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Mephibosheth
2006-06-12, 02:24 PM
Puppy Swarm
Size/Type – Tiny Animal (Swarm)
Hit Dice – 6d8+3(31 hp)
Initiative – +7
Speed – 20 ft (4 squares)
Armor Class – 16 (+2 size, +3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 16, flat footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple – +4/-
Attack – Swarm (1d3 subdual)
Full Attack – Swarm (1d3 subdual)
Space/Reach – 10 ft/0 ft
Special Attack – Aura of Adorability, Furriness Defenses
Special Qualities – Innocence, half damage from slashing and piercing, low-light vision, scent, swarm traits
Saves – Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +6
Abilities – Str 4, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 16
Skills – Balance +11, Hide +7, Jump +5, Move Silently +7, Swim +14
Feats – Ability Focus (Aura of Adorability), Toughness, Improved Initiative
Environment – Any
Organization – Solitary, Litter (2-3 swarms), Puppy Farm (4-6 swarms)
Challenge Rating – ?
Treasure – none
Alignment – always neutral, often neutral friendly
Advancement – none
Level Adjustment –

Combat

Aura of Adorability – Any humanoid with in a 60 foot radius of the Puppy Swarm must make a DC 16 will save or be affected as if by a Suggestion spell. *If the humanoid is within the space of the Puppy Swarm, the smell of puppy breath and the padding of large, furry paws cause the DC to increase to 18. *The Suggestion is always to abandon all other pursuits (sheathing any weapons and putting away any items held) and pet the puppies in the puppy swarm until the swarm indicates it does not want to be pet any more (1d4+2 minutes). *If the subject is somehow prevented from petting the puppies, he/she will stand still and watch the swarm (treat as Fascinated, same duration). *This Suggestion last as long as the creature is within the radius of the affect. *The save DC is charisma based (because those puppies are just so darn cute!)
Furriness Defenses – It’s really hard to work up the desire to hit a puppy swarm. *Any creature within the radius of the swarms Aura of Adorability ability must make a will save (DC 18 ) in order to target the swarm with any attack, damaging spell, or any other affect intended to cause physical harm to the swarm. *The save DC is charisma based.
Innocence – A puppy swarm’s naivetι is its best defense against assaults on its mind, and it adds its Charisma modifier to its will saves.
Skills – Puppy Swarms have a +8 racial bonus on Balance, Jump, and Swim checks. *It also has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks

So, this is my first attempt at making a monster, and I have a few questions:

1. Skills - How do you know which skills are class skills for a monster. *Also, can someone double check my skill calculations above. *I'm not quite sure how many skill points to assign, given the swarm's intelligence penalty.
2. Save DC's - I'm not sure how to assign save DC's for the special attacks. *I'm trying to keep this around CR 4-6, so how do you know what saves are appropriate?
3. CR/Hit Die - I need some help assigning CR, especially the puppy swarm lacks real *offensive punch, but has some potent (if more subtle) abilities. *Also, is 6d8 too many HD for a creature of between CR 4 and 6? *Is there some sort of system for determining CR?

So, those are my questions. *Any feedback about how to make this a better/more interesting/more balanced creature would be welcome.

Hope you guys like it.

Mephibosheth

Peregrine
2006-06-12, 02:28 PM
*fails Will save* Awwwww... :D

In response to your questions... well, I can answer the first. Any skills listed in a monster's stat block are its class skills. The distinction only applies when advancing a monster beyond that basic stat block.

And I can just see this being used by a BBEG to provide a distraction. Not every monster needs to pack offensive punch to be dangerous in a fight... ;)

Hario
2006-06-12, 02:30 PM
lmfao I need to bring a play pen ful of those and unleash them on the BBEG ;D

InaVegt
2006-06-12, 02:30 PM
1. Skills - How do you know which skills are class skills for a monster. Also, can someone double check my skill calculations above. I'm not quite sure how many skill points to assign, given the swarm's intelligence penalty. This is listed in the MM and SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm#animalType)

2. Save DC's - I'm not sure how to assign save DC's for the special attacks. I'm trying to keep this around CR 4-6, so how do you know what saves are appropriate? normally half HD + a stat mod + 10, for the adorability effects charisma would be best (For DC's of 17, that one of 15 could have a noted penalty of - 2) and the distraction one should be 13

3. CR/Hit Die - I need some help assigning CR, especially the puppy swarm lacks real offensive punch, but has some potent (if more subtle) abilities. Also, is 6d8 too many HD for a creature of between CR 4 and 6? Is there some sort of system for determining CR?I'm not too good with CR's but 6 hd is actually not much for a CR 6 creature and normal for 4

BobGhengisKhan
2006-06-12, 02:31 PM
Save DCs are generally calaculated as 10+1/2 HD+Charisma Modifier.

InaVegt
2006-06-12, 02:33 PM
Save DCs are generally calaculated as 10+1/2 HD+Charisma Modifier.
Depends on the ability, spell like are charisma most of the time but some like breath weapons are constitution based more and we've got others too, generalizing ain't good for you.

Mephibosheth
2006-06-12, 02:38 PM
Wow, thanks for the quick responses, guys. I appreciate the info.

So, is the consensus that the Puppy Swarm is balanced for CR 4? It seems ok to me, but I can never be sure.

Mephibosheth

BelkarsDagger
2006-06-12, 02:38 PM
This... is... the best... thing... I have read... in a long time... PUPPYS!! I'm a dog-person, so my will DC is tripled ;D

(v) *gasp!* How... is... that... POSSIBLE?!?!?!?!

Telonius
2006-06-12, 02:40 PM
Hmm. I like the idea. But would really, really evil characters have some sort of bonus to the save? You know, the kind of bad guy that wouldn't hesitate to kick a puppy (and who might even get a laugh out of it).

InaVegt
2006-06-12, 02:41 PM
I really should have a bonus on that yeah, my goal in life is to destroy all canines

Scorpina
2006-06-12, 02:41 PM
I think Cat-People should be immune the the Aura of Invulnerability...or at least have a bonus on the save...

...of course, defining who (other than Catfolk and Anthropomorphic Cats) are cat people poses a problem, heh.

Peregrine
2006-06-12, 02:43 PM
I think Cat-People should be immune the the Aura of Invulnerability...or at least have a bonus on the save...

...of course, defining who (other than Catfolk and Anthropomorphic Cats) are cat people poses a problem, heh.
*blink* Oh dear Boccob. Puppy swarm + cat familiar = ? :o

I think we need to start dividing all characters into cat people vs dog people. Canine animal companion? Dog person. Cat familiar? Cat person. Werewolf? Dog person. Acrobatic rogue? Cat person. Aquatic subtype? Not a cat person. ...catfish person? *ducks rotten vegetables*

BelkarsDagger
2006-06-12, 02:43 PM
I really should have a bonus on that yeah, my goal in life is to destroy all canines

STONE THE REBEL! (not intended to flame, or troll)

PMDM
2006-06-12, 02:44 PM
Can't we have more than one attack for the puppy swarm?? I mean, they have 4 legs. They should have more than one attack.

Shhalahr Windrider
2006-06-12, 02:45 PM
Aww... *So, cute!


1. Skills - How do you know which skills are class skills for a monster. *Also, can someone double check my skill calculations above. *I'm not quite sure how many skill points to assign, given the swarm's intelligence penalty.
Class skills are whatever is included in the monster's stat block. *For a homebrew monster, that equates to whatever the heck you want them to be.

Animals get 2+Int mod skill points per hit die (quadruple at the first hit die). *That means these puppies get 9 skill points. *Animals that get large bonuses to skills tend to have large racial modifiers. *In some cases, the animal has no ranks in a class skill but a large racial modifier.


2. Save DC's - I'm not sure how to assign save DC's for the special attacks. *I'm trying to keep this around CR 4-6, so how do you know what saves are appropriate?
Save DCs tend to be 10 + half creature's hit dice + ability modifier. *So distraction should be DC 13 and Aura of Adorability and Furriness Defenses should be DC 17.

To check for balanced CR, a character with a good save should be able to make the DC about 50% of the time. *So you have to ask yourself, "At what level does the average cleric get a total +7 will save?" *Assuming an elite array with a starting wisdom of 15, the answer would be, "Around 4th level."

Naturally, there are some exceptions to that guideline. *Some creatures have harder (or easier) to resist attacks for their CR.


3. CR/Hit Die - I need some help assigning CR, especially the puppy swarm lacks real *offensive punch, but has some potent (if more subtle) abilities. *Also, is 6d8 too many HD for a creature of between CR 4 and 6? *Is there some sort of system for determining CR?
The only really accurate system for determining CR is playtesting. *Before playtesting, you can only really eyeball it. *Ask yourself at what level one can expect to overcome the creature's defenses about 50% of the time. *At what level can one expect to be hurt by the creature about 50% of the time. *Also compare it to other similar creatures in the Monster Manual.

Compared to other Tiny Animal swarms, I'm thinking CR 3.


Can't we have more than one attack for the puppy swarm?? I mean, they have 4 legs. They should have more than one attack.
No. They're a swarm. They only get their swarm attack: automatic damage to anyone in the swarm's space at the end of the swarm's turn.


Another note: You should specify what type of ability those special qualities are. Since it's an animal, they all have to be Extraordinary. Spell-like or Supernatural abilities would make the Puppy Swarm a magical beast. :P

InaVegt
2006-06-12, 02:46 PM
STONE THE REBEL! (not intended to flame, or troll)
Hey, even the littlest dogs scare the living daylights out of me, I would probably have to make a will save against fear instead and if i fail i become panicked and shaken if I make it

Telonius
2006-06-12, 02:47 PM
How about...
Swarm (1d3)
Lick (1d3)

Hario
2006-06-12, 02:51 PM
you should also put that they tend to gnaw on shoes and its laces dealing 1dmg per round if attacked, the dirtier and tastier the boots the bigger the chance it was be tempted to gnaw on them ;D

Tokeloshe
2006-06-12, 02:51 PM
You forgot;

Puppy Swarm can cast Summon Thog whenever someone manages to attack it.

BelkarsDagger
2006-06-12, 02:54 PM
Puppy Swarm can cast Summon Thog

Or maybe Thog's DC just gets quadrupled ;D

Mephibosheth
2006-06-12, 02:54 PM
I contemplated adding a save bonus for evil humanoids, but that would require too much fudging on the part of the DM. I mean, how do you determine which bad guy is evil enought to take out a swarm of adorable puppies? Is any run-of-the-mill evil guy willing to take out the puppies? How do you fit cat-people into this mish-mash of judgement calls? If anyone can come up with a good mechanic, I'm all ears.

I'm glad people like the swarm. Keep the comments coming!

Mephibosheth

Were-Sandwich
2006-06-12, 02:57 PM
Puppies!

I like puppies. A lot. Especially Westie puppies. One of my characters once had one as a familiar. The barbarian, played by someone with...issues kept trying to kill it. That kid needs a shink.

Leperflesh
2006-06-12, 08:13 PM
{really good advice} ...
Ask yourself at what level one can expect to overcome the creature's defenses about 50% of the time. At what level can one expect to be hurt by the creature about 50% of the time.
Actually, a party of 4 to 6 adventurers of level equivalent to the CR of the creature should defeat it fairly easily, using up about 20% of their resources to do so. If a creature poses a 50/50 chance of being undefeatable (or of killing a party member, or requiring extraordinary expense of party resources to defeat), it's probably at least 2 and maybe 4 or more CRs higher than the party level.

I agree with Shhalahr that this is probably around CR3.

-Lep

Cybren
2006-06-12, 08:16 PM
....he said a 50% hit chance, not a 50% TPK chance...

Everyman
2006-06-12, 08:43 PM
A quick suggestion:

If the point of the pups are to be so cute/cuddly that people can not fight them, perhaps you should change what distraction does. I know that swarms usually nauseate, but you could set a new standard and say this swarm fascinates or something. Just a thought.

At any rate, it looks good and fairly balanced.

Shhalahr Windrider
2006-06-12, 10:23 PM
....he said a 50% hit chance, not a 50% TPK chance...
Right. a 50/50 chance against the party member most likely to hit/save/avoid. The rest of the party is backing said member up with their own strengths. That's the principle used in the monster design section of the MM.

Tantolian
2006-06-27, 09:12 AM
Any chance of getting a kitten swarm as well? Cover both ends of the spectrum (cat and dog people). Problem is that then you have those that don't like cats or dogs, do we then have a bunny swarm, or maybe a llama swarm?

Mephibosheth
2006-06-27, 09:40 AM
Tantolian:

Check out Project CUTE (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1150920490 ) for tons of cute D&D content. We're actually trying to make a whole new campaign setting, complete with new planes, base classes, PrC's monsters, feats, etc. that are based around the idea of little kids pretending to be heroes. We're in the "base classes and accessories" phase right now, so there's only a few new monsters, but I'm sure that a kitten swarm will present itself at some point.

I'm sure if you really wanted to, you could just change the flavor text of the Puppy Swarm to fit a Kitten Swarm. It's abilities will fit any small cute baby animal, really. If you have any suggestions on how to change it to make it kitten specific, I'm all ears.

Mephibosheth

SpiderBrigade
2006-06-27, 09:50 AM
Well, I'd say a kitten swarm would have a chance to do much more damage than the puppies, since they have more pointy bits. Or maybe just make it 1d3 piercing instead of subdual.

chionophile
2006-06-27, 12:32 PM
Yeah, you gotta watch out for the pointy bits, they'll get you every time.

I'd like to see a hedgehog swarm. That would be terrifying. Lots and lots of cute stabby things.

Psiwave
2006-06-27, 12:41 PM
Very cute, i like, but a +4 to move silently? I really have trouble imagining any group of more than one puppy even attempting to be quiet!

Mephibosheth
2006-06-27, 01:59 PM
At the request of Chionophile, I present:

Hedgehog Swarm
http://www.animalnetwork.com/critters/profiles/art/hedgehog.jpg
Size/Type – Diminutive Animal (Swarm)
Hit Dice – 9d8+21 (57 hp)
Initiative – +5
Speed – 10 ft (2 squares)
Armor Class – 18 (+3 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural), touch 14, flat footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple – +6/-
Attack – Swarm (2d6 or 1d6 subdual)
Full Attack – Swarm (2d6 or 1d6 subdual)
Space/Reach – 10 ft/0 ft
Special Attack – Aura of Adorability, Distraction
Special Qualities – Spiny Skin, immune to weapon damage, low-light vision, scent, swarm traits
Saves – Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +6
Abilities – Str 4, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 12
Skills – Climb +11, Hide +5, Move Silently +5, Swim +11
Feats – Ability Focus (Aura of Adorability), Ability Focus (Spiny Skin), Improved Initiative, Toughness
Environment – Any temperate
Organization – Solitary, Herd (2-3 swarms)
Challenge Rating – ?
Treasure – none
Alignment – always neutral, often neutral friendly
Advancement – none
Level Adjustment –

To all outward appearances, a hedgehog swarm is simply a large group of small, adorable, spiky balls of fluff. However, many an adventurer has mistakenly considered a hedgehog swarm harmless and found out the hard way that hedgehogs can be dangerous.

Combat
Swarm Attack – While using its Spiny Skin ability, a hedgehog swarm’s swarm attack deals 2d6 points of piercing damage. While the swarm is not using this ability, its swarm attack deals 1d6 points of subdual damage.
Aura of Adorability (Ex) – Any humanoid with in a 60 foot radius of the Hedgehog Swarm must make a DC 17 will save or be affected as if by a Suggestion spell. The Suggestion is always to abandon all other pursuits (sheathing any weapons and putting away any items held) and admire or pet the hedgehogs. This condition lasts 1d4 + 1 minutes. If the subject is somehow prevented from petting the hedgehogs, he/she will stand still and watch the swarm (treat as Fascinated, same duration). This Suggestion last as long as the creature is within the radius of the affect. The save DC is charisma based (because those hedgehogs are just so darn cute!). This ability is only functional when the hedgehog swarm is not using its Spiny Skin ability.
Distraction – Any living creature that begins its turn with a swarm in its space must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Spiny Skin – A hedgehog’s skin is covered in short spines that, while relatively harmful in appearance, are actually relatively effective defenses. As a Free Action, the hedgehogs in a hedgehog swarm can curl up into little balls, presenting their spines to the world (effectively taking the Full Defense action). While in this position the swarm cannot move. Additionally, while the swarm is curled up, any creature that hits the swarm with an unarmed strike, natural weapon, or manufactured weapon must make a DC 17 Reflex save or take 1d6 points of piercing damage. This damage is in addition to any damage the character might take for being in the hedgehog swarm’s space.
Skills – Hedgehogs Swarms have a +8 racial bonus on Climb and Swim checks. It also has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks.

What do you think? Any guesses on the CR? Any suggestions/problems/comments?

Mephibosheth