Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Cloaker: The Opportunistic Predator (Best of the Bestiary)

I miss Chuuls already.

Cloakers aren’t the worst monster in the game. Far from it! They have decent stats, abilities that encourage creative tactics from the players and a really cool design! Unfortunately, their lore is so bare-bones that it may as well not even exist! In terms of storytelling, they are near the bottom of the list!

Lore: Camouflaged Lurker

In terms of lore, there is very little to talk about here.

Cloakers are dwellers of the darkness, using their dark, leathery forms to blend into the shadows. It is only when it attacks that it will expose its pale underside. But it is unlikely that you’ll notice, as they glide gently behind its prey until it is time to strike. If you are a creature of the Undernight, a straggling member of a large party, or are simply sick or tired, then congratulations!

You are on the menu. But if it makes you feel better, the Cloaker will at least make it quick.

The monster’s thoughts are alien to other creatures. Rather than using a language, they communicate in a subsonic moan that is nigh inaudible. However, if it wants to instill a sense of dread and doom, it will moan more intensely.

While they do prefer isolation, Cloakers aren’t against working with one another. They’ll only do so for defense reasons, or to exchange information with each other about present dangers. After their purpose is fulfilled, the Cloaker will go off on its own way again.

Neat? Kind of. But if you’re looking for a monster to drive a story forward? This is one of the worst choices you can go with! It is good for a random encounter in a dark area and that’s it. If you want to weave them into some grand design, then you’d best look elsewhere.

Design: Angry Bat Man

Okay, what the hell? Who made this? Who’s responsible for this thing?! I need to know whose brain I have to pick!

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It’s the head that really gets me.

This guy is the perfect blend of interesting, intimidating and cool! You can tell exactly where this thing would live and even how it hunts! The contrast between its pale underside and the dark, leathery outer layer is both appealing to the eyes! The spiked tail immediately communicates danger, perfectly telling anyone who looks at it to look out for it in a fight.

This is a super solid design! Not my favorite. But it is super cool!

Stats: Clone Jutsu!

This motherfucker makes illusory clones! That’s rad as hell!

In terms of raw stats, this thing is certainly dangerous. The AC is nothing special and it has a decent chunk of HP. The Multiattack allows it to attack both with its bite and tail within the same turn, both of which do a decent amount of damage. Though it won’t make you shit yourself, even at lower levels.

It’s the special abilities that make this thing scary!

If the Cloaker has advantage against the target, it can use its Bite attack to latch onto its foe, which will give it further advantage on all attacks against it. Worse yet, it can still fend everyone else in the party off with its tail, making rescuing the threatened party member more challenging. But that isn’t nearly as bad as its Damage Transfer, which means it only takes half damage (rounded down by the way) when it’s attached to something, and the attached monster takes the remaining half.

Then there’s the Moan ability. With this, everyone that can hear the creature must make a Wisdom saving throw with a DC of 13. If they fail, they become Frightened until the end of the Cloaker’s next turn. Not its most dangerous power, but it is certainly a threat. Especially when everyone in the group is low on HP and spells.

And finally: the Phantasms ability. With this, the Cloaker can create three illusory duplicates, which it uses to hide its true location. While the duplicates remain, the attacking player must roll randomly to see if it hits the real thing or a duplicate. Only those without sight are immune to the effect. These duplicates have the same AC as the Cloaker and vanish if they take damage or fail a saving throw.

You can’t go into a fight with a Cloaker with the pure intent of running in and killing it. Considering all of its various abilities, you will need to get creative. The fight greatly encourages creative tactics on the part of the players, which makes fighting it a great deal more fun!

Just be sure not to make the party kill each other. Use the whole ‘latching onto its enemies’ things sparingly.

Conclusion

If it weren’t for the lackluster flavor text, this monster would easily make the top ten! It has a sick design and it makes for an awesome and challenging fight! But without the storytelling potential to back it up, it falls significantly down the ladder. What a shame.

With all that said, let’s put the Cloaker on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Behir
  4. Aboleth
  5. Chuul
  6. Chimera
  7. Ankheg
  8. Aarackockra
  9. Azer
  10. Spectator
  11. Cambion
  12. Animated Armor
  13. Banshee
  14. Basilisk
  15. Bulette
  16. Cloaker <———
  17. Planetar
  18. Carrion Crawler
  19. Rug of Smothering
  20. Bugbear Chief
  21. Bugbear
  22. Vine Blight
  23. Twig Blight
  24. Needle Blight
  25. Bullywug
  26. Solar
  27. Deva
  28. Centaur
  29. Flying Sword

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