5e EPIC MONSTER UPDATES

dave2008

Adventurer
Hey [MENTION=83242]dave2008[/MENTION] this Strahd version is perfect for my 6 players party + allies.
I have a question about the longsword attack.
Is it a +3 magic longsword correct?
Why it does 6d6 and not 1d8 ?
what happens to the necrotic damage replaced in this version with lightning damage. ?
Great, I hope he works well for you. Here are my thoughts on your questions:

1) Yes it is a +3 magical weapon, but it was supposed to be a greatsword. The idea was that he summons his armor which includes a greatsword (Strahd's Animated Armor, pg 227 of CoS).

2) I modify damage based on strength. With his 22 strength giving me the strength of a Huge monster I allow him to inflict damage as if he has a Huge weapon, thus 6d6. However, I forgot to change multiattack (and the name of the sword attack) when I made this change. You should modify his multiattack to be:r greatsword or unarmed strike. If you want to go with a +3 longsword (so he can still use unarmed strikes) I would increase the lightning damage. My recommendation for a revision would be:

Longsword (VAmpire Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d8 + 9) slashing damage, or 25 (3d10 + 9) slashing damage when wielded 2-handed, plus 14 (4d6) lightning damage.

3) The greatsword with Strahd's Animated Armor (pg 227 of CoS) inflicts lightning damage.
 

RedTorment

Villager
Thank you for your quick and helpful response [MENTION=83242]dave2008[/MENTION].

About Multiattack, the original version says "Multiattack (Vampire Form Only). Strahd makes two attacks,
only one of which can be a bite attack."

In your CR17 stats can strahd make also 2 bites attacks or only one?

How much the CR will increase if I buff Strahd to turn it in a 12th level spellcaster ?

Thanks !
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Thank you for your quick and helpful response [MENTION=83242]dave2008[/MENTION].

About Multiattack, the original version says "Multiattack (Vampire Form Only). Strahd makes two attacks,
only one of which can be a bite attack."

In your CR17 stats can strahd make also 2 bites attacks or only one?

How much the CR will increase if I buff Strahd to turn it in a 12th level spellcaster ?

Thanks !
I made the bite attack usable as a bonus action. The intent was to make the bonus action bite attack require the target be charmed or grappled by Strahd, but I seem to have left that bit out.

My reasoning is as follows: no hunter with limbs that can grapple leads with a bite attack. They all was grapple or attempt to grapple first . The idea of a humanoid creature running around trying to bite things is ridiculous to me. Why put your head into a danger if you don't have too? Animals that can grapple don't, because they have a better and safer method.

So Strahd can make 2 attacks (greatsword or unarmed strike) and a bite attack if the target of the bite attack is charmed or grappled. Now I am going to have to go back and clean him up a bit - to many errors!

The 12th level casting doesn't really affect his CR. His most damaging attack is still probably a sword/sword attack (74 DPR vs 70 DPR for a 5th level fireball). Depending on what spells you choose and how you intend to use them you might bump his CR by 1, but nothing more than that and I would be inclined to leave him at CR 17.
 

RedTorment

Villager
I made the bite attack usable as a bonus action. The intent was to make the bonus action bite attack require the target be charmed or grappled by Strahd, but I seem to have left that bit out.

My reasoning is as follows: no hunter with limbs that can grapple leads with a bite attack. They all was grapple or attempt to grapple first . The idea of a humanoid creature running around trying to bite things is ridiculous to me. Why put your head into a danger if you don't have too? Animals that can grapple don't, because they have a better and safer method.

So Strahd can make 2 attacks (greatsword or unarmed strike) and a bite attack if the target of the bite attack is charmed or grappled. Now I am going to have to go back and clean him up a bit - to many errors!

The 12th level casting doesn't really affect his CR. His most damaging attack is still probably a sword/sword attack (74 DPR vs 70 DPR for a 5th level fireball). Depending on what spells you choose and how you intend to use them you might bump his CR by 1, but nothing more than that and I would be inclined to leave him at CR 17.
I understand your reason and I agree with you but bite attack as written can be done only if ".. one willing creature, or a creature that is grappled
by Strahd, incapacitated, or restrained". I'm thinking about Strahd grappling a charachter for more rounds. Can he only attack once with his bite as bonus action ?
 
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dave2008

Adventurer
I understand your reason and I agree with you but I'm thinking about Strahd grappling a charachter for more rounds. Can he only attack once with his bite as bonus action "wasting" his standard combat action ? Maybe he can start with a bite attack first on 2nd round and than release the character to attack with the sword ?
As written, if a character is already grappled/charmed he can bite them as an action and again as a bonus action. I think you could reasonable revise it so that he can replace one unarmed strike with a bite action, if he has a target chamed or grappled. So, if the target of the bite attack is charmed or grappled he could make an unarmed strike attack and bite attack as a multiattack action and another bite attack as a bonus action.
 

RedTorment

Villager
Great, I hope he works well for you. Here are my thoughts on your questions:

2) I modify damage based on strength. With his 22 strength giving me the strength of a Huge monster I allow him to inflict damage as if he has a Huge weapon, thus 6d6.
Sorry if I still ask you so many questions, I don’t want to be boring but I just want to learn how to create and correctly balance the monster stats.

I'm asking myself the same questions my players would ask me when a longsword attack makes 30 damage


Reading the DMG on page 278 it says :

“If a monster wields a manufactured weapon, it deals damage appropriate to the weapon. For example, a greataxe in the hands of a Medium monster deals ld12 slashing damage plus the monster's Strength modifier, as is normal for that weapon.
Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit. Double the weapon dice if the creature is Large, triple the weapon dice if it's Huge, and quadruple the weapon dice if it's Gargantuan.
For example, a Huge giant wielding an appropriately sized greataxe deals 3d12 slashing damage (plus its Strength bonus), instead of the normal 1d12.”

It seems that only large creature and only with an oversized weapon deal extra dice of damage. It is not related to the strenght.
I have also tried to look for exemples on other official manual.
In the very rare cases in wich the strenght of a medium creature is more than 20, the designer always don’t use the extra dice of damage.
These are the only two stats of medium monster with a strenght >20 i have found in all the 3 “Monster Manul” that I have

MORDENKAINEN’S TOME OF FOES
Red Abishai (Pag. 162)
Medium fiend;
STR 23 (+6);
Morningstar. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one
target. Hit: 10 (1d8 + 6) piercing damage.

TOME OF BEASTS (Kobold Press) (Pag.30)
Baba Yaga’s Horsemen
Medium fey
STR 22 (+6)
Lance. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft.
(disadvantage within 5 ft.), one target. Hit: 12 (1d12 + 6)
piercing damage.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one
target. Hit: 10 (1d8 + 6) slashing damage.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Sorry if I still ask you so many questions, I don’t want to be boring but I just want to learn how to create and correctly balance the monster stats.

I'm asking myself the same questions my players would ask me when a longsword attack makes 30 damage


Reading the DMG on page 278 it says :

“If a monster wields a manufactured weapon, it deals damage appropriate to the weapon. For example, a greataxe in the hands of a Medium monster deals ld12 slashing damage plus the monster's Strength modifier, as is normal for that weapon.
Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit. Double the weapon dice if the creature is Large, triple the weapon dice if it's Huge, and quadruple the weapon dice if it's Gargantuan.
For example, a Huge giant wielding an appropriately sized greataxe deals 3d12 slashing damage (plus its Strength bonus), instead of the normal 1d12.”

It seems that only large creature and only with an oversized weapon deal extra dice of damage. It is not related to the strenght.
A couple things here:

1) Please read the OP to understand the goals of this thread. My stance is the official monster making guidelines are not sufficient for epic level monsters. So yes, these are not RAW, and that is intentional.
2) The DMG provides a monster making guideline. These are not hard and fast rules. They are suggestions on how to make a balanced monster of a given CR. The DM is not bound by them. Heck, when I DM, sometimes don't even use a stat block!
3) This is an old stat block. On newer creatures I clarify that an "epic" weapon is used to get the virtual size benefit. You can check out my 5e Epic Characters thread for more information on epic weapons. These are first drafts. When I get to the 2nd and 3rd drafts I hope to clarify items like this better.
4) I generally believe +1 to hit & +1 to damage paradigm of 5e is inadequate. The problem this creates is that you have immensely powerful creatures that hit (damage) like cream puffs. It breaks my sense of immersion and quasi-realism.
5) The damage by size guidelines are not followed strictly in the MM (at least not for natural weapons).
6) Monsters and NPCs do not follow the same rules as PCs.
 

RedTorment

Villager
A couple things here:

1) Please read the OP to understand the goals of this thread. My stance is the official monster making guidelines are not sufficient for epic level monsters. So yes, these are not RAW, and that is intentional.
2) The DMG provides a monster making guideline. These are not hard and fast rules. They are suggestions on how to make a balanced monster of a given CR. The DM is not bound by them. Heck, when I DM, sometimes don't even use a stat block!
3) This is an old stat block. On newer creatures I clarify that an "epic" weapon is used to get the virtual size benefit. You can check out my 5e Epic Characters thread for more information on epic weapons. These are first drafts. When I get to the 2nd and 3rd drafts I hope to clarify items like this better.
4) I generally believe +1 to hit & +1 to damage paradigm of 5e is inadequate. The problem this creates is that you have immensely powerful creatures that hit (damage) like cream puffs. It breaks my sense of immersion and quasi-realism.
5) The damage by size guidelines are not followed strictly in the MM (at least not for natural weapons).
6) Monsters and NPCs do not follow the same rules as PCs.
Thank you again for clarifying [MENTION=83242]dave2008[/MENTION]. It is all clear

In the meantime, I did find this:

CURSE OF STRHAD

Vladimir Horngaard (Pag 242)
Medium undead (Revenant)
STR 18 (+4)
Vladimir wields a +2 greatsword with a hilt sculpted
to resemble silver dragon wings and a pommel shaped
like a silver dragon's head clutching a black opal between
its teeth. As an action, he can make two attacks
with the sword (+9 to hit). It deals 20 (4d6 + 6) slashing
damage on a hit. Against Strahd, Vladimir deals
an extra 14 (4d6) slashing damage with the weapon.

A medium monster with STR 18 but it deals 4d6 !
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Thank you again for clarifying [MENTION=83242]dave2008[/MENTION]. It is all clear

In the meantime, I did find this:

CURSE OF STRHAD

Vladimir Horngaard (Pag 242)
Medium undead (Revenant)
STR 18 (+4)
Vladimir wields a +2 greatsword with a hilt sculpted
to resemble silver dragon wings and a pommel shaped
like a silver dragon's head clutching a black opal between
its teeth. As an action, he can make two attacks
with the sword (+9 to hit). It deals 20 (4d6 + 6) slashing
damage on a hit. Against Strahd, Vladimir deals
an extra 14 (4d6) slashing damage with the weapon.

A medium monster with STR 18 but it deals 4d6 !
Interesting. I hadn't realized that WotC had gone against the design guide with a weapon. Good find. And thank you for all the questions, I hope my answers helped. I know they have encouraged me to at least get Strahd corrected!
 

dave2008

Adventurer
[MENTION=6932519]RedTorment[/MENTION] I updated Strahd. I think I picked up and clarified all your questions. Let me know if I missed anything.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
I am thinking that for the second drafts of these epic monsters I may get rid of legendary actions. My thought is to move the abilities to be standard, bonus, and reactions actions and give epic monsters multiple turns (if needed) to compensate.

I am coming to this conclusion from my work on epic characters. My intent with epic characters is to play gods. It got me thinking what does it look like when one character (a god) with legendary actions fights a monster with legendary actions. I feel it may be needless complex and lengthen the encounter unhelpfully.

So, I am thinking about redesigning epic monsters in the 2nd draft to use the non-legendary monster format. The conceit would be that creatures with epic ranks would get an additional turn for each epic rank.

Any thoughts?
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
I kinda like using the standard rules for legendary actions, to simulate extra turns or actions the creature has. Perhaps still calling it a legendary action, but say it can use it at will, or at the beginning of combat, or as an action surge, instead of only at the end of another creatures turn.

Could be very dynamic.

Legendary Action, Cthulhu's Encroaching Tentacles, +x to hit, damage x, special effect x, may be used at any order in the init, once per epic rank. (poor example, but you get the point)
 

dave2008

Adventurer
I kinda like using the standard rules for legendary actions, to simulate extra turns or actions the creature has. Perhaps still calling it a legendary action, but say it can use it at will, or at the beginning of combat, or as an action surge, instead of only at the end of another creatures turn.

Could be very dynamic.

Legendary Action, Cthulhu's Encroaching Tentacles, +x to hit, damage x, special effect x, may be used at any order in the init, once per epic rank. (poor example, but you get the point)
Thank you for the response! That is a fine idea, but it doesn't really address the problem I see down the road. It is just a more flexible take on legendary actions. Look, I like legendary actions - a lot. It is just they have there limits.

When you have a group of 4 gods (PCs) fighting an ArchFiend, his generals, and a platoon of devils I see legendary action craziness being a problem. There are at least 5-6 creatures with legendary actions and at that point everyone it acting after another creature - it is giant mash of legendary actions. I guess you could just resolve everyone's legendary actions in initiative order, but that seems like a time sink. Legendary Actions are really designed for solo encounters when you have just one legendary monster. The more I think about it, the more I think they need to go when you get to epic (beyond 20th level) play.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
[MENTION=83242]dave2008[/MENTION] , I forsee, IMO, an inconsistency you may want to take into account during this design phase.

(UNLESS, epic games and standard games are totally divorced from each other)


16th level group of adventurers combat the infamous Ursine'Twain, Demon Double Drop Bear, Lord of the Infinite Wasteland Prison of Stralia, in the Abyss.

The demon has legendary actions, as they should for this grand semi-solo combat extravaganza. Players survive, but did not kill Ursine'Twain on its home plane.

Adventurers become "epic", they go back to the prison wasteland to finish the job. Demon no longer has legendary actions?
 

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