complex ‘scenes’ in which the monsters appear. Also, I imagine that it is cheaper to have just the monster, not a whole painting.

One last note about the art: the tiny little eyes surrounding the central eye kind of freak me out a little. We’ve definitely reached eyeball overload at this stage.

The Gauth is basically a smaller Beholder. It is also mad, it is also tyrannical, and it also shoots eyebeams, unlike the Death Kiss. I’m really amused by the idea, outlined under ‘Accidental Summoning’, that a Gauth could arrive when someone tries to summon a Spectator (which is the small guardian-Beholder thing from the Monster Manual - one is guarding the forge in Lost Mine of Phandelver). The idea of a smart but not very wise Wizard, afflicted with +0 Insight and Perception scores, feeding all of his precious magic items to a Gauth in the mistaken belief that it will guard them loyally is really funny. Then add the fact that the Gauth is Int 15 and can speak, and you’ve got the potential for a comedic interlude when the party runs across this pair.

Party: “You sold us this potion, but it didn’t work. There’s no magic in it.”
Wizard: “Impossible! My loyal bodyguard, Evans the Eyeball, keeps my potions and scrolls safe from all harm.” [1]
Party: “That isn’t your loyal bodyguard, it’s a Gauth! A monster!”
Gauth: “No, I’m not. I’m a Spectator. Very loyal.”
Party: “You don’t look anything like a Spectator! You stole the magic!”
Gauth: “That’s hurtful, that is, jumping to conclusions based on my physical appearance. And you call yourself heroes.”

Maybe I’ve just read too much Terry Pratchett, though?

Otherwise, this variety of malevolent eyeball can turn up either as a hive of several of them (making a great Beholder battle if your party cannot handle the real deal) or as minions of a Beholder itself. I’ve mentioned earlier the benefit of smaller monsters in a boss fight or boss location, and these guys have especial advantage that you get much the same experience as fighting a Beholder. That lets you have the party fight multiple eye-ray monsters, but only kill the one Beholder, which keeps them as scary rare monster, rather than numerous victims of the PCs. I’m a big fan of not over-exposing the really famous monsters (Dragons, Vampires, etc) in the game, to keep that air of mystery and danger about them.

The Gauth works basically like a Beholder. It doesn’t get the top-tier rays - no Disintegration, Petrification or Charm here - but enough to keep things interesting. This edition they’ve gone for random rolling for the eye rays - which this excerpt from the 3.5 MM reveals was not always the case. Apparently they also got to use all six rays at once then, which seems… unpleasant. Anyway, the random rays thing is intriguing. It definitely weakens the monster, letting it not just spam Paralysis every turn, and it can’t guarantee not rolling a useless one (Charm versus a Oath of Devotions Paladin, say). On the other hand, it also gives the fight some more drama (“You rolled paralysis again?! Guys, we’re in trouble!”), makes the monster easier to run for novice DMs, and ensures that the Beholderkin won’t just always use the best three rays available without variety. I’ve personally never had a Beholderkin combat, so I don’t have any experience to draw on either way.

One big change here - a Stunning beam, not Anti-Magic. I’d suggest that in some ways this is actually the stronger of the two options, just because it doesn’t stop the Gauth itself from attacking the targets inside the ray. The save DC is not terrible, at Wisdom 14, but it isn’t hard to imagine several party members failing that repeatedly. The easy way out is to avoid looking at it, as this stunning beam works essentially the same as a Medusa stare, and so (from experience with Marlos Urnrayle in PotA), most characters will just take the disadvantage on the chin, or stay more than 30 feet away.

As a final note, the Gauth is really squishy - AC 15 and 67 HP for a CR 6 baddie. He’s going down pretty fast when the party focuses on him. So I think that makes it easier to use a Gauth in combination either with a Beholder or other Gauths: they have the hitpoints of minions, not of big bosses. So all in, I think that you’ll see these guys mainly as weaker, easier to massacre Beholders, used to give the same flavour but also let the players kill a few critters and feel good about it.

[1] Note that the Gauth can’t damage Potions, but let’s not have rules stand in the way of fun, shall we?
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Well that's odd. It turns out the beholderkin that acts more like a beholder has less "outside of the box" things to work with.

That said, the first thing that I imagined was a Gauth secretly running a carnival as a traveling thieves guild in order to keep itself fed. In addition to having to fight killer clowns, animal tamers, sideshow acts, and acrobats; the final battle could be set in the hall of mirrors. A place where the PC's can't effectively avert their gaze from the Stunning Gaze, and there would be all kinds of false targets presented to eat up a few attacks so that the Gauth has a chance to live longer.
 
I think that carnivals are, in general, an underused concept in D&D. Mordheim (the GW skirmish game) had the Carnival of Chaos, which was a bunch of travelling priests and cultists of the god of disease, which was perfectly pleasant and not at all horrific. I'd be tempted to include loads of other weird stuff as well: Gorillons from Volo's, a Mind Reader that turned out to be a bit tentacly, toss in Madam Eva from Curse of Strahd...
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
Well, now I need to add more circuses into the game, that sounds like a ton of fun.

Though, that hall of mirrors thing is super nasty.

Another thing to remember about Gauths though, is that they blow up when they die. It isn't a ton of damage, but if the PCs are fighting 4 or 5 Gauths in close quarters, that can quickly get very very bad
 
Today we have the last of the Beholderkin, the tiny wee Gazer. I could only find the art from the book itself for this entry; I did find lots of dubious anime art though of a blue-skinned girl in a bikini with beholder eyes on Doctor Octopus style limbs, which is, you know, a thing.



The art for this is fine, but doesn’t really stand out in my opinion. The underlighting seems like an attempt to make the Gazer look menacing, combined with its evil expression, but then it also looks kind of chubby and silly, so the overall effect is muted.

The Gazer is basically the cat version of a Beholder. It is tiny, very stupid, eats mice, and can be annoying; it can also mimic sounds and voices. You can have one as a familiar, and I remember having one as a pet in the Hordes of the Underdark expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights. Great game, that. Anyway, this is not a pet that I’d probably want a player to have access to in all campaigns, but if my group decides to go for Out of the Abyss after we finish Curse of Strahd, I’m likely to damn near insist that someone take one. Calling it ‘cute’ might not be quite correct, but having a tiny Beholder follow the party around appeals to me. Lots of amusing roleplaying potential there, especially with its mimicry ability, low intelligence, and urge to victimise/eat anything smaller than it.

I don’t think that there is a lot of big story potential for these guys, beyond the players finding one and adopting it. They can serve as annoying chaff in a Beholder’s Lair, and a pack of them could arrive to annoy anyone who wanders off from the party in an Underdark setting, but otherwise they seem small enough, weak enough, and dumb enough not to drive much in the way of storylines themselves. That isn’t a bad thing, though - not every monster can or should be a walking plot hook, even if it belongs to the exalted Beholderkin family.

Combat wise, they are CR 1/2, and come with AC 13, hit points 13, and some surprisingly potent eyebeam attacks. 3d6 damage from 60ft away might end your campaign if you use too many of these guys against a low level party and the dice go that way. It also has an Orc’s Aggressive trait, for rushing towards enemies, which is an odd fit for things with potent ranged abilities and terrible melee ones, but then they are Aberrations (and dumb as rocks) so we shouldn’t necessarily assume that they think straight. Could be a good way to save your party if the little buggers do start murdering them, though; have the Gazers rush in eagerly to start chomping, letting the players cut them down. I suspect that this trait was mainly given to them to demonstrate their nature as wild (albeit aberrant) beasts.

And thus ends the Beholderkin. Just as well, really; I'm just about talked out of malevolent eyeballs!
 

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