Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons Monster Tactics: Basilisk

The Basilisk has always been a very polarizing monster to throw at the party- literally save or be turned to stone. If the party was at a lower challenge rating they would get rolled without being able to do a thing, at higher levels, with better saving throws the Basilisk becomes a bit easier.

In 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons they have changed the stone-turning process a bit, making it less lethal but still keeping it a threat, especially if the party doesn’t know what they are facing. My first reaction to reading that was a big NO- getting my Dungeons & Dragons start from AD&D I’m used to the game being SUPER lethal, where 1-2 character deaths per game are common. But I have to say, after my first reaction, playing the monster against a few encounters, the change IS for the better. Anytime players feel they are out of control vs. character destine- roll a die and make it or DIE, that tends to take away from the game.

Yes, certain monsters are very powerful, but make them a tougher challenge, or a few steps before you just DIE. Tactically I use the Basilisk as part of another monster group- often a partner with kobolds since they are forced to be smart and sneaky. An example from a recent adventure with a well mixed character class party. They were cutting through a Kobold lair that was well organized and raiding the local area. Arriving at the Kobold king’s audience chamber the remaining Kobolds were putting up a good fight using a mix of ranged and close attacks backed by magic, but the battle was turning.

The players thought it was a lock… “HOODS!” cried the Kobold king in broken common as the remaining Kobold guards and warriors quickly pulled over or put on leather bag like hoods- now fighting blind…

…followed by the King tripping a secret release level, opening up a secret door into the chamber, letting in a pair of VERY pissed off Basilisks.

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