• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.

The Teratologue is here!

lichmaster

Villager
I bought a copy of Teratologue and found it an amazing source, both of insight and ispiration, as Trailblazer was! Terrific work guys! :D

I have an en-passant question for you, about monster customization/building from scratch: what about spell like abilities cost in CR points? I've been searching for that entry in table D-603 but to no use... Do I have to use gaze attack or breath weapon even if it's a totally different power (eg. mirror image, wind wall, ecc)? And what about their usage (3/rest, always on, at will etc)?

Thanks, and keep up this excellent work, I hope there will be some new releases soon!
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
I bought a copy of Teratologue and found it an amazing source, both of insight and ispiration, as Trailblazer was! Terrific work guys! :D

I have an en-passant question for you, about monster customization/building from scratch: what about spell like abilities cost in CR points? I've been searching for that entry in table D-603 but to no use... Do I have to use gaze attack or breath weapon even if it's a totally different power (eg. mirror image, wind wall, ecc)? And what about their usage (3/rest, always on, at will etc)?

Thanks, and keep up this excellent work, I hope there will be some new releases soon!
Short answer: If it's just one or two abilities, hand-wave it.

Long answer: I always make it a point to give a shout-out to UpperKrust (Craig Cochrane) when I get into the nuts and bolts of CR valuation-- his work was the foundation of everything I do. UK values spell-like abilities at caster level x spell level x .005. It can take a lot to move the needle (hence the short answer). With regards to uses per day, anything at 5/day or more is valued at 100% (because a monster's "day" typically ends at "one encounter vs. the heroes") and you deduct 20% per use less: 4/day = 80%, 3/day = 60%, etc.

A second reason for the hand-wave is that, in the context of a creature of an appropriate level/CR to use a spell-like ability, one ability here or there (just like one feat here or there) is not going to significantly increase CR. Stick within the framework of the Spine. A creature that is CR1 should be able to use 1st level spells; CR3 gets 2nd level spells; all the way up to CR17 for 9th level spells. Of course you can break out of that framework (you're the DM, you can do whatever you want) but it is the framework of the Spine that keeps the game relatable and predictable for the players.

I've always been amazed that the Cockatrice is CR3. The damn thing has a save-or-die ability-- a faster death even than a Shadow; a faster death than an Ogre's club. But even in the Cockatrice's case there's usually some player-knowledge working as the safety net. "That's a cockatrice! Run!"

If the players come across a custom monster who has dangerous spell-like abilities well outside the expected framework of the Spine... you might be a rat-bastard.

Back to my point: Adding +1 CR of spell-like abilities to a CR1 creature is doubling its CR (and dangerously bad design...). Adding +1 CR to a CR20 creature is a lot less to worry about. Of course if you do hand-wave it, and the ability proves troublesome for the players, do make sure you don't hand-wave the XP they would get from +1 CR.

One last point on this long-winded response: Remember that a creature only gets one action per turn, no matter how many abilities you give it. By the time you get to the 4th or 5th ability, you're not really getting full value on your money-- assuming your combats are fairly straightforward, you're pushing the limits of a typical monster's combat longevity.
 

lichmaster

Villager
Thanks for the reply!

I noticed a few other things:
- there's no cost for the "incorporeal" special quality, which I think can have rather deep effects on the overall CR of a creature. How do I value it, in your opinion?
- base damage of medium sized creatures is 1d6, a bit higher than the classic 1d3 for humanoids
- maybe I didn't do it right, but it seems that the cost of immunities is a bit too high for low CR undead creatures. I don't think there are enough points to build the classic CR 1 medium skeleton.

I read somewhere on this forum that there were plans for a Magic Compendium book for Trailblazer. That would be awesome! Could you give me any news? Thanks :D
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
Thanks for the reply!

I noticed a few other things:
- there's no cost for the "incorporeal" special quality, which I think can have rather deep effects on the overall CR of a creature. How do I value it, in your opinion?
- base damage of medium sized creatures is 1d6, a bit higher than the classic 1d3 for humanoids
- maybe I didn't do it right, but it seems that the cost of immunities is a bit too high for low CR undead creatures. I don't think there are enough points to build the classic CR 1 medium skeleton.
Incorporeal: I can't give you an answer as I'm at work-- I'm sure there's a value in Grim Tales. I would be surprised if it was not +1.0 CR.

Medium Damage: 1d6 is appropriate for a Medium sized creature-- assuming bite and/or claws. Creatures with no natural weapons (the 1d3 you refer to) are a special case. You can price them out with a discount if it matters to you (it shouldn't).

Undead CR: The Undead type assumes the cost (per HD) of most of the undead immunities (certainly all the ones that they have in common). You should always be starting with Type, to arrive at your cost per HD-- jot down what that "package" gets you at the outset, and don't pay for immunities twice.
 

Papercut

Villager
Is there a list of monsters? Is it pure SRD + expanded dragons + backer monsters? Or are does it include things like the 1e monster from Tome of Horrors and such? Cheers!
 

Papercut

Villager
I picked up (bought) the pdf due to that I love the art I have seen so far. Although I am firmly in the TSR/OSR camp, Scott's art is off the hook! Was the art pdf ever finished? Can I also dl it from rpgnow? Cheers!
 
Last edited:

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
Scott's art is off the hook!
He's an amazing artist-- although he started freelancing with Bad Axe Games (he has some great stuff in Grim Tales), he's gone on to bigger and better clients over the years. Nevertheless he still finds time to help out Bad Axe. Amazing talent and gracious, as well. It's a good mix.

Scott recently landed a permanent position at Cubicle 7, illustrating-- if you can believe it-- all sorts of Cthulhiana.

http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/about-us/scott-purdy/
 

Advertisement

Top