Converting monsters from Dragon magazine

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I like all the suggestions for the stats so far.

The locking bite sounds like some improved form of grab. Have we done something like this before?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I like all the suggestions for the stats so far.
I'm going to be busy this week, but hopefully I'll find time to post a Working Draft.

The locking bite sounds like some improved form of grab. Have we done something like this before?
The old "biting unto death" trait is a fairly common one in fantasy so I'm sure there's a few special attacks to represent it somewhere.

Where that somewhere might be is another question.

It's a simple enough ability though, so it may be quicker just writing it up rather than trying to wade through 100s of monsters looking for an earlier version.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Trollhound Working Draft

Trollhound

Medium Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 3d10+9 (25 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (+2 Dex, +3 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+6 (+26 with lockbite)
Attack: Bite +7 melee (2d4+4 plus disease/18–20/×2 plus lockbite and disease)
Full Attack: Bite +7 melee (2d4+4 plus disease/18–20/×2 plus lockbite and disease)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Lockbite, disease
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., extreme light sensitivity, low-light vision, regeneration 2, scent
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2
Abilities: Str 17, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Listen +5, Spot +5, Survival +3* (+7 track by scent)
Feats: Alertness, Trackᴮ, Weapon Focus (bite)
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary, pair, gang (3–6), troupe (2–8 plus 1–4 trolls) or pack (7–24)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: 25% coins; 50% goods (gems); 50% items
Alignment: Usually chaotic neutral
Advancement: 4-6 HD (Medium); 7-9 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment:

A hulking muscular canine that stinks like death and sewage whose eyesockets are dark pits from which sunken black eyes glitter balefully. Its body is an ugly patchwork of green-grey-violet skin with a disturbingly rubbery appearance, covered in places by patches of coarse wiry hair colored iron gray or black. The wolflike beast's lips, tongue and fangs are as inkblack as its eyes.

While they may resemble rubbery worgs, these beasts are actually more closely related to trolls. They live in packs who roam the night for prey, retreating to the comfortable darkness of a den when the sun rises. A family of trollhounds needs a lot of meat to feed so usually claim a substantial territory with multiple dens the pack cycles through, dens are usually burrows, caves or abandoned cellars. A trollhound's den is always dark and filled with offal and waste.

Trollhounds are viciously predatory towards other creatures but surprisingly gently to their own kind, never willingly attacking their own kind. They instinctively defer to the strongest trollhound they can smell, and should two packs scent each other the weakest pack always backs away. Trollhounds recognize normal trolls as being their own kind and frequently live with them, serving as guards and hunting animals.

A typical trollhound stands about 4 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs around 500 pounds. Pack leaders can reach 6 feet at the shoulder and weigh up to 3000 pounds.

Combat
A trollhound normally charges into melee as soon as possible and uses its bite attack. Should it achieve a lockbite the trollhound tries to hold on until its enemy is torn to pieces. Trollhounds are intelligent enough to use pack tactics like ambushes and flanking attacks, but are so viciously chaotic they generally only cooperate under the strong leadership of an advanced trollhound or troll beastmaster significantly more powerful than them. A trollhound usually only considers retreat if it is injured and threatened with fire, but even then it often prefers to keep fighting.

Disease (Ex): Filth fever—bite, Fortitude DC 14, incubation period 1d3 days, damage 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Extreme Light Sensitivity (Ex): In full sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell a trollhound takes a -1 penalty on attack and damage rolls and a -2 penalty on Search and Spot checks.

Lockbite (Ex): A trollhound's deadly jaws give its bite attack a critical threat range of 18–20. If its bite attack confirms a critical, the trollhound's jaws automatically lock into the flesh of one of its opponent's limbs. Determine the limb randomly (for example, roll 1d4 for a typical humanoid with 1=left arm, 2=right arm, 3=left leg, 4=right leg). A trollhound in a lockbite is effectively grappling its opponent.

Every round a trollhound holds an opponent in a lockbite it automatically deals bite damage on its initiative and immobilizes the limb it is biting. A lockbite on an arm imposes a –4 penalty on attack rolls, Strength checks, Climb checks, and Swim checks, and makes it impossible for the subject to use objects or cast spells with somatic components unless it has a remaining hand free. The victim also loses the ability to wield a weapon two-handed (unless it has at least two arms left). A lockbite on a leg imposes a –4 penalty on Reflex saves, Dexterity checks, and Dexterity-based skill checks and reduces the victim's land speed by 10 feet. These penalties are in addition to the normal consequences of being in a grapple.

A lockbite last until the trollhound voluntarily releases it, dies, loses consciousness or is forcibly removed via grappling. To remove an lockbite-attached trollhound through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the creature. The trollhound has a +20 racial bonus on grapple checks against an opponent in its lockbite.

Regeneration (Ex): Fire and acid deal normal damage to a trollhound.

Skills: *A trollhound has a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent.

Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine #199 ("Dragon's Bestiary - Those terrible trolls" by Alec Baclawski, November 1003).
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
While working up the rough draft I realized I'd forgotten to propose a Strength score.

I favour Strength 17 like a Yeth Hound, Shadow Mastiff or Worg.

That'll give its bite attack a +4 damage modifier, the same modifier as the original.

As for variable damage component, I would accept either 1d8 or 2d4. Do you have any preferences?
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Str 17, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 6 is ok by me!

I'd be willing to go with a threat range of 19-20 or maybe even 18-20. Let's think about the Lockbite mechanics first. We can probably borrow some wording from Attach. Do we want to make it literally impossible to remove or just give it some insane grapple bonus? I mean, shouldn't a great wyrm be able to pry one of these things off?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Str 17, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 6 is ok by me!
Updating Trollhound Working Draft.

I'd be willing to go with a threat range of 19-20 or maybe even 18-20.
I'm game for increasing the critical threat range to 18-20 if you are. The lockbite is the creature's main combat schtick, so we want them to have at least some chance of it happening. The current draft's 19-20 just might not be enough…

Let's think about the Lockbite mechanics first. We can probably borrow some wording from Attach. Do we want to make it literally impossible to remove or just give it some insane grapple bonus? I mean, shouldn't a great wyrm be able to pry one of these things off?
The original wording says their jaws are so strong its lockbite can't be opened while the trollhound is conscious. I'd interpret that as meaning it's not literally impossible to remove, but to do so you've got to do major damage to the Trollhound - at the very least it requires breaking its jaw (or knocking it cold so you can "unlock" it). Think of it like their jaws are a manacle.

Hmm… that might be an appropriate model. Maybe instead of a high-DC grapple check to escape, you need to make a high Break DC to escape? Regular manacles are Break DC 26 so a normal human can't break free of them. But if we do that, doesn't it imply that succeeding would either break the Trollhound's jaw and deprive it of its bite attack or render the beast unconscious (since that's what the original says is required to break free).

Then again, even manacles allow Escape Artist checks to wriggle out of, which has an overlap with escaping grapples since you can use that skill to slip out of a hold. I would certainly consider the aforementioned grapple bonus solution if the modifier is "insane" enough. Maybe +20 so most creatures of their CR won't have a chance to break free?
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Let's go for an 18-20 threat range. I think I'd prefer to go with a very large grapple bonus rather than anything else too exception-based. +20 would be fine by me, or we could even go a little higher. I think a Large dragon would have a pretty good shot at beating it, and maybe we want to make it a tad tougher.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Let's go for an 18-20 threat range. I think I'd prefer to go with a very large grapple bonus rather than anything else too exception-based. +20 would be fine by me, or we could even go a little higher. I think a Large dragon would have a pretty good shot at beating it, and maybe we want to make it a tad tougher.
Let's just go for the 18-20 and +20 to grapple. We can always change it later if we come up with an idea we like better.

Incidentally, I'm wondering whether the grapple bonus might be a circumstance bonus rather than a racial bonus.

Updating Trollhound Working Draft.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Or even 1d12?
That is quite a large jump from the original's 1d4 dice range. It's also a larger dice range than any of the Medium sized canines in the SRD, which either have 1d6 (Worg, Shadow Mastiff) or 1d8 (Yeth Hound, Hellhound) base bite damage.

My thinking was 1d8 would be acceptable since it matched the dice of the SRD "Hounds" but was a bit lacking in ditinctiveness. Plus I liked how 2d4 has the dice sides match that of the AD&D version.

Incidentally, the 2E AD&D versions of the aforementioned Hound have different dice ranges from each other and the 3E version - 1d10 for the Hell Hound and 2d4 for the Yeth Hound. Not that it means much in the grand scheme of things.
 

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