We’ve been having a lot of fun with the dragons from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons in the Coliseum. It’s got some great items, but by far my favorites are the gem dragons.
The problem with regular dragons in D&D 5e is that they are relatively mundane. They don’t have magic weapons. Unless you follow variant rules, they don’t have magic. They don’t have magic resistance. In my opinion, dragons from the Monster Manual are radically underpowered. I’ve had people make the argument that dragons are intended to be hit and run monsters, and shouldn’t be expected to stand their ground in a fight. I can see their point, but I think a dragon should be dangerous.
Gem dragons have magic, exotic damage types, and most importantly, a bonus action teleport. This is key. It makes them dangerous as hit and run fighters. They can mix it up with PCs at melee range while their breath weapon is exhausted and get away without taking an opportunity attack. This is critical especially in case one of your players has the Sentinel feat. The last thing you want is for your dragon to be grounded for an entire turn while your whole crew of players hammer on it.
Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons Has Greatwyrms!
Another solid magical upgrade for your dragons is the Greatwyrm. The metallic and chromatic versions dwarf ancient dragons in power. Check Arcane Lance, newly added to my list of favorite Legendary Actions:
Our pricings for items from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons are here. If you want some monsters that are a little less dangerous and a little more frustrating, check out my blocklist.
You could of course, scour the Coliseum Rules section of this website for the rules, and through the posts for all the great art. But indeed, you would not find every savory bit of content that is contained in these 22 pages of digital information. Nor would it all be so conveniently assembled and formatted for your enjoyment.
So, you might ask, “My Voivode, how much must I pay for this invaluable tome?” I mean, you just said it yourself, this knowledge is truly beyond valuation. But I would take pity on you, knowing you’re just a fledgling adventurer, and tell you that it would cost you naught. Download it for free! Although you can pay what you want, and I, your Voivode, would happily take your money, as it costs a lot to keep the Shieldbeast fed.
Apocryphon of Voivode: Who is it for?
You ask very good questions! Well, in my opinion, it’s for everyone. First off, it’s invaluable for those who would be contestants in the Dungeonsports Coliseum. While our little game is D&D 5e, there are a few additional rules to keep combat interesting. There is also substantial background on the history of the Coliseum and it’s denizens. Perhaps most interestingly, you can find information about becoming a follower of Verasundia or Mechanus, and learn what awards await the faithful.
Dungeons masters will find much of use in these pages as well. Creating combat encounters that can challenge high level PCs can be difficult. At the same time, you don’t want to throw something at your players they won’t be able to handle. Oh, the shame of an unearned TPK! These pages contain my guidelines for creating encounters that will challenge adventurers to the edge of their abilities.
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.
Hello, I’m Voivode, a deranged (others have said it, and I agree) wizard with a giant extra-planar coliseum. When the entrance drops into your part of the planes, why don’t you come on in and join us for a fight or two?