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EggKookoo
2015-10-11, 04:55 PM
I've been playing with 5e's monster creation rules and I think I'm getting a handle on it. One of the hardest things is figuring out a good CR (and therefore XP value) for a monster once its been created. I think I'm getting it but it occurred to me that we could explore this by creating monsters based on creatures or characters from movies or TV series or novels. The idea is that you'd take such a character and cast it as a 5e monster, using the rules for such in the DMG and MM. Then post your creation here and we can see if it makes sense. No judgment, just a learning process for us all.

I suggest it either being an actual singular character (e.g. Darth Vader) or a representation of a group or class of creatures (e.g. Sardaukar). If the entity is obscure, posting links to images or (better) YouTube clips, if such things exist, would help us understand what it is you're recreating.

And don't limit it to fantasy. SF, military stuff, spy novels, it's all good.

To start off, here's my Klingon Warrior. Not Worf or any "hero" Klingons. These are the mooks.


Klingon Warrior
Medium humanoid (Klingon), any alignment

FEATURES

Armor Class: 12 (with leather armor); 14 (with leather armor and Bat値eth)
Hit Points: 90 (12d8+36)
Speed: 30ft.

STR: 22 (+6); DEX: 12 (+1); CON: 17 (+3); INT: 10 (+0); WIS: 13 (+1); CHA: 8 (-1)

Saving Throws: STR: +8; CON: +5 (advantage)

Senses: Passive Perception: 11

Challenge: 5 (1,800 XP)

Bat値eth Fighting. When wielding a Bat値eth and no other weapons, and in no or light armor, the Klingon Warrior can add its Proficiency Bonus to its armor class.

Brak'lul. The Klingon Warrior痴 body was built for combat. It has redundant organs and a reinforced skeleton. This grants the Warrior three benefits:

It resists non-magical bludgeoning damage.
It has advantage on CON saving throws.
It can recover 2d4 HP at the beginning of its turn. It can do this once in between short rests.


Daqtagh Fighting. When attacking with both its Mek値eth and its Daqtagh, the Klingon Warrior can add its STR bonus to the damage of both attacks (if it isn稚 already applied), and add its Proficiency Bonus to its Daqtagh damage.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. On its turn, the Klingon Warrior can make two Daqtagh attacks and two Mek値eth attacks, or two Bat値eth attacks.

Daqtagh. Melee Weapon Attack (finesse, light, thrown, range: 20/60): +8 to hit, reach 5, one target. Hit: 11 (1d4+9) piercing damage (+1 damage due to auxiliary blades; +2 due to Daqtagh Fighting).

Mek値eth. Melee Weapon Attack (finesse, light): +8 to hit, reach 5, one target. Hit: 9 (1d6+6) piercing damage.

Bat値eth. Melee Weapon Attack (versatile): +8 to hit, reach 5, one target. Hit: 10 (1d8+6) or 11 (1d10+6) slashing damage. See Bat値eth Fighting above.

CR:

This guy has two configurations.

Wielding Bat'leth:
HP: 90 + 5 = CR 2
AC: 14 = CR 4
Adj Def CR = 3

DPR: 22 = CR 3
Att Bon: +6 = CR 5
Adj Off CR = 4

Wielding Daqtagh & Mek'leth:
HP: 90 + 5 = CR 2
AC: 12 = CR 0
Adj Def CR = 1

DPR: 40 = CR 6
Att Bon: +6 = CR 5
Adj Off CR = 6

Combining the best of his offensive and defensive CRs gives him a final CR of 4.5, rounded to 5.



Edit: Overhauled.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-11, 06:02 PM
So, I'm going to have to pay the tax tomorrow, because it's almost midnight and it takes me ages to stat up new monsters...

I just wanted to say that your klingon seems way off on the CR.

I get:

Defensive CR: 33HP plus 5 points of regen = CR 0.25, AC 15 boosts this to 1.25 (I think. I've never been sure whether you go up by 1 point or 1 step. I'm taking the safe (and generous) option here).
Offensive CR: 15DPR = CR2, Attack Bonus 5 boosts this to 3.

Overall CR: (3+1.25)/2=4.25/2 = 2.125 (rounds to 2).

To be honest, I don't see why you can't just push the HP up a bit. A CR4 creature ought to have 10 to 13 hit dice, especially if it doesn't have many additional defenses.

EggKookoo
2015-10-11, 06:21 PM
Crap, I had originally given him a higher AC as part of his Klingon toughness. I got rid of that but forgot to recalc.

So for defensive, it's 1/4 for the HP and a minimum of 5 for the AC (of 15), averages to 2.75.

Offensive, it's 2 for the DPR and 0 for the attack bonus (+2), averages to 1.

(2.75 + 1) / 2 = 1.85, rounded up to 2, then I arbitrarily added 1 because of his Klingon-y toughness (the Brak'lul thing). So it should be 3, not 4. The 4 was with the old AC.

I could increase his HD but I want to leave room for the Worfs.

Good to know my CR calc isn't fundamentally busted (just forgot to account for a change).

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-12, 01:15 AM
So for defensive, it's 1/4 for the HP and a minimum of 5 for the AC (of 15), averages to 2.75.

Offensive, it's 2 for the DPR and 0 for the attack bonus (+2), averages to 1.

(2.75 + 1) / 2 = 1.85, rounded up to 2, then I arbitrarily added 1 because of his Klingon-y toughness (the Brak'lul thing). So it should be 3, not 4.

That's... not how the calculation works at all. You don't average anything until the end. Provisional Defensive CR is 0.25, then you look at the target AC, which is 13. Your AC is 15, so 15-13=2. A difference of 2 means you increase the Def CR by 1. That's it. CR5 has nothing to do with it. You look up the HP, then shift based on the AC.

Likewise, the attack bonus is +5. That's 2 more than the target attack bonus for the DPR, so you shift Atk CR up by one.

You can't just go throwing in random CR bonuses for abilities. Especially in this case, because the 'Klingon toughness' doesn't affect the overall CR at all. All it adds is one save and one damage resistance (the regeneration is already taken into account above). Neither save bonuses nor resistances matter until you have three or more of either of them, and then they just modify the effective HP and AC.

Okay, I've just watched the entirety of Steven Universe this weekend, so I think I'll start with my favourite gem, Pearl. I'll be aiming for a CR of 3 or 4.

Parry!
https://38.media.tumblr.com/6a0f5a84bdbc59b5069480c0d4ab57c9/tumblr_n40jmyJMwj1qdi5kdo1_400.gif

Holo-Pearl = Mirror Image, right?
http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/steven-universe/images/0/02/Pearl_Self-Replication.gif

Pearl
Medium humanoid (gem), lawful neutral
Armour Class 14
Hit Points 78 (12d8 + 24)
Speed 30 ft.


STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA


12 (+1)
18 (+4)
14 (+2)
19 (+4)
7 (-2)
6 (-2)


Saving Throws Con +4, Wis +0
Skills History +8, Investigation +6
Senses passive Perception 8
Languages Common
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Do it for Her. If Pearl can see an ally, she has advantage on Wisdom saving throws and is immune to the Frightened condition.

Innate Spellcasting. Pearl's spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14). She can innately cast the following spells, using her gem as a focus.

At will: Eldritch Blast, Minor Illusion
1/day: Mirror Image

Magical Weapons. Pearl's weapon attacks are magical. As a free action on her turn, Pearl can switch her weapon between its sword-form (which is one-handed) and spear-form (which is two-handed).

Actions
Multiattack. Pearl makes three melee weapon attacks.

Spear. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) slashing damage.

Sword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage.

Reactions
Parry. Pearl adds 2 to her AC against one melee attack that would hit her. To do so, she must see the attacker and be wielding a one-handed melee weapon.

I've statted the 'spear' as if it were a finesse longsword/battleaxe, because that's a fair representation of how she wields it.

Def CR: 78HP = CR1, AC=14+1 (parry)=15, final Def CR: 2
Atk CR: 27DPR = CR4, Atk bonus = +6, final Atk CR: 4
Overall CR: (2+4)/2=3.

EggKookoo
2015-10-12, 05:39 AM
That's... not how the calculation works at all. You don't average anything until the end. Provisional Defensive CR is 0.25, then you look at the target AC, which is 13. Your AC is 15, so 15-13=2. A difference of 2 means you increase the Def CR by 1. That's it. CR5 has nothing to do with it. You look up the HP, then shift based on the AC.

Likewise, the attack bonus is +5. That's 2 more than the target attack bonus for the DPR, so you shift Atk CR up by one.

Right, I actually knew this. It was late and I lost my mind.


You can't just go throwing in random CR bonuses for abilities. Especially in this case, because the 'Klingon toughness' doesn't affect the overall CR at all. All it adds is one save and one damage resistance (the regeneration is already taken into account above). Neither save bonuses nor resistances matter until you have three or more of either of them, and then they just modify the effective HP and AC.

Wow, so he's kind of a wimp. I need to up the damage or something.

So I have a question about design process. How do you decide how many hit dice the creature has? Do you just arbitrarily pick something based on the hit die type, your chosen CON score, and the target HP based on the CR you're aiming for?

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-12, 05:44 AM
So I have a question about design process. How do you decide how many hit dice the creature has? Do you just arbitrarily pick something based on the hit die type, your chosen CON score, and the target HP based on the CR you're aiming for?

For me, this is the fuzziest part of the whole process. Really, you just have to do whatever it takes to get the HP into the target zone.

If I'm doing something really complicated and detailed, I'll go through the MM and compile a list of all the monsters with the CR I'm going for, then look at how many hit dice they have. If there's a pattern, I'll follow that. Otherwise, just pick something, see if it works, then tinker from there.

EggKookoo
2015-10-12, 06:46 AM
For me, this is the fuzziest part of the whole process. Really, you just have to do whatever it takes to get the HP into the target zone.

If I'm doing something really complicated and detailed, I'll go through the MM and compile a list of all the monsters with the CR I'm going for, then look at how many hit dice they have. If there's a pattern, I'll follow that. Otherwise, just pick something, see if it works, then tinker from there.

One of the biggest hangups I had was divorcing hit dice from CR, since they're married for PCs.

I overhauled my Klingon. In the end I got a CR of 3.5, which I rounded up to 4. I'm not sure if rounding up is the right thing to do.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-12, 06:57 AM
I overhauled my Klingon. In the end I got a CR of 3.5, which I rounded up to 4. I'm not sure if rounding up is the right thing to do.

I tend to round CRs 'correctly' - so in this case, I'd go up. Especially because its peak damage output is so high. In fact, I thought you were supposed to measure CR by the creature's best attack and best defence - even if they can't both happen at the same time - which would push the Klingon up to CR5 overall.

EggKookoo
2015-10-12, 07:11 AM
I tend to round CRs 'correctly' - so in this case, I'd go up. Especially because its peak damage output is so high. In fact, I thought you were supposed to measure CR by the creature's best attack and best defence - even if they can't both happen at the same time - which would push the Klingon up to CR5 overall.

That's interesting, but a little counter-intuitive. I mean about using the best of both even if they're not useable simultaneously. I think from a design philosophy perspective, I'd rather aim to have the two different configs have the same (or nearly the same) CR. This would make it easier to manage and it would also reduce the incentive to keep it in the higher CR config all the time. If that's not feasible I'd probably go with the higher config as the monster's final CR, since it's capable of operating that way.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-12, 07:23 AM
That's interesting, but a little counter-intuitive. I mean about using the best of both even if they're not useable simultaneously. I think from a design philosophy perspective, I'd rather aim to have the two different configs have the same (or nearly the same) CR. This would make it easier to manage and it would also reduce the incentive to keep it in the higher CR config all the time. If that's not feasible I'd probably go with the higher config as the monster's final CR, since it's capable of operating that way.

It's a bit counter-intuitive, but given that the Klingon can change the way it operates by swapping its weaponry (which it can do in combat), I think it's fair to measure it as the 'best of both'.

The fact that it can respond to changing battlefield situations by changing its weapon loadout makes it potentially more dangerous, especially if you're fighting more than one of them.

EggKookoo
2015-10-12, 07:28 AM
It's a bit counter-intuitive, but given that the Klingon can change the way it operates by swapping its weaponry (which it can do in combat), I think it's fair to measure it as the 'best of both'.

The fact that it can respond to changing battlefield situations by changing its weapon loadout makes it potentially more dangerous, especially if you're fighting more than one of them.

Ok, I see. So he can come at you in "high damage, low defense" mode, then switch to "low damage, high defense" mode after taking some damage himself.

EggKookoo
2015-10-15, 12:07 PM
Hey, so say I'm making a Rogue-based monster. What effect does something like Uncanny Dodge have on its CR? Does it just add 1.x to its effective HP?

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-15, 01:39 PM
Hey, so say I'm making a Rogue-based monster. What effect does something like Uncanny Dodge have on its CR? Does it just add 1.x to its effective HP?

Ugh, that's a tricky one. Uncanny Dodge is an extremely powerful ability that probably shouldn't be used for monsters. If you have to, the +50% effective HP seems like a reasonable guess. Or just give it the Parry reaction.

Side note: the ranger/rogue ability Evasion is basically the same as the monster ability Avoidance, which (according to DMG 280) increases effective AC by 1. So you're probably safe to use that.

JNAProductions
2015-10-15, 03:14 PM
I wouldn't say +50%. That means it only suffers two attacks a turn, whereas the players can easily gang up on it to force it to waste its reaction once and then hit it with many more attacks.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-15, 03:16 PM
I wouldn't say +50%. That means it only suffers two attacks a turn, whereas the players can easily gang up on it to force it to waste its reaction once and then hit it with many more attacks.

Maybe +25% then? I guess it also depends on whether or not the monster gets any other cool reactions, and what other defenses it has. If it has Legendary Resistance as well, then it suddenly becomes a lot harder to put down.

EggKookoo
2015-10-15, 04:40 PM
I suppose I can just give it +1 AC and call it "nimble." The more I get into this, the more I see that a lot of PC abilities are just flavorful ways of increasing AC, or increasing HP, or increasing to-hit, and it's easier just to give those to monsters as simple AC/HP/to-hit bonuses. I mean, it's kind of a no-brainer but monster design really drives the idea home.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-15, 05:18 PM
I suppose I can just give it +1 AC and call it "nimble." The more I get into this, the more I see that a lot of PC abilities are just flavorful ways of increasing AC, or increasing HP, or increasing to-hit, and it's easier just to give those to monsters as simple AC/HP/to-hit bonuses. I mean, it's kind of a no-brainer but monster design really drives the idea home.

Yup. That's one of the reasons I enjoy homebrewing stuff. It gives you a chance to lift the bonnet and really explore the inner workings of the system.

You definitely get a much better understanding of things once you've spent some time building them from the ground up - and that applies to everything, not just board games.

EggKookoo
2015-10-24, 09:23 AM
I'm struggling with this one. I want to create a bard-like monster that can inspire its allies the same way the PC bard can. I'm thinking I'd give the creature a set amount of dice based on its CHA mod, and set the die type to d10. The question is, how do I account for this in its CR? I could just add the die average to its to-hit bonus but really it benefits the creatures around it. Does it even increase this creature's CR at all?

I looked in the DMG under Monster Features but I couldn't find anything that seemed to match or even be close.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-24, 11:45 AM
I'm struggling with this one. I want to create a bard-like monster that can inspire its allies the same way the PC bard can. I'm thinking I'd give the creature a set amount of dice based on its CHA mod, and set the die type to d10. The question is, how do I account for this in its CR? I could just add the die average to its to-hit bonus but really it benefits the creatures around it. Does it even increase this creature's CR at all?

I looked in the DMG under Monster Features but I couldn't find anything that seemed to match or even be close.

There are some similar abilities in the MM, like the Hobgoblin Captain's Leadership or the Goblin Boss' Redirect Attack, but they're not quite what you're looking for.

The DMG doesn't think they have any impact on CR, whereas a straightforward implementation of Bardic Inspiration probably would.

You could try modifying the CRs of the minions that are being inspired, though that would be easier if it were a damage or temp HP buff, rather than a to-hit buff (then you could assume they gain the benefit on one turn out of three).

I'd recommend making it a Recharge X ability (like Leadership), rather than a dice/rest ability, because most monsters don't rest 'on screen'. If they get 4 dice/rest, they have no incentive to hold them back, whereas forcing them to wait for a recharge makes them play more like a PC would.

EggKookoo
2015-10-24, 01:13 PM
There are some similar abilities in the MM, like the Hobgoblin Captain's Leadership or the Goblin Boss' Redirect Attack, but they're not quite what you're looking for.

The DMG doesn't think they have any impact on CR, whereas a straightforward implementation of Bardic Inspiration probably would.

You could try modifying the CRs of the minions that are being inspired, though that would be easier if it were a damage or temp HP buff, rather than a to-hit buff (then you could assume they gain the benefit on one turn out of three).

I'd recommend making it a Recharge X ability (like Leadership), rather than a dice/rest ability, because most monsters don't rest 'on screen'. If they get 4 dice/rest, they have no incentive to hold them back, whereas forcing them to wait for a recharge makes them play more like a PC would.

I ended up going a different route with the creature, but I appreciate your input. The whole "not resting" thing also impacts spellcasting creatures. I've basically decided not to create any creature that just "casts spells" but rather give the creature specific spell-like abilities.

EggKookoo
2015-10-27, 10:09 AM
Another question, which I originally asked in the 5e RAW thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19999089&postcount=377). I think I know how I'd handle it but I was curious if anyone had dealt with this before.


Q137: If a creature has both the enlarge feature (increase size; double damage dice on STR-based attacks) and the brute feature (+1 damage dice on STR-based attacks), which is applied first?

Example: Such a creature has a nominally 1d6 attack. Enlarge brings that to 2d6 and brute adds one more die for 3d6. Or, brute adds one die to make it 2d6 and enlarge doubles it to 4d6.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-27, 12:15 PM
Another question, which I originally asked in the 5e RAW thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19999089&postcount=377). I think I know how I'd handle it but I was curious if anyone had dealt with this before.

I haven't seen the RAW thread, but my AFB instinct is that Brute is a flat bonus. Always 1d6. So the final total is 3d6. But then, that's not how criticals work, is it?

EggKookoo
2015-10-27, 12:33 PM
I haven't seen the RAW thread, but my AFB instinct is that Brute is a flat bonus. Always 1d6. So the final total is 3d6. But then, that's not how criticals work, is it?

I think it's not flat. The Bugbear description is thus:


Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the bugbear hits with it.

The DMG says:


Increase the monster's effective per-round damage by the amount noted in the trait.

This suggests to me that it's one extra die of whatever it uses for damage.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-10-27, 01:22 PM
I think it's not flat. The Bugbear description is thus:


Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the bugbear hits with it.

The DMG says:


Increase the monster's effective per-round damage by the amount noted in the trait.

This suggests to me that it's one extra die of whatever it uses for damage.

I meant flat as in always one die. But I'm still not 100% on that, on the basis that other multipliers multiply all the dice, of which the Brute die would be one.

EggKookoo
2015-10-27, 01:51 PM
I meant flat as in always one die. But I'm still not 100% on that, on the basis that other multipliers multiply all the dice, of which the Brute die would be one.

Oh, I see. I hadn't seen flat used in that context before.

On their own, both brute and enlarge are pretty clear. My question in the other thread was what the RAW order was for a creature that has both. Apparently there is none.

Personally, I don't think it matters as long as the increase in damage is accounted for in the creature's CR. For a greatsword-wielder, it's a difference between 17 and 21 dice-based damage per hit (before mods). For smaller weapons and big STR mods, the difference is less.