• FINAL DAYS! -- The Awfully Cheerful Engine on Kickstarter! An action comedy RPG inspired by cheerful tabletop games of the 80s! With a foreword by Sandy 'Ghostbusters' Petersen, and VTT support!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

Blog (A5E) Level Up’s Monsters: Ecology

In another post, I talked about the updates we’re making to monster stat blocks in Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition. Today, I want to talk about the changes we’re making to the rest of the monster entry.

RPG bestiaries generally accompany a monster’s game statistics with an essay about the monster’s appearance, ecology, lore, and place in the world. We’re doing that too! I hope that most of our monster descriptions will include a twist, re-interpretation, or story seed that you haven’t seen before and that you’ll find useful. But our monster information isn’t limited to these (hopefully inspiring) essays.


To_Stake_a_Vampire_-_The_Chase_-_Alexandre_Xavier_page21 copy.jpg
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Paul Hughes

Paul Hughes

dave2008

Legend
Wow, that is really great stuff. Is the intent to include all of that with each monster entry?! If so, that is amazing, but even if not it is pretty damn wonderful those that get it.

I appreciate the return of Lore check DCs and the tactics section. However, the Behavior and Clues & Signs tables are great and really useful. I tend to customize my monsters and like doing it, but from the sounds of it this book will be useful to me just for the ecology section - can't wait!
 



Good stuff! Regarding this bit...

Once reduced to one-third hit points, the vampire tries to escape in bat or mist form through well-prepared escape routes, returning to take its revenge another day.

Is this percentage boilerplate, or does the flee instinct trigger at different percentages based on "morale category"? If the latter, that would be a good thing to include in the stat box. :)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter

Tell us what you need!​

Our goal is to make the most useful monster book ever, and for that we need your help.

Of the above monster-description and worldbuilding tools (behavior, clues, tactics, lore, and monster-specific charts) which would you find the most useful? Which would you not use at all? And finally, are there any other things you’d like in the monster description that we haven’t covered here?
I really like the presence of things like lore/ecology/etc making a comeback & getting pulled from other systems, but since we are talking about undead there is a niche I'd like to see mentioned here & there. That being the way Blood of Vol sees it in eberron. Eberron still has most of the usual undead tropes in one form or another & in some ways even leans harder into them by virtue of how they don't always get to enjoy the wishy washy not at all absolute morality because of their undead curse. Rising from the last warhas a great little
1610559687125.png
showing that it's not always easy & keith talks about how for many of that faith it's just a way of giving the finger to the gods who they believe stole something (technically their divine spark) from them by having their body stick around to help those left behind after they die through some form of undeadification (usually zombie or skeleton but sometimes more). It's been mentioned in more than one source that communities of these people are known to have everyone donate some blood to a chalice or something to keep a vampire aligned with their community (ie a priest, guardian, etc) well fed.
 

Kirsa

Explorer
As long as you are looking at the other bits of a stat block one thing that has happened over time is the loss of the actual sizes of things. In 5e both a Hill Giant and a Storm Giant are "Huge", which if one goes back a few editions is like calling both your jr high track star and Usain Bolt sprinters. Though both are true, a better metric exists for stating this. Sizes are based on a mannish scale of combat squares, and though I can partly see keeping part of that it isn't a great way to do things. In short, bring back actual dimentions. It is a subtle change, ignored by those that want to ignore it, but for others it gives scale and grandeur.
 

Sul Khatesh

The Keeper of Secrets
After reading it I really like what is being done with monsters, I was a little skeptical at first because of the mention of changing a bit of lore and adding twists because I like to play in the published setting of Eberron where the lore is Baked into the system. (pun intended) But what’s been done seems really cool. One thing I will definitely use is the clues table because it can bring suspense to a future encounter, however I won’t be using the random behaviors table for Vampires because in my mind, Vampires are villains, they aren’t random encounters or anything the party happens to stumble across. An encounter with a Vampire should be planned and the DM should know who the vampire is and what they are up to. I really like the quirks table although I personally won’t be using it for Vampires as I play in the Eberron setting and it just makes sense that undead beings who are directly powered by the plane of night should be hypersensitive to the Sun. I will however use the one about turning into other animals and being allergic to garlic. Overall all I love this article and I am looking forward to seeing the final product.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
After reading it I really like what is being done with monsters, I was a little skeptical at first because of the mention of changing a bit of lore and adding twists because I like to play in the published setting of Eberron where the lore is Baked into the system. (pun intended) But what’s been done seems really cool. One thing I will definitely use is the clues table because it can bring suspense to a future encounter, however I won’t be using the random behaviors table for Vampires because in my mind, Vampires are villains, they aren’t random encounters or anything the party happens to stumble across. An encounter with a Vampire should be planned and the DM should know who the vampire is and what they are up to. I really like the quirks table although I personally won’t be using it for Vampires as I play in the Eberron setting and it just makes sense that undead beings who are directly powered by the plane of night should be hypersensitive to the Sun. I will however use the one about turning into other animals and being allergic to garlic. Overall all I love this article and I am looking forward to seeing the final product.
You could have a vampire somehow bound to risia lamania or whatever if you wanted to spice things up. The quirks aren't unusable in eberron
 

Faolyn

Hero
Hells yeah! The behavior table is great whether you roll up random encounters or plan every creature in advance. I'm quite pleased that the vampire's Lair Behavior avoided the... gorier possibilities. There's plenty of room for that, for DMs who want that (since I run horror games, I don't mind it as much), but this also gives examples of vampires as people. Yes, people who are at best vicious predators who can and will eat you, but still more than just a cardboard monster.

Now all you need are to list the GP value of various monster body parts, like in earlier editions.
 








Could you include quirks from other cultures such as counting small objects (counting grains of rice, for instance)? Have you considered how they might work as PCs if someone wants? Are you considering talking animals? Have you ever heard of the Skin Deep comic? It has an interesting portrayal of liminal beings that might be worth considering.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Could you include quirks from other cultures such as counting small objects (counting grains of rice, for instance)? Have you considered how they might work as PCs if someone wants? Are you considering talking animals? Have you ever heard of the Skin Deep comic? It has an interesting portrayal of liminal beings that might be worth considering.
Why not have a Jiangshi (different link) directly? They weren't so much vampires as kinda sorta close enough to share a very small slice of overlap with an awful lot of differences
 


Awfully Cheerful Engine!

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top