Wood Woad Warden [Did I do this right?]

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Alright, I was putting together a Fey encounter and decided I would like to have a Wood Woad Warden. I took a wood woad, leveled it up to 11, and then applied the "warden" class template.

[As far as I know, no such thing officially exists. I used 8 hp per level +1 fort, +1 will, and gave it font of life, Guardian's Might (Of limited utility without a second wind) and Nature's Wrath.] With its new proficencies I swapped out its club and small shield for a Warhammer and a Heavy shield. Does this look right for a level 11 elite soldier? [Going to pair it with 3 Nymphs (2 Autumn and a Wood) for a level 11 encounter for 4]

Wood Woad Warden


Wood Woad Warden   Level 11 Elite Soldier
(Medium Fey Humanoid (Plant)
Iniative +6   Perception +15
HP: 226 Bloodied: 113 HS: 56  #S: 2
AC: 33 Fort: 25 Ref: 22 Will: 25
Speed: 5
Saving Throws: +2 (Also see Font of Life)  Action Point 1

Standard:

Strength of Stone: (At-Will) Basic
+19 vs AC 1d10+14, Wood Woad Warden gains 5 THP's


Nature's Judgement:  (Recharge 6)
+19 vs AC 2d10+14 damage and target is immobilized and takes ongoing 10 damage (Save Ends Both). When the target takes the ongoing damage, the fey or plant enemy nearest the target regains an equal number of HP


Earth's Grasp Strike:  (Encounter)
+19 vs AC 1d10+14 Target is knocked prone and cannot stand before the end of Wood Warden's next turn. If the target stands from prone before the end of the encounter it takes 1d10+14 damage.


Mountain Hammer: (Encounter)
+19 vs Fort 2d10+14, Target take -6 to melee attack rolls till end of Wood Warden's next turn.


Stone Sentinel Form: When Bloodied (Encounter): Healing, Polymorph
+19 vs AC, 2d10+14 Miss Half
Effect: Spend a healing surge and regain 113 HP and gain regen 5 till end of Encounter. Can use Guardian Attack Power


Guardian's Attack: Must be in Stone Sentienl Form (Encounter): Healing
+19 vs AC, 2d10+14  Miss: Half, Effect: Regain 56 hp (uses a healing surge)



Reaction:

Nature's Fury: Immediate Reaction At-Will
Trigger: Marked enemy makes an attack that does not include the Wood Warden
Close Burst 4
+19 vs Fort 1d10+14, slide target 2 squares and target grants CA to Warden and Allies till end of Wardens next turn

Stone's Endurance: Immediate Interrupt Daily
Trigger: Wood Warden falls to 0 or fewer hp
Effect: Gain 56 hp


Other:

Nature's Wrath: Free At-Will (1/rnd)
All adjacent enemies are Marked till end of Woad Warden's next turn

Font of Life: Make one saving throw at the start of your turn against one effect that a save can end.

Nature's Mystery (Minor, Encounter, Charm)
Close burst 2 targeting 1 creature. Target takes -2 penalty to attack rolls, defenses, and saving throws. (Save Ends). In addition, the target takes a -5 penalty to saving throws aginst this effect unless it succes on a DC 27 Nature Check (A minor action)

Skills: Intimidate +12, Nature +13
Equipment: Wooden Heavy Shield, Stone Warhammer

Str 18 (+9)      Dex 9 (+4)      Wis 16 (+8)
Con 22 (+11)      Int 10 (+5)      Cha 10 (+5)


Strategy: When provoked, a Wood Woad Warden acts swiftley, targeting the most obvious threat with Nature's Mystery and Natures Judgment. If there is an enemy adjacent to the warden and The Wood Woad will use its action point to target the enemy with Moutain Hammer if it is adjacent to an Ally of the Wood Woad or Earths Grasp if it is not. The Wood Woad Warden will use Stone Sentinel as soon as possible when first bloodied, and Guardian Attack if bloodied a second time.

Sir Casm, Lord of the Oblivious
Sir Casm, Lord of the Oblivious
There actually is a Warden template in DMG2, but it's pretty much identical to yours so I wouldn't worry about that.

Really though, templates are a bad piece of design that you should try to avoid.  If you want to make an elite monster with a class, take the monster, make it an elite, and then add some simplified versions of the class' features and signature powers.  It's a subtle difference, but an important one when you consider the differences in how monsters and characters are presented.

A monster will usually only stick around for one encounter, so daily powers are mostly irrelevant.  A PC's daily power is a monster's encounter, and a PC's encounter is a monster's recharge.  Instead of a daily stance, have the monster automatically enter the stance when he's first bloodied in an encounter.

Each monster is only one out a multitude of monsters you'll be controlling this session, so its statblock needs to be as concise as possible.  There's no need to mention a static modifier like Guardian's Might in the trait list; just modify the numbers accordingly and be done with it.

For much the same reason, a monster should also be as simple as possible.  When you have five other monsters to deal with, you don't want to stop and agonize over which power to use; moreover, any power that never does gets used is a waste of space.  Warden's Fury and Warden's Grasp are mutually exclusive--you can only use one of them on any given turn--and Warden's Fury is generally the better choice of the two.  Either lose one, or combine them into a single power.

In a similar but more conceptual vein, a monster should exhibit a certain unity of style.  You should have a solid concept in your mind of what a monster does, and every power and trait should contribute to that in a unique way.  If you have two powers that do roughly the same thing--Nature's Judgement and Earth Grasp Strike, for instance, both hold a target in place and damage it over time-- then you should probably change or get rid of one.  Stone Sentinel and Bear's Endurance both grant a healing surge--although truth be told, you should actually get rid of both of them.

That's because one of the more specific rules of monster design is this: monsters don't use healing surges.  See, long battles get boring fast.  Once the PCs have used up all their limited powers, combat becomes a matter of standing around and hitting each other with sticks until someone falls down. Remember how MM1 solos took ungodly long to kill?  Part of the fix, if you recall, was to reduce their hp from 5x standard to 4x. 4x seems about right, which means 5x was 25% too much, right? Well, every healing surge you let a monster spend increases its effective total hp by 25%. In other words, the difference between a regular monster and one that can heal is the same as the difference between a modern solo and a MM1 one.

Regeneration, incorporeality, and healing at-wills are a little more complicated, but have much the same result.  The point is, you should get rid of all your healing powers (except Nature's Judgement, which is okay because it's small and limited) and replace the more important ones with something interesting.

Lastly, and on a completely different note, some of your numbers are weird.  How'd you get an AC of 33?  Did you just add the entire Con check bonus?  Truth be told, monster AC isn't usually modified by ability scores--but even if it was, that's not how you'd do it.  On the other hand, your hp are a little low and I don't know why.  Also, you haven't included any ability scores.

Oh, and you should update your damage expressions to the MM3 standard.

Hmm... Gimme a few minutes, and I'll post my take on the wood warden with some notes on why I'd do it that way.
























































































































Wood Warden Level 11 Elite Soldier
Medium fey humanoid (plant)XP 1200
HP 238; Bloodied 119Initiative +8
AC 27, Fortitude 24, Reflex 21, Will 24Perception+14
Speed 5
Saving Throws +2 (see also font of life), Action Points 1
Traits
Font of Life
The Wood Warden may make one saving throw at the start of its turn against one effect that a save can end.
Standard Actions
M Weight of Earth (weapon) ♦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +16 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10+8 damage, and the target is slowed until the end of the warden's next turn.
m Nature's Judgement (healing, weapon) ♦ Recharge 56
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +16 vs. AC
Hit: 3d10+6 damage, and the target is immobilized and takes ongoing 5 damage (save ends both).  When the target takes the ongoing damage, the fey enemy or plant enemy nearest to the target regains an equal amount of hit points.
c Form of the Raging Forest (polymorph, zone) ♦ Encounter
Requirement: The warden must be bloodied.
Attack: Close burst 3 (enemies in burst); +14 vs. Reflex
Hit: 4d8 + 6 damage, and the target is slid 1 square.
Effect: The burst becomes a zone that lasts until the end of the encounter.  This zone is difficult terrain for the warden's enemies, and any enemy that becomes immobilized or restrained within the zone falls prone and cannot stand up (save ends).
Minor Actions
c Nature's Mystery (charm) ♦ Encounter
Effect: Close burst 2 (one creature in burst); the takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls, defenses, and saving throws (save ends). In addition, the target takes a -5 penalty to saving throws aginst this effect unless it succeeds on a DC 27 Nature check (a free action on the target's turn).
Free Actions
Nature's Wrath
Requirement: The warden can only use this power during its turn.
The warden marks each creature adjacent to it until the end of the warden's next turn.
Triggered Actions
m Warden's Furious Grasp (weapon) ♦ At-Will
Trigger: An enemy marked by the warden makes an attack that does not include the warden as a target.
Attack (Immediate Reaction): Melee 4 (triggering enemy); +14 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2d10+8 damage, and the target slides 3 squares to a square adjacent to the warden. In addition, the target cannot shift until the end of its next turn.
Skills Intimidate +13, Nature +14














Str 20 (+10)Dex 13 (+6)Wis 19 (+9)
Con 23 (+11)Int 10 (+5)Cha 12 (+6)

Alignment Unaligned; Languages Common, Elven
Equipment wooden shield, wooden warhammer


I envision this guy's shtick as having command over trees and roots--it makes sense, what with being a wood woad and all. All his powers have a vaguely plantish feel to them; nothing has "stone" or "storm" or "bear" in its name. Oddly, only Weight of Earth is an actual Warden power; I'm not too worried, since they certainly feel quite wardenly. I'm certainly not going to add more powers, in any case; his statblock is quite large enough already.

As with all wood woads, he prefers to stand near his allies and let the enemy come to him. Most of his powers are designed to keep his enemies from getting away afterwards.  Weight of Earth means that if he hits you with an opportunity attack, you're not going anywhere soon.  Once he hits you with that, there's no escape: if you attack him and shift away, he can just follow you; if you shift-charge, you won't get far enough to escape his Warden's Furious Grasp.

Warden's Furious Grasp is, unsuprisingly, a combination of Warden's Fury and Warden's Grasp.  The CA of Warden's Fury didn't add much to the theme, and I was worried about how the slowing of Warden's Grasp would interact with Weight of Earth, so they were both dropped.  The slide was increased to ensure that the warden would actually be able to get adjacent to the target (in an earlier draft, the Fury was a secondary attack after the Grasp pulled the target in close). The final product is quite a bit stronger than the PC version of the power... but hey, this is an elite soldier without a double attack.  It needs something to keep its action economy high.

You'll notice that I haven't actually added any Warden encounter powers.  It's a funny thing, actually.  While I like Mountain Hammer as a power, it didn't really fit the theme so I dropped it.  I really like Earthgrasp Strike (my warden PC kept it until level 27), but like I said before, it fills the same role as Nature's Judgement, which is a very nice and wardeny power that also happens to be pretty central to the concept of the original monster.  Earthgrasp Strike had to go too.

I liked the idea of entering a guardian form when bloodied, and was immediately drawn to Form of the Oak Sentinel.  I wasn't too keen on the form's attack, though, so I gave it something new involving difficult terrain.  Trees moving to hold the enemy back, roots bursting from the ground, that sort of thing.  It felt kind of flat, though, so I went looking for something else I could do for it... which brought me back to Earthgrasp Strike.

So now the idea was that when the warden is bloodied, he enters a more powerful form, and then one turn later he rouses the forest and becomes even more powerful.  His stickiness increases (it's hard to escape even if you're not slowed), his Nature's Judgement becomes more powerful (because it knocks you prone, too), and his Form of the Oak Sentinel... is actually kind of irrelevant now.  Reach is less important now, and the autodamage didn't really fit the theme.  Dropped that. The point is, Form of the Raging Forest is actually Earthgrasp Strike in disguise.


So, uh, yeah.  That's what would look right for a level 11 elite soldier.
Thank you for taking a look. I don't have DMG2, so didn't know they had put in a template for Warden. Good to know.

Regeneration, incorporeality, and healing at-wills are a little more complicated, but have much the same result.  The point is, you should get rid of all your healing powers (except Nature's Judgement, which is okay because it's small and limited) and replace the more important ones with something interesting.


Huh, all the class template example monsters in the builder had secondwind powers, and I thought monsters got 1 HS per tier. I agree though, this bugger would be incredibly boring to fight. Hes a (nymph) merchants guard. They could kill them if they want to, but having it be a long tedious fight would discourage that behavior, hopefully.

Lastly, and on a completely different note, some of your numbers are weird.  How'd you get an AC of 33?  Did you just add the entire Con check bonus?  Truth be told, monster AC isn't usually modified by ability scores--but even if it was, that's not how you'd do it.  On the other hand, your hp are a little low and I don't know why.  Also, you haven't included any ability scores.

Oh, and you should update your damage expressions to the MM3 standard.

Hmm... Gimme a few minutes, and I'll post my take on the wood warden with some notes on why I'd do it that way.


Well, it didn't really explain what your supposed to do with the profficencies the monster recieves. The class templates in general seem to be very poorly thouht out and explained. there is no section in the DMG that explains what you should do if you change a monsters weapon, asside from making it magical. In the creating monsters section, it has you use its level and roll to determine its attack and damage, and all the PC powers use ability modifier and weapon, and it never tells you how to reconcile this.

I kept the to hit bonus and bonus damage based on level and changed the damage dice to match the new weapon (1d10 for a warhammer)

As fo AC, I went to the section in the DMG where it talks about switching out armor and calculating a monsters inherent bonus. It says to subtract the higher of the monsters int/dex, and then gives an example where they subtract something like 3 from a monster with a 14 dex, saying your supposed to use the modifer listed. Id have to check, but what I think I did was to subtract the Wood Woads INT mod from its AC and add its CON in its place.

Edit: +1 for a heavy shield and +3 for level|   23 (Base) +3 level -5 (Int mod after new level bonus) + 11 (Con mod after increasing Con slightly and new level bonus) +1 (going from small to heavy shield)=  33 AC

The ability scores for a Wood Woad are:
Str 18 (+8)      Dex 9 (+3)      Wis 16 (+7)
Con 20 (+9)      Int 10 (+4)      Cha 10 (+4) 
I increased level up to 11, and increased con by 2, giving:
Str 18 (+9)      Dex 9 (+4)      Wis 16 (+8)
Con 22 (+11)      Int 10 (+5)      Cha 10 (+5)

Where are you getting the damage values from, you say they changed them in MM3?
I guess I'm still having trouble accepting the arbritrary nature of monsters in 4e. All creatures following the same rules was much more to my likeing.
Sir Casm, Lord of the Oblivious
Made some alterations:

Combined the Stone Sentinel Form, Stone Sentinel Attack, and Guardian Attack powers as two Standard Actions: Stone Sentinel and Guardian Attack. He has little use for Minor actions so this dosn't effect the functioning much but it does look much more concise.

Wardens Fury and Wardens Grasp where combined into a Power title Natures Fury, A closeburst 4 reaction that slides 2 and grants CA.

The Basic attack was removed and Strenght of Stone was changed to a Basic, Bears Endurance was renamed Stones Endurance, same effect but sticks to the Wood&Rock theme.

Also added a strategy section and increased the damage (supposed to double the static damage mod, right?)
Sir Casm, Lord of the Oblivious
Huh, all the class template example monsters in the builder had secondwind powers, and I thought monsters got 1 HS per tier. I agree though, this bugger would be incredibly boring to fight. Hes a (nymph) merchants guard. They could kill them if they want to, but having it be a long tedious fight would discourage that behavior, hopefully.

Monsters do have one surge per tier, but those are for spending during rests.  If you retreat from a fight, take a short rest to heal, and come back, the monster will also have healed some.  It would be too easy if you could jump back in right where you left.

It's true that all the published monsters with class templates have Second Wind, but it's also true that the vast majority of those monsters are from MM1, which is from before the designers themselves knew how monsters should be made.  Second Wind is only really appropriate if you want a monster to escape and become a recurring NPC; once the PCs have "killed" the NPC by dealing it damage equal to its hit points, it uses the extra to escape.

I guess I understand your reasons for making him "incredibly boring to fight", but I don't agree with them.  Your players won't know that the fight will be long and tedious until they've already started it, and by then it'll be too late.  You could warn them beforehand, I suppose, but that raises the question of why you'd even need a statblock for someone the PCs will never see in a fight.

In any case, it feels kinda underhanded to me to intentionally gimp a monster to punish players for bad behaviour.  Battles should always be fun.  No exceptions.  If you want to keep PCs from attacking someone, use hard fights and nasty plot consequences.  If they attack the nymph and warden, then she's obviously not going to give them whatever vital plot point they came to her for, which means the PCs' quest is going to fail, which means evil things are going to start bursting out of the ground and destroying civilization pretty soon.  (I assume.)  You could also have the nymph curse them, if you're into that; the Unearthed Arcana article Curses! in Dungeon 182 has some great ideas.

My point is, any monster that's worth making is worth making well.

Well, it didn't really explain what your supposed to do with the profficencies the monster recieves. The class templates in general seem to be very poorly thouht out and explained. there is no section in the DMG that explains what you should do if you change a monsters weapon, asside from making it magical. In the creating monsters section, it has you use its level and roll to determine its attack and damage, and all the PC powers use ability modifier and weapon, and it never tells you how to reconcile this.

I'm afraid there is no way to reconcile this.  Monsters and PCs just don't use the same math.  A PC starts with an abstract equation ("1[W]+Strength modifier") and uses that to find his specific numbers.  A monster starts with the numbers ("19 average damage") and leaves the abstract equation undefined.  Anything that says otherwise (e.g. the "Customizing Monsters" section of the DMG) should be taken purely as a guideline.

So don't worry too much about the numbers--it's not like your players are ever going to look at them, after all.  Instead, focus on getting the feel of the class right.  Find the essential core of the class and each of its features, take that as your starting point, and ignore the rest.

Take my Wood Warden's Weight of Earth attack, for instance.  Even though it deals 2[W] damage and can be used as a basic attack, it's still clearly recognizable as the warden power of the same name.  (Come to think of it, it's actually even closer to the Sudden Roots feat.  Maybe I should change its name.)

That said, if it doesn't affect the balance then a gesture toward the PC rules can be quite satisfying to a designer.  For instance,
I kept the to hit bonus and bonus damage based on level and changed the damage dice to match the new weapon (1d10 for a warhammer)

changing the damage dice to match the weapon is a classy move.

However: regardless of what weapons they use, two monsters of the same role and level should deal the same average damage.  If one monster has a larger damage die, it'll have to compensate by using fewer dice or reducing the static bonuses.  One level 1 soldier might deal 1d8+4 damage with his longsword; another, 1d10+3 with his axe; a third, 2d6+1 with his maul.  All of them, however, will deal an average of 9 damage.

As fo AC, I went to the section in the DMG where it talks about switching out armor and calculating a monsters inherent bonus. It says to subtract the higher of the monsters int/dex, and then gives an example where they subtract something like 3 from a monster with a 14 dex, saying your supposed to use the modifer listed. Id have to check, but what I think I did was to subtract the Wood Woads INT mod from its AC and add its CON in its place. 

Edit: +1 for a heavy shield and +3 for level|   23 (Base) +3 level -5 (Int mod after new level bonus) + 11 (Con mod after increasing Con slightly and new level bonus) +1 (going from small to heavy shield)=  33 AC

The ability scores for a Wood Woad are: 
Str 18 (+8)      Dex 9 (+3)      Wis 16 (+7)
Con 20 (+9)      Int 10 (+4)      Cha 10 (+4)  
I increased level up to 11, and increased con by 2, giving:
Str 18 (+9)      Dex 9 (+4)      Wis 16 (+8)
Con 22 (+11)      Int 10 (+5)      Cha 10 (+5)

Okay, I see where your numbers came from now.  And yes, that is indeed how the DMG says you would do that sort of thing.  It's also a prime example of why you shouldn't listen to the DMG on these matters.

Because 33 is way too high.  The expected value for a soldier's AC is 16+level: 27, in this case.  6 points of AC mean your PCs will go from hitting on a 10+ (55% chance) to a 16+ (25% chance).  If your party targets AC a lot, you've just doubled the length of this battle.

Where are you getting the damage values from, you say they changed them in MM3?
[...]
Also added a strategy section and increased the damage (supposed to double the static damage mod, right?)

You can find them in the DMG errata.  Alternatively, just remember that average monster damage is 8+level, subtracting 25% for area attacks and adding 25% for brutes and 25-50% for limited attacks. 

Doubling the static mod is kind of a kludge, although it usually gets you roughly the right average.  I for my part prefer to limit static damage modifiers to no more than half of the total figure (and most published monsters follow the same convention).

I guess I'm still having trouble accepting the arbritrary nature of monsters in 4e. All creatures following the same rules was much more to my likeing.

I'm afraid that's the price we pay for the speed, power, and elegance of the 4e monster.  If it makes you feel any better, you can always choose ability scores and equipment for your monsters so that the modifiers do add up to the target numbers.  That's what I do.

Made some alterations:

Wardens Fury and Wardens Grasp where combined into a Power title Natures Fury, A closeburst 4 reaction that slides 2 and grants CA.

The Basic attack was removed and Strenght of Stone was changed to a Basic.

 Both good changes.  I didn't notice that Strength of Stone granted THP earlier, so I suppose that's okay as a basic attack. Straight-up healing would be crazy though.

Combined the Stone Sentinel Form, Stone Sentinel Attack, and Guardian Attack powers as two Standard Actions: Stone Sentinel and Guardian Attack. He has little use for Minor actions so this dosn't effect the functioning much but it does look much more concise.  

Bears Endurance was renamed Stones Endurance, same effect but sticks to the Wood&Rock theme.

Fun fact: What with Stone Sentinel, Guardian Attack, and Stone's Endurance (not to mention the regen and THP), your elite monster has more effective hp than many solos of its level.  Have you considered losing the healing powers and just making him a regular solo?