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  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    No, I don't mean exploiting numbers or terrain (at least not necessarily). I mean, simply put "let goblins be goblins".

    What would the goblins do to keep invaders out of their lair? Some would do x, some y, some z. I think there's an advantage to having "regular goblins with bows, regular goblins with short swords, and regular goblins holding a defensive line". The point there is that if they are good enough at more than one thing (rather than breaking them down into super-specialized sub groupings), then more than one meaningful encounter can take place, and it will be different, but the same. It's the sameness I'm arguing for as a good thing...that players develop a base understanding of "goblin" and know that the, say, archery might be bad for themselves, but that they'll wipe the goblins when the critters are forced to fight hand to hand.

    To put it another way, I think there is something lost when there are goblins who are good archers for the archery combat, and goblins who are good tunnelers for the tunnel ambush, and goblins who are brutish for the elite combat. While this varies the combats, it makes goblins more meaningless as a race (because in 2 levels it's orcs who are good at all three, and then bugbears, ogres, giants, etc). But those are comparisons amongst very similar species.
    I get what you mean, I think - that a monster "race" should have a recognisable "character" of its own, with weaknesses and strengths that apply when looking at the race as a whole, rather than as individuals. Goblins, for example, could fight as "skirmishers" or "artillery" or even "lurkers", with the occasional shaman or witch doctor "controller" and/or "leader" - but goblins do not fight as "soldiers" (think formations and defences and discipline).

    I think this should be a game-world thing, though, not a system thing. Eberron goblins - especially at the height of the goblin empires - I can see definitely having "soldiers", for example. Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk - not so much. So, I don't think the system should prevent the design of any monster of any type - but the game-world source material might well specify that certain roles for particular monsters are (generally) absent. Roles, in this instance, can perform a(nother) useful function, being a shorthand to describe what particular combat styles are eschewed by a monster race in this particular game world.
    Balesir
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  • #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I may still be misunderstanding you, but I'm still mostly seeing an encounter design issue here.

    I'm reminded of an encounter I ran in 4e when the PCs were around 4th level. They were riding on a plain, and saw a number of hobgoblins on foot at a distance. So they started using (what I gather from one of my players are) Parthian tactics - letting loose a flurry of ranged attacks, then falling back on their horses. The hobgoblins had to double-run to close (giving them a movement rate of 14, vs 8 for a single move on a horse, but granting combat advantage for running), and the PCs got multiple rounds of free attacks before melee commenced.

    Another encounter I ran involved a black dragon coming to investigate the PCs standing on a temple portico, and them attacking it at range as it closed.

    Are these the sorts of encounters that you mean? If they are, then constructing them (at least as I experienced it) turns mostly on terrain features and monster selection - the hobgoblins, for example, all had the Soldier role, and no meaningful ranged attacks. (To some extent, of course, the players can choose to have the PC stake out this terrain or that, but ultimately it is the GM who has control over what NPCs/monsters, if any, turn up.)

    If you don't want ogres who are strong rock throwers in your encounter, isn't the easiest thing to do just not to use them?

    I know you're not talking about edition, but I find it hard to think about D&D monster design without thinking about the way it's actually been done over the years.

    With it's pack attacking gnolls, and its phalanx-forming hobgoblins, I feel that 4e does OK at marking the distinction between various humanoid tribal cultures. But I'm happy to have other designs put forward that will do the same thing.

    I tend to share your bafflement.

    Ultimately, I see role as a integrating intended combat function (by reference to which particular powers and abilities will then be designed) and level (the overall measure of toughness) by means of a series of mathematical tricks to be played with, like eg giving one monster high AC and modest hp (say, a heavily armoured hobgoblin captain - it's a Soldier) and another monster modest AC and high hp (say, a loin-cloth wearing ogre - it's a Brute) and yet another monster fewer hp but better accuracy (say, an archer - it's Artillery; or a sneak - it's a Lurker). I think that's consistent with each monster variety having its own schtick, and also with some monster varieties not filling particular roles (I don't think the MM has any gnoll or goblin soldiers, for example, nor any hobgoblin lurkers).

    I see "solo" and "elite" in much the same terms. Want a monster that has lots of hit points relative to its attack and defence numbers? Maybe it's an elite.

    What role - at least in the 4e implementation - does do is put some outer limits. Statting up a monster with a 10-point gap between its best and worst defence is starting to stretch the design parameters of the system. Likewise statting up a monster with elite-level hit points but the action economy of a single monster - this will produce grind, as the PCs belt away at a sack of hit points that can't do much in retaliation.

    If D&Dnext has different design goals from 4e - and bounded accuracy should make some difference - then role (if it exist at all) could probably be implemented differently, or at least with different constraints. But I think this is somewhat orthogonal to making sure monsters are flavoursome and versatile. I certainly haven't found 4e monsters lacking in versatility.
    I think Balesir has been clearer on my point than I have (above). When I say I'm looking at it as a monster issue, I suppose I'm really looking at it as a world building issue. Your examples of the hobgoblins and dragon are good, but not quite exactly what I'm trying to say.

    What I'm addressing is that, in a given world, ogres tend to be a certain way, with some limited variation (except for "special" ogres like tribal leaders, or whathaveyou).

    I think the best way to clarify this is to answer your comment:
    If you don't want ogres who are strong rock throwers in your encounter, isn't the easiest thing to do just not to use them?
    Yes and no. I don't want them to exist.

    On the one hand, I don't begrudge them being available to other DMs who do want them. I'm starting to lean toward a desire for "a single core monster" and then if there are variant roles for that monster, have those be modular.

    On the other hand, my main point is that I don't want players to have to consider that maybe these ogres will suddenly be of a variety that has heretofore unknown powers inconsistent with what they've learned about ogres. As part of their understanding of the world, and of ogres, I'm building them not for the encounter, but constraining my DM options to allow players to learn the limitations of, in this example, ogres.


    This might address the bafflement of yourself and <!-- BEGIN TEMPLATE: dbtech_usertag_mention -->@Ratskinner <!-- END TEMPLATE: dbtech_usertag_mention -->:

    As I said in my last post, monsters have never been more different from monsters of another type than they are in 4e. Goblins are not orcs, nor are they kobolds (unlike in earlier editions where fluff was required to distinguish them). It is that point that I imagine (I'm guessing here, not trying to set up a strawman) the two of you consider when people complain that monsters are too similar. It's plainly wrong...from that angle...monsters ARE more different from one another than ever before. There are few things I'd claim in regard to edition as fact, and this is one. It's demonstrable.

    But, here's where I MIGHT be able to shed some light on why people say that (as someone who does think it to a degree). While all kobolds are clearly different from all goblins...there is too much variety within kobolds. That variety limits what the kobold CANNOT do.

    If you point to a kobold, there are two ways to define it: 1. It's schtick. 2. Its limitations. While 4e gave each monster a cool mechanical, and defining schtick, the (in my opinion) flawed designing of both later 3e and 4e that makes kobold brutes, kobold sneaks, kobold soldiers, kobold elites, kobold lurkers, etc etc etc. viable enemies to fight.

    No more is there the player assumption of "ah ha! an ogre! if it can't get close, we've got this, easy!" The ogre COULD be a rock thrower ogre, as you suggested.

    That's what I'm arguing makes sameness. Without those limitations, every monster becomes ANY monster...because it can.
    Let the rules serve the adventure rather than the adventure serving the rules.

  • #153
    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    No more is there the player assumption of "ah ha! an ogre! if it can't get close, we've got this, easy!" The ogre COULD be a rock thrower ogre, as you suggested.

    That's what I'm arguing makes sameness. Without those limitations, every monster becomes ANY monster...because it can.
    You know I think your sentences can help me in explaining why I do not agree in a fairly easy way.
    To me an ogre skirmisher and a kobold skirmisher will be different because they'll have different powers and will work differently during a combat.
    By the way I don't want to able to say "ah ha! an ogre! if it can't get close, we've got this, easy!". It spoils the fun knowing beforehand how a combat will go. A lot of the fun we have in 4e combats as players is the way combats develop, round by round and it's fun to see new things thrown on the table and find ways to fight back.

  • #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    I think Balesir has been clearer on my point than I have (above).
    I think now that I've got the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    When I say I'm looking at it as a monster issue, I suppose I'm really looking at it as a world building issue.

    <snip>

    What I'm addressing is that, in a given world, ogres tend to be a certain way, with some limited variation (except for "special" ogres like tribal leaders, or whathaveyou).

    <snip>

    I don't want them [rock-throwing ogres] to exist.

    <snip>

    As part of their understanding of the world, and of ogres, I'm building them not for the encounter, but constraining my DM options to allow players to learn the limitations of, in this example, ogres.

    <snip>

    No more is there the player assumption of "ah ha! an ogre! if it can't get close, we've got this, easy!" The ogre COULD be a rock thrower ogre, as you suggested.

    That's what I'm arguing makes sameness.
    OK, what you're talking about here doesn't bother me at all, though I'm perhaps in the slightly different position of thinking that 4e already does it - there are no goblin soldiers that I can recall, no hobgoblin lurkers (and I can't think of any skirmishers either), maybe one gnoll soldier in MM3 which is obviously an exceptional case (and wears plate armour, a fairly clear ingame signal to the PCs and players). In this respect, the flavour text - which talks about cowardly goblins, militaristic hobgoblins, and nomadic, pillaging gnolls - seems to be borne out by the mechanics.

    I haven't used any ogres, so can't comment on them in particular! And I would have nothing against even greater mechanical reinforcement of these distinguishing characteristics.

    It's a bit of a fine line, though, and this sort of regulation is hard to manage at the system level. What I'm thinking of in saying that is that the "gotcha" monster - be it the clever ogre, or the rock-throwing one, or Obmi the evil dwarf, or the good aligned drow who poses a risk of alignment violation to those PCs who cut him down without thiking - has been a staple of D&D for a long time. So even if you don't put any rock-throwing ogres in the MM, and even if you say that there aren't any of them in the D&D world, some GM somewhere is going to conceive of and want to use one - the PCs see the ogre on the bridge, start walking up, and suddenly that ogre rips a stone out of the bridge wall and hurls it at them!

    I think the game is probably better if it supports the GM who wants to do this sort of thing rather than pushing hard to shut him/her down. Which (I think) means that the game should make it easy to build a rock-throwing ogre and to work out how difficult that monster will be in an encounter.

    EDIT: I just had a look at my books and found the Lolthbound goblin, which is a soldier - but also, I think, a special case.
    Last edited by pemerton; Monday, 16th July, 2012 at 01:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by erleni View Post
    You know I think your sentences can help me in explaining why I do not agree in a fairly easy way.
    To me an ogre skirmisher and a kobold skirmisher will be different because they'll have different powers and will work differently during a combat.
    By the way I don't want to able to say "ah ha! an ogre! if it can't get close, we've got this, easy!". It spoils the fun knowing beforehand how a combat will go. A lot of the fun we have in 4e combats as players is the way combats develop, round by round and it's fun to see new things thrown on the table and find ways to fight back.

    This seems like a difference in preferred style. It appears as though you prefer the encounter level to be the exciting moment, in watching a given combat develop with new things and such. I agree with you that an ogre skirmisher and kobold skirmisher will be different. That's the part I mention in the post above that 4e has monsters that are more different from one another than ever before.

    My preferred playstyle is one in which the players can learn about the world and then base expectations upon that learning, even (especially?) in combat. It may lead to less exciting combats, but perhaps there's an element of satisfaction and fulflilment that they were able to act smart on a more worldly level, rather than round to round. Dare I say, and please take this the gentlest way possible...that it may be more of a "roleplaying" way of addressing the problem, rather than a "tactical" way? (Not a dig on 4e there; that's an attempt to distinguish a difference in styles - styles that were present in 3e as well as 4e). Roleplaying isn't the best word there, but I'm struggling for a better one. "Simulationist?" "Narrativist?"... World exists independent of pcs? Gah...see? Struggling.

    Again, I think you and I are both aware of our predilictions, and neither of us is wrong in what we're shooting for...just that maybe we're shooting for different things (thrilling uncertainty versus perhaps mundane consistency).


    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    What I'm thinking of in saying that is that the "gotcha" monster - be it the clever ogre, or the rock-throwing one, or Obmi the evil dwarf, or the good aligned drow who poses a risk of alignment violation to those PCs who cut him down without thiking - has been a staple of D&D for a long time. So even if you don't put any rock-throwing ogres in the MM, and even if you say that there aren't any of them in the D&D world, some GM somewhere is going to conceive of and want to use one - the PCs see the ogre on the bridge, start walking up, and suddenly that ogre rips a stone out of the bridge wall and hurls it at them!
    Yes, I do like gotcha monsters!

    I have no problem with them. For me it's about rates of usage. If every monster is a gotcha monster, then none are. If there are no baselines for a type of monster, no set expectations, then one can't break expectations with a gotcha type.

    I'm not against rock throwing ogres per se. I'm against players walking into any given encounter with a monster they've faced several times before, and them not being able to, ahead of time, predict the majority of expected abilities and limitations of that monster. If players can do that, then those expectations can be shattered (just not too often).
    Last edited by Aberzanzorax; Monday, 16th July, 2012 at 01:19 PM.
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  • #156
    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    My preferred playstyle is one in which the players can learn about the world and then base expectations upon that learning, even (especially?) in combat. It may lead to less exciting combats, but perhaps there's an element of satisfaction and fulflilment that they were able to act smart on a more worldly level, rather than round to round. Dare I say, and please take this the gentlest way possible...that it may be more of a "roleplaying" way of addressing the problem, rather than a "tactical" way? (Not a dig on 4e there; that's an attempt to distinguish a difference in styles - styles that were present in 3e as well as 4e). Roleplaying isn't the best word there, but I'm struggling for a better one. "Simulationist?" "Narrativist?"... World exists independent of pcs? Gah...see? Struggling.
    You know, I had a similar discussion with Emerikol on WotC's board, but on the DM side.
    He assumes that's there's an existing world where the PCs are sinked in. The story develops within the world.
    I am not interested in the world outside of the story. For me the story "creates" the world.
    For him ,the "Knights of the Breakfast Table" are an existing organization in a fictional world.
    For me ,they are just a story hook or tool I create if I see the need to do that, or if the PCs start to look for something similar.
    For him D&D is similar to the movie Titanic, the story of some people inside a bigger world.
    For me D&D is more like a theatre act, with no story outside of what you can see (and I don't mind if the backscene is made of cardboard as long as it works).

  • #157
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    My horse in this race is "more fluff on Monster Manual".

    I can see good things in having fast and clear roles for my monsters, when I need a more elaborate encounter, and I can appreciate a more organic type of monster which I can set a role on the fly, based on what he's doing in that place at that time.

    Problem is, I don't think is possible to put roles on Monster Manual without moving that book in a gamist direction... it's a clear division between 4E and former editions that goes further than to know if the creature is Outsider or Evil.

    Well, I can live with or without Roles, just give me inspiring fluff and I'll do the rest.
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  • #158
    This post was going to be ungodly long unless I cut things out. Apologies in advance if I cut something significant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fifth Element View Post
    That's not a base human in the sense you're using "base ogre" in, though. The above is meaningless without the character's class. How many hit points does this base human have?

    So basically 4E monsters are built like 3E/4E player characters in this sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    What are "giant levels"? I can't see that they're anything more than a mechancial construct. How is "4th level giant" signicantly different from "4th level brute"?
    I'm going to cover this all at once, for both of you. Monster classes/levels (including giant levels/HD) ARE a construct that exists in 3e that I haven't seen in the 4e monster manual in any form.

    Fifth - you seem to be saying that roles are the new monster classes are the roles but I have shown how roles are roles and classes are classes so unless you have monster classes to compare to player classes you already lose me on that argument.
    As far as "not a base human"... well it is. At that point I can give it any number of class levels in any number of classes and know exactly what I'll get. I know exactly what is the human part and what is the class.
    I can't do the same with the ogres given in the 4e MM. I have so many variations. Unless I want to do a dissection of all the examples, and then recalculate based on the different rules for minions vs regular vs boss monsters I'm not going to have a base creature.

    pemerton - 4th level giant is different from 4th level brute because brute isn't a class. It is a role, like defender is for fighter.

    In your sense, I can't see that BASE ogre is anything more than a mechanical construct. It has no particular meaning in the fiction that I can see (other, perhaps, than the typical ogre - but then 4e has typical ogres as well - any but the warhulk would seem pretty typical to me).
    Considering we are talking about an entire system of mechanical constructs that have no particular meaning beyond their function I don't see how the BASE OGRE is any different.

    Also, warhulk =/= base ogre. It might be to you but there are so many examples that it doesn't equal that to me or everyone. The fact that the warhulk isn't the foremost example already discounts it. It might be typical but if there was only the warhulk could we rename it ogre and have everyone satisfied?

    As far as making monsters the same - you give them similar powers and abilities (though an ogre isn't distinguished by very much other than its flavour text - mechanically, it's just a big hitting thing!)
    I don't see me saying anything about making monsters the same in that quote. I said that I wanted a creature with a similar base. That is the only thing I could find that I figured you could be talking about.

    For the record:
    Similar: Having a resemblance in appearance, character, or quantity, without being identical.
    Same: Identical; not different; unchanged.

    Beyond that I'm stumped for what you are referring to.

    I don't know what you mean by "without reasoning or explanation". The explanation for a Goblin Blackblade (lurker) is no different from the explanation for a Goblin Thief - it's a sneaky goblin. The explanation for a Hobgoblin Captain (soldier with leader sub-role) is no different from the explanation for a Hobgoblin fighter with a morale-boosting feat - it's a hobgoblin military leader.
    Um... without reasoning or explanation would be that there is an artillery ogre, but not a base ogre. Without R or E would be a brute without a base ogre. It would be a lurker without a base form. The sentence needed to be taken as a whole.

    I don't understand how there can be an artillery form without there being a base form as well. If artillery is special tactics dealing with firing from range.. and there is another one that does the opposite by being in melee and getting smashed on, and another that does crowd control and all the while there is not one creature I can point at and say "you encounter an ogre" then something went wrong. Granted this is all in my opnion but you seem interested so I'm giving it.

    Also for the record, there is no blackblade class that I can find either.

    That's the point of my reference to the "brute academy" - whatever story you tell to explain your monster in some earlier edition, you can tell the same story in 4e. It's just that 4e doesn't ask you to build the monster by following the sequence of the story - it's not a lifepath method, its an end result method.
    I wanted to ignore the brute academy. My problem and point wasn't that it gave or didn't give a reasoning for these tactics. I understand the reasons for there to be certain ogres who fire from range and others that can do magic and others that can do melee. I do. But I don't understand why they are so dissimilar to one another. Why can't the ranged ogre and the melee ogre be the same or very similar? Why does it have to be a completely different build with a stronger reflex. That is question 1.

    Question 2 was then WHERE do they pick up these abilities. Saying brute academy doesn't really satisfy me as I see brute as something akin to barbarian - so I don't expect training in that either. In either case, a backstory reason of a brute academy works only for backstory. The "they're shorter so they trained at range instead of melee" also works only for backstory. It doesn't really explain why ogre A who is supposed to be a full-fledged ogre with no class levels or practical training has a strong fort and poor HP and no armor (so low AC) but ogre B is also a full-fledged ogre with no class levels or practical training and has a strong reflex and lower HP and a higher AC (but is wearing the same armor).

    I think you may be confusing me with Neonchameleon - I haven't said anything aobut resting and Rivendell.
    It is entirely probable. My bad. I thought you had the same fix for HP healing; needing a safe place and longer duration. Either way, you are almost certainly right about that mistake.

    At least you seem to finally get my point and not lost in what I'm saying. Disagreement is what we have now instead of confusion, unless I am still mistaken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tovec View Post
    Fifth - you seem to be saying that roles are the new monster classes are the roles but I have shown how roles are roles and classes are classes so unless you have monster classes to compare to player classes you already lose me on that argument.
    You have said that, but you haven't demonstrated it. Classes and roles are both mechanical contructs. They have different names, but that doesn't necessarily make them all that different. Since characters have class and role, and monsters only have role, this also suggests they can mean different things for different uses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tovec View Post
    As far as "not a base human"... well it is. At that point I can give it any number of class levels in any number of classes and know exactly what I'll get.
    Just like a 4E monster, if you look at role levels as, well, levels. X levels of brute and you know what you have. But without those levels, the human PC is nothing. He is a non-entity. Why is this acceptable for a character but not a monster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tovec View Post
    I know exactly what is the human part and what is the class.
    I can't do the same with the ogres given in the 4e MM. I have so many variations. Unless I want to do a dissection of all the examples, and then recalculate based on the different rules for minions vs regular vs boss monsters I'm not going to have a base creature.
    Okay, I thought you were arguing that an ogre, for example, had to have ogre levels in order to be meaningful. Maybe I'm misunderstanding. Do you mean that racial adjustments (similar to those used for PCs) would be sufficient? I can get on board with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tovec View Post
    4th level giant is different from 4th level brute because brute isn't a class. It is a role, like defender is for fighter.
    But this analogy falls apart because monsters don't use class + role. They only use role. And, strictly speaking, characters don't use class + role anyway - their class is a subset of a role. Which means they are also defined by their role, but PC roles have more granularity than monster roles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tovec View Post
    Also for the record, there is no blackblade class that I can find either.
    It's a 1st level goblin lurker, in the 4e MM. I may have the name wrong - I'm going from memory - but I know the monster is there, because I used a couple of them in the first 4e goblin encounter that I ran.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tovec View Post
    4th level giant is different from 4th level brute because brute isn't a class. It is a role, like defender is for fighter.

    <snip>

    Considering we are talking about an entire system of mechanical constructs that have no particular meaning beyond their function I don't see how the BASE OGRE is any different.

    <snip>

    Um... without reasoning or explanation would be that there is an artillery ogre, but not a base ogre. Without R or E would be a brute without a base ogre. It would be a lurker without a base form.

    <snip>

    I don't understand how there can be an artillery form without there being a base form as well. If artillery is special tactics dealing with firing from range.. and there is another one that does the opposite by being in melee and getting smashed on, and another that does crowd control and all the while there is not one creature I can point at and say "you encounter an ogre" then something went wrong.

    <snip>

    I don't understand why they are so dissimilar to one another. Why can't the ranged ogre and the melee ogre be the same or very similar? Why does it have to be a completely different build with a stronger reflex.

    <snip>

    WHERE do they pick up these abilities. Saying brute academy doesn't really satisfy me as I see brute as something akin to barbarian - so I don't expect training in that either. In either case, a backstory reason of a brute academy works only for backstory. The "they're shorter so they trained at range instead of melee" also works only for backstory. It doesn't really explain why ogre A who is supposed to be a full-fledged ogre with no class levels or practical training has a strong fort and poor HP and no armor (so low AC) but ogre B is also a full-fledged ogre with no class levels or practical training and has a strong reflex and lower HP and a higher AC (but is wearing the same armor).
    There are two things here that I'm really not feeling the force of.

    First, I don't understand what it means to say that "giant" is a class. Which is not to say that I don't understand the mechanics of the 3E monster build rules. I do. But I don't understand what you think is at stake in the role/class distinction.

    "Class", originally, meant something like (i) the adventuring vocation that a PC has adopted, and (ii) the role that the player will work within - mechanically, thematically, etc - in playing the game. Now from early in the game NPCs had classes, even though (ii) didn't apply to them. But (i) still did - "class" corresponded to an NPCs vocation.

    But when we say that giant is a class, we're not talking about anyone's vocation. As far as I can see, it is just a device for building monsters. In that respect, I don't see how it is any different from Brute, other than specifying slightly different mechancial conequences for each level taken.

    This takes me to the second thing.

    On the one hand, you seem to agree that these are just mechanical constructs. On the other hand, you seem to be complaining that there is no "vanilla" ogre that you can include in the game for the PCs to encounter - which seems to mean that you envisage the BASE ogre is more than just a mechanical construct, but as a mechanical representation of something in the gameworld. I'm not sure what, though - I suggested it might be the typical ogre, but I think you disagreed with that. But I don't see the problem with using any of the Ogre Savage, Thug or Bludgeoneer as a typical ogre.

    And why does one ogre have better reflexes than another? Presumably the same reason some humans have better reflexes than others - it is quicker, lighter, better trained, etc. And why more hp? It's bigger, tougher, luckier, etc. It's not that hard to come up with a story to tell, I don't think. (Give your ogre another few giant levels and its reflexes will go up, as will its hp - why? Because it's a bigger giant? - that works for hp but doesn't make much sense for reflex, does it? Anyway, whatever story you would tell to explain that, you can tell the same story for your higher reflex 4e ogre.)

    Let's suppose you decide to use the Ogre Savage as the typical ogre. And now you decide you want to make a rock-throwing ogre. So you start with the savage. You add on a "thrown rock" at will ranged attack, and maybe a "hurricane of stones" encounter AoE attack. Now you've got a brute that is slighly more effective than the typical brute, because it can attack from range without closing/charging. So it's level (let's call this level A) is no longer an accurate indication of the mechanical challenge that it poses. What should you do? Well, you could work out what level it would have to be to be an artillery monster with that many hit points (let's call this level B) - but if you move it to that level, you'll find that your attack bonuses, damage and defences are all too low - that is, the level B will still fail to be an accurate indication of the mechanical challenge that it poses.

    4e is designed on the assumption that, at that point, you'll pick a level somewhere between A and B, drop the hit points a bit and raise the defences (which, mathematically, should be more-or-less a wash for PCs of around that level), raise its attack bonus and damage a bit (so that it will pose an appropriate mechanical challenge to PCs of that level), and generally massage things until you get numbers that fit within the parameters for an artillery of that level. What's the rationale for this? To build monsters that are predicatable and reliable in the mechanical challenge that they pose. If that rationale is of no interest to you, then presumalby the 4e approach to monster building won't interest you either. (Which isn't to say that the 3E approach should be of interest instead. I'm still not quite sure what rationale it serves.)

    Another way to do your brute-into-artillery would be to make it an elite skirmisher, with both a melee and a ranged attack. Up its hit points a bit more, mabye make its AoE at will also to help it with the action economy. Again, the rationale for tweaking the numbers is to buile a monster that is predictable and reliable in the mechanical challenge that it poses.

    To reiterate - if you want to build monsters that are both brutish and can throw rocks, but don't particularly care to ensure that they are predictable and reliable in the mechanical challenge that they pose, then I don't think 4e's role system has much to offer you. Just give the monster the numbers that best fit your conception of it and go to town! (This is how Burning Wheel does it, and I think largely how classic D&D did it, except for attack bonuses which were dependent on HD.)

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