Converting Planescape monsters

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
[MENTION=18701]Oryan77[/MENTION], I would just like to say that you are more than welcome to help on any critters you'd like. It would definitely speed things up given my slow posting schedule, and I really knew next to nothing when I started helping with conversions. And I hope we're welcoming enough of suggestions; I like to think of the conversions as really being a consensus-building process with input from everyone.

Anyone have the original monster text somewhere for these? Then I might have an opinion on types and subtypes. :p
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Reave Original Stats

REAVE
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any
FREQUENCY: Uncommon
ORGANIZATION: Day
ACTIVITY CYCLE: Band
DIET: Carnivore
INTELLIGENCE: Average (8–10)
TREASURE: B, individuals J,K,M
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil
NO. APPEARING: 3–24
ARMOR CLASS: 3 (8)
MOVEMENT: 9
HIT DICE: 2+4
THAC0: 19
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: By weapon +2
SPECIAL ATTACKS: None
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Fading
MAGIC RESISTANCE: None
SIZE: M (6′-7′ tall)
MORALE: Steady (11–12)
XP VALUE: 175

The reaves are a race of violent marauders and plunderers who live for battle and pillage. They’ve been wandering the planes for centuries now, preying on the weak and defenseless wherever they find them. Bands of reaves like to hire on with any blood who has the jink for their services, as long as the job involves leg-breaking, arson, and general mayhem. When a reave can’t call himself a mercenary, he’ll “freelance” for a living until he finds “employment” again. Since there’s always a basher who needs some extra muscle, reaves’re fairly common anywhere there’s a need for enforcers or professional highwaymen and brigands.

Reaves’re true planewalkers, like fiends or devas. They can travel to the Astral by willing themselves there, and enter the top layer of any plane the Astral touches. This means that they’re capable of hit-and-run tactics that most of their enemies can’t respond to. Especially brazen reaves’ve even raided into Mount Celestia, Bytopia, and Arcadia, retreating to the Astral before the defenders of these planes muster their response. This natural ability makes reaves valuable to anyone who needs violence done in another plane.

The chant is the reaves’re natives of Acheron, but this isn’t strictly true. A thousand years ago or more, a great general brought 100,000 reave warriors to one of Acheron’s wars from some unknown prime-material world. The First-comers were largely exterminated in the genocidal war, but enough survived to prosper and continue their race. It didn’t take the reaves long to figure out that Acheron’s opportunities were limited, and bands of reaves’ve been setting out from there to find their fortune elsewhere ever since.

Reaves are large, powerful humanoids equal in size to a mighty human warrior. They’ve got four arms, but the secondary arms are behind the primary ones, not below them like an insect’s extra limbs. Reaves aren’t covered in skin, but instead have a leathery, pebbled hide that gives them a natural AC of 8. However, they favor suits of garishly-decorated plate mail with flaring shoulder-plates and long chain skirts.

Reaves normally conceal their features beneath their helms, but if they’re encountered without their armor they almost always wear great dark cloaks with heavy cowls over their faces. They have a powerful aversion to revealing their faces to any other creatures, including other reaves. Should a basher happen to see a reave’s face, the reave’ll make it a lifequest to find that basher and kill him. The reave’s face is generally humanoid in appearance, but with four eyes spaced evenly across the front of its head and a series of convoluted, bony ridges in place of hair.

COMBAT: Reaves can use all of their arms as well as a human’d use his or her primary arm. Typically, a reave wields two weapons. If the weapons require only one hand each to use, the reave carries a pair of shields in his off-hands, improving his Armor Class to 1. A reave’s arrangement of arms doesn’t accommodate archery, so most prefer melee weapons. A group of reaves is normally equipped as shown below:

30% Two polearms
25% Two broad swords and two shields
15% Two two-handed swords
20% Javelin, short sword, and two shields
10% Two morning stars, flails, or maces and two shields

A reave’s powerfully muscled, and receives a +2 damage bonus to his attacks with band-held weapons. His odd symmetry permits a reave to attack foes on his flank as easily as a human’d attack someone in front of him, and turns any rear attacks into flank attacks. He receives a +1 bonus to surprise checks due to his increased range of vision.

Reaves’ve developed an unusual ability called fading, which they use to stack the odds in their favor during a fight. Basically, the reave becomes astral in order to surprise or escape his enemies. This ability works only when the reave can reach the Astral Plane — in other words, in the topmost layer of any of the Outer Planes, but not in the deeper layers. By fading, the reave can leave his current plane and return 1 to 6 rounds later to any chosen point within 100 yards of the place he left. The reave remains aware of what’s happening on the plane he’s fading away from, and doesn’t have to come back if he doesn’t want to.

Fading takes two full rounds (besides the 1d6 rounds spent elsewhere): one to leave, and one to rematerialize. During this time, the reave can he damaged only by magic or enchanted weapons, since he’s partially astral.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: A band of reaves is organized along semi-military lines, with a clear chain of command and iron discipline within their own ranks. The most powerful male is the band’s war-leader; he’s the cutter responsible for commanding the reaves in battle and maintaining discipline. The most powerful female is the band’s guide. She decides who they’ll serve and under what kind of contract, and if they’ve got no employer, she decides where they’ll raid next and when they’ll move on.

Reaves can be extraordinarily violent bashers, but their violence is controlled by a strong commitment to their war-band and a sacred respect for their word. Once a reave’s sworn to something, he’ll never break his oath, no matter what the cost may be. ’Course, he’ll seek any loophole possible and turn stag given half a chance, but as long as his word’s bound him, he’ll stick to it.

Between their sense of duty and love of battle, the reaves’ve evolved a complicated system of ritual challenge and honor. They’re always on the lookout for possible insults, slights, or missteps on the part of any bashers around them, and they’re quick to answer any slight, real or imagined. This also means that a cutter who knows the dark of the reaves’ code can deal with an entire band of the creatures at once by challenging the band’s champion or war leader and fighting one battle instead of dozens. He’ll want to be real peery of how he words the challenge, though—wouldn’t want to invite more trouble than he’s already in for by giving them more fuel for their fire, imaginary or otherwise.

When a reave’s free-lancing or between jobs, he’s most dangerous, since he’ll start a war if he can’t find one that’s already going. When they’ve got an assignment, reaves can be touchy, but they keep a tighter handle on their natural bloodthirst. It’s not uncommon to find a handful of reave bodyguards having a drink in some Lower Ward alehouse, minding their own business and not trying to kill anyone. A cutter’d better be on his guard around those same reaves when he meets ’em in a lonely place on the Outlands, however.

ECOLOGY: Reaves like red meat and lots of it. They’re carnivores through and through, and sneer at anything that doesn’t care for a bloody hunk of fresh meat. Like some other predators, reaves follow a cycle of gorging themselves and then fasting for days or weeks. This makes it possible for a band of reaves to move quickly, carrying few supplies.

On Acheron, their “native” plane, reaves can be found serving in the warring armies as mercenary contingents. Life’s exciting but short there, so more and more reaves’re leaving to try their luck elsewhere on the Great Wheel.

Originally found in Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (1995).
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Reaves seem like monstrous humanoids (extraplanar in the stat block) to me. I don't think they're associated enough with alignment to get those subtypes.
I'm not sure if 2HD is going to be quite enough; that might make them glass canons. What do you think?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Reaves seem like monstrous humanoids (extraplanar in the stat block) to me. I don't think they're associated enough with alignment to get those subtypes.
Works for me!

I'm not sure if 2HD is going to be quite enough; that might make them glass canons. What do you think?
Glass priests? Reaves are Churchwardens not Canons. Hold on,no, those are Reeves. :p

More seriously I'm fine with giving the base Reave two Hit Dice.

Surely these fellow are going to advance by character class, so the tough ones are going to have levels in adventurer-grade classes.

Anyhow I might as well launch a blank Working Draft.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Reave Working Draft

Reave

Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Extraplanar)
Hit Dice: 2d8+8 (17 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares); base speed 30 ft.
Armor Class: 18 (+1 Dex, +2 natural, +5 breastplate), touch 11, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: Halberd +5 melee (1d10+3/×3); or heavy flail +5 melee (1d10+3/19-20); or javelin +3 ranged (1d6+2)
Full Attack: Halberd +5 melee (1d10+3/×3) and heavy flail +5 melee (1d10+3/19-20); or 2 javelins +3 ranged (1d6+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Superior multi-weapon fighting
Special Qualities: All around vision, archery disability, astral fading
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 13, Con 18, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Intimidate +4, Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +6
Feats: Multiweapon Fightingᴮ, Power Attack
Environment: Infernal Battlefield of Acheron
Organization: ?
Challenge Rating: ?
Treasure: Standard?
Alignment: Always/Usually/Often
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment:

Description

Crunch. Mention no darkvision.

A reave stands about X feet fall and weighs around Y pounds.

Combat
Tactics

All-Around Vision (Ex): Reaves are exceptionally alert. Their four eyes give them a +4 racial bonus to Spot and Search checks, and they can't be flanked.

Archery Disability (Ex): The peculiar arrangement and musculature of a reave's arms prevents them from using any kind of bow (long, short, composite etc.). They can use other types of missile weapons such as crossbows and slings but suffer a –4 penalty to ranged attack rolls with them. Reaves can use thrown weapons like javelins without penalty.

Astral Fading (Su): A reave can shift from its current plane to the Astral Plane as a full-round action, and shift back again with another full-round action. A fading reave can remain in the Astral Plane for 1d6 rounds (not including the 2 rounds it spends transitioning) after which it must shift back to the plane it faded from, returning to a position of their choosing within 300 feet of the position it faded from. The reave gains the incorporeality subtype for the entire round it performs astral fading. A reave carries its equipment along when it fades into the Astral Plane but is unable to transport other creatures. The ability is otherwise identical with plane shift (caster level 15th).

Superior Multi-Weapon Fighting (Ex): In combination with its natural abilities, a reave's Multiweapon Fighting feat allows it to make melee attacks with all its arms at no penalty. A reave can simultaneously wield two two-handed melee weapons, a single two-handed melee weapon and one or two one-handed melee weapons or up to four one-handed melee weapons. It can also use one or two shields instead of one-handed weapons, although it can't dual-wield shields with a two-handed weapon since the two shields must be in a left hand and right hand. If a reave wields two shields it uses the statistics of the heaviest shield adjusted by a +2 to shield bonus, –2 to armor check penalty and +10% to arcane spell failure chance.

A reave can use two ranged weapons at the same time, one with its left arms and one with its right arms.

Skills: ?.

Skill Note: skill ranks of Intimidate 4, Listen 4, Spot 2
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Well, I was just wondering if maybe they needed more HD to match what their offensive capabilities sound like, but maybe fading is enough of a defense.

Let's go ahead with abilities. Con would be 18 or 19 by the listed HD, and Str looks like 14-15 with the given damage. Dex is probably average. So something like Str 15, Con 18, Dex 11, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 10?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Well, I was just wondering if maybe they needed more HD to match what their offensive capabilities sound like, but maybe fading is enough of a defense.

Let's go ahead with abilities. Con would be 18 or 19 by the listed HD, and Str looks like 14-15 with the given damage. Dex is probably average. So something like Str 15, Con 18, Dex 11, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 10?
Well AD&D monsters didn't normally have Constitution scores, but if it were a regular PC having Hit Dice of 2d8+4 would require a +2 HP/die bonus - which is AD&D requires Con 16.

As for Strength, +2 damage matches to an AD&D Strength of 18 (non-percentile).

Maybe it'd help to compare them to a regular humanoid of similar size?

An AD&D Bugbear is slightly taller (7′ feet versus 6′-7′) has the same +2 to damage bonus and a lower bonus to its HD (3+1 versus 2+4).

Maybe give it the same Strength as a Bugbear but higher Constitution? A 3E Bugbear has Str 15, Con 13.

Hmm… let's stick to the Str 15, Con 18 you suggest.

Dex 11 seems a bit odd for a four-armed multiweapon fighter but if it was high one would expect the text to mention them having high agility of some kind. Maybe their many-weapon coordination is an extraordinary power like an Ettin, Marilith or Dolgrim? Ettins have Dex 8 in 3E but still fight without penalty.

However, even a Bugbear has Dex 12 in 3E so I'm sorely tempted to tweak it up to a +1 Dex bonus. Either to 12 like a Bugbear or 13 like a Hobgoblin. A 13 wins my favour since it opens up a few feat possibilities.

They're slightly smarter than a Bugbear (average vs. low-average) but not enough to make a mechanical difference, so how about giving them Intelligence 11 instead of 10? We could just swap the Int and Wisdom round.

That'd make them Str 15, Dex 13, Con 18, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 10.

Does that meet your approval?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Sounds good to me!
That's nice to hear.

Regarding your earlier "I was just wondering if maybe they needed more HD to match what their offensive capabilities sound like" question, I'd prefer these chaps to use character class advancement instead. Since they're mercenaries it seems reasonable to assume that quite a few of the Reaves PCs encounter will have a few levels in martial classes under their belt.

Standard Multiweapon Fighting as a bonus feat?
Great minds think alike. I was thinking of gracing them with that feat freebie too.

Updating Reave Working Draft.

Fading next?
Sure.

So shall we try repurposing the ethereal jaunt ability of the Phase Spider and Ethereal Filcher/Marauder or work something up from scratch?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
So shall we try repurposing the ethereal jaunt ability of the Phase Spider and Ethereal Filcher/Marauder or work something up from scratch?
How's this:

Fading (Su): A reave can shift from its current plane to the Astral Plane as a full-round action, and shift back again with another full-round action. A fading reave can remain in the Astral Plane for 1d6 rounds (not including the 2 rounds it spends transitioning) after which it must shift back to the plane it faded from, returning to a position of their choosing within 300 feet of the position it faded from. The reave gains the incorporeality subtype for the entire round it performs astral fading. A reave carries its equipment along when it fades into the Astral Plane but is unable to transport other creatures. The ability is otherwise identical with plane shift (caster level 15th).

While updating the Working Draft I thought of a couple of extra points.


  1. Shall we give them +2 natural armor since the original's leathery skin gives them base AC 8.
  2. I assume their MC speed of 9 is their armoured speed and their base speed is human standard (30 ft. in 3E terms), just like most AD&D humanoids with MV 9.
  3. I added Superior Multiweapon Fighting to the Special Attacks as a placeholder to mention their "wield two 2H weapons" ability.
  4. Do we give them the Monstrous Humanoid standard Darkvision 60 ft.? I'd prefer to not have them see in the dark, since the original lacked infravision.
  5. Reaves can fight opponents behind themselves and have "four eyes spaced evenly across the front of its head" which suggests they might have All-Around Vision.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
NA +2 sounds good.
Yes, let's go with standard 30 ft speed.
OK on the superior MWF.
Hmmmph. Sure, let's drop darkvision. I guess we should mention that in the flavor text somewhere.
All-Around Vision seems appropriate.

I like that draft for Fading! That works great!

Just spitballing: their arm arrangement "doesn't accommodate archery," so should we give them a racial penalty to attacks with bows?

Any other special abilities?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
NA +2 sounds good.
Yes, let's go with standard 30 ft speed.
OK on the superior MWF.
Hmmmph. Sure, let's drop darkvision. I guess we should mention that in the flavor text somewhere.
All-Around Vision seems appropriate.

I like that draft for Fading! That works great!
Updating Reave Working Draft.

So what are we doing for the SMWF ability?

I was thinking we'd just tweak the Marilith version with the weapon and shield possibilities listed:

Superior Multi-Weapon Fighting (Ex): In combination with its natural abilities, a reave's Multiweapon Fighting feat allows it to make melee attacks with all its arms at no penalty. A reave can simultaneously wield two two-handed melee weapons, a single two-handed melee weapon and one or two one-handed melee weapons or up to four one-handed melee weapons. It can also use one or two shields instead of one-handed weapons, although it can't wield dual-wield shields with a two-handed weapon since the two shields must be in a left hand and right hand. If a reave wields two shields it uses the statistics of the heaviest shield adjusted by a +2 to shield bonus, –2 to armor check penalty and +10% to arcane spell failure chance.

A reave can use two ranged weapons at the same time, one with its left arms and one with its right arms.

Just spitballing: their arm arrangement "doesn't accommodate archery," so should we give them a racial penalty to attacks with bows?
My preferred interpretation is that they literally cannot perform archery. Maybe their arms are unable to draw in a bow - maybe their arms block each other or their joints and muscles are unable to exert much force in the required direction (like a crocodile's jaw muscles are very weak in the "open" direction while very strong in the "close" direction", meaning you can easily hold their mouth closed).

i.e. something like:

Archery Disability (Ex): The peculiar arrangement and musculature of a reave's arms prevents them from using any kind of bow (long, short, composite etc.). They can use other types of missile weapons such as crossbows and slings but suffer a –4 penalty to ranged attack rolls with them. Reaves can use thrown weapons like javelins without penalty.

Any other special abilities?
Well there's their ability to gorge & fast I guess:

"Like some other predators, reaves follow a cycle of gorging themselves and then fasting for days or weeks. This makes it possible for a band of reaves to move quickly, carrying few supplies."
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Your proposed SMWF ability looks good, though I think "wield dual-wield shields" has an extra "wield" in it. :p

Archery Disability also works for me.

The gorging and fasting sounds like a lot of animals, honestly. I think I'd leave it as flavor.

If we're just going to max out 2 skills, I'd just go with Listen and Spot for warrior types like these. We could also peel off a few points for Climb and Jump, if you like. Something like Climb 2, Jump 2, Listen 3, Spot 3 in terms of ranks.

Power Attack is a bit boring but would probably make sense for the feat.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Your proposed SMWF ability looks good, though I think "wield dual-wield shields" has an extra "wield" in it. :p

Archery Disability also works for me.
Updating Reave Working Draft.

The gorging and fasting sounds like a lot of animals, honestly. I think I'd leave it as flavor.
Yes, since Lions don't have a "Gorge on Flesh" SQ there's not much reason to give Reaves one.

If we're just going to max out 2 skills, I'd just go with Listen and Spot for warrior types like these. We could also peel off a few points for Climb and Jump, if you like. Something like Climb 2, Jump 2, Listen 3, Spot 3 in terms of ranks.
I wouldn't bother about Climb or Jump. The can use fading instead of ascending or leaping across obstacles and their preference for plate armour would burden them with a hefty Armour Check Penalty.

Some ranks in Intimidate might be handy and seem thematically appropriate.

They get a +4 to Spot from All-Around Vision remember, so we could knock off a few more points from that and still end up with a higher skill than Listen.

How about skill ranks of Intimidate 4, Listen 4, Spot 2? That'd result in:

Skills: Intimidate +4, Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +6

Power Attack is a bit boring but would probably make sense for the feat.
I'm inclined to agree with you.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Let's go with your proposed skill distribution and Power Attack.

Let's see, these still need weapons and armor. The original text says "However, they favor suits of garishly-decorated plate mail with flaring shoulder-plates and long chain skirts." That text plus a direct translation of the AC bonus suggests maybe a breastplate, though I wouldn't mind full plate for them.

As for weapons, I think the ranged one should be a javelin. For the normal monster stat block, I'm thinking one two-handed and two one-handed weapons. Something like a greataxe and two longswords maybe. Any thoughts?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Let's go with your proposed skill distribution and Power Attack.
Updating Reave Working Draft.

Let's see, these still need weapons and armor. The original text says "However, they favor suits of garishly-decorated plate mail with flaring shoulder-plates and long chain skirts." That text plus a direct translation of the AC bonus suggests maybe a breastplate, though I wouldn't mind full plate for them.
A Breastplate is fine.

The flavour suggests they prefer heavier armour, while the movement of 9 suggests it's normally Medium armour since platemail in AD&D means Move 6 for a creature with base human speed.

Furthermore, a breastplate's +5 armour bonus matches the 5 points difference between their "base AC" of 8 and their "armoured AC" of 3, although that doesn't mean much in AD&D since armoured monsters have no firm AC rules.

As for weapons, I think the ranged one should be a javelin. For the normal monster stat block, I'm thinking one two-handed and two one-handed weapons. Something like a greataxe and two longswords maybe. Any thoughts?
Yup, I was thinking Javelins too.

As for the hand-to-hand option, the text says "typically, a reave wields two weapons" so I'd rather keep it that way rather than giving it three melee weapons.

So I'm thinking either two two-handed weapons or a two-handed weapon plus a one-handed weapon plus a shield?

Maybe a Halberd/Heavy Flair or a Flail/Longsword?

That'd be either:

Option #1*
Armor Class: 18 (+1 Dex, +2 natural, +5 breastplate), touch 11, flat-footed 17
Attack: Halberd +5 melee (1d10+3/×3); or heavy flail +5 melee (1d10+3/19-20); or javelin +3 ranged (1d6+2)
Full Attack: Halberd +5 melee (1d10+3/×3) and heavy flail +5 melee (1d10+3/19-20); or 2 javelins +3 ranged (1d6+2)

*We could use two of the same weapon, but I like the way this covers all three weapon damage types with a slashing/piercing halberd and a bludgeoning heavy flail. Since it doesn't have weapon feats there's no real benefit in pairing the same weapon.

Option #2A
Armor Class: 19 (+1 Dex, +2 natural, +5 breastplate, +1 small metal shield), touch 11, flat-footed 18
Attack: Halberd +5 melee (1d10+3/×3); or flail +5 melee (1d8+2); or javelin +3 ranged (1d6+2)
Full Attack: Halberd +5 melee (1d10+3/×3) and flail +5 melee (1d8+2); or 2 javelins +3 ranged (1d6+2)

Option #2B
Armor Class: 19 (+1 Dex, +2 natural, +5 breastplate, +1 small metal shield), touch 11, flat-footed 18
Attack: Heavy flail +5 melee (1d10+3/19-20); or longsword +5 melee (1d8+2/19-20); or javelin +3 ranged (1d6+2)
Full Attack: Heavy flail +5 melee (1d10+3/19-20) and longsword +5 melee (1d8+2/19-20; or 2 javelins +3 ranged (1d6+2)
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Glad we're settled on the armor.

I prefer option 1 for the melee weapons.

Character class advancement sounds right.

I think these are between CR 2 and 3. Their damage output plus special abilities makes them strictly better than bugbears, but I am not convinced they're quite as powerful as ogres. I guess I'd lean toward a weak CR 3, but what do you think?
 

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