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

Cleon

Adventurer
Okay went with acid..

So are we going for acid/fire/lightning rather than acid/cold/fire/lightning?

So with multiattack - any 3 of tail/gore/gore/stomp?

More like any 3 of Gore/Stomp/Tail/Trunk with its Tail and Trunk attacks having a Toss special effect, maybe as an optional "alternative effect" instead of its normal piercing or bludgeoning damage.

Not sure about the Stomp only being able to target prone opponents.

Maybe prone targets or opponents smaller than Large size?

Anyhow, that can wait until later.
 

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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Ok so yes acid/fire/lightning only.

I modelled the Stomp from the elephant, but if we say it is nastier and beefier than an elephant then I like the idea of Stomp being more versatile, so I do like "prone targets or opponents smaller than Large size"

Added tail attack and multiattack option
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Ok so yes acid/fire/lightning only.

I modelled the Stomp from the elephant, but if we say it is nastier and beefier than an elephant then I like the idea of Stomp being more versatile, so I do like "prone targets or opponents smaller than Large size"

Added tail attack and multiattack option

Okay, updating the Gurgotch with the Resistance/Immunity section.

Next is Senses

Why does it have truesight? I'm guessing it's a typo and was meant to be darkvision 120 ft.

Languages should be "Understands Abyssal but cannot speak."

I'd suggest dropping the Telepathy 120 ft. as it makes only understanding Abyssal meaningless, since it grants communications with any sapient being regardless of language. Well, unless gurgotches read a lot in the Abyss.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
(a) can't remember why I made it truesight, but darkvision 120ft like demons sounds sound.
(b) yeah ok drop telepathy

Well I'd be OK giving it telepathy if it didn't render its other listed language trait pointless.

For example, if it was Telepathy 10 ft. range that required it to touch a creature with its trunk. That way it can only speak to a creature powerful, trusting or stupid to willingly stay within melee range of the beastie.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Well I'd be OK giving it telepathy if it didn't render its other listed language trait pointless.

For example, if it was Telepathy 10 ft. range that required it to touch a creature with its trunk. That way it can only speak to a creature powerful, trusting or stupid to willingly stay within melee range of the beastie.
Hadn't thought of that - ok telepathy by trunk....

I like this as it gives its trunk a sort of creepy sentience essence, which is on point for a demonic entity
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Hadn't thought of that - ok telepathy by trunk....

I like this as it gives its trunk a sort of creepy sentience essence, which is on point for a demonic entity

So what wording do you like:
  1. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy 10 ft. (only creatures touched by its trunk)
  2. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy with creatures touched by its trunk (reach 10 ft.)
  3. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy 10 ft. (only creatures touched by or touching its trunk)
  4. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy with creatures touched by or touching its trunk (reach 10 ft.)
I think #2 is the more elegantly worded of those options.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
So what wording do you like:
  1. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy 10 ft. (only creatures touched by its trunk)
  2. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy with creatures touched by its trunk (reach 10 ft.)
  3. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy 10 ft. (only creatures touched by or touching its trunk)
  4. Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy with creatures touched by or touching its trunk (reach 10 ft.)
I think #2 is the more elegantly worded of those options.
I agree - 2 - also, is about gurgotch touching subject not other way round. Will go with (2)
 



Cleon

Adventurer
Hmm, nothing comes to mind as it's a big stompy elephantoid......so yeah, let's move on

Okay so it's Special Traits next.

The Magic Resistance is fine as is, but I don't think Trampling Charge should have that bit in red. The original Gurgotch tossed enemies with its Trunk attack not its Tusk attacks.

Oh, and I left a "mammoth" in the Trampling text after copy-pasting it. Hopefully I'll remember to change that!

Might as well start on the Actions.

The Multiattack is the first Attack Action. It doesn't make much sense for it to be whacking the same target with both its tail and its trunk or tusks as they're on opposite ends of the Gurgotch and don't look long enough to reach around its body in the WD illustration.* So I suggest:

Multiattack. The gurgotch makes 3 attacks with its gore, stomp, trunk or tail, but it can only make 1 attack with each. An opponent attacked by the gurgotch's tail cannot be targeted by gore or trunk attacks. Its tail attack can only be combined with a stomp attack.​

* Well, I suppose they could unnaturally elongate to wrap around its body, but adding that ability seems a bit of a stretch. :p
 


Cleon

Adventurer
Ok - have removed the red writing bit in dndbeyond version and added yr multiattack description as makes sense

Updating the Gurgotch.

Okay, so now we've got the attack actions to figure out.

The current version has a 3d8+6 gore, 3d10+6 stomp and 1d8+6 tail. That averages to… 52½ damage (or 75 if it tramples and gets an extra Stomp).

That seems a bit high for CR 7. A Frost Giant does similar damage (two 3d12+6 greataxe blows for 51 on average) and is CR 8.

Our Demonic Elephant has the same AC, slightly lower HP and more special defences. It only has one distance attack - its breath weapon - but that's reasonably effective.

A Stone Giant is CR 7 and averages 39 damage with two 3d8+6 greatclubs.

Maybe knock off a dice from its main attacks so it's 2d8+6 gore, 2d10+6 and 1d8+6 tail? That's 42½ average damage, or 59½ if it tramples.

That seems appropriate for CR 7. The Trampling Charge is a bit better than the CR 6 Mammoth's average of 54 damage (4d8+4d10+14).

What does D&D Beyond's Challenge calculator say it should be?
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Hmm - weird - using the 5e tools CR calculator here , it has come up with a CR of 10. Maybe I calculated it a longtime ago before tweaking all the attacks...

a CR of 9 or 10 makes its melee attacks at +9 rather than +8.

I must say I do like it doing significant trampling/stomping damage as that's what elephants do and realistically PCs should be avoiding getting stomped on by an elephantoid as they would expect to take alot of damage.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Hmm - weird - using the 5e tools CR calculator here , it has come up with a CR of 10. Maybe I calculated it a longtime ago before tweaking all the attacks...

It comes out CR 10 if you have "Immunities" in the Resistance/Immunities but I think that section should have "Resistances" which comes out to CR 8 on average.

It only has one immunity (to poison) but a bunch of Resistances to relatively common damage types.

I would think that section is for the Average of those defenses, which I reckon to be Resistances. Unless the PCs are overloaded with poison attacks, which seems unlikely!

So how does this work? Let's say I try the lower damage 3d8 and 2d10 version then I need to enter the values Expected CR 7, 126 hp, AC 15, Huge, 12 HD, Con 19, DPR 42.5, Attack Bonus 8, Resistances, 3-4 Save Proficiencies into the Calculator I get…

Challenge Rating: 8
Offensive CR: 7
Defensive CR: 8
Proficiency Bonus: +3
Effective HP: 189 (12d12+48)
Effective AC: 17
Average Damage Per Round: 42
Effective Attack Bonus: +8
Experience Points: 3,900

Hold on though, shouldn't it have an Attack Bonus of 9 rather than 8? It has +6 from STR and a +3 Proficiency Bonus which adds to +9 to hit…

Also, I should average a 59½ Trampling Charge and two 42½ Multiattacks for 48.16 damage/round…

That's still Challenge 8, although the Offensive CR goes up one:

Challenge Rating: 8
Offensive CR: 8
Defensive CR: 8
Proficiency Bonus: +3
Effective HP: 189 (12d12+48)
Effective AC: 17
Average Damage Per Round: 48
Effective Attack Bonus: +9
Experience Points: 3,900
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Still, the Gurgotch eyeballs as being Challenge Rating 7 to me. The main number that's way off is the +8 or +9 Attack Bonus, which the table says is appropriate for CR 11 to 16.

However, a Mammoth has a +10 attack bonus and is CR 6, while Giants around CR 7 have +8 or +10 attacks.

It is a bit meatier than a Vrock, which was our other point of comparison. (Although thinking of the Vrock made me realize I forgot to include the Gurgotch's Magic Resistance when running the 5e.tools calculation).

Out of curiosity, what does the Calculator say the above SRD monsters' CRs are if you enter their numbers…

MonsterCR
Of. CR​
Df. CR​
Prof. B​
Ef. HP​
Ef. AC​
DPR​
Ef. AB​
XP​
Hill Giant (CR 5)
5​
6​
3​
+3​
105​
13​
37​
+8​
1,800​
Mammoth (CR 6)
6​
7​
4​
+3​
126​
13​
34​
+10​
2,300​
Stone Giant (CR 7)
7​
7​
6​
+3​
126​
19​
39​
+9​
2,900​
Frost Giant (CR 8)
12​
9​
14​
+4​
276​
17​
51​
+9​
8,400​
 Frost w/Res.
10​
9​
10​
+4​
207​
17​
51​
+9​
5,900​
 Frost no Imm.
8​
9​
6​
+3​
138​
17​
51​
+9​
3,900​
Vrock (CR 6)
8​
4​
12​
+3​
208​
21​
24​
+6​
3,900​
 Vrock w/Res.
6​
4​
8​
+3​
156​
20​
24​
+6​
2,300​
 Vrock no Imm.
5​
4​
6​
+3​
104​
19​
24​
+6​
1,800​

Okay, the above shows the calculator assumes that ALL the PCs attacks will hit Immunities and/or Resistances if you select those options but the SRD monsters use a more average approach.

The Frost Giant CR matches the "None" option for Resistance/Immunities despite it being immune to cold damage, while the Vrock CR matches "Resistances" despite having immunity to poison.

Also, when running the calculator I checked "Magic Resistance" for the Vrock and added "Stench" and "Web" to the high CR version since they were the best match to its shriek and spores Special Attacks, but for the Vrock w/Res. I just gave it Magic Resistance & Stench and the Vrock no Imm. just had Magic Resistance.

That makes me wonder whether the Grugotch should check "none" rather than "resistances" in the 5e.tools CR calculator as it's likely most of the attacks on it will be with weapons to which it has no damage resistance.

Hmm, using "None" for Resistances/Immunities does make the Grugotch Challenge 7 according to the CR Calculator (including a check for Magic Resistance).

MonsterCR
Of. CR​
Df. CR​
Prof. B​
Ef. HP​
Ef. AC​
DPR​
Ef. AB​
XP​
Grugotch (CR 7)
7​
8​
6​
+3​
126​
19​
48​
+9​
2,900​
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Interesting - I can see that (with FG) as Cold damage is rare and I do ponder about common vs rare resistances (e.g. resistance to nonmagic weapons at low CR vs high CR etc.). I am not sure why you're so keen to shoehorn it into CR 7 though, and i am also wary of overly homogenizing monsters. I do like it at CR 8 with the to hit and damage a bit "meaty".....

If it's CR 8 doesn't everything sort of fit?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Interesting - I can see that (with FG) as Cold damage is rare and I do ponder about common vs rare resistances (e.g. resistance to nonmagic weapons at low CR vs high CR etc.). I am not sure why you're so keen to shoehorn it into CR 7 though, and i am also wary of overly homogenizing monsters. I do like it at CR 8 with the to hit and damage a bit "meaty".....

Yes, being resistant to, say, Sonic Damage isn't much use to a monster if none of the PCs have sound-based attacks.

It's not so much that I'm keen on shoehorning it into CR 7 but that was the Challenge I thought we were aiming at, a step nastier than a Vrock.

Plus, the original monster wasn't impressive as far as its damage output goes. It did either two 1d10 tusks plus a trunk attack or a 4d10 trample. If you average over 3 rounds and assume it starts with a trample that averages 14⅔ Damage Per Round (DPR).

A 1E Vrock, by comparison, has two 1d4 claws plus two 1d8 talons plus one 1d6 beak so actually did more damage - 17½ DPR.

A 1E Mammoth was a real mincing machine though: two 3d6 tusks, a 2d8 trunk and two 2d6 stomps for a 44 DPR.

That's suggested to me the Gorgutch's individual attacks should be closer to the 5E Vrock 2d6+4 in damage than the 4d10+7 of a 5E Mammoth's Stomp. Especially as it has Multiattack, which it can use with its Trampling Charge remember.

If it's CR 8 doesn't everything sort of fit?

Maybe, if you can convince me the higher damage output is necessary.

Even with that, I eyeball it as being in CR 9 territory as it does an average of 60 DPR (a 75 trample or two 52½ Multiattacks) plus has three energy damage resistances and a Breath Weapon.

I'm having a bit of trouble "costing" the Breath Weapon but it's quite effective. The original monster's breath was an area of effect attack going by the text: "All caught in the cloud must ‘save against constitution’ or lose all conscious muscular control from the neck downwards" says it can hit multiple opponents with one cloud. The author just forgot to specify the size and shape it covered!

Indeed, I'm starting to suspect even the lower damage version I'm proposing is CR 8 once the AoE paralysis breath is incorporated. Paralysis is a very effecting special attack - and one players really hate!

A Ghoul, for example, is only about CR 1/2 if you remove the paralysis effect of the Bite (at least according to the CR Calculator).
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Indeed, I'm starting to suspect even the lower damage version I'm proposing is CR 8 once the AoE paralysis breath is incorporated. Paralysis is a very effecting special attack - and one players really hate!

Come to think of it, the Gurgotch doesn't cause true paralysis as it only affects the neck downwards. They are still able to speak and turn their heads.

That suggests its breath weapon inflicts the Stunned or Incapacitated condition rather than Paralyzed.

Anyhow, I was going to leave the Breath Weapon discussion until we finished with the mundane attack options.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Hmmm. Okay I take your point about nudging it downwards in an effort to align it near the vrock. Okay, so going with 2d8+6 gore, 2d10+6 and 1d8+6 tail.....?

(Heh, am happier doing this knowing we're making a humungous juggernaut one as well :LOL:
 

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