Content of the article: "Applying status effects on key NPC attacks?"
How do you feel about adding in effects like immobilise on NPCs that ordinarily wouldn't stand a chance toe-to-toe with the average PC?
For context, today one of my players decided to pick a fight with a key allied NPC who happens to be a "Dragonborn Bandit Captain" stat-wise, with Cold as her breath weapon. He asked her to go one-on-one in a duel with his level 7 human fighter, and eventually convinced her to do so. (I was reluctant to agree at first since it would probably be a massacre, but he kept pushing so i relented and let him roll to persuade her into a duel).
Now, this seemed like a pretty uneven match-up – level 7 PC versus a CR2 bandit captain (Players don't know this is the stat block i'm using for her). Their hit points were similar, but damage output was leagues apart. My fears were confirmed when in the first round of combat he dropped her to below 50% hp before her first attack.
So I did 2 things in that moment to try and even the odds and make the fight a bit more interesting:
1) I let her use her breath weapon as a reaction to his attacks (kind of like a boss action)
2) I added the immobilise effect to her breath weapon, basically freezing him to the spot and giving her advantage and him disadvantage until he passed a strength check to pull himself free as an action.
Suddenly the fight went from mercilessly beating down an NPC to a closely matched duel, with the fighter using up every single action surge and superiority dice to try and regain the upper hand.
Instead of trying to free himself from the immobilised effect (which would cost him his action to do so), he chose to keep attacking at disadvantage while she chipped away at him while rolling at advantage and scoring crits.
The end result was a lot of nat 1s for him and a lot of nat 20s for her, resulting in him being completely disarmed and knocked unconscious after refusing to yield. It made the NPC look like even more of a bad-ass (the players already held her in high regard and have saved her life a couple of times). The player was kind of salty about it (I think he expected to steam-roll her with his damage output), but the rest of the table enjoyed the duel, even though they were only spectating.
Sooooo… thoughts? Was this an abuse of DM powers? Should I have kept her breath weapon RAW, or was this a good way to add more variety into an encounter with an important but not necessarily super-powerful NPC?
(Edit to mention the fighter is human, not dragon born.)
- I calculated the average damage output of four classic character options accounting for AC over all 20 levels.
- My party is doing too much damage relative to enemy hit points.
- Hemomancy Based Ranger? Homebrew Help
© Post "Applying status effects on key NPC attacks?" for game Dungeons & Dragons Online.
Top 7 NEW Games of June 2020
Quite a few exciting games are releasing for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo in June. Here's what to keep an eye on.
Top 10 NEW Open World Games of 2020
Video games with open worlds continue to roll out in 2020 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and beyond. Here are some to look forward to!
Top 10 Best New Upcoming Games 2020-2021
The best selection of games which will be released in 2020 and 2021 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Google Stadia and PC - and you can watch in amazing UHD 4K and 60FPS with latest updates about all of the games in this list!