Poll: Monster Block Layout

Which do you prefer?

A) Full, Verbose Text.
An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be knocked prone.


B) Short, Codified Text
Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)


C) Somewhere in between
Trait: Formless
Can move though small openings and is immune to prone.


D) Both.
An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be knocked prone.  (Immunity: Prone, squeezing)

E) Other.


Totals:  (post #50)
A: 1
B: 11.5
C: 5.5
D: 18
E: 1


Conclusion: D has a good lead.  B comes in second though often with a "in the adventure module" qualifier.  D also alienates the lest number of people, given those who want quick run-time code have it, and those who want full fluff have it.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

B
B


Both - actually.

In the adventure text where the creature is encountered, I want B.  At the end of the adventure where I can look up the details I want A. 

If creatures occur more than once in an adventure -this saves quite a bit of space, if creatures only occur once it adds a small amount of space.  But I think its organizational advantages (what I really need to run the adventure is right there as long as I refresh my memory about the defined terms ahead of time - and if I forget I can always reference them.)



Something like (to choose one of the more complex entries):

Drow (Medium humanoid - elf); HP 27 (6d8); AC 15; SDCIWC 10/15/10/13/14/12; Light Sensitivity, Magic Resistance, Stealthy +5; Multiattack (2 attacks; either or both of longsword or hand crossbow); Melee:  Longsword +3 for 1d8+2 slashing; Ranged: Hand Crossbow +3 (r30/120) for 1d6+4 & Drow Poison (DC 12); Darkfire (1/day); Darkness (1/day). L3Elite (350 XP).

This does require certain terms to be defined (which is why we put that information in the back) - but at the same time, once I have run Drow a few times I really won't need to keep looking up Drow Poison, Darkfire or Darkness anymore either.

This gives the greatest benefit to the newbie DM (the information is there) and the experienced DM (the information is minimized so that it doesn't take space away from the more important parts of the encounter).


Carl
B

Since somewhere within the rules it actually describes what "Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)" means, I don't/won't need it repeated for every monster that possesses it.

A properly laid-lout Monster Manual (or whatever delivery system they use for monsters) will have clearly-defined conditions/abilities/etc. listed, usually before the monster entires in achapter of their own. That and, if you can't figure out what "Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)" means in relation to an ooze, then I'm not sure just how much detail needs to be added for you to figure it out. As long as they use common-sense words, it should be easy enough to figure out without needing a description accompanying each entry.
B

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

C, I hate looking up what terms mean.

Especially since B is going to look like this:

Ooze:  Traits: Formless, Underground, Climber

Immunity won't be there. 
C

I like having good descriptions of the Monster, how it acts and what it is.  I also like easily defined and looked-up Traits that might be plugged into any Monster that shares that common feature.
D) Other

An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be knocked prone. (Immunity: prone, squeezing)

Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of Random Stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Back to Product and General D&D Discussions -- because the mobile site is bad. (Fixed!)

Seems so redundant to me.
Seems so redundant to me.

You don't have to look up what the terms mean, but once you know the terms, you also don't have to read all the text.  Seems like a win/win to me.
It is redundant. Having both means you can have as flowery and verbose a description of the trait as demeed necessary and still allow for the same block to be used as a quick reference.

Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of Random Stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Back to Product and General D&D Discussions -- because the mobile site is bad. (Fixed!)

B
In the stat block I would like this...

traits: formless

In the description text of the monster manual I'd like it described in detail like A.
Another way of doing it could be like this:

An Ooze has no set form, while squeezing through small openings it isn't penalties and cannot be knocked prone.

Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of Random Stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Back to Product and General D&D Discussions -- because the mobile site is bad. (Fixed!)

I changed D to both.

And made an E for other ideas. 

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

A or C

It really depends on what you put in C.

I really dislike codification. I understand that it's necessary in some cases, but the less the better.
B


Both - actually.

In the adventure text where the creature is encountered, I want B.  At the end of the adventure where I can look up the details I want A. 

If creatures occur more than once in an adventure -this saves quite a bit of space, if creatures only occur once it adds a small amount of space.  But I think its organizational advantages (what I really need to run the adventure is right there as long as I refresh my memory about the defined terms ahead of time - and if I forget I can always reference them.)



Something like (to choose one of the more complex entries):

Drow (Medium humanoid - elf); HP 27 (6d8); AC 15; SDCIWC 10/15/10/13/14/12; Light Sensitivity, Magic Resistance, Stealthy +5; Multiattack (2 attacks; either or both of longsword or hand crossbow); Melee:  Longsword +3 for 1d8+2 slashing; Ranged: Hand Crossbow +3 (r30/120) for 1d6+4 & Drow Poison (DC 12); Darkfire (1/day); Darkness (1/day). L3Elite (350 XP).

This does require certain terms to be defined (which is why we put that information in the back) - but at the same time, once I have run Drow a few times I really won't need to keep looking up Drow Poison, Darkfire or Darkness anymore either.

This gives the greatest benefit to the newbie DM (the information is there) and the experienced DM (the information is minimized so that it doesn't take space away from the more important parts of the encounter).


Carl

Yeah, I'll go with this. A 'compact' stat block is fine and can have just keywords. OTOH its nice if there's an expanded format available.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
B

Since somewhere within the rules it actually describes what "Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)" means, I don't/won't need it repeated for every monster that possesses it.

A properly laid-lout Monster Manual (or whatever delivery system they use for monsters) will have clearly-defined conditions/abilities/etc. listed, usually before the monster entires in achapter of their own. That and, if you can't figure out what "Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)" means in relation to an ooze, then I'm not sure just how much detail needs to be added for you to figure it out. As long as they use common-sense words, it should be easy enough to figure out without needing a description accompanying each entry.

This is a good point too.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
D

Because I think the fluff description is the real thing, while the keywords are merely a short rule of tumb. The fluff contains the answer, or the seed to the answer to all kinds of corner-cases, interesting but odd situations etc.

For instance.. I would not allow a completely formless thing, that is not even defending itself, to be flanked, even if it does not say immune flanking.

Including the keywords are nice for a quick reference, but the description is the thing.
Which do you prefer?

A) Full, Verbose Text.
An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be knocked prone.


B) Short, Codified Text
Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)


C) Somewhere in between
Trait: Formless
Can move though small openings and is immune to prone.


D) Both.
An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be knocked prone.  (Immunity: Prone, squeezing)

E) Other.


Totals:  (post #)
A: 0.5
B: 5
C: 2.5
D: 3
E:

D
"D"

Like the ooze itself, it combines the clarity some people demand, with the fluffy flexibility others require.

It's strong enough for a Munchkin, but pH balanced for a Grognard.

It's two, two, two monsters in one. Double D.
Not to invalidate your poll up to now, but...


Are asking what we want in the Monster Manual or what we want in the room description of an adventure.

Because the answer is very different depending upon the location.

Carl
I didn't even consider that he might be talking about room descriptions in adventures.
I thought he was talking about MM entries. Well, those, or anywhere that an actual "stat-block" might appear (magazine articles, MMs, the "new monsters" sections at the end of adventures, etc.).

As for mid-adventure entries, I'm used to seeing:

1st Edition:
 
Gelmark, fighter (AC 8; MV 12”; F2; hp 12; #AT 1; D by weapon; AL LN; S 15, I 15, W 9, D 13, C 13, Ch 17). He carries a broadsword and dagger.

or

2nd Edition:
 
Flameskull: AC 3; MV Fl21 (A); HD 4+4; hp 31; THACO 15; #AT 2; Dmg 2d4/2d4 (10' f;rebolts); SA magic missile (3 missiles), spell reftectiou (on alternate rounds); SO regenerate 1 hit point a round, immune to charm, hold, sleep, cold, fire, electrical, poison, and death magic; SW may be turned (as lich); MR 88%; SZ S; ML elite (14); Tnt average (10); AL LE; XP 2,000.       
Generally, I want everything that matters mechanically to be a close together and as compact as possible. If there's a need to explain why a creature has a certain property, that should be be in an entirely segregated chunk of fluff text. It's fine for there to be a little prose and fluff in the part that describes the mechanics (3.5, for example, gives names to the special properties monsters have), but I shouldn't have to pick through the entire monster entry just to get all the relevant mechanics. In addition, things should be clumped to the greatest extent possible based on when they matter - that means that a monster's offensive characteristics generally go together, that its defensive characteristics generally go together, and that its properties that have mechanical weight but are relevant outside of hitting and being hit go together. Something between B and C is what makes sense to me. The information contained in A and D is fine, but it should be dumped somewhere where it's not wasting space. I think that even if you shoot for B, you end up with a lot of C, because you can only codify so many abilities before the game becomes too vocabulary-intensive.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Since its for a monster block I'd say B.

Leave the flavor to the flavor/ecology text.

Plus you get a +1 for your immune to prone ooze mello! Smile
I didn't even consider that he might be talking about room descriptions in adventures.
I thought he was talking about MM entries. Well, those, or anywhere that an actual "stat-block" might appear (magazine articles, MMs, the "new monsters" sections at the end of adventures, etc.). 



The problem with that is that 4E started the trend of including full stat blocks with the adventure text. 

It is handy - but takes up a lot of valuable space. 

Carl
D.

It saves having to remember what a special ability is. That might be obvious for some abilities but not for all. With other systems I can see a succint summary of a creatures ability *with* that creature, no need to look at the start of the book for definitions.
Are asking what we want in the Monster Manual or what we want in the room description of an adventure.

Because the answer is very different depending upon the location.

B in an adventure pamphlet, D (but in the other order) in the MM.

C

Formless: immune to Prone and squeezing. An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be tripped or knocked off balance.



I like the quick text and ease of reference but I like a little explination. 

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C
Which do you prefer?

A) Full, Verbose Text.
An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be knocked prone.


B) Short, Codified Text
Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)


C) Somewhere in between
Trait: Formless
Can move though small openings and is immune to prone.


D) Both.
An Ooze has no set form, which allows it to squeeze though small openings without penalties and cannot be knocked prone.  (Immunity: Prone, squeezing)

E) Other.


Totals:  (post #20)
A: 0.5
B: 4
C: 2.5
D: 6
E:


Definitely D, both.

• First the narrative description.
• Then a separate stat block with strictly technical descriptions summarizing the info in a table format.

DMs can opt to use as authoritative, only the narrative, or only the stat block, or both.

I like the narrative description first, because it illuminates the context that helps the technical terms in the stat block make sense.
Another way of doing it could be like this:

An Ooze has no set form, while squeezing through small openings it isn't penalties and cannot be knocked prone.


Yeah, using natural english as technical terms is great too. I want “both” narrative and a technical stat block, but the narrative section can use natural terms wherever appropriate.

B

Since somewhere within the rules it actually describes what "Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)" means, I don't/won't need it repeated for every monster that possesses it.

A properly laid-lout Monster Manual (or whatever delivery system they use for monsters) will have clearly-defined conditions/abilities/etc. listed, usually before the monster entires in achapter of their own. That and, if you can't figure out what "Immunity: Prone, squeezing (formless)" means in relation to an ooze, then I'm not sure just how much detail needs to be added for you to figure it out. As long as they use common-sense words, it should be easy enough to figure out without needing a description accompanying each entry.

This is a good point too.


I dont mind the narrative section creating vague rules for monsters. It reminds me of this weeks entry for the Underdark random tables, the one that describes different breeds of giant spiders that Drow are cultivating. Some spiders act as military medics, using their spinnerettes to bandage wounds. Other breeds use them to build military bridges, and secure unstable tunnels. Other breeds work as sentinels. And so on. There are no technical stats for these breeds - its upto the DM to invent them. But the casual format really inspires me as a DM to imagine the many different possibilities.

Of course, I usually want stats, but I appreciate a place for inspiring musings.

These spiders are an example, where the narrative descriptions invite the DM to go beyond the rules as written and make gaming decisions based on the story - not on the computer-like logical code.
"D"

Like the ooze itself, it combines the clarity some people demand, with the fluffy flexibility others require.

It's strong enough for a Munchkin, but pH balanced for a Grognard.

It's two, two, two monsters in one. Double D.


LOL!
I say E.

I want a more empowered GM, and an empowered GM doesn't need to be told that an ooze can't be knocked prone and squeezes through stuff more easily--it's a frickin' ooze, of course it can't be knocked prone and it'd be good at squeezing!  That's basically the definition of ooze.  So, I am sort of advocating for A, but A really doesn't need to be in the "layout" so much as it needs to be in the descriptive text, where it is explained that this thing is ooze.  Seriously, what happened to common sense?
I say E.

I want a more empowered GM, and an empowered GM doesn't need to be told that an ooze can't be knocked prone and squeezes through stuff more easily--it's a frickin' ooze, of course it can't be knocked prone and it'd be good at squeezing!  That's basically the definition of ooze.  So, I am sort of advocating for A, but A really doesn't need to be in the "layout" so much as it needs to be in the descriptive text, where it is explained that this thing is ooze.  Seriously, what happened to common sense?



Common sense teaches us that organizing information in a structured way is better then placing information based on creative whim.

Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of Random Stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Back to Product and General D&D Discussions -- because the mobile site is bad. (Fixed!)

D; i like the idea of flavor for explanations and keywords for reference.
DM: Products of MY Imagination ©. Since 1986.

Of course, I usually want stats, but I appreciate a place for inspiring musings.

These spiders are an example, where the narrative descriptions invite the DM to go beyond the rules as written and make gaming decisions based on the story - not on the computer-like logical code.




D for me too, and I totally agree with this, like in the 1st Ed Monster Manual, sometimes abilities/talents, etc, are implied for a creature, but not overt, which is fun/adds mystique, and the DM can delve in as much as he or she likes.


But yes, there is a big difference between a Monster Manual entry and a condensed/adventure one, which I am all for (love 2nd Ed modules).
B

I'd definitely like to see monster stat blocks as small as possible. The one thing I really dislike about the modern editions (3E/4E) was just how complicated monster stat blocks became. I want to see the stat bloat really cut down. Any monster should be able to be miniaturized to a single paragraph the way you could in 1E/2E. The monsters that take up half the page should be avoided at all costs.

B

I'd definitely like to see monster stat blocks as small as possible. The one thing I really dislike about the modern editions (3E/4E) was just how complicated monster stat blocks became. I want to see the stat bloat really cut down. Any monster should be able to be miniaturized to a single paragraph the way you could in 1E/2E. The monsters that take up half the page should be avoided at all costs.




+1

Large Stat blocks are just as bad a increasing the font size and line spacing to meet the 200 page requirement of the module.    It might be acceptable in high school essay, but it's unacceptable in a product that people are paying for.  


Monster block: C
Adventure block: B
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