3.5 Cloverfield - The Immortal's Handbook 4E to 3.5 Conversion

# Thread: Cloverfield - The Immortal's Handbook 4E to 3.5 Conversion

1. ## Cloverfield - The Immortal's Handbook 4E to 3.5 Conversion

Okay, it's been too quiet here lately, so here's a project to get some activity going.

Paradox42 and I are going to be the ones converting U_K's 4E material back to 3.5, so this thread is primarily for he and I to start cutting our teeth on that. However, I don't see why anyone else couldn't also get involved, since this is more an experiment than anything else. That said, let's get this party started!

A while back, U_K posted his 4E stats for the Cloverfield Monster from the Cloverfield movie (which, I admit, I never saw). So, let's try and convert this puppy to 3.5 stats, IH-style. The primary resources for doing this are as follows:

1) U_K's 3.5E/4E Conversion Chart. This is mostly just a baseline for setting CR's and ECL's, but it lets us know where to start.

2) U_K's old 3.5 stats for Godzilla. I know it's somewhat antiquated, but given the thematic similarities between the Cloverfield Monster and good old Gojira, it's a handy reference.

3) U_K's CR System, v.6. I know that, U_K notwithstanding, I'm the only one who has this right now, but we can work around that for the time being (particularly since U_K plans on releasing it for free "soon").

4) And of course, the Immortal's Handbook Epic Bestiary Vol. 1 and Immortal's Handbook Ascension.

So, where to start?

Well, given that Cloverfield is a level 36 Solo Brute. His level and Solo status, according to the 3.5E/4E Conversion Chart, mean that he's CR 97-106. Okay, so we have a range to work with. Just to set a firmer (but still flexible) goal in mind, let's say he's CR 101.

CR 101

Next, in U_K's article, he mentions that Cloverfield is 250 ft. tall. Now, according to Table 1-3: Expanded Size in the Epic Bestiary, that places it at the upper end of the Titanic size category. So far, so good.

Size Titanic

Next, Cloverfield's type is aberration beast (aquatic). Now, while the use of the word "aberration" makes me automatically reach for the same Type in 3.5, the fact is that Cloverfield really seems much more like a magical beast than anything else in 3.5 (just look at U_K's Godzilla for a thematic example), and besides, it's 4E type is a "beast" anyway. Let's keep the aquatic subtype though - that fits just fine.

Magical Beast (Aquatic)

Finally, let's look at Cloverfield's ability scores. He has Str 52 (+39), Dex 21 (+23), Con 49 (+37), Int 3 (+11), Wis 18 (+22), Cha 7 (+17). Now, I don't understand 4E's ability score system (that is, how it grants bonuses for ability scores), so this is going to be trickier.

Table 1-7: Virtual Size Categories in the Epic Bestiary lays out that the average Strength score for a Titanic creature is 60, so clearly we can't just convert Cloverfield's 4E Strength to the same amount in 3.5. Instead, let's try to keep the +39 bonus the same. In 3.5, that bonus requires an ability score of 88-89. According to Table 1-7, that's worth one virtual size category, and it just 1 to 2 points shy of a second VSC. That seems about right for a big monster like Cloverfield, so let's keep that. Strength 88.

Dexterity isn't nearly so easy. Given his monstrous size and VSC, I'm having a hard time assigning anything above 11 to Cloverfield. As mentioned above, I haven't seen the movie, so maybe he's worth a higher score, but as it is now, I'm assigning him Dexterity 11.

Cloverfield's Constitution is another matter. The 49 listed for his 4E stats seems to fall in line with what other monsters of a similar size have (again, check out Godzilla). That "only" gives him a +19 bonus, but that's still considerable, so let's keep that. Constitution 49.

An Intelligence of 3 likewise seems to convert straight over nicely. My understanding is that Cloverfield is a like most giant monsters in that they aren't known for their superior intellect. Hence, that one stays the same (rather than translating to preserve the +11 bonus). Intelligence 3.

The same reasoning applies to Cloverfield's Wisdom. Most giant monsters still display a fairly advanced cunning that suggests that they have fairly good instincts and insight, so let's leave the 18 score there as it is. Wisdom 18.

Finally, we'll give his Charisma the same treatment; Cloverfield is just a baby after all, so maybe it's reasonable to say that it's personality isn't totally developed by this point? I'm just speculating. Charisma 7.

Str 88, Dex 11, Con 49, Int 3, Wis 18, Cha 7

The ability scores were clearly the loosest part of this conversion so far, so I wouldn't be surprised if some of you guys had differing thoughts about some of them.

That said, so far we've got the creature's CR, size, type, and ability scores. Those are the main ingredients of a 3.5 monster, so thus far we're off to a good start!

What's next?

2. You shouldn't need to convert its ability scores - the plus number in the parentheses is the sum of the ability score modifier and half the creature's level (+18 for a level 36 monster). The +18 will be replaced by the monster's BAB in 3.5, so you can keep all the ability scores the same.

So Str 52 is +21 for ability +18 for half level = (+39).

You can keep the Str 52 and give it a BAB based on 100 HD, and it should hit like a CR 101 monster.

Likewise keep the Dex 21 and give it the natural armor of a CR 101 monster, and its AC should be fine.

3. A Titanic creature wouldn't have Dex 21. Alzrius is right - 11 is at the upper end of what a creature that size should have.

I should, at this point, pause for a moment and state that I've come up with some monster creation guidelines based on the MM monsters, UK's guidelines, and my own observations/tinkering. That being said, I could reasonably assign HD, (physical) ability scores, and damage based on a creature's size.

Our Titanic magical beast should have somewhere around 52 Str, 10-11 Dex, and 35 Con (the range for Con is 26-39). I haven't seen the movie either, so I can't guess at mental scores. Give it a pile of HD - 100 sounds good.

Once you get those down, damage is easy - figure out what attack forms it has and assign the appropriate values. AC? Again, simple - what kind of skin does it have - scales or hide?

After that, it's simply a matter of determining special abilities, if any, and the little details - BAB, save DCs (if applicable), and all the nonmechanical info. Bam, you're done.

4. Hey all!

Remember its 250 ft. so that converts to 125 Hit Dice for an Aberration.

5. Alzrius is going with Magical Beast, not Aberration, and I've come up with a method for determining HD ranges based on size instead of absolute values. So, the 250-ft.-tall magical beast would have 48-192 HD (average 120); an aberration would be 48-288 HD (average 168).

6. Gansk is correct, 4E uses precisely the same ability modifier/bonus calculation that 3.X does. The difference is that it gets the level bonus as well, which is a mechanic not present (directly) in 3.X.

But I have seen the movie, and I have to say, it's actually reasonable to give this beast a DEX of considerably higher than 11. It is Titanic, certainly, but it moves through the city with an uncanny grace and can strike faster than a snake when it wants to. Those who have seen the movie might recall how it takes down a flying helicopter in one big scene- by jumping to catch it no less- lumbering Kaiju, this definitely is not!

The 4E scores actually seem reasonable to me, for the 3.5 version as well.

STR from the 4E version may look low, but really the movie monster doesn't do much that we can judge its STR with much accuracy- after all, ripping off the Statue of Liberty's head could be done with its jaws (though tossing it several miles afterwards would be slightly more difficult), and the destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge is pretty easily explained by the fact that the bridge simply wasn't designed to hold something that massive- nor to take the tail hits the monster gives it. Going by the PHB, and extending the size multipliers for large creatures appropriately, we can see that a STR 52 creature would have a Heavy Load maximum of 520 lbs. (STR 22 on the table) x4 (STR 32) x4 (STR 42) x4 (STR 52) x32 (Titanic size) = 1,064,960 lbs. With an ability to lift that much weight and still move at more than half its normal speed, I think feats like ripping off Liberty's head and throwing it several miles would actually be relatively easy to accomplish. STR 88, by contrast, using the same calculation, would yield a Heavy maximum of 157,286,400 lbs. That's looking like overkill to me.

Magical Beast is without doubt the best 3.X monster type to assign it, and of course we know it came from the sea so it has to be Aquatic. Note that it needs the Amphibious quality, since it just as obviously has no trouble existing on land for hours (if not days) at a time; the movie takes place over the course of close to 24 hours IIRC (not counting the extra video from several weeks before the monster attack at the end).

The next most important ingredient for a 3.5 monster is, of course, its HD. How many does Clover have? Max HD for Titanic is 127; I don't have v6 so I don't know how much each Magical Beast HD is "worth" on its own. But for v5 it was only .65 per HD. Of course, it's going to make up a lot of points in the damage of its attacks, but that's a lot of CR to make up if we assign it, say, 100 as a base for nice even calculating.

I'll leave it there for now since I just got back from my daily gym workout and am rather tired as a result.

7. Okay, looking back over the previous posts, it seems that there's some pretty good reasons for leaving keeping the 4E ability score values as they are in the 3.5 incarnation. I also did some checking in the Epic Bestiary and there are a few instances of Titanic creatures having a higher Dexterity score, so there's some basis for that.

My standpoint was that we wanted to keep - in the case of the physical ability scores - the bonus given, rather than the score listed, so as to keep that constant; I didn't realize the extra pluses were from half of the creature's level. Given that, let's keep the original ability scores:

Str 52, Dex 21, Con 49, Int 3, Wis 18, Cha 7

Regarding Hit Dice, so far we've heard suggested values ranging from 100 to 125. I'm honestly not sure what measurement to use here - if someone has a good baseline, please share it (and not just the results from it) so we can get that pinned down. Once we have the Hit Dice, we can move on to skill ranks and feats, and then (most likely) special powers.

8. Originally Posted by Alzrius
Regarding Hit Dice, so far we've heard suggested values ranging from 100 to 125. I'm honestly not sure what measurement to use here - if someone has a good baseline, please share it (and not just the results from it) so we can get that pinned down.
I'll try to explain how I got my numbers, though I'm a little fuzzy on the exact details myself, sadly (I played around a bit with this and that, and only afterward thought about documenting it).

Basically, I took UK's size guidelines and extrapolated a bit - I found that if we used 1 HD/2 feet, a Medium creature would have a range of 1-3 HD. I played around a bit with some stuff, then I compared all the creatures of each type in the MM to (using some arcane method that I have no idea how to do now) came up with HD and ability score guidelines for each type and size. I know that isn't very helpful, but you can find my basic monster creation guidelines here.

9. The IH Bestiary does assume a value of 1 HD per 2 feet of height or length, so actually UK was just giving extraneous information in his post above. The fact is, 250 ft. converts to 125 HD for all monster types, as a baseline. Doesn't mean we can't vary it now and then, but it should give us a decent starting point. I calculated that .65 x 125 = 81.25, which is still well below a CR of 101, particularly if we include Golden-Rule estimating in advance (the ECL should end up being about 150 for a CR of about 100).

125 HD would give us 128 skill points, and 42 feats, being 1 HD short of a 43rd.

As a starting point for determining these, I'll note that the 4E version has been given Great Leap, which though it isn't explained in the monster text is a standard Rogue ability (level 1 Exploit on page 119 of the 4E PHB) with no corresponding feat in 3.5 that I can recall. I include it here, though, because it does strongly suggest that we need a lot of skill points in Jump. Maxing it out is out of the question of course (128 points would only give us one skill), but it should probably have at least 20 ranks in Jump and a racial bonus or something. Giving the beast a high Jump mod squares well with the movie, for reasons I partly explained in my earlier post.

I will also suggest that it needs Awesome Blow, not just because the majority of enormous monsters have it, but because there was actually a scene or two in the movie where I found myself silently commenting on the on-screen action: "Aha, it has Awesome Blow." It was instantly obvious to anybody who knows what the feat does. Which is probably appropriate, since I have little to no doubt that they made the feat in an effort to make big monsters more like movie monsters.

Other ones? Obviously it will have Power Attack, but for other options we're in uncharted territory really. We've still got over 35 feats to figure out, and that's a lot no matter how you slice it. Should we spend some on a divine ability or two perhaps? We might be able to determine that better when we see what it has so far, particularly its most important combat stats: hit points and saves.

CON 49 gives us +2375 hit points at 125 HD, so we get a total of 125d10+2375 (3062 hit points) for that. Using the usual standard of Good Fortitude and Reflex (which I see no particular reason to change here) gives us Fort +64+19 = +83, Ref +64+5 = +69, Will +41+4 = +45.

The target AC needs to be considerably higher than the 4E version, since our version is for much higher-level characters (being CR 101 we hope). We have -16 from size and +5 from DEX; the rest should obviously be made up from natural armor. But how high to go?

10. Okay, the Hit Dice seems to be pretty clearly between 120-125, so we'll go with 125 since that seems to be the closest fit. The value for Magical Beast Hit Dice hasn't changed in v.6 of U_K's CR system, so that's helpful too (though I prefer to use the CR system at the end of the design process to see where we are, and then make corrections as needed).

125 Hit Dice

Regarding its skills, beyond Jump the basics for a creature with little intelligence are Listen and Spot. Possibly also swim, since it'll have a racial bonus to that anyway (as it'll have a swim speed). A racial bonus to the Jump skill is doable too, though I'm not sure how much would be appropriate. On that note, there's no reason we can't give it a special power related to jumping, perhaps one that makes it so it doesn't require a running start for jumps, and it's jumps aren't limited by its height.

For other feats, there's plenty else we could do: Epic Potency (IH Bestiary), Improved Critical, Improved Natural Attack, Overwhelming Critical, etc.

Regarding Cloverfield's natural armor, the monster design parameters in U_K's CR system suggest that for a creature with "scaly skin" should have a base natural armor bonus of +3 or +4, plus 1/2 their Hit Dice. So for Cloverfield it'd be +65 or +66.