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    Default Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    So, I normally don't write monsters (this is my first, as it were). However, I'm writing a sketch of my campaign world right now, and I decided that the Sea of Death required something more terrifying than Krakens. My biggest interest here is in reaching the appropriate CR (12). Any feedback on how I could get closer to that would be appreciated.

    Name: Upoka
    Size/Type: Gargantuan Magical Beast (Aquatic)
    Hit Die: 14d10+112 (189)
    Initiative: +1 (-3 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
    Speed: Swim 40 ft.
    AC: 17 (-4 Size, -3 Dex, +14 Natural)
    BAB/Grapple: +14/+38
    Attack: Tentacle +22 Melee (2d6+12+Poison/19-20)
    Full Attack: Four Tentacles +22 Melee (2d6+12+Poison/19-20)
    Space/Reach: 20 ft./15 ft. (60 ft. with Tentacles)
    Special Attacks: Poison, Improved Grab, Crushing Force, Constrict 2d6+12, Forceful Grasp
    Special Qualities: Translucent, Regeneration 2/Cold, Blindsight 100, Blindsense 500, Blind
    Saves: Fort +17, Ref +4, Will +7
    Abilities: Str 34, Dex 4, Con 26, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 3
    Skills: Swim +37, Knowledge (Nature) +20, Knowledge (Geography) +20, Hide +2*, Move Silently +14
    Feats: Ability Focus (Poison), Improved Initiative, Improved Critical (Tentacle), Multigrab, Darkstalker
    Environment: Temperate Aquatic
    Organization: Solitary
    CR: 12
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: N
    LA: -
    *+20 Underwater

    A slight disturbance in the water before catches your eye. For a moment, you strain your eyes to distinguish what you are seeing, before a huge tentacle wraps around you, slowly crushing the air from your lungs. A strange calm descends over you, as you realize that this is how it should be; this is how you will die.

    Upoka are enormous and deadly predators of the ocean resembling jellyfish. They are often at least one hundred feet tall when outstretched, but despite their bulk are nearly invisible against the water. Despite their primitive appearance, however, they possess great intelligence, and pose a threat to even the strongest of creatures that finds itself in their territory.

    Upoka feed by enveloping their prey in their tentacles, simultaneously crushing the life from them while poisoning them with a sedate dispensed through a number of small needles along their tentacles. They are not evil in any philosophical sense, but will nonetheless devour anything they see. Lacking a mouth, it will force its dead prey through the membrane covering its head, inside of which they are rapidly digested.

    Upoka speak Aquan, and understand Common, Undercommon and Terran

    Combat
    Upoka often attempt to begin combat by sneaking up on their prey silently. Once within the maximum range of their tentacles, they will strike out at spellcasters and other weak creatures first, hoping to subdue the greatest threats first. Once these creatures are either drowning or dead, they'll begin eliminating other threats.. Should it be close to unconsciousness, or at below half its health, it will swiftly sink to depths normally unreachable by humanoids.

    Poison (Ex) Any creature damaged by the Upoka's tentacles is automatically affected by it's natural poison.

    {table=head]
    Poison
    |
    Type
    |
    Initial Damage
    |
    Secondary Damage

    Upoka Poison | Injury DC 27 | 1d8 Str, 1d4 Wis | 1d8 Str, 1d4 Con
    [/table]

    Creatures must save against this poison each time they take damage from the Upoka's tentacles or constrict. They cannot, however, suffer its initial damage more than once per round.

    Improved Grab (Ex) After successfully hitting with a tentacle, the Upoka may immediately start a grapple as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

    Crushing Force (Ex) The Upoka crushes the air from the lungs of its prey, hastening its death. Any creature being grappled by an Upoka is treated as spending four rounds without air for each round, and risks drowning accordingly.

    Constrict (Ex) All creatures pinned by the Upoka automatically take 2d8+15 Bludgeoning damage at the beginning of its turn, and are affected by Poison.

    Forceful Grasp (Su) The Upoka has developed a tenacious magic of its own to aid in the death of the adventurers and heroes who venture into its territory. Any Freedom of Movement spell active on a creature hit by the Upoka's tentacle is affected by a targeted Dispel Magic, Caster Level equal to the Upoka's HD.

    Translucent (Ex) The Upoka is naturally difficult to spot underwater, and is all but invisible. While surrounded by water, the Upoka gains a +20 circumstance bonus to hide checks.

    Regeneration (Ex) The Upoka's body naturally repairs at fantastic speed- so long as the cells of its body live, they will tenaciously repair any wound. All damage dealt to the Upoka is automatically converted to non-lethal damage, which is healed at a rate of 2 per round. Only cold is able to entirely kill the Upoka; all cold damage is instead dealt as lethal damage.

    Blind (Ex) Lacking eyes or ears, an Upoka relies entirely upon its blindsense and sight to 'see.' It is immune to gaze attacks, and is unaffected by intense light, loud noise, or similar.

    Skills An Upoka has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.


    Change Log
    Spoiler
    Show
    1.1- Added Skills section, Changed Sting to a poison, removed Sense Motive and replaced it with Move Silently, removed Blindsight and gave Blindsight 100 and Blindsense 500
    1.2- Changed 'Sting' to 'Poison,' removed Digestion, reduced str by 6, and noted that Upoka are blind.
    1.2.1 Removed Acid Immunity
    1.3 Changed INA out for IC, added size modifier to attack, fixed several typos
    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-11 at 12:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    Intriguing, and also, yes, terrifying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Skills: Swim +40
    Given that this includes the +8 racial from having a swim speed, you should probably note that. Also, Move Silently is conspicuous by its absence; anything that can hear underwater at all well will notice the Upoka quite a ways out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Feats: Ability Focus (Sting), Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (Tentacle), Multigrab, Darkstalker
    I'm not familiar with Multigrab, where's that from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Sting (Ex) Any creature damaged by the Upoka's tentacles must succeed a DC 25 Fortitude Save or take a -2 penalty to AC, Attack Rolls, Skill Checks, Saves and Grapple Checks. This penalty is cumulative, but may only be incurred once per round per creature.
    This is described as a poison in fluff; do neutralize poison/delay poison/racial save bonuses/racial immunities work against it? (Also, maybe it would be easier to just stat up a new poison and note that every tentacle attack hits you with it afresh.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Forceful Grasp (Su) The Upoka has developed a tenacious magic of its own to aid in the death of the adventurers and heroes who venture into its territory. Any Freedom of Movement spell active on a creature hit by the Upoka's tentacle is affected by a targeted Dispel Magic, Caster Level equal to the Upoka's HD.
    Ow. Vicious, right there.

    Although... does it work against heart of water's discharge effect? Something to consider.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Blindsight (Ex) Lacking sensory organs of the conventional kind, the Upoka can instead detect creatures by detecting the vibrations that they produce in the water. It can pinpoint the location of any creature within 100 ft., and detect the direction and size of all creatures within 500 ft.
    I suggest condensing this and breaking it into two entries, both simply in the stat block (Blindsight 100 and Blindsense 500); these are not exactly what you've described, but I think the standard abilities are good enough here.


    I'm not totally sure how close to the CR you've gotten, but a quick estimate with Vorpal Tribble's method follows:
    Spoiler
    Show
    #1. Divide creature's average HP by 4.5 to 6.5.
    (4.5 for 5 HD or lower, 5 for 6-10 HD, 5.5 for 11-15 HD, 6 for 16-20 HD.)
    189/5.5 = 34.4
    #2. Add 1 for each five points above 10 its AC is, subtracting 1 for every 5 below.
    17 = 1.2
    #3. Add 1 for each special attack (+2 to +5 or more if its got a decent number of spells in its spell-like abilities).
    6
    #4. Add 1 for each quality unless you deem it worthy of more. Add 1 for each resistance and 10 points of DR it has, and 2 for each immunity. Subtract 1 for each vulnerability.
    2 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 5
    #5. Add 1 for every two bonus feats it has.
    0
    #6. Divide total by 3. This should be its rough CR.
    46.6/3 = 15.5


    Given the estimate of 15.5, I think this may need a bit more toning down; it's probably somewhere around CR 14 or so, but maybe a full 15. Take that with a grain of salt, though.
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Intriguing, and also, yes, terrifying.
    Thank you!

    Given that this includes the +8 racial from having a swim speed, you should probably note that. Also, Move Silently is conspicuous by its absence; anything that can hear underwater at all well will notice the Upoka quite a ways out.
    Ah, I missed that. I'll go ahead and make both alterations.

    I'm not familiar with Multigrab, where's that from?
    It's from savage species. It allows you to grapple multiple creatures simultaneously with only a -10 penalty (instead of -20).

    This is described as a poison in fluff; do neutralize poison/delay poison/racial save bonuses/racial immunities work against it? (Also, maybe it would be easier to just stat up a new poison and note that every tentacle attack hits you with it afresh.)
    Good point. I'll go figure out how to stat up poisons, and I'll go ahead and make that change.

    Ow. Vicious, right there.
    Thanks! I figured that a creature at this level focused on grappling should have a way of dealing with FoM.

    Although... does it work against heart of water's discharge effect? Something to consider.
    I'm pretty sure (I'm not actually familiar with Heart of Water- I just read it) that it can only activate FoM once, before the entire spell is ended. So, if you had FoM and Heart of Water, you could 'keep' your freedom of movement active after the first successful dispelling. Once you get smacked twice, though, you're sunk (as normal).

    I suggest condensing this and breaking it into two entries, both simply in the stat block (Blindsight 100 and Blindsense 500); these are not exactly what you've described, but I think the standard abilities are good enough here.
    Alright, will do.

    I'm not totally sure how close to the CR you've gotten, but a quick estimate with Vorpal Tribble's method follows:
    Spoiler
    Show
    #1. Divide creature's average HP by 4.5 to 6.5.
    (4.5 for 5 HD or lower, 5 for 6-10 HD, 5.5 for 11-15 HD, 6 for 16-20 HD.)
    189/5.5 = 34.4
    #2. Add 1 for each five points above 10 its AC is, subtracting 1 for every 5 below.
    17 = 1.2
    #3. Add 1 for each special attack (+2 to +5 or more if its got a decent number of spells in its spell-like abilities).
    6
    #4. Add 1 for each quality unless you deem it worthy of more. Add 1 for each resistance and 10 points of DR it has, and 2 for each immunity. Subtract 1 for each vulnerability.
    2 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 5
    #5. Add 1 for every two bonus feats it has.
    0
    #6. Divide total by 3. This should be its rough CR.
    46.6/3 = 15.5


    Given the estimate of 15.5, I think this may need a bit more toning down; it's probably somewhere around CR 14 or so, but maybe a full 15. Take that with a grain of salt, though.
    Alright, I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the PEACH!
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    Congrats on your first monster. It has some cool ideas but you made a few missteps with it.

    First, I don't see why this only has 14 HD. Str 40 is overkill for so few HD. A red dragon with 16 HD has Str 29. Since dragons are the big bad in this game (or at least they mostly are), I think it helps to see how how your critter compares. It probably should have more HD and lower Str. A kraken has 20 HD and Str 34. A 14 HD jellyfish seems like it should be weaker than that. 14 HD and 25 Str probably would be a better design. It would also be better in keeping with the CR 12.

    More on stats later.

    You should have noted that these are Blind (why else give them blindsense and blindsight and not give them darkvision?). I'd recommend that you tone down the distance for blindsense and blindsight. Why 500 feet? That's almost absurd for a 14 HD creature. It can't attack what it can't reach so those long distances don't really help it. 60 feet and 90 feet are more than enough.

    Space/Reach: 20 ft./15 ft. (40 ft. with tentacle). Space and reach are set by creature's size and any additional reach is because it has long tentacles. See kraken entry for how this looks.

    You might want to change Digestion to Swallow Whole. Swallow Whole is a standard ability. Sting should also be changed to poison since that is really what it does. Using standard terminology makes it easier for the DM.

    BTW, I love translucence and forceful grasp.

    Debby (back later with more)
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    First, I don't see why this only has 14 HD. Str 40 is overkill for so few HD. A red dragon with 16 HD has Str 29. Since dragons are the big bad in this game (or at least they mostly are), I think it helps to see how how your critter compares. It probably should have more HD and lower Str. A kraken has 20 HD and Str 34. A 14 HD jellyfish seems like it should be weaker than that. 14 HD and 25 Str probably would be a better design. It would also be better in keeping with the CR 12.
    A 16 HD Red Dragon is large size. This creature is gargantuan. According to (my copy of) the monster manual, a gargantuan creature should have a minimum of 12 HD, and a strength of 30-41. Still, I'll tone down the strength a bit- at least, it shouldn't be stronger than a kraken.

    You should have noted that these are Blind
    Will do.

    I'd recommend that you tone down the distance for blindsense and blindsight. Why 500 feet? That's almost absurd for a 14 HD creature. It can't attack what it can't reach so those long distances don't really help it. 60 feet and 90 feet are more than enough.
    The Upoka is intended to be predatory, and would have a fairly high metabolism. It has such absurd range on its senses so that it is able to both notice and spot other underwater creatures before they can hope to notice it (also, hence darkstalker). For reference, an Orca (9 HD) has blindsight 120 ft (and isn't even magical). It (the Upoka) has to be able to see something before it can approach it and attack.

    Space/Reach: 20 ft./15 ft. (40 ft. with tentacle). Space and reach are set by creature's size and any additional reach is because it has long tentacles. See kraken entry for how this looks.
    Alright, fixed.

    You might want to change Digestion to Swallow Whole. Swallow Whole is a standard ability. Sting should also be changed to poison since that is really what it does. Using standard terminology makes it easier for the DM.
    I'd rather not give it swallow whole mostly because I don't want it to be able to swallow conscious, fighting creatures. I'm considering just removing the ability and letting its feeding be a matter of fluff. And I'll go ahead and change Sting's name.

    BTW, I love translucence and forceful grasp.

    Debby (back later with more)
    Thanks! I appreciate it.
    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-10 at 08:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    Alright, so I've decreased the Str and removed both Digestion and Acid Immunity. The former because it was better relegated to fluff, and the latter because it wasn't really necessary for the creature's flavor, and I needed to tone it down a bit.

    Any more feedback?
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    They are not evil in any philosophical sense, but will nonetheless devour anything it can see. Lacking a mouth, it will force its dead prey through the membrane covering its head, inside of which they are rapidly digested.
    How do they see if they are blind? How do they speak without a mouth?

    How about: They are not evil in any philosophical sense, but will nonetheless devour any prey they can sense.

    Also, Improved Natural Attack is not an appropriate initial feat for a monster. You can assign any attack you like. INA is only really useful for advanced creatures. 2d8 is a fine tentacle attack without the need for it. I'd recommend giving it Improved Critical instead. Speaking of feats, it no longer has sting so it should be Ability Focus (Poison).

    Should it be close to unconsciousness, or at below half its health, it will swiftly fall to depths normally unreachable by humanoids.
    I believe it should be "sink" not "fall" in the above sentence.

    Attack should be +22 melee. +14 BAB, -4 Size + 12 Str = +22 melee.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2012-05-11 at 08:34 AM. Reason: added stuff
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    Alright, changes made.
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    Default Re: Why Going Diving is a Terrible Idea (3.5 Monster, PEACH)

    This looks pretty close to CR 12 already. Maybe a bit higher; improved grab is quite nasty without reliable Freedom of Movement.
    My general 3.5 balance fix.
    My psionics remix.
    My common-sense houserules.
    More minor homebrew (weapons, races).

    Complete system remake (under construction, barely started)

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