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

ilgatto

How inconvenient
(...)
Was switching around the wording of the first couple of sentences to find one I liked and released it before it was finished.
(...)
It's one of the problems of having to use computers to write these days. It leads to mistakes one would never make when using pen and paper.:cry:
 

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ilgatto

How inconvenient
In the interests of getting things started as I am interested in the idea (mutable strength of its foes), but pondering what level this is most fun to play at. I began with a clay golem statblock - all numbers are up for change

greysqaarg.jpg


and re

Okay, to begin with a Gray Sqaarg does not have immunity to weapons like a clay golem. Drop that immunity and its Challenge will drop considerably.

The creature should have some kind of grapple attack for restraining opponents without injuring them. That's its preferred means of combat. Gray Sqaargs only use lethal force as a last ditch option.

The "Strength of its Foes" is tricky to adjudicate. Will have to think about it.

A major problem is the original "The sqaarg always fights with a strength’ equal to the combined strength points of those fighting it" and "The monster can have a maximum strength of 40" simply makes no sense in D&D, even in first edition, since a creature's Strength score is not a linear quantity and the maximum strength possible in the rules is 25.

If you interpret it as being a Sqaarg has a maximum strength equal to four men (since 40 is four times the average ability score of 10), that's roughly equivalent to a score of Strength 18/00 or possibly 19 in terms of lifting capacity. An ordinary 1E AD&D human with Strength 10 can stagger around with 105+ pounds when heavily encumbered, so a creature four times stronger should be able to lift 315+ pounds more than that. The 1E Player's Handbook Strength table says Strength 18/00 has a weight allowance +300 pounds higher than an ordinary human (well +3,000 coins to be precise, or "gold pieces" if you want to be literal, with a "coin" being a tenth of a pound).

That suggests a "40 points of Strength" Sqaarg might be at the maximum limit of human strength rather than an impossibly powerful titan stronger than the mightiest god.

I'm wondering if a Sqaarg doesn't actually draw STR from its opponents but just automatically "pulls its punches" and only uses its full Strength when assaulted by multiple opponents.

The main thing is I'd like to keep it simple, and that'd be difficult if the Strength keeps on changing. For a start, the Sqaarg's to hit and damage numbers would change depending on how many opponents it is fighting and what their strength scores are!

It'd be easier to just stat it up with a single STR score set to its maximum strength, whatever we decide that to be.

Hmm, I suppose we could make it so its default Grapple attack has a DC that varies with the number/STR of opponents but have a set STR for when it's trying to kill people?


Also, I don't believe there's anything in the original to suggest that the grey sqaarg's form cannot be altered?
 

Cleon

Legend
Also, I don't believe there's anything in the original to suggest that the grey sqaarg's form cannot be altered?

You would be correct.

That's standard 5E Golem boilerplate but isn't a default feature of a 5E Construct. The Gray Sqaargs in White Dwarf #21 just have a great AC and magic resistance as defenses.

Still, I have no objection to giving Immutable Form to the Sqaarg as they're "similar to golems" according to the text.
 


Casimir Liber

Adventurer
ok - chthon fixed and now here

Yes I know it says "solid stone"...but I thought it was a bit squishy somehow...like modelling clay...anyway. when making monsters in dndbeyond, a random statblock can give one ideas.

The whole point of the sqaarg is its mutability when faced by differing numbers of foes. I don't see calculating damage bonus as too difficult but open to ideas on this. I'd see it as some sort of malleable chaos energy rather than "holding back" against weaker opponents.

Definitely needs a grapple attack.

Changed weapon immunity to weapon resistance (as a stone critter, I think it has some inherent toughness to these attacks)
 
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Cleon

Legend
ok - chthon fixed and now here

Updated the Completed Fifth Edition Creatures Index and the White Dwarf Conversion Index.

Yes I know it says "solid stone"...but I thought it was a bit squishy somehow...like modelling clay...anyway. when making monsters in dndbeyond, a random statblock can give one ideas.

Well there is something a bit "Pillsbury doughboy" looking about its illustration…

Still, it's not clay so wouldn't have a Clay Golem's immunity to acid. I'd only give it immunity to poison and psychic damage.

The whole point of the sqaarg is its mutability when faced by differing numbers of foes. I don't see calculating damage bonus as too difficult but open to ideas on this

Definitely needs a grapple attack.

Okay, how about this idea.

We give it a Special Trait that gives it a variable "Might Score" that starts out low and increases as more/stronger foes attack it, up to a maximum cap of some appropriate value. Probably it's Strength bonus plus its Proficiency bonus.

Then we give it a Grab Intruder attack with an escape DC that's X plus its Might score and a Crush Enemy attack that does bludgeoning damage equal to #d# plus its Might score to a grappled opponent (or maybe #s# plus twice its Might score? I'll have to play with the numbers), possibly with a CON or STR saving throw for half damage.

The original text says it can damage opponents by grappling them, so I imagine this thing wrapping its arms around an intruder and just holding on, but if its prisoner or their allies start seriously damaging it starts closing its arms together and… SQUELCH!

Would drop the Slam and Multiattack actions as the original monster didn't go all two-fisted fighting like a clay golem.

That said, I'd be open to it having a damaging version of Grab Intruder that does bludgeoning damage for when the gloves come off and it doesn't have an enemy in its stony mitts, maybe call that attack Seize Foe?

Changed weapon immunity to weapon resistance (as a stone critter, I think it has some inherent toughness to these attacks)

There are 5E constructs that don't have weapon damage resistance who are literally made of solid metal, such as the Shield Guardian.

I see no need to give the Sqaarg any Weapon Resistances as the original monster doesn't have them.
 


Cleon

Legend
okies - yes to all these. acid immunity dropped ..intrigued by variable might score.

Ok, I'll have a go at writing it up…

Waxing Might. The power of a gray sqaarg's attacks increase as enemies fight it. This power is measured by the sqaarg's Might score. The gray sqaarg starts with a Might of 0 and can increase it to a maximum of Might 8. For each creature that fights the sqaarg, the gray sqaarg gains Might equal to the highest ability bonus modifier that creature used in an attack against the sqaarg (including melee attacks, ranged attacks, or spells) with a minimum increase of 1 point of Might if the creature's attacks do not have positive ability modifiers. If the creature's attacks do not employ an ability score or its ability is undefined, use the Strength modifier of the creature.​
 A gray sqaarg's Might score resets to 0 if no creature attacks the sqaarg for 10 minutes.​
Example: if a druid with STR 10 (+0), WIS 15 (+2) attacked a gray sqaarg with a quarterstaff and thunderwave spell, the sqaarg gains Might 2 from the +2 ability modifier of the druid's Wisdom spellcasting ability. Two goblins with STR 8 (–1) then join the fray; each adds 1 Might to the sqaarg for a total of Might 4. If another gray sqaarg then grapples the example sqaarg, it adds its STR 20's +5 ability bonus and boosts the example gray sqaarg to its maximum Might of 8.​

EDIT: and here's some attacks to go with it:

Hold. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 10 plus the sqaarg's Might score). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the sqaarg can't make melee attacks on another target.​
Crush. The gray sqaarg crushes a creature it is grappling. The target must make a Strength or Constitution saving throw (DC 10 plus the sqaarg's Might score), taking ## to ## (4d6 plus twice the sqaarg's Might score)[?] bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.​
Seize. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: ## to ## (2d6 plus the sqaarg's Might score)[?] bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 10 plus Might). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the sqaarg can't make melee attacks on another target.​

I think that approach works but we might have to monkey around with the damage a bit to get the desired CR. I'm assuming we're aiming for Challenge 5 or thereabouts.

Might as well post a Working Draft too while I'm here…
 
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Cleon

Legend
Gray Sqaarg
Medium construct, unaligned
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 76 (8d8 + 40)
Speed 20 ft.


STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
20 (+5)​
9 (–1)​
20 (+5)​
3 (–4)​
10 (+0)​
1 (–5)​

Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages (understands Dwarvish but can't speak)
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Immutable Form. The sqaarg is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Magic Resistance. The sqaarg has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Magic Weapons. The sqaarg's weapon attacks are magical.

Waxing Might. The power of a gray sqaarg's attacks increase as enemies fight it. This power is measured by the sqaarg's Might score. The gray sqaarg starts with a Might of 0 and can increase to a maximum of Might 8. For each creature that fights the sqaarg, the gray sqaarg gains Might equal to the highest ability bonus modifier that creature used in an attack against the sqaarg (including melee attacks, ranged attacks, or spells) with a minimum increase of 1 point of Might if the creature's attacks do not have positive ability modifiers. If the creature's attacks do not employ an ability score or its ability is undefined, use the Strength modifier of the creature.
 A gray sqaarg's Might score resets to 0 if no creature attacks the sqaarg for 10 minutes.

Example: If a druid with STR 10 (+0), WIS 15 (+2) attacked a gray sqaarg with a quarterstaff and thunderwave spell, the sqaarg gains Might 2 from the +2 ability modifier of the druid's Wisdom spellcasting ability. Two goblins with STR 8 (–1) then join the fray; each adds 1 Might to the sqaarg for a total of Might 4. If another gray sqaarg then uses Power Building on the example sqaarg, it adds its STR 20's +5 ability bonus and boosts the example gray sqaarg to its maximum Might of 8.

Actions

Hold. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 10 plus the sqaarg's Might score). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the sqaarg can't make melee attacks on another target.

Crush. The gray sqaarg crushes a creature it is grappling. The target must make a Strength or Constitution saving throw (DC 10 plus the sqaarg's Might score), taking 14 to 30 (4d6 plus twice the sqaarg's Might score) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Deadly Grasp. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 to 15 (2d6 plus the sqaarg's Might score) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 10 plus Might). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the sqaarg can't make melee attacks on another target.

Power Building. The gray sqaarg increase its Might score by 5 or increase the Might score of another gray sqaarg by 5 by applying its own Strength to the sqaarg's Waxing Might.

Reactions

Reflexive Grip. If the gray sqaarg is hit by a melee attack, it can use its Reaction to make a Hold attack against the creature that struck it.


Description

A gray sqaarg is a golem like construct whose stocky humanoid form stands 5 feet tall. It appears to be crudely molded from clay but is actually made of solid stone. The creature is sculpted in the shape of a naked sexless figure, bald and completely hairless, with broad shoulders and a heavily muscled physique that resembles an oversized beardless dwarf.
 Gray sqaargs are capable of self-repair and effectively heal as quickly as a living dwarf.

Dwarven Guardians. The gray sqaargs were created by a long extinct dwarf culture. Objects and writings left by these dwarves include unmistakable proof they were evil creatures, who scholars speculate might be ancestors or relatives of the Duergar. Despite their creators' malevolence, gray sqaargs are protective creatures designed to guard territory and property by capturing intruders nonlethally.
 There are unverified reports of more types of sqaarg than the grays, with other colors of sqaarg filling different roles in the ancient dwarf society: white sqaargs work as heavy laborers; red sqaargs are deadly warriors; black sqaargs can speak, read and write many languages and may flawlessly repeat anything they're taught, green sqaargs are implacable and deadly hunter-scouts, and so on.
 A gray sqaarg is technically nearly mindless but capable of following complex orders. The specifics vary greatly depending on the duties performed by the sqaarg. Adventurers most commonly encounter gray sqaargs whose orders assign them a "beat" to patrol, such as the entrance to a mine and its surrounding paths. If the patrolling sqaarg encounters a creature it wasn't told to let pass, which may require a password forgotten centuries ago, it tries to capture the intruder. The gray sqaarg then imprisons the intruder and awaits orders from a dwarf master, who are unfortunately all long dead. Captured intruders must escape or eventually die of hunger, thirst, or old age, since sqaargs rarely have instructions to give prisoners food or water and are tireless and unaging jailers. If an intruder fights back, the sqaarg uses the "Knocking a Creature Out" rule and tries to render its opponent unconscious. Gray sqaargs generally only use lethal force as a final option triggered by preset conditions, such as being severely damaged (e.g. at 35 hit points or less) or if the intruder stole a sacred dwarven relic.
 Gray sqaargs with other duties will follow different set of instructions. For example, a gray sqaarg bouncer in the ruins of an exclusive dwarven tavern might try to evict any non-dwarf it encounters on the premises. A gray sqaarg guarding the Dwarf Queen's boudoir could be ordered to kill anyone who enters who isn't dwarven royalty or a Queen's handmaiden.


(Originally created by Graham Head; 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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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
looking interesting

...how about a Hold as a reaction on anyone who comes within melee range of it?

(this gives it more options - presumably is not automatically a pack creature, so some reactions help it if outnumbered if 1-2 encountered by party.)

also when might it use hold over seize - if it is an automaton?
 

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