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Converting monsters from Dragon magazine

Cleon

Adventurer
Ok, now what do you think about my bite damage?
Well 2d3 is too low - even regular SRD Hounds have 1d8 and the Trollhound's AD&D stats did more damage than a Yeth Hound or Hell Hound.

I would be willing to entertain 1d12 if Freyar prefers that, but currently like my 2d4 better.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
2d4 seems pretty reasonable for the bite damage to me.

Regeneration 1 would match the original monster. That could be ok, but it's possibly a tad light compared to a 3.5e troll (or other critters). What about regeneration 2?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
2d4 seems pretty reasonable for the bite damage to me.
Well that's two out of three so let's stick to that.

Updating Trollhound Working Draft.

Regeneration 1 would match the original monster. That could be ok, but it's possibly a tad light compared to a 3.5e troll (or other critters). What about regeneration 2?
Regeneration 2 is fine by me. A standard 3E troll has roughly twice the regen speed of its AD&D version after all (5 vs 3) so doubling the Trollhound's 1/round rate feels right.

Updating Trollhound Working Draft.

Okay, I guess we ought to figure out the Lockbite and Disease special attacks next.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Okay, I guess we ought to figure out the Lockbite and Disease special attacks next.
The disease is the easiest of the two. The original text is "Ten percent of all trollhounds carry a nonmagical disease of the DM’s choice. When a trollhound bites a foe, there is a 1% chance per point of damage of infecting the victim. During a lockbite, this chance rises to 2% per point of damage. In both cases, the chance to be infected is non-cumulative."

That's way too fiddly, so shall we just give its bite filth fever like a Dire Rat?

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

Cleon

Adventurer
For the lockbite it's pretty much a limb-immobilizing form of Improved Grab combined with augmented critical.

For the effects of limb immobilization it seems simplest to base it on a temporary form of a sever limb attack like our Murdakus conversion:

Sever Limb (Ex): The tail blade of a murdakus is extremely sharp, capable of severing limbs or heads on a successful critical hit. The victim must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC equal to 10 + damage dealt) or lose an extremity. Randomly determine which extremity is severed based on the creature's number of limbs and heads (for example, a d6 for a typical humanoid, with a 1 and 2 severing an arm, a 3 and 4 severing a leg, a 5 beheading the opponent, and reroll a 6). A severed 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. A victim who loses all its legs falls prone and its land speed is reduced to 5 feet. A severed 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 severed head kills most creatures instantly. Some creatures, such as many aberrations and all oozes, have no heads. Others, such as golems and undead creatures other than vampires, are not affected by the loss of their heads.​

A 10 foot drop in land speed seems ridiculous for LOSING A LEG. I'd have used "Movement reduced by ½". However half movement is part of the standard being-in-a-grapple penalty so in this case I think I'll keep the 10 ft. reduction for this special attack.

Let's see…

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 [circumstance/racial?] bonus on grapple checks against an opponent in its lockbite.​

The above looks OK to me. Do you prefer circumstance or racial for the grapple bonus? I guess precedent (i.e. the SRD Stirge) favours using a racial bonus.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Oh I guess filth fever is alright, just so commonplace. Still, I think the DC on red ache is too high, and the infection method for other diseases like mindfire is wrong.

Lockbite looks pretty good. I'd go with the racial bonus for the grapple.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Oh I guess filth fever is alright, just so commonplace. Still, I think the DC on red ache is too high, and the infection method for other diseases like mindfire is wrong.
Actually, disease special attacks tend to use the 1/2 HD + Con modifier formula for the Fort DC rather than the saving throw DCs in the DMG so if you wanted to give them Red Ache with the same DC we could.

That said, I prefer Filth Fever since it includes Constitution damage in its effects.

Lockbite looks pretty good. I'd go with the racial bonus for the grapple.
Updating Trollhound Working Draft.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Okay, Skills and Feats next I guess.

Let's see, some appropriate creatures from the SRD are:

Troll: Listen 4 SPs, Spot 5 SPs
Wolf: Hide 0 SPs, Listen 2 SPs, Move Silently 1 SP, Spot 2 SPs, Survival 0 SPs
Dire Wolf: Hide 0 SPs, Listen 2 SPs, Move Silently 0 SP, Spot 2 SPs, Survival 1 SPs (short by 4 SPs)
Worg: Hide 0 SPs, Listen 1 SPs, Move Silently 3 SP, Spot 1 SPs, Survival 0 SPs (short by 1 SP)
Winter Wolf: Hide 0 SPs, Listen 2 SPs, Move Silently 5 SP, Spot 2 SPs, Survival 0 SPs
Shadow Mastiff: Hide 7 SPs, Listen 7 SPs, Move Silently 7 SP, Spot 7 SPs, Survival 7 SPs (28 SPs too many)
Yeth Hound: Listen 9 SPs, Spot 9 SPs, Search 9 SPs, Survival 9 SPs (30 SPs too many)

Hmm… I'd forgotten the SRD Yeth Hound and Shadow Mastiffs had their skills points so out of wack.

Anyhow, I guess since the Trollhound has "very keen senses" and "can track its quarry as well as 3rd-level ranger" but there's nothing about them sneaking up to prey any better than a regular beast we could give them 2 ranks apiece in Listen, Spot and Survival.

For feats, I'm thinking Alertness and Weapon Focus (bite) plus Track as a bonus feat.

Not very original feats but they seem appropriate and have a decent overlap with the Dire Wolf and Worg's feats.

A lot of SRD canines have Run or Improved Initiative, but those don't seem as good matches for the Trollhound.
 

abe ray

Registered User
How about (as a compromise) jog as a feat which gives the user of said feat the ability to move only half again as fast as they normally can?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
How about (as a compromise) jog as a feat which gives the user of said feat the ability to move only half again as fast as they normally can?
In general we only use SRD feats for these conversions since we don't know what sourcebooks our readers have access to. Should a non-SRD feat be a particularly good match for a monster we sometimes convert it into a Special Quality power but I don't recall us ever doing a new feat. We've done new or 3E conversions of spells and magic items though.

More to the point, there are a few problems with the proposed "Jog".

Mechanically, a feat that does the same thing as an existing feat but only half as well seems a pretty poor use of a feat slot. Why not just Run? Unless this proposed feat gives a 50% land speed increase for all move actions, in which case it is arguably (a) too powerful and (b) is no different from giving the Trollhound a 50% higher land speed which would be a mechanically cleaner approach.

More thematically, Trollhounds is only a bit faster than a human (15) and there's no mention of them running or moving rapidly in their description, so why would we be adding this ability to them? It seems a bit superfluous.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I'll go for Listen 2, Spot 2, Survival 2 for the skill points, plus Alertness, Weapon Focus (bite), and Track (bonus) for feats.

Treasure looks ok, and so does advancement.

Are we done mechanically? Tactics look like standard pack attacks, not necessarily flanking or anything, just attacking as a group.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I'll go for Listen 2, Spot 2, Survival 2 for the skill points, plus Alertness, Weapon Focus (bite), and Track (bonus) for feats.

Treasure looks ok, and so does advancement.
Updating Trollhound Working Draft.

Are we done mechanically?
Assuming you're OK with the Challenge Rating of 2 we are.

Actually, I've just thought of a tweak. What if we added a "mixed pack" of trolls and trollhounds since the two monsters sometimes live together?

We could use the "troupe" organization employed by Lycanthropes:

Organization: Solitary, pair, gang (3–6), troupe (2–8 plus 1–4 trolls) or pack (7–24)

Tactics look like standard pack attacks, not necessarily flanking or anything, just attacking as a group.
They're capable of tactics, since having a pack leader "allows them to lead their packs with rudimentary tactics that often catch militiamen and adventurers off guard". I think it's more that they're too ferocious and chaotic to use them.

How about:

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.
 

abe ray

Registered User
Updating Trollhound Working Draft.



Assuming you're OK with the Challenge Rating of 2 we are.

Actually, I've just thought of a tweak. What if we added a "mixed pack" of trolls and trollhounds since the two monsters sometimes live together?

We could use the "troupe" organization employed by Lycanthropes:

Organization: Solitary, pair, gang (3–6), troupe (2–8 plus 1–4 trolls) or pack (7–24)



They're capable of tactics, since having a pack leader "allows them to lead their packs with rudimentary tactics that often catch militiamen and adventurers off guard". I think it's more that they're too ferocious and chaotic to use them.

How about:

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.
Unless they are fire troll hounds of course.(potentially a subtype Of trollhound?)
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Unless they are fire troll hounds of course.(potentially a subtype Of trollhound?)
It'd be easy enough to add fire resistance or immunity with the addition of a templates - the SRD alone has Half-Dragon (Red) and Fiendish Creature - but that seems oustide the scope of this conversion.

Just imagine how long monster entries would be if they had to consider what templates to add to the beastie.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I like adding the troupe and also support your tactics!

4 to 6 ft tall, and I'd put them at 400-600 lb following the worg and winter wolf, since I don't think I saw anything particular saying that they're skinny or whatever.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I like adding the troupe and also support your tactics!
Updating Trollhound Working Draft.

4 to 6 ft tall, and I'd put them at 400-600 lb following the worg and winter wolf, since I don't think I saw anything particular saying that they're skinny or whatever.
They're pretty muscular and hefty according to the original artwork by Mark A Nelson - which you can see in a gallery here.

That matches the description that they "bulge with thick muscles and tendons" and they certainly aren't as lean as an AD&D Troll is.

However a weight of 400-600 pounds doesn't match terrible well with their listed shoulder height if they're heavily built.

If we assume they have a build roughly similar to a Rottweiler. According to the FCI standard, a male Rottweiler should stand 61-69 cm at the "withers" (aka shoulder) and weigh 60-70 kg. Let's average that to 65 cm and 65 kg. Scaling that up to a 120-180 cm for a 4 to 6 foot "Rottweiler" gives us a weight range of 900 to 3000 pounds.

That seems too high.

Let's try a leaner dog breed - say an Irish Wolfhound. The American Kennel Club minimum for those is 30/32" and 105/120 pounds for male/female but they can get significantly bigger, with males averaging 34-35" and 140-180 pounds, so large wolfhounds 36" at the shoulder and 180 pounds are unheard of.

If we use 34" and 160 pounds as a base, that scales up to 450 pounds for a 48" dog. Trollhounds are bit heftier, so let's tweak that up to 500 pounds. It seems reasonable to have them on the cusp of the Medium/Large weight division.

So how about:

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.
 

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