Quick Tip in Designing Monsters

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Quick Tip in Designing Monsters

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:47 am

I've seen a lot of monster designs and critiques that seem to be trying to balance the monsters' abilities to the players' abilities. Well, you needn't necessarily worry about that - since monster stat-blocks are self-contained. A monster can have some overpowered abilities as well as underpowered ones, so long as the monster works as a whole.

For example... There is little functional difference (some, but not much) between this Monster...


Quick-Examplemon - 25 hp
[+2] Iron Shield
Examplemon's allies gain Resist 3 until the end of Examplemon's next turn.
[-3] Defensive Style
Target enemy suffers a -10 penalty to damage until the end of Examplemon's next turn.


And this...



Quick-Examplemon - 25 hp
[+6] Iron Shield
Examplemon's allies gain Resist 3 until the end of Examplemon's next turn.
[-9] Defensive Style
Target enemy suffers a -10 penalty to damage until the end of Examplemon's next turn.


Even though, of course, you could never design a player power like Iron Shield (that would be clearly insane) it can't really be abused here - since the only thing the quick example has to spend all those pips on is a proportionally overcosted ability.


Just focus on how the monster operates from turn to turn and it'll all work out.
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Re: Quick Tip in Designing Monsters

Post  Zarhon on Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:09 am

For that specific monster, it doesn't seem to have any attack abilities. Shouldn't every monster have at least one damaging attack? Or would such a monster being "the last one left" simply mean the players win by default, as the monster is unable to fight back?
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Re: Quick Tip in Designing Monsters

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:13 am

Zarhon wrote:For that specific monster, it doesn't seem to have any attack abilities. Shouldn't every monster have at least one damaging attack? Or would such a monster being "the last one left" simply mean the players win by default, as the monster is unable to fight back?

That monster is not well designed at all. It was just thrown together to show there isn't really much of a difference between the two monsters regardless of the pip costs - not that either monster is well designed. Cool
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Re: Quick Tip in Designing Monsters

Post  SilentBelle on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:58 am

Also a note to all people designing monsters. Flavour is half the monster. So really think about what makes the monster different from others. What role they play, how many players it will face, if it's in a group and what you want the players to take away from the battle.

Much like with talents and traits, when you have a good idea, you should post it, regardless of it being balanced. It's easy enough to balance a monster once you have an idea of what you want it to do.

One example of a home-brew monster I used in my first game of Ponytales. What I wanted to use was an owlbear. I wanted it to be a solo fight the tore through the players (3 of them) one at a time. So here's what it ended up as:

Owl Bear - HP: 60
Trait - Primal Instinct
The Owlbear receives another turn at -10 initiative.
Trait - Primal Confidence
The Owlbear gains 3 temporary hit points when it deals damage to an opponent; the Owlbear does 2 extra damage on all of it's attacks (including ongoing damage) when it has no temporary hit points.
[+2] Claw: Target takes ongoing 3 dmg, (Save ends)
[-1] Rend: Target takes 1d8 dmg, if the target is suffering ongoing damage, then it takes an additional 1d8 dmg
[-4] Ferocious Roar: 1d8 dmg to all enemies, and 50% chance of stun for one turn.

It worked out pretty well, and the players were all pretty close to defeated, only one player left standing took the beast out. It lasted about 6 rounds.

When making the monster I had the idea of Owlbear from 4E and fused it with the Troll from 3E (the rend ability). Over all, the monster became the most memorable of the session.

I look forward to all the monsters the people come up with, and I'll do my best to help balance them Smile
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