Content of the article: "Why mindflayers punch above their weight class"
I just ran a ulitharid with some fomorians against my group of 6 level 11 PC's. I've seem them pretty easily destroy a lot of higher CR monsters but wow did that mind flayer work well.
It comes down to the below
The threat of death is more real:
Its hard to kill someone without it looking like you have it out for a player. Multiattacking an unconscious character might kind of sort of make sense for monsters if they see someone coming back all the time, but it requires a lot of circumstances to fall in to place.
In my previous fight, I had a player go down and up 7 times because the monsters didn't have multiattack and there were always a dozen + opportunities for the player to pop back up from the time they went down to the time they might die.
When one player got his brain eaten by the ulitharid, the group seemed surprised that they now didn't have an easy out. The player didn't have 3 more rounds and they couldn't just resurrect him either due to the missing brain. Going to 0 hit points finally had some real consequences.
Its a counter to optimizers:
Intelligence is a very typical dump stat outside of artificers, wizards and a few subclasses. Only one character had intelligence saving throw proficiency and he was the only one who succeeded on the ulitharid's mind blast. A lot of my players had a -1 to int and needed to beat a DC 17. They basically had a 15% chance of beating it each round.
Moreover, the ulitharid has advantage on saving throws against magical effect. So the wizard who made his saving throw had an uphill battle to do anything to the ulitharid.
The best solutions are nonobvious:
I almost never see my players use the push attack, normally preferring direct damage. However, the ulitharid only had +2 strength and pushing isnt magical. Simply pushing a mind flayer as soon as they grapple someone is very effective.
You can use the help action to help people out of stuns.
Grappling the mind flayer and taking the dodge action would work well.
Most creatures are best dealt with by either just beating them up or running control spells. Not the mindflayer.
- DMs, you are not beholden to anything in your notes
- Why don’t Mind Flayers just domesticate humanoids for food?
- Monk’s Stillness of Mind vs Dominate Person Spell
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