There is certainly some uses for them, but they definitely are not likely to make my 'must use low level critters' list any time soon. You and @Sammael both make solid suggestions though.Yeah, there really isn't much interesting about these guys that I can see.
Best I could think of is a colony that was a little closer to the surface, in a cave system. A low-level party thinking they are entering a spider's nest would be unpleasantly surprised by a Choldrith cleric and some Chitines. Having them ambush from above is a solid tactic, maybe if you wanted a more militaristic fight exchange their daggers for shortswords.
I didn't want to cover Chapter One, in large part because I had no idea how I'd structure such a thread! The beholder variant options are indeed really cool. I'm also a huge fan of the way that they suggest variant Hag Coven spells, to give different themes. Really nice way to change it up without making things really complex. There's a lot to like about the way that 5e is able to make small and easy changes that feel major in play.Looking back, since we've passed the Beholderkin, but didn't really talk about the prime Beholder, I want to address something.
I really love the variant eye rays, especially new choices for their central eye.I've never enjoyed anti-magic and I seriously want to run a beholder with a persistent Mirage Arcane or that Stun effect. Those seem so much more dynamic than taking away any magic the party might be using. Definitely something I'm glad they added in.
That's a valid interpretation (and probably the one intended). The phrase "The first time it enters a creature's space during this move..." can be read as the first time it enters each creature's space, or as only the first space that has a creature. I chose to use the more limited interpretation, but I can easily see your reading as more accurate.It can perform the attack against every creature in its path but only one attack per creature.
I like this idea. One of the PCs in my group is hunted by a drow family. So if she helps free some chitines, they'll give her spiderweb armor roughly comparable to elven chain. Gives her a bit of boost in AC and will definitely tick off the drow who are hunting her.Their armor is made out of webs, that's a really cool mental image. You could potentially give some as a reward to a low level party who is strapped on cash.
They start out at 15 INT, and lose one point per day spent away from the swarm, bottoming out at 4. So you have quite a bit of leeway, something like 5 days to work with before they are too dumb to act as a scout anymore and they should just return.My only problem with them as written is that an individual rat is stupid, which makes it more difficult for the single rat to go and scout.
Increase their intelligence to 6, and they could be smart enough to follow people of interest before rejoining the swarm.
Thanks, I think I am going to write out stat blocks for some of the other notable members of the Carnival. Sparkculease, the strongest Gnome in the world, springs to mind.I love the circus idea by the way, very good.
Completely missed that. ThanksThey start out at 15 INT, and lose one point per day spend away from the swarm, bottoming out at 4. So you have quite a bit of leeway, something like 5 days to work with before they are too dumb to act as a scout anymore and they should just return.
Unfortunately, I don't think Cranium Rats as written have the capability to do what you described. IIRC they only get Dominate Person once per day, which allows them to control one person (who fails his saving throw) for one minute per day. Call it 40 seconds of control per day on average. AFB but they might get another forty minutes or so of Suggestion time, but not direct control.Back when we were talking about the Gauths, I suggested putting one in charge of a thieves guild masquerading as a Carnival. I have a feeling that a Swarm of Cranium Rats would make for an excellent addition to their Ranks.
Effectively the second in command, the swarm poses as The Flea-Bitten Circus: A novelty act in the side show. Using a mind-controlled humanoid commoner as their "Ringleader" and spokesperson to the public; all of the rats have tiny hats, hoods, or masks on to disguise their true nature. During the Carnival's operational hours, the Ringleader serves as a twisted reflection of the Pied Piper, "commanding" the rats to perform tasks and stunts in much the same manner that an actual circus would do. An act that delights smaller children, and disgusts some of the upper crust. When the Carnival closes, they serve as spies, locating the towns treasures so that the other guild members can go about their thieving ways with as much haste and efficiency as a ragtag crew of wandering thieves can muster. They also act as an early warning system for the Carnival, quickly and quietly detecting any persons who come with the intent to investigate the gang.
In a dire pinch, they have been know to sacrifice their Ringleader and scatter, because nobody would think to track down a bunch of normal rats.
I like to solve these kinds of problems with complex rituals that aren't easy to replicate by PC's, and therefore impractical in all but the most plot-demanding of situations.I think that, like Mindflayers having no ability to permanently enthrall someone, this is a 'plot power'; it exists if the plot needs it to, but isn't worth describing in game terms. Of course, it isn't even suggested by the Cranium Rat entry. I think that the real problem here is the flavour text, which goes against the grain of Volo's by not explaining how the DM should really use these guys, what kind of story they'll appear in.