log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Monster Creation rules: Anyone else not find them particularly helpful.

Corpsetaker

First Post
The title says it all.

I'm trying to create a unique Hill Giant Ghast and the monster creation rules in the DMG do not really help.

I'm trying to make the creature a challenge rating 16 and it's not going very well.

Anyone else share this opinion?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I love the monster creation guidelines.

You want it to be CR 16. Is it meant to be a solo fight or as part of a group? Is it more offensive or defensive?

Let's say you want it to be a solo. It's going to face a much lower party. You'll want to make its offensive power more spread out and possibly use legendary actions. I would tilt towards a defense focused monster, say CR 18 Defense but CR 14 offense. Subtract 2-4 AC and add 15-30 HP; you don't want it's AC to be too high to take hits.

I'm away from my books right now. I can come back later and show how to reverse build a monster.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 


dave2008

Legend
The title says it all.

I'm trying to create a unique Hill Giant Ghast and the monster creation rules in the DMG do not really help.

I'm trying to make the creature a challenge rating 16 and it's not going very well.

Anyone else share this opinion?

No, I find the guidelines work well in general. Don't forget to adjust for resistances / immunities & "features."

I've got a spread sheet that helps with calculating CR if your interested.
 



Corpsetaker

First Post
I love the monster creation guidelines. You want it to be CR 16. Is it meant to be a solo fight or as part of a group? Is it more offensive or defensive? Let's say you want it to be a solo. It's going to face a much lower party. You'll want to make its offensive power more spread out and possibly use legendary actions. I would tilt towards a defense focused monster, say CR 18 Defense but CR 14 offense. Subtract 2-4 AC and add 15-30 HP; you don't want it's AC to be too high to take hits. I'm away from my books right now. I can come back later and show how to reverse build a monster. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
My main concern is getting the right damage for claw and bite attacks without making him too easy and just a bag of HP. I don't like the DMG's approach of trial and error. I want more steamlined monster building rules instead of the "fly by the seat of your trousers" ones. I'm not looking for him to be a solo per se, he is always followed by a pack of orc ghouls.
 

They're better for making a monster and then finding the CR rather than aiming for a set CR and then making a monster.
I love them personally. I dig separating offensive from defensive CR.

Now, a hill giant is CR 5. So increasing them by 11 steps is a big jump. And, really, once you get above CR 13 or so things start to get fuzy. There's just so many more variables at that level that what can almost TPK one party is a cakewalk for others.

Going up to 30 Hit Dice would be about right. Or 20-25 and increase its Constitution.
It should be doing 5 greatclub attacks to hit the expected damage. But, it could instead make sweeping arcs that hit 2-3 creatures. An attack that launches a creature away would also be cool (dealing extra damage if the target hits a wall or another creature).

As a ghast, it could also grab people when it hits with a claw, gaining a bonus to hit with subsequent bites and dealing extra damage. That can give some high damage spikes that can really hurt, but are avoidable by smart players.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
My main concern is getting the right damage for claw and bite attacks without making him too easy and just a bag of HP. I don't like the DMG's approach of trial and error. I want more steamlined monster building rules instead of the "fly by the seat of your trousers" ones. I'm not looking for him to be a solo per se, he is always followed by a pack of orc ghouls.

Describe the player party to me? #s? Average level? How optimized? How skilled are the players? Do they have a cleric with Turn Undead?

Is the hill giant ghast to be encountered solo or with other monsters? Should it be legendary?

Off the top of my head: Combining a Hill Giant (CR 5) and a Ghast (CR 2) – applying a "ghast" template if you will – seems orders of magnitude weaker than a CR 16 creature. CR 16 would be a mummy lord, an adult blue dragon, an iron golem, or a marilith. Nothing wrong with changing the narrative, but if your PCs later fight an adult blue dragon and the players think "this was about as hard as fighting that ghast hill giant", then that says something about your world. So, there's a world-building element to this as well. For example, instead of describing it as a hill giant ghast, you might devise a world-specific undead giant (e.g. in Al-Qadim this would be "rom") which haunts very specific crypts in the desolate wilderness...they're believed to be myths by most living, except for a few elves who recall their forefathers fighting the giants and cursing them.

Specific example... you'll notice this is a mostly straight translation of the concept with greatly exaggerated HP, and even then attaining CR 14 is about the highest I could stretch the concept. To take it that next step to CR 16 you'll either need to inflate numbers, and/or start adding new abilities/traits/actions to the concept, and/or make it legendary.

Hill Giant Ghast
Huge undead giant, chaotic evil
AC 15 (natural armor)
HP 248 (24d12+92)
Speed 40 ft

STR 22 (+6) DEX 14 (+2) CON 19 (+4) INT 7 (-2) WIS 9 (-1) CHA 6 (-2)

Damage Resistances necrotic
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, poisoned

Skills Perception +4
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Language Giant
Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)

Horrific Stench. Any creature that starts its turn within 15 feet of the hill giant ghast must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until the start of its next turn. On a successful saving throw, the creature is immune to Horrific Stench for 24 hours. If a creature fails its saving throw by 5 or more, it falls prone and is incapacitated while it is poisoned in this way.

Turning Defiance. The hill giant ghast, and any ghouls or ghasts within 30 feet of it, have advantage on saving throws against effects that turn undead.

ACTIONS

Multiatttack. The hill giant ghast makes one bite attack and two claw attacks. It may replace any of its claw attacks with rock throws or grapple attempts.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 34 (6d8+6) piercing damage. Against an incapacitated target or a target grappled by the hill giant ghast, a bite attack is an automatic critical hit. If this bite reduces a creature to 0 hit points or less, the hill giant ghast tears off one of the creature's limbs and devours it.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 27 (6d6+6) slashing damage. If the target is a creature other than an undead, it must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d10+6) bludgeoning damage.

------

Quick monster maths...

Defensive CR = 13
248 hp >> CR 12 base
Effective AC 19 = AC 15 + 4 due to Horrifying Stench >> bump CR up 1

Offensive CR = 15
Damage-per-round 88 = 34 + 27 +27 >> CR 14
Effective attack +11 >> bump CR up 1

Total CR = 14 = (13 + 15) / 2
 
Last edited:

It could probably also have swallow whole. That could be fun.

And ghasts/ ghouls are always shown with those giant tongues. You can totally picture a giant sized ghast using that tongue to trapple a creature.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Totally [MENTION=37579]Jester David[/MENTION]! That's where I was heading, but I cut myself off because, well, I don't know [MENTION=6776548]Corpsetaker[/MENTION]'s mind. Some folks playing 5e have a very 3e mindset about "proper monster design being paint-by-numbers." And well, I'm more like you – paint the sky with diamonds. Horrific Lovecraftian diamonds.
 

Azzy

Newtype
Personally, I think the monster design rules are very useful (I've created a few critters with them). That said, they're a bit onerous, and could offer more advice.

There's an Excel file in the downloads section that helps automate some of the process. It's well worth it.
 

Totally @Jester David! That's where I was heading, but I cut myself off because, well, I don't know @Corpsetaker's mind. Some folks playing 5e have a very 3e mindset about "proper monster design being paint-by-numbers." And well, I'm more like you – paint the sky with diamonds. Horrific Lovecraftian diamonds.
It's hard to know how far to go with these types of post.
It's not titled "help me design a CR 15 monster". So I'm uncertain how much help the OP still needs.

But now I kinda want to design a "barrow giant. A combination of the death giant and a ghast/ wight.
 

mflayermonk

First Post
I like the monster design rules for this edition.

The only problems are some of the judgement calls: e.g. 20-foot-reach does not effect CR or a monster can have all skills, maxed out and it doesn't effect CR unless the DM decides to bump up the CR.
 

dave2008

Legend
My main concern is getting the right damage for claw and bite attacks without making him too easy and just a bag of HP. I don't like the DMG's approach of trial and error. I want more steamlined monster building rules instead of the "fly by the seat of your trousers" ones. I'm not looking for him to be a solo per se, he is always followed by a pack of orc ghouls.

First, you need to determine whether or not your group aligns with the standard MM monsters. By this I mean the MM seems to be geared for a group of 4 average players using the Basic rules. If you allow feats, multiclassing, magic weapons, your players are optimizers, good tacticians, or more than 5 players you will probably need to buff the monsters.

Assuming you fall into the first category, it is fairly simple as each CR is given a DPR range (99-104 for CR 16). The simplest to achieve this is (remember something about a Hill giant), give it a Huge weapon. Claws typically do about 1d6 damage, so Huge claws should do 3d6. Since Huge should have at lest a Str of 22 (+6), you are looking at 16 (3d6 + 6) at least per attack However, your looking at 6 attacks per round if you want to make that work. Personally that seems like to many to me. Thus, you need to make some adjustments. Here are some options:

1) Give it a feature like the Hobgoblin's "Brute"
2) Give the claw attack a theme rider damage, such as "plus 14 (4d6) necrotic damage."
3) Give it another attack, possibly a recharge power that does high damage, conceptually like a dragon's breath weapon.

With these I use #2 or #3 the most (#1 feels a bit like cheating to me - I'm weird that way)

So, maybe:
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d6 + 6) slashing damage plus 14 (4d6) necrotic damage.

That gets you a DPR of 90 with 3 attacks, so basically 90% of the way their.

To get that last little bit I would give it another attack option in the form of a bonus action, reaction, or legendary action. For Huge creatues (Hill Giants) I like to give them a bonus action / reaction for making a stomp attack against a prone target. Or possible a bonus action to make a bite attack against a grappled opponent (add a grappling rider to the claw attack). To keep it really simple:

Actions:

Multiattack. The giant ghoul makes three claw attacks

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d6 + 6) slashing damage plus 14 (4d6) necrotic damage and if the target is a Large or smaller creature it must make a DC 19 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Reactions:

Stomp. The giant ghoul makes the following attack when a creature starts it turn prone within the giant ghoul's reach. Melee Weapon Attack: n+11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

This gets you to 106 (technically 2 hp over CR 16, but close enough). However, since it is a reaction, I would not apply it to all 3 rounds and that will get you to 100 DPR - spot on!

Now to clarify, this is a simple monster with no means to counter ranged attacks or conditions. If you need those, then you have some more work to do! I hope that helped.
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
ACTIONS

Multiatttack. The hill giant ghast makes one bite attack and two claw attacks. It may replace any of its claw attacks with rock throws or grapple attempts.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 34 (6d8+6) piercing damage. Against an incapacitated target or a target grappled by the hill giant ghast, a bite attack is an automatic critical hit. If this bite reduces a creature to 0 hit points or less, the hill giant ghast tears off one of the creature's limbs and devours it.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 27 (6d6+6) slashing damage. If the target is a creature other than an undead, it must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d10+6) bludgeoning damage.

Quickleaf, I have a question for you. I often here you discussing the monster concept in such a way that I assume world building is very important to you and that monster's need to fit into that. I really respect this approach. However, I noticed you did one of the things that I hate about D&D monster design that totally smashes world building to me: the multiattack routine with bite attack (humanoid (or similar monster).

The idea of a humanoid (or similar short necked bipedal monster) using a bite attack as a standard attack is absolutely ridiculous to me - i can think of no animal that has better options (like claws or weapons) that would make a bite attack this way. It is a terribly unwieldy weapon and very high risk to put your head in harms way.

Personally, if I want a bite attack thematically (and I think this giant ghoul does) I would add it as bonus action triggered by the target being grappled by the monster. I realize this accomplishes essentially the same thing, but to me the grappled trigger is really important for world building.

Anyway, that was a long reply to ask: How do you visualize the bite attack as part of a multiattack action in terms of your world building.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
They're better for making a monster and then finding the CR rather than aiming for a set CR and then making a monster.
I love them personally. I dig separating offensive from defensive CR.

Now, a hill giant is CR 5. So increasing them by 11 steps is a big jump. And, really, once you get above CR 13 or so things start to get fuzy. There's just so many more variables at that level that what can almost TPK one party is a cakewalk for others.

Going up to 30 Hit Dice would be about right. Or 20-25 and increase its Constitution.
It should be doing 5 greatclub attacks to hit the expected damage. But, it could instead make sweeping arcs that hit 2-3 creatures. An attack that launches a creature away would also be cool (dealing extra damage if the target hits a wall or another creature).

As a ghast, it could also grab people when it hits with a claw, gaining a bonus to hit with subsequent bites and dealing extra damage. That can give some high damage spikes that can really hurt, but are avoidable by smart players.

What I am going for is a Hill Giant Ghast that is CR 16, has legendary actions, uses a bite plus two claws, has a very big pack of orc ghouls that follow him around everywhere he goes, but doesn't use any weapons, wear armour, or use magic items.

I'm afraid if I pile on too much unique abilities then he will be too hard a challenge. I may have to bump him up to CR 18.
 

dave2008

Legend
What I am going for is a Hill Giant Ghast that is CR 16, has legendary actions, uses a bite plus two claws, has a very big pack of orc ghouls that follow him around everywhere he goes, but doesn't use any weapons, wear armour, or use magic items.

I'm afraid if I pile on too much unique abilities then he will be too hard a challenge. I may have to bump him up to CR 18.

Specifically a Hill Giant Ghast or just a Huge Ghast?
 

What I am going for is a Hill Giant Ghast that is CR 16, has legendary actions, uses a bite plus two claws, has a very big pack of orc ghouls that follow him around everywhere he goes, but doesn't use any weapons, wear armour, or use magic items.

I'm afraid if I pile on too much unique abilities then he will be too hard a challenge. I may have to bump him up to CR 18.

Great, now we're onto something.

Okay, if this is XXX the Hill Giant Ghast (I still say "barrow giant" ;) ) with legendary powers, then it's easier to make CR 16. The individual attacks can be lower, and more in line with the base claw attacks of a creature that size, since it might be able to make three or 4 of them in a single round via legendary actions.

Piling on too many abilities is always a bad idea. Because even a legendary creature that is surrounded by mooks is only going to last 2-4 rounds. If you give him 3 abilities, even odds one will be wasted.
He needs the stench and paralysing claws. The former is action light, but the second requires him to make claw attacks. I still think Swallow Whole would be cool. And it fits easily into the action economy. So you can get away with one really different ability.
Having a few options in his legendary actions can make a difference. Commanding a couple ghouls could be one. Hurling a grabbed creature is another. Give him a few situational abilities there.

Lair Actions can also help.
Will he have a lair?
 

Redthistle

Explorer
Turning Defiance. The hill giant ghast, and any ghouls or ghasts within 30 feet of it, have advantage on saving throws against effects that turn undead.

This just gave me a flash-back from decades back while watching a televised film adaptation of Stephen King's Salem's Lot. I hadn't read the novel yet, so I had no idea what was going to happen in the kitchen scene where the nosferatu and the priest confronted each other.

All these years later this may be Spoiler Alert territory for younger readers of this thread who have neither read the book nor seen the movie.

Let's just say that a trope of the genre got a radical twist that I didn't see coming. It was almost a brown-pants moment for me and galvanized my attention for the rest of the tale because I was terrified of what surprises were coming next.

Turning Defiance: this is wonderful, and I would want to be a fly on the wall at any game session where the players came up against this feature for the first time.
 
Last edited:

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top