Troglodyte Scout

n.b. Welcome to Troglodyte Tuesday! This is a feature in which I present (or re-present) monsters I have created or adapted for use in my own 5E D&D campaigns, including lore, tips for running them and a stat block. Despite the name, this feature will present monsters other than troglodytes, though the first few weeks will be focusing on a variety of trogs I created in the last year. 

In my continued mission to create more and varied kinds of troglodytes for my remix of N1 – Against the Cult of the Reptile God (which became Against the Cult of the LOAF in HOW I RUN IT issues #1 to #3), I realized something was missing from their collective abilities: ranged attacks. In order to do this I took the stat block for “Scout” under in the 5E Monster Manual and I turned it into a troglodyte. However, when I ran the actual adventure, these ranged attacking trogs did not serve as much of a threat, so for this week’s Troglodyte Tuesday I beefed them up considerably in terms of their ranged abilities and opportunities to do damage. On the other hand, I kept their hit dice/hit points and armor class the same, so they are not that hard to kill if you can target them.

While troglodytes are supposed to be crude creatures who do not do much in the way of crafting, I liked the idea of some of them being driven to adopt the use of bows left behind by adventurers who were killed or fled, and having to repair them and learn how to fashion arrows for them. Yes, technically they are longbows in terms of the rules, but I wanted them to be a little “off” and thus require special training for anyone other than a trog scout trying to make use of them.

The three biggest additions to my new version of this new version of a monster are the opening volley, poison arrow, and pinning fire abilities.

  • Opening Volley is a reaction to the beginning of combat, giving the Scouts a chance to get off one arrow each before the rest of combat. Since it is a reaction, by the rules they cannot use this ability if they are surprised, but I included that in the text anyway as a reminder to the harried DM who might forget in the moment and then inadvertently undermine the advantage that PCs who manage to get the drop on them actually has. As it stands, with their chameleon skin ability, they are more more likely to surprise the PCs than vice-versa. I also wanted this ability to put a little fear into a group of adventurers. Since these arrows do an additional 1d8 hit points of damage, that means that if it is a poison arrow they can do a total of 2d8+2d6+2, for an average of 18 points with one arrow. (Though it also means that a unlucky roll can mean they run out of poison arrows with that first volley).
  • The Poison Arrow ability led me to develop a kind of reverse recharge ability. To be honest I am not a fan of recharge abilities and hardly ever use them as written, instead I use the numbers to suggest how often the monster should be able to use it. Thus, if an ability recharges on a 5-6, I let them use the ability every 3rd round and don’t bother rolling. In this case, I wanted this ability to be limited in some way, but the recharge mechanic did not make sense for an existing but limited resource, but rather than make the DM keep track of a specific number of arrows, the roll after each time it is used determines if the that lot of poison arrows has been used up. I chalk it up to trogs’ typically chaotic demeanor that the number to which they have access may fluctuate wildly. I vacillated on how much additional poison damage these arrows should do, but settled on 2d6 and pumped up their CR by 1.
  • Pinning Fire is an ability designed to manipulate the battlefield and enemy movement, but wanted to both limit it to two or more troglodyte scouts working in coordination and give it the expandability of effecting a larger area the more scouts are involved. I added the advantage to the save for shield bearers in order to give those with shields a slight benefit.

​Below you will find descriptions of the creature, a full stat block, and a link to PDF version of the full description and 5E stat block.

Click here for a PDF version of full description and stat block.

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