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[5.0] Chocobos!

evilbob

First Post
140px-FFTChocobo.jpg
Running a Final Fantasy Tactics / Tactics Advanced-inspired campaign, you've got to have chocobos! These are based off FFT only; there are several other colors but these give a decent variety. Thank you to [MENTION=6776887]Tormyr[/MENTION] for your Monster CR Calculator - I am not sure I understand it completely but it certainly helped a lot. Please let me know if these CRs look accurate! (I feel like red may be a 2, but I'm not sure.) Comments welcome.

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Chocobos are fairly intelligent ostrich-like birds that run on two feet. Wild chocobo tend to travel in herds in open plains like horses. They are notoriously difficult to capture and train, in part due to their intelligence and stubborn nature. They take far more effort to train than horses, even when born in captivity. They're also more expensive to maintain (and typically associated with the wealthy). However, once trained, they are also far more effective, faster, and steadier in battle. When taught they are able to understand a wide range of language - though they can only say "kweh!" - and tend to be sensitive to insults and praise.


FFT-enemy-Chocobo.gifYellow Chocobo
Large beast, unaligned

AC 13
Hit points 19 (3d10+3)
Speed 60 ft

Str 16 Dex 17 Con 13 Int 4 Wis 13 Cha 10

Skills Athletics +5, Perception +3
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages --
CR 1/2

ChocoDash - If a yellow chocobo is wearing light or no barding and has at most one rider, when it uses the Dash action its base speed is 80 ft. Similarly, a yellow chocobo can travel at a gallop (PHB p.181) up to 8 hours a day before becoming exhausted.

Actions
ChocoCure - A yellow chocobo may use a bonus action on its turn to heal itself for 8 (1d10+3) hit points. It cannot use this ability again until it finishes a short or long rest.

ChocoPeck - melee weapon attack, +5 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target
Hit: 8 (1d10+3) piercing damage

Yellow chocobos are the most common type of chocobo and prized for their speed and range. They also have the ability to shrug off a small amount of damage. Yellow chocobos also have a strange affection for Moogles, and it is much easier for Moogles to train them - perhaps because they treat it more as a partnership than simple ownership.


FFT-enemy-BlackChocobo.gifBlack Chocobo
Large beast, unaligned

AC 14
Hit points 49 (9d10)
Speed 60 ft, fly 20 ft

Str 15 Dex 18 Con 11 Int 4 Wis 13 Cha 13

Skills Athletics +4, Perception +3
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages --
CR 1

Weak Flyer - A black chocobo cannot fly if it is wearing medium or heavier barding or has more than one rider. It also cannot hover or gain more than 100 feet in altitude on its own.

Actions
ChocoBall - 2/rest, ranged weapon attack, +6 to hit, range 30/60 ft, one target
Hit: 9 (2d4+4) bludgeoning damage
A black chocobo can swallow up to two small rocks and store them in its gullet, and spit them out later at surprising speed. It typically uses this ability as a defense mechanism. It can only use this ability twice until it takes a short or long rest.

ChocoPeck - melee weapon attack, +6 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target
Hit: 9 (1d10+4) piercing damage

Black chocobos are more rare than yellow, and in mixed groups of wild chocobo they tend to be the leaders of herds of yellow. They are also prized for their abilities as flying mounts. They aren't the best fliers, but combined with their normal speed their flight is best suited to simply avoiding obstacles. They have also developed a defensive mechanism of spitting rocks when threatened, and often do this from the air while escaping to discourage attackers. Black chocobos are even harder to train and get to accept riders than yellow, but once they do, they are formidable mounts.


FFT-enemy-RedChocobo.gifRed Chocobo
Large beast, unaligned

AC 14
Hit points 84 (13d10+13)
Speed 60 ft

Str 16 Dex 18 Con 13 Int 5 Wis 13 Cha 16

Skills Athletics +5, Perception +3
Damage resistance fire
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages can understand Common but can't speak
CR 3

ChocoJump - Red chocobos double their jumping distances.

Innate Spellcasting - Red chocobos use Charisma (DC 13) and can innately cast the following without material components.
1/day: ChocoMeteor (Melf's Minute Meteors; Elemental Evil Player's Companion, p.20)

Actions
ChocoPeck - melee weapon attack, +6 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target
Hit: 9 (1d10+4) piercing damage

Red chocobos are exceptionally rare and tend to be loners. More intelligent, they can understand language and have the ability to naturally channel small flaming meteors which they can use at great distance against foes. While they cannot fly, they use their wings to assist in jumping. Even more difficult to capture and train than the other types of chocobo, a red chocobo is almost never seen as a mount or in war - although stories tell of ancient battles where fleets of red chocobo cavalry were used to devastating effect.
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
Yellow and black are spot on. Red is a bit harder. Doing it quickly I get CR 2 for the red, but then I thought about it more.

The red one is tricky for a couple of reasons:
1. Even though resistance is only supposed to bump effective HP if a creature has multiple resistances, some creatures seem to have the hp bump even if their only resistance is poison. Including the fire here would bump the effective hp to 156 total and the CR to 4. In this case I might not worry about it though.
2. DPR for area of effect spells is not clearly defined. After reverse engineering a bunch of the magic users in the MM, the criteria that seems to fit the best is to use the determining area of effect table on page 249 of the DMG to determine the number of creatures hit and assume they all make their saving throws. The most efficient damage must also be used. MMM gives 6 meteors, and 2 can be used each turn. The blast has a 5 foot radius. The DMG suggests dividing radius spells by 5 to get number of creatures hit. So each meteor hits 1 creature for 7 (2d6) damage. 2 meteors per round, with targets making their saves is 7 damage per round from the meteors. The first round red casts the spell, the second and third rounds it does 9 damage from its bite. So average DPR is 13.

At this point, my by the book interpretation would be CR2. However, because there is both the possibility of some of those meteors hitting 2 creatures and the fire resistance, I think CR 3 could be more accurate, and in play testing it may work as a 3 or 4. The way I do playtesting for any creature of CR1 to CR5 is to take the fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue pregens from the starter set at the equivalent level as the creature's CR and run one or more straight up battles against the creature. These should be medium difficulty battles. The pregens should defeat the creature in about three rounds with a few resources used. If the pregens reliably kill the creature in about 3 rounds with only a few resources burned and no death, the CR is probably correct. If the creature seems useless or gets annihilated in a round or two, the guessed at CR is too high. If the creature starts killing the pregens, the CR is too low.
 

evilbob

First Post
You have nailed my exact thoughts on the red. I used a slightly different way to calculate it all up but reached the same conclusion. The thing that makes this extra tricky is that the spell is only 3 rounds, 1/day, and it's meant to be used at range - like 120' range. If this creature is doing spell damage and attacking in melee on the same turn, it's actually at a huge disadvantage, because of concentration checks and the real power of the spell IS the range - plus the creature has a 60' movement, so keeping foes at range for 3 rounds should be trivial. But once the spell is over, it's basically just a CR 2 brute with fire resistance. So the "average" DPR is more like (9 + 7) / 2 = 8, as opposed to 13, in practice (the spell actually LOWERS the DPR, hilariously). And I agree that the fire resistance is almost more flavor than anything else; sure it will give the wizard pause when scorching ray does half damage, but that won't stop the fighter from pummeling it.

Part of the issue, though, is that I can't really come up with a good way lore-wise to raise its CR without boosting its HP, and it's already pretty high. Or giving it more per-day uses of its spell - but that just seems gratuitous, and possibly will push too far the other way. One more hit die might be enough, I guess: that puts it at 84 HP and firmly into CR 3 land given its other attributes.

As an aside, I really liked your CR generator; it didn't really have any instructions on how to use it, and it took a while of messing with it to really figure out what you were trying to do with it, but I think I get it now and it's especially great at the whole HP / AC / damage stuff. I might put a few notes on it - like the "expected CR" is really just for reference, and you probably want to use the DMG notes along with this tool, and only fill in the yellow boxes. :) It also suffers from the same thing the DMG suffers from: the idea of "effective X" vs. X is just confusing until you understand it. But overall it's really helpful - thanks a bunch!
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
You have nailed my exact thoughts on the red. I used a slightly different way to calculate it all up but reached the same conclusion. The thing that makes this extra tricky is that the spell is only 3 rounds, 1/day, and it's meant to be used at range - like 120' range. If this creature is doing spell damage and attacking in melee on the same turn, it's actually at a huge disadvantage, because of concentration checks and the real power of the spell IS the range - plus the creature has a 60' movement, so keeping foes at range for 3 rounds should be trivial. But once the spell is over, it's basically just a CR 2 brute with fire resistance. So the "average" DPR is more like (9 + 7) / 2 = 8, as opposed to 13, in practice (the spell actually LOWERS the DPR, hilariously). And I agree that the fire resistance is almost more flavor than anything else; sure it will give the wizard pause when scorching ray does half damage, but that won't stop the fighter from pummeling it.

Part of the issue, though, is that I can't really come up with a good way lore-wise to raise its CR without boosting its HP, and it's already pretty high. Or giving it more per-day uses of its spell - but that just seems gratuitous, and possibly will push too far the other way. One more hit die might be enough, I guess: that puts it at 84 HP and firmly into CR 3 land given its other attributes.

As an aside, I really liked your CR generator; it didn't really have any instructions on how to use it, and it took a while of messing with it to really figure out what you were trying to do with it, but I think I get it now and it's especially great at the whole HP / AC / damage stuff. I might put a few notes on it - like the "expected CR" is really just for reference, and you probably want to use the DMG notes along with this tool, and only fill in the yellow boxes. :) It also suffers from the same thing the DMG suffers from: the idea of "effective X" vs. X is just confusing until you understand it. But overall it's really helpful - thanks a bunch!
Thanks, for the feedback.The instructions are on the page for downloading the file, but I probably should put a sheet of instructions in the actual workbook.

While DPR over the day might be more realistic, the DPR guidelines essentially boil down to: "Go nova for three rounds." Your point about concentration checks might pull me back to a CR2 again.

As for boosting the CR, it is very simple with red. Give it multiattack. 2 melee attacks when using the attack action will give it a big boost. Usually when I am converting a monster I shoot for having the offensive and defensive CR balanced at where I want the monster. When I cannot easily do that, then I imbalance the other half of the CR to make up for which one I am stuck on. So if I was shooting for CR3, I would try for DCR3/OCR3, but would be fine with a 4 and 2 either way.
 

kanwal

First Post
My 5e conversion of the 1e module PHARAOH is going great thus far and thought I would share my foamcore/Fat Dragon battle mat/map for the sunken city of Pazar.\



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