# Thread: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

1. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by sreservoir
floor(rhd/2-la)+la is, when dealing with real integers la, identical to floor(rhd/2). I do hope you have a real integer there.
To anticipate the reply:
I have a few tricks over on BG that can get you complex-valued LA. Unfortunately the mo

2. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Urpriest
To anticipate the reply:
merely complex would still be identical if both parts are integral, though floor might choke a bit depending on your definitions of "integer" and "less"; you'd need non-integers to actually get different answers.

I hope you're not dealing with fractional level adjustments.

3. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by sreservoir
merely complex would still be identical if both parts are integral, though floor might choke a bit depending on your definitions of "integer" and "less"; you'd need non-integers to actually get different answers.

I hope you're not dealing with fractional level adjustments.
Oh yes quite. Sorry, too much QFT to see the obvious allusion. And hey, I could actually imagine PlzBreakMyCampAn finding a way to get a fractional LA. Complex otoh is hyperbole.

4. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

I think I recall a thread somewhere about fractional levels or some such, though I don't remember whether it was actual rule absurdities or merely hypothetical.

5. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

sresevoir noticed my redundancy. I suppose the similar left, middle, format of the normal ecl formula got picked up by everyone else so I never clarified before. My mistake. Obviously free templates should be left for tauric abuse. My variant is supposed to be balanced :)

Restating with clarification in your example: (I edited my previous quote to be consistent)

ECL = |Floor[RHD/2 - Racial LA]| + (Total LA) + (Class levels)
ECL = |Floor[0-0]| + (8) + (Class levels)
ECL = |Floor[0]| + (8) + (Class levels)
ECL = (8) +(Class levels)

ECL = just like normal

There are two sources of LA: either race or templates, which can be inherited or acquired. The left side of the formula is the race side and is only concerned with the racial LA while the middle value includes base race's LA, inherited template LA and acquired templates LA.

On the size thing I mentioned that it is an interpretational difference so you are welcome to say that that is your reading of RAW, I'd just say that the side I'm on might be mentioned too. Not that it has any relation to who is "right" but the split is somewhere around 40/60 for your side and mine respectively. Granted I've only been watching this issue for a few years during 3.5 and not for 3.0's lifetime.

And on the maths, Ur-Priest you crack me up. I love it when maths and DnD co

6. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by PlzBreakMyCmpAn
sresevoir noticed my redundancy. I suppose the similar left, middle, format of the normal ecl formula got picked up by everyone else so I never clarified before. My mistake. Obviously free templates should be left for tauric abuse. My variant is supposed to be balanced :)

Restating with clarification in your example: (I edited my previous quote to be consistent)

ECL = |Floor[RHD/2 - Racial LA]| + (Total LA) + (Class levels)
ECL = |Floor[0-0]| + (8) + (Class levels)
ECL = |Floor[0]| + (8) + (Class levels)
ECL = (8) +(Class levels)

ECL = just like normal

There are two sources of LA: either race or templates, which can be inherited or acquired. The left side of the formula is the race side and is only concerned with the racial LA while the middle value includes base race's LA, inherited template LA and acquired templates LA.

On the size thing I mentioned that it is an interpretational difference so you are welcome to say that that is your reading of RAW, I'd just say that the side I'm on might be mentioned too. Not that it has any relation to who is "right" but the split is somewhere around 40/60 for your side and mine respectively. Granted I've only been watching this issue for a few years during 3.5 and not for 3.0's lifetime.

And on the maths, Ur-Priest you crack me up. I love it when maths and DnD co
Ok, let's see if I'm understanding the formula right. Let's look at the Azer:
ECL = |Floor[RHD/2 - Racial LA]| + (LA)
ECL = |Floor[1-4]| + (4)
ECL = |-3| + (4)
ECL = 7

So an Azer ends up with a higher ECL than it would ordinarily. Now I realize that since it's a case-by-case variant, said Azer could just use the old system. But I feel like the fact that this system gives a higher ECL for anything that doesn't obviously deserve it is not an intentional feature. Is it?

RAW has less to do with the issue really (see earlier comments in this thread), since a big part of this guide is showing "where monsters come from". Not RAI so much as RAAp, rules as applied. Anyway, since the size controversy isn't as noisy over here in the playground these days I'm not as familiar with it as I could be. Could you explain your position a bit more? In particular, in your view should the titanic toad have Str 71? And why (as you mentioned earlier) is Enlarge Person exempt?

7. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

I'm checking on titanic now. Enlarge person is one of the few things that references size boni. Its actually horribly written and shouldn't be included in guide (or used RAW for that matter). Basically whichever way you interpret it leads to problems depending on if you later go up or down in size. The easiest thing for a DM to do is simply recognize that the spell is trying to use the size table but nerf some of the gains. It figures that the one poor guy trying to make sure a spell aren't as powerful as its mundane counterpart writes too badly to implement it correctly.

My bad on the formula's nomiclature though. I got distracted with my obvious excitement over another thread.. I was going to go change those absolute values at a later time (you'll see why in a sec) and didn't do it.

The idea is simple: twice the racial LA plus 1 is free RHD. I could either A) express it nicely as a piecewise function and confuse more average readers or B) use some simple words and clutter the look of the formula. I'll do the latter:

Minimum of Zero(Floor[RHD/2 - Racial LA]) + (LA) + (Class Levels)

edit: titanic seems to jack the size table and forget to make the numbers size bonuses. Still it has to use a chart so it figures they didn't catch that small fact in the errata. And yes I could have defined the subtraction and addition for the formula above over the natural numbers but I'm trying to avoid reader confusion

8. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Urpriest
Undead: Undead are corpses and spirits of the dead, animated and powered by the evil force of Negative Energy.
Deathless: They're like Undead, but powered by the good force of Positive Energy.
I object to these statements; they've clearly been tainted with Pelorite propaganda!

No, seriously, though, the books have been nothing but unclear on the subjects, seeing how conflicting they've been.

9. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by PlzBreakMyCmpAn
I'm checking on titanic now. Enlarge person is one of the few things that references size boni. Its actually horribly written and shouldn't be included in guide (or used RAW for that matter). Basically whichever way you interpret it leads to problems depending on if you later go up or down in size. The easiest thing for a DM to do is simply recognize that the spell is trying to use the size table but nerf some of the gains. It figures that the one poor guy trying to make sure a spell aren't as powerful as its mundane counterpart writes too badly to implement it correctly.

My bad on the formula's nomiclature though. I got distracted with my obvious excitement over another thread.. I was going to go change those absolute values at a later time (you'll see why in a sec) and didn't do it.

The idea is simple: twice the racial LA plus 1 is free RHD. I could either A) express it nicely as a piecewise function and confuse more average readers or B) use some simple words and clutter the look of the formula. I'll do the latter:

Minimum of Zero(Floor[RHD/2 - Racial LA]) + (LA) + (Class Levels)
Enlarge Person seems to use the same language as Righteous Might. What's a good example for you of something that doesn't? Giant Size?

Ah ok, thought that was where you were going with the formula (hence the mention of natural numbers earlier). It seems reasonable enough. I'll clean the formula up some and put a mention of it in Roll Out.

Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard
I object to these statements; they've clearly been tainted with Pelorite propaganda!

No, seriously, though, the books have been nothing but unclear on the subjects, seeing how conflicting they've been.
Pelorite propaganda it may be, but "force that tends to kill living things" and "force that tends to heal living things and shine brightly in their eyes" would be a tad longwinded. Remember our audience. They'll discover the truth of the Burning Hate eventually.

10. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Urpriest
Pelorite propaganda it may be, but "force that tends to kill living things" and "force that tends to heal living things and shine brightly in their eyes" would be a tad longwinded. Remember our audience. They'll discover the truth of the Burning Hate eventually.
Fixed that for you.

11. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Compliments on this handbook.
Originally Posted by Urpriest
Understanding monsters is understanding your own character.
Quoted for truth. Nothing made me understand the mechanics of D&D 3.5 better than my 'monsters as characters' project (see below).
Originally Posted by Urpriest
These skills are still class skills, because they are still in the Skills: section of the monster's description.
Untrue. Refer to page 307 of the Monster Manual, 'Class Skills'.
Originally Posted by Urpriest
Some templates change a creature's size. If a template changes a creature's size, its size bonuses and penalties change according to the table on page 291, as does its natural armor.
Source?
Originally Posted by Urpriest
By learning about monsters, you have taken your first step to understanding the big sophisticated simulation engine that lies under what at first appears to be just rules to play a game. I hope you will continue to explore in this vein. The D&D 3.5 system may not be the best-designed or most realistic gaming system, but it is in my view one of the most intricate and beautiful.
[emphasis mine]
Quoted for truth. You sir, pinpointed what makes D&D 3.5 such a beautiful, intricate and popular gaming system, despite its (many) flaws.

Anyway, I share your fondness for monsters and monstrous PCs, as do my players. That's why I made 'as characters' entries for all the MM monsters with LA who didn't already have such entries. Would you be interested in these to add to this handbook?

12. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by SillySymphonies
Untrue. Refer to page 307 of the Monster Manual, 'Class Skills'.
Interesting. I hadn't realized they make it that explicit. Of course as discussed in the thread there are monsters that break this rule, with "As characters" entries or advancements that take synergy bonus skills as class skills. Still, since I'm merely supporting a default stance here, this seems like the most straightforward default stance to support. I'll change the guide to use these guidelines.

Edit: You do realize this means Nymphs no longer have Use Rope as a class skill, right?

Originally Posted by SillySymphonies
Source?
From the SRD:
Originally Posted by SRD
Size and Typenatural armor

Templates often change a creature’s type, and may change the creature’s size.

If a template changes the base creature’s type, the creature also acquires the augmented subtype unless the template description indicates otherwise. The augmented subtype is always paired with the creature’s original type. Unless a template indicates otherwise, the new creature has the traits of the new type but the features of the original type.

If a template changes a creature’s size, use Table: Changes to Statistics by Size to calculate changes to natural armor, Armor Class, attack rolls, and grapple bonus.
Kinky, huh?

Originally Posted by SillySymphonies
Quoted for truth. You, Sir, pinpointed what makes D&D 3.5 such a beautiful, intricate and popular gaming system, despite its (many) flaws.

Anyway, I share your fondness of monsters and monstrous PCs, as do my players. That's why I made 'as characters' entries for all the monsters in the MM with LA, who didn't already have 'as characters' entries. Would you be interested in these for adding to your guide?
It might be nice to post a link to them, yeah. Posting them wholesale would probably take up too much space.

13. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Urpriest
You do realize this means Nymphs no longer have Use Rope as a class skill, right?
lol
Waddayaknow...
Originally Posted by Urpriest
It might be nice to post a link to them, yeah. Posting them wholesale would probably take up too much space.
As is, it's a 0.4 MB 45-page .doc file. Any ideas as for where to upload it?

14. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Urpriest
So a +1 bonus either does the same thing as a +2 bonus, or does nothing, according to totally random details. That's Bad Game Design.
Unless it is strength, where even a boost to an odd number is a boost to carrying capacity. Also 13 int breakpoint for various qualifications.

15. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by SillySymphonies
As is, it's a 0.4 MB 45-page .doc file. Any ideas as for where to upload it?
GoogleDocs is usually a good bet, just make sure the viewing rights are correct so others can see it.

16. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by deuxhero
Unless it is strength, where even a boost to an odd number is a boost to carrying capacity. Also 13 int breakpoint for various qualifications.
Well the system isn't exactly balanced with carrying capacity in mind. Hence Warhulking Hurler. And prereqs are also given very little thought. 4e makes a much bigger deal of odd score bonuses precisely because feat prerequisites are a much bigger part of the system.

17. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Cieyrin
GoogleDocs is usually a good bet, just make sure the viewing rights are correct so others can see it.
Is there a place I can upload it without it being linked to my e-mail address?

18. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by SillySymphonies
Is there a place I can upload it without it being linked to my e-mail address?
You could conceivably use a fake email address for GoogleDocs, since you can make a gmail or the like for free. Beyond that though I'm not sure, others may be more helpful.

19. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Not sure if this is useful for this thread, but I posted this over at BG in a monster handbook thread. It's a list of "templates" you can add to monsters without increasing the CR:

CR +0 templates
Bone Creature (BV)
Dragonborn of Bahamut (RDr)
Dungeonbred Monster (Du)
Necropolitan (LM)
Primordial Giant (SX)
Tainted Raver (HoH)
Yuan-ti Broodguard (SS)

Dark Creature (TM) (CR +0 or CR +1 depending on the base creature)
Vecna-blooded (MM5) (after the template has been lost, only the Cloak of Mystery ability remains)
Xorvintaal Dragon (MM5) (rises to CR +1 or higher if extra abilities are added)

CR +0 when applied to creatures of 3HD or less
Anarchic Creature (PlH)
Axiomatic Creature (PlH)
Celestial (MM)
Element Creature (MP)
Entropic Creature (PlH)
Fiendish (MM)
Psuedonatural (LoM)
Spellwarped (MM3)

CR = x 0.5
Incarnate Construct

DMG2 CR+0 NPC traits
Graced from outside
Guardian spirit
Lifemate
Poisonlaced
Prodigy

20. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Cool stuff, Thurbane.

People can feel free to post interesting monster stuff in this thread if they want. If some of it looks relevant to the general reader I'll edit it in to the handbook proper.

21. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Hey Urpriest, just some things I'd like to mention.

1. The old community Monster Class thread is closed down and will not be coming back by rule of Mod. Here is the discussion thread for the closest thing to it now.

2. Here is my own thread where I'm making Monster Classes.

Just in case you want to link either.

22. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Soft Serve
Hey Urpriest, just some things I'd like to mention.

1. The old community Monster Class thread is closed down and will not be coming back by rule of Mod. Here is the discussion thread for the closest thing to it now.

2. Here is my own thread where I'm making Monster Classes.

Just in case you want to link either.
Thanks, I've updated my link to that thread. Do you know if the thread I linked at brilliantgameologists is still current?

23. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Urpriest
Thanks, I've updated my link to that thread. Do you know if the thread I linked at brilliantgameologists is still current?
I have no idea. I don't really follow anything outside of Giantitp. I've also seen some of that poster's previous work on Giantitp (He got banned) and am not a fan, so I wouldn't have much reason to follow the thread unless I had good reason to believe things had changed.

24. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

I also wish to see a discussion of level drain and racial hit dice here

25. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

I was reading this and I just wanted to ask

Every Monster Comes with its Racial Hit Dice. If you are a Vrock, you have 10 Outsider Hit Dice, and they have a list of Class Skills which has everything listed in the Vrock's Skills: section. However, it is up to you to decide how you wish to spend the Vrock's skill points, you don't have to make the same choices the Vrock in the Monster Manual did. Similarly, you get to choose which Feats you want, getting one at first level and one on every Character Level that's a multiple of three.

There is one exception to this. If the Monster starts out with only one Racial Hit Die then you may (as per Savage Species, Page 13) trade it out for a level in a character class. You then gain none of the Features, but you still gain the Traits. For example, you could play a Pixie Rogue 1, trading your Fey Hit Die for a level of Rogue, leaving you with ECL 1+4=5. This happens automatically for Humanoids, which is why all of the low level humanoids in the Monster Manual are presented as first level Warriors.

Player Character Monsters are Not Average. As a Player Character you start out with the maximum hit points at first level. The same is true for a Monster Player Character. As a Player Character your ability scores aren't just 10 or 11, you roll them or you use a point buy system. Player Character Monsters get to roll or use point buy as well, and add their racial ability modifiers on top, with the caveat that Ability Scores can never go below 1 due to racial penalties, and Intelligence can never go below 3. Beyond that, it's just like a normal character, but with bigger bonuses. For example, if our Vrock Fighter rolled 17, 15, 10, 8, 12, and 11, it could get a Strength of 17+12=29, a Con of 15+14=29, a Dex of 12+4=16, an Int of 10+4=14, a Wis of 11+6=17, and a Cha of 8+6=14.

Once you level up past your original Racial Hit Dice, your ability scores increase with Character Level just like an ordinary character's do. For example, if your Vrock reaches Fighter 2, it has a total of 12 Hit Dice. That's a multiple of 4, so the Vrock can raise one of its scores by 1. It will probably go with Strength, to get an impressive Strength of 30.

You do have to calculate things. You have to add up your total base attack bonus from all your classes, along with Strength modifier and anything else important, to find your bonus to melee attacks. You have to take half your racial hit dice and your new ability modifiers to determine your Save DCs for your Abilities. In short, you have some work to do.

Does this also apply to pathfinder? Because some monster feat choices are honestly crap, and there are allways skill points that could be used elsewhere.

26. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by JadePhoenix
I also wish to see a discussion of level drain and racial hit dice here
There's some mention of it in Transforming and Rolling Out. A more in-depth discussion of the RAW-legality is probably beyond the scope of this guide, but feel free to discuss it in the thread.

Originally Posted by Doorhandle
I was reading this and I just wanted to ask

Does this also apply to pathfinder? Because some monster feat choices are honestly crap, and there are allways skill points that could be used elsewhere.
I'm not a Pathfinder expert by any means, but as far as I know monsters still get their feats from levels, not primarily via bonus feats, so they should be different on different monsters (and thus different on PC monsters). PF does do ability scores a little differently, and I'm not sure whether they still have the rules about 1HD monsters and the like.

27. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

'as characters' entries for all the MM monsters with LA:
http://www.sendspace.com/file/mx7puu

28. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

This was a good read; I'll definitely be back here any time I need quick reference.

I still think that Monster/Core-class balance via LA is kind of a joke, at best, and anyone who wants to play as a monster should devote some time to homebrewing a PC version, but its very helpful to have a solid jumping-off point.

29. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Urpriest
I'm not a Pathfinder expert by any means, but as far as I know monsters still get their feats from levels, not primarily via bonus feats, so they should be different on different monsters (and thus different on PC monsters). PF does do ability scores a little differently, and I'm not sure whether they still have the rules about 1HD monsters and the like.
Pathfinder is... interesting, and some of the changes are non-obvious (see: how long it takes many players *cough*me*cough* to realize cross-class skills no longer cost more).

That said? The monster advancement section only talks about gaining additional feats, not about changing current ones. Further, to the best of my knowledge, Pathfinder currently lacks rules for retraining feats. However, monsters do gain most of their feats from HD, as demonstrating in the monster advancement rules. As such... the rules are vague, but my suspicio is that most monsters should have progressed from 1HD to their standard level, allowing for different feat progression.

Interesting note: In PF RAW, the Young template can be applied to ANYTHING IN THE BESTIARY except creatures that advance by age or feeding (dragons, barghests, etc.), or that are size fine. Young also specifies that the templated creatures are immature specimens, in case there was any question. Now, creatures that already advance by age obviously have a normal birth-to-death lifecycle, and presumably Young undead were juvenille examples of the base creatures. Thus, we must assume that everything not already fine (mostly insects and other vermin) or advancing by feeding is born and growns up to their standard entry. This includes golems and even things like animated chairs.

30. ## Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

Originally Posted by Deepbluediver
I still think that Monster/Core-class balance via LA is kind of a joke, at best, (...)
I always wondered about that: if you compare to high-op tier 1 PCs, sure. But what about among mid-op tier 3 or lower PCs?
Take the vrock for example: sure, you lose out 8 LA worth of HD, but aren't the lower saves and hp compensated for by the vrock's racial ability modifiers? You gain a crapton of nifty abilities (large size, fly speed, various elemental immunities/resistances et cetera). You gain the same gear as any other PC of your ECL. Sure, nothing beats a tier 1 PC, but I wonder how much worse a vrock blackguard 1 is of versus a human [tier 3 class] 19?

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