Rachel and I both DM separate Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. In an effort to improve our knowledge of D&D monsters and fight more creatively, we decided to challenge each other to a duel.
Vrock vs. Drider
Challenge Rating (CR) 6
The setting: A 100 ft long section of a shady forest.
Our battle begins when Razorbeak the Vrock stumbles into a dark patch of forest claimed by Helob the Drider. Helob hides, readying an action until Razorbeak is within range. When the vrock is 30ft away, Helob casts Bane! Razorbeak responds with the single use action Stunning Screech.
Side note: both of these actions would have been more effective if Helob had companions. Stunning Screech would have affected the whole group and Bane, as we will see, is less effective when you are fighting an enemy alone.
The screech leaves Helob without movement or any useful actions, so the vrock gets a second turn, swooping in with its beak and claws. When he is able, Helob responds with his sword, clasped in two hands to deal maximum damage. The vrock has greater movement, but with no ranged attack has to keep swooping in. The drider, on the other hand, can switch between sword and bow as needed.
On one swoop past Razorbeak releases a cloud of Spores, gross. The spore release becomes a feature of the vrock’s tactic for the next few rounds, and it is quite effective when Helob finally fails his constitution saving throw and takes poison damage. He takes that damage again at the start of each turn until he makes a successful save, a couple of bad saving throws are what turn the tide of this battle.
Up to this point, the drider had the upper hand with three attacks per turn compared to the vrock’s two. Hello is landing more hits, and thanks to an AC of 19 he is able to dish out more damage than he is taking. This would be especially true if the vrock were not immune to poison since the drider deals additional poison damage on top of the damage done by his weapon.
Choking on Spores each turn, not even two natural 20s can save the drider. It is a close match! The vrock only has 13 HP when the drider finally falls, its legs curling inward, its face twisted and riddled with spores.
Tricia aka Razorbeak the Vrock
This time, I chose a vrock so that I could have a flying monster after my struggles running a Vampire Spawn against a Cambion. This made it easy to swoop in on the drider and get away each turn. However, because the drider had long-range weapons, this wasn’t as big of an advantage as I had hoped. I liked this fight because it truly felt equally matched – my vrock was easier to hit (AC15) but took less damage (cold, fire, lightning, bludgeoning, slashing, piercing resistant), whereas Rachel’s drider was more difficult to hit (AC19), but if I did, the vrock’s attacks hit hard. The vrock’s Stunning Screech felt a little bit wasted against a single opponent. I would love to use it against a party of adventurers and cut through an entire round of attacks. Perhaps I will…heh heh.
Rachel aka the Drider
I chose to use the spellcasting variant from the DM manual, but I found the spells did not really help me in this fight as they seem to be geared towards pre-combat or are only effective against humanoids (hold person is not the same as hold monster). I thought casting Bane early would give me a nice advantage on top of an already beefy AC19 but with no one else around to draw my opponents attention I found that the spell ended quickly when my concentration was broken by taking damage. Essentially I had the choice of foregoing attacking to maybe avoid taking damage for a round or two; the better option seemed to be charging in with the sword.
Two of the drider’s attacks deal additional poison damage and with the vrock’s immunity to this extra damage, the edge was taken off my monster. Six of my attacks would have dealt an additional 4 points of damage…with only 13 HP deciding the fight, that was important. Lesson: immunities and resistances matter.