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

Cleon

Adventurer
Heh you weren't wrong when you said "wordy". Despite that, nothing jumps out at me as being redundant and flavour is really good for them. Yeah looks good...

Good! I guess we should get back to the Nandie-Bear then.

I'd like to make this Challenge 2 (450) or 3 (700) so it can reliably defeat a pair of Boss Nandies.

Guess we should pick one of those. I'm thinking Challenge 3 so it's 50% over two Challenge 1 Boss Nandies but would consider Challenge 2.

Comparable Challenge 3 SRD monsters include the Hell Hound, Minotaur, Manticore, Nightmare and Winter Wolf.

Comparable Challenge 2 SRD monsters include the Polar Bear, Giant Boar and Ogre.

Okay, it already looks pretty decent for a CR 2 creature if not a little on the strong side.

Would rather make it Challenge 3 though, which'd require a few more HD.

Hit Points 60 (8d10 + 16) should be enough.

Maybe increase WIS to 13 (+1) to match a Polar Bear too?

Does it really need proficiency in all three physical Saving Throws? None of the typical Challenge 2 & 3 monsters I've linked to above have Saving Throw proficiencies.

Perhape we should we cut the STR and DEX saves out and only have it proficient in CON saves?

The damage seems slightly too high. For comparison:

Average Damage: Hell Hound (14½ bite / 14 breath*), Minotaur (17 axe / 13 gore / 22 charge), Manticore (20½ claws+bite / 22½ spikes), Nightmare (20 hooves), Winter Wolf (11 bite / 13½ breath*).

*My guesstimate assumes the target has a 50% chance of saving.

The Nandie-Bear has a 23 average if it rends 50% of the time (8½ bite + 11 claws or 18 if it rends).

I'm tempted to lower the rend damage to, say, one of the following:
  • Option #1 Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be grabbed and take an additional 2d6 slashing damage.
     Average Damage becomes 20½ (8½ + 8½ or 15½).

  • Option #2 Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be grabbed and take an additional 1d8 slashing damage.
     Average Damage becomes 21¾ (8½ + 11 or 15½).

Although I like the current attacks since they're identical to a 5E Brown Bear, and the Kerit's 1-6/1-6/1-8 claw/claw/bite is identical to an AD&D brown bear's attacks.

Hmm, the White Dwarf version only rends for 1d6 (while an AD&D grizzly could hug for 2d4), so maybe use that instead?
  • Option #3 Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be grabbed and take an additional 1d6 slashing damage.
     Average Damage becomes 21¼ (8½ + 11 or 14½).
Hmm, the increased damage of Option #3 is nothing to write home about, but I guess the Grab is useful and thematic.

Alternatively, we could just have the claws be grab-only or not have any special effect like the 5E Brown Bear.

Option #4 Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be grabbed.
 Average Damage becomes 19½ (8½ + 11).

Option #5 Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.
 Average Damage becomes 19½ (8½ + 11).

The claws' grab effect also needs an escape DC.

Oh, and I'm tempted to have the extra damage be bludgeoning due to a "crushing hug" rather than slashing from the claws, but I won't object to all slashing.

So what's your preference for the claws? I'm leaning towards #3, with or without the bludgeoning, i.e.:
  • Claws (#3a). Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be grabbed (escape DC 14) and take an additional 1d6 slashing damage.

  • Claws (#3b). Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be grabbed (escape DC 14) and take an additional 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
Apart from that, it's only the flavour text to sort out.
 

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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
agree with HD/HP increase to CR 3 (yer right, should be significantly tougher than nandie bosses)

I like 3b - the idea of a bear-hug for bludgeoning damage. I think some sort of extra damage is good to make it interesting.

Happy to ditch save bonuses leaving CON only
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Updating the Nandie-Bear.

Here's the previous "sort of CR 2" draft for posterity:

Nandie-Bear (Kerit)
Large monstrosity, chaotic evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 45 (6d10 + 12)
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
18 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
8 (–2)​
9 (–1)​
14 (+2)​

Saving Throws Str +6, Dex +4, Con +4
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +5
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Kerit (sign-language only, cannot speak)
Challenge 1 (200 XP) [make higher?] Proficiency Bonus +2

Stealthy Predator. The nandie-bear gains Advantage on Stealth checks in its natural habitat of [rocky hills, forested badlands or jungle].

Unsettling Aura. The nandie-bear has a malign aura: any animal of Int 8 or below within 400 feet must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or be skittish and unsettled. Animal handlers are at Disadvantage to control tame animals.

Actions

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

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be grabbed and take an additional 2d6 slashing damage.

Haunting Howl (Recharge 5-6). A nandie-bear's horrible call is loud and resonant, it can be heard up to one mile distant. Any animal that hears this howl will become skittish, as per the nandie-bear's Unsettling Aura ability.
 All creatures within 300 feet other than nandie-apes and nandie-bears must succeed at a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw upon hearing the howl or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature who fails this save gains Disadvantage on subsequent saving throws against a nandie-bear's haunting howl. If such a creature succeeds on three successive saving throws against haunting howl, they conquer their fear, and from then on will not gain disadvantage should they fail their initial save against a howl. A frightened creature can make a DC [12] Wisdom saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending its frightened condition on a success.
Nandie-apes can be frightened by haunting howl (as above), but unlike the standard frightened condition, the apes may willingly move towards the source of the howl, and their frightened state only gives them disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls against the nandie-bear.
 If the nandie-bear rules a nandie-ape colony, its haunting howl also calls the colony's nandie-apes to come to its assistance. Typically, 1d4 nandie-apes will arrive per round for 1d3 + 3 rounds, for a total of between 4 and 24 nandie-apes. If a nandie-bear is close to its nandie colony, 1d4 nandie-apes (or more) will arrive every round until the colony's entire population has turned up.

Description

Stuff.

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



Cleon

Adventurer
Yeah, intimidation is good idea - would go with +6 - the material seems to suggest they're really scary

Updating the Nandie-Bear.

That just leaves the description…

A kerit, commonly known as the nandie-bear, is a loathsome monstrosity covered in shaggy black fur. Unnatural carnivores that live in rocky hills and tropical forests, a nandie-bear's favorite food is humanoid flesh. They prefer to eat their victims from the head downwards.​
 Their appearance is hard to describe, a terrifying mixture of gorilla, bear and hyena with the sickle-claws of a giant sloth that varies from individual to individual. There is often something disturbingly human about their face, reminiscent of an evil neanderthal. A nandie-bear normally walks on all fours, with its back sloping upwards as its forelegs are longer than its hindlegs. It can rear up on its hindfeet to stand 8 feet or so tall, but usually only does so to fight or scan its surroundings.​
 Nandie-bears have a curious semi-parasitic relationship with nandie-apes (also known as koddoelo). They either live alone or as the leader of a colony of nandie-apes. They never associate with their own kind except to mate. The females abandon their babies to be raised by nandie-apes, like a cuckoo leaves her eggs in another bird's nest.​
 A nandie-bear is eerily silent, the only sound they ever make is a horrifying howl that is one of the most terrifying sounds of the jungle. Despite their bestial appearance they are about as smart as an orc and possess keen instincts and bestial cunning. While they cannot speak, they are able to communicate in the Kerit sign language with other nandie creatures.​
Tyrant of the Apes. If there's a nandie-ape colony within a nandie-bear's territory, the nandie-bear will almost invariably have taken it over. They rule the colony by terror, forcing the apes to collect food for it. If they fail to satisfy its hunger it will go hunting or devour one of its nandie-ape followers.​
Solitary Hunters. A nandie-bear always hunts alone even if it rules a nandie colony, if only because the nandie-apes incessant chattering would warn away prey. They only hunt at night and are astonishingly stealthy. If a nandie-bear encounter powerful prey they use their Haunting Howl ability before attacking, to demoralize and scatter their opponents (and summon nandie-ape reinforcements if they rule a colony).​

Does that cover everything?
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Hmmm - nice, though I think some more of a descriptor is needed in the first line...something like "Commonly known as the nandie-bear, the kerit is a mammalian monstrosity or something straight off - sounds weird that th first attribute described is "shaggy black fir" - or move the fur bit down to the description.

"parasitic" makes me think of wasp larvae on spiders, tapeworms or cuckoos....maybe "exploitative"?

I thought we'd made its extra damage bludgeoning...but it has sloth-claws...so I guess we either make the claws and slashing dmage or drop the claws - either is ok

Otherwise is a good description and reads well.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Hmmm - nice, though I think some more of a descriptor is needed in the first line...something like "Commonly known as the nandie-bear, the kerit is a mammalian monstrosity or something straight off - sounds weird that th first attribute described is "shaggy black fir" - or move the fur bit down to the description.

Hmm, just rearrange a few bits.

A kerit, commonly known as the nandie-bear, is a loathsome carnivore that inhabits rocky hills and tropical forests. A nandie-bear's favorite food is humanoid flesh, they prefer to eat victims from the head downwards.
 Their appearance is hard to describe, a terrifying mixture of gorilla, bear and hyena that varies from individual to individual. Nandie-bears have shaggy black or red-brown fur and large curved claws like a bear or sloth. Some have disturbingly human faces reminiscent of a malevolent neanderthal. A nandie-bear normally walks on all fours, with its back sloping upwards as its forelegs are longer than its hindlegs. It can rear up on its hindfeet to stand 8 feet or so tall, but usually only does so to fight or scan its surroundings.

"parasitic" makes me think of wasp larvae on spiders, tapeworms or cuckoos....maybe "exploitative"?

Biologically speaking they are Social Parasites who feed off the efforts of a nandie-ape colony without contributing to the apes' well being.

I also added Brood Parasitism with them abandoning their kids in nandie colonies. It seemed to fit their chaotic evil alignment.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I thought we'd made its extra damage bludgeoning...but it has sloth-claws...so I guess we either make the claws and slashing dmage or drop the claws - either is ok

The description often give them large sloth- or bear-like claws so I'd rather leave that in.

Also some sources say they have "reddish" fur so I added red-brown as a colour option.

Would you prefer slashing damage for the +1d6 like in option #3a? The original extra damage is described as a "rend" rather than the AD&D bear's "hug" so slashing is arguably more appropriate.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Heh...from adversity comes opportunity! Yes the Social/brood parasitism is ingenious, logical and works well for flavour! Also yeah if ya like da claws, let's change from a bludgeoning hug to a slashing rend. And yeah I remember reading about the reddish fur as well
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Heh...from adversity comes opportunity! Yes the Social/brood parasitism is ingenious, logical and works well for flavour! Also yeah if ya like da claws, let's change from a bludgeoning hug to a slashing rend. And yeah I remember reading about the reddish fur as well

Updating the Nandie-Bear.

I tweaked the DEX to 13 (+1) and gave it Athletics +6 like the 5E Tome of Horrors Dire Ape.

That isn't an official publication, but DEX 14 (+2) seemed too high as a Kerit's a great hulking thing. While it's fine for a regular 5E Ape those are only Medium size.

Althletics to match a Koddoelo seems appropriate too.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
Agree with final tweaks...let's see if I can get this right first go.....here :LOL:

Well all the text looks good, but the paragraph spacing seems to have warped slightly. The Enworld version uses em-dashes between the closely related paragraphs while the D&DBeyond version you posted used line gaps, but it's missing the paragraph gaps either side of Haunting Howl's second paragraph and before the credit, i.e.:

Haunting Howl (Recharge 5-6). A nandie-bear's horrible call is loud and resonant, it can be heard up to one mile distant. Any animal that hears this howl will become skittish, as per the nandie-bear's Unsettling Aura ability.​
PARAGRAPH GAP
All creatures within 300 feet other than nandie-apes and nandie-bears must succeed at a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw upon hearing the howl or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature who fails this save gains Disadvantage on subsequent saving throws against a nandie-bear's haunting howl. If such a creature succeeds on three successive saving throws against haunting howl, they conquer their fear, and from then on will not gain disadvantage should they fail their initial save against a howl. A frightened creature can make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending its frightened condition on a success.​
PARAGRAPH GAP
Nandie-apes can be frightened by haunting howl (as above), but unlike the standard frightened condition, the apes may willingly move towards the source of the howl, and their frightened state only gives them disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls against the nandie-bear.​
Solitary Hunters. A nandie-bear always hunts alone even if it rules a nandie colony, if only because the nandie-apes incessant chattering would warn away prey. They only hunt at night and are astonishingly stealthy. If a nandie-bear encounter powerful prey they use their Haunting Howl ability before attacking, to demoralize and scatter their opponents (and summon nandie-ape reinforcements if they rule a colony).​
PARAGRAPH GAP
(Originally appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #18 (Apr/May 1980) as part of "The Halls of Tizun Thane" by Albie Fiore.)​
 



Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Now it's got a few extra-wide paragraph gaps, but it's clear where they are so I'll post it as Complete if you're happy with it.

I like using em-dashes myself, but it doesn't matter any.
The formatting is driving me nuts - too tired to stuff around with it more now - but is navigable so that's fine by me
 



Cleon

Adventurer
So were you gonna make one that ate a bandit captain?

My idea was once we finish the basic "un-brained-up" version we do two sample Gu'en-deekos. One that's a wizard (to represent Thaak from the original adventure) and another that's a warrior-type.

I was thinking we could save time by using an SRD non-player character for the latter and the Bandit Captain seemed a suitable brain donor.

Just been playing and need to sleep now....

EDIT: Oh, and good night!
 
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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Right - so after discussion I did make it Medium so has 45HP average (6d8+18) - changed walk/climb speed to 30/30

These were your working points:
  • A gu'en-deeko gains proficiency in any skills possessed by a humanoid whose brain it eats.
  • A gu'en-deeko gains the memories, knowledge-based racial traits and languages of any humanoid whose brain it eats but does not gain any physiological traits of the humanoid's race. For example, if it ate a dwarf it would gain Dwarven Combat Training, Tool Proficiency, Stonecunning and Languages, but it would not gain a dwarf's Ability Score Increase, Size, Speed, Darkvision or Dwarven Resilience.
  • In addition, a gu'en-deeko gains the class abilities of any humanoids of level # or lower whose brains it eats. These abilities never stack, if it gains multiple abilities only the highest level one applies. For example, if it ate the brains of a 2nd-level cleric, a 3rd-level bard, and a 3rd-level druid a gu'en-deeko gains 3rd-level Spellcasting, not three separate sets of Spellcasting (see below for how Gu'en-Deeko spells function). It could, in theory, gain multiple abilities that use spells provided they are different types of magic-use. For example, it could possess the Innate Spellcasting from multiple sources, such as a Drow Elf and a Svirfneblin.
  • If a gu'en-deeko eats the brain of a humanoid of level #+1 or higher, if gains the class abilities of that humanoid until it eats the brain of another humanoid of the same level or higher. If that happens, the gu'en-deeko gains the class abilities of the new brain and the class abilities it gained from the previous high-level brain are reduced to a #-level character of that class.
  • If a gu'en-deeko eats the brain of a humanoid whose level exceeds its [6] Hit Dice, the gu'en-deeko must make a DC 15 wisdom roll or go insane and believe itself to actually be the individual whose brain it ate, despite any evidence to the contrary [I prefer this as a high probability not a foregone conclusion]
Other issues - do the skills/abilities "fade" after a time or just get overlain...
 
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