D&D 5th Edition Monsters taking PC classes: I want it in Next. - Page 7




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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    A troll that takes 1 level in wizard should not be considered 1 level more difficult of a challenge. Any magic he's popping off pales next to his claws and regeneration.
    Actually, I expect that adding class levels to monsters in 5e will involve the multiclassing rules. Whatever ensures that a 6th-level fighter will get some benefit for taking one level of wizard would also ensure that a troll will get some benefit for doing the same.

 

  • #62
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    If it was honestly that easy in 3e to advance creatures, why couldn't the professionals get it right? I mean, the errata for modules from any publisher, WOTC or otherwise, was pretty lengthy and it was very common for there to be mistakes in any advanced creature. I have no idea if this continues in Pathfinder, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

    So, what's the point of having these highly detailed, intricate mechanics that even people who do this for a living can't get right?
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  • #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by CM View Post
    Ahem. To advance a creature's CR you potentially need to take these steps:
    1. Check its type to determine how many hit dice it should gain for each "level-up"
    2. Advance ability scores based on hit dice
    3. Advance size and resulting strength/dex/con modifiers, natural AC, and attack/defense modifiers
    4. Advance base damage die of all the creature's natural attacks and calculate attack and damage values for primary vs. secondary natural attacks
    5. Add feats
    6. Recalculate BAB, AC, touch AC, flat-footed AC, grapple bonus, HP, fortitude, reflex, will, SR, DR, caster level, save DC of spells and spell-like abilities, and all skill bonuses based on hit dice, creature type, size, ability score values, armor worn, and any feats.

    In 4e, to advance a creature's level this is reduced to the following:
    1. Pick an arbitrary level you wish to advance the creature to.
    2. Check the NPC advancement table for the new HP, AC-attack, NAD-attack, and fort/ref/will modifiers.
    3. Advance damage of the creature's attacks, also based on the table.
    4. Optionally, advance the size. All this changes is melee reach and area.
    5. Optionally, pick new arbitrary values for initiative and any ability scores or skill bonuses.
    6. Optionally, if you're advancing a creature a full tier, you might want to give it another arbitrary ability for each tier (paragon, epic). This isn't any more difficult than picking a feat or two.

    Sorry but I'll take #2 any day.
    I am totally uninterested in advancing monsters this way. I just don't care for bigger ogres or bigger whatever, so either way these rules above for me are mostly a wasted effort.

    The only time when I wanted some straight larger specimen for monsters, were the occasional ultra-giant vermin or dragon, both types of which had a range of size adequately covered in the first MM.

    But generally speaking I find scaled-up versions of monsters just boring and not worth my campaign preparation time. When the main purpose of this is dial the CR of an encounter, I can just go straight to picking a higher CR monster of a similar type (e.g. a hill giant instead of an advanced ogre).

    OTOH I want to be able to add class levels on monsters, at least humanoids. This allows me to do interesting things, for example:

    1- design a hierarchy (vertically diverse) of monsters of the same type: maybe an adventure against a tribe of Orcs where the guards at the entrance of their lairs are 2nd level, the elite guards inside are 4th level, and the boss is 6th level, but they are all Orcs with some shared core abilities

    2- design a band (horizontally diverse) of monsters of the same type: maybe an evil adventuring group of Drow that mirrors the good party of PC, each of them being a different class but they are all Drow and again share some abilities

    3- mix'n'match the racial abilities of a monster with the features of a class, to make for some diverse challenge: maybe you want to see how does a barbarian ogre or a wizard illithid works against the PCs (or even a barbarian illithid and a wizard ogre, if you're into kinky stuff)

    4- allow the monster to be played as a PC (although this is personally very low on my own priority list...)

    This has much, much higher priority in my games, because they help me build adventures and campaigns more, and keep the encounters diversified.

    Where eventually the problem lies is that:

    a) it takes a long time to design an NPC from scratch, especially at high levels

    b) it doesn't work well when the base monster already has a high CR

    There is no perfect solution for problem a) if you want to do the NPC exactly like a PC. But the point is that you don't have to do that... and the people who usually complain that 3e is too slow are the same people that claim that NPC absolutely need not be the same as PC. So just don't do that, just ignore anything that isn't related to combat (unless you also plan to use the NPC for something else), if you pretend to assign 30 different spells because technically the illithid wizard is entitled to, it's your fault. Unfortunately, the 3e books didn't really help gamers realize that, and kind of made it seem like they necessarily had to conform to full and detailed design. Something extra that can help is class advancement tables in the PHB (otherwise you have to add levels one by one, are you kiddding?) and sample humanoids with levels in the MM (obviously iconic, e.g. hobgoblin fighters at a few different levels, certainly no need for hobgoblin paladins and druids).

    And for problem b) I think I'm going to re-state what I previously wrote in this thread: maybe it would be worth investigating a mechanic for swapping "monsters levels" with class levels so that if you had a base frost giant with 6HD, class levels would not be added on top of that but would replace racial HD on a 1-by-1 basis until level 6, and then continue adding class levels normally.
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  • #64
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    [quote=Li Shenron;6025494]But generally speaking I find scaled-up versions of monsters just boring and not worth my campaign preparation time. When the main purpose of this is dial the CR of an encounter, I can just go straight to picking a higher CR monster of a similar type (e.g. a hill giant instead of an advanced ogre).


    Quote Originally Posted by Li Shenron View Post
    1- design a hierarchy (vertically diverse) of monsters of the same type: maybe an adventure against a tribe of Orcs where the guards at the entrance of their lairs are 2nd level, the elite guards inside are 4th level, and the boss is 6th level, but they are all Orcs with some shared core abilities
    So lemme get this straight. You find scaled up monsters boring. But you want a scale of orcs from the basic level 2s to the elite level 4s to the boss at level 6, all of which share core abilities, but also gain new capacities as they're scaled up?

    What?

  • #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    So lemme get this straight. You find scaled up monsters boring. But you want a scale of orcs from the basic level 2s to the elite level 4s to the boss at level 6, all of which share core abilities, but also gain new capacities as they're scaled up?

    What?
    I meant "scaled monsters" = a monster that has more or less only inflated numbers, which is the case in 3ed rules when you advance a monster just by increasing its number of hit dice and consequently its HP, ability scores, BAB, ST, DC of its special abilities... (the exception being feats, where at least you can pick different ones).

    Instead, in the case of the orcs example, I wouldn't call them simply "scaled", because by adding class levels I am adding actual additional abilities. Maybe I choose to just add fighter levels (that's clearly the least interesting case) but maybe instead I add barbarian levels to the guards, rogue levels to the elite guards and ranger levels to the boss. There's truly a lot more variety.

    The comparison is based on my 3e experience. In 4e it might be completely different if you advance monster always by picking additional abilities, and even more if the pool to choose from is the same as for PC (but I have no idea...).
    "There is no survival without order, there is no evolution without chaos."
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  • #66
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    Ignore GreyICE
    4E gives you baseline scores for damage and hit on abilities, and guidelines for what you should have, numerically (2 for minions, 4 for standards, 6 for elites, 8 for solos, +1 per tier, +1 for Leader).

    What you choose to slap on the monster is entirely your own affair. So if you wanted to make the front gate one berserker flavored, you give them a rage. If you want to make the elite guards rogues you give them stealth and build them as skirmishers or lurkers (I might even reskin a different skirmisher/lurker for them). For the boss, well, he's an elite, and you want a ranger flavor, so give him lots of bow abilities, some area control with an arrow storm, a beast companion, and since he's a leader, toss in something to order the guards forward (maybe let another orc make an MBA as a minor action, 4/5/6 refresh?).

  • #67
    I want rules to implement monsters as PCs, no matter how crazy (Savage Species had the right idea, but didn't quite deliver).

  • #68
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    Ignore GreyICE
    Yeah, it can go in the "Broken Things" module of stuff that's a really bad idea if you care about balance in any way, along with Shapeshift, the Deck of Many Things, Gate, Planar Shepherds, Brutal Barrage, etc.

  • #69
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Yeah, it can go in the "Broken Things" module of stuff that's a really bad idea if you care about balance in any way,
    Not really, more like the killer idea, but implementation didn't quite deliver.

    The word "balance" (that and the word "broken") in D&D is starting to sound sillier and sillier every day.

  • #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely_Dan View Post
    Not really, more like the killer idea, but implementation didn't quite deliver.

    The word "balance" (that and the word "broken") in D&D is starting to sound sillier and sillier every day.
    I expect, no--demand--that the core of the game be filled with character options which the DM can assume will not break the game if they aren't carefully monitored. There is a place for experimental options. Dragon magazine always was (and continues to be) one, Unearthed Arcana (both versions) was another.

    Maybe 4e has spoiled me, but if I have to carefully vet every new option in every new book in 5e, I'm out.

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