5E Let's Read: Volo's Monsters

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The Picture of a Morkoth reminds me of the hat of undeniable wealth and respect. Though I am almost certain it's meant to be more like a squid flavored Junk Lady, or perhaps Larfleeze.

As for it's combat options, the Hypnosis ability inflicts the Charmed Status, which is handy because Charmed targets don't get to attack you. Also, I have figured out the main reason why the Morkoth wants to use it's hypnotize ability: It's an amphibian, and most of it's island is underwater including the area it's likely to be in. So yes, it's even stealing tactics, this one from sirens.

Another thing that Charles tends to skip are the Regional effects, and the Morkoth has some very fun ones to mess around with:

The Morkoth to make it's water island exactly as breathable and murky as it desires, which is going to be on the low end of the scale for both when it's being attacked.
The Morkoth can steal an item from any creature that rests anywhere on the island, something that is going to goad most adventuring parties into action.
And the Morkoth can use a less potent form of it's Hypnosis ability at any entrance to it's lair, luring people to their watery demise from all the way on the other side of the island.

Not listed in any of the traditional areas, a Morkoth knows every object that belongs in it's collection, and can track them down with ease with it's magical prowess, which will lead to any potential looters having a very hard time.

We should take a moment to talk about what other kinds of creatures can be found on this island "paradise" of theirs. I imagine the Morkoth finding golems and constructs to be highly desirable, considering they are both objects and loyal muscle. But given the islands ability to drift through planes, all kinds of inhabitants end up on it's shores, including a few who have been displaced from time due to their natural homelands ceasing to exist. Some of them even treating the Morkoth as a master or a god. A particularly desperate band of adventurers could book passage on such an island, hoping to escape whatever dire place they are currently trapped in. Or perhaps the island could serve as a starting area for the PC's to gather from, more interesting than the traditional tavern at any rate.
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
In the description of the Morkoth, volo's mentions that the islands they inhabit are sometimes home to remnants of races that are now extinct (or something to that effect).

I'm thinking that this would be perfect for a session or two influenced by some combination or another of the Star Trek episode "For the World is hollow and I have touched the sky", the Doctor Who episode "the Beast Below", and Knowhere from Guardians of the Galaxy.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
I'm thinking that a band of adventurers might actually be hired by a morkoth to collect specific things for them. It could be a good way of connecting a series of one-shot adventures from different settings.
The uncontrolled nature of the island gives a nice way of inducing time pressure: the party needs to get out, grab whatever the morkoth was after (and any other loot theymight want) and return to the island before it shifts away.
 
Some good ideas there. I think that the Morkoth has a lot of really interesting plot hooks, mostly thanks to its wee island. I'm looking forward to using one - they seem like great recurring NPCs, bouncing from campaign to campaign, world to world.

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I’ll be honest with you, dear readers: I’ve never read a single page of a Spelljammer supplement. It really isn’t my thing, though a modern reinterpretation (or AP) might catch my interest. And so I’m really in the dark for our next entry, the Neogi.



The art in Volos appears to be better than any of the other options on Google, so we can give it credit for that. The artist also managed to incorporate all three size categories of the Neogi at once, which is quite the feat, and gave them a very alien demeanour in both looks and personality at the same time. They seem to transition from ‘potato with legs’ to ‘Alien Chestburster + spider body’ to ‘giant spider + Gold Dragon head’. I don’t know what to say about that, really.

The Neogi have a really weird entry. It desperately skirts around some really obvious elements - Great Old One pacts and Spelljamming, for example - which gives the impression that the writer was trying to incorporate a cool race without being able to presume that it could make use of the things that made it cool. In addition, they are an intelligent, slave-owning, evil race. I wonder if there is a connection between the mainly American nationality of the D&D content creators, and a neurosis about slavery in D&D? That is probably a bit heavy for our purposes here, but it is really noticeable just how many of these races keep slaves, and it does rather make you wonder where they all come from! But then, if life in D&D-land was easy, you wouldn’t need adventurers…

The Neogi are given an alien mindset, one where age leads inevitably to use as combination cradle and buffet, where no emotions are worth noting, loyalty is only worth exercising in the face of clear authority, and hierarchy is all. To be honest, I think that I’d rather be enslaved by Devils than these guys, since at least the Devils sound like interesting conversationalists. The Neogi are determined to win prizes for evil, and have managed to win a reputation for this to the extent that basically only other mad and evil races - Drow, Illithids, fiends - will give their trading missions the time of day.

To be honest, adding all of this together, the Neogi kind of fail to explain what their purpose in the game is. I’ve mentioned this concern before - why use X race when race A, D, and K already exist? - and the Neogi fall into it pretty badly. They seem to fill a role that is already filled by Drow and Fiends (evil slave-trading race that everyone hates, which has an obsession with hierarchy and advancing up the ladder of command, and which uses nasty magic), beyond the Spelljamming stuff that their entry sidles around. They’d be a lot more interesting if they came with an AP which featured their ship, to be brutally honest.

Anyway, enough negativity, let’s talk about their profiles. There are three: a CR 1/8th Hatchling, a CR 3 Neogi, and a CR 4 Master. The Hatchling is, well, a potato with legs. By the time that you can face Neogi this will be a minor threat at best, so they are clearly just here to explain what a hatchery would be full of. The standard Neogi is much more interesting. They are essentially a spider creature with an elf’s resistance to sleep and charm, but with a nasty ability to use a charm ability of its own - Enslave - which they can only use once. The save is not impossible, being off of the reasonably common Wisdom score, but I can’t imagine a party would enjoy making lots of these saves to be honest, since it is pretty devastating. Unlike a Vampire’s Charm, however, you can break the effect on taking damage, so expect players to dedicate attacks to keeping the party in line. Finally, the Master is a full spellcaster, gaining 7 levels of Warlock goodness. They get what looks to me like a standard Warlock spell list - albeit with a souped-up Eldritch Blast - which gives them a lot of ranged oomph. These are not the kind of leader that buffs their allies much, but instead the one that lobbs heavy damage spells downfield while their minions rush the players. It’s a solid list, and the base Neogi stats are so interesting that I don’t think they really needed much more, so I think that this entry is a solid one.

Final thoughts: the Neogi have more interesting statblocks than story hooks, but seem to have plenty of utility for people who feel that D&D doesn’t have enough spiders in it. I’d like to see them in an AP, if only because I think that this entry doesn’t have the space to give full justice to the concept, but until then they are unlikely to get much use.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I wonder if there is a connection between the mainly American nationality of the D&D content creators, and a neurosis about slavery in D&D?
Maybe, but I think mostly that slavery is a "failure state" for a game that isn't permanent, unlike death. Which means that the story can still attempt to recover and go on. And yes I know death isn't really all that permanent in D&D, but resurrection spells aren't exactly common in t1 of play, and some DMs find them distasteful enough to ban entirely on principle.

Anyway, Neogi have slaves, the most famous of which are Umber Hulks, an even stronger brute creature, that will have the PC's pulling out their hair over the amount of lost actions and saving throws they will be forced to do. A somewhat amusing image, and interesting bit of triva, is that adult Neogi (but not the Masters, cause they are too big) often ride around on their slave Umber hulks. In fact, past editions had claiming an Umber Hulk as a slave as a Neogi right of passage: They weren't considered a relatively free adult until they managed to have such a beast under their command.

The Neogi claim to fame is being space pirate-slavers who sail around in magi-mechanical spider ships. And it is a pity that they don't include more information on the ships here. Both the Nautiloid and the Mindspider are really impressive encounters in their own right. But I suppose such things would have to wait until a proper book covering ship combat comes out at least. They could even throw in the elemental Airships from Eberron if they needed more vessels for padding, those things were really popular.

A glaring omission, aside from all the lore, is a stat block for a Great Old Master. Their shtick was being a huge swollen and insane monstrosities that spit up baby Neogi in combat as an attack or when they are stabbed, an incredibly disquieting mental image and a super-memorable encounter. Such a thing would even give the stat block for the Neogi Hatchlings some merit. No quick and dirty stats for this, but I would aim for a Legendary CR 5 or 6 creature, with gobs of hp, moderate AC, and immunity to mind control (because they nearly mindless and insane from being eaten alive). Their attack routine should be the bite (with poison) claw, and an ability to spit out 2d4 Neogi Hatchlings. They need to have a special reaction that also spawns 2d4 hatchlings whenever they take damage. Their legendary actions should include directing and giving a combat bonus to the Hatchlings (unsubstantiated filler mostly, but it makes for an interesting fight), A significantly weakened form of the Enslave ability (possibly just something that inflicts stun), and their Bite attack. Regional effects include causing all normal Neogi in the area (most likely a ship) to come over and tend to them until all the eggs are hatched.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
Another thing about the relationship between Umber Hulks and Neogi. Is that the Umber Hulks have been submissive to them for so long the entire species does nothing to resist them and serves them without complaint or question.
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
I have to agree with Charles in one part.

With Fiends, Mind Flayers, Yuan-Ti and Drow (if you use the standard versions of these) what makes the Neogi as presented different and useful to use?

All of them are evil, use slaves, live within powerful hierarchies. Mind Flayers and Yuan-Ti have the creepy squick factor, Fiends, Yuan-Ti, and Drow all have the sneaky and powerful magic using factors.

I just wish there was something obvious about why I should use these guys instead of the more interesting options we already have.


Space ships could have done it, but that's something I could see other races utilizing as well.
 
Going back to the morkoth, I like the fact that it's a fairly powerful enemy from the start, rather than having to buff them via class levels as in previous editions. Whereas I have to complain about certain other creatures in VgtM that got seriously hit by the CR nerf bat, morkoths, along with flinds, got a nice and well-deserved boost.

I'm not too sure about the fluff though - morkoths have always been portrayed previously as having stationary lairs, especially in the Forgotten Realms, where morkoth societies were major antagonists under the Sea of Fallen Stars. One could always explain those away as morkoths whose islands have "run aground", or perhaps descendants of morkoths who ages ago somehow lost or became separated from their islands (and I imagine, once lost, they would be major pain to recover)...
 
I just wish there was something obvious about why I should use these guys instead of the more interesting options we already have.
I guess that not everyone likes Fiends, Yuan-Ti, or whatever, and so another option isn't necessarily a bad thing. They might also justify their own inclusion on purely name recognition grounds. I mean, how many 'good and interesting D&D monsters' can there be left? But that doesn't make them any more exciting to me.

or perhaps descendants of morkoths who ages ago somehow lost or became separated from their islands (and I imagine, once lost, they would be major pain to recover)...
Is that... that tinkling? Is that the sound of an evil PC party quest hook? :D "Hail, evil adventurers! I, the Great and Powerful Morkoth, demand that you find and retrieve my magical floating island - which is currently home to an order of virtuous Wizards and Paladins, and anchored in Bytopia..."
 
The last of the Illithids from Volo's, the Neothelid is radically different from its kin in size and game function. A big solitary hunter, the Neothelid is a very potent beast indeed.

neotheli.gif

The Neothelid art in the book is a solid effort, which really focuses the eye on the mouth. It basically looks like an eel with attitude, and thus is pretty disgusting.

This creature gets a fairly moderate amount of flavour text, most of which describes how they come about. It does pidgeon-hole these as the results of Illithid colony failure, and makes it tough to use one as a big brute in an Illithid colony dungeon, but you could always override it. The Neothelids are really described as being a solitary encounter in the Underdark, something rare and not encountered with allies of any kind. This makes them one of the rare CR10+ monsters that don't demand a boss-fight situation, unlike say a Vampire, Dragon or Elder Brain. I think that using multiple in the same campaign might make your players wonder just how many failed Illithid colonies there are in the area, but it would be pretty easy to reflavour the statblock as something else to get around that problem. Anyway, it is useful to have a CR 13 monster that you can just drop into any given adventuring day and not worry too hard about it, and they are going to fit wherever you can imagine a big animal that likes brains might end up; I like the idea of having one in the sewers, which could lead into an adventure to find whatever colony it came from, and see what the state of it is. Another option is to spend several sessions hinting at the weirdly melted remains that the players keep stumbling across, with the brains eaten; the horror only grows when they realise that the victims were Mind Flayers. And then, right when they've forgotten about that, and are distracted by another combat, the Neothelid comes erupting out of a side passage and begins lunchtime...

The Neothelid has both a difficult name to spell, and an interesting statblock. It gets the same psionic powers that Illithids get - including Levitate, Confusion and Feeblemind, which are all very combat spells, and Magic Resistance. It has absolutely bags of hitpoints, and no resistances for your players to ignore with magic weapons, so it will last a goodly while. Rather oddly, it has no multiattack option, meaning that you get a choice between a single melee attack, or an AoE spray. The former is very swingy, being a single attack for good damage, but it is +13 to hit, so pretty easy except for a Paladin who is trying hard to tank. This melee attack includes a swallow effect, and I'm pleased to see that it includes an explanation of what happens if the creature inside does damage, which I believe we already saw with another creature in this series. Anyway, it is good to have clarification built-in for the way to handle that. The rather more flashy option is the Acid Breath AoE, which is pretty simple; like all AoEs that operate off of Dexterity, be prepared for level-appropriate Rogues and Monks to take no damage, so aim this at the party's front line. Since the single big attack is good for swallowing and damaging one person, you should probably open with the Acid Breath and use it as much as possible, to put the hurt on the party. I've found that holding off on good abilities like this in 5e is a bad idea, since combats go so quickly, and players are, generally speaking, more impressed when everyone takes 10 damage than when one person takes 25.

A simple monster to include, and a simple one to run in combat, the Neothelid is a solid addition to your Underdark or Sewers random monster encounter table.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
It's worth noting that Neolithids are gargantuan sized, which is the biggest size category in 5e (not like that will stop me from using my Colossal Red Dragon mini any time soon), and CR 13, meaning it's has the second lowest CR out of all of them, only low-balled by the Roc (which isn't anywhere near as interesting). The Low CR and lack of interesting competition, means that the Neolithid may very well be the first, if not only, Gargantuan sized monster your group ever gets to fight. Which is kind of special, even if they did lower the CR from previous editions to make that happen.

As for an alternate use, I'm going to go a bit transmedia for this, so it may be too nerdy, even for some D&D playing people.

If you have played the D&D Starter set, and done the Lost Mines of Phandelver introduction adventure, you may have noticed a location called Icespire Peak on the region map. This location isn't detailed anywhere other than the Neverwinter MMO, so it is likely a shout out to them. But that's not the important part. The important part is a Frost Giant named Lakkar, who absorbed the power from an Artifact called the Winterforge (A portal to the icy bit of the elemental Chaos), grew to Colossal size, and started laying the smack down on everyone. His ego, or perhaps insanity, grew along with the rest of him, causing him to declare his godhood. Angering his patron Thrym (see chapter one of Volos for a bit more info on him) in the process. Thrym then lent his aid to the Icehammer Dwarves (of all peoples) in order to defeat Lakkar, and froze his body into the Icespire.

If you have ever played the MMO, and I have, it's quite an impressive sight to behold. First your travel up his axe, which serves as a bridge, then you see his frozen corpse which is bigger than most of the buildings you have seen up until that point. You can probably find a video of it on youtube if you care to look.

So why am I yammering on about Frost Giants, when we talked about them weeks ago?

Well it's simple, I propose two interesting ideas that can be combined into a higher level plot. Firstly, Lakkar isn't dead, he is just frozen. Secondly, Neolithids can potentially undergo Ceremorphosis, but they haven't found a suitable body to do so with, due to their size. I am sure you can see where this is going, another Illithid experiment, just with larger stakes and an even more terrifying outcome. Something I would like to call the Omegalithid. A being with immense strength, size, tentacles, and a direct connection to the elemental plane of ice that would surely have the potential to extinguish the sun. A fitting end to your mind flayer themed campaign if you don't want to go the Alhoon route.
 
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It's worth noting that Neolithids are gargantuan sized
I meant to mention that, but forgot. Oops!

If you have ever played the MMO, and I have, it's quite an impressive sight to behold. First your travel up his axe, which serves as a bridge, then you see his frozen corpse which is bigger than most of the buildings you have seen up until that point. You can probably find a video of it on youtube if you care to look.
I really liked the terrain in that area, and it was one of the few areas where I finished the quests just when I was getting bored of the area anyway. Riding up that axe was probably the highlight of the game for me. I wonder how you could stat up such a bad guy for 5e?

Anyway, very interesting idea to combine the Neothelids with a non-Mind Flayer race. I think that you could plausibly use the combination of a Storm Giant and a Neothelid to make Cthulhu arrive. You could even have the Mind Flayers trying to bring it about through through some kind of spore that they place on the Giant and which summons all the Neothelids from hundreds of miles around. Could make for a super intense fight, like Tremors with dozens of horrific and huge worms attacking, while the players try to hold them off. I'm away from my book now, so I cannot remember if the Neothelid can burrow or swim, but either way I can see this being a very impressive high-level fight.
 

DeBasilisk42

Villager
An Illithilich returns to the colony which expelled him decades past and slays the Elder Brain and its minions. The ruins of the colony become the Lichs new lair, inhabited by wights and vampires created from the remains of the Mind flayers, (and maybe a zombie beholder or two) under the control of the Illithilich.

But it's real prize is the Undead Neothelid cultivated from the remnants of the Elder Brains pool...
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
Well it's simple, I propose two interesting ideas that can be combined into a higher level plot. Firstly, Lakkar isn't dead, he is just frozen. Secondly, Neolithids can potentially undergo Ceremorphosis, but they haven't found a suitable body to do so with, due to their size. I am sure you can see where this is going, another Illithid experiment, just with larger stakes and an even more terrifying outcome. Something I would like to call the Omegalithid. A being with immense strength, size, tentacles, and a direct connection to the elemental plane of ice that would surely have the potential to extinguish the sun. A fitting end to your mind flayer themed campaign if you don't want to go the Alhoon route.
You are an evil, evil man and I love you for it.


Anyway, very interesting idea to combine the Neothelids with a non-Mind Flayer race. I think that you could plausibly use the combination of a Storm Giant and a Neothelid to make Cthulhu arrive. You could even have the Mind Flayers trying to bring it about through through some kind of spore that they place on the Giant and which summons all the Neothelids from hundreds of miles around. Could make for a super intense fight, like Tremors with dozens of horrific and huge worms attacking, while the players try to hold them off. I'm away from my book now, so I cannot remember if the Neothelid can burrow or swim, but either way I can see this being a very impressive high-level fight.

You as well.



Honestly, my currently planned use for them is much less impressive and a little campaign specific. My players are currently hunting a mad wizard, with thousands of years of horrific research on various types of biology, clockwork magic, and creating soul-infused artificial beings. Lots of body horror and other such things on the horizon.

His current magnum opus is a creature utilizing the massive, semi-sentient slime that the city has been using for a garbage and body disposal for centuries. He's taken a portion of this mass, and has been experimenting on it for a long time.

It's going to be a massive boss, with multiple "layers" they deal enough damage, the next layer is revealed. I'm thinking something humanoid, into the Neolithid (yes it will be much larger than the thing it bursts out of, because that makes me happy) and possibly into one final form after that. I'm hoping the party feels it a sufficiently epic way to end out the year.
 

THEMNGMNT

Explorer
Going back to the morkoth, I love this monster in 5E. In fact, it inspired me to write up a reimagined Isle of Dread under the control of a morkoth. The players wreck on the island at 1st level and must become powerful enough to defeat the morkoth in order to escape in a treasure-filled galleon that is part of the morkoth's collection.
 

Zilong

Villager
Well it's simple, I propose two interesting ideas that can be combined into a higher level plot. Firstly, Lakkar isn't dead, he is just frozen. Secondly, Neolithids can potentially undergo Ceremorphosis, but they haven't found a suitable body to do so with, due to their size. I am sure you can see where this is going, another Illithid experiment, just with larger stakes and an even more terrifying outcome. Something I would like to call the Omegalithid. A being with immense strength, size, tentacles, and a direct connection to the elemental plane of ice that would surely have the potential to extinguish the sun. A fitting end to your mind flayer themed campaign if you don't want to go the Alhoon route.
Omegathilid: AKA how Cthulhu was born into the material world. Let his reign be every glorious and impossible to understand!
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Riding up that axe was probably the highlight of the game for me. I wonder how you could stat up such a bad guy for 5e?
Well you start with a Legendary CR26+ Gargantuan Siege Monster, make an ability that says it counts as being larger than Gargantuan for any ability that takes size into consideration, give it some mind-flayer powers and tentacle attacks, some kind of trample ability, and in this case some add in some Ice elemental powers one to blot out the sun and probably an aura of Brain-freeze or something like that.

The real trick is figuring out how the mechanics of fighting a creature that is bigger than most towns are. Stabbing it in the toe till it dies is hardly going to be immersive. Though making a separate stat block for every limb might work, that way you could disable the legs, and somehow manage to crawl up the torso, getting rid of the arms and tentacles, to finally assault the thing's brain and kill it.

Or you could just pull out a deus ex machina, that's how they offed him in the first place.
 

Goblins are one of my favourite low-level monsters. I'm just a big fan of the mixture of madcap humour and desperate savagery that they provide. I also play Orks in Warhammer 40,000, so I've got a secret desire for the greenskins to beat my players! Well, we're about to hit a rich seam of Orcish goodness, but first we have the Nilbog to cover, a fairly famous and daft creature.



Mad, prancing, and carrying perhaps the greatest looking staff in the whole game, the art in Volo's is easy to like. It raises some interesting questions - like where the hell did the Goblins find pink wool? - and is so intensely characterful that it cheers me up just looking at it. I think that your players will be extremely taken with this guy upon being shown this picture, right up until the moment at which you explain their rules...

The Nilbog is very interesting to me for one reason in particular: the way that it helps illuminate the race relations between the Goblins, Bugbears, and Hobgoblins. We can imagine such things as Iron Shadows performing low-level eugenics on the leaders of the Goblin tribes, or Bugbear rebellions, but the Nilbog gives us a concrete description of how the Hobgoblins maintain their control over their smaller cousins. The Hobgoblins - whose God shattered the unnamed Trickster God of the Goblins into pieces, causing the spirit of Nilbogism to enter Goblins - have learned to deal with the Nilbog by granting one Goblin in the warhost the position of Jester. I wonder how they ensure that the Nilbog becomes the Jester - presumably just watching for spellcasting and chaos in the ranks - but it is a sweet gig for any Goblin who gets it, Nilbog or not. Between this and the Iron Shadow stuff, we can almost imagine the interior of the command tent for the host, and it is an interestingly varied place.

Becoming a Nilbog would seem like nightmare fuel - your mind and body become a plaything for a mad trickster spirit that will happily get you killed for a laugh - but apparently the Goblins love it. As well they might, for it strikes fear into the hearts of their Bugbear and Hobgoblin cousins, and causing chaos is presumably always welcomed by the Goblins. It could be an interesting story hook for a Goblinoid player group: being deputised by the Host’s Warlord to follow the Nilbog around and do whatever it wants, just so long as it doesn’t interfere with the siege of a Dwarven city that the Host is currently engaged in. Cue lots of strange and “hilarious” adventures. Man, that sounds like a lot of fun, actually!

I have heard that Nilbogs are totally terrifying for a party of level 1 characters to face, and I can believe it. They do limited damage - Vicious Mockery or a 1d6+2 club is about as good as it gets - but they do have the benefit of being amazingly hard to hurt, with a Reversal of Fortune ability that lets them heal when taking damage. I believe that Nilbogs used to require you to use healing spells to kill them, but the game has dropped that idea (just like the Positive/Negative thing on Cure/Harm spells for the Cleric and Undead), so instead they can only do Reversal of Fortune once a turn, and cannot gain health any other way. In other words, these guys will be an unholy terror for a group that can only land one solid blow a turn, and with most characters having +4 or +5 to hit AC of 13, at level one or so that might be a very tall order. But with 7 hit points, a group that gets two solid hits - or has a spare Magic Missile - is going to find this guy relatively easy to kill. Or, at least, its host; for then it can try to possess another Goblin, with a sidebar explaining how to handle that. One amusing way to boost the difficulty of a Goblin Cave dungeon is to have a Nilbog encounter the players at the start, and then spend the rest of the dungeon harassing them in various forms, mocking and cackling the whole time. Usefully, the sidebar also explains which traits the new host gets, so you can sling this onto a Goblin Chieftain for a more formidable version. That would probably be the most powerful Goblin that your players will encounter, unless you make use of the suggested alterations to the Mage statblock to create the Booyagh Booyagh Booyagh from Chapter one.

I like Goblins. They’re great. The Nilbog is also great, and likely to be entirely enraging for your players, good for adding a recurring annoyance to any Goblinoid dungeon. In addition, it gives us a welcome comic relief element for a Goblinoid storyline, either for evil PCs or whenever your party meets and negotiates with a Host. Overall, this guy gets a solid thumbs up from me.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I'm totally going to strip the Nilbogism power set, append it to a normal ghost, and have it haunt the clowns of my Carnival. Combined with an obvious tell for possession (white skin and a giant red nose should do the trick), it should create something more horrifying than comedic. But hey, dark humor is a thing too, and I am mostly sure that my group doesn't have Coulrophobia.

However, between the Barghest and the Nilbog, you honestly have to wonder why Hobgoblins even bother with having a host of Goblins, it seems like a liability even with the best case scenario. And because there won't be many other opportunities, if any, left to do so, I suppose now is a good time to mention a few things about the gobliniods:

Firstly, they have Monsterous PC race write ups in chapter two, all three of them. Some of them are better than others (Goblins quite possibly make the best PC monster race. Bugbears have some interesting synergies due to being long-limbed and having extra damage on an ambush. But hobgoblins are comparatively boring, and get a lackluster racial accuracy power instead of that sweet bonus damage that NPCs get), but there is more than enough there to run a goblinoid campaign if you should wish to do so.

And secondly, goblins are really the wildcards of a host. Bugbears serve sometimes as assassin/snipers but mostly as Shock Troops specializing in a really big weapon. Hobgoblins have quite a bit of contrast, with a full warrior cast including cavalry and warlords, priests, war-wizards, and assassin/spy monks, which cover all of the basic adventuring occupations. But Goblins have warriors, mind-controlling leaders, wolf-riding hunters, wild mage sorcerers with the chaos turned up to 11, warlocks (fay fiend and undying preferred), wizards, nilbogs, barghests, and even an unit devoted to using any bizarre magical item it managed to get it's little paws on. So I can see why some would consider them a favorite.





But I still like kobolds better.
 
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Bitbrain

Adventurer
Yeah, the Nilbog is fun, and the NPC possibilities are almost endless.

One idea for the Nilbog would be to use it in a low-level murder mystery adventure.
Think something along the lines of a comic book storyline featuring the Batman Family versus the Joker, with the Nilbog being a stand-in for the Clown Prince of Crime.
 

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