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LATTER DAYS CAMPAIGN PLAYERS SHOULD SKIP THIS POST

In my campaign, there is a demon trapped in an artifact and forced to grant wishes. Though generally I rule wishes by intent and not trickery, this demon is of the monkey's paw variety and actively tries to turn the wish against the wisher. Because of the havoc that the artifact is currently causing, the party is prepared to destroy the artifact but this will have the downside of releasing the demon. I have created the demon but would appreciate commentary since I am not use to creating a monster at this level plus I am also trying something a bit different in how it does combat. Since the idea of the monkey's paw style of thinking is turning what a person does against them (or their allies), I am trying to have him not attack physically (despite giving him a weapon as a backup) but to redirect their actions in various ways. Also, given the spells listed, he comes from a strong magical background and relies more on that. The party has four 11th level characters though they handle CRs above that pretty easily (between their long experience in building characters and my choices in running the game).

Almost forgot: The spell Shared Pain mentioned is a non-consensual variant of Warding Bond where the recipient takes half the damage of the caster and neither party gets AC or saving throw benefits. Magus is a campaign setting language for magic.

So...too much, too little, anything that you might do a bit differently?

MonkeyKingStats

-----------EDIT----------- Monkey King

Medium fiend, chaotic evil

Hit Points 157 (15d10 + 75)

Speed 40 ft.

Saving Throws Wis+8, Cha+11

Skills Deception+11, Intimidation+11, Persuasion+11

Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 13

Languages Magus, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge (0 XP)

Proficiency Bonus 4

Armor Class 20 (natural armor)

STR 15,,DEX 22, CON 15, INT 15, WIS 18, CHA 24

Innate Spellcasting

The Monkey King's spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). The Monkey King can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components: • At will: Vicious Mockery, Detect Magic, Dispel Magic • 3/day: Dissonant Whispers, Tasha's Hideous Laughter • 2/day: Suggestion, Crown of Madness, Phantasmal Force, Mirror Image, Major Image, Phantasmal Killer , Shared Pain • 1/day each: Confusion, Hypnotic Pattern, Mislead

Magic Resistance

The Monkey King has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Reactive

The Monkey King can take one reaction on every turn in a combat.

Magic Weapons

The Monkey King's weapon attacks are magical.

Telepathy

Can speak mentally with those around him and read surface thoughts.

Mindful Defense

Due to being able to read surface thoughts of his opponents, the Monkey King adds his Wisdom bonus in addition to his Dexterity bonus to his Armor Class.

Actions

Multiattack.

The Monkey King makes four attacks with any combination of his maul or unarmed strikes. Alternatively, it makes two melee attacks and casts one spell.

+2 Maul.

Melee Weapon Attack:+8, Reach 5 ft., one target Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage

Unarmed Strike. Melee Weapon Attack:+8, Reach 5 ft., one target Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage

Reactions

Pervert

If a creature casts a wish spell within the Monkey King's hearing, he can adjust it away from the caster's intent.

Goad

If a creature is about to attack, the Monkey King can goad them. On a failed Wisdom save, the attacker is at disadvantage. If the attacker misses, the original (without disadvantage) attack roll is misdirected to a creature adjacent to the Monkey King that is within range of the attacker.

Trip

If a creature moves through any space adjacent to the Monkey King, he can attempt to trip them.

Redirect

If a creature attempts to cast a spell on spell directly on the Monkey King (i.e. not an area of effect), he can make a Charisma saving throw against the caster's DC to redirect the spell's target to other creature besides the caster within the spell's range.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this intended to fight the group alone? No lair actions, legendary actions or legendary resistances? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Dec 3, 2023 at 22:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I think the idea is that instead of legendary actions, due to "Reactive", it can take a Reaction on every turn of combat, so when attacked can react with Goad, when cast at, can react with Redicrect, etc, at least unless the players figure out from that experience to not directly attack him with spells, or not attack him if someone is standing nearby etc. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 3, 2023 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri, what Nobody said (ok, that's weird and like something from the Odyssey) is basically what I am working towards. \$\endgroup\$
    – Scott Law
    Dec 4, 2023 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @ThomasMarkov for the tag update. \$\endgroup\$
    – Scott Law
    Dec 4, 2023 at 0:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ The image of text is hard to read on many devices (very small text size) and impossible for those who can't see the image at all (eg the visually impaired). Please replace it with the actual text. \$\endgroup\$
    – Laurel
    Dec 4, 2023 at 20:10

1 Answer 1

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Overall, I like it. You have abilities that call back to monkey paw effects, it's what they asked for but not what they would "want". Yeah, overall solid design with your stated theme.

Alone against four 11th level characters I think it will likely die in a toe-to-toe fight. That said, it may not (depending on rolls) be an easy fight. But that's in line with what you said and "trying to have him not attack physically" with be key in the encounter. In a not toe-to-toe match, it could wipe them.

So...too much, too little, anything that you might do a bit differently?

This will come down to the encounter layout. So, things like minions, terrain, and party readiness. Your stat block is good, it expresses your intent but all that is just the foundation. The layout will decide how easy/hard this is for the PCs.


EDIT There are community concerns that the above is largely subjective/opinion. However, this question and the answer given here touch on an important facet of ttrpg's in general, encounter design. That subject is not a "hard science" at all, hence it is a bit subjective. So, I am asking for a little leeway from the community.

The intent of this answer is to take a question on stat blocks in relation to difficulty and cast it as part of a greater structure, the encounter as a whole. This (encounter design) is a "softer science" as it must take into account how the players feel about the encounter and how that encounter fits within the story being told.

A prime example of this Tucker's Kobolds! The point of the original 1987 article by Moore was using your monster's effectively as a means of avoiding an all too common "arms race" personified by the philosophy, "bigger monsters, bigger danger".


So, let me lean into that now and provide a summary of what I'm saying.


In Summary

Stat blocks, while important are only a part of the encounter. The placement of the encounter makes a difference. The existence of allies, such as minions, makes a difference. Party readiness for the encounter at that point in time, makes a difference. The encounter in relation to your overall story, makes a difference. The encounter in relation to player expectations, makes a difference.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. The main damage-giver has a low INT save, so that will work to my advantage. But good on WIS. Wondering if I should bump up his save DC a couple. I have some time to think about the exact details on the layout but wanted to get him nailed down. \$\endgroup\$
    – Scott Law
    Dec 4, 2023 at 0:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottLaw so far as bumping up the DC goes, I think it is good, in general, as it is. Now if you want to challenge your players and look at their abilities and how likely they are to overcome the demon's magic, beware, that can easily stray into meta gaming if you are not careful. You know your players better than I do. If they love a hard fight, then maybe use anydice or something like it to analyze possible DC numbers and engineer something that they can hit 50% of the time, according to the statistics. Forcing less chance than that, in my experience, makes the fight "feel" lopsided. \$\endgroup\$
    – Leezard
    Dec 4, 2023 at 1:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. And really there is only one spell on the list that uses INT. Mostly WIS, which most of the party is pretty good at. Mostly just mulling odds. \$\endgroup\$
    – Scott Law
    Dec 4, 2023 at 10:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ This looks far too much like opinion and has nothing useful in terms of fact. What makes it look ok to you? How has cr been calculated (or something similar to check for balance)? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Dec 4, 2023 at 12:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, @Leezard. I appreciate the thoughts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Scott Law
    Dec 5, 2023 at 2:26

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