Author Topic: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )  (Read 8753 times)

Offline sambojin

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2016, 04:13:01 PM »
Yuan Ti looks very nice. Suggestion is fairly DM dependent, but is also one of those really wide open spells that you can do nearly anything with. Having an insta-talky-fixer spell a day opens up new dimensions to almost any character, and is one of the few very useful 2nd level racial spells I've seen with no downsides (darkness is pretty situational after all). You can now take care of one encounter a day, completely by yourself, and turn it into almost any outcome. Sort of. Now you just have to deal with being a scary looking snake/human hybrid monster thing and you'll be fine. Probably.


I'll have to look into protector aasimirs and exactly what this transformation means, because flying angel-bear WS sounds great, and racials carry over if possible, and it might be worded in a way that keeps you in WS when used but with a flying speed. Saves a WS use when flying is needed too, so giant eagle isn't necessarily your fall-back plan every time. More resources = good. Jumbo the flying elephant is high on the list of must-dos.  Also opens up a few 1d3 attack forms into potentially damaging forms as well (or a little bit better anyway). Flying attack squirrels ahoy!

Scourge aasamir sounds quite nice for druids too. You're a HP damage sponge anyway, so the AoE radiant damage is mostly irrelevant to you, and you've got resistance against it as well. Quite a nice anti-horde "spell" to use in WS really, where you'll be tanking mobs up nice and close anyway. The healing hands racial is like an extra 1-2 low level slots worth of WS health too. Doesn't say you can't use it on yourself, so that's free WS HP for you, leaving you with more utility casting later on. Assamir might be my "go-to" race for moon druids now, because you don't need much Wis, but +Cha is always nice to have.

The goblin flat damage bonus is nice for the same reason. It's not great, but +damage is always good. Everything is bigger than tiny animals for the most part.

I wonder if it's intended for Tabaxi's speed boost to apply to all kinds of movement? Mega-turbo-digger Giant Badgers perhaps? Nearly supersonic Giant Eagles? It should work for Longstrider'd Giant Octopi at least, giving you some pretty reasonable bursts of speed on land when you want them. And potentially dumber things too (Killer Whales flopping about in dungeons again.....).


If it wasn't for the light sensitivity, Kobolds seem awesome as bards. Attack advantage + bonus action inspiration dice would make heavily armoured enemies a little more scared of your party, even as you cower in fear near them. Fair enough, it's essentially only the hitty part of Faerie Fire for one round, but there's no rolls needed and it seems unresistable. Everyone likes advantage.


While it's not really that useful, Hobgoblins could try to beat some seriously stupid DCs as a skill monkey. Auto10+double proficiency+guidance+5 makes auto20's just a "thing you do" occasionally as a hobgoblin rogue, as long as people are watching. Go ahead, try and forge the One Ring the next time you get a minute to spare :)
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 09:50:50 PM by sambojin »

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2016, 09:49:27 AM »
I got my physical book last night.  The store owner saved one of the special covers for me and each of the in-store DMs.  The black and silver illithid looks really cool.

Some of the Conjure lines get more options from the book:

Conjure Animals:
Cows are CR 1/4.  If they move 20 ft. or more before attacking, their damage increases to 3d6+4.  A stampede of cows can do a lot of damage and their attack roll bonus is a whopping +6, quite high for CR 1/4.  Watch out for the druid on an open field.  Watch out for the monk that stuns and then runs away before the druid has his cows stampede too.

Velociraptors are CR 1/4 (and tiny, more accurate to their size as archaeologists know today).  They have similar stats to wolves, they have pack tactics, and multiattack.  If you don't need the trip from the wolves, these are a bit more damage, though the cows will trump both if they can charge.

The Deinonychus is CR 1 and has a 3 hit multiattack WITH a pounce trait that can allow another bite as a bonus action after the trip.  These are good as a conjured beast or as a wildshape at low levels.

Conjure Fey gets:
Annis Hag: decent bruiser, gets 3 attacks that have 3d6+5 damage or a single grapple that deals 9d6+5 recurring, has lowish HP but resistance to non-magical weapons, 3/day disguise self and fog cloud

Cast at level 7, Bheur Hag: not the greatest survivability but it has 1/day control weather, 3/day Cone of Cold, Ice Storm, and Wall of Ice, and At-will Hold Person and Ray of Frost.  The 3 Cones of Cold would make it worth the slot IMO.  Also has Maddening Feast which allows it to eat a corpse that died in the last minute and force an aoe incapacitating frighten effect

Cast at level 7, the Korred has a bonus action grapple/restrain.  It can command a rope (and it always has a 50 ft. rope of its own hair) within 30 ft. to move up to 20 ft. to perform the grapple.  It has a burrow speed, decent HP, resistance to non-magical weapons, at-will commune with nature, meld into stone, and stone shape, and 1/day each Conjure Elemental (6th level, galeb duhr, earth elemental, or xorn only), and Otto's Irresistible Dance.  I cannot recall any rulings that a conjured being cannot itself conjure more creatures in 5e.  A galeb duhr is basically worth 3 creatures, and Otto's Irresistible Dance is a killer spell too.  If that wasn't enough, it attacks twice with a greatclub or by throwing rocks and does 2d8 extra damage per attack when touching the ground with a decent attack roll bonus.

Conjure Woodland Beings:
The Boggle is a CR 1/8 and has an amusing pseudo-grease ability or a sticky version that restrains.  The DC is low but it's 8 of them, and you can choose to either go for Dex saves or Str saves depending on whether you're going for slippery or sticky.  It also has bonus action 30 ft. teleports at-will essentially between doorways, arches, etc. from its ability to open dimensional rifts only it can use.  Interestingly, just opening one of these rifts allows it to "flank" from 30 ft. for the purposes of stuff like sneak attack because it's considered to base things on either side of the rift when it's within 5 ft.  It's worth looking into the intricacies of the ability to see what shenanigans it allows.  The ability says the Boggle is the only thing that can use the rift, but it can push "anything" through the rift.  You might be able to set up a short-range teleportation network for yourself with 8 of these.

CR 1/2 Darklings and CR 2 Darkling Elders have poor HP but they let out a 10 ft. radius blinding flash when they die.  The Elder has decent damage that relies on it gaining advantage to get the full effect, and can innately cast Darkness once per rest.

The Meenlock is CR 2, has a fear aura, a recharge 5-6 30 ft. shadow teleport similar to the monk ability, and its claw attack has a low DC paralyze as a rider.  Downside is it has light sensitivity and fairly low HP and attack roll modifier for something you'd get out of a level 4 spell.

Quicklings may or may not be worth mentioning, but they're CR 1 and have some interesting quirks.  They have 120 ft. land speed, they're tiny, attack rolls have disadvantage on them unless they're incapacitated or restrained, and they have evasion.  They have a high attack bonus and AC for a CR 1 but only 10 hit points.  If someone in your party is denying reactions via something like Shocking Grasp or Open Palm Technique and you're not dealing with Con save aoes, these things could be really good as they go in and out of melee range.

Conjure Elemental:
The Flail Snail is a CR 3 elemental for people who want cool points with their elemental summons.  Despite only being available to Conjure Elemental, which will only give you 1 creature regardless of CR, the Scintillating Shell ability might be worth it for the DC 15 Wisdom 30 ft. radius stun attached and it has some strong anti-caster traits.

There's nothing to report for Conjure Celestials or Conjure Minor Elementals.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 10:34:02 AM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2016, 02:59:14 PM »
"Zend Goblin" are quite different from "Volo Goblin".
Maintaining the two is quite convenient.


sambojin --- yeah I'm pretty sure a normal racial movement or senses ability, is overwritten by WS, but a separate trigger ability will still be use-able.  Good Stuff.

Kobolds --- light sensitivity were (are) an easy + cheap fix in 3e, so I don't quite understand (not you of course) the various not comings arounds, to Riddick Goggles.
http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?385572-Drow-quot-Sunlight-Sensitivity-quot-workarounds


TenJ niiice list.
So what is this, a total Druid power-up book ?!
 :D

edit --- TenJ the Illithid told you to say :  The black and silver illithid looks really cool.
You now have advantage on your Cha save.
 :whistle
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 03:30:44 PM by awaken_D_M_golem »
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Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2016, 03:17:07 PM »
All the summons are available to bards too.  If only warlocks could up-cast mystic arcanum...

Aasimar might edge out or at least match half-elf for the ideal paladin race, and they offer a ton to every Cha-based class.

Yuan-Ti will get a lot of talk while people don't read actual rulings about what Magic Resistance actually works on.  It's not even close to blanket advantage on saving throws.  Stuff that's not explicitly spellcasting gets through it based on the rulings on dragon breath circumventing Magic Resistance and other such anti-magic features.

I haven't delved into the high CR stuff yet to see if any class with True Polymorph gets a great new option.  The winners so far are druids and the charisma classes.  The benchmark on races is variant human, except for the Cha classes because half-elf actually gains so much versatility if not as much raw early power.  It's easier to contend with half-elf than human because half-elf racials aren't as variable as feats are.

e: The Storm Giant Quintessent stands out as a good True Polymorph target.  It's not too much of a stretch to suggest you could maintain your spellcasting ability in that form.  I need to dig for some rulings about how leveling up works if you True Polymorph.  I have a feeling you would maintain a sheet for your underlying original form to level up since the permanency of the spell doesn't seem to remove the clause where you go back to your original form if you drop to 0 hit points.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 03:25:18 PM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline sambojin

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2016, 10:31:27 PM »
Yuan-Ti spell resistance isn't exactly bad though. Probably nowhere near as good as people think it might be, certainly not compared to Rage resistances, but still nice. Of course, the two together could get silly depending on wording, but open up more barb builds aside from bear at the same time. +2 Cha, 1/day Suggestion is probably the power of the race though. Even with plenty of non-charmable enemies and a Wis save negation, Suggestion is such an amazing spell that if you can get it, you try and use it when you can, mostly in horribly creative ways. It's 5e's Charm Person equivalent, but potentially more open to abuse.


I'll have to buy the book at some point. Because it obviously gives Druids just the bump they needed to be a competitive class in 5e (/sarcasm).

I've been waiting for some more silly stuff to think up, and between Conjure shenanigans and WS interactions, this book seems to have it all :D
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 10:38:46 PM by sambojin »

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2016, 11:56:53 AM »
I'm waiting on a druid player who will actually show me the class is in the same league as wizard or bard, or even paladin or fighter.  It seems the druid's relative power comes from games played with the default array or point buy where most encounters are on the medium difficulty curve below level 8.

Obviously that's the point the game was balanced around, but if you start pushing any of those, the druid seems to lose out since summons and wildshape fall behind the curve a bit.  Higher starting ability scores don't really give any benefit to the bread and butter of druids, wildshape and conjured creatures, but other classes do a good job of converting those into better performance for their level.

I'm definitely in a minority though just by running games all the way to 20.  Most people's assumptions of class power based on sub-10th level play really fall apart in the levels I've actually run, but the usual argument is "no one plays those levels, they don't matter."

To bring it back around to the topic at hand, a lot of the Volo's monsters are really nicely made.  Creatures as low as CR 6 can still be a decent threat in the right numbers to level 11-16 party in the right numbers and won't just die to a single aoe spell, and the book provided plenty more from that CR and up.  The NPC spellcasters are a nice addition and a perfect example of stat blocks that will always be relevant regardless of party level.  The Flind is right around the sweet spot too where it's scary even to a 20th level PC unless the DM has been handing out +AC items like candy.  It's only CR 9 but it can hit plate+shield on a roll of 11, and the flail of paralysis is just nasty since the paralyzed condition turns all successful hits from 5 ft. away into critical hits.  In a high level encounter it's just right to get really scary if it can get advantage from some weaker minion using Help or any of the various control effects in the game, and at 127 HP it will take some focused damage to kill it, barring Meteor Swarm.  All the mindflayers fit in this category too just because intelligence is rarely a high saving throw for a PC.

The Orc Nurtured One of Yurtrus is a neat DM tool too.  It's only 1/2 CR but it releases a cloud of poison that deals 4d6 poison damage to anything within 10 ft. of it when it dies with a Con save for half.  Even if the damage is a bit negligible, it will add up when they're used in sufficient numbers.  The threat isn't really from fighting them after a point, the challenge is to kill them before they get close while engaged in fights with tougher creatures.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 12:23:18 PM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline Nunkuruji

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2016, 11:12:58 AM »
Thank god, in dire need of more monsters. Lacking time to do conversions lately.

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2016, 11:56:26 AM »
Thank god, in dire need of more monsters. Lacking time to do conversions lately.

The 3rd party Tome of Beasts is really good, though it brings back a couple things like variable durations on debuffs and ability score damage that are of questionable value to 5e.  Still, it's a lot less work than doing conversions to tweak those things.
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Offline caelic

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2016, 09:47:59 PM »
Druid's power also depends on how willing the DM is to allow latitude with summons.  If you have a DM who claims the right to select exactly what shows up, the Druid's power drops fairly significantly.  Otherwise, those summons are substantially powerful in a bounded accuracy system.  Swarms of wasps can do a remarkable amount of damage for a third level spell, and of course pixies break the spell slot economy to a remarkable degree.

An overlooked summon option in Volo's is the swarm of rot grubs.   While there's some argument at certain tables over whether a swarm is a valid target for summons, if it IS permitted, this is a devastating tactic for big, stupid monsters.  Dump rot grubs on them, make sure the grubs burrow in, then retreat.  Eventually, the monster WILL die, if it's too stupid to use fire and unable to cure disease.

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2016, 11:08:18 PM »
Generally a swarm is not summonable because its type is swarm, not the type following the swarm label, and no existing spell summons the swarm type.  The alternative explanation is that if it counts as the type of creature that composes the swarm instead of the swarm type, then a swarm exceeds the limitation on the number of creatures the spell summons. 

Both arguments are used to explain why a druid cannot wildshape into a swarm of beasts in 5e.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 11:10:02 PM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline sambojin

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2016, 12:16:11 PM »
Yet references to any 1/4CR animal dictate otherwise for that spell.

WS does tend to state creature, singular. Conjure Animals does not, and almost implies the reverse.

"Swarm of" *Foo* is still just a 1/4'ish CR creature of the Animal type, if you want to look at it that way. In the MM "Animal" block near the end, alphabetically ordered. Kind of like Demons, Devils, Dragons and Undead all have their own block of creatures. There's a Swarm type kind of implied for them, but fortunately they are all still in the group of creatures of the Animal type, in the Animal block in the MM (not even being mini-dino swarms or anything), sitting there looking all 1/4CR'ish. Which is exactly what that spell does. Summons heaps of them. Low CR Animals.

Are Ancient Dragons of the "Ancient" type, totally unrelated to everything else effecting dragons otherwise? There's heaps of different "Ancient" stuff around in the "Dragon" block of creatures there. They've probably even got a blurb in the MM.......

And so are "Ancient" Liches related for spell purposes?


Remember, we've played different versions of D&D. But in theory, other people haven't. RAW, the main volume that new DMs get to reference on how the hell Conjure Animals works, implies that you can summon swarms. Entirely intentionally. Or they'd be in a different block of creatures with a simple edit. Easily.

(not trying to Rules Lawyer this one, I tend to stick on the "no swarms" side too. But tagging a specific and fairly "outside the norm" class ability having implied proof inherent in it of how a particular spell works is bogus proof of RAW or RAI, no matter how silly it is. And against some very vague proof that it actually does work like this doesn't help any, especially considering where they put Swarms in the MM, without a "Swarms are totally different" caveat for new people to the game).
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 01:19:45 PM by sambojin »

Offline sambojin

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2016, 01:59:12 PM »
As an adjoiner to this, it's fortunate that swarms aren't half as good as they look on paper compared to a good many things that you can summon without dispute.

They're not bad, but expect some stuff to "happen" if they end up being too good. There's only so much stuff a Druid can do at once, a Moon Druid especially, and one of the foremost things they do is get hit a lot. So yeah, concentrate a lot, really hard.

By the time you don't care about wasted lvl3-5 spell slots is exactly about the time that you start sucking arse in combat. Which means every slot is vital to you. Because that's your new job.

Swarms don't really pull their weight after level 7-11, maybe not even then, so you should have. already thought of your "better" potential 1hour summon uses by then for those spell slots. Big numbers of dice average out, yes, but they start diminishing rapidly if they're not good combat or strong utility dice that you're rolling.

You do combat better than almost any primary caster as a druid, and toolkit, but you've got some one of the strangest "power-curves" of any class to deal with. Toolkit primary the whole way through with barely a skill to your name, with front-loaded fading mêlée (that you can't cast or concentrate properly in) and average+ casting/support after.

I get where tenaciousJ views the class from. They can't compete in any way (other than early on, where they blast it), but not all raw power gets lost if you know what it is. A bear ain't half of it.

It's more like the thinking-man's skill-monkey, with a side serve of face-tank and a cup of caster on the side. Still not sure why there's still "bigger" bear convos about them half the time. It's fun, but so's a true hybrid caster after 10th, which you'd better be by then. WS=toolkit and the thing that got you there.
 
/drunk 5am Wednesday morning posting
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 02:05:07 PM by sambojin »

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2016, 02:11:11 PM »
The animal block of the monster manual has non-beasts in it, so that placement is not really proof that swarms count for Conjure Animals either.  The Winter Wolf (a monstrosity) is not a legal wildshape or Conjure Animals summon just because it's in that animal block.

There's an actual type line on monster manual entries under their names which matters for considering rules effects.  Swarms list swarm in the spot where every other type of creature has something like fiend, dragon, monstrosity, etc.  Dragons don't list their age category in their type line, so that tangent about ancient dragons or ancient liches is irrelevant.  A swarm of ravens lists "Medium swarm of Tiny beasts" in its type line.  The RAW argument just does not hold up for swarms functioning as something a player can summon or transform into with the current options.  Either it's a swarm, not a beast, or if it emphasizes "beasts" over "swarm", its type line indicates it's more than one beast, so it ambiguously exceeds the number of creatures summoned by the spell.  The number argument is supported by the developer tweets that repeatedly state a swarm isn't a single beast.  Remember, Conjure Animals does not say "X creature(s) of CR Y," it specifially calls out "X beast(s) of CR Y."
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 02:15:07 PM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2016, 04:50:20 PM »
I miss rules lawyering ...  :love  :fu


Caelic - rot grubs
Reminds me of the 4e Mummy, run in hit once retreat wait for dude to die.
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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2016, 01:40:51 PM »
Beholder Gazer is pretty awesome for a Find Familiar.
I'd expect a DM to actually target this familiar in combat.
And they'd have to.


Nilbog (while almost entirely dm fiat) would be
a welcome addition to ANY goblin build.
Screws up healing and tactics, but being able
to spam Tasha's is like Plan 1b for every attack.


EDIT --- near the back in the NPC section,
there's a box about alternative Familiars. 
It includes the BeGazer (above) and a couple
of the Chain'Lock familiar+'s.  They're available
as regular familiars (with the minor level limit).
This is a flat out replacement of Chain, just like
Green Flame Blade cantrip is >>> basic Blade.
'Nother stealth boost to the Warlock.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 05:40:33 PM by awaken_D_M_golem »
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Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2017, 02:36:32 PM »
Beholder Gazer is pretty awesome for a Find Familiar.
I'd expect a DM to actually target this familiar in combat.
And they'd have to.


Nilbog (while almost entirely dm fiat) would be
a welcome addition to ANY goblin build.
Screws up healing and tactics, but being able
to spam Tasha's is like Plan 1b for every attack.


EDIT --- near the back in the NPC section,
there's a box about alternative Familiars. 
It includes the BeGazer (above) and a couple
of the Chain'Lock familiar+'s.  They're available
as regular familiars (with the minor level limit).
This is a flat out replacement of Chain, just like
Green Flame Blade cantrip is >>> basic Blade.
'Nother stealth boost to the Warlock.

https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/725190105451888640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Quote
The familiar variants in the Monster Manual are for monster and NPC spellcasters. PC spellcasters use the PH. #DnD

I think it's reasonable to assume the Volo's rule box is also for NPCs.
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Re: Volo's Guide to Monsters ( Firbolg + more )
« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2017, 03:18:15 PM »
waahhh wambulance time  :(  :tongue  ;)

Holds for npc Tome'Locks now being able to bypass chain and blade.
If that oddball UA npc stat generator is being used, these guys can be quite dangerous.


What about the Yuan-ti variants in the racial section earlier in the book?

Goblins in the goblin section, are also very interesting.
Wild triggering all the time is cray-cray.  Suicide early, too distracting later, maybe a sweet-spot somewhen idk.
'Locks having a mid/high level monster in charge (with a touch of big bad evil master).
1 random 1st level Wiz spell and Whip prof, is rather tasty early ... presumably wizards only.
Dominating dude, is mostly a refluff on the Noble background, but actually useful.

{ insert a slightly undersized evil grin smiley face , stabbing a commoner smiley face in the back }
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