Dungeon 199 - Lords of Chaos: Olhydra and Yan-C-Bin

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DnDi_Large.png  Dungeon 199
Lords of Chaos
Olhydra and Yan-C-Bin
By Michael E. Shea

Since the dawn of time, the princes of elemental evil have ruled over the swirling chaos of creation. Two of the princes of elemental evil, Ogrémoch and Imix, are fully described in Monster Manual 3. This article covers two more of the group in detail: Olhydra, the elemental princess of water, and Yan- C-Bin, the elemental prince of air.

Talk about this article here.

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Nice article and I am always glad to see more Primordial stats (and Elder Elemental Evils at that), but I do have one big question regarding the trait Epic Recovery.  As it is written: 

"Epic Recovery:  When Olhydra starts her turn, any dazing, immobilizing, restraining, slowing, or stunning effect on her ends."

It seems to me that all of those conditions have been essentialy eliminated from the encounter (and it is immune to dominating).  It is basically free of all conditions at the start of its turn.  The PCs can now only stop the triggered action (which has it own protection written it). 

Is this a mistake?  Should it be similar to the Monster Vault's dragon entries and activate at the end of the turn?  I don't mind giving solos protection from all the possible epic conditions PCs can pile on, but I don't like completely nerfing the PCs either.  If Mr. Shae could explain I would sure appreciate it.
Epic Recovery isn't a mistake as written.

Chris Sims, the developer, and I discussed it quite a bit before going forward with the decision to keep it. The main reason? They're Elemental Princes, not typical monsters a group of adventurers, even level 30 adventurers, would face.

This power doesn't completely eliminate the usefulness of those effects as they still prevent the elemental princes from performing OAs off-turn and the princes grant combat advantage until their turn begins.

If a power like this removes powers at the END of a turn, as you state, you have the possibility of the monster being chain-dazed. Olhydra can be dazed, blows a turn, dumps the effect at the end of the turn, and then is redazed for an entire other round by the next character. A level 30 hunter, for example, has the option to daze a creature numerous times in a battle.

Of course, DMs should feel free to modify the elemental princes to suit their group and the threat they want Yan-C-Bin and Olhydra to represent. You might add a damage component to this so status effects convert into damage. You might have them ignore a range of effects during their turns but remain under those effects off-turn. There are a number of options.

But, as level 30+ ultra-powerful primordials, we felt that, in these circumstances, being able to pin down Yan-C-Bin and Olhydra should be very hard to do.

Hope that answers your question!

Mike Shea (yes, the OP transcribed the E and the A)
 
Is it also the reason why they get 3 AP insead of 2 like other Level 1-30+ Solos do ?

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Is it also the reason why they get 3 AP insead of 2 like other Level 1-30+ Solos do ?



I bet the the extra action point is to help compensate for not having multiple turns or an off turn action (like the MV dragons).

Mike Shea (yes, the OP transcribed the E and the A)
 


Sorry about that! 

Thanks you for responding an clarifying the reasoning(and thank you for responding to my email as well).  I definitely see your point.  If you have a moment, I have a question for you regarding the side bar about dieties in the original Draconomicon.  The side bar "The Nature of Dieties" says: 
"Deities always roll saving throws in response to an attack or effect that imposes a condition or deals ongoing damage, even if that effect normally does not allow a saving throw."

Tiamat specifically mentions this trait (and that she gets saves at the end of the turn as normal), but most other gods have a lesser version of it.

My question to you is:  Is this a good technique for mitigating the conditions Epic PCs can burden solos with?  How difficult do lvl 30 PCs make saving throws?  Would an increased save bonus help?

I ask because it seems like a way to differeniate gods from other epic threats and a simple way to control effects and conditions without completely nerfing them.  Just curious about what you think. 

Thank you.
My personal opion here...

There IS no good way to mitigate them because they're simply too powerful and tend to be all-or-nothing effects. Players love to be able to lock things down completely and these powers let them do that. There are many things you can try out but nothing will be as fulfilling as stun-locking Orcus.

I hadn't read the sidebar, that's an interesting thought.

Saving throws when an attack hits can help but it doesn't help if they fail it. They're still locked up for an entire round which, at epic, might be the whole battle.

The other problem are zones which can pin down a monster, stick it in difficult terrain, slow it, and keep it drawn in without even placing a status effect on the monster - hense the immunities built onto Olhydra and Yan-C-Bin.

I've toyed with the idea of a sort of "epic template" that you could put on the baddest bad guys that limit the effectiveness of certain status effects but I couldn't find anything real rewarding.

Anyway, I've played with a whole variety of different ways to handle it and never found anything that worked real well. The best I've seen are probably the dragons in the Monster Vault but you don't want to over-use that power either.
I hadn't read the sidebar, that's an interesting thought.

Saving throws when an attack hits can help but it doesn't help if they fail it. They're still locked up for an entire round which, at epic, might be the whole battle.

Anyway, I've played with a whole variety of different ways to handle it and never found anything that worked real well. The best I've seen are probably the dragons in the Monster Vault but you don't want to over-use that power either.



They used it for the first god, but then watered it down for the rest (it was changed to any effect that allows a save generally by the time Vecna appeared)

I think what you did for the Lords of Chaos seems to work pretty well.  I guess, in genera,l each 30+ epic solomonster might need to have more than one technique to address epic PCs.  Here are the things I try to do with my gods: 

1) Saving throws when attacked,
2) an additional method to remove conditons/effect,
3) a method to metigate multi-attack damage (since we can't just nerf controllers)
4) multi-turn actions (either like MV dragons or full turns)

I hope by putting all of these together that I can make some gods that can last a few rounds.  I then want a different "template" for Primordials and another for Demon Lords 

FYI, I have started a thread in "4e Races and Monsters" titled "Epic Solo Updates - the Gods Project," where I am trying out some of these techniques (I stole a version of your Epic Recovery - hope you don't mind).  You can look it up if your interested.  I'm trying to make interesting end of campaign solos that can last a few rounds with the best and still not completely nerf the PCs.  It is a fine line though.
I enjoyed the article very much, and am thinking that some higher level version of the Temple of Elemental Evil (1e!) will now be in order.

I greatly appreciate that you have come in to explain your reasoning so matter of factly. I agree with you on these limited monsters. you don't want to do it a lot, but sometimes, it's just appropriate. 
So here is a question, how does Epic Recovery interact with Keep Them Close? For those who don't know, Keep Them Clsoe makes any enemy marked by you slowed(but doesn't add slowed as an effect of the mark as I recall). Would it cancel the mark itself since it is the source of the slow or would it effectively circumvent Epic Recovery?
So here is a question, how does Epic Recovery interact with Keep Them Close? For those who don't know, Keep Them Clsoe makes any enemy marked by you slowed(but doesn't add slowed as an effect of the mark as I recall). Would it cancel the mark itself since it is the source of the slow or would it effectively circumvent Epic Recovery?



Do you have that name right?  I couldn't find "Keep them close" in the compendium.  What book is it from?
Do you have that name right?  I couldn't find "Keep them close" in the compendium.  What book is it from?


It's an epic tier feat in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting book.
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Do you have that name right?  I couldn't find "Keep them close" in the compendium.  What book is it from?


It's an epic tier feat in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting book.



Thank you Duskweaver! 

From the text of the feat it does add the slowed condition.  Thus, I would rule that the slowed condition ends at the start of the monsters turn, but I wouldn't negate the mark.  The real question is since the mark is still in effect does the slowed condition return between turns?  I would rule yes, but there is no real effect in this case because the off turn action (the trigger action) also negates the slowed condition.
Fantastic article, more please! I'd also really like to see more epic tier monsters that are not solos or elites or demon/devil/undead. Your approach to epic tier play is great and I'd like to see what you can do to help keep standard monsters interesting throughout epic.
I noticed even though Yan-C-Bin is listed as 1 level above Olhydra, it seems that Olhydra is a lot stronger? It seems like she deals twice as much damage than he does!
I noticed even though Yan-C-Bin is listed as 1 level above Olhydra, it seems that Olhydra is a lot stronger? It seems like she deals twice as much damage than he does!

Olhydra is a brute and Yan-C-Bin is a controller.  Brutes should do 1.25x the damage of other roles.
Yeah but Olhydra does ALOT more...looks like it'll average around 170-200 dpr for the encounter, while Yan-C-Bin does closer to 70-80. She's basically dealing 2.5x more damage than he does.

I mean, sure, if he was like Vecna with at will range 20 attacks, he could be a "legit controller" but his only at wills are basically charge/melee range attacks, his only sort of ranged attack (close burst 10) is an *encounter* power.