Wont anyone think of the Monsters?

We have a lot of threads discussing what we'd like to see from our mans.  I don't recall seeing many or any on what we will be fighting, though some stray that way, (weapon damage thread).

I love the minion mechanic.  Love it love it, don't know why I never thought of it myself.

I like to see big monsters with bad AC.  I like seeing low level monsters who are tough to hit.

I like how 4e wrote their monsters.  All the powers were on his stat card.  No book flipping for magic spells, etc.  I could print a page from the monster builder, and that's all I needed to have at the table.

Dragons:  Dragons have to be awesome.  Dragons seemed lackluster in 4th, and improved greatly in the Monster Vault, having a way to shake off stuns, and also gaining an extra initative turn in the combat.  Its half the name of our game; dragons should be impressive, no matter when we fight them.

Bring back morale?  DMs have been encouraged to have monsters break and run to help shorten combats.  How about brining back the morale stat, but writing it better as an end of turn mechanic for the bad guys.  somethings might only make checks at at certain point, (maybe black dragons beat feet automatically when they are below 50 hp and not in their lairs)  Some may be unshakeable (golems)  Some may be unshakeable as long as a Leader role monster is on the table.  etc, etc.
I love how monsters work too.  Knowing how they're put together makes it easy to come up with some, or adjust them on the fly.  With the Adventure Tools it's super simple to refluff or recreate.

Minions are awesome.  Seeing 8 orcs and thinking "oh poop...".  I also like the idea of Badass Minions (2-hitters, though they might annoy my players at first.)

Morale checks would be one more thing to worry about/get to do in combat.  But I could see it, just like recharge powers, roll a d6.  or Morale bonus added to d20.  Gnolls: autosucceed Morale.  Orc Chieftain:  allies gain +2 to Morale checks.  etc.

Or the DM just says, "You guys are badass, they run away" or "Gnolls fight to death, your turn again".

either way, you can add morale to your game now if you want. 

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

I think some 'behavioral' elements in the stat block would be cool. Morale for instance is nice. There can be a few values like 'brave', 'cowardly', 'fanatical', and 'none' (IE mindless undead). What they actually mean is up to the DM. The DMG can give you some ideas on how to use them, like making checks or something but mechanical morale rules never seemed very good to me, they always produce strange results.

The to-hit progression in 5e is a lot less steep than the 4e one, so monsters are going to naturally not need to be quite as closely tied to level as far as basic stats go. A plate armor clad orc with AC20 at level 2 would be more workable in that system (a lot like in AD&D). Encounter design may be a bit 'looser' but levels won't be as steep a change in challenge so it should work out OK up to a certain point.

In other respects I liked 4e monsters pretty well.
That is not dead which may eternal lie


Bring back morale?  DMs have been encouraged to have monsters break and run to help shorten combats.  How about brining back the morale stat, but writing it better as an end of turn mechanic for the bad guys.  somethings might only make checks at at certain point, (maybe black dragons beat feet automatically when they are below 50 hp and not in their lairs)  Some may be unshakeable (golems)  Some may be unshakeable as long as a Leader role monster is on the table.  etc, etc.



I'm going to say 'no' to this, myself.  Whether or not a monster breaks and runs should be determined based on the needs of the situation, not a die roll.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
4th edition monsters, towards the end, have a good sweet spot. They're simple but diverse.

The only thing I would say should be done is that there should be more care made more frequently for monsters to share features or attacks. As a harkening back to 3rd edition where monsters and PCs were built from roughly the same building blocks. The features and attacks wouldn't even have to work identically; just similarly. To an extent we have this in 4th edition. I just wanna see this more. Sort of like with the hopes on the player side, I sort of want to see the monster side consolidated.
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.


Bring back morale?  How about brining back the morale stat, but writing it better as an end of turn mechanic for the bad guys.  



I'm going to say 'no' to this, myself.  Whether or not a monster breaks and runs should be determined based on the needs of the situation, not a die roll.



I don't disagree entirely.  Remember though that DnD should be playable by 12ish year olds too, and those guys tend to be by the book.  Having something that tells them when its okay for people to run might be worth having.  the rest of us can ignore it if we like, as we have in the past; like grappling rules.  I like Abby's suggestion of at the very least having a one word discriptor. 

4th edition monsters, towards the end, have a good sweet spot. They're simple but diverse.

The only thing I would say should be done is that there should be more care made more frequently for monsters to share features or attacks. As a harkening back to 3rd edition where monsters and PCs were built from roughly the same building blocks. The features and attacks wouldn't even have to work identically; just similarly. To an extent we have this in 4th edition. I just wanna see this more. Sort of like with the hopes on the player side, I sort of want to see the monster side consolidated.



Monsters in 4e did have racial traits they shared across their type.  Orcs had a zero hitpoint strike, kolbolds shifted.  

i've always really dug the recharge power mechanic for monsters. i think the idea is just sheer genius and honestly, am wondering if that's something we'll see extended to PCs in 5e--or as they've been calling it, D&D next*.

ed

*which makes me wonder if they'll get away from numeric designations altogether, perhaps taking a page from apple and using codenames instead.
Recharge and encounter abilities for monsters finally allowed you to let the enemies do anything you wanted. I never again want to hear the words "you can't do that" when designing enemies or adventures. 4E brought a level of freedom to be original that had been missing before. Let's hope D&D Next improves it again, not takes a step back.

Though the step back seems probable. 
My thoughts on what works and what doesn't in D&D and how D&D Next may benefit are detailed on my blog, Vorpal Thoughts.
Recharge and encounter abilities for monsters finally allowed you to let the enemies do anything you wanted. I never again want to hear the words "you can't do that" when designing enemies or adventures.


If you ever heard that, you were letting your players get away with way too much. It's always been possible to add random, not available to PCs, powers to monsters, and those powers could have whatever recharge mechanic you wanted. It just wasn't conventional.
I like morale. Most combats should end when the winner becomes obvious and the loser attempts to escape. Desperate last stands should be the exception, not the norm.

As for dice deciding the outcome rather than it being contrived... I'm good with that. When I'm the DM, I'm not a writer, I don't decide what happens. I decide what my NPCs will attempt - what the outcome will be is decided by procedure and dice.
  I like how 4e wrote their monsters.  All the powers were on his stat card.  No book flipping for magic spells, etc.  I could print a page from the monster builder, and that's all I needed to have at the table.



Conversely, I do not like the way every non-minion 4e monster has its own discrete attacks.  It takes me more time on each individual monster's turn when I have to skim the entire description of an attack to know what it will do.  However, if monsters shared the same general attacks as PCs, I will have all the general PC attacks memorized. 

In other words, it is much faster in game for me to run a lurker with, say, Sneak Attack than to run a lurker that has a Backbiting Attack which is mechanically written out to be basically the same thing as Sneak Attack.
i've always really dug the recharge power mechanic for monsters. i think the idea is just sheer genius and honestly, am wondering if that's something we'll see extended to PCs in 5e--or as they've been calling it, D&D next*.

ed

*which makes me wonder if they'll get away from numeric designations altogether, perhaps taking a page from apple and using codenames instead.



Definately liked rerolling every turn on the recharge, and the variable between 4,5,and 6.  I think first and second had dragons breathing fire every 1d4 rounds.

I like it when monster descriptions include suggested typical tactics. Rather than morale, I would prefer that these tactics lines say when the creatures are likely to break off combat, for example when at half hit points.

Rather than a random recharge mechanic, let's just say the ability is useable every other round or third round or whatever. 
"Sample spells (you may replace the below with any other spells you feel appropriate)"

As a block on a monster stat sheet.
IMHO, one thing that 1e AD&D and 4e got right that the versions in between lost sight of was making monsters mechanically different from PCs.  Monsters don't need the same six stats as PCs.  They don't need feats, skills, exp, levels, complex pyramieds of stacking bonuses or anymore backstory than required by the scenario.  Monsters need to be cool, exciting, opponents, and easy for a DM to stat out and run 6 (or 20) of vs players who are each concentrating on running only one PC.

4e monster levels worked pretty well, and monster roles were a great idea.  Particularly the 'secondary roles' -  Minion, Standard, Elite, Solo.   Rating monsters by level, and by the number of them it takes to challenge a party makes both monster design and encounter design much easier and more effective.   Much better than 'splitting' monsters under the CR system for multi-monster encounters.

 

 

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