D&D 4th Edition How easy is GMing 4ed without Monster Builder?
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  1. #1
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    How easy is GMing 4ed without Monster Builder?

    Hello guys, im really interested in starting a 4th ed online campaign... having gamed 3ed for over 8 years. I liked the changes and want to give it a try.

    I spent lots of time making NPCs and monsters in 3th ed for my weekly game, almost double or triple game time.

    I have no plans to get monster builder at this moment.... maybe if i get a real life group, but we are playing other things (Earthdawn, Storyteller...) and it will take some years before my turn to GM comes again...

    So, How easy is to make all your monsters without the builder? Is it doable? Is it worth? Im looking for any kind of experiences....

    Thanks for the advice.

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    It's not hard at all to make monsters without the monster builder, especially if you have experience creating monsters. The only thing the builder does is automate everything. It's like making a character in a previous edition or another RPG (like Earthdawn or Shadowrun) with pen and paper vs. a character generator. It's easier and faster because it automates a lot of things and keeps you from having to flip through a bunch of books to find everything.

    I like to create my adventures in Word and print them out, so something like the Builder saves me a lot of time. But honestly, the character generator and the Compendium are the big selling points for DDi in my opinion (at least until the Virtual Table goes live). All the builder's going to do is save your hand from writing out everything and save you from a crapload of math.

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    I find it really really simple. Of course, the Monster Builder is prettier, especially on printing out, but that is not a big thing for me. All you need is a quick cheat sheet of damages and hit points per level to do a quick and dirty job.

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    I agree that it's really easy to make monsters without it. I have the monster builder, but most of the time I make my monsters by hand anyway.

    And this is assuming you want to build your own monsters of course. You can also run them straight out of the books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by balam_br View Post
    Hello guys, im really interested in starting a 4th ed online campaign... having gamed 3ed for over 8 years. I liked the changes and want to give it a try.

    I spent lots of time making NPCs and monsters in 3th ed for my weekly game, almost double or triple game time.

    I have no plans to get monster builder at this moment.... maybe if i get a real life group, but we are playing other things (Earthdawn, Storyteller...) and it will take some years before my turn to GM comes again...

    So, How easy is to make all your monsters without the builder? Is it doable? Is it worth? Im looking for any kind of experiences....

    Thanks for the advice.
    It's still pretty easy - you just have to know which books have which monsters. While I like a lot of 3E/3.5, 4E is much easier on the DM, even without the monster builder.

    The nice thing about the monster builder is if your party is attacking (for example), a goblin lair, you can go into monster builder and filter on "goblin" and you get every 4E goblin out there, from all the monster manuals, plus Dragon magazine and other official sources.

    Without the monster builder, you can do the same thing - just find goblin in some of the print or PDF versions of the books and either mark the pages or photocopy the pages you need as appropriate.

    You can also level a monster up or down fairly easily as well without the monster builder.

  6. #6
    The Monster Builder is a broken piece of crap that will repeatedly delete half the text out of custom monsters you make. It used to work great until around July, then they wrecked it. Just use a plain text editor instead, browse through the Compendium for monsters, and make use of the MM3 formulas in the compiled update PDF or the summary at Blog of Holding's Monster Manual 3 on a Business Card. With that, I can whip up an entire encounter of fairly-well-balanced custom monsters in under half an hour, and even wing up passable monsters on the fly.

  7. #7
    Now that I think about it...I dont use monster builder any more! When did that happen? I guess I lost track.

    If I ever want custom creatures or modifications to existing, I do it pen and paper...how odd, every aspect of our game is software driven, except that.

    To the OP. I get by without the MB and barely bat an eye. Its dog simple.

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    Building monsters in 4E is dead simple and a total joy. You don't even need a program, a simple spreadsheet of monster attack/defenses/damage gets the math out of your way (ultimate DM chart on the left).

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    I just use an index card with the DMG2 info. (And a text file to hold interesting monster ideas I want to steal, and guidelines such as what's too powerful a controller ability for a low-heroic level monster, etc.)

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    Thanks for the input guys.

    I think the only problem i will have is finding balanced powers for my monsters, but as i noticed, Monster builder wont help me with this ;-).

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