D&D NPC Spotlight: Ed the Cackler

To be honest, when I had this series in mind it was for this character. Also it proves that this wasn't a one-off cop-out post last fortnight. If anything, it's a double-barrel cop-out...

Ed the Cackler.png

I originally designed this character at 18th level in 3rd Edition as part of my 20th level campaign as part of Yeenoghu's entourage. For the sake of accessibility I've cut his levels and ported him to 5th Edition because that's what the kids are playing these days. Given a lot of 3E stuff doesn't translate so well into 5E the equipment list is more of a suggestion than a hard list of what he owns. The personality is the most important part of this guys anyway. Introducing:

Ed the Cackler

"Yik yik yik yik yik yiiiikk!"

(Medium Humanoid - Gnoll, 10th level Bard of Valor(?))

Hit Points: 73 (10d8+20)

Armour Class: 18 (+1 Dex, +5 breastplate, +2 buckler)

Speed: 30ft.

Abilities: Strength 16, Dexterity, 12, Constitution 14, Intelligence 8, Wisdom 10, Charisma 16

Saves: Dexterity +5, Charisma +7

Skills: Athletics +11, Animal Handling +7, Intimidate +11, Investigation +3, Perception +8, Performance +11, Survival +4

Senses: Darkvision 60ft., passive perception 14

Languages: Understands Gnoll, Human and Abyssal but doesn't exactly speak.

Broken Mind: Can use Charisma in place of Wisdom when required to make a Wisdom saving throw.

Expertise: Double proficiency for four skills (Athletics, Intimidate, Perception, Performance).

Font of Inspiration: Regains all expended uses of bardic inspiration on a short or long rest. 

Jack of All Trades: Granted half proficiency bonus (+2) to all skill not proficient with.

Rampage: If reduced to 0 hit points in combat is able to make a full move action and bite attack before falling unconscious.

"Song" of Rest: When taking a short rest in his proximity, Ed's allies regain an extra 1d8 hit points when they use hit dice.

They say laughter is the best medicine and those who spend enough time around Ed may come to believe it. Originally a warlock of Yeenoghu, Ed 'the Cackler' ranked highly in his pack and was on the path to becoming the next chief-mutt of the Wardogs. His rite of ascension involved a hunt in the Underdark where he and the reigning chief-mutt, Black Eye Komo, were to face off in who could bring down the most dangerous game. While Komo thought himself smart to hunt Ed, Ed was tracking the beholder Xanthuu. Ed's tactic was to use a powerful scroll he'd found to dominate the creature and prove it's might by killing Komo with it.

Upon tracking Xanthuu to his lair, Ed attempted to snare the aberration's mind. The scroll, however, proved beyond Ed's abilities and rather than dominating the beholder's mind, simply melded it with his own temporarily. While this experience left Xanthuu dazed, bewildered and with a compulsion to lick a crotch he did not have, Ed was subjected to alien insight his simple mind was incapable of processing. So instead it just... broke.

Komo decided now was the time to strike and abandoned his concealment. It was only moments later than Xanthuu came to and upon seeing Komo, who was now halfway across his cavern entrance with weapons drawn, concluded he was the one behind the physic assault and promptly disintegrated him.

It was at this point Ed began to laugh. Xanthuu discovered the cackling gnoll behind a nearby rock and found himself feeling an inexplicable affinity for the creature. Perhaps it was the lack of fear the creature expressed or maybe the complete disregard for its fallen comrade that resonated with Xanthuu. Either way the beholder let Ed go.

The Wardogs found Ed later that day by tracking his mad cackling through the darkness. After three days, Komo's failure to return meant they reluctantly made Ed their leader. He seemed no longer capable of speech or reason but did express an awareness of his surroundings through a variety of giggles, snickers and raucous laughter. He stopped cleaning himself entirely, growing his mane out into thick dreadlocks and then developed the curious habit (among many) of weaving little bells into them.

Ed's behaviour was initially met with unease and many of the Wardogs abandoned the pack to find other, more stable ones. Those who stayed, however, found something inspirational in the manic cacophony their leader made. In battle he would dance around, jangling his mane, laughing at his allies and enemies alike and causing a primal ruckus. Caught in its wake, the Wardogs, or more aptly named "Maddogs", would be stirred into a frenzy. As they say; laughter is contagious...

...and you can't spell "slaughter" without it...


Extra attack. Can make two attacks whenever taking the Attack action.

Bite. +7 melee (1d6+3/P)

Heavy crossbow. +5 ranged, 100/400 (1d10+1/P)

Shotel. +7 melee (1d8+3/S)

Bardic inspiration. 3/day can use a bonus action to grant one creature within 60ft. a d10 Bardic Inspiration die. A creature can only have one die at a time and must use it within 10 minutes. When rolling an ability check, attack roll, saving throw or damage roll they may add their Bardic Inspiration dice result. If attacked they can expend the Bardic Inspiration dice result to their AC before they know whether or not they've been hit.

Countercharm. As an action can start a 'performance' that lasts until the end of his next turn, during which all allies within 30ft. gain advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.

Spellcasting. Spellcasting modifier +7, spell save DC 15.

Spell slots: 1st (4), 2nd (3), 3rd (3), 4th (3), 5th (2)

Cantrips: Mage Hand, Mending, Minor Illusion, Viscous Mockery.

Spells: Bane, Bestow Curse, Confusion, Cure Wounds, Crown of Madness, Dissonant Whispers, Fear, Freedom of Movement, Greater Invisibility, Haste, Heroism, Hold Monster, Mass Cure Wounds, Mislead, Shatter, Tasha's Hideous Laughter


Arcane focus (bells), backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, brass brooch (symbol of Yeenoghu) +1 breastplate, buckler, crossbow bolts (23), grappling hook, heavy crossbow, knuckle bones, jerky (unspecified meat), potion of enlarge person, potion of greater healing, potion of healing (2), ring of evasion, ring of mind shielding, scroll of Alarm, scroll of Cure Wounds, scroll of Fear, scroll of Invisibility, scroll of Thunder Wave, shotel, silk rope (50ft.), steel mirror, straw poppet, waterskin, whetstone.