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 Post subject: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:20 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot
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I can't seem to find any guidelines for monster creation. Other than the traditional 1 hit die per level, what is the typical progression for saves, attack bonuses, and the like? It doesn't seem to follow the same power curve for old/basic/advanced d&d, so I have no idea how the creature I create will stand up to the PCs when they fight it.


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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:43 pm 
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When I create monsters I think about the level of a challenge I want to provide in the fight. A single creature with a lot of hp is more likely to stand up to an assault by a mob of PCs. However if these creatures are in a group then I want to spread out the hit points as they will be more of a challenges due to the economy of actions.

I design my adventures as a sandbox without thought to the player strengths and weaknesses, but give them opportunity to get clues about what they may be facing ahead.

A rule of thumb for me would be: Strong creatures have hit dice equal to 3/4 the number of characters in the party. If they hit often, give them +5 to +7 to hit and deal 1d8+5 damage. An ogre type creature, or a demon would fit. I would also give it whatever saves I thought it should have high equal to its hit dice, and the other saves at +1 or +2.

For a hoard of creatures about the same size of the party, I would give them 1-2 hit dice per level of the dungeon, with a +1-+3 to hit (less likely to hit armored characters but still a threat) and deal 1d6 or 1d8 damage. I would scale up the hit, saves, and damage by 1/+1d per level of the dungeon. I would use the same formula for saving throws.

Then if you want some truly scary monsters, use some of the random powers from undead/demon and esoteric creatures to create something with less hit dice, but a terrifying power (like paralysis, diseases, aging touch, etc).

It's all in the hands of the Judge.

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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:56 pm 
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You could base the values roughly upon those found in different classes... or you could simply make a few PCs of varying levels, build your monster, and see which ones seem to have about the right "feel" that you are looking for.

there is no "standard monster" there are no "standard encounters" and there is no expectation that every fight is one that the party can win - so there is no need to worry about how your monster will stand up to the PCs other than a few simple questions:

1) is it invulnerable to the party's attacks?
2) does it hit so hard that the party has no chance to escape?

If those questions are both answered with "no" then, in my opinion, your monster is just fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:38 am 
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Yeah, what TheNobleDrake said! There's just an assumption of uniqueness, flexibility and glorious unpredictability in DCC RPG monsters. Which is cool!

That being said, some general guidelines would be helpful to create. We can extract a lot from the sample monsters and the character charts, so some of us should take the time to do a little parsing. ;)

Eventually, I'll be adding a monster generator to the tools section of my site for building cool franken-monsters. That just sounds like a fun project. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:24 am 
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Well, I think the time has come to reverse engineer the monster stats. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:20 am 
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I spent a bit of time going through the sample monsters in the book. I couldn't find much of a pattern other than a stronger monster has more HD, higher AB, higher saves, and more powers. That much is pretty obvious. I also understand that's its the case that terms such challenge rating and encounter level don't apply here since the spirit of the game is not to make things always fair. Still, there must be a reason that "An adventure for level X" is slapped on the module based on the strength of the encounters... I'm just curious how those numbers are crunched.


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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:48 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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I think those numbers are more felt then crunched.


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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:10 pm 
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QuelessQuest wrote:
I think those numbers are more felt then crunched.


Ditto. I'm not convinced there's a definite framework at use, and frankly, that's a relief. Frameworks and rigid rules produce artificial results and simply cannot match every concept either. You get much more natural, organic, and concept-matching results when you create a creature using existing entries as the basis for comparison, and build a creature that fits your vision more perfectly rather than ensuring it has +X Ref Save simply because it has Y HD and is a creature of type Z. Creature design should stay more of an art than a science, imo.

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:45 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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When it comes to monsters, DCC has a Savage World feel. In Savage Worlds the GM is encouraged to make the monster he feels like making by giving it whatever stats feel appropriate. The idea of "balance" shouldn't come between you and the horrible creation you envision.

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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:58 am 
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QuelessQuest wrote:
I think those numbers are more felt then crunched.
Agreed. DCC isn't about game "balance" the way some games are.

3E has challenge rating scores to help balance encounters so that players have a reasonable chance of winning if the encounter is properly balanced, but DCC is kind of like "Call of Cthulhu" where some encounters are stacked against you and you need to learn to recognize when to fight and when to run.

Just a different philosophy. Of course, as I noted in the "in the open dice rolls" thread, I occasionally tweak monsters during the encounter to keep the action close. (Don't tell my players that, though. :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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I agree I'd love some more guidelines for monster creation. Having not DMed in over ten years I'm really out of touch with old school gaming. Been a player in a Pathfinder game for the past two years.

For me just a general way to decide HD, initiative, AC, and attack bonuses are the big thing. Any feedback would be great.


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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:15 am 
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APlus put up some reasonable-looking Monster Conversion notes for download HERE. Should help folks not used to (or no longer used to) eyeballing things, though he notes it isn't playtested.

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Guidelines for monster creation
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:42 am 
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Now, as to how I approach things:

1) Come up with concept.
2a) Look at the stats of any critters of roughly the same size and power as my concept.
2b) Compare them, and use figures in the same ballpark.
3a) Look at critters with the same or similar special abilities/attacks.
3b) Use figures/rules in the same ballpark.
4) Profit!

Here, let me talk you through an example from a previous thread:

Someone asked how you'd stat up the massive giant on page 45. Here's what I did...

1) Looked at the pic, judged its size based on the humans standing nearby. I decided his head was roughly 5'-6' long, so that'd make him 40'-45' tall.
2) Looked at the giant entries in the DCC rulebook. Turns out, our pictured giant is twice as big as any giant listed there!
3) Looked at how the size of the giants increased from type-to-type and how that adjusted their HD, damage, and all other stats.
4) Looked at the stats for the other massive creature in the book, Dragons (had a handy chart there too!).
5) Created stats based on those comparisons and examples:

Giant, god-born (42’ tall, 50,000 lbs.): Init +3; Atk sword +32 melee (8d8+16); AC 23; HD 26d10; MV 70’; Act 6d24; SP single immunity and three powers based on divine ancestry (one usable 3/day, one usable 2/day, and one usable 1/day), crit on 20-24; SV Fort +20, Ref +8, Will +14; AL as per divine parent.

I can go into a more detailed, blow-by-blow account if folks want but really, it comes down to 1) conceptualize, 2) look at existing creatures in the same type/ballpark, 3) use those as guidelines and modify. I seriously recommend folks give it a shot. It can seem daunting at first, but it's a very organic process and gets easier and easier. Plus, remember, this is not a system where the monsters need to be strictly balanced (either against each other or the PCs), where monsters have to "follow the rules", or where the system needs to churn out XP values for the monsters or challenge ratings for them either. That gives you a lot of freedom and wiggle room when making monsters; get creative and enjoy it. :)

Colin


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