Monster stat blocks

No, just no. I am not going to have 3 books just to look up what one monster can do especially for spell casters.

What was wrong with 4e blocks?

Why do I have to look at the appendix for what a special ability does?

Why are you  increasing my prep time?

Why do monsters have to follow the same rules as PC's? (ie same spells) 
 people whined and complained and hated on 4e for years. they couldnt make it like 4e.
So they go backwards on the one aspect of 4e that (as far as I know) everyone agreed was better?  This is why the playtest is a good idea!
So they go backwards on the one aspect of 4e that (as far as I know) everyone agreed was better?  This is why the playtest is a good idea!



oh there was no agreement, there were actually people who said they wanted npcs to have to be built like pcs again.
This is my biggest complaint with the playtest package so far. Its not too big a deal to reference spells when we have so few, but please use PC spells as the special abilities for monsters unless they are NPC spellcasters. Luckily it looks like the Dark Cultist is the only monster in the beastiary that does this. 

There's a few places where the monster stat blocks are unclear to me (like the owlbear's claws), or are in terrible need of editing (the medusa's petrifying gaze).
So they go backwards on the one aspect of 4e that (as far as I know) everyone agreed was better?  This is why the playtest is a good idea!

Really? The lack of monster/NPC to PC transparency was one of the biggest complaints most 3.5/Pathfinder proponents made.

Of course monsters and NPCs should follow the same rules that PCs follow. That's what makes it a simulationist game. 4e veered away from that, and that was a mistake. If 5e is "the best of all editions," then you won't see a lot of 4e in it. The fan base for 4e is sparse, compared to that of the competetion, and 4e broke a lot of traditions that 5e is apparently trying to "recapture" the spirit of.
So they go backwards on the one aspect of 4e that (as far as I know) everyone agreed was better?  This is why the playtest is a good idea!



oh there was no agreement, there were actually people who said they wanted npcs to have to be built like pcs again.

I was one of those people. ;) It was one of the big things I disliked in 4E from a DMing perspective.
So they go backwards on the one aspect of 4e that (as far as I know) everyone agreed was better?  This is why the playtest is a good idea!



oh there was no agreement, there were actually people who said they wanted npcs to have to be built like pcs again.

I was one of those people. ;) It was one of the big things I disliked in 4E from a DMing perspective.



to each their own Kiss
Totally agree with the OP.  Anything that adds to prep time and combat length is a mistake.  4e Monster Blocks were great.
They should be making a DM's job easier, not harder. A DM is what brings players into the game, if you are increasing prep time and delaying in game time by forcing a variety of sources for me to look stuff up, I just won't spend the money on the new product.

At no point when doing a 4e adventure do I have to stop, find another book, flip to find a spell and apply it. Nor do I have to go to the appendix and figure out what a staff of snakes does. It is all right there for me to use right away. 

You want to put in an hour's work for an NPC that will last 3 rounds of combat? Fine.  
The problem I have with that change, is the time taken to prepare monsters and npcs. I will get exponentially higher as we hit higher level of play. I don't want to build a lvl 10 pc, just a npc... I don't want to give my kobolds fighter level or thief or whatsnot. I don't want that. I hope there will be a way to create monsters other than levelling existing ones.

The problem I have with that change, is the time taken to prepare monsters and npcs. I will get exponentially higher as we hit higher level of play. I don't want to build a lvl 10 pc, just a npc... I don't want to give my kobolds fighter level or thief or whatsnot. I don't want that. I hope there will be a way to create monsters other than levelling existing ones.


I'm sensing they might be trying to have us use the site for the compendiums, basic templates, etc. to reduce prep time. 
Like mr Mearls said in the letter included in the packet, their goal at this stage is to fine-­‐tune the core rules. They’ll ask for our feedback on character creation, advancement, and adventure design rules later. This will likely include Monster and NPC creation/design and advencement as well.
right ich well there will still be one side upset even after that, so that doesnt really help
Keep in mind this is a playtest and they have indicated that monsters are still being worked on.
They should be making a DM's job easier, not harder. A DM is what brings players into the game, if you are increasing prep time and delaying in game time by forcing a variety of sources for me to look stuff up, I just won't spend the money on the new product.

At no point when doing a 4e adventure do I have to stop, find another book, flip to find a spell and apply it. Nor do I have to go to the appendix and figure out what a staff of snakes does. It is all right there for me to use right away. 

You want to put in an hour's work for an NPC that will last 3 rounds of combat? Fine.  



^ This.

Keep in mind this is a playtest and they have indicated that monsters are still being worked on.




This is often a line brought up in Betas too. However, you also have to keep in mind that this is a playtest, and it exists to get feedback.   
Keep in mind this is a playtest and they have indicated that monsters are still being worked on.





The point of this thread is to talk about the direction it needs to go. Please contribute to the thread about the PLAYTEST and what direction you would like it to go. 

 IF Wizards intends to keep stat blocks similar to the pre 4e era. I won't be DMing this edition regardless of liking or disliking other parts. I don't want DMing to require the equivalent of a second job. 
Also true. Feedback is always helpful. 

I personally liked the 4e monster block. I thought it was easy to read. But the 1st edition, 2nd edition, and 3rd edition were also nice.

They all had items that were helpful.  

I'm sensing they might be trying to have us use the site for the compendiums, basic templates, etc. to reduce prep time. 



Makes sense for them from a business perspective, but it's not necessarily a bad thing from a play perspective either. 

If the game is designed with the online tools in mind and vice-versa, that's probably preferable to building a game and then marrying it to the online tools after the fact.      

There's nothing wrong with enemies having the same spells/abilities PC's do, however it needs to be described with the monster.

I share a similar iritation with the PC spells not actually being with their character sheet, but atleast every player is likely to have the "How to Play" page infront of them.  
They should be making a DM's job easier, not harder. A DM is what brings players into the game, if you are increasing prep time and delaying in game time by forcing a variety of sources for me to look stuff up, I just won't spend the money on the new product.

At no point when doing a 4e adventure do I have to stop, find another book, flip to find a spell and apply it. Nor do I have to go to the appendix and figure out what a staff of snakes does. It is all right there for me to use right away. 

You want to put in an hour's work for an NPC that will last 3 rounds of combat? Fine.  

There is no reason they can't use the same spells and mechanics for PCs/NPCs/monsters and also include all pertinent information in statblocks at the same time, though.
I'd say a happy mid point, especially for monsters with alot of spells, would be to describe in full with the monster the most likely spells it'll use, and leave the more out of combat spells, or highly situational spells, as merely a list.


This would allow enemies to have larger spell lists for the simulationists while pleasing those who want easy of use.
 There is no reason they can't use the same spells and mechanics for PCs/NPCs/monsters and also include all pertinent information in statblocks at the same time, though.



They can certainly do that, but I am weary of level 15 baddies with the need for 20+ spells all in a row then, all with their own stats. 4e just made it easier to run as a DM.  
There is no reason they can't use the same spells and mechanics for PCs/NPCs/monsters and also include all pertinent information in statblocks at the same time, though.



The problem with that is that it still increases the time it requires to create a new monster.  I can make a new D&D4 monster in about ten minutes, regardless of its level; working on high-level D&D3.x monsters took the better part of an hour.

Monsters serve a different purpose in the game than PCs, a campaign needs more of them, and they're all being designed by the same person, who also has a pile of other things they have to do to make the campaign work.  Monsters shouldn't take terribly much longer to make than the time they survive in a fight.

My Setting - A New Mystara

LGBT Gamers Group

I think people in general are amazing. No, I think people are amazing. The very presence of people is a wonder among wonders. Why not treat each other as such?

Do people really make a lot of monsters for their games?

Just curious. I've never done it, once.

NPCs, yes, but never monsters. Unless by "making monsters" you mean "adding templates," which takes 0 minutes of prep time in Pathfinder, and only 10-30 in 3.5.
Do people really make a lot of monsters for their games?

Just curious. I've never done it, once.

NPCs, yes, but never monsters. Unless by "making monsters" you mean "adding templates," which takes 0 minutes of prep time in Pathfinder, and only 10-30 in 3.5.



Yes, can do it all the time, even on the fly in 4e. 

Regardless, the point is the actual stat blocks are not an ease fo use for a DM. Everything needed to run that monster should be in that stat block. If that requires changing how monsters are made, so be it.  
For me bestiary was one of the weaker parts of 4th edition, alongside with powers. There were some pluses of the stat block format but spamming the books with multiple variations about the same monster instead of writing actual description and ecology of the monster instead of raw numbers was serious mistake in my eyes. And simplification of rules that appears to be the desired route of the developers may (or may not - we'll see with the further rules being available to betatest) should solve the problem of overcomplex monster creation.
For me bestiary was one of the weaker parts of 4th edition, alongside with powers. There were some pluses of the stat block format but spamming the books with multiple variations about the same monster instead of writing actual description and ecology of the monster instead of raw numbers was serious mistake in my eyes. And simplification of rules that appears to be the desired route of the developers may (or may not - we'll see with the further rules being available to betatest) should solve the problem of overcomplex monster creation.



The benefit of the stat block has no bearing on the actual ecology and fluff. That is a designers fault not a fault of the mechanics that the stat block represents. You are committing a logical fallacy here. 
Do people really make a lot of monsters for their games?

Just curious. I've never done it, once.

NPCs, yes, but never monsters. Unless by "making monsters" you mean "adding templates," which takes 0 minutes of prep time in Pathfinder, and only 10-30 in 3.5.



I'd say atleast 40% of the monsters in my campaigns are custom made. The other 60% would be 'templates', tweaks, and the like.

On the flip side I rarely bother to stat out NPCs, not that they'd be an issue.      
No, just no. I am not going to have 3 books just to look up what one monster can do especially for spell casters.

What was wrong with 4e blocks?

Why do I have to look at the appendix for what a special ability does?

Why are you  increasing my prep time?

Why do monsters have to follow the same rules as PC's? (ie same spells) 



As a GM/DM of 25 years, I can safely say that 4E stat blocks were better.  We have enough work running a module/adventure/campaign without needing to flip through books and prep each battle.  Players control one character.  The DM has enough on his plate to have to deal with dozens.
Do people really make a lot of monsters for their games?

Just curious. I've never done it, once.

.


wow...really? its one of my favorite things about d&d
I'll have to voice my desire to see monsters handled a little closer to the 4e variant.  The ease in which I could fiddle with monsters in 4e is one of the main reason I use it as my edition of choice for DM'ing.  It just cuts down on time while allowing me to customize monsters\NPC's. 

That being said it seems that the playtest materials as is are something of a rules light 3x Edition style so even if monsters are set up in the manner they are now it should be simpler to customize them than they have been in other legacy formats.


Still an advocate for the 4e style though. 
Huh. To everyone who made a lot of custom monsters, then, I have a question (and a theory):

Do you play a very RAW game, or did you houserule and interpret and retexture things, at your table?
The benefit of the stat block has no bearing on the actual ecology and fluff. That is a designers fault not a fault of the mechanics that the stat block represents. You are committing a logical fallacy here. 



How did you came to conclusion I blame the mechanics that the stat block represented? I wasn't criticizing the mechanics - I criticized the bestiary monster entries as a whole. Yes, it was design and composition fault not mechanics.

The only error I made was use of 'and' at the begining of the last sentence, while I should put that sentence in a new paragraph.
Huh. To everyone who made a lot of custom monsters, then, I have a question (and a theory):

Do you play a very RAW game, or did you houserule and interpret and retexture things, at your table?


Depends on the campaign and the group.  In general, if I was running an established setting (Mystara, Forgotten Realms, and Eberron were my favorites of those), I'd run a game with little to no houseruling.  In a custom setting, especially with players who knew me and trusted me a lot, I'd fiddle with mechanics significantly more.

My Setting - A New Mystara

LGBT Gamers Group

I think people in general are amazing. No, I think people are amazing. The very presence of people is a wonder among wonders. Why not treat each other as such?

This is the worst part of D&DN.

I read though everything with my players and like most of it and decide to give it a try.

But when it come to bestiary sector? We decide to drop it altogetter and come back to 4e.

I have enough of 100+spells NPC and don't want to play it again in my lifetime.
Huh. To everyone who made a lot of custom monsters, then, I have a question (and a theory):

Do you play a very RAW game, or did you houserule and interpret and retexture things, at your table?



Not a lot of houseruling but if you want a monster to have an extra little theme to them swapping an old power with one that fits that theme was easy.  Or to craft an interesting NPC just create a "golem" of powers until it represents what you are looking for! 
Huh. To everyone who made a lot of custom monsters, then, I have a question (and a theory):

Do you play a very RAW game, or did you houserule and interpret and retexture things, at your table?

I made monsters in both 3e and 4e.  I made a LOT MORE monsters in 4e: it's almost not worth calling out as a separate step.  Heck, I started doing it in real time at the table...

I had extensive 3e houserules.  In 4e, I have basically just 2 (Lunge/Shift 1 as part of stand action, and "minions die with one hit.  Damage is irrelevant"), although I have a few tweaks that aren't really worth being called houserules (math patch feats given for free)

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Huh. To everyone who made a lot of custom monsters, then, I have a question (and a theory):

Do you play a very RAW game, or did you houserule and interpret and retexture things, at your table?



RAW game with minor math fix house rules but I ran custom adventures that needed monsters to fit what I needed. Plus it stopped any chance of meta by the players if I was not pulling things out of the MM every day. 
No, just no. I am not going to have 3 books just to look up what one monster can do especially for spell casters.

What was wrong with 4e blocks?

Why do I have to look at the appendix for what a special ability does?

Why are you  increasing my prep time?

Why do monsters have to follow the same rules as PC's? (ie same spells) 



As a GM/DM of 25 years, I can safely say that 4E stat blocks were better.  We have enough work running a module/adventure/campaign without needing to flip through books and prep each battle.  Players control one character.  The DM has enough on his plate to have to deal with dozens.



I have DM'd about as long as you and I have found that for most of the spells/abilities that monster use I could memorize. Maybe that's because I have only run 2nd edition for all this time (dabbled in 3 and 4, but didn't like them much). If you can't memorize that much can't you just use bookmarks for those spells or if like me you use the computer to put together your adventures use hyperlinks that take you to that spell? 
I like the new monster stat blocks.  It is far cleaner, and much easier to find what I am looking for.  I liked 2nd Edition D&D the best out of all of them...though I was rather fond of the Basic/Advanced/etc. box sets too.  The White Books were just too complex and 3e on up just went downhill.  Though I am glad to see AC stayed as a positive number.
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