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D&D: ‘Phandelver and Below’ Gets Freaky With Far Realm Fanatics

3 Minute Read
Sep 6 2023

Phandelver and Beyond: the Shattered Obelisk comes out soon. And today we’re looking at one of the eldritch horrors awaiting within!

With less than two weeks to go until the release of Phandelver and Below: the Shattered Obelisk, we’re taking a look at what makes this module so eldritch. A big part of it is the “cursed vibes befalling a small town.” But this new module takes a fantastic approach.

It’s enough to make a DM miss templates. Because the Mutates in Phandelver and Below are a fantastic way for a DM to jump in on the fun. They’re a great example of how to take the familiar and remix it for more unique combats. If only WotC had included a way to make Mutates of your own. Still, there’s a lot to learn just from looking at what they do.

Phandelver and Below: Mutates and Zealots

Phandelver and Below introduces a whole new category of monsters known as Mutates. Mutates are creatures who have been exposed to the strange energy of the Far Realm. Bathed in this reality-warping radiance, these creatures are rewritten, and given new abilities and physical characteristics.

And here’s the thing. Not all of these creatures are unwilling transformations. Some creatures deliberately seek out and change themselves. Cultists and those hungry for power that they might wield it over others.

There are several varieties of Mutates. In Phandelver and Below there are three different mutates, though a fourth is stealthily present. The first two are creatures who have always sort of been on the edge of what it means to be an Aberration: Cloakers and Otyugh.

The Cloaker Mutate is plenty potent. It takes the normal Cloaker statblock and turns the dial up to eleven, giving it a new attack called Corpse Swipe that lets it prevent creatures from regaining hit points.


But the other star of the show is the Humanoid Mutant, which is just a person who has become an eldritch thing. They gain a fly speed with webby, body horror wings, and gain the ability to deal psychic damage with melee and ranged attacks, as well as a pretty cool reaction that puts them out of range of melee strikers.


But while these Mutates are great, it feels like the “make your own Mutate” section is sorely missing. Especially considering that this is a campaign meant to let players really explore, this could’ve been a great tool to play with. Even so, there’s a lot to be gleaned from these stat blocks. It just means that your DM will have to do the work of reverse-engineering these or homebrewing up their own Aberrant additions to the Monster Manual.

Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk releases September 19th!

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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