Succubus and Incubus: Why Can We Be Friends?

RPG Monster Spotlight: Succubus/Incubus - Bell of Lost Souls
Incubus and Succubus, DMG p. 285

The succubus/incubus is one of the most dangerous low level creatures in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. I spend a lot of time evaluating the combat effectiveness of monsters. For reasons. It took me a while to figure out how to use them well, but they can turn a fight into a nasty mess for you players, as long as the dice roll in your favor.

These nasties aren’t of much use in a stand-up fight. Since they only get one claw attack in they don’t deal a lot of damage. That combined with 15 AC isn’t terrible for a CR 4 monster, but they’re not really heavy hitters.

The true beauty of these monsters is there Charm action, combined with their Telepathic Bond ability and Etherealness. The charm action has a DC 15 Wisdom save, which is pretty good at lower levels. If you can fit few of these creatures into an encounter, you’ll have a pretty good chance at getting at least one party member. From there, you’re going to want to get some distance and dip into the ethereal plane on your next turn.

A Succubus Can be Sooo Charming!

Normally, changing planes would block the charmer’s ability to command the target, but with Telepathic Bond, the succubi/incubi will still be able to direct the actions of the charmed player. In an encounter, turning one ally into a foe shifts the balance of the combat in a major way. And you get to watch the PCs try to hurt their friend only enough to give them a chance at saving without putting their life in danger.

Of course, I don’t think the Succubus/Incubus was supposed to be very dangerous in combat. They work best as infiltrators. In a campaign they can serve as a reason for a leader to have become corrupt and ineffective. They can also turn the party member against each other. Your rogue friend visits a brothel and gets more than he bargained for. Or perhaps your cleric takes some time to meditate in solitude; they come back thinking they’ve really gotten closer to their god. That PCs new friend uses them to lead the party into danger. The fiend then uses Draining Kiss to reduce the maximum HP of the PC in their thrall. Now you go into combat with the party’s cohesion damaged and one of the PC’s badly damaged.

Now get out there and hurt some PCs for me!

Wanna know what other monsters are on my Hotlist? Or, maybe instead of the deadliest you want monsters that provide interesting challenges in and out of combat? Check out my Blocklist.

Colossus of Akros: Fueled by Fire

Colossus of Akros Image
Colossus of Akros, MOT p. 218

The Colossus of Akros from Mythic Odyssey of Theros is the latest addition to the Hotlist. I’ve only had the chance to run this gargantuan construct a few times in the Coliseum, but it has never disappointed.

The Colossus is great on it’s own. It has ranged and melee attacks, both of with a +16 attack bonus. It has a recharging attack that can hit 3 targets and sets them on a fire when the save is failed. It’s 21 AC give it a chance of occasionally not being hit at higher levels. Last but not least, when it dies it showers a 30 foot area around it with flaming-bludgeoning damage.

Colossus of Akros and Friends

But wait, there’s more! When it takes fire damage, it regains hit points. Fire is a relatively common damage type, but even so, you’re players are probably only going to make the mistake of healing it once. After that, the fun is over, unless you stack the deck in your favor a little bit.

Throw that colossus in an encounter with something that does bottomless fire damage. What if the colossus has a flock of red dragon wyrmling that roost on it? They’d be pretty pissed when you disturbed their home, I’d imagine, and do everything they could to stay out of your range while healing the colossus with their loving exhalations. Another option would be a pit fiend or a death slaad that lives in the area. Both have the fireball spell at-will. They could heal the colossus while also hitting the PCs with the splash damage.

Wanna know what other monsters are on my Hotlist? Or, maybe instead of the deadliest you want monsters that provide interesting challenges in and out of combat? Check out my Blocklist.