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Playing with U_K's CR system

seasong

First Post
The most valuable thing for me about Upper Krust's CR system (aside from the fact that it seems to work pretty well) is the ability to design a creature or race without doing a lot of comparison builds, and still coming up with a reasonable CR/ECL. So I'm posting this thread as a kind of sandbox to play with the system and build stuff and fine tune setting ideas.

Anyone who wants to is welcome to post their own creatures, races, etc., and hopefully we can give each other feedback. I'll start things off with a new template...

Note: I don't want to get into a spilled over discussion about the details of Upper Krust's CR system. There are currently two entire threads of that going on here and there. If you want to discuss whether ability scores should always be counted, or when WotC is going to release D&Dg, or whether or not a wraith fits the CR that Upper Krust has assigned it, please go to one of those threads.

Dark Contract

Note: demons, in this context, are not the demons in the Monster Manual; substitute whatever word you want for 'evil things from hellish planes'.

Demons can offer a lot in return for service to them. To seal such a bargain requires the mortal to scribe a dark contract with the demon (binding on both sides, for the mortals who survive this process). Scribing such a contract requires 25,000 gp in materials (ink made of virgin's blood and the eye fluids of a criminal's corpse, human skin parchment, and a quill made of gold) and 2,000 XP (the contractee must put some of himself into the contract).

When the contract is completed, a demon enters the contractee, bonding with his soul and lending him powers and silent advice in return for his continued service. The exact effects depend on the demon who enters the contractee.

Regardless of the type of demon, all mortals who make this contract gain the following ability:

Demonic Manifest (Su): Once per day, the mortal can split himself into his mortal self and the minor demon bonded to him. The demon will then act on the mortal's behalf away from his body, for up to 10 minutes per character level of the mortal. The mortal loses all other benefits of the contract until the demon returns, is killed, or the duration ends, at which point the demon rejoins the mortal and can not be sent out again until after the next midnight. If the demon is banished (or dismissed, or any similar effect), the character regains the benefits of the contract at the next midnight. Demonic Manifest is a full round action, and prompts an AoO.

Anissus

ECL: +4 (and must be 2nd level prior to the contract to qualify).

Anissus are fey creatures of vanity and mad lust. The mortal contractee's eyes become dark and deep, his body shifts to resemble his own perfect ideal, and he burns with animal magnetism. Even under contract, however, the anissus is never wholly constrained, and the contractee may find it difficult to resist the luring madness.

This template has the following effects:

  • DEX +4, CHA +8.
  • Skills: Mortal can use his own or the anissus' skills, whichever is better for a task.
  • DR 5/silver.
  • Low-light vision.
  • Darkvision.
  • Shadow Step (Su): An anissus can dimension door at will (as a standard action), so long as there are deep shadows to step into nearby and to step out of at the target location. The anissus is considered caster level 4 for this ability.
  • Spells: An anissus can cast spells as a 4th level sorcerer. This does not stack with any sorcerer levels the mortal has; rather the mortal gains access to the anissus' spells per day and spells known separately from his own.
  • Fire Immunity.
  • Demonic Manifest (Su).

In addition, the anissus constantly speaks to the mortal, using Bluff and Diplomacy vs the mortal's Sense Motive. Or, if you prefer, a CHA check to determine the DC of the mortal's Will save. On a success, the anissus will persuade the mortal to do something the GM feels is appropriate.

ECL +4 (+1.2 abilities, +0.32 skills, +0.005 skill list, +0.166 DR, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +0.08 shadow step, +1.76 sorcerer levels, +1.0 fire immunity, +0.0 demonic manifest; silver rule 4.10635)

Anissus as a separate creature

ECL: +6.

Anissus look like beautiful men and women with black wells for eyes, lustrous hair that shifts to accommodate local styles, and perfect bodies. Their blood is black, however, and their beauty conceals a sadistic spirit. They are often used as concubines and contacts to the mortal world by more powerful demons.

Medium Outsider (Extraplanar, Evil)
HD: 5d8 (22 hp)
Init: +2 (dex +2)
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 17 (+2 dex, +5 chain shirt +1) touch 12, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+3
Attack: +4 with flail +1
Full Attack: +4 with flail +1
Space/Reach: 5 ft/5 ft
Special Attacks: Spells.
Special Qualities: low-light vision, darkvision, shadow step (see below), immune to fire, DR 5/silver.
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4
Abilities: STR 10, DEX 15, CON 10, INT 13, WIS 13, CHA 19.
Skills: varies by individual, but base 4 points, and class skills are Bluff (CHA), Concentration (CON), Diplomacy (CHA), Gather Information (CHA), Perform (CHA).
Feats: varies (2 by HD). Skill Focus (Diplomacy) and Spell Focus (Enchantment) is a fairly common grouping.
-
Environment: An evil-aligned plane.
Organization: Solitary.
CR: 6
Treasure: Standard (usually used to equip itself)
Alignment: Neutral evil.
Advancement: By class.
Level Adjustment: +1.

Shadow Step (Su): An anissus can dimension door at will (as a standard action), so long as there are deep shadows to step into nearby and to step out of at the target location. The anissus is considered caster level 4 for this ability.

Spells: An anissus can cast spells as a 4th level sorcerer. Anissus usually specialize in enchantment or illusion, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

Anissus eat, sleep and breathe.

ECL +6 (+1.2 abilities, +2.75 HD, +0.005 skill list, +0.166 DR, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +0.08 shadow step, +1.76 sorcerer levels, +1.0 fire immunity; silver rule 6.17185)

Black Imp

ECL: +3

Black imps are hideous, twisted little creatures. Among demons, they typically serve as scribes and scholars, and are sometimes tapped to become wizard familiars. They hate themselves, and they hate everyone who reminds them of what stunted, twisted little bastards they are. A mortal with a black imp dark contract grows vast, leathery bat wings.

This template has the following effects:

  • INT +8.
  • Skills: Mortal can use his own or the black imp's skills, whichever is better for a task.
  • Speed: fly equal to base land movement x2 (Good).
  • DR 5/silver.
  • Low-light vision.
  • Darkvision.
  • Spells: A black imp can cast spells as a 1st level wizard. This does not stack with any sorcerer levels the mortal has; rather the mortal gains access to the black imp's spells per day separately from his own; however, both can scribe spells from each other normally.
  • Fire Immunity.
  • Demonic Manifest (Su).

ECL +3 (+0.8 abilities, +0.16 skills, +0.007 skill list, +1.0 fly speed, +0.166 DR, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +.44 spells, +1.0 fire immunity, +0.0 demonic manifest; silver rule 3.29205)

Black imp as a separate creature

ECL: +2.

Black imps are stunted dwarves with scrawny limbs and fat torsos. Their comparatively massive bat wings somehow manage to keep them aloft (and indeed, allow them to keep up with larger creatures). Their faces are hideous caricatures of humanoids, and stubby horns grow semi-randomly about their bodies. They are typically less than 2 ft tall and weigh around 4 pounds.

As a wizard, a black imp starts with the same number of spells in his spell book as a typical 1st level wizard.

Tiny Outsider (Extraplanar, Evil)
HD: 1d8 (5 hp)
Init: +2 (dex +2)
Speed: 15 ft, fly 30 ft (perfect).
AC: 14 (+2 size, +2 dex) touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-12
Attack: bite +2 (1d6)
Full Attack: bite +2 (1d6)
Space/Reach: 2.5 ft/0 ft
Special Attacks: Spells.
Special Qualities: low-light vision, darkvision, immune to fire, DR 5/silver.
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +2
Abilities: STR 3, DEX 15, CON 8, INT 19, WIS 10, CHA 10.
Skills: varies by individual, but base 4 points, and class skills are Concentration (CON), Decipher Script (INT), Forgery (INT), Hide (DEX), Knowledge (INT), Speak Language (Spec), Spellcraft (INT).
Feats: Scribe Scroll.
-
Environment: An evil-aligned plane.
Organization: Solitary.
CR: 1
Treasure: Standard (usually used to equip itself)
Alignment: Neutral evil.
Advancement: By class.
Level Adjustment: +1.

Spells: A black imp can cast spells as a 1st level wizard.

ECL +2 (+0.0 abilities, -0.85 size, +0.55 HD, +0.007 skill list, +1.0 fly speed, +0.166 DR, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +0.44 spells, +1.0 fire immunity; silver rule 2.22105)

Burned Wolf

ECL: +4 (and must be 8th level prior to the contract to qualify).

Burned wolves are hateful, vicious creatures. Unlike normal wolves, they are antisocial and shun each other, instead finding solitary places to engage in their favorite sport, murder. A mortal contractee's eyes shift a bit to reddish, his canine teeth sharpen and lengthen, and his nails turn black and hard. The worst effect, however, is the burn scars that appear all over the mortal's body.

This template has the following effects:

  • STR +4, DEX +4, CON +2.
  • Skills: Mortal can use his own or the burned wolf's skills, whichever is better for a task.
  • Speed: +10 ft when running on all fours.
  • Natural AC +3.
  • DR 10/silver.
  • Breathe Fire (Su): once per 1d4 rounds (60 ft line, 4d6 fire damage, Ref save vs 10 + ½ HD + CON for half damage).
  • Frightful Presence (Ex) (Will save vs 10 + ½ HD + CHA). The burned wolf can howl as a standard action to activate this ability.
  • Low-light vision.
  • Darkvision.
  • Fire Immunity.
  • Demonic Manifest (Su).

ECL +4 (+1.0 abilities, +0.44 skills, +0.05 speed, +0.3 natural AC, +0.33 DR, +0.6 breath weapon, +0.5 frightful presence, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +1.0 fire immunity, +0.0 demonic manifest; silver rule 3.842)

Burned Wolf as a separate creature

ECL: +10.

Burned wolves are roughly 6 feet at the shoulder and over 1,000 pounds. They resemble oversized wolves, but with charred hair and hairless, fat burn scars criss-crossing their bodies.

Large Magical Beast (Extraplanar, Evil)
HD: 8d10 (68 hp).
Init: +2 (dex +2).
Speed: 50 ft.
AC: 16 (-1 size, +2 dex, +5 natural) touch 11, flat-footed 14.
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+18.
Attack: bite +14 (2d6+9).
Full Attack: bite +14 (2d6+9), 2 claws +9 (1d8+3).
Space/Reach: 10 ft/10 ft.
Special Attacks: Breathe Fire, Frightful Presence.
Special Qualities: low-light vision, darkvision, immune to fire, DR 10/silver.
Saves: Fort +9, Ref +8, Will +2
Abilities: STR 23, DEX 15, CON 17, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 10.
Skills: varies by individual, but base 2 points, and class skills are Hide (DEX), Intimidate (CHA), Jump (STR), Listen (WIS), Move Silently (DEX), Swim (STR).
Feats: Improved Grappling, Improved Trip, Power Attack.
-
Environment: An evil-aligned plane.
Organization: Solitary.
CR: 10
Treasure: 1/2 Standard.
Alignment: Neutral evil.
Advancement: By class.
Level Adjustment: +2.

Breathe Fire (Su): once per 1d4 rounds (80 ft line, 8d6 fire damage, Ref save vs 10 + ½ HD + CON for half damage).

Frightful Presence (Ex): (Will save vs 10 + ½ HD + CHA). The burned wolf can howl as a standard action to activate this ability.

ECL +10 (+2.2 abilities, +0.2 size, +5.2 HD, +0.007 skill list, +0.05 speed, +0.5 natural AC, +0.33 DR, +1.15 natural attacks, +0.8 breath weapon, +0.5 frightful presence, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +1.0 fire immunity; silver rule 10.40145)

Incoris

Special thanks to Takyris for the idea for this creature.

ECL: +2 (and must be 6th level prior to the contract to qualify).

Incoris are creatures of the hunt, and they hunger for the dissolved juices of mortal flesh. The mortal contractee's limbs contort somewhat, seeming broken and badly healed, and his eyes reflect lambent red in the dark.

This template has the following effects:

  • DEX +4, WIS +4, CHA -4.
  • Skills: Mortal can use his own or the incoris' skills, whichever is better for a task.
  • DR 10/silver.
  • Low-light vision.
  • Darkvision.
  • Poisonous Bite: 1d4 CON primary and secondary. DC is 12 + 1/2 level + CON bonus.
  • Fire Immunity.
  • Feats: The mortal can use the incoris' Track feat.
  • Demonic Manifest (Su).

In addition, the incoris constantly hungers. Any time the mortal consumes the body of a good, sentient mortal, he receives the FULL benefit of the incoris for one hour afterward (template ability scores change to STR +6, DEX +8, WIS +4, CHA -4).

ECL +2 (+0.4 abilities, +0.5 potential abilities, +0.33 DR, +0.225 poison, +0.1 racial poison bonus, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +1.0 fire immunity, +0.2 feat; silver rule 2.59675)

Incoris as a separate creature

ECL: +7.

Resembling a massive, black-furred spider with lambent red eyes, the incoris' eight, overly long legs seem broken in several places, and are webbed together by tattered-seeming connective tissue, like the sails of a ghost ship. The incoris' body also seems beaten and swollen, and the abdomen sags as if it was partially crushed. Nonetheless, while its movements may seem jerky, erratic and not-full-in-control, the incoris is quite adept at getting where its going.

Medium Magical Beast (Extraplanar, Evil)
HD: 6d10 (39 hp).
Init: +4 (dex +4).
Speed: 30 ft, climb 30 ft, fly 60 ft (poor).
AC: 17 (+4 dex, +3 natural) touch 14, flat-footed 13.
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+9.
Attack: bite +10 (1d8+3, poison).
Full Attack: bite +10/+5 (1d8+3, poison).
Space/Reach: 5 ft/5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison (1d4 CON/1d4 CON, DC 16).
Special Qualities: low-light vision, darkvision, immune to fire, DR 10/silver.
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +4.
Abilities: STR 16, DEX 19, CON 12, INT 6, WIS 14, CHA 6.
Skills: varies by individual, but base 2 points, and class skills are Balance (DEX), Climb (STR), Escape Artist (DEX), Hide (DEX), Jump (STR), Move Silently (DEX), Spot (WIS), Survival (WIS).
Feats: Improved Initiative, Track, Weapon Finesse (bite).
Environment: An evil-aligned plane.
Organization: Solitary.
CR: 7
Treasure: None.
Alignment: Neutral evil.
Advancement: By class.
Level Adjustment: +2.

Poison (Ex): Incoris' bite does 1d4 CON damage as its primary and secondary effect. The DC is CON based and includes a +2 racial bonus.

Skills: Incoris' get a +8 racial modifier on Balance, Climb and Jump checks; a +4 racial modifier on Escape Artist and Spot checks; and a +2 racial modifier on Hide, Move Silently, and Spot checks.

No Web? Although the incoris looks like it should have webbing attacks, it does not - its spinnerets are bloated and nonfunctional.

ECL +7 (+1.2 abilities, +3.9 HD, +0.2 climb, +0.4 fly, +0.3 natural AC, +0.33 DR, +0.675 natural attacks, +0.225 poison, +0.1 racial poison bonus, +0.1 low-light, +0.2 darkvision, +1.0 fire immunity; silver rule 7.3355)
 
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historian

First Post
This looks like it could be a pretty interesting thread Seasong, unfortunately, I don't have anything to immediately contribute.

I did see "American Werewolf in London" the other day, and came up w/an alternate werewolf template based on the werewolves in the film (ability score increases in excess of the 3.5 werewolf template, no hybrid form, humanoid moving from medium to large size in wolf form, no DR, etc.). I think I figured the template to be +5 CR/ECL under v4, but I'm going to double check before I post it.

I was also planning to try to come up w/something along the CR 250-350 range for the heck of it, but w/o access to Krusts' divine and other gifts :D , it might end up being just a brutish abomination (which might not be altogether bad).

BTW- your 'Dark Contract' is pretty cool.
 

seasong

First Post
Fixed the Incoris version of the dark contract (I forgot the feats :eek:).

historian: I'd like to see the AWinL template - I like including a wolf template of some sort in most campaigns (see the burned wolf above), and I could use a mean bastard from the film somewhere, I'm sure.
 

historian

First Post
seasong said:
Fixed the Incoris version of the dark contract (I forgot the feats :eek:).

historian: I'd like to see the AWinL template - I like including a wolf template of some sort in most campaigns (see the burned wolf above), and I could use a mean bastard from the film somewhere, I'm sure.


I've outlined (hopefully in a readable way), my AWinL template below. First, you should note that this template's ability score bonuses far outstrip the standard werewolf template in the MM (although they are consistent w/the MM bonuses of the werewolf lord). These bonuses (in addition to the size boost from medium to large and the additional natural armor) reflect what I think is the 'superhuman' character of the AWinL werewolves (size, strength, etc.). Wolf empathy is consistent with the film (as when David wakes in the wolf pen in the zoo in London), the boost in speed was awarded based on the werewolf's 'closing speed' in the first maulings. I also added a vulnerability to warding that was consistent w/the pentagram and candles that were in the Slaughtered Lamb pub.

But the biggest change from the standard template is the addition of the 'Trap the Soul' spell like ability. In the movie, if one is killed by a werewolf, that victim is condemned to walk the earth as an invisible (to all but the werewolves) quasi-incorporeal zombie. The zombie can never be freed until the werewolf, and all in his/her bloodline are killed. I thought that the spell 'Trap the Soul' most closely mirrored this ability, and added it as a spell like effect that is activated whenever one of these guys kills someone (it also adds some plot potential)

Here goes, this will probably need a little polish, but I hope it's a start:

AWinL Template = CR/ECL + 5:

Includes ability score bonuses (+14 Str., +2 Dex, + 8 Con.) and the following:

Alternate Form
Curse
Wolf Empathy
Bonus Feats: Ferocity and Toughness
Low-Light Vision
Natural Armor + 6
Scent
Speed, 80 ft.
Trap the Soul as a 10th level caster (always active)
Size, post-transformation = Large
Repelling/Warding Vulnerability


CR calculation (Ability Score Bonuses = + 2.4/Alternate Form = +.1 (no hybrid form)/Curse = +.2/Wolf Empathy = +.08/Bonus Feats +.4/Low-light vision = +.1/Natural Armor = +.6/Scent = +.2/Doubled Speed = +.2/Spell-like ability = +.04/Repelling/Warding vulnerability = -.5/Size = +1.2)

=

CR/ECL : + 5.38, After Silver Rule = 4.573 = CR/ECL + 5.

Two questions,

1) Should I have added the size bonus?
2) If I were to add, say 8 HD of dire wolf as part of the template, what would that do to CR/ECL?
 

Tywyll

First Post
I really like the idea. I would love to see more demon contracts as story ideas. This really rocks.

I do have a question: is the ECL modifier what a PC would pay for the demon once it was bound to them, or is part of the CR equation in UK's system? I know he uses slightly different termenology, so I was just curious.
 

seasong

First Post
In each of my listings, there is:

An ECL for a PC taking the contract. This is listed under the template version of the demon.

An ECL for a PC to be a demon. I'm probably not going to allow it, but another GM might, so I thought I'd include it for y'all.

A CR for the demon. Note that the demon's CR is equal to the 2nd ECL number - in Upper Krust's system, CR and ECL are essentially equal. I included it separately, because I wanted to present the monsters in a fashion that could be simply and easily inserted into the Monster Manual.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
seasong said:
In each of my listings, there is:

An ECL for a PC taking the contract. This is listed under the template version of the demon.

An ECL for a PC to be a demon. I'm probably not going to allow it, but another GM might, so I thought I'd include it for y'all.

A CR for the demon. Note that the demon's CR is equal to the 2nd ECL number - in Upper Krust's system, CR and ECL are essentially equal. I included it separately, because I wanted to present the monsters in a fashion that could be simply and easily inserted into the Monster Manual.

Don't forget that the 0.2/lvl of wealth will increase CR/ECL if it is to be a PC - unless it'll be a PC ewith no equipment.

Therefore, one should be a little careful in saying that CR = ECL, IMO.

Later,
 


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