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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Putting this up not just for feedback, but for anyone that wants to "Homebrew" monster/s or challenge set up, for PEACH-ing.

    Ok. I came up with an idea for a challenge for my players.

    They are 4 fifth level PCs.
    Redemption Paladin 5
    Swashbuckler 3/Hexblade 2
    Mountain Druid 5.
    Champion Fighter 5

    *****
    The Skullyard

    Take a CR 4 Flameskull, change AC to 15 with 75 HP.
    Ray (x2) is +5 to hit and does 5d6 damage.
    Fireball spell 1x day 8d6 damage Dex DC 15 halves.

    Now add three more Skulls, altered.

    Shockskull (DotMM) as above, but Lighting damage.
    Lightning Bolt 1x day. 8d6 damage Dex DC 15 halves

    Frostskull - as above, but Cold damage.
    "Frostball" 1x day. 8d6 damage Dex DC 15 halves.

    Screamskull - as above, but Thunder damage.
    I'm playing this as being like Thunderwave, as a burst around it. 8d6 damage and pushed away 10 feet, Con DC 15 halves and negates push.

    They all have spells: Shield 3x day, Blur 2x day.

    I was also thinking about giving them an ability similar to the Goblin Boss' redirect: able to make a nearby floating skull take the hit, instead of them.

    (There is a total of 100 skulls, so there is a limit. The Flying Skulls are AC 12 with 10 hp each, and no attacks. Cannot use Help Action.)

    But, unlike the redirect ability, they not only have to see the attack, they need to use a Reaction and make a Dexterity Save DC equal to the Attack Total to do this. Since they also have the ability to do an Attack of Opportunity with their Ray, as a Reaction; means they can't do both on the same round.

    I was also thinking about adding the ability to use Hide as a Bonus Action to "get lost amongst the skulls" making targeting them harder.
    Not sure, maybe a DC 13 Perception check to find?

    Would adding Lair Actions be too much?

    ****
    So, I'm trying to figure out the CR of each, as well as what Threat level this Encounter is.

    I was thinking CR 5 each, and Deadly, but want to check with more experienced DMs.

    ****
    Now, I want this Encounter to be difficult to defeat, but not impossible.

    Should I put each Skull in a separate room?
    Each with only 25 Flying Skulls.

    Eliminating all the Floating Skulls will make it impossible for Hiding tricks.

    Retreating out of the room is possible, but the Skulls are smart enough to set up Ambushes.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-06-01 at 07:44 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Ok. Finally got some time to do some research.

    Using the monster list by PheonixPhyre I came up with:

    +2 AC = No effective Change to CR.
    Increased HP = No effective Change to CR.
    Increased damage from Special Attacks = +1 CR.

    One Skull = easy Encounter.
    Two Skulls = moderate Encounter
    Three Skulls = hard Encounter
    Four Skulls = deadly Encounter.

    Is this correct?
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    The party defeated the Skullyard!!!
    By the skin of their teeth.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Should I put each Skull in a separate room?
    Each with only 25 Flying Skulls.
    I was going to say something but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    The party defeated the Skullyard!!!
    By the skin of their teeth.
    Though I have something to say about...

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    One Skull = easy Encounter.
    Two Skulls = moderate Encounter
    Three Skulls = hard Encounter
    Four Skulls = deadly Encounter.

    Is this correct?
    According the CR system, an encounter with a challenge rating of 5 is a moderate encounter for a lv 5 party, and a CR of 10 would be a deadly encounter for a lv 5 party.

    According to the exp system though the fact that there is less of them than you (In the case you did have them all in separate rooms, or maybe split them into groups), the encounter difficulty would actually decrease due to action economy. The exp system is far more accurate, but it can be difficult to remember all the rules for calculating difficulty with that.

    I congratulate your party on surviving that, they defeated a total CR of 20 (twice a deadly encounter), and I think that if the skulls hiding and maybe redirect abilities were factored in, they would almost deserve a CR of 6. If you did indeed have the skulls all in the same room then its amazing the players survived.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    @Maxidion:
    Thanks for those calculations.

    And they played it smart and went after the McGuffin, and the party pulled Support while the Paladin did:

    Branding Smite (2d6), Attack with Holy Longword (1d10+4+2d6), and dropped her highest Slot for Smite (+3d8).
    On the Radiant-vulnerable McGuffin.

    Which did enough Radiant damage to Nuke it into powder. McGuffin was what kept the Skullyard (and the NecroDungeon) going.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    @Maxidion:
    Thanks for those calculations.

    And they played it smart and went after the McGuffin, and the party pulled Support while the Paladin did:

    Branding Smite (2d6), Attack with Holy Longword (1d10+4+2d6), and dropped her highest Slot for Smite (+3d8).
    On the Radiant-vulnerable McGuffin.

    Which did enough Radiant damage to Nuke it into powder. McGuffin was what kept the Skullyard (and the NecroDungeon) going.
    Your welcome.

    I have noticed that most non-murder hobo player teams usually play it smart and thus can get by incredibly tough challenges without dying. Sometimes though I have seen players trying to be so smart they completely ignore (the McGuffin?) and end up getting into more trouble than necessary. (btw, a deadly encounter is meant to be an encounter difficult enough that one of the player's will likely end up dead, like dead dead, not unconscious dead).

    P.S. Thanks for telling me how the skullyard went.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    DMG EXP Calculations. Pages 82-84.
    Creating a Monster DMG pg 283.

    Not having a physical copy is a pain!!

    Alicorn
    Ok, the Pegasus is a CR 2.
    And, the Unicorn is a CR 5.

    So would the Legendary Alicorn be a CR 8?
    Move 50 (1,000 lb limit) Fly 50. (500 lb limit)

    Innate Telepathy 60 feet.
    At Will: Viscous Mockery, Eldritch Blast (Radiant with Repelling), and Raise Dead.
    Once a day: Sickening Radiance as Aura. (Suggested by DM Peter)

    Save DC 14.
    3 Spell slots: Phantasmal Killer, Greater Invisibility, Counterspell.

    Healing Touch 3/day for 5d8 HP each.
    Teleport 3 times a day.

    Attacks are considered magical.
    Multi-attack.
    +8 Hit 2d8+4 blunt (x2 hooves) and 2d10 Pierce (Horn).

    Same Legendary Actions as Unicorns.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-07-26 at 03:49 PM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    I really don't like taking Agency away from a Player. Even Dominate usually wears off.

    As such, while I like the Intellect Devourer, I don't like it's Ability to instantly eat your brain and steal your memories, and then pretending to be you, rejoining the party to later backstab/betray.

    Doppelgangers and other Evil Shapechanging beings, are bad enough.

    Now, I like the Devourer's Psychic damage power, so I'm keeping that.

    The Reduction of Intelligence, I'm not so sure about: maybe just a Stun lasting 3d6 rounds?
    With a save each round to negate?

    The real problem I have is: what to replace the Brain Thief Ability with?

    Idea: still called Brain Thief:
    The Target makes an Intelligence Save.
    Upon a failure, the Devourer duplicates an Ability (DM determines) that the Creature has.

    A Class or Subclass Ability or a Feat.
    A spell and the Slots for that level.

    I'm making a Greater Intellect Devourer (CR 10) to have the Classic Brain Thief Abilities.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-07-12 at 06:56 AM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    I need some way to "Heal" Undead.
    Some Undead do have a regeneration Ability, like Vampires. But most of these are high CR, and I need ways for Low CR Undead to "recover" from damage, so that if a PC injured, say, a Zombie, and then later Encountered the same one, it wasn't stuck at 1 HP, or whatever was left from the last fight.

    Negative Energy Wave does this, and maybe one more?

    I need more options.

    Feat.
    Grave's Lullaby.
    This feat causes any spell that deals Necrotic damage to Heal affected Undead. (?)
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-07-16 at 12:46 AM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Another Undead Querry:

    Awaken Undead

    Ok. I'm thinking that the effect for this doesn't really justify being a 7th level spell in 5e. (Or even 3x, but that's a separate issue)

    I'm also wondering why Create Undead can't make Intelligent Zombies/Skeletons.

    For just making Z/S Intelligent, to the limit of their Racial stat in the MM (10 for those Humanoids not listed) this could be a 5th level Necromancy spell.

    Change the Material Component to a 200 gp Onyx Gem, that is consumed.

    Abilities and Features from any past Life are not gained, but these undead do gain any Racial traits that apply, and can learn Class levels with features, feats, and so on.

    (Undead controlled by a Necromancer are limited to half the caster's level, adjusting total number controlled based on new CR)

    *****
    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-07-25 at 12:43 PM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Hey, sorry I've been gone so long. I'm back now, but will probably only be able to visit the sight about once a week due limited time. I will try to answer one post on this thread a week and do some reading on ancient realms, among other things. So first question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    DMG EXP Calculations. Pages 82-84.
    Creating a Monster DMG pg 283.

    Not having a physical copy is a pain!!

    Alicorn
    Ok, the Pegasus is a CR 2.
    And, the Unicorn is a CR 5.

    So would the Legendary Alicorn be a CR 8?
    Move 50 (1,000 lb limit) Fly 50. (500 lb limit)

    Innate Telepathy 60 feet.
    At Will: Viscous Mockery, Eldritch Blast (Radiant with Repelling), and Raise Dead.
    Once a day: Sickening Radiance as Aura. (Suggested by DM Peter)

    Save DC 14.
    3 Spell slots: Phantasmal Killer, Greater Invisibility, Counterspell.

    Healing Touch 3/day for 5d8 HP each.
    Teleport 3 times a day.

    Attacks are considered magical.
    Multi-attack.
    +8 Hit 2d8+4 blunt (x2 hooves) and 2d10 Pierce (Horn).

    Same Legendary Actions as Unicorns.
    I tried to answer this before, but couldn't find the necessary information; I still couldn't. I really don't know about calculating the challenge ratings of monsters. I just go off of what is similar, what are the differences between this and the similar creature and what level of a party would consider it a normal challenge. So especially since (but even if I could) I can't see the HP of this creature, I really don't know what CR it would have.

    But, CR aside, this looks like another well designed creature. Sorry for my lack of useful information.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion View Post
    Hey, sorry I've been gone so long. I'm back now, but will probably only be able to visit the sight about once a week due limited time. I will try to answer one post on this thread a week and do some reading on ancient realms, among other things.
    Welcome back. I'm very glade that this thread didn't die.
    Now that I know that you're doing about one reply a week, I'll adjust my expectations.

    I tried to answer this before, but couldn't find the necessary information; I still couldn't. I really don't know about calculating the challenge ratings of monsters. I just go off of what is similar, what are the differences between this and the similar creature and what level of a party would consider it a normal challenge. So especially since (but even if I could) I can't see the HP of this creature, I really don't know what CR it would have.
    Opps. I get D&D Monster info from Donjon
    It has filters to search by Type (Celestial in this case) Challenge, Environment and Source (Book)
    MM = Monster Manual * VgM = Volo's Guide to Monsters * MtF = Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
    Only what is in the SRD (MM, minus some monsters) is listed on the site for pop-up information.

    (MM) CR 5: The Unicorn has 9d10 HD and +13 hp
    with +7 to hit and 2d6 +4 hooves (twice) and 1d8 +4 horn.

    I figured that the Alicorn would have 14d10 HD +42 hp
    with +10 to hit and 2d8 +5 hooves (x2) and 1d10 +5 horn.

    Eldritch Blast (Radiant with Repelling) is 600' range, but limited to 2d8 damage.

    Oh, and the (VgM) Kirin is a CR 12, by the way.
    You'll have to look it up in the book to get details.

    But, CR aside, this looks like another well designed creature.
    Sorry for my lack of useful information.
    Thanks!!
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-08-05 at 12:58 PM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Welcome back. I'm very glade that this thread didn't die.
    Now that I know that you're doing about one reply a week, I'll adjust my expectations.

    Opps. I get D&D Monster info from Donjon
    It has filters to search by Type (Celestial in this case) Challenge, Environment and Source (Book)
    MM = Monster Manual * VgM = Volo's Guide to Monsters * MtF = Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
    Only what is in the SRD (MM, minus some monsters) is listed on the site for pop-up information.
    I do know how to find the CR of officially existing creatures, just not how to create new creatures and calculate what their CR would be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Welcome back. I'm very glade that this thread didn't die.
    Now that I know that you're doing about one reply a week, I'll adjust my expectations.

    ...

    Thanks!!
    Glad to be back. Your Welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    I really don't like taking Agency away from a Player. Even Dominate usually wears off.

    As such, while I like the Intellect Devourer, I don't like it's Ability to instantly eat your brain and steal your memories, and then pretending to be you, rejoining the party to later backstab/betray.

    Doppelgangers and other Evil Shapechanging beings, are bad enough.
    I can see that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Now, I like the Devourer's Psychic damage power, so I'm keeping that.

    The Reduction of Intelligence, I'm not so sure about: maybe just a Stun lasting 3d6 rounds?
    With a save each round to negate?

    The real problem I have is: what to replace the Brain Thief Ability with?

    Idea: still called Brain Thief:
    The Target makes an Intelligence Save.
    Upon a failure, the Devourer duplicates an Ability (DM determines) that the Creature has.

    A Class or Subclass Ability or a Feat.
    A spell and the Slots for that level.

    I'm making a Greater Intellect Devourer (CR 10) to have the Classic Brain Thief Abilities.
    That could work. I had some other ideas, but upon looking at the creatures stats and thinking about my answers, I realized that my ideas either wouldn't work, or were similar but frankly worse than the ideas you came up with. I feel it needs a little extra to make up for the fact it cant gain better stats by taking over a body. The following ideas aren't the best, but there what I've been able to come up with. You could also possibly allow it to learn memories or the like in addition to the abilities. Maybe it can gain HP or other physical benefits from its brain thief ability (it is feeding and thereby restoring itself or gaining strength.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Welcome back!

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion View Post
    I do know how to find the CR of officially existing creatures, just not how to create new creatures and calculate what their CR would be.
    This is indeed my problem.

    I can see that.
    That could work. I had some other ideas, but upon looking at the creatures stats and thinking about my answers, I realized that my ideas either wouldn't work, or were similar but frankly worse than the ideas you came up with. I feel it needs a little extra to make up for the fact it cant gain better stats by taking over a body. (1) The following ideas aren't the best, but there what I've been able to come up with. You could also possibly allow it to learn memories or the like in addition to the abilities. (2) Maybe it can gain HP or other physical benefits from its brain thief ability (it is feeding and thereby restoring itself or gaining strength. (3)
    Go ahead and put those bad ideas in, since the people here (on the Forum) can then think of other ways to improve them, or make better - different ideas, based on these.

    (1) Maybe on a failed Int Save, a boost to the Devourer's DC for the Int Save (+5 max) for 1 minute? Hopefully not against the same PC...

    (2) If this is ok with the player allowing the creature to steal some memories, and then - if it can escape - go tell it's Illithid Boss...

    (3) Sure, maybe it stole/duplicated a Hit Die from that PC, and used it for healing itself.
    Or maybe it heals itself with the 3d6 Int instead of draining from target?
    Ex: roll the 3d6 and instead of reducing the target's Int, the Devourer heals itself.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-08-11 at 11:06 AM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Welcome back!


    This is indeed my problem.


    Go ahead and put those bad ideas in, since the people here (on the Forum) can then think of other ways to improve them, or make better - different ideas, based on these.
    Why thank you. What I would do as far as CR goes is compare it to the closest creatures, and also think about what level of a four member party would find this to be a medium/casual challenge. As in, they will probably win with out to much loss or use of resources, but still have to be a little careful or something could go very wrong. Then you have to keep in mind that most players who are really into the game will usually do a lot better and will be able to take on challenges far beyond their level even if with great cost and difficulty. So if your party is into the game, which I think they are, comparing CR to what they can deal with is even more difficult. It is best to compare it to what a group of NPCs of that level could do rather than players. Phew, got that out of the way, no idea where that monologue came from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    (1) Maybe on a failed Int Save, a boost to the Devourer's DC for the Int Save (+5 max) for 1 minute? Hopefully not against the same PC...

    (2) If this is ok with the player allowing the creature to steal some memories, and then - if it can escape - go tell it's Illithid Boss...

    (3) Sure, maybe it stole/duplicated a Hit Die from that PC, and used it for healing itself.
    Or maybe it heals itself with the 3d6 Int instead of draining from target?
    Ex: roll the 3d6 and instead of reducing the target's Int, the Devourer heals itself.
    By steal memories do you mean they lose the memory that the Devourer get's? If so I would think that to having a similar problem to letting the player get controlled. They now have to pretend they don't know something their character has known all along which could be a problem. I don't mind either temporarily taking control away or doing other similar things that much, but I know my crew doesn't either. Also if they aren't losing the memory the Devourer takes, then you don't even have to tell them that it has taken any. Just something for you to consider.

    Also for the healing 3d6 HP maybe you could allow any extra HP healed over their max becomes temporary HP, that they can still heal if hurt, but they can become a little stronger then they previously were. Due to how temporary HP works not too much stronger.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Maxidion

    I can't thank you enough for your willingness to participate here.

    *****
    Comparing to similar monsters is a possible way to try doing CR.

    But, it still has some problems.

    One reason why I put the Devourer into this thread was: It doesn't really have much to compare to, especially the unmodified MM version.

    Even the CR 7 Mindflayer only does Psychic damage and stuns for one minute.

    Brain extraction is as close as Illithids get to Brain Thief; and this kills the person, while only providing nourishment, and does not actually give the Illithid any way to duplicate the memories or Abilities (Class, Feats, etc) of the Individual. (Although 3x D&D had a prestige class where an Illithid could do that)

    And the CR 3 Doppelganger only gets Advantage on Insight, Deception, Intimation, and Persuasion checks against the target of its Read Thoughts Ability.

    So, the (unmodified) "CR 2" Intellect Devourer is better than both these combined!

    Better than Illithid: Psychic damage and if target is reduced to Zero Int they are stunned until the they can regain Int, but doesn't say how that is possible. Short Rest? Long Rest? Must be magically healed?

    Better than Doppelgangers: Devourer's Brain Thief actually knows everything the Target knew, and can use their Abilities and Class Features/Powers: Makes infiltration into a group lots easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion
    By steal memories do you mean they lose the memory that the Devourer get's? Just something for you to consider.
    I left the "steal" option for other DMs to use, if they still wanted to keep the creepy "Devourer" aspect of this Monster, without it needing to actually eat the person's brain.

    For myself, I'm going "duplicate", and not taking anything away from the PC's Abilities or powers, but the Party needs to deal with the Devourer using a PC's ability/powers against them.

    I'm not sure if that's enough to keep the Devourer at CR 2, especially with Int Drain doing "stunning target" plus "self healing";

    But - with low Int Save DCs, it might just fit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion
    Also for the healing 3d6 HP maybe you could allow any extra HP healed over their max becomes temporary HP, that they can still heal if hurt, but they can become a little stronger then they previously were. Due to how temporary HP works not too much stronger.
    I like this idea.

    Although, to keep it where the Devourer is still a Low CR monster, might not allow temp HP to be used to heal. The High CR version could totally do this, though.

    What do you think?
    See you next time.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-08-19 at 10:17 AM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Maxidion

    I can't thank you enough for your willingness to participate here.

    *****
    Comparing to similar monsters is a possible way to try doing CR.

    But, it still has some problems.

    One reason why I put the Devourer into this thread was: It doesn't really have much to compare to, especially the unmodified MM version.

    Even the CR 7 Mindflayer only does Psychic damage and stuns for one minute.

    Brain extraction is as close as Illithids get to Brain Thief; and this kills the person, while only providing nourishment, and does not actually give the Illithid any way to duplicate the memories or Abilities (Class, Feats, etc) of the Individual. (Although 3x D&D had a prestige class where an Illithid could do that)

    And the CR 3 Doppelganger only gets Advantage on Insight, Deception, Intimation, and Persuasion checks against the target of its Read Thoughts Ability.

    So, the (unmodified) "CR 2" Intellect Devourer is better than both these combined!

    Better than Illithid: Psychic damage and if target is reduced to Zero Int they are stunned until the they can regain Int, but doesn't say how that is possible. Short Rest? Long Rest? Must be magically healed?

    Better than Doppelgangers: Devourer's Brain Thief actually knows everything the Target knew, and can use their Abilities and Class Features/Powers: Makes infiltration into a group lots easier.
    As far as CR goes, I was still in the discussion of CR in general, not the intellect devourer, though it is perfectly relevant here. I personally don't care much about CR, but if your posting the creatures in public (which you are) then I suppose it is necessary to make one. I mostly just look at what can it do, can the party handle it. Often it is specific abilities that will really destroy your specific party, even though it might not be so bad for other parties. Hence why its CR is much lower than the challenge it presents to the opposing party. It is still a helpful guide though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    I left the "steal" option for other DMs to use, if they still wanted to keep the creepy "Devourer" aspect of this Monster, without it needing to actually eat the person's brain.

    For myself, I'm going "duplicate", and not taking anything away from the PC's Abilities or powers, but the Party needs to deal with the Devourer using a PC's ability/powers against them.

    I'm not sure if that's enough to keep the Devourer at CR 2, especially with Int Drain doing "stunning target" plus "self healing";

    But - with low Int Save DCs, it might just fit?

    I like this idea.

    Although, to keep it where the Devourer is still a Low CR monster, might not allow temp HP to be used to heal. The High CR version could totally do this, though.

    What do you think?
    See you next time.
    As far as duplicate goes, I approve. As far as I know, the intellect devourer's stun is permanent unless cured, which isn't easy for many parties. I'm pretty sure you can't rest while stunned, so that option would be out of the picture. I also think that it takes rather high level abilities to cure (probably lesser restoration wouldn't work). At the same time, I think while this is more or less what is intended, it is purposefully left at the GM's discretion. Replacing this

    I at first failed to realize the significance of the +5 DC, so yes that is a big boost. While thinking about it I realize that the Temp HP might be to much (especially with the afore mentioned boost), I feel the heal by itself is to little. I also thought that it should gain some physical boost, not just restoration then it succeeds. If you don't think it should, let me know and I'll stop trying to think of a way for that to come to pass.

    Wait a minute! This thing still stuns? In that case it is still pretty powerful. I misunderstood at first and though you were saying it was below 2 CR, now I realize you were saying it is above. Right then, maybe we should just keep it as you have it now then. It can stun while healing, and can duplicate memories and abilities (I think). Is their anything else it can do, my memory is failing me.

    I also really like your ?signature?. The thing at the bottom of all your posts.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion
    As far as CR goes, I was still in the discussion of CR in general
    I was thinking this, but my problem is that I don't always agree with the Dev's opinion on CR. Especially for 5e D&D. Which is why I used the Intellect Devourer as an example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion
    As far as duplicate goes, I approve. As far as I know, the intellect devourer's stun is permanent unless cured, which isn't easy for many parties. I'm pretty sure you can't rest while stunned, so that option would be out of the picture. I also think that it takes rather high level abilities to cure (probably lesser restoration wouldn't work). At the same time, I think while this is more or less what is intended, it is purposefully left at the GM's discretion.
    Bolded = I'll look this up when I can.
    Edit: the PHB only states that Conditions must be negated. Since the Devourer's Stun effect is only negated with a Restoration Spell, resting does not remove it.
    *****
    I do like the Duplicate, and can't wait to test that on some willing Players.

    See, for the Stun - that's why I used the CR 7 Mindflayer as a comparison. I feel that the Devourer's Stun should only last a minute, at most.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion
    I at first failed to realize the significance of the +5 DC, so yes that is a big boost. While thinking about it I realize that the Temp HP might be to much (especially with the afore mentioned boost), I feel the heal by itself is to little.
    I'd keep the Stun, allow a Temp HP boost, and maybe the healing ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion
    I also thought that it should gain some physical boost, not just restoration then it succeeds. If you don't think it should, let me know and I'll stop trying to think of a way for that to come to pass.
    IDK - do you think that being able to Duplicate Str, Dex or Con Scores for a minute would work? Combine this with Duplicating another PC's Class/Sublcass or Feat ability? (the Devourer should not be able to Duplicate a Stunned PC more than once, or it becomes rather unfair to that Character's Player)

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxidion
    Wait a minute! This thing still stuns? In that case it is still pretty powerful. I misunderstood at first and though you were saying it was below 2 CR, now I realize you were saying it is above. Right then, maybe we should just keep it as you have it now then. It can stun while healing, and can duplicate memories and abilities (I think). Is their anything else it can do, my memory is failing me.
    Ok, step by step.
    Party encounters Devourer

    Devourer attacks and does Psychic Damage to PC #3, who then needs to save for half damage.
    If PC #3 fails their DC 10 Int Save - the DM chooses an Ability (Stat, Feat, Class/Subclass feature) that the Devourer duplicates for one minute (concentration?)

    Devourer also gets to Roll 3d6 for how many Temp HP it gets that round, and if PC #3 has their Int reduced to Zero, they are stunned (might allow Lesser Restoration to cure) for a minute(?)

    The next round, the Devourer can either Attack another PC with duplicated abilities, or use it's psychic power on them (now a DC 15 Int Save), or convert tHP to healing.

    I believe that's all.
    How does this sound?
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-08-27 at 08:25 PM.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Still hoping for input on both Healing Undead and Animate Dead making smart Skeletons and Zombies.

    Rant
    Ok. I suppose that I'm a little biased about Dragons.

    White Dragons really got the very short end of the stick, here.

    Starting at Int 5 at Wyrmling, Int 6 at Young, Int 8 at Adult and a whopping Int 10 for Ancient !!
    White Dragon Wyrmling Wis 10, Young Wis 11, Adult Wis 12, and Ancient Wis 13.

    Now, I tend to believe that Sentient Apex Predators simply cannot be stupid.

    This is especially true for (let me be honest here, Chromatic) Dragons that are supposed to inspire terror in the hearts of people.

    Even a Wyrmling Dragon running amok in your average Village (or small town) is both Terrifying and Deadly.
    And there is a reason that Waterdeep has Magical Protections against all (especially Older) Dragon's !!

    As such I've changed Whites to:
    Wyrmling Int 8 Young Int 10, Adult Int 14, and Ancient Int 16.
    No need to change Wisdom.

    I believe: This still puts White Dragons as being "dumber" than the other Chromatics of each Stage, but still able to believably know about tactics. Even Wyrmling Whites should be almost as smart as the Average Person.

    Black
    Wyrmling Int 10 Wis 11 Young Int 12 Wis 11 Adult Int 14 Wis 13 and Ancient Int 16 Wis 15

    Blue
    Wyrmling Int 12 Wis 11 Young Int 14 Wis 13 Adult Int 16 Wis 15 and Ancient Int 18 Wis 17

    Green
    Wyrmling Int 14 Wis 11 Young Int 16 Wis 13 Adult Int 18 Wis 15 and Ancient Int 20 Wis 17

    Red
    Wyrmling Int 12 Wis 11 Young Int 14 Wis 11 Adult Int 16 Wis 13 and Ancient Int 18 Wis 15

    As far as I can tell with 5e, altering the Abilities of a creature doesn't change their CR.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-09-19 at 07:12 AM.
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  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Technically not a monster, but I didn't think the following needed it's own Thread.

    As I may have mentioned elsewhere, I don't like Monks being the "Shadowdancer", but then I played mostly Rogues when it was still a Prestige Class. As such, I moved SD to being a variant A.T. Rogue, with a strong focus on being hidden in darkness.
    (I'm still hoping to get someone to Playtest this)

    Anyway, I'm at a loss as to how to change this, since I want it to be different from SD, but still very much about being the Ninja "hiding in plain sight" Subclass grants proficiency in the Deception skill and with the Disguise Kit tool.
    I got some players willing to playtest both these Ideas!!

    Spoiler: Shadow Monk
    Show

    Shadow Arts
    Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can use your ki to duplicate the effects of certain spells. As an action, you can spend 2 ki points to cast Darkness, Darkvision, Pass without Trace, or Silence, without providing material components. Additionally, you gain the Minor Illusion cantrip if you don't already know it.

    Shadow Step
    At 6th level, you gain the ability to step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end of the turn.

    Cloak of Shadows
    By 11th level, you have learned to become one with the shadows. When you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to become invisible. You remain invisible until you make an attack, cast a spell, or are in an area of bright light.

    Opportunist
    At 17th level, you can exploit a creature's momentary distraction when it is hit by an attack. Whenever a creature within 5 feet of you is hit by an attack made by a creature other than you, you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against that creature.


    Way of the Unseen Form
    The first thing I did was trade Darkness for Invisibility at the same Ki cost.
    Maybe Non-detection for an extra 2 Ki to block See Invisibility ?

    The second thing I did was: Character gains darkvision. If already having darkvision, add 30 feet.
    For 3 Ki the Monk can see normally in any darkness for one minute.

    Now - about Shadow Teleportation - I'd keep that on the "Ninja" Monk, and simply give the Shadowdancer Rogue silent Misty Step and Dimension Door as spell options.

    At 6th level you gain the ability to Shadow Step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end of the turn.

    At 11th level Greater Invisibility for one minute is gained when using 5 Ki.
    (Imaging getting Kung fu-ed four times a round by an unseen foe !!)

    And 17th level: 10 Ki grants the same effect as Supreme Invisibility for one minute.
    "Unseen, Unheard, and Scentless."
    This would replace Opportunist, which goes to the Shadowdancer Rogue.

    Shadowdancer Rogue

    Third: Gains the ability to learn and cast Pass Without Trace as a 1st level spell.
    Can cast a spell without needing to move or make a sound a number of times a day equal to Charisma modifier.

    Ninth: One with Shadow: you have Advantage to stealth when in shadow or darkness.
    Able to use stealth at full movement with no penalty.

    Thirteenth: Can use the Hide action to vanish from sight if within 10 feet of any shadow other than your own.

    Seventeenth: Opportunist: you can exploit a creature's momentary distraction when it is hit by an attack. Whenever a creature within 5 feet of you is hit by an attack made by a creature other than you, you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against that creature.

    I'm still working on these ideas.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-10-01 at 08:35 PM.
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    No offense is intended by anything I post.
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    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Giants are up next.

    These "people" are supposed to be on par with the Dragons.

    Storm * Challenge 13
    STR 29 (+9) DEX 14 (+2) CON 20 (+5) INT 16 (+3) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 18 (+4)

    Cloud * Challenge 9
    STR 27 (+8) DEX 10 (+0) CON 22 (+6) INT 12 (+1) WIS 16 CHA 16

    Fire * Challenge 9
    STR 25 (+7) DEX 9 (- 1) CON 23 (+6) INT 10 (+0) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 13 (+1)

    Frost * Challenge 8
    STR 23 (+6) DEX 9 (- 1) CON 21 (+5) INT 9 (- 1) WIS 10 (0) CHA 12 (+1)

    Stone * Challenge 7
    STR 23 (+6) DEX 15 (+2) CON 20 (+5) INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 9 (-1)

    Hill * Challenge 5
    STR 21 (+5) DEX 8 (- 1) CON 19 (+4) INT 5 WIS 9 CHA 6

    Ok, only Frost and Hill really get low-balled here.
    While a 9 Int isn't the end of the world, if the DM is running that Illusions are based on an Intelligence Save (which I do) means that Frost tend to get tricked a little too often.
    Clever plans and action should be spur-of-the-moment, and rewarded, despite how "Smart" the BBEG is.

    Hill Giants (and unmodified White Dragon wyrmlings) aren't even Sentient by my standards.

    Spoiler: giantkin
    Show

    "Titan"
    Ettin
    Formorian
    Verbeeg
    Firbolg
    Golliath
    Sand

    Troll
    Ogre

    -more?
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-09-27 at 03:07 AM.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Kobolds vs Goblins

    (This post is mostly about Kobolds. I'll need to do more Research and Pondering on Goblinoids.)

    Straight to the point:

    I don't like Grovel/Plea/Beg for Kobolds. Either for Crunch or Fluff.

    With Pack Tactics, Kobolds do not need to sacrifice any Actions to give other Kobolds within 10' advantage to hit. Kobolds still receive advantage from non-Kobold allies.

    If Kobolds need a Mechanical means to give non-Kobold allies advantage without needing to use the Help Action, I'm calling it Underestimate. Kobolds receive Deception as a Racial Proficiency.
    Once per encounter, as a Bonus Action use Deception vs Insight.
    If successful, grants advantage to all allies within 30 feet for that round. (But, must have an ally within five feet of the enemy to receive advantage, themselves.)
    If unsuccessful, the target gets Advantage on their next attack against that Kobold.

    # Feedback welcomed.

    *****
    But, I prefer Grovel on Goblins.
    This makes sense from a Historical view, as well as giving the Goblins as close to what the Kobolds get with Pact Tactics, by making themselves a distraction for the rest of the pack to attack better.

    *****
    I'll be honest, here.
    Even from the time Kobolds were first introduced, I liked Kobolds more than Goblins.

    Sure, Mechanically, Kobolds were supposed to be both Smaller and Weaker than Goblins, but to me Kobolds were smarter.

    Sure, both Races attacked in Groups, but Kobolds (and Hobgoblins = Hobs getting extra damage instead of hitting more often, is perfectly fine with me) used team tactics where Goblins (and Orcs, and almost every "Chaotic" Race) were just large unorganized mobs.

    The good news for Goblins/Orcs (etc) is that those playing the game learned to both use and work around the Alignment Chart, and now we can have people from "Chaotic Races" that aren't uncontrolled, unintelligent, and suicidal !

    More comments:

    Now, the 3e changing of Kobolds from "Goblinoids" to "Draconic" Races thrilled me to no end.

    As is no secret, I've always been a huge fan of Dragons, years before I started playing D&D. And yes, it was "Dragons" that sucked me in.

    Now, I have never liked how D&D tended to just lock all the Not-Human (and Accepted Allies) into being "Always Evil" - sure, Gygax and company needed easily usable Bad Guys for Players to fight, but IMO could just as easily used smart non-Humanoid monsters and Fiends (all three types) for that purpose.
    (Dragons being their own thing)

    Where 'mortals' were either tainted by their Evil Deeds - or possessed by a Fiend.

    Now, when I became a DM, Kobolds were the first "Monstrous Humanoids" that I broke away from the "Always Evil" mold.

    Now, while I can accept (and even use as an "we are Evil" excuse) Kartulmak as the Prime Deity for Kobolds, I make him in my Games the Unforgiving Taskmaster, where Elitist attitudes and perfection in everything is expected, and any failure punished.

    As such, not every Tribe followed Kartulmak, and their respect for Dragons meant that some Tribes dedicated themselves to a (mortal) Dragon if not a Draconic Deity.

    Of all the Races, Kobolds understand the nature of the War between Bahamut and Tiamat and quite a few will Champion a side; but Kobolds also respect the other Draconic Deities, as well.

    Urds and Dragonwrought

    To the outsider, there might not be much difference between these two, but while an Urd may have wings from distant Draconic lineage, Dragonwrought have a direct link to that lineage.

    *****
    I like what is written in Volo's for Kobolds, and intend to fully use that in my games.

    While other Races may view the cautious behavior of Kobolds as cowardly, in fact they aren't, and Kobolds are willing to fight to the Death defending what they love and believe in.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-10-07 at 01:07 AM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Monster tweaking (brainstorming)

    Goblinoids
    While I like the Classic Monstrous Humanoids, I tend to count all the Goblinoids as one Race.
    As such, I need to see if I can find some more to replace the two I "lost".
    "Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs".....

    Goblins

    To me Khurgorbaeyag The Overseer (VgM pg 40) still reigns over the Goblins.

    As per my normal “Rule of Balance”, there is a Good Deity for Goblins: Kikanuti.
    Goblinoid Deities
    Although she isn't limited to just one Desert on one World, and is the only Light Deity for the Goblinoids.

    Volo’s gives some good Ideas to use for Goblins Tribes.
    Lashers, Hunters, Gatherers, and Pariahs

    Booyahos: (Item) Wielder, Caster (Wizard), Whip (Cleric), Booyahg x3 (Wild Sorcerer), and Slave (Warlock).
    Note: While the Warlock is called a Slave, they still have better status than actual Slaves.

    Bugbears
    Hruggek and Grankhul plus Skiggaret.
    The brothers are a nice Yin/Yang thing, and the last is the Boogeyman even to Bugbears.
    While Maglublyet rules, he rarely receives homage.

    Thugs, Bulwarks and Murderers.
    For a Chaotic and Lazy Race, these three types actually work very well together.

    Hobgoblins
    This is where Maglublyet really shines. But, Nomog-Geaya and Bargrivyek still hold sway.

    Not a lot for me to change for my games, really.
    Iron Shadows are an interesting new addition. But, not really a surprise.
    And I like the Academy of Devastation: Mostly Evokers and War Mages;
    But I also give them Necromancers, since to them even the Dead are tools.

    ******
    Now, comes the introduction of Goblinoid PCs.

    Bugbear PCs are very rare in my game. Very little motivates an individual to do more than what everyone else is doing. But exceptions do exist, with these PCs usually being Conquest Paladins, Hunter Rangers and Assassin Rogues.

    Goblin PCs are usually from the Parah Class - or are treated as such for some reason.
    Also, Booyahos that are seeking to increase their power.
    This motivates them to leave the Tribe and make their way in the World.

    Hobgoblin PCs are usually merchants and discover more benefit from traveling and “peaceful” trading with other Races, but are still very quick to take offense and defend their Honor.

    ----
    Up next Orcs!
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-10-10 at 04:26 AM.
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    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

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