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

Cleon

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

Updated the Nandie-Ape Boss Working Draft.

Guess we should agree on the Constitution and Charisma values.

I'm leaning slightly towards CON 13 (+1) so both its Strength and Constitution are halfway between the STR +1, CON +0 bonuses of a standard Nandie-Ape and the STR +3, CON +2 of the 5E Ape.

Charisma 12 seems a tad high.

A CHA 11 (+0) would be halfway between the Nandie-Bear and a Nandie-Ape, which sort of makes sense.

There's also an argument for just putting it a notch higher than a regular Nandie-Ape's Charisma 7 at CHA 9 (–1).

Any preferences?
 

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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
BTW here is revised Nandie-ape with first attempt at description
 

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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
..yeah. there is a typo in yr nandie-ape's rock damage (should be 3 not 4)

here is latest boss just for calibrating...will look at shadow dancers while we wait....

PS: While I think of it, would it be good on the WD critters spreadsheet to put the WD issue the critters first appeared in as a column?
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
..yeah. there is a typo in yr nandie-ape's rock damage (should be 3 not 4)

Fixed the Ape damage.

Also noticed and fixed some damage errors in the Ape Boss.

here is latest boss just for calibrating...will look at shadow dancers while we wait....

The main schtick of those things is their unreasonably high Armor Class.

Might deserve a few minor demon-type special defences on top of that if being hard to harm is there thing.

Well, that and "turn into indestructible statues when not touched by moonlight".

PS: While I think of it, would it be good on the WD critters spreadsheet to put the WD issue the critters first appeared in as a column?

That's an idea.

Bit concerned it might make the table too crowded, but I'll give it a go.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Bit concerned it might make the table too crowded, but I'll give it a go.

…and here's a go!

Index of 5th Edition White Dwarf Magazine Conversions
NAME​
Issue​
D&D Beyond [CC]​
Enworld​
CR​
Argorian Wormkin
#29​
1/4​
Enslaver
#21​
1​
Pine Kindred (picture)
#21​
1​
Pine Kindred, Jarl (picture)
#21​
4​
Pine Kindred, Thane (picture)
#21​
3​
Pine Kindred, Fircarl
—​
—​
1/2​
Pine Kindred, Resin-Hound (picture)
—​
1/4​
Pine Kindred, Resin-Thrall (picture)
—​
1/8​
Entry
#​
—​
—​
#​
Entry, Variant
#​
—​
—​
#​
Entry, Related
#​
—​
—​
#​

Looks OK.

Moved the Challenge ratings to the edge of the table since it looked better than having them next to the White Dwarf Issue #s.

Shall I update the White Dwarf Conversion Index along those lines when I can find time? It needs to have the Tizun Thane monsters added to it anyway.

Tempted to do something similar with the Completed Fifth Edition Creatures Index by adding a "Source" column. Will think it over.

Also, just remembered I'd neglected to include the credit in the Argorian Wormkin's Enworld post.

Better edit that in before I forget again.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
(Updated to 5e from original 1e monster by Barney Sloane, appearing in White Dwarf 29 "Fiend Factory" - "Desert Light" mini-module)

Any objections to me rewording this to be close to the format we used for the Enslaver?, i.e.:

(Originally created by Barney Sloane; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #29 (Feb/Mar 1982) as part of the Fiend Factory mini-module "The Desert Light", edited by Albie Fiore.)​

Hmm… I'd be tempted to add the "Fiend Factory" and "edited by" to the Enslaver too, i.e.:

(Originally created by Roger E. Moore; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) as part of the Fiend Factory mini-module "One-Eye Canyon", edited by Albie Fiore.)​

instead of the current:

(Originally created by Roger E. Moore, first appearing in White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) as part of the mini-module "One-Eye Canyon" by Albie Fiore.)

EDIT: Yes, I like the above a lot better. I've added the following credit to the Pine Kindred:

(Originally created by Julian Lawrence; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) as part of the Fiend Factory mini-module "One-Eye Canyon", edited by Albie Fiore.)​

EDITED EDIT: The additional varieties of Pine Kindred such as the Resin-Thrall have a tweaked version of the above:

(Inspired by the Pine Kindred by Julian Lawrence; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) as part of the Fiend Factory mini-module "One-Eye Canyon", edited by Albie Fiore.)​
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
(Based on the Nandie from "The Halls of Tizun Thane" by Albie Fiore in White Dwarf Magazine #18 (Apr/May 1980).)

There's something a little clunky-looking about this.

Those two closing parentheses at the end - the ").)" - don't look that good to me.

Maybe reverse the order?

(Based on the Nandie in White Dwarf Magazine #18 (Apr/May 1980), from "The Halls of Tizun Thane" by Albie Fiore.)

Hmm, that reads a bit better.

I'll change the Nandie-Ape (Koddoelo) and Nandie-Ape Boss Working Draft to that.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
(Inspired by the Pine Kindred by Julian Lawrence; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) as part of the Fiend Factory mini-module "One-Eye Canyon", edited by Albie Fiore.)

Maybe one of these would be better:

(Inspired by the Pine Kindred by Julian Lawrence from White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) that appeared in the Fiend Factory mini-module "One-Eye Canyon", edited by Albie Fiore.)

(Inspired by the Pine Kindred by Julian Lawrence that appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #21 (Oct/Nov 1980) as part of the Fiend Factory mini-module "One-Eye Canyon", edited by Albie Fiore.)​

The first one's a bit clunkier but I can't decide whether the second's an improvement on the current wording though.

EDIT: No, the second one just runs on too long. I'll stick to the current version.
 


Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Also came up with this so far for Shadow Dancer - as they are part demon part construct, used quasit base and imported some stone golem immunities. AC 25 sounds way too steep - picked AC 20 as good compromise for stone skin plus dexterity....?
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Also came up with this so far for Shadow Dancer - as they are part demon part construct, used quasit base and imported some stone golem immunities. AC 25 sounds way too steep - picked AC 20 as good compromise for stone skin plus dexterity....?

shadowdancer-png.148132


Yes, AC 25 is too high for a 5E conversion. For comparison, the original's AC –5 is close to a 1E Type III Demon's AC –4. That's the Glabrezu Demon in latter editions. What Armour Class do those have in 5E again…

Oh, a 5E Glabrezu is only AC 17! That suggests even AC 20 is too high.

Let's compare the "standard six" demons:

Demon​
1E AD&D​
2E AD&D​
5E D&D​
AC 0​
AC –5​
AC 15​
AC –2​
AC –6​
AC 16​
AC –4​
AC –7​
AC 17​
AC –1​
AC –8​
AC 18​
AC –7/–5​
AC –9​
AC 18​
AC –2​
AC –8​
AC 19​
Shadow Dancer
AC –5​
AC –​
AC ?​

An AC of 20 is higher than a Balor in 5E!

So maybe AC 18 for the Dancers? The only 1E standard demon with AC –5 is the Marilith on her "soft parts", and they're AC 18 in 5E.

Or possibly as low as AC 15 since that's the AC of a Vrock in 5E, which is presumably a more powerful rank of demon than a Dancer? Vrocks do have AC –5 in 2E AD&D, for what that's worth.

As for the rest of it, I think you might have gone overboard with the resistances and immunities!

Apart from that, they look a bit weak in the combat output area. The original had a respectable 1d6/1d6/1d8 attack routine for 11.5 average damage, which is not that much less than the 14 average a 1E Hezrou's gets from its 1d3/1d3/4d4 attack routine.

Still, they do more damage than a 1E Dretch's 8.5 average (1d4/1d4/1d4+1), so maybe aim somewhere between the two? Although a Dretch is pretty weak in 5E, so might not be a useful comparison.

Four Hit Dice also seems a little low, but then the original monster had rather low HD for its ludicrous AC so that seems more acceptable.

Anyhow, there's things I have to be doing so that'll have to do for now.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
I have tweaked the AC to 18 and HD to 4d10. Am leaning to leaving damage low (as is) as they are supposed to be a lowish level monster. Regarding resistances and immunities, this is my problem as am seeing best parts of demon and construct (which is what they are). Not sure what I should drop.

I am bemused by the homogeneity at times of 4e and 5e - so, why can't a weak monster have a high AC at times or vice versa, same with damage. Maybe having something very different to other monsters is a Good Thing - keeps players on their toes (in this case lots of immunities but lowish HP)
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I have tweaked the AC to 18 and HD to 4d10.

Hmm, I find AC 18 and 4d10 HD is acceptable. I was thinking we'd aim for similar HP to the Nandie-Boss, who has 27 hp. 4d10 is five short of that at 22 hp, but that is "within the ballpark" as far as I'm concerned.

Would consider giving them a tweak up on their Constitution to, say, CON 13 (+1).

Alternatively, how about going back to the first draft's 3d10 and giving them an impressive Constitution bonus, like CON 16 (+3) for Hit Points 25 (3d10+9)?

The flavour suggests these things should be pretty resilient!

Am leaning to leaving damage low (as is) as they are supposed to be a lowish level monster.

Well in the original adventure they seem to play the role of "monsters to avoid waking up" since they are so tough.

I'm wondering if we should aim for Challenge 2 with these critters. They are nastier than a plain old Nandie Boss. Way better AC and a tad more damage, although it's that ridiculous AC that's their "schtick" so we certainly want to make them tough nuts to crack.

A Gargoyle seems a good model for them. They've got the same "stony thing that's hard to kill due to special defenses" approach.

Upon reflection, they have three attacks so the total damage is a respectable 14.5 so that figure is fine. You might want to consider changing it to "two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws" since claw/claw/bite routines appear less fashionable in 5E.

Shouldn't the attacks be a bit more accurate than +3 to hit though, maybe +4 (like its Dex), or possibly higher?

Also, the Strength could be a bit higher, at least enough to account for its +1 damage bonus - say STR 13 (+1).
  • Multiattack. The shadow dancer makes three attacks: one bite attack and two claw attacks.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1) piercing damage.
  • Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) slashing damage.
If you go for the "two attack" Multiattack and want to keep the same 14.5 average damage, I'd suggest tweaking the damage dice and maybe increasing the muscle to Strength 15.

STR 13 (+1) version:
  • Multiattack. The shadow dancer 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: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d6 + 1) slashing damage.
STR 15 (+2) version:
  • Multiattack. The shadow dancer 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: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage.
Although I'd rather just give it the same bonus damage with each attack for a point less average damage:

STR 13 (+1) uniform version:
  • Multiattack. The shadow dancer 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 (1d8 + 1) piercing damage.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d6 + 1) slashing damage.
STR 15 (+2) version:
  • Multiattack. The shadow dancer 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: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage.
Do any of those appeal to you?

Regarding resistances and immunities, this is my problem as am seeing best parts of demon and construct (which is what they are). Not sure what I should drop.

For a start, I'd drop the elemental damage Resistances, since the original monster made no mention of them being immune to normal fire (flaming oil and the like).

Better keep the Magic Resistance as "they are immune to all magical attacks other than magic weapons".

A Gargoyle has:

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren't adamantine
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, petrified, poisoned

For a comparable low-level Demon, consider the Quasit which is Challenge 1:

Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned

They don't have to be loaded with the construct Condition Immunities, since (a) there's no mention of that in the original, and (b) they "come alive" in moonlight, implying they might be living creatures, and (c) that's partially covered by their Magic Resistance, but I guess there's no harm keeping some or most of them.

What do some low-ranked Construct have?

An Iron Cobra is Challenge 1 and has:

Damage Immunities poison, psychic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren't adamantine
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned

Which is pretty impressive! The Challenge 7 Shield Guardian has a weaker selection:

Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

For our boy, how about a slightly expanded version of the Gargoyle?:

Shadow Dancer
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren't adamantine
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities exhaustion, petrified, poisoned

I am bemused by the homogeneity at times of 4e and 5e - so, why can't a weak monster have a high AC at times or vice versa, same with damage. Maybe having something very different to other monsters is a Good Thing - keeps players on their toes (in this case lots of immunities but lowish HP)

Here's an idea, we could give them a lower AC but add a special ability that gives attackers disadvantage on weapon attacks. That'd make them hard to hit, but not nigh-untouchable like AC 25 would.

For example:

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)

Weapon Resistance. Any creature attacking the shadow dancer with a weapon has disadvantage on the to hit roll.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Shadow Dancer
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t adamantine
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities exhaustion, petrified, poisoned


Here's an idea, we could give them a lower AC but add a special ability that gives attackers disadvantage on weapon attacks. That'd make them hard to hit, but not nigh-untouchable like AC 25 would.

For example:

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)

Weapon Resistance: Any creature attacking the shadow dancer with a weapon has disadvantage on the to hit roll.

There are a few other traits the Dancer deserves:
  • Alive in Moonlight. A shadow dancer "comes alive" when touched by moonlight. When it is out of moonlight, the shadow dancer is paralyzed and gains immunity to all forms of damage.
  • False Appearance (Statue Form Only). While the shadow dancer is not animated by moonlight, it is indistinguishable from an ebon statue.
  • Magic Resistance. The shadow dancer has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • Magic Weapons. The shadow dancer's weapon attacks are magical.
  • Weapon Resistance. Any creature attacking the shadow dancer with a weapon has disadvantage on the to hit roll.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
If we give them Weapon Resistance, we should consider maybe dropping the Damage Resistance versus bludgeoning/piercing/slashing so they aren't excessively tough.

I'd rather leave the Damage Resistance in though.

I'm also wondering whether Dexterity 18 is a bit too high. They're graceful, but that's as agile as a Sprite!

Maybe DEX 16 (+3) would be enough?

Also, how about tweaking Weapon Resistance so it's cut through by adamantine?

Weapon Resistance. Any creature attacking the shadow dancer with a weapon that isn't adamantine has disadvantage on the to hit roll.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Yeah - 5e does seem to have a thing about "claws" being a collective attack, which makes some sense logically for a normalish attacking creature, and happy to lower total damage a bit (thinking of game mechanics in the dungeon as the more fighting chance to give the party to flee these critters the better if heading to TPK). Left the AC at 18 - disadvantage to make them harder to hit after lowering their AC seems unnecessarily complicated really - I'd be thinking of Disadvantage with a creature that was blurred or Displaced or hard to hit because of environmental things - these are just hard-skinnedd (judging by the description). I did go wit hthe STR and DEX tweaks as they made alot of sense.

Oh and hte obvious demon lord I'd make them associated with is Graz'zt, but I can leave that out as not Canon as such....(realised I just did that in my campagin...)
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Yeah - 5e does seem to have a thing about "claws" being a collective attack, which makes some sense logically for a normalish attacking creature, and happy to lower total damage a bit (thinking of game mechanics in the dungeon as the more fighting chance to give the party to flee these critters the better if heading to TPK). Left the AC at 18 - disadvantage to make them harder to hit after lowering their AC seems unnecessarily complicated really - I'd be thinking of Disadvantage with a creature that was blurred or Displaced or hard to hit because of environmental things - these are just hard-skinnedd (judging by the description). I did go wit hthe STR and DEX tweaks as they made alot of sense.

Yes, I was basically throwing out ideas to see what would stick. I won't cry a river if you decide against Weapon Resistance, I basically was trying to come up with ways to make them hard to hit without giving them the nigh-impossible-to-touch AC of the original.

But it does seem more 5E-ish to make these critters a bit more, well, survivable than the original Dancers.

Okay's let's see what we've got:

shadowdancer2-png.148185

So you didn't care for "nonmagical attacks that aren't adamantine" like a Gargoyle?

The rest of it looks pretty sound.

Although STR 13 does feel a tad low for a Large monster, I wouldn't mind tweaking that up a notch or two. Still, they are "slim" in the original text so maybe they're just extremely scrawny?

Guess we could mix up the mental stats a bit so they aren't three 10s in a row. There's no information on how bright they are in the original White Dwarf stats.

Let's see, a Vrock has INT 8 (–1), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 8 (–1).

a Gargoyle has INT 6 (–2), WIS 11 (+0), CHA 7 (–2).

However, there's two uses of "elegant" in their WD description, so I'm thinking perhaps they are a bit above-average in the Charisma department?

How about INT 8 (–1), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 13 (+1)?

By the way, if you didn't already know, these creatures are clearly inspired by Robert E Howard's Conan story Shadows in the Moonlight (now Public Domain, so available on Project Gutenberg in it's Howard, Robert E. collection).

Those statues were not demons, but men (black-skinned hawk-faced warriors of a now forgotten race) cursed to become iron statues who came alive to attack intruders when the moon's light touched them. A survivor of the attack described them as "devils", "flame-eyed shadows, with tearing fangs and sharp talons", but the story does not say much more, since neither of the story's two viewpoint characters (Conan & Olivia) was present when the statues animated. The fight was offscreen when the "shadows" fell upon a crew of pirates camping in their ancient hall. Most of the description of them is actually from a dream Olivia had while sleeping in the hall.

There might also be a similarity to the inhuman black-skinned beings in The Pool of the Black One, which appears to still be in copyright in some territories. But it's out of copyright in Australia, which I believe is your neck of the woods, so you can read it on Gutenberg.net.au.

Oh and hte obvious demon lord I'd make them associated with is Graz'zt, but I can leave that out as not Canon as such....(realised I just did that in my campagin...)

It seems more prudent to leave their demonic patron(s) unidentified.
 

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