Hot off the internet, we’ve got a look at nine different monsters from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, as featured in an upcoming tie-in adventure–kinda like they did with both Xanathar’s and Volo’s Guides. So come see what foes lurk beneath–and spring them on your unsuspecting players today.
Or, y’know, whenever your usual gaming day is. Mine is Sundays, regardless, these eight monsters make an excellent addition to any encounter. As with many of the monsters in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, the monsters do tend to skew a little higher in terms of CR. Especially given that the preview adventure is set for 9th level characters and takes you across the planes. But you can find out more about that later.
For now let’s dive into the monsters, brought to you via Reddit user CritHitLights
First up we have the Allip, whom you might recall from the Nightwalker fight on Mordenkainen’s Mayhem. This is a CR5 creature that is especially nasty with its resistances to and immunities to more common energy-based attacks. Plus it deals a respectful 4d6+3 psychic damage with a hit, but more importantly, it can cause clustered foes to attack themselves, burning both their reactions (painful) and hit points. And it comes with an AoE stun–an excellent controlling monster.
The Duergar Warlord beefs it up by powering up his allies. With a group of Duergar around, the Warlord can use Call to Attack to give his allies extra attacks, which is especially nice when you realize that the Call to Attack does not otherwise break his hour long, rechargeable Invisibility. He’s also got decent weapon damage which can be further improved when he Enlarges.
The other half of the Duergar one-two punch. A bruiser Duergar who is tough to hit, and who can dish out decent damage with each attack–and with a reliable advantage (or at least without disadvantage while in the sunlight). Enlarge for more damage, and suddenly you’re dealing two attacks with an Enlarged King’s Knife every round with advantage–which can really help these Duergar punch up. Or just run a couple of Warlords in tandem and have one calling to action, while the others pile on multiattacks every round.
Then there’s the Eidolon, which manifests in this edition as a malevolent, undead spirit that can possess a sacred statue and animate it, taking control of it and turning it into a hard-hitting construct, shown here.
It punches like a freight train–but it does deprive you of the Eidolon’s powerful fear aura. It is very difficult to chew through though with all of its resistances.
Last but not least, my favorite category of monster (because who doesn’t love it when the monsters get that much more cosmic). Seriously excited to see these guys back in the game.
First up is the Mangler, which is a fantastic example of an ambusher that can still retain its threat. Flurry of Claws during a turn where it has initiative over the rest of the party (or has caught them by surprise) means that it will likely put some serious hurt on an unwary target.
The Star Spawn Hulk is a hulking brawler on its own, but it hits even harder and extends the threat of the Star Spawn Seer:
The biggest combos can happen with either the Psychic Orb (which it can attack twice with), essentially using the Star Spawn Hulk as a nexus for its psychic damage, making it an AoE centered on a large creature for extra range. And then there’s the Collapse Distance, which is both amazing as a control spell in its own right, but it can act as a cascading psychic damage if you teleport a hulk (or a target) into a nest of others and PCs. The gift that keeps on giving.
I’m excited to see these monsters getting a little more complex, tactically. It’s building off of a trend we saw in Volo’s Guide and even seeded in the Monster Manual. There are a lot of monsters that work well together, which–as Jeremy Crawford likes to say–help emphasize the story of an encounter with solid mechanics. I definitely can’t wait for Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.
In the meantime, Happy Adventuring!