5E: Alternate Takes on Official Fifth Edition Monsters

Cleon

Hero
I'm starting this thread for alternative versions of Fifth Edition monsters with official stats, for reasons that'll become obvious in my next post.

Finished conversions will be added to the Completed Fifth Edition Creatures Index.

Index of Alternative Versions of Official 5E Monsters
NAME​
CR​
D&D Beyond​
Enworld​
Animated Object (animate objects spell)
varies​
—​
—​
Animated Object, Tiny
1/4​
—​
Animated Object, Small
1/2​
—​
Animated Object, Medium
1​
—​
Animated Object, Large
2​
—​
Animated Object, Huge
4​
—​
Animated Object Swarm
3​
—​
Animated Object Swarm, Large
5​
—​
Animated Object—Animated Catapult
5​
—​
Animated Object—Shrapnel Swarm
6​
—​
Animated Object—Top Ballista
6​
—​
Animated Object—Walking Springal
3​
—​
Animated Object—Whirling Razor
1​
—​
Animated Object—Winged Fan
0​
—​
Name—Subtype
#​
—​
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Cleon

Hero
I was watching a YouTube Series of Tabletop 5th Edition Play and one of the PCs cast animate objects for the first time (they'd just leveled up and gained the spell).

So two Large animated objects and a Medium one appeared to attack their enemy, only to be hit by a charm effect which knocked out the Medium and one Large. The DM pointed out that was what the Rules said, since the spell description does not give the the constructs it produced and immunities.

While technically correct (the best kind of correct) that doesn't seem right at all!

The Animated Objects in the Monster Manual have the Immunities to Damage (poison, psychic) and Conditions (blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned) you'd expect for a construct, but the creatures created by animate objects don't use their stats. For example, a Flying Sword has different stats to the Small Object an animate objects spell can create.

Then I looked at the spell description and it became even worse!

A default animate objects spell transforms up to ten non-magical objects into creatures. It can cause ten Tiny or Small targets to come to life, but a Medium target counts as two objects, a Large target is four and a Huge is eight.

But just look at these objects stats:

Table: Animated Object Statistics
SizeHPACAttackStrDex
Tiny2018+8 to hit, 1d4 + 4 damage418
Small2516+6 to hit, 1d8 + 2 damage614
Medium4013+5 to hit, 2d6 + 1 damage1012
Large5010+6 to hit, 2d10 + 2 damage1410
Huge8010+8 to hit, 2d12 + 4 damage186

An animated object is a construct with AC, hit points, attacks, Strength, and Dexterity determined by its size. Its Constitution is 10 and its Intelligence and Wisdom are 3, and its Charisma is 1. Its speed is 30 feet; if the object lacks legs or other appendages it can use for locomotion, it instead has a flying speed of 30 feet and can hover. If the object is securely attached to a surface or a larger object, such as a chain bolted to a wall, its speed is 0. It has blindsight with a radius of 30 feet and is blind beyond that distance. When the animated object drops to 0 hit points, it reverts to its original object form, and any remaining damage carries over to its original object form.​
If you command an object to attack, it can make a single melee attack against a creature within 5 feet of it. It makes a slam attack with an attack bonus and bludgeoning damage determined by its size.​

Notice the problem?

It'll become clear if you feed the above numbers into the CR Calculator:

Table: Animated Object CR Calculator Results
SizeChallenge
Rating
Off.
CR
Def.
CR
Prof.
Bonus
Effective
HP (HD)
Armor
Class
Eff.
AC
Average Damage
Per Round
Effective
Attack Bonus
Tiny2 (450 XP)21+220 (8d4)18 (14 +4 DEX)206 (1d4 +4 DEX)+8 (+4 DEX +2 PB +2??)
Small1 (200 XP)11/2+225 (7d6+1)16 (14 +2 DEX)186 (1d8 +2 DEX)+6 (+2 DEX +2 PB +2??)
Medium1 (200 XP)11/2+240 (9d8)13 (12 +1 DEX)158 (2d6 +1 DEX)+5 (+4 DEX +2 PB +2??)
Large1 (200 XP)21/2+250 (9d10+1)10 (10 +0 DEX)1213 (2d10 +2 STR)+6 (+2 STR +2 PB +2??)
Huge3 (700 XP)41+280 (12d12+2)10 (12 –2 DEX)1217 (2d12 +4 STR)+8 (+4 STR +2 PB +2??)

Look at the projected CR of the objects. The Tiny Object has a higher Challenge than the Small to Large ones due to its unusually, I would say inappropriately, high AC and Attack Bonus. Also, the number of created objects halves for each size above small. but most of them are the same CR, so instead of four CR 1 Small constructs you can have one CR 1 Large construct for a lot less combat effectiveness.

EDIT—
Dang it. Just noticed that I'd left "Save Proficiences 3-4" in the CR Calculator from a previous monster which adds +2 to effective AC and makes the above Challenge columns wrong.

They should be:

Table: Animated Object CR Calculator Results

SizeChallenge
Rating
Off.
CR
Def.
CR
Eff.
AC
Tiny1 (200 XP)21/218
Small1 (200 XP)11/416
Medium1 (200 XP)11/413
Large1 (200 XP)21/410
Huge2 (450 XP)41/210

The overall principle that the Tiny ones are way too strong still holds and the following Game Theorizing holds.
—ENDEDIT


Let's run a little game theory comparing one Huge Object to the eight Tiny Objects you can animate in its place.

The Tiny Objects have a total of 160 hit points to the Huge Object's 80, so that's 200% as much.

An opponent who hits the Tiny Object's AC 18 50% the time (i.e. one with +7 to hit) would hit the Huge Object's AC 10 90% of the time. Allowing for double damage on a natural 20 (which counts as an extra 5%), that means their DPR against a Tiny will be 55/95 as much as against a Huge.

Both Tiny and Huge have a +8 to hit so there's equal odds of doing damage. Eight Tiny Objects have a DPR of 52 to a single Huge Objects DPR of 17.

However, as combat proceeds the number of Tiny Objects in the battle will slowly diminish. First eight, then seven, six, five, four, three, two and finally one. Assuming the rate of loss is even, then the effectiveness or eight combatants with a total of 52 DPR vs one combatant with the same DPR is 36/64 or 56.25%. (The maths is pretty easy: 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8 divided by eight 8 for the equivalent single combatant).

So multiply all those ratios together: 160/80 hp times 95/55 AC times 52/17 damage times 36/64 "whittling down the numbers" and we get a ratio of 5.94 to 1. So those eight Tiny Objects could theoretically inflict roughly six times as much damage over their combat lifetime than one Huge Object.

The ratio won't be quite so bad against opponents with a higher to hit number, but even in ideal circumstances (100% to hit against both sizes) the ratio is still 3.44 to 1, or over three times as much damage.

Now the main problem with the model is it assumes ALL the Tiny Objects can attack at the same time. If only one or two can target the enemy in a round, the DPR drops proportionally. However, any bottleneck that's barely large enough for a couple of Tiny creatures to squeeze through would surely be too small for a Huge creature, so wouldn't the Huge Object be completely unable to attack and be at the mercy of ranged weapons?

Anyhow, I conclude the spell and animated object stats need rewriting to be a bit more balanced.
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
Okay, so I think the spell needs a rewriting. For a start, it'd be nice if the animate objects spell could produce the Animated Objects in the Monster Manual and SRD, namely the Medium CR 1 Animated Armor, the Small CR 1/4 Flying Sword, and the Large CR 2 Rug of Smothering.

Note that the statistics of these SRD Animated Objects don't match those of the animate objects spell creations.

I'd also quite like the option of creating a swarm of animated objects.

Now the closest SRD spell comparison I can find are the conjure elemental and conjure minor elemental spells. These summon elementals based on their Challenge Rating.

The 4th-level spell conjure minor elemental has:

You summon elementals that appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. You choose one the following options for what appears:​
  • One elemental of challenge rating 2 or lower
  • Two elementals of challenge rating 1 or lower
  • Four elementals of challenge rating 1/2 or lower
  • Eight elementals of challenge rating 1/4 or lower
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots, you choose one of the summoning options above, and more creatures appear: twice as many with a 6th-level slot and three times as many with an 8th-level slot.​

While the 5th-level spell conjure elemental has:

An elemental of challenge rating 5 or lower appropriate to the area you chose appears in an unoccupied space within 10 feet of it.​

That seems the best approach. I'll write up a proposed alternative description for the spell.
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
ANIMATE OBJECTS
5th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Objects come to life at your command. Choose up to ten non-magical objects within range that are not being worn or carried. You can't animate any object larger than Huge. Each target animates and becomes a creature under your control until the spell ends or until reduced to 0 hit points. You can animate a single creature of challenge rating 5 or lower, or up to ten creatures whose total challenge ratings add up to 4 or less (eight CR 1/2 creatures, four CR 1/4 plus six CR 1/2, two CR 2, or any other combination). Standard animated objects have a CR based on their size: CR 1/4 for Tiny, CR 1/2 for Small, CR 1 for Medium, CR 2 for Large and CR 4 for Huge.

Option: You can animate creatures from the Animated Objects entry in the Monster Manual: the CR 1/4 flying sword, CR 1 animated armor, CR 2 rug of smothering and, at the DM's discretion, other animated creatures. A non-standard animated object may have special requirements. Animated armor, for example, requires a complete suit of plate mail (1,500 gp) mounted on a sturdy display frame (10 gp); a flying sword requires a longsword (15 gp). Some animated objects can only be created from targets that are custom crafted for that purpose.​

 As a bonus action, you can mentally command any creature you made with this spell if the creature is within 500 feet of you (if you control multiple creatures, you can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one). You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.

Table: Animated Object Statistics
Object​
CR​
HP​
AC​
Attacks​
STR​
DEX​
Tiny
1/4​
10​
16​
+4 to hit, 1d4 + 2 damage​
6​
14​
1/2​
17​
17​
+6 to hit, 1d6 + 2 damage​
10​
14​
1​
36​
17​
+6 to hit, 1d10 + 2 damage​
14​
12​
2​
66​
17​
+6 to hit, 2d8 + 4 damage​
18​
10​
Huge
4​
110​
16​
+8 to hit, 2d10 + 6 damage​
22​
8​
3​
45​
16​
2 at +5 to hit, 4d6 damage​
16​
14​
5​
71​
16​
3 at +7 to hit, 4d6 damage​
18​
14​

 A standard animated object is an unaligned construct with challenge rating, AC, hit points, attacks, Strength, and Dexterity determined by its size. Its Constitution is 10, its Wisdom is 3, and its Intelligence and Charisma are 1. Its speed is 30 feet; if the object lacks legs or other appendages it can use for locomotion, it instead has a flying speed of 30 feet and can hover. If the object is securely attached to a surface or a larger object, such as a chain bolted to a wall, its speed is 0. It has blindsight with a radius of 60 feet and is blind beyond that distance.
 An animated object is immune to poison and psychic damage and cannot be blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified or poisoned. When the animated object drops to 0 hit points, it reverts to its original object form, and any remaining damage carries over to its original object form.
 If you command an object to attack, it can make a single melee attack against a creature within 5 feet of it. It makes a slam attack with an attack bonus and bludgeoning damage determined by its size. The DM might rule that a specific object inflicts slashing or piercing damage based on its form.
At Higher Levels: If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, the challenge rating increases by 1 for each slot level above 5th and the maximum number of objects you can animate increases by 2.
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
Okay, that just leaves the object's stats:

Table: Animated Object Statistics
Size​
CR​
HP​
AC​
Hit​
Damage​
STR​
DEX​
Tiny​
1/4​
10 (4d4)
16 (14+DEX)
+4 (2+DEX)
1d4+2​
6 (–2)
14 (+2)
Small​
1/2​
17 (5d6)
17 (15+DEX)
+6 (4+DEX)
1d6+2​
10 (+0)
14 (+2)
Medium​
1​
36 (8d8)
17 (16+DEX)
+6 (4+STR)
1d10+2​
14 (+2)
12 (+1)
Large​
2​
66 (12d10)
17 (17)
+6 (2+STR)
2d8+4​
18 (+4)
10 (+0)
Huge​
4​
110 (17d12)
16 (17–DEX)
+8 (2+STR)
2d10+6​
22 (+6)
8 (–1)

Here are the Animated Objects from the Monster Manual for comparison.

Table: SRD Animated Objects
Name​
Size​
CR​
HP​
AC​
Hit​
Damage​
STR​
DEX​
S​
1/4​
17 (5d6)
17 (15+DEX)
+3 (2+STR)
1d8+1​
12 (+1)
15 (+2)
M​
1​
33* (6d8+6)
18 (18+DEX)
+4 (2+STR)
2×1d6+2​
14 (+2)
11 (+0)
L​
2​
33 (6d10)
12 (10+DEX)
+5 (2+STR)
2d6+3​
17 (+3)
14 (+2)
*Note the Armor has CON 13 (+1) instead of the CON 10 (+0) of a standard animated object.
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
I think the trick is to make sure the Armour Class and To Hit are not too swingey.

All the SRD Monster Manual objects have better ACs than the default spell versions and their to hit numbers are considerably lower.

Hmm… I guess the main question is do I keep the AC 18, +8 to hit, DEX 18 of the spell's Tiny Animated Object or modify them, and how the bigger sizes progress up from Tiny. I certainly don't like the Large and Huge ones having AC 10 like the official stats!

To me it makes more sense to have similar to hit numbers to the SRD Animated Objects, so maybe:

Tiny +5 (DEX +3 and +2 proficiency)​
Small +4 (DEX +2 and +2 proficiency)​
Medium +4 (STR +2 and +2 proficiency)​
Large +5 (STR +3 and +2 proficiency)​
Huge +8 (STR +5 and +3 proficiency)​

As for Armour Class, I'm tempted to give them all the same AC.

Tiny AC 16 (base 13 plus DEX +3)​
Small AC 16 (base 14 plus DEX +2)​
Medium AC 16 (base 15 plus DEX +1)​
Large AC 16 (base 16 plus DEX +0)​
Huge AC 16 (base 17 plus DEX –1)​

If we want to keep the original Tiny's AC 18 though, I'd rather have it vary a bit with the Tiny and Huge ones being the hardest to hit.

Maybe:

Tiny AC 18 (base 15 plus DEX +3)​
Small AC 17 (base 15 plus DEX +2)​
Medium AC 17 (base 16 plus DEX +1)​
Large AC 17 (base 17 plus DEX +0)​
Huge AC 18 (base 18 plus DEX +0)​

Hmm, it'd be easier to run some numbers through the CR Calculator and see what works…
 



Cleon

Hero
Animated Object, Shrapnel Swarm
Medium swarm of Tiny constructs, unaligned
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (12d8 + 12)
Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
18 (+4)​
16 (+3)​
13 (+1)​
1 (–5)​
4 (–3)​
1 (–5)​

Saving Throws CON +4, DEX +6
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 6
Languages
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Antimagic Susceptibility. The shrapnel swarm is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the swarm must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the shrapnel swarm remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal pile of shrapnel.

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny creature. The swarm can't regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

Actions

Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: two with shower of cuts and two with hail of nails.

Hail of Nails. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) piercing damage, or 7 (2d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Shower of Cuts. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) slashing damage, or 7 (2d6) slashing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.


Description

An animated swarm of shrapnel may appear to be a pile of metal junk, but its component objects have been carefully selected for their lethal potential.
 Instead of being a creature created by animate objects or similar magic, a shrapnel swarm may be a normal construct that does not require the Antimagic Susceptibility trait.


VARIANT: SHRAPNEL SWARMS
A typical shrapnel swarm is formed from knives, razor blades, arrowheads, shuriken, crossbow bolts and similar sharp implements, but the swarm may also include steel ball bearings, lead sling bullets or the like, which gives it the following action option.
Blizzard of Blows. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) bludgeoning damage, or 7 (2d6) bludgeoning damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Alternate Multiattacks. Depending on the objects an animated swarm of shrapnel is composed of, its Multiattack option may change to one of the following.
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: two with shower of cuts and two with blizzard of blows (or two with hail of nails and two with blizzard of blows for some swarms–those made of bullets and lancets, for example).
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks using any combination of blizzard of blows, hail of nails, and shower of cuts.
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: one shower of cuts, one hail of nails, one blizzard of blows, and one attack with either shower of cuts, hail of nails, or blizzard of blows.
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks with shower of cuts (some swarms make four attacks with hail of nails or blizzard of blows instead).

Alternate Multiattacks. Other arrangements are possible, such as:
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: two with hail of nails, and two attacks using any combination of shower of cuts and blizzard of blows. The swarm can make one volley of missile attack instead of its two hail of nails attacks, or it can make two volley of missile attacks instead of all four melee attacks.
Volley of Missiles. The swarm sprays darts and arrowheads in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 14 (4d6) piercing damage, or 7 (2d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points of fewer; the target takes half as much damage on a successful save.
 A shrapnel swarm with volley of missiles is Challenge 7 (2,900 XP).

(Original monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
Animated Object, Walking Springal
Large construct, unaligned
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (12d10)
Speed 40 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
18 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
10 (+0)​
1 (–5)​
3 (–4)​
1 (–5)​

Saving Throws DEX +4
Skills Perception +0
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 3 (700 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Antimagic Susceptibility. The walking springal is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the springal must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the walking springal remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal object.

Actions

Multiattack. The walking springal makes four bolt attacks or two slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Bolt. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) piercing damage.

Boltblitz (Recharge After a Short Rest or Reload). The walking springal hurls a storm of bolts in a 160-foot trapezoid that is 10 feet wide at the base and 30 feet wide at the end. Each creature in that area must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, with advantage if they are more than 80 feet away or more from the springal, or disadvantage if they are within 20 feet of it. On a failed save, a target within 40 feet takes 22 (4d10) piercing damage, one from 40 to 80 feet takes 16 (3d10) piercing damage, one from 80 to 120 feet takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage, and one from 120 to 160 feet takes 5 (1d10) piercing damage. On a successful save, the target takes half damage if they are within 120 feet of the springal, or no damage if they are further away.

Reload. The walking springal recharges its boltblitz.


Description

An inactive walking springal looks like a large wooden box on short table legs, with metal reinforcement on the face and sides of one end. It has large hatches on each side and the reinforced end has a large slot in the middle above which are set one or more pairs of glass discs.
 Instead of being a creature created by animate objects or similar magic, a walking springal may be a normal construct that does not require the Antimagic Susceptibility trait.
Missile Machine. A springal is a type of light siege engine similar to a ballista that uses the energy stored in twisted skeins of sinew or hair to throw clusters of crossbow-style bolts. They are comparatively short ranged weapons that are usually used to defend gatehouses and the like from assaults. Walking springals are constructs that are often used for the same purpose but their high mobility compared to an non-animated springal makes them very useful on open battlefields too.
Targeting Sights. The glass discs set in its front are eyes, allowing a walking springal to aim at targets beyond its blindsight range. The construct can see as well as an average humanoid, a useful trait when its master orders it to stand guard.

(Original monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
Animated Object, Animated Catapult
Huge construct, unaligned
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 110 (17d12)
Speed 25 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
22 (+6)​
10 (+0)​
10 (+0)​
1 (–5)​
3 (–4)​
1 (–5)​

Saving Throws STR +9, CON +9
Skills Perception +2
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Antimagic Susceptibility. The animated catapult is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the catapult must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the animated catapult remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal object.

Ramming Charge. If the animated catapult moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the gore deals an extra 11 (2d10) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Targeting. If the animated catapult takes one or more actions to aim at a target then uses its next action to make a mangonel stone attack against the same target, the stone has a range of 150/600 if it aimed for one action, or 200/800 if it aimed for two or more actions.

Actions

Multiattack. The animated catapult makes two slam attacks.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Mangonel Stone. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (4d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage.


Description

Also called a walking mangonel or living trebuchet, an animated catapult is a massive construct of thick timbers and metal plating that looks like an elephant-sized crab or beetle combined with a siege engine. This creature is primarily designed for hurling stones using a mangonel built into its spine, it also has a metal beak or ram for destroying obstacles in front of it. An animated catapult typically has between six and ten legs, but rare models have four legs or a dozen or more. These legs are always short and extremely sturdy, designed for stability rather than speed, with enormously wide feet to help the creature walk on soft ground without sinking or getting stuck.
 The catapult also has two arms for loading its mangonel with stones from a bin on its back; these limbs fold into its flanks below the bin when not in use. Animated catapults only need one arm to load their mangonels at full speed, although if one loses an arm this halves the rate it can perform some other tasks, such as refilling its bin with stones. A few animated catapults are able to carve boulders into mangonel stones with their beaks and arms, but most cannot manufacture ammunition like this.
 Instead of being a creature created by animate objects or similar magic, an animated catapult may be a normal construct that does not require the Antimagic Susceptibility trait.
Weapons of War. Living trebuchets and walking mangonels are purely military creations. Constructing one is an expensive process that is likely to attract suspicion or hostility from authorities and neighbours. While they can fight well with their hands, feet and beak, frugal commanders often avoid sending these costly constructs into melee. Animated catapults are most effective at distance, attacking from outside the range of their foes' missiles and spells where they can't be harmed by counterfire. Some animated catapults never get within spearthrow of an enemy and only ever use their beaks for mundane labour (clearing ground, digging trenches, carving mangonel stones, et cetera).
Seeing Machine. Unlike a standard animated object, an animated catapult can see using enchanted glass discs set deep in metal sockets. The construct usually has more than two of these "eyes", strategically placed around its body to offer a wide field of view, much like the eye placement of some spiders. Its most important optics are binocular- or telescope-like devices atop its front face that spot targets for the mangonel. A walking catapult's eyes are hard to spot; the glass discs are tiny compared to its huge and complex body, most are no bigger than a human's eyes.

(Original monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
Animated Object, Whirling Razor
Tiny construct, unaligned
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 20 (8d4)
Speed 0 ft., fly 50 ft. (hover)

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
4 (–3)​
18 (+4)​
10 (+0)​
1 (–5)​
3 (–4)​
1 (–5)​

Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 6
Languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Antimagic Susceptibility. The whirling razor is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the razor must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the whirling razor remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal object.

Actions

Multiattack. The whirling razor makes two buzzblade attacks.

Buzzblade. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) slashing damage.


Description

At rest, a whirling razor appears to be an exotic throwing weapon made of high quality steel a foot or two across, finely honed to an extraordinarily sharpness. When animated it darts about in the air, often spinning so quickly it becomes a metallic blur; the flying razor often stops to briefly hover perfectly still, as if it were nailed to the air. There are multiple designs of whirling razor; most look like boomerangs or propellers, others resemble pressed flowers, arrowhawks, snowflakes, and many other shapes. Designed as self-propelled weapons, there's little need for whirling razors to be safely thrown or handled by a creature. Most models have no hilt or blunt side to hold them by and their every edge is razor keen.
 Instead of being a creature created by animate objects or similar magic, a whirling razor may be a normal construct that does not require the Antimagic Susceptibility trait.
Whistling Wings. Whirling razors often have whistle-like devices attached to or built into their wingtips. The sound they produce depends on their construction, the worst sounding emit horrible ear-splitting wails, the sweetest sing a melodious pure tone. These wing-whistles usually only sound when the whirling razor spins (centripetal force opens up their air channels), but some razors whistle whenever they fly, while others can sound them at will. The most elaborate have multiple stops like a flute or recorder and can play musical tunes.
Lethal Toys. Whirling razors were invented by the Sijhembi clan, a famous family of magicians who specialize in the manufacture of animated objects. Ironically, these constructs began as harmless playthings called winged fans. Simple automatons made of light wood, paper, and sometimes feathers, a winged fan is a (relatively) cheap animated object originally designed as a children's toy. They can also carry messages or very light objects and act as a flying parasol that can fan cooling air.
 Some winged fan owners took to using them in a form of kite fighting, ordering their fans to knock each other out of the sky. Accidents invariably happened, resulting in bruises or paper cuts from errant winged fans. These injuries only got worse when fan-fighters started modifying their constructs with razor blades, ground glass, or weighted wing tips. Rajina Sijhembi, an enthusiastic fan fighter in her own right, saw these accidents and suggested to her family that they modify their winged fan designs into weapons, leading to the development of the whirling razor.

(Original monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
 
Last edited:

ilgatto

How inconvenient
Animated Object, Whirling Razor
Tiny construct, unaligned
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 20 (8d4)
Speed 0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)


STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
4 (–3)​
18 (+4)​
10 (+0)​
1 (–5)​
3 (–4)​
1 (–5)​

Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 6
Languages
Challenge # (### XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Antimagic Susceptibility. The whirling razor is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the razor must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the whirling razor remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal object.

Actions

Multiattack. The ??? makes ??? attacks: ??? with its ??? and ??? with its ???.

Attack. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach # ft., one target. Hit: # (#d# + #) ??? damage.

Attack. Ranged Weapon Attack: +# to hit, range ##/## ft., one target. Hit: # (#d# + #) ??? damage.

Action (#/day). ???.
 ???.

Action (Recharge 5-6 | Recharges After a Short/Long Rest). ???.
 ???.


Description

???.
 ???.
Subsection. ???.
 ???.

Subsection. ???.
 ???.


(Originally monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
I think the below may also have some bearing on much of the above.
I've come to understand that size determines the "base Hit DIe" of a creature or thing in 5E, so that means d4 for a Tiny Animated Object, Whirling Razor (as above).
Now suppose I animate a walnut. I assume that would also be d4 because it is Tiny, just like a small sausage or an exquisite glass figurine? And just like a will-o'-wisp?
So why do all of of these objects have a size-based Hit Die while the materials they are made of vary wildly?
 

Cleon

Hero
Now suppose I animate a walnut. I assume that would also be d4 because it is Tiny, just like a small sausage or an exquisite glass figurine? And just like a will-o'-wisp?

Yes, except for the sausage. If it is Small it uses a d6 Hit Dice. :p

So why do all of of these objects have a size-based Hit Die while the materials they are made of vary wildly?

There isn't a reason beyond "that's how the Rules work."

It does have some advantages over older editions were a creature's Hit Dice were fixed in size, usually to d8 in AD&D, so a bigger monster HAD to have more HD. The way that attack bonuses and saving throws were tied to HD in old editions meant that a monster was usually more accurate and better at dodging things just because it was bigger so had more HD, which didn't always make a great deal of sense. Why would a Brachiosaurus have better Reflex saves than a Iguanodon just because it had oodles of HD?
 

ilgatto

How inconvenient
Yes, except for the sausage. If it is Small it uses a d6 Hit Dice. :p
LOL
There isn't a reason beyond "that's how the Rules work."
Guessed as much.
It does have some advantages over older editions were a creature's Hit Dice were fixed in size, usually to d8 in AD&D, so a bigger monster HAD to have more HD. The way that attack bonuses and saving throws were tied to HD in old editions meant that a monster was usually more accurate and better at dodging things just because it was bigger so had more HD, which didn't always make a great deal of sense. Why would a Brachiosaurus have better Reflex saves than a Iguanodon just because it had oodles of HD?
That is an interesting point. I suppose no rule set is perfect (and I've even noticed people suggesting that 2E is the worst of them).
By the by: IIRC the first publication that used different Hit Dice for different creatures may well have been OD&D Men and Monsters, where some demons had d10s and even d20s for "Hit Dice". But I think this was because the whole system didn't really allow for creatures with lots of HD beyond a certain point (was it 12th "level"?) so that may well have been the only way to get them to have more hit points.

Anyway. The Hit-Die thing has turned out not to apply to the OP so back to business I say.
 

Cleon

Hero
By the by: IIRC the first publication that used different Hit Dice for different creatures may well have been OD&D Men and Monsters, where some demons had d10s and even d20s for "Hit Dice". But I think this was because the whole system didn't really allow for creatures with lots of HD beyond a certain point (was it 12th "level"?) so that may well have been the only way to get them to have more hit points.

Spent a moment wondering if you meant some third-party publication, since TSR didn't publish a book called Men and Monsters for OD&D. The first two booklets in the 1974 Original Box Set were called Men & Magic and Monsters & Treasures, which I suspect is the source of my confusion.

A bit of investigation revealed you probably meant Eldritch Wizardry, which contains the rule:

Demons (detailed in the next part of this supplement) gain saving throws according to their number of hit dice except those demons with 10-sided, 12-sided, or 20-sided dice for determining the number of hit points they have. Basically, each hit die that a demon possesses equals one level: however, with regard to demons with 10- or 12- sided hit dice the number of levels is 50% greater than the number of dice (round up), while demons with 20-sided hit dice are considered as having a level equal to twice their hit dice.​

There was no cap on the number of HD a monster can have, but their to hit table stops advancing at a certain number of HD (i.e. 16+ HD in AD&D) so all they get is more hit points, so many titanically powerful monsters were just given an arbitrary number of hp plus an "attacks as 16+ HD monster" statement.

The first monster with non-standard Hit Dice that I'm aware of was the humble Kobold in Monsters & Treasures which instead of a single Hit Die like a Goblin, had half a HD, or rather a single HD whose results were interpreted in a peculiar manner:

KOBOLDS: Treat these monsters as if they were Goblins except that they will take from 1 - 3 hits (roll a six-sided die with a 1 or 3 equalling 1 hit, a 3 or 4 equalling 2 hits, etc.).​

Original book monsters used D6s for Hit Dice. Indeed the rules only employed D20s and D6s. The first supplement, Greyhawk (1975), "highly recommended" switching to different sizes of Hit Dice for classes and gave all monsters the 8-sided die system, with the addition "Thus, a Kobold would get 1-4 points" but had no explanation as to how those 1 to 4 hit points were derived.

The easiest interpretation was that was meant to be a D4 like Kobolds use in AD&D, but now I'm imagining a non-standard dice rolling method like in Monsters & Treasures.

Perhaps "roll a ten-sided die with a 1-4 equalling 1 hit, a 5-7 equals 2 hits, an 8-9 is 3 hits, and a 10 is 4 hits" (average 2.3), or "roll an eight-sided die with a 1-2 equalling 1 hit, a 3-5 equals 2 hits, a 6-7 is 3 hits, and an 8 is 4 hits" (average 2.25)?
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
Animated Object, Winged Fan
Tiny construct, unaligned
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 2 (1d4)
Speed 0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
2 (–4)​
18 (+4)​
10 (+0)​
1 (–5)​
3 (–4)​
1 (–5)​

Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 6
Languages
Challenge 0 (10 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Antimagic Susceptibility. The winged fan is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the fan must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the winged fan remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal object.

Actions

Wing. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 point of bludgeoning damage (may do slashing damage if augmented with razor blades or ground glass).


Description

Most winged fans resemble a paper star, a wheel of feathers, or a four- to six-bladed propeller made from extremely thin, light wood.
 See the whirling razor for background information.
 Instead of being a creature created by animate objects or similar magic, a winged fan may be a normal construct that does not require the Antimagic Susceptibility trait.

(Original monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
 
Last edited:

Cleon

Hero
Came up with yet another idea for an animated object while writing out the Whirling Razor.

Now which one do I fancy doing next…?
 

ilgatto

How inconvenient
Spent a moment wondering if you meant some third-party publication, since TSR didn't publish a book called Men and Monsters for OD&D. The first two booklets in the 1974 Original Box Set were called Men & Magic and Monsters & Treasures, which I suspect is the source of my confusion.
Ah! You noticed my deliberate mistake! Erm... oops. Mille excuses. Very sloppy indeed.

A bit of investigation revealed you probably meant Eldritch Wizardry, which contains the rule:

Demons (detailed in the next part of this supplement) gain saving throws according to their number of hit dice except those demons with 10-sided, 12-sided, or 20-sided dice for determining the number of hit points they have. Basically, each hit die that a demon possesses equals one level: however, with regard to demons with 10- or 12- sided hit dice the number of levels is 50% greater than the number of dice (round up), while demons with 20-sided hit dice are considered as having a level equal to twice their hit dice.​
You have GOT to be joking! o_O

How in all that is Abyssal can I have missed this paragraph? Dear, oh, dear, that's a lot of time wasted on making tables and tables (and revisions of them and restarting all over again and then again) in an attempt to determine the Hit Dice (and thus saving throws) of the various MM1 monsters with only their hit points listed after "HIT DICE". Yes, I know there've been several attempts to determine the HD for such monsters but I've always found them to be slightly off the mark for some reason (especially because of level/HD limits per edition), whence the multitude of attempts to find out what's what.

Oh well.

Thanks for pointing that out to me.
 

ilgatto

How inconvenient
There was no cap on the number of HD a monster can have, but their to hit table stops advancing at a certain number of HD (i.e. 16+ HD in AD&D) so all they get is more hit points, so many titanically powerful monsters were just given an arbitrary number of hp plus an "attacks as 16+ HD monster" statement.
To stay off-topic, I'm not quite so sure about there being no HD/level cap in OD&D. But now I'm starting to doubt if this could be because I now turn out to have never fully grasped the demon Hit Dice vs "Levels"/saving throws thing. I'll do some allow-all-this-to-sink-inning and then perhaps some digging if still warranted.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top