Posted by : David Guyll June 04, 2009

I've...never heard of fell taints until now, but from the sounds of a few Wizards.com threads I guess they existed before, and were possibly really annoying/dangerous? Fell taints are like psychic jellyfish that make claims to having no mouths, though the art says otherwise. They dont ingest solid matter, instead just draining psychic energy from their victims.

Since all fell taints can fly, this can make it a bitch to run in combat. The article recommends ensuring that they are always 1 square above ground to make it difficult to get flanked, but if they like ranged attacks to stick to cover when they can. I might have to pick up some of those elevation indicators.

There are six monsters to be had here, all clumped within a similar level range to make sure you can build a few very thematic adventures. They are aberrants, which works for me since I was kicking around a Songs of Erui adventure that relies heavily on that origin. This should tide me over nicely for the first few levels, yes indeedy.

A darter is a basic level 1 skirmisher that deals lots of psychic damage and can prone you. Its really fast and hard to peg with opportunity attacks, and enjoys using a coup de grace on unconscious targets. To make things worse, it regains all its hp if it manages to actually kill kill a target.
Drones, on the other hand, are level 1 minion lurkers that have an "extra life" mechanic, so might end up taking two hits to bring down. They can feed on unconscious targets as well, but only gain temp hp and dont auto-crit them.
Defiants are level 3 soldiers that generate an aura that makes it hard to hit anything but defiants, but otherwise function in a very identical manner as the darter.
Now, the ripper is a really twisted bastard. Each time it successfully hits you, you take an increasingly larger amount of damage. The damage resets on a miss, so I'm glad its a brute. Oh, it also has the auto-crit-hp-healing ability.
Thought scourges manage to add quite a bit of complexity, which makes sense since its a level 5 solo controller. Its got threatening reach, a melee attack that it can reduce the damage on in order to auto-hit an ally close by, a close blast that deals ongoing psychic damage, and a non-damaging slide attack that it can use whenever you miss it with a melee/ranged attack. Very nice.
Void callers, on the other hand, do the controlling bit differently than their solo counterparts. They are level 6 elite controllers that can take damage in order to summon fell taint drones. They also have a recharging encounter power that lets them summon any fell taint of level 4 or lower. Otherwise, they have a lot of slowing attacks.
And finally we have the wisp. Its a level 2 lurker leader that deals extra damage with combat advantage and can burn its insubstantial feature to deal psychic damage to anything that hits it, while at the same time healing all of its allies within 5.

I went into this article expecting to be fairly underwhelmed, though at the end I was really satisfied with the mechanics and theme. I'm a fan of Lovecraftian stuff so color me biased, but overall its very interesting, concise, and (most importantly) useful.

Kudos to N. Eric Heath.

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