Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

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Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  SilentBelle on Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:45 am

Monster Template:

This is how a monster should be laid out:
Name (Ranking)
HP
Traits
Combat Talents
Danger Rating
Recommended encounter set up (Optional)
Encounter Rating (Optional)
Suggested Tactics (Optional)
Lore (Optional)

Disclaimer for the descriptions: By no means must any particular monster Ranking be forced into the estimated values. Those are used merely as a general guideline that has, will be, and should be broken on a monster to monster basis.

Name: What the monster is called.

Ranking: This will be one of four possibilities (Minion, Single, Elite, Solo.) These are the four different types that monsters can be.

Minion: A minion has 1 HP and usually has a single trait, often some sort of resistance or dodging. They are used as fodder that players cut through and they usually perform a specific purpose reflected in their trait. Also, they usually have no more than 2 combat talents (if they have 2, one of them usually involves self-sacrifice, such as taking a hit for an ally), make them simple, give them solid damage values (no rolling), and have their combat talents cost [0 pips] they are easier to use that way. These monsters are often used most effectively in tangent with Elite monsters.

Single: These are monsters that act on par with players, at least in terms of their numbers on the battle field. They should have anywhere from 15 to upwards of 50 HP, it usually depends upon which Role these creatures play. These monsters will often have just one trait, or even no trait at all. They also tend to have two to four combat talents. Keep them complex enough to give the battle some pacing but don't give them a slough of moves that bog down the encounter.)

Elite: These are the monsters that are the leaders of an enemy party. Quite often they'll be an NPC that the players face over and over again. But what makes Elites what they are is their complexity. They tend to have at least 2 traits and upwards of 4 (common examples: Spawning minions, gaining pips when allies die, having an extra combat turn, or starting with 4 pips.)

These monsters are meant to be fought with either, a number of other Singles/Minions mixed in, or in a few cases, there might be a combat involving 2 or more Elites on a team. In any case, these are monsters that grab the reins of the combat from the first turn just through their traits. Think of them as monsters that are as or more powerful than the players themselves, basically a step above your average monster. Their HP values tend to range from around 40 to upwards of 80. As for combat talents, these monsters should have at least 3 combat talents to upwards of 6. These monsters are most memorable when their combat talents cover a wider range of options (such as reactions, interrupts or huge pip-cost moves), if you make a monster with 6 combat talents, try to make sure those talents are justified and work well with each other. (It's pointless to make a combat talent for a creature if it's never going to use it when the other options are better.) These creatures also tend to be the heart behind any encounter they are in, and defeating them would usually turn the tide in the player's favour.

Solo: These monsters are, as the name implies, meant to be a threat to the whole team all by themself. They usually have at least 2 traits to upwards of 5. Much like the Elites, these monsters dominate the field with presence alone. For a 5 player solo monster, they will tend to have around 80 to 160 HP, though these monsters tend to have the largest range of HP (I've seen some competent ones run with 40 HP, or 500 as is can be the case... (you know who you are Razz )). As for combat talents, they tend to have 3 to 6 combat talents which serve the same purpose of an elite's. Usually one is a big attack. Their combat talents should be constructed similarly to elite monsters and cover many different bases.

HP: Starting Hit Point value of the monster.

Traits: List any traits that the monster has here. Make sure they are clearly worded. These are ideal for giving a monster a cohesive drive that makes it more than just any other monster. For example: your Stone Golem might have resist 4. Or your speedy ninja-monkey boss monster might have 4 separate initiative rolls. This is the spot that determines whether your monster will feel alive and keep the players engaged the moment it enters the battlefield. It helps players test out new tactics to overcome these traits and makes the battles feel different from one another. (These are Super Important for all monsters except the Simple ones, but can be used there as well.)

Combat Talents: List all the combat talents of the monster here, in descending order [+pips] to [-pips] and when making the talents make sure to write the details clearly. Make sure it's clear what the targets of the talent are, and how many creatures are affected.
For example, don't write:
Scratch – 1d8.

Please, write this instead:
[+1] Scratch – Standard
Deal 1d8 damage to target creature.


- You need a target: Creature, Ally, Self, Enemy.
- You need a pip value: [+1], [0], [-1]. (Yes, even if it costs 0, include it.)
- You need an action type: Standard, Free, Immediate Interrupt, Immediate Reaction.
(For clarification on these three points look them up in the Players Handbook)

Danger Rating: How many, level 1, 3000 gold equiped players will it take to beat this monster 50% of the time? A rating of 0 means that they would never lose to this monster, 5 is an equal challenge to an equipped level 1 party of 5 characters, 10 is a fight that 10 characters should be able to beat 50% of the time.* Also, note that if you aren't sure about the Danger Rating, you can post your monsters into the monster arena to get them tested.

*(The number of monsters that fit into the '10' danger rating will be few and further between until you get to late-game. And monsters fitting into the '0' category will be rare 'distraction monsters' that only serve to aid other monsters or disrupt players, but can't actually win.)

Recommended Encounter Setup (optional): This is an extremely useful bit of information for people if you managed to build a monster team that depends on each other to perform their task. It also lets DMs grab an encounter without having to handpick the monsters themselves. In this section include: The number of players meant to face this encounter. Followed by all the monsters involved in the encounter, their name followed by how many of them in brackets. Separate each additional monster with a comma. For example: Recommended Encounter Setup: 3 Players - Guard (2), Princess (1)

Encounter Rating (Contingent upon Recommended Encounter Setup): Officially tested encounters will receive an Encounter Rating that will be included to show the Danger Rating of a given encounter from 0 to 10 (probably won't see any 0 encounters). Followed by the number of recommended players in brackets. This will be determined by the people who test the encounters. In this case a 5 is a 50% chance of the recommended party winning, a 0 is that they can't lose, and a 10 is that they can't win. This Encounter Rating is determined by the team of monsters' effectiveness against the recommended party. Example of how it would be written: Encounter Rating – 6 (3 Players).
This means that 3 level 1, fully equipped (3000 gold worth) characters have a 40% chance of defeating the 2 guards and a Princess.

The reason for including this optional bit of information is simply because some monsters are built to work very well with other specific monsters, and without their counterparts, they become severely crippled.

(Side note:
To get a rough estimate of the danger rating of the individual monsters within an encounter, take the Encounter Rating and plug it into this equation: {1 + ([ER-5]/10)} X (P/M)
ER is the Encounter Rating, P is the number of players, and M is the number of monsters.
In this case it's 2 which means each of these monsters, individually are about equal to 2 normal level 1 players each with 3000 gold worth of equipment.)

Tactics (optional): If you want to include a certain combat style that's recommended when using a monster, please include that here.

Lore (optional): This is the section where you describe your monster and how it fits in the world and such. Purely for cosmetic purposes, but many people will appreciate it.

Please note that this is just a simple template at the moment and subject to change. Certainly contingent upon your suggestions and critique. (What's your opinion on the Danger Rating?) The aim is to make a standardized template for all eventual official monsters, as well as a general guide for anyone who has never made monsters before.

~SilentBelle

-Edited the Danger Rating for equipped characters.
-Edited the Encounter Rating to Danger Rating conversion.


Last edited by SilentBelle on Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:57 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  SilentBelle on Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:50 am

I think I'll post here in case I want to add examples or if the first post gets too long Smile
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Re: Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:52 pm

This is absolutely fantastic. Wonderful job.

Quick question though, why is the rating balanced for players without using their equipment? Since equipment is part of the system and ups a given character's power by about 60% if they have level-appropriate equipment, that sure seems like something we want to factor in.
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Re: Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:54 pm

I think it's just easier for him to test them without having items factor in. XD
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Re: Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  SilentBelle on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:55 pm

Xel The Medic wrote:I think it's just easier for him to test them without having items factor in. XD

Heh, he's got that right there. But I suppose I should change it to 1st level with equipment. I guess it was that way because I started testing monsters before the equipment expansion. (get with the times SilentBelle Razz )

On another note, I think I will start making a monster compendium as I test monsters. I'll make it a google.doc and keep them alphabetical, and I will be sure to credit the creators as I add their monsters to it Very Happy
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Re: Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:56 pm

That sounds like a great idea.
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Re: Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:57 pm

I wonder how many of my mad monsters will get in... XD
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Re: Monster Template - A Guideline to Making Monsters

Post  SilentBelle on Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:03 pm

Xel The Medic wrote:I wonder how many of my mad monsters will get in... XD

Certainly those Clockwork Alicorns, those were awesome Very Happy Once I get a few of them compiled, with a varied range of monsters, I'll share the document with everyone.

Now I'm going to work on lessening the backlog of monsters in my PM box and Monster Arena. But first I should add some items to the arena characters.
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