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Gralamin
2008-07-03, 04:20 AM
4E Monster Creation Guide
Introduction
The method for creating monsters described in the Dungeon Master Guide is a badly worded an possibly an ill-balanced way to create monsters. It is however quick. This guide is a more in-depth look at designing monsters for 4E, and is best used if you have a large amount of time to prepare.

The Monster Block
Before creating a monster, make sure you read Monster Manual page 4, 6, and 7. This describes the Monster Block and how to read it. A sample block for forum posting is below, with the code for it in spoilers.
{table=head]{colsp=2}Monster NameSize origin type (Keyword)|
Level # RoleXP #

[b]Initiative +#|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +#; special senses

{colsp=3}Aura Name (Keyword) Aura #; effect[b]HP #; Bloodied #[b]AC #, Fortitude #, Reflex #, Will #[b]Saving Throws +#[b]Speed #[b]Action Points #

{colsp=3}[Type] Power Name (Action; recharge) ♦ Keyword(s)

{colsp=3}Reach; range, area, or targets; attack bonus vs target defense; effect. Miss: Effect (if any). Secondary attack or Effect.

{colsp=3}[Type] Power Name (Action; recharge) ♦ Keyword(s)

{colsp=3}Reach; range, area, or targets; attack bonus vs target defense; effect. Miss: Effect (if any). Secondary attack or Effect.

Alignment [b]Str score (+#)[b]Con score (+#)|Languages[b]Dex score (+#)[b]Int score (+#)|[b]Wis score (+#)[b]Cha score (+#)

{colsp=3}Skills skill name +#, Skill name +#

{colsp=3}Equipment Armor, shield, weapons, other gear[/table]

{table=head]{colsp=2}Monster NameSize origin type (Keyword)|
[b]Level # RoleXP #

[b]Initiative +#|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +#; special senses

{colsp=3}Aura Name (Keyword) Aura #; effect[b]HP #; Bloodied #[b]AC #, Fortitude #, Reflex #, Will #[b]Saving Throws +#[b]Speed #[b]Action Points #

{colsp=3}[Type] Power Name (Action; recharge) ♦ Keyword(s)

{colsp=3}Reach; range, area, or targets; attack bonus vs target defense; effect. Miss: Effect (if any). Secondary attack or Effect.

{colsp=3}[Type] Power Name (Action; recharge) ♦ Keyword(s)

{colsp=3}Reach; range, area, or targets; attack bonus vs target defense; effect. Miss: Effect (if any). Secondary attack or Effect.

Alignment [b]Str score (+#)[b]Con score (+#)|Languages[b]Dex score (+#)[b]Int score (+#)|[b]Wis score (+#)[b]Cha score (+#)

{colsp=3}Skills skill name +#, Skill name +#

{colsp=3}Equipment Armor, shield, weapons, other gear[/table]

[b]Creating A Standard Monster
To actually create a monster, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Filling in the Header
The header is the top of the block, and represents much of what your creature is meant to be. By filling in this section first, you essentially set what sort of creature your monster is.

Name: I'm gonna refer to Fax_Celestis' guide to homebrewing 3.5 for this.

Name: Name your monster. Honestly, I've seen a lot of names that really just stick out as a sore thumb, even on an otherwise well-designed monster. If you're stuck for a name, I personally recommend taking one word that closely describes your creature, seeing what it looks like and sounds like in other languages, and then altering that slightly until you come up with a name that sounds interesting. You might want to try Babelfish (http://babelfish.altavista.com), BehindTheName (http://behindthename.com) (which also has a generator (http://behindthename.com/random/), or Wehewehe (http://wehewehe.org) if you're stuck.
Size: Defines how large your creature is. Monster Manual page 6 has a pretty good guide to sizes.
origin: Summarizes the monster's place in the D&D Cosmology.
Aberrant creature are from the far realm, or have been corrupted by it. Aberrant monsters usually have unusual features, such as eye stalks and tentacles.
Elemental creatures are from the Elemental Chaos, or from the Abyss.
Fey creatures are from the Feywild.
Immortal creatures are native to the Astral Sea. They do not age or die of natural causes.
Natural creatures are from the material plane. Most Natural creatures breathe, eat, and sleep (except for those with the construct or undead keyword)
Shadow creatures are from the Shadowfell.
Type: Summarizes basic things about appearance and behavior. Types are Animate, Beast, Humanoid, and Magical Beast. Monster Manual page 280 to 283 gives a good description of each type.
(Keyword): Represents a group of monsters, such as angel, demon, devil, dragon and undead. Others indicate that a creature is linked or made from an elemental force: Air, cold, earth, fire, or water. Monsters can have more then one Keyword. Monster Manual page 280 to 283 gives a good description of each keyword.

Level: What level do you want this creature to be? If you are unsure what level you are aiming for, choose monsters you would think of more powerful and less powerful then this creature, and fit it in-between them.
Role: What Role is this creature?
Artillery focus on powerful ranged attacks.
Brutes Focus on dealing large amounts of damage in melee combat.
Controllers Manipulate enemies or the battlefield.
Lurkers focus on stealthy attacks, usually delivering a powerful attack once every few rounds, focusing on defense otherwise.
Skirmishers focus on mobility.
Soldiers specialize in drawing the characters attacks and defending other creatures
In addition, some creatures may have the additional Leader role. Leaders tend to have one ability that helps other creatures in battle. A skirmisher leader may allow all allies to shift for example.

XP: DMG page 56 has a table with which you may look up the XP value of your monster.

Example: I decide to make a creature. I decide I want it to be a Beast from the Shadowfell, about as large as a human (medium). To be interesting, I decide its an Artillery creature of level 5 (and thus worth 200 xp). Continuing my concept, I decide its range attack is a series of "shadow quills" it can launch from its spine. I also decide I want it to look much like a wolf. With the concept in my head, I decide to name it. I go to one of the links above, and fine that Gerwulf means spear wolf in German. Going to Babel fish, I find out Quill translated to german is Spule. I decide to combine these names, and call the creature Spurwulf.
Spurwulf Level 5 Artillery
Medium shadow beast XP 200

Step 2: Ability Scores
Choose ability scores that seem appropriate for the creature. The highest stat of a creature should, in general, be no more then 16+(1/2 creature Level). Most other stats should be, at most, equal to 13+(1/2 creature level). After choosing stats, find a creature with a similar role and level, and compare stats. Right by each stat, you'll notice is a position for +#. To calculate this number, follow the formula: (Stat-10)/2+Creature Level. Ability scores are not used by most creatures, but is a good reference none the less.
Note: Beasts, Unintelligent Undead, and many Animates tend to have low intelligence scores. Make sure to check a creature of the same type at as close to a level as possible as well!

Example: Since the Spurwulf will be focusing on ranged attacks, I decide it should have its highest stat as dexterity. I set that to 16+(5/2) = 18. Since most Beasts have low intelligence, I set the intelligence of the creature to 5. I decide that the creature is hardy, but not very strong, setting its constitution at 15 but its strength at 10. Finally I'm unsure how to rate a creatures wisdom and charisma, but I decide I want it to have a reasonable perception score, so I set Wisdom to 14, and Charisma down to 12.
STR 10 (+2), CON 15 (+4), DEX 18 (+6), INT 5 (-1), WIS 14 (+4), CHA 12 (+3)
I then check the back of the Monster Manual, and note that a Gnoll Huntmaster is a level 5 artillery creature. I also notice Dire Wolf is a Skirmisher 5, and decide that to be a second test subject. Looking at the Gnoll Huntmaster, it has more strength and constitution then the Spurwulf, Slightly higher dexterity, Higher Intelligence, the same wisdom, and lower charisma. Well that doesn't seem good. Just in case I check against Blazing Skeleton, another level 5 artillery (The Gnoll might have above average stats).
The Skeleton has more strength, more constitution, same dexterity, slightly lower intelligence, slightly higher wisdom, and lower charisma. I decide the Spurwulf could use a higher constitution, slightly higher strength, and lower the charisma down a bit.
STR 12 (+3), CON 17 (+5), DEX 18 (+6), INT 5 (-1), WIS 14 (+4), CHA 10 (+2)
Checking the Dire Wolf, it seem this creature is not as strong or as hardy as the dire wolf, but is more Dexterous and slightly more charismatic. The Dire Wolf seems to have above average statistics. I decide I've found the Spurwulf's statistics.

Step 3: Powers
Possibly the most complex part of the monster creation, you choose exactly what the monster can do here. In general a creature will have the following:
1 or 2 basic attacks (Melee or Ranged, use-able at will)
1 encounter or rechargeable power per tier (1 from level 1 to 10, 2 from level 11 to 20, 3 from level 21 to 30) OR
1 or 2 Passive bonuses
After choosing what you want, you must calculate the damage and attack bonuses. I recommend using the Damage expressions in the DMG (page 185) and then cross referencing Monster Manual creatures (as there seems to be no pattern).
To Calculate Attack bonus, choose which defense you are attacking and check the table on page 184 of the DMG. Once again, check similar monsters, and raise or lower as needed. Another quick way to check what you want the attack bonus to be is to choose a primary statistic for it (such as dexterity for a ranged attack) and follow this formula Level + (Stat-10)/2.

Example: I decide the Spurwulf will have 2 basic attacks (a Ranged and melee attack), as well as a recharge power. I decide the Bite is a Spurwulf's defense agaisnt anything that gets close, while its powerful shadow quills serve as its range basic attack. I decide to give a recharge power that allows it to teleport through shadows as a minor action. I also decide the Quills attack the Reflex defense instead of AC because they are made of energy that armor cannot block. I now write up the monster stat block with what I have so far...

{table=head]{colsp=2}SpurwulfMedium shadow beast|
[b]Level 5 artilleryXP 200

Initiative +#|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +#; special senses

{colsp=3}Aura Name (Keyword) Aura #; effect[b]HP #; Bloodied #[b]AC #, Fortitude #, Reflex #, Will #[b]Saving Throws +#[b]Speed #[b]Action Points #

{colsp=3}[Melee Basic Attack] Dark Bite (Standard, at-will)

{colsp=3}+9 vs AC; 1d6+4 damage.

{colsp=3}[Ranged Basic Attack] Shadow Quills (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Ranged 20; +9 vs Reflex; 1d10+4 damage, and target is weakened.

{colsp=3}Shadow Jump (Minor, Recharge 6) ♦ Teleportation

{colsp=3}Teleport 4 squares

Alignment [b]Str 12 (+3)[b]Con 17 (+5)|Languages[b]Dex 18 (+6)[b]Int 5 (-1)|[b]Wis 14 (+4)[b]Cha 10 (+2)

{colsp=3}Skills skill name +#, Skill name +#

{colsp=3}Equipment Armor, shield, weapons, other gear[/table]
Checking against another creature, it seems the chance to hit is way too high. I decide to reduce both to +9 (as seen above. It was +12/+10 for melee and ranged respectively). I also decide the damage is fine. Following my quick check formula, I get a result of +9, so that should be about right.

[b]Step 4: Filling in the blank spots
As you can probably guess, I advocate using DMG Page 184 and cross referencing Monster Manual creatures. I will however, explain how to fill in some of the blanks.
Initiative: Take the number by your Dexterity score, and add the bonus on DMG Page 184 to it.
Skills: Choose one or two skills for unintelligent creatures if any fit. For intelligent creatures, choose as many as fits the concept.
Defenses: Follow the table on DMG page 184. Look at the highest number in each stat pair (Str/Con, Int/Dex, Wis/Con), for every 2 points the ability score is above or below 13+1/2 level, increase or decrease the defense by 1.
Equipment: If you wish to add items, check DMG page 174, which contains a great section for equipment.
Speed: Choose a speed. 6 is human average.

Example:
Since Artillery doesnít have a bonus, I determine my Initiative is +6.
I decide the creature has perception trained, giving me a perception of 5+4 (Number beside Wisdom) = 9
I decide the creature has darkvision, but does not have an aura.
I determine the hp is 53, and it has a bloodied value of 26.
I find all of its defenses are 17. But since it has a slightly higher constitution and dexterity, Fortitude and Reflex increase. Will does not decrease as wisdom is only 1 below the average.
The creature is not elite or Solo so it has no saving throw bonuses
I give the creature a speed of 6, about Human average.
The creature has no action points as it is not elite or solo.
I decide it is unaligned, knows no languages, and has no equipment.
This brings me to:

{table=head]{colsp=2}SpurwulfMedium shadow beast|
[b]Level 5 artilleryXP 200

Initiative +6|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +9; darkvision

{colsp=3}HP 53; Bloodied 26[b]AC 17, Fortitude 18, Reflex 18, Will 17[b]Speed 6

{colsp=3}[Melee Basic Attack] Dark Bite (Standard, at-will)

{colsp=3}+9 vs AC; 1d6+4 damage.

{colsp=3}[Ranged Basic Attack] Shadow Quills (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Ranged 20; +9 vs Reflex; 1d10+4 damage, and target is weakened.

{colsp=3}Shadow Jump (Minor, Recharge 6) ♦ Teleportation

{colsp=3}Teleport 4 squares

Alignment Unaligned [b]Str 12 (+3)[b]Con 17 (+5)|Languages[b]Dex 18 (+6)[b]Int 5 (-1)|[b]Wis 14 (+4)[b]Cha 10 (+2)

{colsp=3}Skills Perception +9[/table]

Comparing it to other creatures, It seems about balanced, and I now just need to write a section on tactics.

Spurwulf Tactics
Spurwulf's attack as soon as possible, sending barrages of quills at the character that looks like it is in armor. The Spurwulf tries to keep at least 6 squares between itself and opponents, using its Shadow Jump power to back away when needed.

[b]Creating A Minion Monster
Simply follow all the steps above, but change the creatures HP to 1 and note it never is hurt on a miss. Minions tend to have powers and abilities that cause them work well in group. A Minion does a set amount of damage, and a rough estimate tends to be (Highest stat - 10) / 2, +1 if they have a weapon, -1 if they have an additional effect, -1 if it is a second attack. Cross reference similar monsters to make sure the damage is about right.

Example:
I decided to make a level 5 Minion called a Spurwulf Pup. I take the spurwulf, and decrease a few of its statistics as I see fit, and find that its damage should be (18-10)/2 = 4. Its bite attack should deal about 3 damage.
{table=head]{colsp=2}Spurwulf PupMedium shadow beast|
[b]Level 5 MinionXP 50

Initiative +6|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +9; darkvision

{colsp=3}HP 1; a minion is never damaged by a miss effect.[b]AC 17, Fortitude 18, Reflex 18, Will 17[b]Speed 6

{colsp=3}[Melee Basic Attack] Dark Bite (Standard, at-will)

{colsp=3}+9 vs AC; 3 damage.

{colsp=3}[Ranged Basic Attack] Shadow Quills (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Ranged 20; +9 vs Reflex; 4 damage.

{colsp=3}Shadow Jump (Minor, Recharge 6) ♦ Teleportation

{colsp=3}Teleport 2 squares

Alignment Unaligned [b]Str 12 (+3)[b]Con 17 (+5)|Languages[b]Dex 18 (+6)[b]Int 5 (-1)|[b]Wis 14 (+4)[b]Cha 10 (+2)

{colsp=3}Skills Perception +9[/table]
I decided to decrease the teleport range, to negate some of the threat the minion represents. A Vampire Spawn Fleshripper deals more damage but is less versatile. I think itís an even trade.

[b]Creating An Elite Monster
Creating an Elite is easy, simply follow the instructions for a standard creature, but make the following changes.

Role
Gains the Elite role in addition to its other roles.

Hit Points
Double Hit Points

Defenses
Increase three defenses by 2, focusing on the best first. If a creature has a specific weak defense, do not increase it.

Saving Throws and Action Points
Add 1 action point and give the creature +2 to saving throws.

Powers
Give the creature an ability that activates when bloodied, or allow an immediate use of a power when bloodied.
Give the creature either immediate action ability or additional attack ability (such as a double attack).

Example: I decide to make the Spurwulf Fighter, a powerful elite version of the Spurwulf. I make the changes above, deciding to increase AC, Fort, and Will. I grant the creature the ability to fire off two quill attacks as a barrage, and when bloodied it turns insubstantial for the rest of the encounter.

{table=head]{colsp=2}Spurwulf FighterMedium shadow beast|
[b]Level 5 Elite artilleryXP 400

Initiative +6|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +9; darkvision

{colsp=3}HP 106 (See shadow form below); Bloodied 53[b]AC 19, Fortitude 20, Reflex 20, Will 17[b]Saving Throws +2[b]Speed 6[b]Action Points 1

{colsp=3}[Melee Basic Attack] Dark Bite (Standard, at-will)

{colsp=3}+9 vs AC; 1d6+4 damage.

{colsp=3}[Ranged Basic Attack] Shadow Quills (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Ranged 20; +9 vs Reflex; 1d10+4 damage, and target is weakened.

{colsp=3}[Ranged] Quill Barrage (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Ranged 20; Make two Shadow Quill attacks agaisnt target creature.

{colsp=3}Shadow Jump (Minor, Recharge 6) ♦ Teleportation

{colsp=3}Teleport 4 squares

{colsp=3}Shadow Form (Immediate Reaction, Bloodied)

{colsp=3}The Spurwolf Fighter becomes insubstantial until the end of the encounter.

Alignment Unaligned [b]Str 12 (+3)[b]Con 17 (+5)|Languages[b]Dex 18 (+6)[b]Int 5 (-1)|[b]Wis 14 (+4)[b]Cha 10 (+2)

{colsp=3}Skills Perception +9[/table]

[b]Creating A Solo Monster
Creating a solo is a lot like creating an elite.

Role
Gains the Solo role in addition to its other roles.

Hit Points
Hit Points equal to (8*(Level+1)+Con)*Multiplying Factor, where the Multiplying Factor is equal to 4 if level 10 or lower, or 5 for level 11 and higher.

Defenses
Increase any three defenses by 2.

Saving Throws and Action Points
Add 2 action points and give the creature +5 to saving throws.

Powers
Give the creature the ability to use an encounter ability at-will, and give the creature an ability that replicates taking another standard action. I also highly recommend giving the creature ability when bloodied.

Example: I decide to make the Alpha Spurwulf, a powerful solo version of the Spurwulf. I make the changes above, deciding to increase AC, Fort, and Will. I grant the creature the ability to make two basic attacks, whether two bites, two quills or a bit and quill, and when bloodied it turns insubstantial for the rest of the encounter. This creature is very similar to the Elite, but lasts longer. An interesting variant may be a change of tactics when bloodied, but I will save that for another creation.

{table=head]{colsp=2}Alpha SpurwulfMedium shadow beast|
[b]Level 5 Solo artilleryXP 1000

Initiative +6|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +9; darkvision

{colsp=3}HP 164 (See shadow form below); Bloodied 82[b]AC 19, Fortitude 20, Reflex 20, Will 17[b]Saving Throws +5[b]Speed 6[b]Action Points 2

{colsp=3}[Melee Basic Attack] Dark Bite (Standard, at-will)

{colsp=3}+9 vs AC; 1d6+4 damage.

{colsp=3}[Ranged Basic Attack] Shadow Quills (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Ranged 20; +9 vs Reflex; 1d10+4 damage, and target is weakened.

{colsp=3}Quick Strike (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Choose one of the following: Make two Shadow Quills attacks, Make two Dark Bite attacks, or Make one Dark Bite and one Shadow Quill attack.

{colsp=3}Shadow Jump (Minor, Recharge 6) ♦ Teleportation

{colsp=3}Teleport 4 squares

{colsp=3}Shadow Form (Immediate Reaction, Bloodied)

{colsp=3}The Alpha Spurwulf becomes insubstantial until the end of the encounter.

Alignment Unaligned [b]Str 12 (+3)[b]Con 17 (+5)|Languages[b]Dex 18 (+6)[b]Int 5 (-1)|[b]Wis 14 (+4)[b]Cha 10 (+2)

{colsp=3}Skills Perception +9[/table]

[hr]
[b]On Bosses
Some of this thread is general purpose advice. The second part details homebrew mechanics for boss fights.

A common complaint in 4e is that encounters, especially boss fights, drag on for to long. So how can you make boss fights more exciting?

Step 0) Be inspired. You have to have a firm idea of what you want as a boss. When you need a boss and don't know what to make, steal ideas from whatever you have, books, TV, TVtropes, whatever.

Step 1) Choose whether your boss is an Elite or Solo creature. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. This is also the point you should choose the role of your creature.

Step 2) Lower the boss's Defenses slightly, increase damage. This will make the boss more of a threat, but quicker to take down.

Step 3) Use Terrain. Terrain helps make encounters interesting. If your boss is a giant bunny whipping the easter eggs around the field at your party, the terrain is used interestingly.

Step 4) Avoid conditions that disable characters. While Stunned and Petrified are powerful and make your boss a threat, it can also anger players. Players want to be participating in a boss fight, and taking them out is frustrating. Some players might not have a problem with this, but others will. When in doubt, avoid them entirely.

Step 5) Every boss is Unique. If there is nothing unique about the boss, then its going to seem like another, if interesting, encounter. Boss's who have abilities that are different then what is typical are even more interesting. Perhaps your boss can focus on target, and any creature that attacks it deals half that damage to whoever they are focusing on.

Step 6) Sequence the battle. Often Bosses in Video games won't use some abilities until a certain point in the battle, do the same. Abilities that don't activate until a certain number of rounds or a certain HP values makes the fight harder to predict.

Step 7) Run it!

Some general advice that doesn't fit anywhere particular:
Video games have been doing bosses for a long time. A few key mechanics which are good to steal are:

Threshold - Most monsters have some threshold, through abilites that trigger when they are bloodied. Threshold is any ability in which something happens after you reach a certain HP value.
Multipe Forms - A cliche in Video games, but rare in PnP. Multiple forms are discussed more indepth in the homebrew section of the guide.
Multiple Parts - A boss is sometimes made out of multiple Parts. Having parts that the player can attack disables the boss in some fashion, and may make the encounter easier.



Homebrew
Unfortunately its not always possible to do what you want to do with what exists. In that case you have to homebrew it. Below is information that will help construct Multiple forms, Multiple Parts, Terrain Interaction, and unique abilities.

Multiple Forms
The key with making Multiple forms is to make it not to short, and not to long. The easiest way to do that is assign each form a fraction of the HP that a single form creature would usually have. These do not have to be equal, a two formed creature might have 40% / 60% HP.

In general, Elite should never exceed two forms. Elite are about twice the HP of a normal monster, so having more forms by default means that either its easier to kill the boss then a normal creature, or your adding more HP on top.
Suggested HP amounts for forms: 40% / 60%, 50% / 50%

A Solo creature should not exceed five forms for a similar reason. Solo HP is about eight times that of a normal monster, but they have to have increased survivability to keep up with PCs. Five is a good maximum because it can give a good amount of forms without problems.
Suggested HP amounts for two forms: As elite plus 25%/75%.
Suggested HP amounts for three forms: 33/33/33, 30/30/40, 25/25/50.
Suggested HP amounts for four forms: 25/25/25/25, 20/20/20/40, 20/25/25/30.
Suggest HP amounts for five forms: 20/20/20/20/20, 10/10/15/20/45.

Video game examples of Multiple Forms: Choose a Final Fantasy


Multiple Parts
Multiple parts are split into two main types: Drones and Component. Drones are separate creatures that are "part" of the boss somehow, while Components are actually parts of a boss.

Drones work best as something that the creature summons (but not with the summoning keyword necessarily). These creatures are worth no XP, because they use the Boss's XP.

Drones should each have a function. For example, if you have a priest of Vecna who summons some flaming skulls (not necessarily the monster of the same name), they may act as skirmishers, keeping the PCs away from the priest.

Very rarely, Drones can even revive the Boss if the PCs don't get rid of them. For example, When the Vecna priest dies, if his two skulls are left, they fly towards the weakest looking party member and then crash into each other, creating a necrotic burst and reviving the priest to 1/4 hit points. This uses a healing surge (remember, monsters have 1 HS / tier, but cannot generally second wind).

Examples of Drones in Video games: Chrono Trigger.

Components are similar to the idea of chopping off a Hydra's heads. The creature is made of distinct parts, and you can target one to remove it. Generally the death of a component shouldn't cripple the boss, but should make the encounter easier somehow. In some cases you may want to be like a Hydra, and have the destruction of Components actually enhance the monster.

Examples of Components in Video Games: Although I'm sure there is a lot others, Final Fantasy V comes to mind.

Terrain Interaction
Terrain interaction is a broad category. Everything from pushing someone into a pit, to reshaping the terrain as you fight is terrain interaction. Even being able to move through terrain that causes trouble for the players is terrain interaction.

With the broad range Terrain interaction takes, you have to choose something thats right for your monster. A worm that constantly drips acid from its mouth might leave an acid trail where it moves, causing the squares its moved through to become a zone of hindering terrain. A insane Spellcaster may light a wooden building on fire, creating holes, fires, and smoke.

Martial oriented characters are the hardest to use Terrain Interaction for, as some players have an objection to anything too fantastic (Usually saying something like "To much like anime", not that I think there is anything wrong with that). Blows that knock down pillars are fine, but turning the area around you to an ice sheet isn't, usually. If you think your boss must have such a "fantastic" power, consider making an item for it. If you do rely on an item though, expect PCs to try and get their hands on it.

Unique Abilities
Unique abilities are hard to make, and are best tailor made to effect the group somehow. A high damage group suffers from redirected damage. A high healing group his hurt more by losing Healing Surges. A high mobility group can be challenged by reducing their mobility. These counter abilities are complex because they require analysis of your group, and require time to make.

The simplest form of unique abilities is to cause the opposite of expectations when a player takes an action. Chopping off a Hydra's head makes two more appear, when intuitively, chopping off a head would mean one less head trying to bite you. These abilities capitalize on surprise, and generally aren't very effective to the encounter. Only try one if you think you can pull it off.

Between the extreme of a counter ability and the simplicity of a surprise ability, is an ability based on what makes the creature unique. These abilities focus on the creature themselves, and sometimes include the other abilities. King Midas turned whatever he touched to gold. If your players are facing King Midas, you might consider the ability to turn a character into gold instantly. This would not be very constructive to the encounter, as outlined above, so instead they slowly start petrifying, giving saves to avoid the effect, but moving progressively towards petrification as they fail. This is unique, fits thematically, and gives a player a more then fair chance to stop it.



Sample Boss Creation
I decide to create a boss that is a mechanical dragon.

Step 0) Inspiration: Deathwing and similar creatures.
Step 1) Level 27 Solo Controller
Step 2) AC 39; Fortitude 38, Reflex 38, Will 38 Damage: 3d8+9 isn't uncommon.
Step 3) The boss is in a room with a mechanical trap it has attuned to.
Step 4) Although I should avoid such conditions, I give its final form a Bite that can stun, to make up for the inability of the dragon to move. Stuff that gets close should have a hard time leaving.
Step 5) The Dragon is Part Mechanical. Its Gear Breath creates walls. It can also bounce its Eye laser off mirrors it can place. This allows it to increase the powers range. It also has a force field around it.
Step 6) Since I make my Boss three forms, I decide it can activate the trap in its second form, and in its third form, it merges with the trap.

The end Result: Here is the end result of this encounter copied from my .html file for the encounter.

Dragontech Ascendant (Dragon Form)
Level 27 Solo Controller
Huge Natural Beast (dragon, construct)
XP See Ascended
Initiative +22
Senses Perception +21; Darkvision
Defense Field (Force) aura 2; Creatures that Enter or start their turns in the aura have -5 damage. Creatres in the aura have concealment vs ranged attacks.
HP 375; Bloodied 187; At 0, turn into Legion Form
AC 39; Fortitude 38, Reflex 38, Will 38
Resist Psychic 10; Vulnerable Electricity 5
Saving Throws +5
Speed Speed 12, Fly 12
Action Points 2
r Force Laser (Standard; at-will) ♦ Force
Range 10; +32 vs Fort; 4d6+15 Force damage, and Push 5. If the beam hits a mirror, It can travel this range or up to 5 from the mirror, whichever is greater. (A line of mirrors could be used to make it ranged 30 for example)
c Gear Breath (Standard; recharge 56)
Close Blast 5; +32 vs Reflex; 3d8+9 Damage. Hit or miss: Squares in a wall 3 become a wall of gears.
a Missile Barrage (Minor; at-will) ♦ Fire
1/round; Burst 1; +32 vs Reflex; 2d8+9 Damage.
Overdrive
When bloodied; Roll initative again, and act on both initatives.
Alignment Evil
Languages Common, Draconic
Skills Intimidate +27; Insight +22
Str 23 (+19)
Dex 24 (+20)
Wis 18 (+17)
Con 26 (+21)
Int 22 (+19)
Cha 28 (+22)

Dragontech Ascendant (Legion Form)
Level 27 Solo Controller
Huge Natural Beast (dragon, construct)
XP See ascended
Initiative +22
Senses Perception +21; Darkvision
Defense Field (Force) aura 2; Creatures that Enter or start their turns in the aura have -5 damage. Creatres in the aura have concealment vs ranged attacks.
HP 375; Bloodied 187; At 0, turn into Ascended Form
AC 39; Fortitude 38, Reflex 38, Will 38
Resist Psychic 10; Vulnerable Electricity 5
Saving Throws +5
Speed Speed 12, Fly 12
Action Points 2
r Force Laser (Standard; at-will) ♦ Force
Range 10; +32 vs Fort; 4d6+15 Force damage, and Push 5. If the beam hits a mirror, It can travel this range or up to 5 from the mirror, whichever is greater. (A line of mirrors could be used to make it ranged 30 for example)
c Gear Breath (Standard; recharge 56)
Close Blast 5; +32 vs Reflex; 4d10+3 Damage. Hit or miss: Squares in a wall 3 become a wall of gears.
c Mirror Sheen (Minor; at-will)
1/round; one square in Burst 5. In addition, make an attack vs will against a creature adjacent to it. If it hits they are dazed (save ends). Make a pillar of glass. It has 25 hp. If a Force Laser is fired into it, extend its range by 5.
c Activate Array (Standard; recharge 6) ♦ Electricity
The Juixis array takes an action.
Organic Decay
When bloodied; Fly Speed decreases to 6.
Alignment Evil
Languages Common, Draconic
Skills Intimidate +27; Insight +22
Str 23 (+19)
Dex 24 (+20)
Wis 18 (+17)
Con 26 (+21)
Int 22 (+19)
Cha 28 (+22)

Dragontech Ascendant (Ascended Form)
Level 27 Solo Controller
Huge Natural Beast (dragon, Construct)
XP 55,000
Initiative +22
Senses Perception +21; Dark vision
Defense Field (Force) aura 2; Creatures that Enter or start their turns in the aura have -5 damage. Creatres in the aura have concealment vs ranged attacks.
HP 375; Bloodied 187
AC 39; Fortitude 38, Reflex 38, Will 38
Resist Psychic 10; Vulnerable Electricity 5
Saving Throws +5
Speed 0
Action Points 1
MBite (Standard; at-will)
+35 vs AC; 4d6+9 damage, and target is stunned (Save ends).
c Gear Breath (Standard; recharge 56)
Close Blast 5; +32 vs Reflex; 4d10+3 Damage and target is immobilized. Hit or miss: Squares in a wall 3 become a wall of gears.
c Form Head (Minor; encounter)
Useable 2/encounter; Close burst 5; A head is formed of one of the arrays. See Array Head creature.
Critical
When bloodied; ST Bonus becomes +2
Alignment Evil
Languages Common, Draconic
Skills Intimidate +27; Insight +22
Str 23 (+19)
Dex 24 (+20)
Wis 18 (+17)
Con 26 (+21)
Int 22 (+19)
Cha 28 (+22)

Juixis Array
Level 26 Blaster
Creature controlled Trap
XP 5000
Trap: 9 4x4 sections, each activated by the Legion form
Trigger
When Activate Array is used
Attack
Standard Action, Close burst 1 (All squares adjacent to the array, as well as up to the roof). Recharge 4,5,6.
Target: All enemies
Attack: + 30 vs Reflex
Hit: 4d10+3 Electricity damage, and blinded until end of next turn.
Attack 2
Standard Action, Area burst 1
Effect: 2d4+1 minions are generated in the area. Minions use the Lich Vestige Statstics (Page 176), lacking the aura and all powers lose the necrotic keyword.
Countermeasures
A Character can make a DC 26 Arcana or dungeoneering check to disable one array.
A character may smash an element of the array. Each one is automatically hit, has 80 hp, and resist 15 all.
Only three elements can be acting at a time.

Array Head
Level 26 Brute
Large Natural Animate (Dragon, Construct)
XP None
Initiative +21
Senses Perception +21
HP 75; Bloodied 37
AC 32; Fortitude 32, Reflex 32, Will 32
Speed
M Bite (Standard)
+32 vs AC; 3d6+10 damage, and Target is grapped.
c Gear Breath (Standard; recharge 56)
Close Blast 5; +30 vs Reflex; 2d8+9 damage. Squares in a wall 1 become gear walls.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages
Str 26 (+21)
Dex 1 (+8)
Wis 26 (+21)
Con 26 (+21)
Int 26 (+21)
Cha 26 (+21)

Map:
http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/360/oneshots.jpg


After testing, I found that the Mirrors weren't used much, so I changed the laser for the second form into a wall 4, hitting everything in it. The Mirrors then become essential because they "reset" how many squares have been used, so with one mirror there is a wall 8 instead.

[hr]

Comments? Suggestions? Critique? Logic?

Edit: Update'd the Noparse finally, and Does anyone want me to update this guide for the new minion rules?
Edit2: To Keep Everything together, I copied over a copy of my Boss Fight Guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=110937)

puppyavenger
2008-07-03, 11:25 AM
the alpha spurwolfs blodied ability says
"The Spurwolf Fighter becomes insubstantial until the end of the encounter."
also, seems logical.

Vadin
2008-07-31, 11:03 AM
Bookmarked!

Also, the part under ability scores that mentions adding the creature's level should instead say to add half the creature's level.

RTGoodman
2008-07-31, 03:06 PM
Seems pretty good to me, though I didn't read over every single bit. We've needed one of these anyway.

One thing - the [noparse] tag in your first Spoiler block is screwed up.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-31, 04:33 PM
I should like to see this stickied up next to Fax's homebrew guide.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-07-31, 04:35 PM
Agreed, this should be stickies, once the noparse tag is fixed.

Vadin
2008-07-31, 05:28 PM
Thirded. Sticky, please?

Gralamin
2009-06-29, 07:20 PM
Very Very Very Slight update, and a question.

Zeta Kai
2009-06-29, 07:25 PM
Nice work, here, Gralamin. Believe it or not, I of all people am getting some good use out of this information. And don't worry about that noparse issue; I just quoted you so I could look at you vB code. :smallwink:

Gralamin
2009-06-29, 07:29 PM
Nice work, here, Gralamin. Believe it or not, I of all people am getting some good use out of this information. And don't worry about that noparse issue; I just quoted you so I could look at you vB code. :smallwink:

Heh. Here I thought you were on an anti-4e crusade :smalltongue:.


the alpha spurwolfs blodied ability says
"The Spurwolf Fighter becomes insubstantial until the end of the encounter."
also, seems logical.

...I suppose I should actually fix that.

Shadow_Elf
2009-06-29, 07:49 PM
Heh. Here I thought you were on an anti-4e crusade :smalltongue:.

He's stopped crusading to help me with some vBulletin formatting for the VUACS project. Don't worry, no one's brainwashed Zeta or anything. yet

Gralamin
2009-06-29, 08:32 PM
He's stopped crusading to help me with some vBulletin formatting for the VUACS project. Don't worry, no one's brainwashed Zeta or anything. yet

Well Hurry up with the brainwashing! :smalltongue:

Zeta Kai
2009-06-29, 08:50 PM
I may be consumed with zealous contempt & loathing for everything that 4E stands for, but I won't let that get in the way of helping out a partner. :smallwink: We may not agree on everything, but we're a team.

A Build Team. :smallcool:

CarpeGuitarrem
2009-06-30, 02:44 PM
Niiiiice. I really, really like the job you did on this. Incredibly thorough, and very simple, too. Just the right amount of guesswork/trial and error, too.

Thajocoth
2009-07-01, 03:54 PM
Mostly good. Attack values should be 2 more vs AC than vs other defenses on average. For Artillery, it's level + 7 and level + 5 according to the DMG. Also, minions get +2 to defenses and deal the average damage of their non-minion. (Compare Black Pudding with Black Pudding Spawn for a direct correlation.)

{table=head]{colsp=2}Spurwulf Pup<br>Medium shadow beast|
Level 5 Minion<br>XP 50

Initiative +6|{colsp=2}Senses Perception +9; darkvision

{colsp=3}HP 1; a minion is never damaged by a miss effect.<br>AC 19, Fortitude 20, Reflex 20, Will 19<br>Speed 6

{colsp=3}[Melee Basic Attack] Dark Bite (Standard, at-will)

{colsp=3}+12 vs AC; 7 damage.

{colsp=3}[Ranged Basic Attack] Shadow Quills (Standard, at-will) ♦ Necrotic

{colsp=3}Ranged 20; +10 vs Reflex; 9 damage.

{colsp=3}Shadow Jump (Minor, Recharge 6) ♦ Teleportation

{colsp=3}Teleport 2 squares

Alignment Unaligned <br>Str 12 (+3)<br>Con 17 (+5)|Languages<br>Dex 18 (+6)<br>Int 5 (-1)|<br>Wis 14 (+4)<br>Cha 10 (+2)

{colsp=3}Skills Perception +9[/table]

Gralamin
2009-07-01, 08:28 PM
Mostly good. Attack values should be 2 more vs AC than vs other defenses on average. For Artillery, it's level + 7 and level + 5 according to the DMG. Also, minions get +2 to defenses and deal the average damage of their non-minion. (Compare Black Pudding with Black Pudding Spawn for a direct correlation.)


Minion damage isn't actually directly correlated as you suggest (Azer Warrior, for instance does less damage on average then a creature 3 levels below it), and the Defenses for minions are actually, on average, Lower (http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-4th-edition-rules/229092-lots-statistics-monster-manual.html) then other creatures.

As for the attack bonuses, Attacks against AC are on average one higher then other attacks (See link before), in addition, this is greatly varied at times (More so in MM2), so the best Strategy is going to be to check it against a similar monster.