Biweekly Monster-Grisgy the Clever

Bandit Leader. Grisgy, a bugbear, has been leading goblins in the area to conduct raids on remote farms for months. He has drawn unwanted attention, however, since killing the last heirs of the declining Howell family. Though they have immediate family seeking revenge, other nobles now see him as a threat.

Blinder Shield.
Armor (shield), common (requires attunement)
Grisgy took this shield from Lord Howell and now proudly uses it.
When using the attack action, you may forgo one of your attacks to activate this shield, causing a blinding flash of light. Creatures within a 10 foot cone must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or have disadvantage on attacks and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight until the start of your next turn.

Grisgy the Clever (Bugbear)
Medium humanoid (goblinoid), chaotic evil
Armor Class: 16 (hide armor, shield)
Hit Points: 27 (5d8+5)
Speed: 30 ft.

15 (+2) 14 (+2) 13 (+1) 8 (-1) 11 (+0) 9 (-1)

Skills: Stealth +6, Survival +2
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages: Common, Goblin
Challenge: 1 (200 XP)

Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the bugbear hits with it (included in the attack).

Surprise Attack. If the bugbear surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 7 (2d6) damage from the attack.

Morning Star.
Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d8 + 2) piercing damage.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) piercing damage in melee or 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage at range.

Blind. Creatures in a 10-foot cone must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or have disadvantage on attacks and Wisdom (Perception) checks until the start of Grigsy’s next turn.

Legendary Actions
Grisgy can take 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Grigsy regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

Healing Potion. Regain 2d4 + 2 HP (one use).
Disengage. Grigsy moves 10 ft. during which he does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Blind. Grigsy uses his blind action.
Hide. Grigsy takes the hide action to get into a hiding place within 10 feet (provoking attacks of opportunity if he leaves a creature’s reach). He makes a Stealth check contested by all enemies to see where he went.
Attack (Costs 2 Actions). Grigsy attacks with either his morning star or his javelin.

Call it lazy, call it focusing on modules, call it an experiment (the Monster Manual monsters seem hard pressed to fit into the guidelines given in the DMG), but I think this year I will instead of developing monsters largely from scratch focus on re-skinning monsters in the Monster Manual. This is a bugbear modified to feel more like a boss monster with legendary actions and magic items.

I am concerned that bugbears might already be a little on the tough side of CR 1 with a high armor class and slightly high attack bonus offset by pretty low health, they can feel frustrating to miss repeatedly. Adding legendary actions might push Grigsy into CR 2 territory, but probably not. I almost dropped the attack as a legendary action and gave him 1 legendary action, but I really like the idea of blinding and hiding. Either way, he should make for a good climax encounter for level 1 characters, or level 2 with some backup.

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