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Malimar
2011-08-15, 10:48 AM
I don't see (m)any NPC-only monsters in this forum, so I offer many apologies if this is in the wrong place.

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Size/Type: Colossal Aberration
Hit Dice: 33d8+429 (577 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: --
Armor Class: 19 (-8 size, +5 Dex, +20 natural, -4 Robilar's, -4 Karmic), touch -1, flat-footed 14
BaB/Grapple: +24/+61
Attack: Tentacle +38 (3d8+20, 19-20/x2)
Full Attack: 10 Tentacles +38 melee (3d8+20, 19-20/x2)
Space/Reach: 30'/60'
Special Attacks: Constrict 3d8+17, Improved Grab
Special Qualities: Blind, Blindsight, Immune to Transformation & Poison & Acid
Saves: Fort 22, Ref 15, Will 21
Abilities: Str 44, Dex 21, Con 34, Int 10, Wis 20, Cha 20
Skills: Concentration +24, Hide -11, Intimidate +41, Search +12, Survival +17
Feats: Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Critical (tentacle), Improved Grapple, Improved Natural Armor, Improved Toughness, Improved Trip, Karmic Strike, Knockback, Power Attack, Robilar's Gambit
Alignment: Usually neutral evil

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This is a creature which serves as the tentacley end of a fortress-sized nautilus embedded in rock. I took an advanced kraken, changed its Type, swapped its int and dex, upped its arms, juggled some feats, and dropped the spell-like abilities, among probably some other things.

It can't move, but it threatens every space that has LoS to it (due to the arrangement of the caves; somebody could probably spam earth-moving spells to make a tunnel where they can see the creature and be more than 60' away). It automatically uses both Karmic Strike and Robilar's Gambit every round, so attacking it provokes and hitting it provokes again (though you are more likely to hit and do 4 extra damage if you do), and it has preposterous reach so approaching it provokes something on the order of 12 times. (It is limited to 5 AoOs each round, though.) If it hits you, you're grappled or moved. (I know Robilar's Gambit is a bonus to attack and damage for the attacker, not a penalty to AC, but they amount to much the same thing, so I listed them under AC for my own convenience.)

Probably all of its attacks and AoOs will be power attacks at +3 (accounted for in the statistics block), and it will use Knockback half the time and Improved Grab the other half.

Some questions to which I'm looking for specific answers (general comments and advice are also welcome):
Given that this creature has blindsight and prehensile tentacles, does it threaten spaces that are within its range but to which it doesn't have Los?
Karmic Strike specifies melee attacks. What kind of attacks does Robilar's Gambit work on? It doesn't specify only melee attacks, but "reach in to attack you" and "each time they swing" imply that's what it means. Does it also work on ranged attacks? Spells?
Can Improved Grab be used on attacks of opportunity? Can Knockback be used on attacks of opportunity?
Does this creature break any rules, rules of thumb, or general monster-making best practice? In particular, do you notice any math errors?
What CR would you assign to this creature as written?
If the likely CR is above 15 or so, could I bring it below 15 by reducing HD or ability scores or natural armor, or does there come a point where I just need to nerf its tactics, number of tentacles, size, and/or reach?

Debihuman
2011-08-15, 05:09 PM
1. Does it have a name?

2. Speed is always given in feet. If it has no speed then it should be 0 ft. (immobile). Giving it no speed is a bad idea for a creature of this size on an ecological basis if nothing else. It would have starved to death since it cannot hunt. If it cannot move, then the party can make ranged attacks without it ever succeeding on a AoO. It can't hit what it cannot reach.

2. Improved Natural Armor feat is wasted on a monster that you are creating from scratch. Just give it whatever Natural AC you want.

3. Speaking of feats, it should list standard feats and then epic feats separately. You should note that Robilar's Gambit is from PH2 and is not open content. Karmic Strike is from Complete Warrior and also is not open content.

Furthermore, you normally do NOT account for power attack in the creature's stat block. This is why the -4 to AC shouldn't be in for Robilar's Gambit (it is only that -4 against attackers against whom you gain an attack of opportunity but they still have to be in range) and shouldn't have the -4 for Karmic Strike either (even more so because it work only against one attacker).

I realize you put it there just for your own benefit, but I'm mentioning it because it stands out.

4. It has 72 skill ranks and can only have a max of HD +3 ranks in any one skill. How did you assign the skills? It doesn't have max ranks so this is one where showing this might be helpful.

5. How does it use its blindsight? Does it rely on sound, smell or vibration?

As for your questions:

1. No. It specifically states in Blindsight that the creature must have a line of sight effect.

2. Any attack conceivably could trigger Robilar's Gambit. However, if you aren't in range to retaliate, it's wasted. Ranged attacks and many spells would fall in that category.

3. If you have an attack of opportunity, I don't see why you couldn't use Improved Grab. I'm not sure what you mean by "Knockback."

4. Only as I mentioned earler.

5/6. No higher than 15 and might be even less. Aside from the massive hit points, it doesn't have much to engage a powerful party.

Debby

Yitzi
2011-08-15, 05:21 PM
and it has preposterous reach so approaching it provokes something on the order of 12 times.

Does not. A single move action never provokes more than one AoO, no matter how much of it is in the enemy's threatened area.


Given that this creature has blindsight and prehensile tentacles, does it threaten spaces that are within its range but to which it doesn't have Los?

Only if it has LoE without cover. If you want to give it the ability to attack around corners at all, or to make AoOs against enemies with cover, you need to make that a special quality of the creature (probably name it "prehensile tentacles.")


Can Improved Grab be used on attacks of opportunity? Can Knockback be used on attacks of opportunity?

Yes on both counts.

Togath
2011-08-15, 05:32 PM
Furthermore, you normally do NOT account for power attack in the creature's stat block. This is why the -4 to AC shouldn't be in for Robilar's Gambit (it is only that -4 against attackers against whom you gain an attack of opportunity but they still have to be in range) and shouldn't have the -4 for Karmic Strike either (even more so because it work only against one attacker).
A fairly large number of monsters that have been published(or at least ones in mm 3-mm 5) usually have power attack added into their statistics, but they usually also have the following at the bottom(connected to the stat block with *);
Includes adjustments for Power Attack feat,
I can understand most of your other comments, but thought I should point that one out, I'm also not sure if it needs a move speed, as it is described as being stuck to what is effectively a mountain.

In addition; improved critical and dodge are probably bad choices for feats, as creatures can have augmented critical(changes crit range and crit damage increase[x3, x4, x5 et cetera] to what ever you want for the creature you're designing, for example; the vivisector's(from mm5) claw attacks have a crit range 19/x3), and doge adds only a +1 bonus to AC, and as stated by debihuman, Robilar's Gambit, and Karmic Strike should be either listed only in the feats sectioned, or explained in it's stat block, but thier penalties should not be auto apllied

Malimar
2011-08-15, 06:21 PM
1. Does it have a name?
It's part of a larger whole (I'm building a mind flayer nautiloid from scratch, and taking the name a little more literally than most sources do; this monster is effectively the tentacles of the ship), so I'm just calling it "Nautiloid Tentacles" for now. I'll probably come up with a good name for the ship itself eventually.


2. Speed is always given in feet. If it has no speed then it should be 0 ft. (immobile). Giving it no speed is a bad idea for a creature of this size on an ecological basis if nothing else. It would have starved to death since it cannot hunt. If it cannot move, then the party can make ranged attacks without it ever succeeding on a AoO. It can't hit what it cannot reach.
The mind flayers feed it. And the nautiloid has currently got itself embedded in rock, so it might hunt for itself when it's not stuck.

I'm not entirely certain what purpose the creature serves. Probably propulsion, so it occurs to me to give it some jet-related spell-likes or extraordinaries.

It currently threatens every square that has LoS to it. If the players can, while it's beating on them, carve out enough stone to make a square which has LoS and is far enough away that it can't reach, then they will have more than earned their experience for killing it. Is there anything about this that I'm missing?


2. Improved Natural Armor feat is wasted on a monster that you are creating from scratch. Just give it whatever Natural AC you want.
...right, that's a holdover from when I was just refluffing a kraken, it has no reason to be.


3. Speaking of feats, it should list standard feats and then epic feats separately. You should note that Robilar's Gambit is from PH2 and is not open content. Karmic Strike is from Complete Warrior and also is not open content.
Ohhey, right, it qualifies for epic feats. Improved Combat Reflexes is exactly the thing I was thinking it should have. And yes, I keep forgetting what books Robilar's, Karmic, and Knockback are from, it would be helpful to make a note in case I need to consult them.


Furthermore, you normally do NOT account for power attack in the creature's stat block. This is why the -4 to AC shouldn't be in for Robilar's Gambit (it is only that -4 against attackers against whom you gain an attack of opportunity but they still have to be in range) and shouldn't have the -4 for Karmic Strike either (even more so because it work only against one attacker).

I realize you put it there just for your own benefit, but I'm mentioning it because it stands out.

Hm. Really? All Robilar's says is that "Anyone who strikes at you" gains the bonuses and provokes. This is ambiguous, but it seems more likely that everybody who attacks gets the bonus and provokes, but you can only make the AoO if you actually threaten them.

As far as I can tell, Karmic Strike explicitly doesn't only work against one attacker: "You specify on your turn that you are activating this feat, and the change to your Armor Class and your ability to make these special attacks of opportunity last until your next turn."

Were these errata'd or something?


4. It has 72 skill ranks and can only have a max of HD +3 ranks in any one skill. How did you assign the skills? It doesn't have max ranks so this is one where showing this might be helpful.
Maxed (36) intimidate, 12 each in concentration, search, and survival. The stat block includes the bonuses from ability scores; is this deprecated nowadays?


5. How does it use its blindsight? Does it rely on sound, smell or vibration?
I was thinking electroreception, like grell. But now that I think about it, nautiluses actually have very sophisticated eyes, I might just give it back the old-fashioned ability to see.


3. If you have an attack of opportunity, I don't see why you couldn't use Improved Grab. I'm not sure what you mean by "Knockback."
The knockback feat, from Races of Stone.


5/6. No higher than 15 and might be even less. Aside from the massive hit points, it doesn't have much to engage a powerful party.
Excellent, that's very much what I was aiming for.


Does not. A single move action never provokes more than one AoO, no matter how much of it is in the enemy's threatened area.
I keep looking up the attack of opportunity rules, seeing "if the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity)", going "Aha! Everybody's wrong about that! One person can provoke more than once!" I even did this just before posting this monster. But, until now, I had never bothered to read on to the very next sentence, which says that no, you're right, moving through more than one threatened square does in fact provoke only once. D'oh.


Only if it has LoE without cover. If you want to give it the ability to attack around corners at all, or to make AoOs against enemies with cover, you need to make that a special quality of the creature (probably name it "prehensile tentacles.")
A good idea.


In addition; improved critical and dodge are probably bad choices for feats, as creatures can have augmented critical(changes crit range and crit damage increase[x3, x4, x5 et cetera] to what ever you want for the creature you're designing, for example; the vivisector's(from mm5) claw attacks have a crit range 19/x3), and doge adds only a +1 bonus to AC[/FONT]
I only gave it Dodge (and Combat Expertise) because it's a prerequisite for Karmic Strike. Otherwise both of those would go in the trash, yes. I could just say it qualifies for Karmic Strike by virtue of I say it does, but I kind of prefer not to. (I just realized it doesn't actually qualify for Knockback, either, because I forgot to give it Improved Bull Rush. It has that now, too.)

Improved critical is another holdover from it being a modified kraken, I might just dispense with that, as well, yes. Improved Grapple, too, is not particularly optimal.

137ben
2011-08-15, 09:26 PM
1. For constrict, you need to explain the details of how it works.

For CR, I normally use a slightly modified version of vorpal tribble's method:

1. Start with HP/(4.25+HD/10)=76.4238
2. Add (AC-10)/5=1.8
3. Add 1 for each SA (1)
4. Add 1 for each SQ, 2 for each immunity, -1 for vulnerabilities (Blindsense might be +1, for a total of +7)
5. Add 1/2 per bonus feat (none)
6. Divine by 3

This gives us a CR of 28, which is WAY too high. You've given it a ton of hit dice, so it is expected to be quite powerful. However, you have given it almost nothing in the way of attacks. On top of that, it can't move, so the players can just shoot arrows and spells from a distance. To properly balance this, you should:
1. If you really want to keep it with no movement, give it some ranged attacks.
2. Either give it some serious attack options, and expect it to be boosted to high-epic levels, or substantially lower its hit-dice.

Debihuman
2011-08-16, 02:26 AM
FYI, Karmic Strike says, "You can make a melee attack against an opponent that hits you in melee." It suggests that this is a single opponent since it doesn't say you can make a melee attack against all opponents that hit you in melee. It is only good for an attack that is a melee or touch melee attack.


Knockback feat is dependent on you scoring a hit while you are using the Power Attack feat and doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. See Races of Stone page 142.

Debby

Maraxus1
2011-08-16, 08:24 AM
This thing kills about 2 Level 20 NPC fighters from the DMG per turn, so I'd say ... this really should not be judged by the usual CR system.

If it's sitting somewhere on the open so you can see it and kill it from afar (maybe traveling back to town to buy more arrows half way), that is not really a challenge.
If it's sitting in some cave system, where it can attack everything who can see it, then it's once again one of those monsters, that is supposed to show that the company is not "Warriors and rogues of the coast". A few scry and stone shape and other spells like that and the casters have probably found a way to kill it without suffering an attack from the monster. CR between 11 and 15 for having all the right spells. A bit more if the party is in a rush and can not swap spells.

If it's on the ground of a pit of a trap with CR ~20 for not being very dangerous but almost invisible, then the monster easily increases the challenge rating to 26 or something.

NeoSeraphi
2011-08-16, 08:40 AM
As the creature does not qualify for the Combat Expertise feat with its Int of 10, I assume you have granted it to it as a bonus feat (Along with Improved Trip). If that is the case, you should note that by placing a (B) after both feats. Otherwise, drop them, because again, no one can take feats they don't qualify for.

If you want to make this behemoth the most powerful defender it can be, I suggest giving it a special ability similar to the hydra which allows it to use its Combat Reflexes feat to attack with each tentacle using the same AoO. As the creature is immobile, this would be balanced, but it would also encourage everyone to stay back from it (Even more so than before)

I find it strange that it's a powerful aberration raised by mind flayers that doesn't have any psi-like abilities. Adding some might improve its ability to defend the base, perhaps a long range version of mind blast, or dominate person, psionic? (There is one of those, right? I can't remember)

137ben
2011-08-16, 02:41 PM
Also, if you give it a bonus feat, remember that that does not count towards its normal limit on feats, so you should give it extra normal feats too.