by Mike Shea on 25 January 2010
In previous Monster Optimizations we've looked at the Bodaks and Wights, Shadow Dragons, and Ghouls and Deathlocks. In Today's Monster Optimzation we're going into the high heroic tier with a nasty combination to fit any adventure or location with a touch of the Far Realm. Today we're going to look at the nasty mix of Foulspawn Manglers and Foulspawn Seers. This combination is courtesy of @healingstirge.
Like the Shadow Dragon optimization, it's combat advantage that makes this combination work. The Foulspawn Mangler is a level 8 skirmisher that gains +2d6 damage when it has combat advantage. Unlike PC rogues, there is no limit to the number of times the Mangler can use this extra damage - as long as it has combat advantage, it gains +2d6 damage. It also gains this damage from ranged attacks, assuming it's target is granting combat advantage from range which can often be difficult to receive. That's where the Seer comes in.
The Foulspawn Seer has two different attacks that can grant the Mangler this combat advantage. Warp Orb is an at-will range 10 attack that dazes the struck target. Disorient Blast is a huge close blast 5 that likewise dazes the target. And, as we all know, Daze grants opponents combat advantage.
The nice thing about granting CA with a daze is that flanking is no longer required. The Mangler's "Bone Daggers" attack gives it two ranged attacks in a single standard action. Against a dazed target, this does 1d4+2d6+3 on each hit.
When building out this encounter, it's probably best to put in more than a single seer. A single seer is a lightning rod for PCs but two of them might stand a bit longer. The seers should be hard to reach, perhaps up on platforms or ledges with enough room to use their close blast 5 attacks. Their basic attack can also push 1 square so if the ledge is small enough, they might toss PCs off of it.
Likewise, you might put a pair of the manglers up high and have them ready their actions with the following combination: The mangler readys an action to use "Bone Daggers" on any target within 10 that is dazed by a seer. The seer attacks a target with "Warp Orb". When the orb hits, the mangler triggers and tosses two daggers at that target. If all attacks hit, the target is dazed and takes 1d8+2d4+4d6+9.
To defend your gauntlet of Seers and Manglers, you probably want to toss in some Foulspawn Berserkers or maybe a Foulspawn Hulk. A single Hulk would do nicely to attract the attacks of the party while the Seers and Manglers do their mangling.
So here's your final Foulspawn Gauntlet encounter. This is a level 11 "challenging" encounter designed for a party of level 8 PCs at a total of 3300 exp.
2x Foulspawn Seers
1x Foulspawn Hulk
4x Foulspawn Manglers
The room is a wide hall with a single platform in the center and upper walkways on the sides. There is a nasty foulspawn goo on the walls of the room and the platform requiring a hard DC19 athletics or acrobatics check to climb to the platforms. All four Manglers begin on the upper platforms on the side walls. One Seer might begin on the center platform with the other on the wall. Two of the manglers stay on the walls, readying actions to hit dazed foes while two might drop down to flank with the hulk. The hulk wades into the party attempting to take the bulk of the damage while the Seers and Manglers do their thing.
To scale this battle for six PCs, add two more manglers or another hulk. For seven, add another seer as well as two more manglers but be prepared for a very long battle. To reduce it for four players, remove one of the manglers.
Thus we have another powerful combination that is sure to bring a bit of fear back into your 4th edition game. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Use it carefully!