This post is part of a series! Click here to see the other.
Su Monsters have been around at least since the AD&D Monster Manual. This is their 4e debut. It’s likely their lore is new to this edition. They didn’t seem to have any in the AD&D book.
Su Monsters are an artificial species created by the wizard Halkith to guard his tower in the legendary Isle of Dread. In Fourth Edition, the Isle is a wandering island in the Feywild, and as usual it’s full of very dangerous creatures. Halkith created the first Su Monsters to guard his tower against the place’s other inhabitants.
Some time after that, a mysterious event caused a worldwide surge of psionic energy. This affected Halkith’s su monsters deeply and caused them to break from the wizard’s control. Halkith disappears from history after this - his most likely fate is that he was eaten by his creations.
The wizard combined traits from both great apes and fey panthers to make these creatures. In our narrative present they managed to spread beyond the Isle of Dread. Their preferred habitat are tropical jungles, particularly those that contain sources of psionic power.
Su Monsters are nonsapient but cunning, and complement their natural weapons with residual psychic powers received from the Event. Like cats, they hunt as much for fun as for food, and kill much more prey than they can eat at once. They bury the excess meat for later consumption, and mark these stashes with the prey’s inedible bits (such as its carried treasure). If you find shinies hanging off tree branches in the jungle, take care!
Spellcasters and psionicists often use their power to control these creatures, putting them to work as guard and attack animals. When free, they protect and hunt in their chosen territories with surprisingly sophisticated tactics.
Su Monsters are Medium Fey Beasts with ground and climb speeds of 7, as well as the Forest Walk special ability. They have darkvision, and one of both of the following signature abilities:
Psychic Boost works like the Star Spawn ability we saw: when a su monster hits with one of its physical attacks, it can deal bonus psychic damage as a free action. This recharges when the creature takes psychic damage.
Tribal Fury has a very unfortunate name and allows the monster to make a free claw attack when an ally within 3 squares is first bloodied.
Many members of a su monster group use this stat block. Each one keeps watch over a portion of the group’s territory, and calls the others if they spot any prey.
Su Sentinels are Level 10 Skirmishers with 107 HP. They have a Skirmish trait that allows them to deal 5 extra damage with their attacks if they moved 4 or more spaces this turn.
In addition to basic Claw strikes, they can make a Flashing Talons maneuver that deals a bit less damage and, as an effect, allows them to shift 2 squares. If the targeted enemy moves to a space adjacent to the monster during their next turn, the creature gets to make this attack against them once more for free.
They can also use a Mind-Rending Bite (recharge 4+), which deals even less basic damage but inflicts ongoing 10 psychic damage (save ends).
Sentinels have both Su Monster signature abilities.
Su Ambushers are less physicall imposing but they hunt together, hanging out near places that see frequent creature traffic and jumping out all at once to carry prey away. They’re Level 11 Minion Soldiers.
They have a basic Claw attack that does minion-tier damage, but instead of using that they’re going to rely on Seize Prey. This lets them move their speed and make a claw attack at any point along the move. If they hit, they pull the target alongside them the rest of the move, and do not provoke opportunity attacks from it. This is excellent for getting defenders out of the way or briging squishies closer to danger.
Ambushers have Fury, but they replace Psychic Boost with Grasping Claws, which allow them to make one last claw attack when they hit 0 HP.
Su Alphas are larger and more powerful specimens who gained some status within their group by repeatedly proving they can beat up their puny relatives. Smaller groups have only one alpha, but larger ones might have several. They are Level 12 Brutes with 149 HP.
Alphas fight with Claws and Backhand Slams, the latter of which do less damage but target Fortitude and push the target 1 square. They can also emit a Su Howl (close burst 3 vs. Will) which deals psychic damage and renders its targets vulnerable 5 to all damage (save ends). On a miss, the target takes half damage and is vulnerable for a turn. This recharges wherever the alpha takes psychic damage. They possess both signature abilities.
It’s another carnivorous ape monster in a book that already has too many of them. The lore and mechanics seem to disagree with each other on whether su monsters are sapient. The stats say they are Int 2 beasts, but the lore keeps saying they organize in “tribes”, a term I’ve avoided using here.
The mechanics themselves are mildly interesting, but I don’t like them enough to use them paired with this lore.