5E Undead Templates: Unless I missed them, we really need these.

Corpsetaker

Visitor
I've looked through the DMG and MM with the hopes of finding something around templates and I couldn't find anything, unless I am blind.

I really would like to see undead templates because there are other creatures I would like to see become undead. In my current game there is a lich who was taken up residence in a swamp, it is currently gathering an army of undead and wants to create a bunch of ghouls using trolls and lizardmen. The lich has also set loose a hill giant ghoul upon the nearest city to the swamp and I'm not sure really how to stat the creature. A template would be most helpful in these situations. It's not just ghouls but other forms of undead and various other creatures.
 
In the Dungeon Master's Guide, there's a table of NPC races. Zombies get a +1 to Strength, +2 to Constitution, -6 to Intelligence, -4 to Wisdom, and -4 to Charisma. They have speed 20, a natural slam attack that deals 1d6 + Strength, Darkvision 60, Undead Fortitude, and they understand all languages that they knew in life, but cannot speak.
 

Corpsetaker

Visitor
In the Dungeon Master's Guide, there's a table of NPC races. Zombies get a +1 to Strength, +2 to Constitution, -6 to Intelligence, -4 to Wisdom, and -4 to Charisma. They have speed 20, a natural slam attack that deals 1d6 + Strength, Darkvision 60, Undead Fortitude, and they understand all languages that they knew in life, but cannot speak.
Cheers! I had forgotten those two where in there. We still need more though.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I have noticed at least for me and my game that I want more choice than the MM can provide. I think the early days of 5e was trying to get back to 2e days when a goblin was just one set of stats and if you wanted a leader goblin, you would give him max HP and move on. Now I see more people looking for a 4e type of system where there are goblin casters and goblin brutes and such. I still like the basic 'commoner' goblin, but like to have the option of more.

I have not seen a template for ghouls or other undead, but have made tougher undead. I made a hook horror ghoul by laying basic ghoul abilities on the hook horror. It worked, but could have been better if I made some specific abilities for the base hook horror.
 
Seems almost trivially easy to make your own?

Ghoul. +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Immunity to poison damage. Immunity to charmed, exhaustion, and poisoned. Darkvision 60 ft. Gains a bite attack (1d6 Small, 2d6 Medium, 3d6 Large). Gains a ghoul's claw attack (1d4 Small, 2d4 Medium, 3d4 Large) that paralyzes for 1 minute on a failed DC 10 Constitution save DC. Speaks the languages it knew in life.
 

Corpsetaker

Visitor
Seems almost trivially easy to make your own? Ghoul. +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Immunity to poison damage. Immunity to charmed, exhaustion, and poisoned. Darkvision 60 ft. Gains a bite attack (1d6 Small, 2d6 Medium, 3d6 Large). Gains a ghoul's claw attack (1d4 Small, 2d4 Medium, 3d4 Large) that paralyzes for 1 minute on a failed DC 10 Constitution save DC. Speaks the languages it knew in life.
Shadow, Wraith, Ghost, etc??
 
Shadow, Wraith, Ghost, etc??
Be my guest ;)

Mummy. +4 Strength, -2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence. +1 AC (natural armor). Gain Wisdom saving throw proficiency. Damage vulnerability fire. Damage resistances to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons. Damage immunities to necrotic and poison. Condition immunities to charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, and poisoned. Darkvision 60 ft. Gain mummy's Multiattack. Gain mummy's Rotting Fist attack (bludgeoning damage is 1d6 Small, 2d6 Medium, 3d6 Large; rotting damage is 3d6, save DC 12). Gain mummy's Dreadful Glare attack (Wis save DC CR appropriate* - 2). Speaks the languages it knew in life.

*Determine the CR appropriate saving throw using DMG p. 274 (e.g. CR 0-3 = save DC 13, CR 4 = save DC 14, CR 5-7 = save DC 15, and so on acc. to that table).


EDIT: How do I do this?

The ability score mods. are deduced by feel. For the purposes of doing "monster template forensics", I generally assume that the baseline monster ability score profile for lower CR monsters is roughly something like... 15 12 10 10 9 8. That's my starting point, but I don't adhere to it strictly. You've got to use your felt sense as DM for figuring out what the ability score mods. (and frankly it's not important to be 100% accurate).

When it comes to saving throws, anything that would inflict a debilitating condition (e.g. Rotting Touch) I generally leave that save DC alone, since the threat level of the debilitating condition is often closely tied with the monster's CR and general tier-of-play assumptions. With other things, I find the corresponding suggested save DC appropriate to the monster's CR and then figure out how much the monster deviates from that (+/-), and then preserve that ratio when scaling.
 
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pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

Hmmm....how to put this. Ok. Try this. Step out of your DM shoes, walk around the DM Screen and sit down at the table. Now, from the perspective of a PLAYER, think of how "the DM" would describe a Hill Giant Ghoul. Got it in your mind? Ok, great. Now still from the perspective of a PLAYER, what would hammer home the "ghoulishness" of the giant? When fighting it, what attacks would scream out 'ghoul' to you? What would you expect in terms of defenses? Etc, etc.

With that in mind, step back into your DM shoes and get behind the screen. Now write down "Hill Giant Ghoul" as you envisioned it as a player. Lastly, think about something 'odd' or 'special' that would distinguish a Hill Giant Ghoul from, say, a regular old Human Ghoul. Add that in. Now sit back and admire your creative genius and smile at the thought of your players peeing themselves when they encounter it. :)

I personally couldn't be happier that there are no real 'templates', so to speak, for monsters. And I hope we never ever see them in 5e core rules. The feeling that comes from the MM and DMG is more "Here's a blank canvas and unlimited paint. Go!"...and a lot less like "Here's a paint-by-numbers and 8 colours. Fill it in".

To me, thinking of "templates" in 5e doesn't make much sense when looked at from a design goal standpoint that 5e embodies. Look at the actual Ghoul, for example. It's not "Heres a human set of stats, and we added Ghoul template stuff". It's "Here's a Ghoul". Look at the "Cultist" for an even better example. They didn't take "Base Human", and then add "a level of Cleric". They thought about what a cultist would look like and what would scream "Cultists!" to the players when they encounter them. Then they just stated it up as they envisioned it. No consulting templates, or class abilities, or adjustments for race, etc. Just a nice, happy "Here's your canvas. Paint".

IMHO, how Monsters and NPC's are created in 5e is something that the designers got spot on perfect.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Demetrios1453

Adventurer
Hiya!

Hmmm....how to put this. Ok. Try this. Step out of your DM shoes, walk around the DM Screen and sit down at the table. Now, from the perspective of a PLAYER, think of how "the DM" would describe a Hill Giant Ghoul. Got it in your mind? Ok, great. Now still from the perspective of a PLAYER, what would hammer home the "ghoulishness" of the giant? When fighting it, what attacks would scream out 'ghoul' to you? What would you expect in terms of defenses? Etc, etc.

With that in mind, step back into your DM shoes and get behind the screen. Now write down "Hill Giant Ghoul" as you envisioned it as a player. Lastly, think about something 'odd' or 'special' that would distinguish a Hill Giant Ghoul from, say, a regular old Human Ghoul. Add that in. Now sit back and admire your creative genius and smile at the thought of your players peeing themselves when they encounter it. :)

I personally couldn't be happier that there are no real 'templates', so to speak, for monsters. And I hope we never ever see them in 5e core rules. The feeling that comes from the MM and DMG is more "Here's a blank canvas and unlimited paint. Go!"...and a lot less like "Here's a paint-by-numbers and 8 colours. Fill it in".

To me, thinking of "templates" in 5e doesn't make much sense when looked at from a design goal standpoint that 5e embodies. Look at the actual Ghoul, for example. It's not "Heres a human set of stats, and we added Ghoul template stuff". It's "Here's a Ghoul". Look at the "Cultist" for an even better example. They didn't take "Base Human", and then add "a level of Cleric". They thought about what a cultist would look like and what would scream "Cultists!" to the players when they encounter them. Then they just stated it up as they envisioned it. No consulting templates, or class abilities, or adjustments for race, etc. Just a nice, happy "Here's your canvas. Paint".

IMHO, how Monsters and NPC's are created in 5e is something that the designers got spot on perfect.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
And if a DM doesn't have time or energy to create that entire canvas and would much rather have the paint-by-numbers so they can save what little free time is available?

I created giant zombies and skeletons in my "Homebrew Giant Elites" thread - and heartily disliked the fact I had to do so. I believe it would be much more beneficial for DMs to simply have skeleton and zombie templates (at the least) to have to apply to appropriate creatures so they can get on to more important things - like, you know, actually building the adventure. You and I may have the time and will to create new creatures whole-cloth, but there are a lot of DMs out there who don't, and would much rather have something to plug-and-play...

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Demetrios1453

Adventurer
In the Dungeon Master's Guide, there's a table of NPC races. Zombies get a +1 to Strength, +2 to Constitution, -6 to Intelligence, -4 to Wisdom, and -4 to Charisma. They have speed 20, a natural slam attack that deals 1d6 + Strength, Darkvision 60, Undead Fortitude, and they understand all languages that they knew in life, but cannot speak.
The problem with that is those adjustments may work well with the (living) creatures elsewhere on that chart, but don't do well for other creatures. And if you attempt to use them to recreate the skeleton and zombie examples from the MM, you'll get different results than what is in that book.

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Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Considering you have to manually recalculate CR anyways, are templates really a time-saver in 5e over simply throwing new stats together?
 
Considering you have to manually recalculate CR anyways, are templates really a time-saver in 5e over simply throwing new stats together?
Not in my experience.

But then, I think the time-save approach is there if a DM knows where to look; pick a row on the Monster Statistics by Challenge Rating chart in the DMG, and fine-tune with flavor and quickly pilfered traits from other monsters, trending toward the lower end of the hp range if there are resistances or you wanted a higher AC, and trending toward the lower end of the damage range if you want a higher attack bonus/save DC or consequences of attacks other than damage.

Of course, that's coming from me, and I'm a guy that has spent years practicing the art of zero-prep DMing, so for me a "zombie template" is arrived at by opening the Monster Manual to zombie and going "Well, they are all immune to poison, dumb, slow, and have the Undead Fortitude trait - I'll just apply that to any other monster I want to seem zombie-like and assume no change in CR unless it's below CR 2 since Ogre and Ogre Zombie are both CR 2."
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Considering you have to manually recalculate CR anyways, are templates really a time-saver in 5e over simply throwing new stats together?
Templates (whether official or ad-hoc as [MENTION=6701872]AaronOfBarbaria[/MENTION] described above) certainly *can* be a time saver, but it depends on your DMing style. Lots of DMs outright ignore CR all together, preferring to just eyeball encounter difficulty or even not care about level-appropriate encounters in the first place. For these DMs, templates (of both varieties) can be a fantastic time saver.

Another style of DMing where templates are useful is the type that prioritizes verisimilitude extremely highly. To these DMs, templates help make sure that the in-game outcome of (e.g.) zombification is predictable and consistent, which is valuable to them because such consistency makes the world feel more "real".
 

seebs

Explorer
I thought the templates were awesome when I first encountered them, but... Actually I don't miss them at all. The answer now is much simpler: The stats for mummy and mummy lord are the stats for mummy and mummy lord. That's it. It's not a "template". It doesn't need to reflect the stats of the body's previous owner. It's just what a mummy is like.

It makes some sense to have things for zombie/skeleton, since you are likely to want to animate various bodies, but... Who needs templates? If I want to make a ghast from a giant, I'll just look at the stat blocks and wing it. This will be at least as reliable as the template system ever was, with fewer utterly broken applications.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

And if a DM doesn't have time or energy to create that entire canvas and would much rather have the paint-by-numbers so they can save what little free time is available?
...er...I'm trying to be gentle here...ahem... "They he's playing the wrong game/version".

I'm honestly not trying to sound flippant or mean or anything. I honestly believe that if you (generic "you") are finding it difficult to DM a RPG because that RPG requires more time to do so, then you are simply playing a game that just demands more time than you have and you should move on to another game system.

I'm DM'ing a campaign right now that is simple, yet needs me to do a lot of monster, spell, magic item, etc., creation. The game is free (it's the Dominion Rules RPG; http://www.dominionrules.org ),but the number of NPC's and monsters in the book are quite limited. In fact, there are all of 17 "beasts". As for Magic Items...there are zero. Yes, 0. If I didn't have time to devote to creating my own stuff, then I simply wouldn't have chosen it. I would have went with something more 'complete'; like Hackmaster 4e, or Rolemaster, HARP, etc.


Demetrios1453 said:
I created giant zombies and skeletons in my "Homebrew Giant Elites" thread - and heartily disliked the fact I had to do so. I believe it would be much more beneficial for DMs to simply have skeleton and zombie templates (at the least) to have to apply to appropriate creatures so they can get on to more important things - like, you know, actually building the adventure. You and I may have the time and will to create new creatures whole-cloth, but there are a lot of DMs out there who don't, and would much rather have something to plug-and-play...
I can totally understand where you are coming from, if I get your gist....which is to say that I think "you" (again, a generic 'you') want "stuff" so that you can play this game. This game, being 5e, however, isn't geared towards that type of consumer. It is geared towards the type of consumer who isn't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work mastering their own campaign world. Tinkering with rules, creating monsters, adding new arch-types, magic items, etc. As for the Player-consumer...5e is geared towards the same sort of "roll your own". Players are sort of expected/encouraged/forced to actually collaborate with their DM if something doesn't exist or doesn't quite fit their PC concept. No matter how you slice it...5e simply requires more DM and Player 'work' than 2e and 3.x through 4e (including PF) did. Those other editions have a multitude of additional books and whatnot available to buy. You could still create your own stuff, but you could just throw money at it to save time and settle for someone else's "close enough" idea.

BUT, as I said, 5e just isn't designed with the "We'll do it for you and you give us money", and I don't think anything's going to change that. So "your" options are "Give up other things in your life to make time to create your own, unique, stuff", or "Choose a different RPG system/edition". (Man does that sound harsh! Not indented, just a cold hard fact...imho)

On another note...converting/using another version or even game system is fairly trivial, imho. The 5e system is VERY forgiving in terms of numbers...even with (or because of?) it's BA. If a "+7" bonus in 3e is floating around at level 3, then just equate that with "decent" and then pick what would be a "decent" bonus for 5e; say, +3. Done. If you are off by a point in either direction, it's likely not going to derail a game. It's also trivial to just decide "I'll make this Hill Giant undead...a ghoul. So I'll just give it the ghoul paralysis and calling it done", is fine. It will work. It's not going to break the game. As there are no "templates" in the 5e system, the DM isn't going to feel like they are 'being lazy', and the players aren't going to get PO'ed by saying 'the Ghoul Template does X, Y and Z...nothing about Q! The DM is cheating!". IMHO the perceived 'lack' of such additions are a GOOD thing and actually make the game FASTER to run, change and create.

I'm starting to ramble, so I'll leave it at that. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Corpsetaker

Visitor
Anyone know of a Half-Fiend template for 5th edition?

I would use the Cambion but they are more tied to an Incubus,Succubus.
 

R P Davis

Explorer
I can totally understand where you are coming from, if I get your gist....which is to say that I think "you" (again, a generic 'you') want "stuff" so that you can play this game. This game, being 5e, however, isn't geared towards that type of consumer. It is geared towards the type of consumer who isn't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work mastering their own campaign world. Tinkering with rules, creating monsters, adding new arch-types, magic items, etc. As for the Player-consumer...5e is geared towards the same sort of "roll your own". Players are sort of expected/encouraged/forced to actually collaborate with their DM if something doesn't exist or doesn't quite fit their PC concept. No matter how you slice it...5e simply requires more DM and Player 'work' than 2e and 3.x through 4e (including PF) did. Those other editions have a multitude of additional books and whatnot available to buy. You could still create your own stuff, but you could just throw money at it to save time and settle for someone else's "close enough" idea.

BUT, as I said, 5e just isn't designed with the "We'll do it for you and you give us money", and I don't think anything's going to change that. So "your" options are "Give up other things in your life to make time to create your own, unique, stuff", or "Choose a different RPG system/edition". (Man does that sound harsh! Not indented, just a cold hard fact...imho)
Say it again for the people in the back. SAY IT AGAIN FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK.

:cool:

This needs to be posted in every single "I want XYZ splat/class/build/whatsit" thread. This needs to be a sticky which pops up every time someone types the word "Wizards needs to do..." in these forums.

THANK YOU.

Cheers,

Bob

www.r-p-davis.com
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Isn't the Dracolich a template? And half-dragon? They exist. They're just not numerous.

And it would be trivially easy to give ballpark guidelines for how a template would raise CR.


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