The goal of this thread is to create an entirely new living and breathing species (unless it is a species which does not breathe, of course) that is ready for use in most (3.5) games. When the non-mechanical aspects of the creature need to be decided, I will either (a)decide myself, (b)come up with a few ideas and put them to a vote, or (c)open the thread up to discussion, decide what the most popular ideas are, and then put it up for a vote.
The monster as it stands so far:
Tiny Plant (Shapechanger, Swarm, Cold) HD 17d8 +68hp (161 hp) Speed Fly 50 ft. (Good), Burrow 30 ft. Init:+3 (or more from feats) AC 17 (+2 size, +3 dex, +3 natural); touch 14; flat-footed 14 BAB +12; Grp - Attack: Swarm (4d6) Full-Attack: Swarm (4d6) Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft. Special Attacks Special Qualities swarm traits, plant traits, Half damage from slashing and piercing, immune to cold, vulnerable to fire, low-light vision, hivemind, Change Shape, Telepathy (100 ft), Tremorsense (70 ft), Scent (30 ft) Saves Fort +14 Ref +8 Will +5 (potentially more from feats and racial traits). Abilities Str 3, Dex 16, Con 19, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 15 Skills: Knowledge (Arcana) +7, Bluff +8, Concentration +10, Diplomacy +5, Disguise +8, Escape Artist +5, Gather Information +4, Hide +14, Intimidate +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +17, Knowledge (nature) +13, Perform (dance) +8, Search +5, Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +5, Spot +3, Survival +5, Use Magic Device +6 (Includes ability bonuses but NOT racial modifiers OR synergy bonuses.) Feats At least 6 feats plus bonus feats. Environment Organization Challenge Rating Treasure Alignment: Usually Chaotic Neutral Advancement Level Adjustment
Change Shape (Su):
The ___ can assume any of several alternate forms as a free action. These use the rules for the Change Shape special quality in the Monster Manual.
First, it can assume the form of an Ice Golom (Frostburn).
It can also assume the shape of a Dryad (MM) or a Winter Wolf (MM).
Finally, it can take the form of any ordinary plant. The ordinary plant form must either be a bunch of tiny or smaller plants (e.g. moss, grass), or a single plant of huge or smaller, or a collection of plants which take up space no larger than that of a huge creature. In this form, it cannot move or make any kind of attacks, nor can it use any of its special attacks which require actions. It retains all of its perceptive abilities, which it can use to get a surprise attack on unsuspecting travelers. It has all of its normal immunities, vulnerabilities and resistances, as well as hardness 5. It can switch to another of its forms (including another ordinary plant form) at will.
Phase 1: Creature Type
Let's start with one of the most important decisions: creature type. You may vote for as many types as you want (just not all of them), but you may not give multiple votes to the same type.
And plant is the winner!
The voting for subtypes will take occur in two separate phases. The first phase will narrow the choices down to the top 5, and the second phase will determine the top three. Notice that "none" is listed as a subtype. If "none" gets 1st place in the second phase, then the plant will have no subtypes. If none gets 2nd place, the creature will have only 1 subtype (whichever got first place), ect. If "none" is not in the top 3, then the creature will have 3 subtypes. The creature will not have more than three subtypes. Also note that I have purposely omitted subtypes that don't make sense for a plant, such as goblinoid.
For this phase, you may again give one vote to as many subtypes as you like (just not all). You also get a single "detractor" vote. The detractor vote subtracts one point from your least favorite subtype. You do not need to use your detractor vote if you don't want to.
Phase 2: Subtypes, part 1
Phase 3: Subtypes, part 2
Now, it is time for the second part of subtype selection! For this round, Rank all 5 choices from best to worst. Your first choice is the best, 5th choice is the worst (unless, of course, you specify otherwise in your post. If you don't I will assume the first subtype you list is your favorite). Voting will close on July 30, at which point we will move on to size. Note that due to the nature of the scoring system for this phase (see below), I won't be continually updating the scores after every vote, instead I will copy every vote into a separate program and post the final scores at the end. If you do not rank all of your choices, I will place your unranked choices in a RANDOM order.
You don't really need to know how I will be determining the winning subtypes (you just have to rank the choices from your favorite to your least favorite). But if you are interested, here is the scoring system (spoiled to avoid cluttering the thread):
The subtypes essentially enter into a tournament of 1 vs 1 "duels." Each duel is really a separate poll. I could have 10 different voting periods, but that would take much longer, and this system is much easier. For each duel, I will look at your choices, and if you ranked subtype A better than subtype B, then I will assume you voted for A in the A vs. B duel. The tournament structure is all vs. all, so there will be 10 matches: Cold vs. Chaotic: 9 to 7 Cold vs. Incorporeal: 9 to 7
Cold vs. Shapechanger: 5 to 11
Cold vs. Swarm: 7 to 9
Chaotic vs. Incorporeal: 8 to 8 *
Chaotic vs. Shapechanger:6 to 10
Chaotic vs. Swarm:5 to 11
Incorporeal vs. Shapechanger:5 to 11
Incorporeal vs. Swarm: 4 to 12 Shapechanger vs. Swarm:10 to 6
*for scoring purposes, a tie is 1/2 of a win.
Now for the actual scoring system. Suppose subtype A wins x matches. Then A becomes a x+1 point subtype: meaning that every other subtype which defeats A gains x+1 points. So for example, if chaotic won 3 matches, and then cold beat chaotic, then cold would gain 4 tournament points. Basically, this system takes into account not only how many matches you win, but how tough the opponents you beat were.
And the monster will have the top three subtypes selected!
The winning subtypes are Shapechanger, Cold, and Swarm!
Phase 4: Size
Well, I HAD a wonderfully complicated voting system for determining size, that would be quite time-consuming to explain AND to actually use. But that was under the assumption that the size could be anything from fine to colossal. Since y'all decided to make this monster a swarm, the size of an individual component creature (which is what we'll be voting on) can only be fine, diminutive, or tiny. This allows us to switch to a much simpler and faster voting system.
Again, rank your choices from favorite to least favorite. The method by which I compare votes is much simpler this time. First, I will count through everyone's first choice, and eliminate the size with the fewest votes. After that, I will count through the votes again, and if your first choice was eliminated, I will assume you voted for your second favorite.
Since there are only 6 permutations of choices, I will give each one its own row in my table:
And Tiny is the winner!
Phase 5: Target Challenge Rating
This vote will NOT decide the actual CR (that will be much later in the process).
The target CR is primarily to give us an idea of how much flexibility we have in assigning special abilities/qualities (if the target CR is 20, we can pretty much come up with whatever powers we want, while if it is 1 then we are very limited. This also gives us an idea of what ability scores are reasonable.
The target CR will be at least 1, but no more than 20. There are a few reasons for this. First, if the CR is below 1, we have very little freedom in selecting SA/SQs, and the monster will likely end up bland/similar to other monsters. As for epic monsters, many campaigns do not contain epic characters, so a monster with a CR significantly above 20 is less likely to be useable. That being said, if you all select a high target CR, and then give it a bunch of SAs, and the final CR is above 20, that is okay, since most non-epic games have some monsters over CR 20.
Now, for the actual voting system, just choose any number in the interval [1,20], and I will average your votes together. If you give non-integer votes, you win the post directly above yours (sorry, you don't win the whole thread).
Voting will end August 5th, at which point we will move on to HD.
The target CR is 12! Remember, this does not in any way mean the final CR will be 12, it just means that the SAs, SQs, and ability scores we give it should be reasonable for a CR 12 monster.
Phase 6: Available Movement Types
In this phase, we will decide what modes of movement the plant can make. We will NOT be deciding the exact speeds (those come later). Simply list whichever movement modes you think should be available. Note that because it is a swarm, its melee attacks have reach 0, and therefore not being able to move would make it nearly harmless (unless it had some really good ranged attacks...).
And the winners are Burrow and fly! The creature does NOT have normal movement.
Phase 7: Hit dice and non-abilities
In this phase we will be deciding two things. First, we will decide how many hit-dice the creature has. Then we will decide how many of its ability scores exist. Because it is a monster, it must have both a wisdom and charisma score. And since it is alive, it has a constitution score. It has a physical body (not incorporeal), and can move, so it must be able to exert force, and therefore has a strength and dexterity score. The real question, then, is whether it has an intelligence score.
Vote either "intelligent" or "mindless". Or any rephrasing of the two which I can understand (has/doesn't have intelligence, ect.) Also vote for the number of hit dice you would like the creature to have. The HD given must be in the closed interval [12,36], so limit your votes to this range. At the end I will average your votes together.
And the monster has 17 HD, and all 6 ability scores!
Phase 8: Ability Scores, Part 1
Now, it is finally time to decide on ability scores! Vote once for each ability, in the specified range. The available ranges are:
*Later, we will decide if this is true intelligence or a hivemind intelligence.
Phase 9: Ability Scores, Part 2
The previous vote has narrowed every ability to a 2-point range:
Like other monsters, the base attributes will be based on the standard NPC array: 11,11,11,10,10,10, meaning that it must have 3 even and 3 odd ability scores. In this phase, we will determine which ability scores are even, which, combined with the previous phase, will determine the exact ability (e.g. if we decide that constitution is odd, then it will be 19, but if con is even, it will be 18).
To vote, choose the THREE ability scores that you want to be EVEN. Keep in mind that this decision is slightly more significant for intelligence and wisdom, because it could change their ability modifier (the other four modifiers have been set by the previous vote). The three abilities with the most votes will be even, and the other three will be odd.
And the final ability scores are:
Phase 10: Speed and Maneuverability
So, earlier, we decided that the monster can burrow and fly. We will now decide how fast it moves, and how good its maneuverability is. This phase is really three separate votes:
First, pick a burrow speed between 5 and 40 ft.
Then, pick a fly speed between 30 and 70 ft.
Finally, rank the maneuverability options from favorite to least favorite (e.g. Average, Good, Poor, Perfect, Clumsy). The scoring system for the maneuverability is a slight variation on the scoring system used in Phase 3 of this thread, but the voting process is identical. As in phase 3, your first choice is the best, 5th choice is the worst (unless, of course, you specify otherwise in your post. If you don't I will assume the first subtype you list is your favorite).
And the results are: Burrow 30 ft, fly 50 ft with Good maneuverability!
Phase 11: Alignment, part 1
The vote on alignment will have three parts. First, we will decide the frequency of the most common alignment (always, usually, often, or any). If we pick always, usually, or often, then we will decide what the most common alignment actually is (if we pick "any", then we will skip the next two phases). Once again, rank your choices from favorite to least favorite (always, usually, often, or any).
And the winner is, Usually!
Phase 12: Alignment, part 2
This is really 3 separate votes. There are three "matches" of 3 alignments each. In EACH group, rank your choices from favorite to least favorite (e.g. "LG,N,CE; NG,CN,LE; CG,LN,NE"). The top choice from each group will move on to the next phase. Voting will end August 20th, at which point we will move on to the FINAL ALIGNMENT phase!
Match 1: Lawful Good vs. True Neutral vs. Chaotic Evil
Match 2: Neutral Good vs. Chaotic Neutral vs. Lawful Evil
Match 3: Chaotic Good vs. Lawful Neutral vs. Neutral Evil
And the winners are: True neutral, Chaotic Neutral, and Neutral Evil!
Phase 13: Alignment, part 3:
So, now we can finally determine the alignment! The three options left are True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, and Neutral Evil. Rank them from favorite to least favorite, as usual.
The final alignment is Chaotic Neutral!
Phase 14-15: Natural Armor and Hivemind:
I know you're all thinking, "Wha?!? 2 phases at once?!?" (okay probably not). Each of these phases are simple enough that we can put them together.
Phase 14 is determining the natural armor. Keep in mind that, unless it is increased later by feats (which is quite possible), the monster's AC is currently 15+Natural Armor. While 15 is quite low for a CR 12 monster, it also doesn't make much sense for this to have a high natural armor. I think the best solution may be to give it a SQ which grants a deflection bonus...but we're not there yet Also, remember that it is very resistant to weapon damage, and immune to ranged touch attack spells (since they all target a specific number of creatures), so a low AC isn't all that big of a deal.
So, pick a NA between 0 and 10.
Now for hivemind. We previously decided that the creature had an intelligence score. Now, we will decide whether it is true intelligence, or a hivemind mimicking intelligence. We are NOT using the absurd hivemind rules from BoVD!!
No, we are NOT giving it a ridiculous number of sorcerer levels. Rather, I mean the sort of hivemind described under hellwasp swarm:
Hive Mind (Ex)
Any hellwasp swarm with at least 1 hit point per Hit Die (or 12 hit points, for a standard hellwasp swarm) forms a hive mind, giving it an Intelligence of 6. When a hellwasp swarm is reduced below this hit point threshold, it becomes mindless.
Except that in this case, its effective Int would be 16.
Just vote either "hivemind" or "no hivemind", or any variation that I can understand.
And the winners are Yes Hivemind and +3 natural armor!
Phase 16: Skill Points:
We are not deciding the final skill modifier in this phase. We ARE fully allocating the skill points. However, it may still get additional bonuses from racial traits (decided later) or feats (also decided later).
As a 17 HD plant with Int 16, the swarm gets 100 skill points, and a maximum of 20 per skill. Because any skill mentioned in a monster's stat block is assumed to be a class skill, we can assume during this phase that every skill is a class skill.
To vote, either
a)Distribute skill points however you want, to as many CORE skills as you want, provided that no skill gets more than 20 points, and that the total skill points is 100, or
b)Just list 5 skills, and I will assume you put 20 into each.
As with some previous votes, you CAN give non-integer skill points to some skills. You can NOT however, give negative skill ranks (or imaginary skill ranks.)
And the creature has:
Knowledge (arcane) 4
Gather Information 2
Move silently 14
Knowledge (nature) 10
Perform (dance) 6
Sense Motive 9
Use Magic Device 4
Phase 17: Shapechange ability, part 1:
So it is a shapechanger, and now, we need to decide what it can change into! In this phase, we are just listing ideas for what it can turn into. It could either shapechange into another swarm, or into a single larger creature. Of course, it could have multiple alternate forms as well.
Over the next few days, I will be compiling a list of possible alternate forms, both that I think up, and that anyone posts on this thread. After that, there will be a vote on the alternate forms. It might have only one other form, it might be able to assume the form of any monster posted on this thread, y'all will decide.
If you decide to submit ideas for alternate forms, keep a few things in mind: 1. The stats for the alternate form should exist: It could be a creature in any of the WotC or third party books. It could even be a homebrewed creature from another thread. But its stats should exist. The goal is for this monster to be useable in a game.
2. Don't make it too powerful:A CR 12 monster shouldn't be able to transform into a Tarrasque. An alternate form could be weak (e.g. turn into a halfling to ambush opponents), but it shouldn't be substantially more powerful.
Other than that, any ideas are accepted. This phase will end September 2, at which point we will actually vote on alternate forms.
The list so far:
1. Ice Golom (FrostBurn)--137ben
2. Oaken Defender (MM IV)--137ben
3. Ordinary plant--RedWarrior0
4. Takes the form of whatever it kills with swarm damage--RedWarrior0
5. Any Humanoid--Togath
6. Any Monstrous Humanoid--Togath
8. Frost Giant--TravelLog
11.Myconid Sovereign (MMII)--TravelLog
14.Obliviax (Dragon Magazine)--TravelLog
15.Animate object shape--Zagan
19.Scales on a basilisk--Veklim
20.Feathers of an Owlbear--Veklim
21.Ice Para-elemental (MotP)--dethkruzer
22. Winter Creature Template --Maraxus1
23. White Wyrmling Swarm--137ben
Late-comers to the list
24.Any plant creature
Phase 18: Shapechange ability, part 2
Now, we have a strong list of 25 alternate forms, and its time to decide which ones will be included in the final monster!
You can see the choices in the above phase. Note: plague brush was chopped from the list because it is too powerful for a CR 12ish monster.
Vote for as many as you want (you could even vote for all of them).
The monster may get one alternate form, it may get more, it may even get all 25, depending on your votes.
When voting, either list the numbers of the forms you would like to see included, or list the alternate forms with their number.
And the winner is:
1. Ice Golom (Frostburn)
3. Ordinary Plant
Phase 19: Special Qualities, Part 1
It is time to decide what, if any, special qualities our monster has. I have listed a bunch of possible special qualities (almost everything in the monster manual/SRD which makes sense that it does not already have) below. Vote for as many as you like. For ease of tallying, please include the option numbers from the list in your vote. You can list just the numbers, or the numbers and the qualities.
Notice that abilities which are essentially variants of each other (e.g. fast healing/regeneration, blindsense/blind fight) have been lumped together. For these, treat them as a single ability in this phase. We will decide which variant of the winning abilities the monster has in the next phase. This also applies to numerical boosts (such as racial skill modifiers) and qualities with a numerical parameter (e.g., if you want it to have any amount of damage reduction, vote for "damage reduction," and we will decide the amount of damage reduction it has in the next phase).
Also note that it already has a significant number of special qualities from its type and subtypes--these are omitted from the list below.
(In case you are wondering about the process, there is no fixed number of special qualities which will move on--I will apply an integer-valued-data clustering algorithm to determine which qualities received a significant number of votes, and all of these will be included.)
1. Vision improvement (blindsight/blindsense/darkvision etc., note that as a plant, it already has low-light vision).
2. Energy immunity/resistance (note that it already has immunity to cold)
3. Resistance/immunity to slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing damage (any or all)
5.Immunity/resistance to death effects
6.Immunity/resistance to disease
13.Other perception improvements (tremorsense/scent/etc)
14.Spell Immunity(possibly only to certain spells or schools)/Spell Resistance
16.Energy vulnerability (it is already vulnerable to fire)
17.Racial bonus to Fortitude
18.Racial bonus to Reflex
19.Racial bonus to Will
20.Racial bonus to some skills
21.Other (if this wins, we will have a nominating process sort of like phase 17 was, then vote on specific suggestions).
And the winners are:
13.Other perception improvements (tremorsense/scent/etc)
Now, we need to make these more precise.
Phase 20: Telepathy (Special Qualities Part 2)
In this phase, we are voting on how potent its telepathy is. The options are:
Standard Telepathy (as described in the monster manual and the SRD, can communicate like normal speech with anyone within 100 feet who has any language Language dependent (as standard telepathy, but all communicants must share a language) Improved Telepathy (by focusing on a specific creature, it can communicate with any creature who has a language and is on the same plane, regardless of distance) Sending only (as standard, but the monster cannot hear others' thoughts, only send out its own) Receiving only (as standard, but others cannot hear the monster's thoughts, it can still hear their thoughts) Short Range (as standard telepathy, but only 30 ft range)
Vote for any three. Voting for this phase will close May 27, at which point we will move on to voting on other perceptive qualities, before going to special attacks!
And the winner is: Standard Telepathy (as described in the monster manual and the SRD, can communicate like normal speech with anyone within 100 feet who has any language)
Phase 21: Perceptive enhancements (Special Qualities Part 3)
We previously decided that it had some form of either Scent or Tremorsense. For this round, vote either Scent, Tremorsense, or Both. It will have any abilities included in a majority of votes (so if for example 2 people vote both, two vote tremorsense, and 1 votes scent, then tremorsense would have 3 votes out of 5 and be included, while scent would not. On the other hand, if 6 people vote both, 4 vote tremorsense, and 3 vote scent, then both would be included.)
Also include a maximum range for each ability, in the case that that ability makes it in (range for scent should be between 10 and 50 feet (it is 30 on most monsters), and the range for tremorsense should be between 20 and 100 feet (it is usually 60).
And the winners are:
Tremorsense, 70 ft
Scent, 30 ft
Phase 22: Special Attacks, Part 1
It is time to decide what, if any, special attacks our monster has. I have listed a bunch of possible special attacks (almost everything in the monster manual/SRD which makes sense that it does not already have) below. Vote for as many as you like. For ease of tallying, please include the option numbers from the list in your vote. You can list just the numbers, or the numbers and the attacks.
Note: Spell-like abilities are one option. Certain SLAs could also fall under a different category, but I am counting them only as SLAs in this phase.
Also: Some of these special attack possibilities could be combined or added on to its natural swarm attack. We will probably vote on how these are used in a later phase.
2. Spell-like abilities
3. Breath weapon (a bunch of tiny plants breathing at you...)
4. A charm/domination/compulsion attack
5. Death effect
6. Disease effect
7. Negative levels/energy drain
8. Fear effect
9. Paralysis attack
11. Summon (summon others of its kind, or other ice monsters...or something else)
12. Other (please specify)
Voting will close June 9, at which point we will narrow down the effects of each winning special attack!
And I already have an idea for it. It'd kind of be like a swarm, but wouldn't count as one (though it'd definitely have DR and energy resistance to a lot of things). Anyways, it'd look like a 20 foot tall writhing mass of vines. And sentient of course.
It moves by forming a sphere and sticking out its vines like tiny legs. Moving like this is similar to a charge, no turning ability. But very very fast.
Once it gets to where it wants it forms a vaguely humanoid shape. It then has 2 modes. Offense: walks on two legs at 30 movespeed. Defense: It roots itself into the ground (free action, but only once a turn...in other words its legs go to ground while its arms attack). Same deal if it needs to unroot.
Sounds like a penalty for defense right? No mobility? Well by doing this it gains two things. Same as Troll Regen (as it pulls nutrients from the ground) And an attack that sends its roots underground and up under someone to grapple them from far away (range 40ft).
Thats the gist of my idea. Feel free to fill in the details.
Murder is wrong... Unless it levels you up.
Animal - Always fun, and if you go "Non-real-world, but no supernatural powers" can be sorta "Magical Beast Lite"(see below) Fey Lotta different direction to take this... actually a bit hard to do well (IE without just rehashing what already exists, but I figure you could give it a shot. Magical Beast because while there are a lot of them, I feel it is a category that invites endless variety. (unlike Outsiders, which tend to devolve into simplistic alignment-based architypes all too often as far as personalities and, to a lesser extent, powers go).