Sprites! They’re tiny… They’re not too hard to hit… They have 2 whole HP in 5e… Seems like a throw-away encounter, but they are far from it when used correctly!
Here’s 3 Tips for running Sprites:
1) They Fly:
Anytime a creature has the ability to fly it’s automatically more interesting for the party to deal with. Put them in the trees flitting around. Tree branches can be considered partial cover: Depending on how you’re feeling you could call it 1/2 or even 3/4 cover. With reserves waiting in the limbs with full cover! Keep them 70′ Above the party and this will cause some issues for your spellcasters too, lot’s of spells have a 60′ range on them!
2) Use those Bows!:
Shortbows have a range of 80/320. This means you can keep your little pests pretty far away from the party and pepper them with stinging little arrows! Sure they only do 1HP per hit BUT there’s a save to resist being poisoned. It is a pretty low DC (DC10) but sooner or later in a hail of tiny poisoned arrows a save will be missed.. Once they’ve missed a save they’re poisoned for a minute (which is an eternity in “bullet-time” aka: combat. That’s 10 rounds of rolling with disadvantage on attack rolls OR ability checks (as in: when they make athletics checks to climb into the trees to shorten the range on the Sprites. If they miss the save by 5 or lower they fall unconscious too. This isn’t going to happen for your fighters or barbarians, but your magic users just may wind up napping!
3) Space them out:
Because they have a whopping 2HP Sprites are very susceptible to AOE (area of effect) spells. Spells like Sleep are especially good against these little buggers. Keep that in mind. Put 10′ between each sprite and you won’t loose your whole force to a first level spell that’s well placed. Do keep in mind that if you have reserves hiding in the treetops unseen they’ll be affected by AOE spells as well. Also, free DM tip: You should put 10′ of space between enemies as often as you can. This protects them all from AOE spells. It also means that your PCs cant move through their ranks without dealing with Attacks of Opportunity.
Sprites are smart, mischievous, and fun to run! In our last campaign a hastily constructed Sprite became a central reoccurring NPC. Reut Baier was a Sprite with a golden brown tan who served as a sort of lieutenant in what was basically a fantasy version of the French Foreign Legion that the PCs co-founded as a place for reform and refuge for ne’er-do-wells in the world. His name was a sort of joke that stuck, They met other Sprites earlier in the adventure that spawned Reut and since they were Sprites we off-the-cuff named them Li’mon and Leime (lemon and lime) so Reut Baier (root beer, we know it’s so bad) was spawned as another soda-themed Sprite. Oddly enough he became a serious NPC. That folks, is how on the fly NPCs often work!
Hope this “Plan”dom encounter post is helpful in your games! May your dice roll well and your off-the-cuff NPCs be beloved!