5E: Converting Monsters from White Dwarf Magazine for Fifth Edition

Cleon

Adventurer
Languages [Can communicate simple concepts in their own primitive tongue?]

Not sure whether to give this language a name or not (maybe something like "Simian", "Apetalk", "Baboon Speech" or "Koddo Chatter"?).

Need to work it into the Description somehow…

Chattering Troops. [Some stuff about their social organisation & language. Can they speak to other monkeys and apes, or is it just koddoleo and kerits they can talk to?]
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Koddoelo
Medium beast, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
12 (+1)​
15 (+2)​
11 (+0)​
6 (–2)​
12 (+1)​
7 (–2)​

The original creature was Chaotic Neutral in alignment, so the conversion might as well be too. It makes them a bit more distinctive.

After mulling it over, I concluded that AC 14 might be a notch too high. 5E beasts often have lower ACs than their AD&D version. For example, an Ape is AC 6 in 1E/2E (so 4 better than an armourless human) but AC 12 in 5E (so 2 better).

The original White Dwarf #18 critter's Armour Class is 1 point better than a Baboon. A 5E Baboon is AC 12, so AC 13 would conserve that relationship.

Would give them the same mental stats as the 5E Ape, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 7.

Much less than that and having them possess a primitive bestial language would seem unlikely.
 
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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Agree with all points actually - it'd be their own chattering language I think.

Still pondering the name - I was fond of the name "nandie" but when I think of using it am uneasy about it as explained above. "Nandie ape" rolls off the tongue somewhat easier than "koddoelo" but having two names starting with "k" is also good.......
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Agree with all points actually - it'd be their own chattering language I think.

Still pondering the name - I was fond of the name "nandie" but when I think of using it am uneasy about it as explained above. "Nandie ape" rolls off the tongue somewhat easier than "koddoelo" but having two names starting with "k" is also good.......
agree with boss as separate stat block
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Agree with all points actually - it'd be their own chattering language I think.

So any preferences as to what we call the language?

I'm currently leaning towards "Koddoelo" since the species-unique languages in recent editions of D&D tend to just be the name of the monsters (i.e. Bullywugs speak "Bullywug"). Perhaps shorten it to "Koddo"?

Although maybe we should call it "Kerit" if we're going to use that name for the Nandie Bear and we're planning to have them both speak the same language?

The Nandie-Bear Kerit is a smarter creature, and in the White Dwarf version it "invariably (95%) heads a colony of nandies" so it makes sense if the language is named after the boss monster rather than the minions.

Still pondering the name - I was fond of the name "nandie" but when I think of using it am uneasy about it as explained above. "Nandie ape" rolls off the tongue somewhat easier than "koddoelo" but having two names starting with "k" is also good.......

I have no objection to Nandie-Ape if you prefer it over Koddoelo, but I think we should give them both names that start with "Nandie-" or "K", not have one of each.

Liking Kerit for the name of the "chattering language" though, assuming we give it a name. I'm thinking it's so primitive that the Koddoelo haven't given their language a name, it's just what they talk.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
So....yeah....Kerit and Koddoelo ....with Kerit as the language name. vs Nandie Ape/Nandie Bear.....hmmm....decisions decisions.....

(long pause....)

okay - I actually prefer the original names to keep aligned with the original 1e monsters for the time being. Maybe I was being a bit careful. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. So calling them Nandie Ape, the 5HD boss is "Nandie Ape, Boss" and the "Nandie Bear" will be coming...and they speak Nandie. Will post stats soon. Working on the 5HD boss as being slightly larger and stronger than the normal ones....
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
...and they speak Nandie.

Not in favour of that, since Nandi is an African language spoken in the region the Nandi Bear is said to inhabit.

I'd call the language Kerit whatever we end up calling the critters themselves.

Also, Fiore's Halls of Tizun Thane version hyphenated the name (i.e. "Nandie-Bear") so I'm thinking we might as well do the same, in which case the simian version would be a "Nandie-Ape" if we keep that style.

Toyed with the idea of "Nandie-Baboon", but that doesn't have as nice a ring to it.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Agree nandie-baboon sounds weird. Have hyphenated names and agree with using "kerit" as name for language.

anyway...here are boss and bear
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Agree nandie-baboon sounds weird. Have hyphenated names and agree with using "kerit" as name for language.

How about cutting the knot and just listing both in the Name, i.e. "Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo)" and "Nandie-Bear (Kerit)", then leave it up to the DM to decide which they prefer.

Will update my Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo) Working Draft with Kerit as the language.

Also read through The Halls of Tizun Thane and came up with some ideas, which I'll detail separately.

anyway...here are boss and bear

I'm thinking the Nandie-Bear should have considerably higher Charisma than a Nandie-Ape, considering how much emphasis the flavour text has on it being frighteningly horrible. Plus its Haunting Howl is presumably a Cha-based attack.

A Boss Nandie should probably be a bit more charismatic than a run-of-the-mill Koddoelo too, as they're bosses!

Anyhow, I'll hold of on detailed comments on those until we've finished with the regular Nandie-Ape.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
ok - dual naming sounds prudent.

I made nandie-bear (kerit) charisma 14 to reflect its "presence", and boss charisma 12 (has to be greater than 10, right?)
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Okay, updated the Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo) Working Draft with my ideas for the Kerit language.

Pack Tactics. The nandie-ape has advantage on a melee attack roll against a creature if at least one of the koddoelo's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.

How about we rework Pack Tactics to incorporate the Nandie's "summoning chatter" ability.

Call to Arms. A nandie-ape can use its bonus action to make a chattering call. This gives it advantage on melee attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the nandie-ape's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.

In addition, any members of the nandie-ape's colony within earshot of Call to Arms (normally 300 feet) will come to aid the nandie-ape. A nandie-bear, if present, always turns up after all the nandie-apes within range have arrived.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Rock Bounding. A nandie-ape can leap from rock to rock, it moves across rocky terrain at its climb speed and ignores difficult terrain caused by boulders.

Okay, I think this needs a bit of expansion.

In Halls of of Tizun Thane the Nandies occupied a barracks scattered with fallen roof timbers, not a boulder in sight!

Hmm…

Bounding. A nandie-ape can make casual leaps of up to 10 feet as free actions when it moves. If a nandie-ape crosses broken terrain with obstacles it can climb or leap onto (boulders, tree limbs, roof beams, cage bars, et cetera), it moves at its climb speed and ignores difficult terrain caused by the obstacles.

I think that's better.

Will update my Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo) Working Draft.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
They look good (and adopted) - just call the language "Kerit" or add in brackets "(complex array of chatters)" or something?

I used "Kerit (spoken & sign language)" in the current Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo) Working Draft.

Presumably the Nandie-Bear while have "Kerit (only communicates in sign-language but understands spoken form)" or the like.

Just put "Call to Arms" in the Nandie-Ape working draft too.

I'm wondering about putting the Boss Nandie-Ape in the same Working Draft post as the regular variety, since there's little to distinguish it apart from some larger numbers and perhaps a bigger dice for its attack damage.

It doesn't have extra special abilities like the Pine Kindred Thane, for example.

Regardless, I think we've finished with the stats for the regular Nandie-Ape haven't we? It's just the Description to do.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I'm wondering about putting the Boss Nandie-Ape in the same Working Draft post as the regular variety, since there's little to distinguish it apart from some larger numbers and perhaps a bigger dice for its attack damage.

Upon reflection, it'd be easier to compare them if I do the Boss Nandie's Working Draft as as a separate post…
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo), Boss
Medium beast, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 27 (5d8+5)
Speed 20 ft., climb 30 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
14 (+2)​
15 (+2)​
13 (+1)​
6 (–2)​
12 (+1)​
9 (–1)​

Saving Throws Dex +4
Skills Athletics +6, Perception +3
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Kerit (spoken & sign language)
Challenge 1 (200 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Bounding. A nandie-ape can make casual leaps of up to 10 feet as free actions when it moves. If a nandie-ape crosses broken terrain with obstacles it can climb or leap onto (boulders, tree limbs, roof beams, cage bars, et cetera), it moves at its climb speed and ignores difficult terrain caused by the obstacles.

Call to Arms. A nandie-ape boss can use its bonus action to make screeching calls. This gives it advantage on melee attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the nandie-ape's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
 In addition, any members of the boss's colony within earshot of Call to Arms (about 300 feet) will come to aid the nandie-ape boss. (See Call to Arms in the Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo) for details).

Actions

Multiattack. The boss nandie-ape makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 25/50 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Description

See the Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo).

(Originally named Nandie; first appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #18 (Apr/May 1980) as part of "The Halls of Tizun Thane" by Albie Fiore.)
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Okay, here's what we've got so far:

nandiboss-png.147921


Compared to a regular Nandie, the head Nandies of a colony in Halls of Tizun Thane had triple the Hit Dice (3D8 vs 1D8) and did more damage (1d4/1d4/1d6 claw/claw/bite vs 1d2/1d2/1d3).

This version has 250% hit points rather than 300% like the original. (5d8 vs 2d8).

Maybe bump the Constitution up to give it +1 per die? That'd be pretty triple the base Nandie-Ape's 9 hit points:

Hit Points 27 (5d8+5)​
CON 13 (+1)​

For the attacks, I'm thinking the "to hit" might benefit from adding its Proficiency Bonus like the 5E Ape (which seems a good model for the Boss and has a +3 Str bonus and +5 to hit).

Melee attack total average damage is up by 2 points (1d4+1d6+4 vs 1d4+1d6+2) or 10 vs 8, which is a 25% increase.

The original monster has 8.5 vs 5 (2d4+1d6 vs 2d2+1d3) or a 70% increase.

That suggest we need to give the damage a boost!

If we want to give them 170% or so of the regular Nandie-Ape's damage, that suggests the boss needs a total average damage of 13.5 or so. We could do that by giving the boss two claw attacks when multiattacking:

Multiattack. The boss nandie-ape makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.​
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.​
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) slashing damage.​
Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 25/50 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage.​

That seems just a tad too high in melee at 81.25% above the regular Nandie, being 14.5 vs 8 (2d4+1d6+6 vs 1d4+1d6+2).

However, I'd rather keep the two attacks and give it bigger and/or more dice:

Multiattack. The boss nandie-ape makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.​
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.​
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage.​
Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 25/50 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage.​

That's 56.25% above the regular Nandie, at 12.5 vs 8 (2d4+1d6+4 vs 1d4+1d6+2).

It's lower than a 70% would give, but the Nandie boss has more HP than the 5E Ape (27 vs 19), a point better AC and Advantage on attacks when using Call to Arms.

Hmm… that's starting to look like a Challenge 1 monster to me. Those numbers aren't far off a Dire Wolf, whose Pack Tactics give it a similar Advantage-on-Attacks ability.

If we do go for the next rung up the Challenge ladder, I suggest giving them DEX 17 (+3) and increasing the attacks to "+5 to hit" like the Ape and Dire Wolf.

What do you think?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
For the attacks, I'm thinking the "to hit" might benefit from adding its Proficiency Bonus like the 5E Ape (which seems a good model for the Boss and has a +3 Str bonus and +5 to hit).

Come to think of it, that ought to apply to the regular Nandies as well. A Wolf has +4 to hit, not just the +2 of its DEX bonus, and is also a Challenge 1/4 Pack Attacker like a Nandie-Ape.

So should we give the Nandie-Apes +4 to hit?
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
re nandie-ape, I think +4 to hit is fine - piddly damage anyway.

re nandie-ape boss, should we just make it 6HD so both are exactly double their original HD? agree with CR 1 then and second attack option (2 attacks and bigger dice) - yeah more dextrous is ok. Initially dubious but I guess gotta think about how they become leaders of the pack so to speak.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
re nandie-ape, I think +4 to hit is fine - piddly damage anyway.

Agreed.

Updating the Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo) Working Draft with +4 to hit.

re nandie-ape boss, should we just make it 6HD so both are exactly double their original HD? agree with CR 1 then and second attack option (2 attacks and bigger dice) - yeah more dextrous is ok. Initially dubious but I guess gotta think about how they become leaders of the pack so to speak.

Doesn't make that much of a difference in 5E. 6d8 and 5d8+5 will give them the same 27 hit points.

It depends whether we want to give them a better Con save or not.

Upon reflection, I'm leaning towards keeping the Dexterity the same as regular Nandie-Apes, mainly since increasing it a notch would require us increasing the AC.

I'll update the Nandie-Ape Boss Working Draft now we've got the foundations settled.
 

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