Lord Sebastian is a vampire. Like any vampire, he needs to feed to survive. Blood.
Drag-and-drop supplements are increasing in popularity these days. I recently had the opportunity to take a look at Jetpack7’s Masters and Minions: A 5th Edition Supplement. This 5E supplement is centered around this growing trend of reducing prep time for gamemasters and contains encounters for player characters levels 1 through 20. This supplement originally funded on Kickstarter on December 8, 2017, and first shipped out to backers in mid-2018.
Condition and appearance – The book arrived in excellent condition with no visible dents or dings. I was honored to receive a limited edition printed copy of the book and it is stunning. The limited edition has alternate cover art featuring Lord Sebastian, the Undead King, (shown below) and will cost you $75. This is a step-up in price from the $30 original print version or the $15 .PDF-only option. But, as with just about everything in life, you get what you pay for and the limited edition print makes an excellent addition to the RPG library of any collector.
Lord Sebastian – Although, this supplement features 15 detailed villains organized by suggested player character level, Lord Sebastian, the Undead King (or Vampire Lord – depending on who’s asking), is a solid choice for the featured cover art. Like each of the villains contained in this supplement, the five pages detailing the Vampire Lord are filled with extraordinary full-page color art, detailed lore, backstory, stats, abilities, role play tips, character traits, and suggested loot.
Lord Sebastian packs a punch and is recommended for player characters that are levels 12 through 14. Despite his limitations that primarily stem from his blood requirement (he must maintain a pool of points known as his bloodwell or he becomes exhausted and helpless), Lord Sebastian has an assortment of vampiric abilities.
One of these abilities is, Shapechanger – if Lord Sebastian isn’t in sunlight or running water, he can use his action to polymorph into a tiny bat or a medium cloud of mist, or back into his true form. Or, Legendary Resistance (3/Day) – if Lord Sebastian fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead. He can also use Misty Escape to transform into a cloud of mist when he drops to 0 hit points outside his resting place. Additionally, Lord Sebastian regains 20 hit points (Regeneration) at the start of his turn if he has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight or running water. And finally, Lord Sebastian can use Spider Climb to climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check. On top of these abilities, Lord Sebastian has a number of legendary abilities and also (as is the theme of this supplement) has the capability of raising an undead army of “Gaunt” follower minions that support, sustain, and serve him at his whim and need. Of course, Lord Sebastian is not without his weaknesses and is subject to some of the more traditional vampiric vulnerabilities.
Other Villains – Lord Sebastian is a highly-detailed, deep villain character that is easily dragged and dropped into any campaign. Each unique villain contained in this supplement follows this same design. Another notable villain is Grissek’k, The Orc Queen. Some questioned her skills and courage for acting so unlike an orc. But those orcs are dead now, and the Orc Queen has remained on the throne—longer than any could have predicted. Dispatching those who are incapable of thinking beyond murder, Grissek’k has forged the deadliest orc army in centuries. The Orc Queen is recommended for player characters that are between levels 8 and 11.
The Orc Queen has a number of abilities and can be scaled by outfitting her with magical items, such as a brooch of shielding or a horn of blasting. Included in her section is information on a new magical weapon to include in your campaigns, the veil bow, which deals additional psychic damage and curses its victims.
And, there’s also The Colossus of Charnax – the towering 100-foot flesh-golem titan, whose being contains the thousands of bodies that it has consumed. This colossal guardian is a twisted creation of a group of spellcasters that once lived in Charnax, a city that now lies in ruin. This mighty monster has a host of powerful abilities and is likely the largest creature your player characters will likely encounter during a single campaign.
Additional Content – Masters and Minions also contains a chapter on minion tactics, a collection of new monsters, several NPCs for your campaigns, and a handful of magical items. The Minion Tactics chapter provides tips and strategies for incorporating a variety of minions into your campaign. This list not only includes many of the classic fantasy RPG favorites, like bugbears, hellhounds, and kobolds, but also other unique minion creatures as well, such as the Kooatalla Feep Ones, lizardfolk shamans, and orc war chiefs. Each minion is provided tips and tactics for gamemasters to use during your games. For example:
A War Chief is an imposing presence and will leverage its high CHA to galvanize potentially dozens of Orcs when entering a battle. Even by themselves, they are formidable fighters.
Tactics: From a distance of 90 ft., have the War Chief send in the 1st wave of Orcs. On the following round the War Chief will lead a 2nd wave of Orcs into battle and engage in melee while using Battle Cry. It will then have a Bonus Action Attack against a chosen PC. This means the War Chief can move 90 ft. and still Attack a single PC!
On the following round, the War Chief will utilize Multiattack with its Greataxe. Additional damage on each successful hit can be attained by using Fury. Nearby Orcs affected by Battle Cry will have advantage on attack rolls until the end of the Chief’s next turn. At this time the Orcs will likely do the most damage to PCs. Only when the War Chief is reduced to one-quarter hit points (24 hit points or fewer) will they consider retreat, using Disengage and Dash.
Tips: Send in wave after wave of Orcs while utilizing the tactics of the War Chief. Take advantage of the War Chief’s Multiattacks and their ability to understand the battlefield. They are the most experienced and battle tested of all Orcs.
Print or .PDF? – All-in-all this 100-page supplement is more than your everyday 5E sourcebook. This book is a work of art in itself, filled with beautiful full-page color illustrations and rich background lore for your adventures. Interestingly, during the Kickstarter campaign, $250 bought a backer an illustration made in their own likeness to be featured in the book – pretty neat. Generally, I am a fan fan of print versions, because I generally don’t believe in staring into electronic screens during any tabletop session. My opinion doesn’t change with Masters and Minions. This book is so aesthetically impressive, that it is worth picking up the print version for the art alone. Further, with limited edition options, this supplement is certain to please most collectors. If budget is an issue (most people hesitate to drop $75 on an RPG supplement), you can pick up the .PDF for $15.
This book impressed me and I can’t wait to take a look at the recently-funded Legendary Dragons 5E supplement coming soon from Jetpack7.