Dungeons & Dragons: The Best Monsters From Journeys Through The Radiant Citadel
Dungeons and Dragons: Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel brings adventurers out of the Material Plane and into the fog-bound realm overlapping our world called the Ethereal Plane or "the great ocean." In this misty world floats a city, the Radiant Citadel, which serves as a trade nexus and sanctuary for refugees from across the multiverse. Players take on odd jobs and daring quests in this interdimensional hub before setting off through portals into far-flung corners of realmspace and beyond.
The newest D&D monsters presented in the various adventures found in Journey's Through the Radiant Citadel are wholly unique, chiefly taking inspiration from mythologies and cultures not commonly found in fantasy tropes. From six-legged badgers who snack on gold to a rolling tumbleweed of dismembered limbs, the challenges you face in these new lands are refreshingly abstract yet familiar enough to encounter in virtually every setting.
The spell casting changes to monsters rolled out in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse are in full effect in these adventures.
A Riverine is a physical embodiment of a particular river, so their personalities and alignments can differ based on the river in which they represent. Their upper half looks humanoid, while their lower half is a swirling torrent of water.
For a CR 12 monster, the Riverine seems relatively weak in terms of damage output, but they're hard to keep up with since you're most likely fighting one while in the water yourself. They have Legendary Actions based around mobility and crowd control, but their kit feels repetitive and very "rinse and repeat."
9 Soul Shaker
Comprised of dozens of limbs, the Soul Shaker is a necromantic nightmare that hunts down more limbs to add to its pile. It goes about this task by charming a hapless victim into luring others into its den via the spell "geas." This monster isn't as scary as it looks, but it's a tactically-minded encounter for a low-level party.
Like a Mind Flayer, the Soul Shaker must grapple a target before it can deal decent damage. Once grappling, it can use its Consume Vitality ability to leech health from its target, lowering its maximum hit points and healing for the same amount. It also bursts into a ton of Crawling Claws on death, which is equal parts disgusting and fun.
Wynling's look like Galago's (or Bush Babies) with tiny dragon wings. These adorable fey-creatures protect mountaintops from trespassers by stealing equipment or other mischievous antics. They can be lured away from their domicile with music or candy, so bards may have finally found a familiar.
You most likely won't find yourself fighting these creatures, as they can turn invisible with relative ease, are proficient in stealth, and can use a reaction to gain extra movement to escape an attacker. That said, their low CR makes a gang of them feasible and frightening; maybe even a group of them worships a Faerie Dragon – now that's a 5e plot line!
Aurumvoraxes are six-legged badgers with bright gold fur, which they gain from consuming mass quantities of precious metals, particularly gold. They burrow complicated networks reaching far into the earth in search of these tasty minerals, but they're omnivores, which means you're also on the menu if you get in their way.
These creatures hunt in packs and prioritize armored targets. Unique abilities such as being able to burrow while holding a target in a grapple and healing whenever they attack armored foes make Aurumvoraxes feel uniquely dangerous. Plus, they'll eat your cash, which is either hilarious or infuriating to wake up to after a long rest – depending on which side of the screen you're on.
These fiends take the shape of sickly giant owls, spreading disease on the wind. Most victims of their plague don't survive through the night. Tlacatecolo's can disguise themselves as ordinary owls, so poke your paladin to figure out if the bird you're looking at is what it seems.
Tlacatecolo's Plague Wind ability is a doozy, poisoning the target, dealing massive cold damage, and forcing a constitution save every hour, which, if failed, continues to accrue Exhaustion until the victim dies. Luckily, sunlight staves off the disease.
Haints are spirits who met untimely deaths, gaining the terrifying ability to change their spectral visage into that of the bodily form they had in life. These particular ghosts use this ability to pass amongst the living unnoticed, mistakenly projecting their revenge onto innocents or embroiling others in their quest for justice.
These ghosts have impressive bonuses to stealth and deception, pairing nicely with their Change Shape ability mentioned above, making them excellent role play challenges. Haint's main attack, Sorrowful Touch, does a whopping 4d8+3 psychic damage, which they do twice, and they can incapacitate a foe from sixty feet away as a bonus action.
Pari's are celestials with pale blue skin and two sets of red feathered wings. They can see into the future but tend to judge people before they commit a crime preemptively.
Equipped with True Sight and a triple multi attack with a mace that deals bludgeoning and radiant damage, Pari's are a formidable foe. Pari's also have a handful of cleric spells, high saves, and a unique ability called Disorienting Futures, offering you a look into your future and threatening massive psychic damage. It's probably best to stay on their good side.
Soaring through air and sea, the Bakunawa is a serpentine dragon wielding the power of storms. If it encounters a challenge, it prefers to swallow it whole (as most things its size do in Dungeons & Dragons.)
Some unique traits are swallowing two targets at a time, which deals lightning damage over time and creating lightning strikes as a Legendary Action. Also, unique to the gargantuan-sized family of fifth-edition monsters, the Bakunawa has a fly speed and a swim speed, so the terrain of this fight constantly switches from racing through thundering clouds to diving deep into roaring waves.
Slumbering deep within a volcano's magma chamber is a humongous, fiery axolotl-looking Tlexolotl. It's a force of destruction, but not to worry; it sleeps for centuries at a time (unless somebody wakes it up.)
Tlexolotl's ability Pyroclasm causes it to erupt with fiery rocks and molten liquid. Being close to it deals fire damage, and touching it deals even more, while their massive tail constantly slaps you around, all the while slowly regenerating their health. Fighting a Tlexolotl is like fighting a living volcano; it's fantastic.
Whistlers are pale, tall humanoids but are hard to look at as they are in a perpetual state of rapid motion. They're alien entities from the Far Realm, stalking prey from afar before striking deep into the minds of victims with a seven-tone whistle that can literally never be unheard.
Far realm creatures are always a welcome sight, and Whistler's serves up all the creepy, deadly goodness you come to expect from the furthest reaches of reality. Their rapidly moving visage causes disadvantage on all attacks against it unless you can incapacitate the creature. Still, it can move forty feet, has a melee reach of ten feet, and can teleport twenty feet away as a bonus action, so catching up to this creature isn't going to be easy. On top of all that, its Otherworldy Melody ability affects two creatures at once, dealing psychic damage and imposing the Frightened condition, so you're more likely to be running in the opposite direction.
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