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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I'm not that much a fan of artificial as a creature type? I think undead and constructs work very different, and at least should be affected by different spells.
    I also don't really see the point of separating spirit and outsider.
    Then, I wouldn't necessarily put magical beasts and nonmagical animals in the same category.
    And you don't seem to have a place for

    I'm all for subtype, though. I really think Undead as a subtype works quite well, especially since it removes some awkwardness around things like stakes allowing critical hits on vampires or some undead still needing food of some kind.

    Finally, do we need monster class abilities? I prefer monsters to be unique, where possible.
    Undead/Constructs: Its just for the purposes of the campaign setting I've been working on (Illnora). Undead and Constructs are subtypes in my system that can only be applied to the artificial type. I just use the artificial type as the baseline for the two's mechanical similarities, and then use the subtypes for the differences. It should work pretty well IMO.

    Magical Beasts would be repurposed into a subtype (applicable only to animals) as well, cause literally the only lore difference between a Magical Beast and an animal is that the magical beast is sentient, more intelligent, and has magical powers.

    Spirits and Outsiders: Keeping outsiders separate from spirits has more to do with the specifics of my campaign as well as their thematic differences.

    Spirits in my campaign settings are personifications of specific aspects of nature (kind of like what we see in Avatar the Last Airbender) and are tied specifically to the material plane. They govern and influence the part of nature they personify, and as a result have specific traits unique to them (that I've added) that make them distinct and unique from outsiders. Spirits are immortal (meaning, they cannot die of old age): if you kill their physical body, the soul of the spirit leaves the body and assumes an incorporeal form. Then the spirit tries to return to the place where it originated from on the material plane. If it does so, it regains its physical body over the course of a 24 hour period. However, if you manage to reduce the spirit's incorporeal form to 0 HP, then it is permanently destroyed.

    Meanwhile... outsiders are powerful, other-worldly beings entirely. Some originate from other universes, others are formed from the souls of long-dead individuals, still others are etc. Outsiders do not necessarily have a dual nature (while Spirits specifically do in my setting), and may be alien in appearance and thought process. They may or may not be Immortal. The most powerful Outsiders could rival the gods of my setting in power... indeed, the 3 Demon Lords (The term Demon being repurposed to mean any evil outsider within the confines of this campaign setting) are effectively the setting's "Evil Dieties," although they are not technically dieties. Thus, thematically they shouldn't be considered spirits.

    True Dragons: True Dragons are a tricky matter. For my specific campaign setting, I've basically ditched True Dragons as listed in the MM, and replaced them with my own custom Dragon race, designed to be playable. However, that was a temporary measure, as my end goal is to make these dragons playable races, and thus I would need to reclassify them under the Mortal type, which would involve some serious work.

    Monsters and Class Abilities:
    Monsters would only need class abilities if you go with the suggestions of making monster classes that build off of the types. Personally, I don't necessarily believe that most monsters need classes in the first place.
    Last edited by Durzan; 2018-06-21 at 11:50 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    We can basically go by player class archetypes:

    Brute: d10 HD, High base attack, high fort, 2+ skill points
    Trickster: d8 HD, medium base attack, high reflex, 8+ skill points
    Specialist: d6 HD, low base attack, high will, 6+ skill points
    Allrounder: d8 HD, medium base attack, one high save (varies), 4+ skill points
    Paragon: d10 HD, high base attack, all high saves, 8+ skill points. For those outsiders and others like them who are just good at everything.

    These honestly already cover just about all the monsters out there.

    I don't think AC and mobility need to be tied directly to this and neither do special abilities. Hit dice should only determine HD-dependent numeric values.
    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    Monsters already treat whatever skills that are listed in their entry as class skills, so that part is kind of redundant in nature. The only reason you'd want to give them additional class skills on top of that would be if you want that specific monster to have special training in additional areas... which is rare and can typically limited to monsters who can gain class levels anyway.
    My mention of class skills and special abilities was regarding using monster classes as classes, not just a kind of HD; that is, each class grants special attacks and special qualities at certain levels off a class-based list, so you'd want more than five classes for that, probably 8ish would be good but I could see going up to 10 or 12. That would make monsters a bit more normalized in their miscellaneous abilities and natural armor, DR, wouldn't just be pulled out of the designers'...portable hole. So the "Brute" class gives you certain HD and bonus progressions and also lets you pick up high natural armor and DR, Harrier gives you certain HD and bonus progressions and also lets you pick up speed boosts and extra attacks, and so on. And certain slots would be for type- and subtype-related features regardless of class, like SLAs for Outsiders, gaining or increasing fly speeds for (Air) creatures, and so on.

    That way, a vrock (for instance) gets certain abilities automatically because it's a vrock, then can choose certain abilities because it's an Outsider/Spirit/Immortal/whatever, certain abilities because it's a (Chaotic, Demon, Evil) creature, and certain abilities because it's a Harrier, basically treating "vrock" as a race and "Outsider Harrier" as a class, as Durzan suggested. This has a couple benefits: advancing a monster (or de-leveling it to represent a weaker/younger version) has defined effects instead of just ""; there are good benchmarks for what a creature of a given type, class, and HD should have as far as number and magnitude of special abilities; if a player wants to play a dragon or angel or something you can just straight-up say "We'll decide on N racial traits and then you can build your monster however you want by the normal monster class rules;" transformative classes like Dragon Disciple, Fiend-Blooded, and the like can let you take traits from appropriate monster lists instead of hard-coding a few boring stat boosts to represent being a dragon/fiend/etc.

    If you only want classes to grant featureless HD, obviously none of that's necessary and 4-5 classes is probably sufficient just like 4-5 types' worth of racial HD is sufficient.

    Spirits in my campaign settings are personifications of specific aspects of nature (kind of like what we see in Avatar the Last Airbender) and are tied specifically to the material plane. They govern and influence the part of nature they personify, and as a result have specific traits unique to them (that I've added) that make them distinct and unique from outsiders. Spirits are immortal (meaning, they cannot die of old age): if you kill their physical body, the soul of the spirit leaves the body and assumes an incorporeal form. Then the spirit tries to return to the place where it originated from on the material plane. If it does so, it regains its physical body over the course of a 24 hour period. However, if you manage to reduce the spirit's incorporeal form to 0 HP, then it is permanently destroyed.

    Meanwhile... outsiders are powerful, other-worldly beings entirely. Some originate from other universes, others are formed from the souls of long-dead individuals, still others are etc. Outsiders do not necessarily have a dual nature (while Spirits specifically do in my setting), and may be alien in appearance and thought process. They may or may not be Immortal. The most powerful Outsiders could rival the gods of my setting in power... indeed, the 3 Demon Lords (The term Demon being repurposed to mean any evil outsider within the confines of this campaign setting) are effectively the setting's "Evil Dieties," although they are not technically dieties. Thus, thematically they shouldn't be considered spirits.
    Outsiders are also strongly tied to their plane of origin, so you could make them both one type and just have the (Spirit) subtype grant the turn-incorporeal-and-flee property, similar to how Outsider (Native) creatures have different rules for banishment and resurrection than normal Outsiders in the core rules.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    My mention of class skills and special abilities was regarding using monster classes as classes, not just a kind of HD; that is, each class grants special attacks and special qualities at certain levels off a class-based list, so you'd want more than five classes for that, probably 8ish would be good but I could see going up to 10 or 12. That would make monsters a bit more normalized in their miscellaneous abilities and natural armor, DR, wouldn't just be pulled out of the designers'...portable hole. So the "Brute" class gives you certain HD and bonus progressions and also lets you pick up high natural armor and DR, Harrier gives you certain HD and bonus progressions and also lets you pick up speed boosts and extra attacks, and so on. And certain slots would be for type- and subtype-related features regardless of class, like SLAs for Outsiders, gaining or increasing fly speeds for (Air) creatures, and so on.

    That way, a vrock (for instance) gets certain abilities automatically because it's a vrock, then can choose certain abilities because it's an Outsider/Spirit/Immortal/whatever, certain abilities because it's a (Chaotic, Demon, Evil) creature, and certain abilities because it's a Harrier, basically treating "vrock" as a race and "Outsider Harrier" as a class, as Durzan suggested. This has a couple benefits: advancing a monster (or de-leveling it to represent a weaker/younger version) has defined effects instead of just ""; there are good benchmarks for what a creature of a given type, class, and HD should have as far as number and magnitude of special abilities; if a player wants to play a dragon or angel or something you can just straight-up say "We'll decide on N racial traits and then you can build your monster however you want by the normal monster class rules;" transformative classes like Dragon Disciple, Fiend-Blooded, and the like can let you take traits from appropriate monster lists instead of hard-coding a few boring stat boosts to represent being a dragon/fiend/etc.

    If you only want classes to grant featureless HD, obviously none of that's necessary and 4-5 classes is probably sufficient just like 4-5 types' worth of racial HD is sufficient.
    I think you and I are basically saying the same thing here: Have Monster Type grant default stuff it does normally (Racial HD, Skill Points, BAB, etc), but then have monster classes there to either stack on top of or replace the Monster Type stuff for specific monster builds (You know, similarly to how humanoids with only 1 HD advance by class level).

    This alters monster creation to use similar rules to that of player creation, allowing DM's greater fluidity and flexibility, and unifying rules that should've been basically the same from the start. I like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Outsiders are also strongly tied to their plane of origin, so you could make them both one type and just have the (Spirit) subtype grant the turn-incorporeal-and-flee property, similar to how Outsider (Native) creatures have different rules for banishment and resurrection than normal Outsiders in the core rules.
    Your right, I could've done it that way. In fact, there are a couple of different ways I could've implemented my desired changes, and none are necessarily better than others. Thats what makes discussions like this fun... we all have different ways of adapting each others thoughts and opinions, and our own unique ways of doing things.

    For instance... I think Elementals and Outsiders fit better together than Fey and Elementals do... especially if you are going for a more standard D&D cosmological model. Both are tied to planes other than the material plane, and share similar qualities. The traits unique to Elementals could simply be applied via an elemental subtype.

    Regarding Spirits and Outsiders Discussion, the reasonsI didn't lump all three together are because:
    • Fey have a d6 HD, while elementals and outsiders have a d8 (d10 in Pathfinder, with elementals consolidated into outsiders) and are thematically different from fey to a significant degree.
    • Merging all three together buffs the fey and/or nerfs the outsider/elemental. Outsiders are supposed to be strange and powerful and shouldn't need a HD nerf (especially if using the d10 Outsider from pathfinder). Elementals can easily be refluffed into primal spirits of nature, without significantly nerfing them.
    • Elementals and fey can be squashed together thematically (by saying that Elementals are a type of primal Nature Spirit) even though mechanically it shares more with the Outsider. Doing so gives the Fey creatures a slight buff.
    • Outsiders and Elementals can be squashed together fairly easily because they share similar traits (As seen in Pathfinder, and as I mentioned previously in this post); however, they don't have a lot in common thematically, besides the whole living on other planes thing, which doesn't fit too well for most creatures in my campaign setting's cosmology. The inner and outer planes are very different in thematics and power. All it would take to remove what they do share in common is to shift their origin to the material plane.
    • Fey have more in common with Humanoids than Outsiders from a thematic standpoint in Vanilla D&D. In my setting however, Spirits can be either humanoid, animalistic, or elemental in appearance. This gives Spirits a thematic versatility, that as stated earlier, allows an overlap with Elementals.


    In any case, I do plan on using subtypes extensively to help my world make a lot more sense. Thanks for your input! :)

    If I were doing a more generic D&D type consolidation, I'd probably do it like this:
    • Outsider (Outsider & Elemental; IE creatures from other planes. Elemental traits could be tied to a subtype)
    • Fey or Spirit (Depending on the world, and the lore. May have the other as a subtype)
    • Beasts (Vermin, Animals, Magical Beast Type, Dragons Type; With Dragons and Magical Beasts being subtypes applicable only to Beast Type.)
    • Artificial (Undead & Constructs; Specify a required subtype of undead or construct)
    • Humanoid (Humanoids, Monstrous Humanoids, Giants; Giants and Monstrous Humanoids could be subtypes if needed)
    • Aberration (Creatures with abnormal anatomy)
    • Plant (Plants, Fungi, and their derivatives)
    • Ooze (Slimes, Oozes, Single Celled Organisms, etc.)


    Edit: Forgot that Elementals and Outsiders had d8 HD in 3.5e vs the d10 HD in Pathfinder. Corrected it.
    Last edited by Durzan; 2018-06-21 at 02:04 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    I think you and I are basically saying the same thing here: Have Monster Type grant default stuff it does normally (Racial HD, Skill Points, BAB, etc), but then have monster classes there to either stack on top of or replace the Monster Type stuff for specific monster builds (You know, similarly to how humanoids with only 1 HD advance by class level).

    This alters monster creation to use similar rules to that of player creation, allowing DM's greater fluidity and flexibility, and unifying rules that should've been basically the same from the start. I like it.
    Actually, I'm suggesting that monster types don't grant racial HD at all, and should get that all solely through monster classes while types solely grant shared type traits (like undead not being alive and being immune to death spells, elementals not breathing and being banishable on the Prime, etc.), serve as tags for type-based abilities like favored enemy and planar binding, and provide a list of selectable abilities for monsters.

    In case it wasn't clear, when I say "monster classes" I don't mean "classes to add to monsters," like a succubus is an outsider 6 but could take levels in a monster class to become an outsider 6/manipulator 4 or whatever. I mean that in this setup a succubus is a manipulator 6, a vrock is a harrier 10, a glabrezu is a brute 12, and there's no such thing as "levels in outsider" because being an Outsider (Demon) is important for determining things like biology (or lack thereof), thematic SLAs, and the like but it shouldn't determine your base combat and non-combat capabilities any more than a human fighter and a human wizard should have the same BAB/skills/saves for both being human.

    As an example of this:

    • Fey have a d6 HD. While elementals and outsiders have a d8 (d10 in Pathfinder, with elementals consolidated into outsiders) and are thematically different from fey to a significant degree.
    • Merging all three together buffs the fey, and nerfs the outsider/elemental. Outsiders are supposed to be strange and powerful and shouldn't need a HD nerf.
    In a monster classes setup, this isn't a problem. A troll, an earth elemental, and a glabrezu are all big beefy (or rocky) bruisers with high HD/BAB and probably high AC and resistances, while a pixie, an air elemental, and a vrock are all agile skirmishers with lower HD/BAB, great fly speeds, and probably some air magic, and you can have a good level of combat-stat variety among groups composed of solely fey or solely outsiders.

    If you keep slicing it by type-based HD, though, you're committing to the idea that all fey are common and weak (and forgetting about things like verdant princes and faerie queens) and all outsiders are strange and powerful (and forgetting about things like imps and legion devils), and when you travel to the Plane of Faerie or the Abyss all of the natives will be fairly similar stats-wise.
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Actually, I'm suggesting that monster types don't grant racial HD at all, and should get that all solely through monster classes while types solely grant shared type traits (like undead not being alive and being immune to death spells, elementals not breathing and being banishable on the Prime, etc.), serve as tags for type-based abilities like favored enemy and planar binding, and provide a list of selectable abilities for monsters.

    In case it wasn't clear, when I say "monster classes" I don't mean "classes to add to monsters," like a succubus is an outsider 6 but could take levels in a monster class to become an outsider 6/manipulator 4 or whatever. I mean that in this setup a succubus is a manipulator 6, a vrock is a harrier 10, a glabrezu is a brute 12, and there's no such thing as "levels in outsider" because being an Outsider (Demon) is important for determining things like biology (or lack thereof), thematic SLAs, and the like but it shouldn't determine your base combat and non-combat capabilities any more than a human fighter and a human wizard should have the same BAB/skills/saves for both being human.

    In a monster classes setup, this isn't a problem. A troll, an earth elemental, and a glabrezu are all big beefy (or rocky) bruisers with high HD/BAB and probably high AC and resistances, while a pixie, an air elemental, and a vrock are all agile skirmishers with lower HD/BAB, great fly speeds, and probably some air magic, and you can have a good level of combat-stat variety among groups composed of solely fey or solely outsiders.
    I still think that we are saying the same thing here.

    All I have to do to change a Succubus from Outsider 6/Manipulator 4 to the system you describe is simply replace the Racial HD with Class Levels and recalculate stats and abilities accordingly, just like how the Core Races substitute their 1st racial HD (and the stats that are based off of it and the Humanoid Type) for class HD and derivative stats. Which was one of the options that I offered up in my last statement.

    By still defining Racial HD and then having monster class levels as an optional replacement for Racial HD, it gives the DM more flexibility. Use Monster Class or the Type HD, as preferred. Or he could use them in combination (if he really wanted).

    The trouble with creating Monster Classes is determining what common abilities all monsters have that could be reasonably extrapolated as class abilities, what are the base racial traits of the type, and what the base racial traits of the specific monster are. Sounds simple at first, until you realize that there are already around 100+ monsters in just the first Monsters Manual, each with their own unique setup, abilities, and so forth. Of course, you could use Savage Species as a baseline for determining that, but you'd still have to do far more work in order to set it up.

    Then there's the fact that a monster's HD by type represent not additional training, but the raw natural power and instinctual skill of that creature. Classes aren't supposed to represent this; classes represent the additional training and skills learned above and beyond a creature's natural abilities. A Succubus wasn't trained above and beyond in being sneaky or in her charm person abilities... that just her natural racial abilities there. Likewise, the natural toughness indicated by her high HD is something she has naturally.

    To put it simply, A house-cat is going to have some natural hunting skill (represented by its type BAB and skills), but it aint gonna be better than your average house cat without additional training... and even then, its not gonna be significantly more physically tough (HP) than your average house cat (Which is a measly 1/2 d8). A Cat's hunting skill is 70% its instincts and biology, 15% training from their parent, and maybe 10% individual practice at most.

    A house cat is still a house cat. A house-cat would always be a trickster in your system. It cannot swap to a different class, because its biology physically locks it into a specific role. It cannot tank very well even with training because its physiology and size simply doesn't allow it to. This is why HD and its derivative statistics are tied to Type in the first place and not classes: Because Classes represent training and adaptability beyond your natural biological and instinctual capabilities. This is also why some monsters who have more biological natural ability than others have more HD, and also why certain creatures can multi-class into NPC and PC Classes (Even though the rules for such suck, but thats a conversation for a different thread).

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    If you keep slicing it by type-based HD, though, you're committing to the idea that all fey are common and weak (and forgetting about things like verdant princes and faerie queens) and all outsiders are strange and powerful (and forgetting about things like imps and legion devils), and when you travel to the Plane of Faerie or the Abyss all of the natives will be fairly similar stats-wise.
    See, thats an entirely different scenario though. Pixies, Faeries, and many other Fey already have a built in mechanic for buffing them, as they advance by Character Classes. Their natural weakness/strengths are already accounted for in their Racial HD, but can be overcome by additional training above and beyond. I see the "verdant princes and faerie queens" as having levels in PC Classes... or at least NPC classes, in addition to their natural physical abilities (Type HD, Ability Scores, and Derivative Statistics), rather than having levels in whatever monster class you find appropriate.

    Outsiders on the other-hand have similar base durability to humanoids (evidenced in their d8 Type HD), HOWEVER, they spend hundreds of years just developing (IE growing up, and getting more HD). This means that even a succubus has more base HP than your average human. Succubus are fragile, but only when compared to other demons and devils, who have similar levels of Racial HD (some greater, some less). She can still mop the floor with most mortals just using her HD based statistics alone, and when you factor in her natural abilities and spell-like abilities, she wouldn't even be detected under normal circumstances. Only extraordinary people can stand toe-to-toe with demons, and thus pose a challenge for her. Only when facing PCs with a similar or greater amount of HD must she resort to sneaking tactics in order to defeat her foes.

    IE, all Demons have a baseline in their natural power according to their type (Their Racial HD), and their creature type (IE the number of Racial HD). Anything above and beyond that is due to training (taking class levels), or a specific demon having greater natural potential than others (Advancement by additional Racial HD).

    If you want to use classes to reflect this, go for it. However, you are basically just doing the same thing as Type-based stats, just under a different name, with more types thrown into the mix, and deciding what type to apply for each individual race instead of having a general chassis to build a creature off of.

    Thats great, and I like the idea, just you should take into account the differences in assumption behind classes and Type.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    I still think that we are saying the same thing here.

    All I have to do to change a Succubus from Outsider 6/Manipulator 4 to the system you describe is simply replace the Racial HD with Class Levels and recalculate stats and abilities accordingly, just like how the Core Races substitute their 1st racial HD (and the stats that are based off of it and the Humanoid Type) for class HD and derivative stats. Which was one of the options that I offered up in my last statement.

    By still defining Racial HD and then having monster class levels as an optional replacement for Racial HD, it gives the DM more flexibility. Use Monster Class or the Type HD, as preferred. Or he could use them in combination (if he really wanted).
    I'm not seeing any actual benefit to retaining type-based HD at all, though. The current system has lots of issues:
    • Bruisers of types with 1/2 or 3/4 BAB have to get a bunch of extra HD to artificially boost their attack bonus, with all the attendant flaws.
    • Air, water, earth, and fire elementals all have the same base chassis when the slow-and-solid earth elementals should fight differently from fast-and-light air elementals and so forth.
    • It's hard to build non-boss-monster dragons and outsiders because they have good progressions for everything, and hard to make threatening constructs and oozes because they have all bad saves and less than full BAB.
    • Not only do all constructs have the same chassis when there's a huge difference in fighting style between nimblewrights and iron golems, but oozes have the same chassis as constructs!
    • There are already exceptions to the type racial HD (such as dire animals having good Will without using an actual [Dire] subtype) to compensate for the system's shortcomings, but not enough exceptions to make it work.

    And so on. All of these issues are resolved by basing stats on monster roles rather than monster types and using roles doesn't introduce any new such problems, so if most DMs would want to replace type RHD with role RHD in all cases, why bother keeping type RHD around?

    The trouble with creating Monster Classes is determining what common abilities all monsters have that could be reasonably extrapolated as class abilities, what are the base racial traits of the type, and what the base racial traits of the specific monster are. Sounds simple at first, until you realize that there are already around 100+ monsters in just the first Monsters Manual, each with their own unique setup, abilities, and so forth. Of course, you could use Savage Species as a baseline for determining that, but you'd still have to do far more work in order to set it up.
    Standardizing those disparate abilities is part of the point of going through and revamping monster stats. If most CR 5 bruiser-type monsters have a natural armor modifier of +5 to +7 (for instance; I have no idea what the average stats are offhand) but there's a monster with a +12 modifier and another monster with a +3, you don't have to come up with a system that perfectly recreates the original stat blocks, you come up with a system that grants +5 to +7 for CR 5 bruisers and the outliers' stats can change.

    A Succubus wasn't trained above and beyond in being sneaky or in her charm person abilities... that just her natural racial abilities there. Likewise, the natural toughness indicated by her high HD is something she has naturally.
    [...]
    A house-cat would always be a trickster in your system. It cannot swap to a different class, because its biology physically locks it into a specific role. It cannot tank very well even with training because its physiology and size simply doesn't allow it to.
    Maybe using the word "class" is confusing here, because monster classes are not supposed to represent training at all, they're only "classes" in that monsters can multiclass between those and PC classes and in that Savage Species called HD-by-HD monstrous progressions "monster classes" as well. If calling them roles or savage progressions or whatever would help, that's fine too.

    See, thats an entirely different scenario though. Pixies, Faeries, and many other Fey already have a built in mechanic for buffing them, as they advance by Character Classes. Their natural weakness/strengths are already accounted for in their Racial HD, but can be overcome by additional training above and beyond. I see the "verdant princes and faerie queens" as having levels in PC Classes... or at least NPC classes, in addition to their natural physical abilities (Type HD, Ability Scores, and Derivative Statistics), rather than having levels in whatever monster class you find appropriate.
    So all trolls should be fey X/barbarian Y to give them the necessary HD to get into melee combat without giving them too many skills, all pixies should be fey X/ranger Y to give them the necessary BAB without giving them too much HP, and so on? And if they aren't, they just deal with having too-weak stats for their combat role because fey are supposed to be weak, or something?

    This is exactly the problem with undead in 3e. Undead creatures all have far too many HD for their CR, which renders turn undead pointless, gives them too high a Will save for their CR, and messes with other HD-based assumptions, all to give undead more HP to compensate for their lack of Con and a higher attack bonus to compensate for their 1/2 BAB (which was intended to make basic zombies and skeletons less threatening and ended up screwing with vampires and death knights). The designers did lots of patching around rules to achieve the desired effect--later on even extending to making feats to use other stats instead of Con, giving some monsters Unholy Toughness, and so on--when they could have just given undead Con scores (and said it represented any sort of animating force, not just life force) and given death knights and vampires full BAB with a Brute/Soldier/Skirmisher/etc. class and zombies and skeletons poor BAB with a Mook/Swarm/etc. class in the first place.

    I wasn't being poetic with "verdant prince," by the way; that's a specific monster in MM4, and the point was that they're just as much of a "leader monster with lots of SLAs" monster as a trumpet archon or succubus, but outsiders have HD roughly equal to their CR because their HD are all defensively solid while the verdant prince has 16 HD at CR 11. Yes, you could represent the verdant prince as a low-HD fey with druid levels (and in fact druid is its favored class), but [monster role] X/[PC class] Y doesn't work out too well when you have to give the base creature too many HD to start with.

    If you want to use classes to reflect this, go for it. However, you are basically just doing the same thing as Type-based stats, just under a different name, with more types thrown into the mix, and deciding what type to apply for each individual race instead of having a general chassis to build a creature off of.

    Thats great, and I like the idea, just you should take into account the differences in assumption behind classes and Type.
    I am, and I'm saying that the assumptions behind type-based RHD are dumb. Barbarians have high BAB and large HD because they punch people and get punched in return, bards have low HP and high skills because they socialize with people and know things, wizards have low BAB/Fort/HP and high Will because they've trained their mental discipline at the expense of their physical toughness, and any setup in which an big and beefy ocean strider's stats look more like a bard's, a profanely resilient death knight's stats look more like a wizard's, and a seductive succubus's stats look more like a barbarian's is an unintuitive and frankly bad one.

    Having N generic chassis by monster roles and choosing which one to use for a given monster based on its combat role is exactly as simple and straightforward as having N generic chassis by monster types and choosing which one to use for a given monster based on its location of origin--the fact that it's "basically the same as type-based stats, but with different chassis given to different monsters" is very much intended, because having monsters use a set number of defined progressions the way PC classes do is good for PC/monster transparency, giving monsters class levels, and the like, it's just the specific chassis assignments that are out of whack.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I'm not seeing any actual benefit to retaining type-based HD at all, though. The current system has lots of issues:
    • Bruisers of types with 1/2 or 3/4 BAB have to get a bunch of extra HD to artificially boost their attack bonus, with all the attendant flaws.
    • Air, water, earth, and fire elementals all have the same base chassis when the slow-and-solid earth elementals should fight differently from fast-and-light air elementals and so forth.
    • It's hard to build non-boss-monster dragons and outsiders because they have good progressions for everything, and hard to make threatening constructs and oozes because they have all bad saves and less than full BAB.
    • Not only do all constructs have the same chassis when there's a huge difference in fighting style between nimblewrights and iron golems, but oozes have the same chassis as constructs!
    • There are already exceptions to the type racial HD (such as dire animals having good Will without using an actual [Dire] subtype) to compensate for the system's shortcomings, but not enough exceptions to make it work.

    And so on. All of these issues are resolved by basing stats on monster roles rather than monster types and using roles doesn't introduce any new such problems, so if most DMs would want to replace type RHD with role RHD in all cases, why bother keeping type RHD around?



    Standardizing those disparate abilities is part of the point of going through and revamping monster stats. If most CR 5 bruiser-type monsters have a natural armor modifier of +5 to +7 (for instance; I have no idea what the average stats are offhand) but there's a monster with a +12 modifier and another monster with a +3, you don't have to come up with a system that perfectly recreates the original stat blocks, you come up with a system that grants +5 to +7 for CR 5 bruisers and the outliers' stats can change.



    Maybe using the word "class" is confusing here, because monster classes are not supposed to represent training at all, they're only "classes" in that monsters can multiclass between those and PC classes and in that Savage Species called HD-by-HD monstrous progressions "monster classes" as well. If calling them roles or savage progressions or whatever would help, that's fine too.



    So all trolls should be fey X/barbarian Y to give them the necessary HD to get into melee combat without giving them too many skills, all pixies should be fey X/ranger Y to give them the necessary BAB without giving them too much HP, and so on? And if they aren't, they just deal with having too-weak stats for their combat role because fey are supposed to be weak, or something?

    This is exactly the problem with undead in 3e. Undead creatures all have far too many HD for their CR, which renders turn undead pointless, gives them too high a Will save for their CR, and messes with other HD-based assumptions, all to give undead more HP to compensate for their lack of Con and a higher attack bonus to compensate for their 1/2 BAB (which was intended to make basic zombies and skeletons less threatening and ended up screwing with vampires and death knights). The designers did lots of patching around rules to achieve the desired effect--later on even extending to making feats to use other stats instead of Con, giving some monsters Unholy Toughness, and so on--when they could have just given undead Con scores (and said it represented any sort of animating force, not just life force) and given death knights and vampires full BAB with a Brute/Soldier/Skirmisher/etc. class and zombies and skeletons poor BAB with a Mook/Swarm/etc. class in the first place.

    I wasn't being poetic with "verdant prince," by the way; that's a specific monster in MM4, and the point was that they're just as much of a "leader monster with lots of SLAs" monster as a trumpet archon or succubus, but outsiders have HD roughly equal to their CR because their HD are all defensively solid while the verdant prince has 16 HD at CR 11. Yes, you could represent the verdant prince as a low-HD fey with druid levels (and in fact druid is its favored class), but [monster role] X/[PC class] Y doesn't work out too well when you have to give the base creature too many HD to start with.



    I am, and I'm saying that the assumptions behind type-based RHD are dumb. Barbarians have high BAB and large HD because they punch people and get punched in return, bards have low HP and high skills because they socialize with people and know things, wizards have low BAB/Fort/HP and high Will because they've trained their mental discipline at the expense of their physical toughness, and any setup in which an big and beefy ocean strider's stats look more like a bard's, a profanely resilient death knight's stats look more like a wizard's, and a seductive succubus's stats look more like a barbarian's is an unintuitive and frankly bad one.

    Having N generic chassis by monster roles and choosing which one to use for a given monster based on its combat role is exactly as simple and straightforward as having N generic chassis by monster types and choosing which one to use for a given monster based on its location of origin--the fact that it's "basically the same as type-based stats, but with different chassis given to different monsters" is very much intended, because having monsters use a set number of defined progressions the way PC classes do is good for PC/monster transparency, giving monsters class levels, and the like, it's just the specific chassis assignments that are out of whack.
    Alright, I think we've been off topic long enough. This thread is primarily for sharing and discussing the merging of certain creature types, not a tangent discussion on monster classes. You made good points though. :)

    If you want to continue talking monster classes, I'll happily do so with you in a thread specifically for that subject.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    Alright, I think we've been off topic long enough. This thread is primarily for sharing and discussing the merging of certain creature types, not a tangent discussion on monster classes. You made good points though. :)

    If you want to continue talking monster classes, I'll happily do so with you in a thread specifically for that subject.
    IMHO it's somewhat related, because one reason that Types have proliferated is specifically because Type is also a racial HD pseudo-class.

    You don't need the Dragon type if you have another way to give dragons really nice HD.

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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    IMHO it's somewhat related, because one reason that Types have proliferated is specifically because Type is also a racial HD pseudo-class.

    You don't need the Dragon type if you have another way to give dragons really nice HD.
    Precisely. Monster classes aren't the only way to heavily condense types while retaining mechanical variety--you could say, for instance, that certain subtypes can boost poor saves or low HD, so a Beast might have d8 HD but a Beast (Dragon) has d10 or d12, almost like a mini-template--but you do have to decide what level of mechanical variety you're comfortable with when deciding how many types you want to end up with.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    I mean, I see the point of tying numerical values like DR and AC to class, but honestly, static numbers don't make a class. If a brute class just gave DR, Nat. armor and the occasional bonus feat, that would be a really boring class. However, giving them any more htan that would mean that we'd have to find more active abilities that fit every monster of a type, which is just as weird.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    A cat is an unintelligent creature, so it's born with automatic racial HD.

    A drow priestess is a sentient being, so she takes levels in cleric.

    However, a cat could be given levels of an expert-type NPC class, and a drow priestess could be given levels of a racial spellcasting class a la a nymph. Racial HD and class levels are effectively interchangeable (depending on the statistics you assign them), it just boils down to flavour re: inherent statistics vs. statistics you learn. Do you give an ogre levels of fighter, or racial HD with full BAB, or a high racial Strength, or some combination of the three?

    (I realise I'm not saying anything new, just wanted to chime in haha).
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    A cat is an unintelligent creature, so it's born with automatic racial HD.

    A drow priestess is a sentient being, so she takes levels in cleric.

    However, a cat could be given levels of an expert-type NPC class, and a drow priestess could be given levels of a racial spellcasting class a la a nymph. Racial HD and class levels are effectively interchangeable (depending on the statistics you assign them), it just boils down to flavour re: inherent statistics vs. statistics you learn. Do you give an ogre levels of fighter, or racial HD with full BAB, or a high racial Strength, or some combination of the three?

    (I realise I'm not saying anything new, just wanted to chime in haha).
    Exactly. Type is kinda function as monster classes already. What people are basically saying is that type progressions suck for creatures. The issue is that there are easier ways to compensate without actually going through and making the "class" aspect separate from the types (although that is a valid option, it adds a lot more initial work... and you have to rebuilt every monster you use with it).

    Still though, cutting back on the base types was one of the original goals of the thread. 3.5e and its derivatives have around 13-17 base types, many of which share the same basic attributes (Cough *d8 HD*, cough *3/4 BAB*, cough *Skill Points: 2+Int Mod*), and where only a few small distinctions separate each mechanically and/or thematically.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    I just think the basic issue for me is that we should separate two things. ONe is the monster's stats, and the other is how it reacts to magic. Currently, both depend on creature type, but I don't think there is a reason they should.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    A cat is an unintelligent creature, so it's born with automatic racial HD.

    (...)

    However, a cat could be given levels of an expert-type NPC class
    Surely a feline would take levels in the NPC class Aristocat.

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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I just think the basic issue for me is that we should separate two things. ONe is the monster's stats, and the other is how it reacts to magic. Currently, both depend on creature type, but I don't think there is a reason they should.
    I think the original reason they tied it to Type was so they didn't have yet another set of classifications to add additional complexity to the system. They used the basic characteristics of a monster group as the foundation for a chassis.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I mean, I see the point of tying numerical values like DR and AC to class, but honestly, static numbers don't make a class. If a brute class just gave DR, Nat. armor and the occasional bonus feat, that would be a really boring class. However, giving them any more htan that would mean that we'd have to find more active abilities that fit every monster of a type, which is just as weird.
    I'd say boring classes are a good thing in this case, since they have to cover a much broader range of concepts than any PC class and can't really have any built-in flavor or interesting stuff since they have to work with any monster concept.

    But my thought here was not that the Brute class, to use your example, would be a fixed progression of DR, AC bonus, and bonus feats, but that all the monster classes would look more like the following:

    HD Special
    1st Role or Type Ability I
    2nd Role Ability I
    3rd Type Ability I
    4th Monster Ability I
    5th Role or Type Ability II
    6th Role Ability II
    7th Type Ability II
    8th Monster Ability II
    9th Role or Type Ability III
    10th Role Ability III
    11th Type Ability III
    12th Monster Ability III
    13th Role or Type Ability IV
    14th Role Ability IV
    15th Type Ability IV
    16th Monster Ability IV
    17th Role or Type Ability V
    18th Role Ability V
    19th Type Ability V
    20th Monster Ability V

    ...or a similarly generic progression, kind of like legacy weapon progressions (but without the suck) or building an astral construct. "Role" abilities are natural armor bonuses or big DR for Brutes, speed bonuses and move-and-attack abilities for Harriers, etc.; "Type" abilities are energy resistances or SLAs for Outsiders, swim speeds or Whirlpool for [Water] creatures, etc.; "Monster" abilities are generic things like stat boosts, extra natural attacks, and the like that fit any concept.

    Things can show up on multiple lists (lots of types get SLAs, both the Harrier and [Air] lists would have things involving fly speeds, etc.) or scale/be restricted by tier (incorporeality might be II or higher, for instance, and DR might be something like DR 5 for I, DR 10 for II, etc.). And you can trade a IV slot for two IIIs, a III for two IIs, or a II for two Is if you want to give a critter a long list of low-level SLAs, resistance 10 to a bunch of damage types, and the like.

    Of course, I've just whipped this up and am not attached to the particular progression; you might have separate ability choices for active and passive abilities to allow a Brute to be more simple to run than a Soldier, for instance, and you might have Boss Monster and Mook classes that get more and fewer than one ability per HD, respectively. But that's the basic idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    I think the original reason they tied it to Type was so they didn't have yet another set of classifications to add additional complexity to the system. They used the basic characteristics of a monster group as the foundation for a chassis.
    That's most likely it. When going from 3.0 to 3.5, the designers shuffled around some things (removed Beast, made Shapechanger a subtype) and said that they did so because those types didn't add any value and made some things confusing for players. They could have gone further in consolidating, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I'd say boring classes are a good thing in this case, since they have to cover a much broader range of concepts than any PC class and can't really have any built-in flavor or interesting stuff since they have to work with any monster concept.

    But my thought here was not that the Brute class, to use your example, would be a fixed progression of DR, AC bonus, and bonus feats, but that all the monster classes would look more like the following:

    HD Special
    1st Role or Type Ability I
    2nd Role Ability I
    3rd Type Ability I
    4th Monster Ability I
    5th Role or Type Ability II
    6th Role Ability II
    7th Type Ability II
    8th Monster Ability II
    9th Role or Type Ability III
    10th Role Ability III
    11th Type Ability III
    12th Monster Ability III
    13th Role or Type Ability IV
    14th Role Ability IV
    15th Type Ability IV
    16th Monster Ability IV
    17th Role or Type Ability V
    18th Role Ability V
    19th Type Ability V
    20th Monster Ability V

    ...or a similarly generic progression, kind of like legacy weapon progressions (but without the suck) or building an astral construct. "Role" abilities are natural armor bonuses or big DR for Brutes, speed bonuses and move-and-attack abilities for Harriers, etc.; "Type" abilities are energy resistances or SLAs for Outsiders, swim speeds or Whirlpool for [Water] creatures, etc.; "Monster" abilities are generic things like stat boosts, extra natural attacks, and the like that fit any concept.

    Things can show up on multiple lists (lots of types get SLAs, both the Harrier and [Air] lists would have things involving fly speeds, etc.) or scale/be restricted by tier (incorporeality might be II or higher, for instance, and DR might be something like DR 5 for I, DR 10 for II, etc.). And you can trade a IV slot for two IIIs, a III for two IIs, or a II for two Is if you want to give a critter a long list of low-level SLAs, resistance 10 to a bunch of damage types, and the like.

    Of course, I've just whipped this up and am not attached to the particular progression; you might have separate ability choices for active and passive abilities to allow a Brute to be more simple to run than a Soldier, for instance, and you might have Boss Monster and Mook classes that get more and fewer than one ability per HD, respectively. But that's the basic idea.



    That's most likely it. When going from 3.0 to 3.5, the designers shuffled around some things (removed Beast, made Shapechanger a subtype) and said that they did so because those types didn't add any value and made some things confusing for players. They could have gone further in consolidating, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
    Interesting.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post

    As far as consolidating creature types, I got 8:
    • Spirits (Fey & Elementals)
    • Artificial (Undead & Constructs)
    • Mortals (Humanoids, Monstrous Humanoids, Giants, Sentient Races that die of old age, and any races designed to level up through PC classes)
    • Animals (Vermin, Animals, Magical Beasts, & Non-Sentient Dragon-type creatures)
    • Aberration (Creatures with abnormal anatomy)
    • Outsiders (Creatures from outside the Material Plane)
    • Plant (Plants, Fungi, and their derivatives)
    • Ooze (Slimes, Oozes, Single Celled Organisms, etc.)


    Note: Each grouping was consolidated according to theme. While Plant and Ooze share similar immunities as some other types, thematically they cover vastly different biologies. Plants are different from animals, while Oozes are basically giant amoebas and bacteria. Outsiders could be folded into spirits, but I kept them separate for personal reasons. If you want to, you could always rename the Animal class to Beasts.

    Also, certain types that now no longer exist could be reworked to be subtypes.
    Where would intelligent dragons go? Aberrations?
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlasSniperman View Post
    Where would intelligent dragons go? Aberrations?
    Intelligent dragons would be lumped in with mortals, at least for my setting... As I am planning on making them a playable race. In fact, Dragons are one of the main focuses of that particular setting. Naturally they have to be nerfed a bit, but the core aspect of them is still the same: intelligent flying lizards with breath weapons and inherent spell-like abilities.

    The Mortal type isn't just humanoid races, its a melting pot for any race I want my players to have a chance to play as.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Personally, I would rebuild all the monsters from scratch so that they have real "racial class" not some stupid summarization called "Type Hit Dice". Of course, the work is to remove as much level adjustment as possible by give level appropriate abilities. Then, synchronize the Challenge Rating with Character Levels.

    The Level Adjustment is to take care of the Hit Points difference, and to make Monster Race Weaker.

    A Succubus is a 12th Level Sorcerer with mostly 3rd Level Spells, multiple Weaken 4th level spells (Energy Drain does 1 instead 2d4 negative levels), 2 Weakened 7th Level Spells (Greater Teleport and Ethereal Jaunt), etc. Since "10/day = at will" in crafting cost, Succubus has her spells at will to make the bookkeeping task easier. Converting all of her Spell-Like Abilities and Supernatural Abilities with the Spells of the Same Name, and make her a 12th level sorcerer would not change much of her power, except for those two 7th level spells which may be broken in player's hands.

    The problem?
    I) Lanchester's Linear Law - If a party of (usually) monsters spread their attacks to every player, then they are linearly difficult. The experience system expects linear law.
    2) Lanchester's Square Law - If a party of (usually) monsters focus their attacks on the lowest armor class character (usually the wizard), then they are quadratically difficult. The challenge rating system expects partial square law because the monsters' ECL and CR does not match.

    What's between the two laws?
    Triangular Growth. If you do not know this trend, you should look up the XP table in the Total XP column.
    Linear Triangular Quadratic
    1-1-1
    2-3-4
    3-6-9
    4-10-16
    5-15-25
    6-21-36
    etc.

    As you can see, a typical party of 4 is 10 times stronger than going solo under average optimization, and 16 times stronger than going solo in practical optimization. That difference is enough to adjust Encounter Level by 1.2 to 1.6. On the other hand, a pessimization is weak enough to adjust Encounter Level by -2.4 to -2.8. Together an Optimized Party could handle encounters 4 level higher than a Pessimized Party.

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by HouseRules View Post
    Personally, I would rebuild all the monsters from scratch so that they have real "racial class" not some stupid summarization called "Type Hit Dice". Of course, the work is to remove as much level adjustment as possible by give level appropriate abilities. Then, synchronize the Challenge Rating with Character Levels.

    The Level Adjustment is to take care of the Hit Points difference, and to make Monster Race Weaker.

    A Succubus is a 12th Level Sorcerer with mostly 3rd Level Spells, multiple Weaken 4th level spells (Energy Drain does 1 instead 2d4 negative levels), 2 Weakened 7th Level Spells (Greater Teleport and Ethereal Jaunt), etc. Since "10/day = at will" in crafting cost, Succubus has her spells at will to make the bookkeeping task easier. Converting all of her Spell-Like Abilities and Supernatural Abilities with the Spells of the Same Name, and make her a 12th level sorcerer would not change much of her power, except for those two 7th level spells which may be broken in player's hands.

    The problem?
    I) Lanchester's Linear Law - If a party of (usually) monsters spread their attacks to every player, then they are linearly difficult. The experience system expects linear law.
    2) Lanchester's Square Law - If a party of (usually) monsters focus their attacks on the lowest armor class character (usually the wizard), then they are quadratically difficult. The challenge rating system expects partial square law because the monsters' ECL and CR does not match.

    What's between the two laws?
    Triangular Growth. If you do not know this trend, you should look up the XP table in the Total XP column.
    Linear Triangular Quadratic
    1-1-1
    2-3-4
    3-6-9
    4-10-16
    5-15-25
    6-21-36
    etc.

    As you can see, a typical party of 4 is 10 times stronger than going solo under average optimization, and 16 times stronger than going solo in practical optimization. That difference is enough to adjust Encounter Level by 1.2 to 1.6. On the other hand, a pessimization is weak enough to adjust Encounter Level by -2.4 to -2.8. Together an Optimized Party could handle encounters 4 level higher than a Pessimized Party.
    That triangular quadratic expression you came up with is the same basic formula that 3.5e uses for total XP needed to reach a certain level. Tying monster encounter power to levels is a good way to balance that aspect.
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    When it comes to GMing, World-Building is one of the things that I do best, provided I have friends to bounce ideas off of.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Things seem to have gotten quiet.
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    When it comes to GMing, World-Building is one of the things that I do best, provided I have friends to bounce ideas off of.

  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    Interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    interesting...
    Quote Originally Posted by Durzan View Post
    Things seem to have gotten quiet.
    Interesting?

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Interesting?
    Yeah, its what I say when I want to encourage others to talk but have little to say.
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    I suppose I can volunteer my Monstrous Special Attacks & Qualities as another basis by which to generate standardised monsters. Racial hit dice should provide alternative benefits to class levels, so giving monster-specific feats could be one way to balance them.

  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Default Re: Consolidating Creature Types and Subtypes (3.5e Help)

    That might prove very helpful indeed.

    Anyone have some new insights on this?

    Also, started another thread based on the tangent discussion that started in this one.
    Last edited by Durzan; 2019-06-10 at 11:21 AM.
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