Harrison Cutts Corner: D&D 5e NPC Sheets MAY

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Below you will find a series of monsters and NPCs for D&D 5e based on some of the miniatures in Chaos Level V. These sheets are designed to let you insert the miniatures into your campaigns with minimal preparation, and include lore, tactics and advice on how best to use these monsters and NPCs in addition to the rules themselves.

Using them as presented is a great way to insert a character into your game with minimal preparation needed, just print and paint the miniature and consult their relevant sheet for all in information you’ll need to add them into your existing campaign or one-shot game. Some of the sheets even come with plot hooks or story beats that might form the basis of a whole session’s adventuring themselves!

The sheets are, of course, just a guideline, and you should feel free to modify any element of them to better suit your game and players.

Happy gaming, I hope you enjoy these characters and monsters!

Contents:

Spitethorns (Treefolk from Codex Universalis): Vengeful woodland spirits that seek to claim recompense in blood for crimes against the forest. Lingering long after they are first summoned, Spitethorns infest the darker corners of the woods, lying in wait for the unwary hunter or bandit unless shepherded by other powerful nature spirits.

Elder Dryad (from Galaad Miniatures): A more powerful fey entity, Elder Dryads watch over swathes of woodland, protecting and nurturing in equal measure. They offer great wisdom to those who show them respect, but when provoked they are a deadly and beguiling force of nature.

Bonecrusher (from Unholy Trinity Miniatures): An unholy terror born of necromancy and dark alchemy, the Bonecrusher is a living weapon forged to fell the mightiest heroes. Look no further for your arch-villain’s greatest tool to challenge player characters at the height of their power! (Includes a premise for a high-level oneshot game)

Dalila (from RN Estudio): A pirate queen and master duellist, Dalila commands the unwavering loyalty of those who plunder the seas. However, the jagged blade she carries is more than it first seems; will your players aid her in uncovering its mysteries, or take its power for their own?

Razbok (from Ronin Art Workshop): An unconventional assassin to say the least, Razbok pursues his quarry with silent strides and powerful swings of his mighty axe. Once hired, his target is as good as dead, even if an army stands between this orc and his prey. Woe betide the party of adventurers with a price on their heads if Razbok is on their trail!

Hill Giant Brawler (Giganti from Cross Lances): What’s more deadly than a giant? One that knows how to fight! The Hill Giant Brawler is perfect for a more exciting wilderness encounter, while the great Giganti himself revels in the city’s fighting pits, ready to challenge any would-be champions in a brawl for gold and glory!

All text © Harrison Cutts 2021. All images belong to their respective owners.

Spitethorns (Treefolk from Codex Universalis Miniatures)

Spitethorns are fast, lithe and prone to acts of sudden and vicious violence against those who enter their woodland dwellings. They are creatures born of malice and nature’s anger, and through their swift and often-unprovoked attacks, they ward the forests and glades of the world from the clumsy, careless and cruel.

A Hunter’s Bane: Spitethorns are created with blood is unjustly or callously spilled on woodland ground, a manifestation of nature’s will for justice. A hunter that kills inhumanely, or without first honouring the bounty of the woods might find themselves pursued by a number of these creatures, hunted in turn with the same lack of mercy or respect. A cutthroat who takes a woodland path as an easy ambush site will soon find themselves wandering into another trap, set upon by a pack of Spitethorns and torn apart in seconds. A blundering troll or ogre might leave such a trail of carnage in its wake that an entire swarm of Spitethorns rise up to avenge the trampled flora and fauna, growing in number until the careless invader is brought down.

A Lingering Curse: If not dealt with swiftly, Spitethorns will linger long after their prey has been justly punished. Over time, and left without a cause, they will grow bitter, coming to regard any that set foot within their woodland borders as a threat, unless great efforts are made to appease them and to respect the forest. Such packs of Spitethorns become a constant danger to the unwitting traveller that passes through their domain, forcing merchants and pilgrims to divert many miles from the forest paths, and armed troops to remain ever on guard against these predatory plants.

Nature’s Cause: Once unleashed, the only way Spitethorns can be tamed is through the command of a powerful (or at least, intelligent) nature spirit, fey entity or druid. Often, Dryads will attempt to shepherd Spitethorn packs that rise within their territory, turning them from indiscriminate slaughterers to more protective and just guardians of nature. Spitethorns under the command of such an entity will follow its instructions without question, which can make them both deadly agents and docile assistants. Many an archdruid will keep a pack of Spitethorns as hidden protectors of their homes while they travel the world, concealed within the undergrowth until an unwary threat wanders near.

Using Spitethorns: Spitethorns can be used in almost any forest area, in a number of roles.

The simplest use is to have them prepared should a player character (or NPC they are travelling with) disrespect the woodlands, perhaps by hunting animals for sport or carelessly felling a tree for lumber, destroying a natural habitat. In such an instance, have a group of Spitethorns (in number appropriate to challenge the party) begin to track the players, and in the near future, launch an ambush from stealth. Once in combat, they should spread their attacks around at first, before beginning to focus on the character that first provoked them (both to achieve their goals and capitalise on the Vicious feature that makes them more deadly when concentrating on one enemy). Once engaged, they must generally be destroyed, unless the character genuinely repents their actions or a Druid or Nature Domain Cleric makes an effort to appease or command them.

Spitethorns also make an excellent low level monster hunt for a more mercenary party. A local settlement might want them vanquished to restore a trade route or to access a nearby resource. Alternatively, a crime boss may have stashed illicit goods in a local wood, only to find that one of their agents provoked the Spitethorns who now make it impossible to retrieve the items. Such a premise rewards a group willing to research their target beforehand, perhaps by consulting with a druid or friendly Dyrad, both to learn the nature of their prey and potentially open an alternative solution to the problem; if that ally can be assisted in taming the Spitethorns, the party need not kill them all and the druid or Dryad gains useful assistance.

Due to their role in a natural hierarchy, Spitethormns can appear alongside a number of other creatures. At low levels, a single Spitethorn might boast control over a number of Twig, Vine or Needle Blights, while at higher levels a pack of Spitethorns might accompany a Treeant, protect a Dryad or druid or even serve Green Dragon or a powerful Fey creature. Spitethorns could also serve as allies or a neutral third party when the players contend with a particularly cruel or destructive creature within the forest, such as a Hag, Venom Troll or any form of Demon or Devil.

Spitethorns in Combat: Spitethorns excel at ambushing their targets unawares, using the terrain to their advantage, and overwhelming a single enemy before turning their attention to others. If possible, Spitethorns should attack from hidden positions, either in thick undergrowth or using their Climb speed to lie in wait in treetops above their enemies. As difficult terrain resulting from plants does not slow their movement, they should ideally attempt to lure their prey into areas of thick vegetation that will hamper movement and block line of sight, allowing them to Hide again with advantage after their initial strike.

With Multiattack and Vicious, they can quickly stack damage on single targets, especially if it is not well-armoured. Typically, this will be the creature that has provoked their ire in the first place, but they may divert their efforts under certain circumstances. For instance, while not overly intelligence, Spitethorns understand the threat posed by fire and will attempt to quickly defeat targets who use it against them. In the case of melee attacks that deal Fire damage, this means they will attempt to keep more than 30ft from the source of these attacks if possible. If the Fire damage is caused by a spell such as Wall of Fire or Flaming Sphere, they will instead focus on bringing down the caster as quickly as possible, breaking concentration as a priority. With low damage per attack, they will achieve this is with a larger number of attacks prompting more individual Concentration checks.

Spitethorns become more dangerous when paired with a Dryad. Their Of Woodland Born ability means the Dryad can freely cast Entangle without affecting the speed of the Spitethorns. Likewise, the Dryad can cast Pass Without Trace prior to the battle to make the Spitethorns even stealthier; in woodland, they will be making Stealth checks with and overall +14 modifier and Advantage, all but guaranteeing that their opponents will be Surprised unless they are incredibly perceptive or have some other way to detect the ambush.

In general, Spitethorns will act as aggressively as possible in short bursts, before withdrawing and Hiding if the battle begins to turn against them. However, when under the command of another creature they will obey its preferred tactics, which could mean forming a defensive line around a flimsy druid or Dryad, or attempting to kill or capture a specific target of interest. If the players encounter Spitethorns multiple times in a campaign, emphasise the difference in behaviour between wild and controlled Spitethorns.

Elder Dryad (from Galaad Miniatures) Spitethorns often find themselves in the thrall of Elder Dryads, woodland spirits of exceptional age and power. While acting largely as Dryads are described in the Monster Manual, Elder Dryads extend their influence over great swathes of woodland, or even entire forests. All birds and beasts heed them, acting as eyes and ears, and creatures such as Spitethorns, Blights and Treeants act as armies under their command, a force rivalling that many monarchs and great lords can muster.

Elder Dryads are rarely roused from the deep slumber that keeps them in constant communion with the flora and fauna of their domains. Generally, they will only wake in the face of some great threat or need, and even then they sit behind an alliance of all the creatures of their woodland homes, safe from all but the most deadly assault. If an Elder Dryad is directly imperilled, she will extend her bewitching powers to those who enter her lair, turning the strongest of arm and weakest of will against their allies, setting wild beasts on her attackers and even calling the earth and water to life in defence of her protected realm.

Fortunately for the unwitting interlopers, the Elder Dryads possess the wisdom to judge fairly when remorse is shown for unwitting actions or efforts are taken to make amends. If an enemy is defeated or surrenders to her mercy, an Elder Dryad will soon find some task for them that will let them repay their debt to the woods; where lesser fey spirits can be petty and merciless when wronged, Elder Dryads see the full picture that every life paints, and will destroy only as a last resort, offering all but the most destructive a fair chance at atonement.

Bonecrusher (from Unholy Trinity Miniatures)

Forged in fire and moulded from flesh, the Bonecrusher is among the most deadly weapons in the arsenal of the accomplished Necromancer or Conjurer. From the moment its colossal form is imbued with a base form of sentience, it exists to hunt, to trample, to pursue a single objective with relentless determination and no heed for pain or mercy.

Not Born But Shaped: The Bonecrusher is formed from a dozen component materials, each a trial to obtain. Dark metal tempered in the rivers of The Hells; the flesh of a giant, pulverised until it is a formless mass ready for reshaping; Dragon’s teeth; the souls of a dozen heretics. All these and more must be gathered before its evil master can even begin to create a Bonecrusher through occult and sinister rituals lost to time. It is a process as rewarding as it is arduous, however, for at its end stands a living weapon capable of crushing city walls, holding its ground against a hundred soldiers and contending with the greatest heroes of the age. Utterly subservient, the Bonecrusher has only will enough to see its master’s orders fulfilled, and will perform its duties until its form is completely destroyed.

The Hero-Killer: The first Bonecrusher was formed to slay the mightiest heroes that opposed a cruel wizard of ages past, and it is in this role that the mighty and terrible creature excels. Blades may pierce its flesh, but all but the most powerful will leave no mark. Its armour of infernal metal turns away spells on contact, and its mind is an iron fortress filled with single purpose, unable to be charmed, dissuaded or reasoned with. It is for this purpose that the rites that birth a Bonecrusher are so eagerly sought by the would-be masters of the realms, for so many times have such schemes been undone by the heroes that inevitably rise up to oppose them. To command a Bonecrusher is to possess a weapon tailor-made to destroy such heroes, leaving them as little more than footnotes in the pages of a dark and glorious history.

Bespoke Evil: While all Bonecrushers are formed from the same powerful components, those who create them often alter the ancient formulae and arcane rituals of creating such a creature to better enforce their will on the world they seek to rule. Such alterations are risky, for a slight miscalculation can leave the Bonecrusher a motionless mass, or a raging beast fully devoid of purpose or thought, but to the villain at their zenith, the temptation remains to twist and reshape the process and bring forth a tool uniquely suited to crushing their most implacable foes. Thus, no two Bonecrushers are truly alike, and the array of abilities they have possessed over the aeons are as vast as the range of heroes that have stood against them.

Using The Bonecrusher: The Bonecrusher is an incredibly powerful creature, able to shrug off damage from mundane weapons and deflect simple magic with ease. It is also something only the most powerful of necromancers, liches, devils or other such villains could create, and thus its ideal place in a campaign is as the most powerful minion of the game’s true villain. It should be reserved for high-level play, and introduced as the chief weapon of the party’s greatest enemy, tailor-made to stop them from thwarting the archvillain’s schemes.

When choosing to use a Bonecrusher, the statblock presented is only the starting point for how an encounter with this creature should be designed. Included below are a number of ‘add-ons’ to the base statblock that allow you to customise it to better suit the player characters you are pitting it against, adapting it to your specific party composition and player tactics. Keep in mind, however, that it was created by the villain to crush these heroes, and as such, should only be adapted based on information that villain possesses. For instance, if your party wizard has recently acquired a Staff of Fire and the villain does not know this, it is probably unfair to give the Bonecrusher fire immunity.

Keep in mind that a battle with the Bonecrusher should be tough and tactically challenging, but not unfun. As such, it is unwise to design it specifically to counter a signature move or spell of one of your players if that will then leave them without other interesting options for the fight. This might be your villain’s deadliest weapon, but it is also deployed when the heroes are at their zenith, and thus, it should not stop them from ‘showing off’ every cool feature, spell or item they have spent the entire campaign gathering.

The villain working to create a Bonecrusher could form a series of sessions in and of itself, with the players racing to thwart them gaining the necessary components over a series of battles culminating in a desperate scrap to halt its construction. Conversely, a defeat at the hands of the Bonecrusher offers the perfect setup for the party to fall back, gain new magic items and level up before facing it again, using the second battle to show how they’ve grown since their loss. If you are planning such an arc, make sure the party know that they can (and should) flee the first encounter, as if they stubbornly refuse to back off, what should be an epic revenge story instead become an unceremonious TPK. If you don’t think your players will enjoy a fight so clearly stacked against them, it is perhaps better to have them battle the Bonecrusher only once, on a fairly level playing field.

Customising The Bonecrusher: The Bonecrusher is created to battle a specific set of heroes. When planning a Bonecrusher encounter, consider adding the following abilities or features to the presented Statblock. Adding any more than two of these should increase the Bonecrusher’s CR.

Enhanced Plating: The Bonecrusher gains two Resistances or one Immunity.

Imbued Haste: Once per day, the Bonecrusher may take an additional Weapon Attack on its turn.

Immolate Heart: The Bonecrusher’s molten heart explodes on death. When it is reduced to 0HP, each creature within 100ft must succeed on a DC20 Dexterity Saving Throw or take 28 (8d6) Fire Damage, or half as much on a success. Objects and non-magical items within 100ft that aren’t being worn are set on fire.

Scream Skull: When a creature that the Bonecrusher can hear within 30ft casts a spell using Verbal components or grants a Bardic Inspiration die, the Bonecrusher may use its Reaction to blast the creature with a scream of white noise and drown out the sound. The creature must succeed on a DC15 Constitution Saving Throw, failing to cast the spell or grant the Bardic Inspiration. The Spell Slot or Inspiration die is not expended if this happens.

Shadow-sight: The Bonecrusher has Advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks, and gains Blindsight to a range of 15ft.

Warrior Discipline: The Bonecrusher gains the Sentinel, Mage Slayer or Savage Attacker feat.

Veil of Shadows: Once per day as a Bonus Action The Bonecrusher can become Invisible until the start of its next turn, or until it takes a Legendary Action. 

Oneshot Idea: The Terror Lost and Found:

Given the high power and the epic villainy needed to create a Bonecrusher, it can be hard to use if your campaign is not yet nearing the highest levels of play. However, the Bonecrusher can also form the basis of a high-level one-shot game, cantered around a battle with one such monster from ages past.

***

“For centuries, it has slumbered, lost beneath the earth and swept away in history long-forgotten. Now, for reasons few can guess at, a Bonecrusher has awoken from its slumber and begun to terrorise its new domain, carrying out some final order from its former master even in this new era.

It heads with relentless purpose towards the city of Gilderspire, its motive unknown, its objective impossible to discern. A hundred men-at-arms have already fallen to it, and the city lies all but defenceless. Desperate to stop the monster’s rampage, or at least buy time for a panicked evacuation, the heroes of the realm have been summoned and given a single task: kill the Bonecrusher.

However, this is not so simple as halting the beast, for in its wake come hordes of scavengers, cultists worshipping this new power and even other mighty creatures that would challenge the Bonecrusher for dominance. To halt it, the heroes must battle through an unfolding apocalypse, cutting their way to the Bonecrusher itself and hurling their every effort into ending its destructive march. If they fail in this attempt, not only will the Gilderspire be turned to ash, but the world will have lost its best chance to defeat this unholy machine.”

***

Running this oneshot is a great excuse for the players to cut loose with high level characters, and for the DM to throw in all kinds of monsters and villains among the horde that follows the Bonecrusher. The premise is simple, but open to a number of creative approaches if the players are interested, such as finding allies among the creatures also threatened by the rampage, or concocting a plan to halt the Bonecrusher without having to destroy it. For extra flavour, pick a couple of the add-ons at random rather than tailoring this Bonecrusher to your party, as it was formed to fight the heroes from a bygone era whose skillsets might be entirely different.

Dalila, Terror of the Crimson Coast (from RN Estudio)

Background: Dalila has earned her reputation as a merciless and cunning pirate queen, and the vast wealth that accompanies such a standing, through a long and bloody rise through the ranks. Captain after captain have fallen to her, and never through skulduggery or deceit; instead, it is proudly proclaimed that she has defeated every challenger in fair, honest single combat, leaving many a ship’s deck or sandy cove crimson in her wake. None have dared oppose her for many years now, fearful of this master duellist and her crooked blade.

What is not known, however, is that Dalila’s sheer skill is only half of the reason for her unparalleled success. The rest comes from her magical blade Morrigan, gifted to her by a djinn of the depths as she sank, all but drowned, after her first crew mutinied against her. With this sword in hand she rose again, and began a violent vendetta against her treacherous crew. Time after time, she seemed to pull victory from the jaws of defeat, cutting down her opponents even when it seemed her own demise was imminent. Rumour began to spread that the blade was more noteworthy than its wielder, but this tale was ended with its tellers, upon the jagged edge of Morrigan.

Now unchallenged as admiral of a grand pirate fleet, Dalila’s efforts and vast resources turn to discovering the truth of her blade, and the enigmatic words spoken by the water spirit that granted it to her: “Lucky is she who holds this blade awhile, but luck and time may both run dry…”

Using Dalila: Dalila is easiest to insert into a campaign with a seafaring theme, as leader of a powerful faction or as a lone adventurer questing to discover the nature of her magical weapon. She can fit in at almost any level of play, though she should at least be powerful enough that her reputation is believable. She could be a Fighter, Rogue or a Warlock of the Hexblade or Fathomless Pacts, or any combination of these classes depending on what best suits your game. She should generally have a sizeable crew both as a show of power and a defence against players who would consider a quick assassination. If the players do consider her hostile, have another NPC tell them of the rumours about her blade, and allow the players to chase this as a lead towards defeating her. When challenged, she will always prefer to fight in single combat, and any attempt to incite a larger brawl with her crew will prompt her to stay back from the fighting as much as possible, waiting for a chance to duel one opponent.  If and when she is defeated, be sure to let the players get hold of Morrigan if they wish to, and prompt them to investigate the blade’s legend further if a particular player makes use of it. Keep the Cursed aspect of the blade secret until it is properly identified or learned about.

Razbok. The Brutal Edge (from Ronin Art Workshop)

The Assassin Uncloaked: At first glance, few think of Razbok as an assassin, judging him solely by his thick-set form and enormous weapon and assuming that he would be best suited to the fighting pits of city underbellies, or the front lines of a war. Nonetheless, among the rebels, anarchists and dark orders of the land, it is for exactly this grim trade that he has earned a reputation.

True enough, Razbok eschews the hidden blades and subtle poisons of his competition, but his bloody work is no less precise. Where a more cautious assassin might use subterfuge and speed to bring down their prey, Razbok simply stands his ground, calling out the name and crimes of his victim before beginning a slow, measured and confident stride towards them. Those who stand in the way are quickly dispatched without flair or passion, and the orc will pursue his quarry without tire until his might axe cleaves their head from their shoulders. All the while he is silent, unflinching and all but unstoppable.

Many have fallen by his blade, from spineless kings in high towers to vicious crime lords in subterranean warrens. New nations have risen and ancient empires fallen by the stroke of his axe, but to Razbok the cause is irrelevant. He will kill without remorse for the right sum of coin, then disappear as carnage follows, passing back into the shadowy corners of legend. Many have guessed at his true motives, whether he kills to avenge a great wrong the world dealt him, or to tally skulls for a cruel god, or whether he simply lives in quiet luxury well on the hefty sum of gold his contracts accrue. Whatever his goal, two things are true. Razbok has never failed to take a scalp, and if the price on your head is right, he is already on his way…

Using Razbok: Razbok is the perfect curveball to throw at a party tasked with protecting an important figure, as his methods immediately subvert the expectations of such a duty. Players will be checking shadows for cloaked assassins, and testing any food or drink for poison, and their paranoia will only grow as they find nothing. When it reaches its height, a towering orc appears, roaring the name of their charge and beginning a Terminator-like onslaught towards them. Suddenly, a game of cat and mouse becomes a desperate running battle, and the players must choose between standing and fighting to try and delay this unstoppable force, or attempting to flee with his target.  Silent, relentless and bloody, Razbok is as much horror movie monster as he is a skilled combatant, and makes a great way to engage players more keen on straight fights than subterfuge and secrecy while playing an intrigue-heavy game.

His true motives are left intentionally blank to allow him to fit more easily into your world, perhaps revealing a greater threat or hinting at some hidden faction when defeated. Likewise, it is just as useful for him to remain mysterious and unlinked to any major plot points, becoming a recurring villain simply by his role as a weapon for hire; this time, the players are protecting some baron or envoy, but as their reputation grows, they may find Razbok coming for them directly at the behest of the campaign’s antagonists…

Hill Giant Brawler (Giganti from Cross Lances)

While most Hill Giants are dumb brutes, swinging uprooted trees as clubs and hurling boulders wrenched from the earth in battle, there as some among them who attain a level of martial prowess through strength and skill combined. While they are no smarter than their kin, Hill Giant Brawlers possess a keen understanding of their own size and strength and fight with a measure of control others lack.

Grab and Hurl: Eschewing primitive weapons, Hill Giant brawlers instead fight unarmed, their meaty hands serving to both batter their foes and to grab smaller creatures from the battlefield, hurling them into their allies or using them as makeshift bludgeons. To fight a Hill Giant Brawler is to constantly match their strength with acrobatic or athletic prowess, or else find yourself flung across the battlefield or slammed into your fellow warriors.

Surprising Showmen: The skill possessed by Hill Giant Brawlers makes them the envy of their less-practiced brethren, and they do not ignore this fact. When fighting alongside other giants, or against particularly hardy opponents, a Brawler will often taunt their opponents with feats of strength, or flex their enormous musculature to intimidate friend and fie alike. Before battle, they will adorn their hulking forms with trophies taken from their enemies, and hang skulls by the dozen on long, matted ropes. When faced with the chance to wrestle an enormous beast or mighty warrior, and especially another giant, they will focus on little else until they have proven their strength in the most gruesome and showy manner possible, paying little heed to their surroundings.

The Great Giganti: While many Hill Giant Brawlers are hunters or beastslayers of some renown in the wilds, the Great Giganti has lived an altogether less rural life. Where his fellows might roam mountaintops or stalk acres of woodland, he is a common fixture in the city’s fighting pits, where he has achieved both great wealth and fame as a gladiatorial combatant.

These days, Gigangti’s bouts are rare, but always a spectacle; the games’ organisers spare no expense in wrangling all manner of beasts for him to battle in the arenas, from enormous wyverns and chimeras to throngs of kobolds or goblins. On occasion, he will even fight a party of adventurers or mercenaries in high-stakes bouts that are as much a performance as a brawl, and in which both sides stand to make a great deal of coin, win or lose.

None are quite sure how a Hill Giant came to live comfortably in the midst of a thriving metropolis, but nonetheless the abode Giganti dwells in is nothing short of a mansion, many of its floors and walls knocked through to accommodate both his immense stature and the equally large hoard of treasure he has amassed as winnings.

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