D&D 5E Templates and 5th edition


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J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Thre are no actual rules for templates. I think most people just slap on some traits, offense, and defense, then recalculate the CR if needed. There was a thread a while back where a few people posted what were effectively little, quick-and-dirty monster templates:


Afaict, none of those really impacts CR a whole lot, except maybe at the lowest levels. For a quick CR check, a lot of people point to the reference card at Blog of Holding:


It's pretty straightforward to look at your own mods, then look at that card to eyeball the "new" CR.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
CR rules are easy enough to template, assuming you are willing to handle corner cases manually.

I mean:
Moon Touched
  • Incoporeal (resist everything except necrotic unless in sunlight)
  • Invisible except in sunlight
  • Creatures of its choice who start their turn within 10' take 10 radiant damage
  • Deals +1d12 radiant damage per attack (note: scale if needed)
  • Can teleport as a bonus action 60' (recharge 56)
  • Resistant to magic

We'll assume they don't fight in sunlight. Invisible is worth about 2 CR (attack and defence), MR 1 CR. AOE 10 damage auto hit is worth about 20 DPR. 1d12 is worth 6 DPR per attack. Resists is about 2x HP value.

CR value of template: Base HP/64 + #attacks/2 (multiply if you scale it) + 3.5 CR.

If CR is above 20, halve extra CR.

Adjust Proficiency to new CR.

So there can be a bit of math. But the point is how you give the critter abilities doesn't determine CR; CR is a measurement of the entire monster.

For a moon huge giant crab, I'd up radiant to 2d12 or 4d12 to make it CR 14 or 15 for example.
 

dave2008

Legend
Kind of a strange question, but how does 5th edition do monster templates?

Is there a preferred model?
Not much officially really (shadow dragons and dracolich of the top of my head), there have been some attempts on these boards though (even my own). I will try to find some links and most them if I get a chance - there were some good ideas.

I have a desire to go back to my attempt and did some brainstorming recently. The idea was to provide templates for 4e roles (brute, skirmisher, lurker, etc.) that would modify the stat block, but not change the CR. If I get back to it I will let you know.
 

dave2008

Legend
So when you add something new to an old monster, you rewrite the monster's stat block?
You can mostly just add something, no need to rewrite. If what you add changes the CR, then change the CR too, but that is it. If the change in CR affects the monster's prof. bonus you may want to update that information, but it is not required. If you've add what you want, adjust the CR, that is all you have to do.
 

dave2008

Legend
An example (I have not tested this yet - it is just a concept):

Monster Templates: Brute
A brute is a destructive tank. They typically wade into melee to do the most damage possible. It can take and inflict more damage than its typical kin, but it sacrifices its accuracy and ability to avoid damage. You can make the following adjustments to a monster to make it a brute without changing its CR:
  • add its prof. bonus to its weapon damage on a hit
  • subtract half its prof. bonus from its to hit bonus on a weapon attack
  • Increase its hit points by 5 for each point of its prof. bonus
  • subtract 1 from its AC for every 2 points of its prof. bonus
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
An example (I have not tested this yet - it is just a concept):

Monster Templates: Brute
A brute is a destructive tank. The typically wade into melee to do the most damage possible. It can take and inflict more damage than its typical kin, but it sacrifices its accuracy and ability to avoid damage. You can make the following adjustments to a monster to make it a bruiser without changing its CR:
  • add its prof. bonus to its weapon damage on a hit
  • subtract half its prof. bonus from its to hit bonus on a weapon attack
  • Increase its hit points by 5 for each point of its prof. bonus
  • subtract 1 from its AC for every 2 points of its prof. bonus
CR change:
+Prof/12*# attacks
-Prof/4 from accuracy
+Prof * 5/64 from HP
-Prof/8 from AC

Total:
(# attacks/12 - .3)*Prof
 

dave2008

Legend
CR change:
+Prof/12*# attacks
-Prof/4 from accuracy
+Prof * 5/64 from HP
-Prof/8 from AC

Total:
(# attacks/12 - .3)*Prof
yay - I'm never going to put that in a template ;)

Also, I am not interested in increasing the number of attacks, for a brute particularly
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
yay - I'm never going to put that in a template ;)

Also, I am not interested in increasing the number of attacks, for a brute particularly
Oh I am just modelling what it does to the CR of the monster.

When #attacks/12 is 0.3 it is neutral, or at 4 attacks.

Below 4 attacks your brute is marginally weaker by the DMG CR rules, above marginally stronger.

At 1 attack, at Prof 5, your brute is about a CR weaker? Which isn't a huge issue.

You can fix it by, hmm, giving it [prof]d8 bonus damage, spread out over attacks. Instead of adding prof to attack damage.

.. wait, I subtracted full prof from accuracy in my math.
1/4+5/64 = k/12 gives k of 2.5.
make that 1d4 per prof spread out over attacks.
 

dave2008

Legend
Oh I am just modelling what it does to the CR of the monster.

When #attacks/12 is 0.3 it is neutral, or at 4 attacks.

Below 4 attacks your brute is marginally weaker by the DMG CR rules, above marginally stronger.

At 1 attack, at Prof 5, your brute is about a CR weaker? Which isn't a huge issue.

You can fix it by, hmm, giving it [prof]d8 bonus damage, spread out over attacks. Instead of adding prof to attack damage.

.. wait, I subtracted full prof from accuracy in my math.
1/4+5/64 = k/12 gives k of 2.5.
make that 1d4 per prof spread out over attacks.
Like I said, I wasn't doing the math, just discussing the concept. Thank you for the analysis though, it gave me an idea of how to fix things
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Like I said, I wasn't doing the math, just discussing the concept. Thank you for the analysis though, it gave me an idea of how to fix things
So I'm stealing from the DMG monster CR rules.

64 HP, 12 damage per round at-will (before missing) (or +36 over at-will once per encounter), 4 ATK or AC-equivalent all map to about 1 CR change (in the range 1 to 20 CR) using the DMG CR rules.

(64 not 60, because increased HP also implies increased AC, so I put a small tax on it; for damage, the tax is too small to see).

So a "zero CR" brute change is:
+8 HP (0.25), +1d6 damage (per round) (0.25), -1 ATK (-0.25), -1 AC (-0.25).
scale as needed to make it brutey enough.

Another approach is to not have the penalties.

"Pump it UP":
+72 HP (1.12), +3d6 damage (0.88)
worth +2 CR
 
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Li Shenron

Legend
Is there a preferred model?
I loved creatures templates in 3ed!

Back to that edition, both monsters and templates were pretty complex, so it was often a pain to combine them, they were more suitable for use in a digital tool that would do all calculations automatically.

But 5ed is already much simpler with monsters stats, so it could also have equally simple templates. My preferred model would be, no number increases but only additional abilities, which can be anything (attacks, spells, resistances, proficiencies...) but don't have to be a lot of them in a template.
 

There are a few templates in 5E, such as the Shadow Dragon and the Dracolich, and those are pretty simple: it just tales ya what to changed, adjust, or damage type of an attack being swapped out for another damage type. Some other 3PP, like the Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide, also has their own templates to apply to monster stat blocks as well.

So 5E, as a whole, has done/experimented with Templates. Thankfully, unlike 3.0/3.5, none of them make your Blue Dragon more of a mutt than my Cocker Spaniel Labrador was. (god rest his little soul, haven't had a dog since he passed.)
 

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