Dragon 387 - Design & Development: Revising the Monster Stat Block

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DnDi_Large.png    Dragon 387
Design & Development
Revising the Monster Stat Block

By Andy Collins and Greg Bilsand

In the second Design & Development article this month, Andy and Greg discuss the new Monster Stat block updated for Monster Manual 3 and HS1 The Slaying Stone

Talk about this column here.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

While I generally welcome the statblock change as a DM, I'm having trouble with it as a 3rd party publisher that wants to keep its own products updated. The format itself is easy to pattern after, of course. But with regards to reprinting Monster Manual information on the statblocks itself, I believe that the GSL limits us somewhat. If we're to stick with it, I think it will turn into something like this:

TRAITS
Ooze
(See the D&D 4E MONSTER MANUAL for ooze traits)

That isn't going to be helpful in the slightest for our products. @__@

Sorry for the minor tangent, but here's another call for a GSL update. Please, WotC? We'll be good little 3PP guys... >.> Just help us do these little, minor things...
Me Kruzko, me bard... And me sing song for you! Explore Philippine Mythology for your 4E game, and visit us at Nosfecatu Publishing!
Will the new stat block layout be incorporated into the Monster Builder? I do love the new layout, but I don't want to have to manually change all the existing stat blocks to the new format.
Likewise, I'd hope for the same for the Compendium.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Heh, I was just looking here as well to see if the Compendium would be updated for all monsters in the new format.

I think it'd be good to have it standardized for all of the monsters, instead of having monsters looking different based on what book they came out of.

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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One of my biggest problems with monster stats in 4E is that it is often unclear about what a power is supposed to be doing in the game. The mechanics are their, but other than the named associated with the power their is no flavor text to tell me what is actually supposed to be going on. In many cases I can infer what is supposed to be happening based on the mechanics, name and key words that go with the power, but there have been many instances where I haven't really been sure what is supposed to be going on.
One of my biggest problems with monster stats in 4E is that it is often unclear about what a power is supposed to be doing in the game. The mechanics are their, but other than the named associated with the power their is no flavor text to tell me what is actually supposed to be going on. In many cases I can infer what is supposed to be happening based on the mechanics, name and key words that go with the power, but there have been many instances where I haven't really been sure what is supposed to be going on.



There's no wrong way to do it, really.  One of the things 4e does is put the flavor text in the hands of the DM and players.  What's going on is what you want to be going on.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Well I do often end up making something up, but I assume that in most cases the author had something pretty specific in mind when he designed a power for a monster, and I often want myself having a little more insight inot what that might be.
Well I do often end up making something up, but I assume that in most cases the author had something pretty specific in mind when he designed a power for a monster, and I often want myself having a little more insight inot what that might be.



It doesn't matter if he had something specific in mind or not.  It's your monster now, do what you want with it.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
+1 on the monster builder. Will it be updated?
One of my biggest problems with monster stats in 4E is that it is often unclear about what a power is supposed to be doing in the game. The mechanics are their, but other than the named associated with the power their is no flavor text to tell me what is actually supposed to be going on. In many cases I can infer what is supposed to be happening based on the mechanics, name and key words that go with the power, but there have been many instances where I haven't really been sure what is supposed to be going on.



Yeah - I think the solution really is just giving them decent names. I wouldn't want entire sections filled up with the flavor text, but making it clear what happens - or maybe elaborating a bit in the lore or tactics sections - would occasionally be nice.
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