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Monstrous Arts question: monster advancement

Trailblazer fixed a whole array of issues people complained about in 3.x games. Will the Monster project have a similar list of "What Needs Changing"?

Or is this going at the monster list as just an attempt to polish up monsters, refine them a bit, redo the stat blocks with certain Trailblazer affects.

Because I just ran through as a player an old 3.5 adventure where the module author so thoroughly abused the monster advancement rules "by the letter" it was was like it was intended as an sledgehammer at the head of WotC's 3.x developers. Particularly the insanity of the concept of "non-associated levels". So, I'm really asking will this Trailblazer project tackle monster advancement with a patch?
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Or is this going at the monster list as just an attempt to polish up monsters, refine them a bit, redo the stat blocks with certain Trailblazer affects.
Well this is our certainly our primary goal for the monster book. It's also the part that has required the largest effort and most of my time. I'm glad to say that it's essentially done and we've started to work on layout.

It's definitely beyond a simple "refinement", however. You'll discover that nothing has gone untouched. Every rule has been rewritten for clarity and consistency.

So, I'm really asking will this Trailblazer project tackle monster advancement with a patch?
While the stat blocks have been our primary goal, Wulf and I have discussed monster advancement at length. While we are still working out the details, we are hoping to provide the following improvement:

Improve the Process: When we aren't reinventing the wheel, we will at the very least improve and simplify the existing process. This will probably include a step-by-step and more detailed advancement tables (instead of having to calculate values each time).

Class Levels: You will probably see the biggest changes to the process in which you add class levels to monsters. Our current plan is to expand the NPC classes (warrior, expert, and adept) so you can choose class abilities "a la carte" and create custom classes for your monsters on the fly.

For example, you could create an orc "warlord" with warrior levels that has the ability to smite good, immunity to fear, inspire courage, expert weapon proficiency, and perhaps some bonus feats.

Normally you would have to give your orc bard, paladin, and fighter levels to accomplish that archetype. But with the new system, you just need to use the Warrior "spine".

And yes, nonassociated class levels will go the way of the dodo.

Ur-Monster: The Ur-Monster is the working title of Wulf's "universal" monster. It's essentially a generic progression in which you can add special features. It can be used to design custom creature or to quickly advance a creature.

Shortcuts: And in addition to all of that, we'll give you some shortcuts if you really need to advance creatures quickly. These shortcuts will be modifiers only that you can add on the fly - you won't have to alter the creature's stat block or spine at all.

Hope that helps!
 
It's definitely beyond a simple "refinement", however. You'll discover that nothing has gone untouched. Every rule has been rewritten for clarity and consistency.
I like hearing that.

[Peeve time] Stuff like the gaseous form quality. Somehow air elementals and the bralani eladrin alternate form strangely weren't tagged as "gaseous" even though they are described as being air-like. Never figured out the rationale for why something was and what wasn't gaseous form. I could go for some clarity there. [/end peeve]
While the stat blocks have been our primary goal, Wulf and I have discussed monster advancement at length.
Good news. I was raising my hands to the sky in praise over the news non-associated levels are gone. All four points are fantastic news, I'm nodding my head as I read each one. Can't wait to have it in my hands, or see a preview. Bravo!
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
[Peeve time] Stuff like the gaseous form quality. Somehow air elementals and the bralani eladrin alternate form strangely weren't tagged as "gaseous" even though they are described as being air-like. Never figured out the rationale for why something was and what wasn't gaseous form. I could go for some clarity there. [/end peeve]
My basis of what should and shouldn't be considered "gaseous" (as the spell) is combat.

The gaseous form spell is defensive. A creature in gaseous form can't attack or cast spells. That quality wouldn't work very well for an air elemental or bralani, since they are meant to attack while in those forms.

Think of gaseous form as a cloud of light mist, whereas an air elemental is a violent swirling cyclone of wind, dust, and debris.
 

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