• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Monsters of the Multiverse makes it easier to encounter NPCs

ByMary M. Ward

May 30, 2022

Create enemy or friendly non-player characters in Dungeons & Dragons is a great way to add depth to any game. However, creating and finding stat blocks for them is a bit more difficult. Regular creatures have simple stat blocks and abilities that are compact and easy to read and use quickly for dungeon masters in encounters. However, DMs will need to take a different approach with NPCs.

One option is to create character sheets the same way players do. This is ideal for important NPCs with lots of experience to dive into, allowing them to adapt to the party and possibly serve as long-term rivals. However, a much easier route is to use the NPC stat blocks included in every guide. While previous books simplified things with options like Bandits, Commoners, and Veterans,Volo’s Guide to Monsters introduces NPCs that basically use player classes, and monsters of the multiverse updated these. Now, these simple stat blocks have a few key class-related abilities that make ongoing encounters much easier.

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Martial Classes give NPCs standard martial abilities

MdM has a few Martial Class NPCs that are very good at converting or taking class features and making them easy for DMs to use. The Archer is a great generalized NPC to use in place of any class or subclass that specializes in bows, such as a fighter with the Archer combat style. Their abilities are simple, but with his bow (three times per day), the archer can add a d10 to the attack or damage roll of a ranged attack. The champion also models the classic Second Wind fighter ability, allowing him to regain 20 health as a bonus action once per rest.

Martial Arts Adept gives DMs a simplified version of a Monk with his main defense abilities unarmored, higher damage die for unarmed strikes, and missile deflection. This creature is also capable of knocking back or knocking down opponents once per turn after performing an unarmoured strike, which is not an “ability” Monks receive, but is still thematic to their fighting style.

The Rogue is represented by the Master Thief, who receives signature abilities Rogue Evasion, Cunning Action, and Uncanny Dodge. The Master Thief, unlike a Rogue, does not have the ability to deal sneak attack damage. The Assassin of Guide to Volo done, but this has not been updated for MdM.

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Bards and Archdruids provide NPCs with magical class features

As a lower level creature, CR 2, the Bard doesn’t have many abilities. Her main stats are spellcasting (which gives her mostly utility-focused bard spells) and taunt (which puts opponents at a disadvantage). The Archdruid, on the other hand, is a CR 12 creature with a lot more class-focused abilities. This creature is able to cast a forest fire spell from a distance, has access to druid spells, and can shapeshift into a mighty beast or elemental as a bonus action.

Paladins and Priests bring divine abilities to battle

Blackguards are paladins who have broken their sacred oaths. These evil NPCs have typical Paladin abilities such as high armor class, a few Paladin spells, and Smite. They also have a Dreadful Aspect ability, mimicking the Channel Divinity: Conquering Presence from the Oath of Conquest, which scares nearby targets. As for the War Priest, while it looks like it would closely follow the War Domain subclass, it only has general cleric abilities. His Holy Fire ability is somewhat similar to a Holy Flame, but it also blinds the target if a Wisdom save fails.

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Sorcerers and Sorcerers have multiple subclass NPCs

Warlocks and wizards in MdM have multiple NPCs based on subclasses. The book offers stat blocks for warlocks with the bosses Archfey, Fiend, and Great Old One. Each has abilities, reactions, and spells that match the abilities granted to those Warlocks, though interestingly none of them have Eldritch Blast.

Wizards in MdM Make managing spellcasting a lot easier, as there is a Wizard NPC for each of the eight schools of magic. Each has an Arcane Burst, an ability tied to their school of magic, and a list of spells. One of the major changes this book made to Wizards’ strength was to categorize creature spell lists into “At will” and “n/day each” instead of the spell slots of older versions. This made monster and NPC tracking spells much easier for DMs.

monsters of the multiverse does not include direct NPC versions of the Barbarian, Wizard, or Artificer classes. However, a few Aberrations have wizard abilities, such as the Derro Savant who uses classic wizard spells. A DM wanting the abilities of these classes for NPC humanoids will either have to look for them in other monsters or go the long way of creating NPC character sheets.

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