Wandering Monsters: What Do You Think?

Wandering Monsters
What Do You Think?
By James Wyatt

Well, if you’ve been with us for the last couple of months, you know that I end every column with one or more polls to get your feedback about how closely the monsters I’ve described match your impressions of the monsters in D&D lore. This week, instead of moving on to a new batch of monsters, we’ll take a look over the first few columns and the feedback you gave us. I’ll also be making reference to the bestiary included in the August playtest packet, so you can see how the story descriptions and the game mechanics align.

Talk about this column here. 

What Do You Think? 

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Glad James Polls had a good success rate. All the description were overall pretty much spot on to me !

I still prefer the name Lizard men to Lizardfolk :P


PS The Hobgoblin Poll has an error:
  Hobgoblins: Do you think the bestiary statistics for the orc match up with the story we’ve presented?

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I feel lizard men/folk should not have a set culture, but they should have a range of cultures.  With the lowest ones being little more then animals, and the highest being able to wear spectacles and collect taxes.  Their culture should also be unstable, gaining or loosing culture/technology each generation (or for each adventuring group they meet).

Example:

1- Animal / Teeth and claws
2- Primal / Pointed Sticks
3- Tool Using / Hide Armor
4- Huts / Shaman
5- Farming / Traps
6- Trade / Metal weapons
7- Writing / Wizards
8- Fire / Metal armor
9- Money / Basic Teamwork
10- Human Level / Advanced Teamwork

Nor should they be evil, falling more into neutral neutral.  Of course some tribes will take to demon worship, but some will also understand the virtues of peace.

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.

Hey Mellored! You're awesome.

I personally favor wandering monsters. They add time constraints, randomness, reality, and other things to the game. If the party is being efficient, you can easily skip them. When they're bumbling around, it's great to have them.
David L. Dostaler Author, Challenger RPG (free)
Nor should they be evil, falling more into chaotic neutral.


I don't see why they're chaotic.  They don't revel in chaos or destruction.  They are, to me, the quintessential True Neutral race, with individual members tendign to the chaotic, lawful, good, or evil alignments.
Nor should they be evil, falling more into chaotic neutral.

I don't see why they're chaotic.  They don't revel in chaos or destruction.  They are, to me, the quintessential True Neutral race, with individual members tending to the chaotic, lawful, good, or evil alignments.

 Chaotic doesn't mean destruction.  It just means they don't follow rules very well.  Wolves would be lawful for instance.  They are well organized, obey boundaries, and have a hierarchic.

Though i suppose your right.  They do tend to be in small tribes, so they would have some kind of loose law.  True neutral it is.

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.

Chaotic aligment can be different interpretation by lots of fans. Somebody can say caothic is almost arnachic, others can say caothic is being nearer Nature that Civilitation or Feelings or Pasion are more important that honor.

 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

To me, if you hold control over the group by being the toughest SoB around, and your control lasts only until some other, tougher SoB comes along, then you're probably living in a chaotic society. That's the way I picture lizardfolk. Someone else could imagine them having more structure than that.

Steve 

If your only tool is a warhammer, every problem looks like a gnoll.

Nor should they be evil, falling more into chaotic neutral.


I don't see why they're chaotic.  They don't revel in chaos or destruction.  They are, to me, the quintessential True Neutral race, with individual members tendign to the chaotic, lawful, good, or evil alignments.



+1

To me, if you hold control over the group by being the toughest SoB around, and your control lasts only until some other, tougher SoB comes along, then you're probably living in a chaotic society. That's the way I picture lizardfolk. Someone else could imagine them having more structure than that.

Steve 

 

I agree 

PS Welcome back Steve! Been a long time...:P   (oh I wanted to say i  really liked your mini Dungeon of the week)

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I had problems to answer the orc and hobgobelin polls. I agree orcs are strong, resilient and not very clever but I cannot say whether 14 STR is right or not  because I believe the current monsters are underpowered compared to a PC party.



 
Hey Mellored! You're awesome.

I personally favor wandering monsters. They add time constraints, randomness, reality, and other things to the game. If the party is being efficient, you can easily skip them. When they're bumbling around, it's great to have them.



I don't think that was what the article was about, but I don't think we should have wandering monsters at all. I think we should have wandering encounters. Situations set up that randomly happen at random locations. Maybe one is a goblin ambush or a kobold trap. Another might be two groups fighting it out. Maybe a cave fisher snags one of the characters and drags them off, etc...etc...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Nor should they be evil, falling more into chaotic neutral.

I don't see why they're chaotic.  They don't revel in chaos or destruction.  They are, to me, the quintessential True Neutral race, with individual members tending to the chaotic, lawful, good, or evil alignments.

 Chaotic doesn't mean destruction.  It just means they don't follow rules very well.  Wolves would be lawful for instance.  They are well organized, obey boundaries, and have a hierarchic.

Though i suppose your right.  They do tend to be in small tribes, so they would have some kind of loose law.  True neutral it is.

If I remember correctly, it means that the rules they follow hold personal freedom and choice above the rules.
Chaotic doesn't mean destruction.  It just means they don't follow rules very well.


There is nothing in the lizardfolk description that says they don't follow rules well.

Wolves would be lawful for instance.  They are well organized, obey boundaries, and have a hierarchic.


Wolves have always been -- and I'd venture always will be -- true neutral.  

Though i suppose your right.  They do tend to be in small tribes, so they would have some kind of loose law.  True neutral it is.


Huzzah!
To me, if you hold control over the group by being the toughest SoB around, and your control lasts only until some other, tougher SoB comes along, then you're probably living in a chaotic society. That's the way I picture lizardfolk. Someone else could imagine them having more structure than that. 


First, welcome back, Mr. Winter!  You've been sorely missed.

Second, I disagree.  While some tribes might value Strength, I can see other lizardfolk tribes value the ability to commune with nature (Wisdom-based, or perhaps a druidocracy), or the ability to handle poisons or hold your breath for extended periods (Constitution-based), thus showing your virility and worth, or just on the ability to lead (Charisma).  Not all primitive cultures have to be Darwinian, and I see no reason the lizardfolk do (or, in particular, have been previously portrayed that way).

There are social lizards who organize themselves in familiar groupings, so it's not entirely unrealistic.
I liked this article.  I think it helps demonstrate further that our comments do/can carry weight with design.
To me, if you hold control over the group by being the toughest SoB around, and your control lasts only until some other, tougher SoB comes along, then you're probably living in a chaotic society. That's the way I picture lizardfolk. Someone else could imagine them having more structure than that.

Steve 

Well, nothing would derail a thread faster than an "alignment and society" debate, that's for sure! ;)

Where does the hierarchy of Hell fit in? Surely devils obey because they must, they care nothing for their peers and will always act in their own interests when strong enough. Of course I've long argued that 'lawful evil' is an oxymoron...
That is not dead which may eternal lie
To me, if you hold control over the group by being the toughest SoB around, and your control lasts only until some other, tougher SoB comes along, then you're probably living in a chaotic society. That's the way I picture lizardfolk. Someone else could imagine them having more structure than that.

Steve 

Well, nothing would derail a thread faster than an "alignment and society" debate, that's for sure! ;)

Where does the hierarchy of Hell fit in? Surely devils obey because they must, they care nothing for their peers and will always act in their own interests when strong enough. Of course I've long argued that 'lawful evil' is an oxymoron...

There are plenty of mythic creatures that will do what they say, keep contracts and promises to the letter, and are yet out to gain power for themselves.

Very classic trade-x-for-power motife.  (I.E. anyone a warlock bargins with) would be lawful evil.  Real world examples would be lawyers, credit card compainies with 20 page contracts, ect...

Do what i say or i'll kill you is nutral evil.
I'll just kill you is chaotic evil.

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.

To me, if you hold control over the group by being the toughest SoB around, and your control lasts only until some other, tougher SoB comes along, then you're probably living in a chaotic society. That's the way I picture lizardfolk. Someone else could imagine them having more structure than that.

Steve 

Well, nothing would derail a thread faster than an "alignment and society" debate, that's for sure! ;)

Where does the hierarchy of Hell fit in? Surely devils obey because they must, they care nothing for their peers and will always act in their own interests when strong enough. Of course I've long argued that 'lawful evil' is an oxymoron...

There are plenty of mythic creatures that will do what they say, keep contracts and promises to the letter, and are yet out to gain power for themselves.

Very classic trade-x-for-power motife.  (I.E. anyone a warlock bargins with) would be lawful evil.  Real world examples would be lawyers, credit card compainies with 20 page contracts, ect...

Do what i say or i'll kill you is nutral evil.
I'll just kill you is chaotic evil.

Sure, but they're all EVIL, they aren't wanting to be BOUND by their word, they only want to use the law to have power over YOU.  Anyway, we best not go on in this vein, lol. I freely admit, there are as many spins on all this as there are posters in the universe. ;)
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Anyway, we best not go on in this vein, lol. I freely admit, there are as many spins on all this as there are posters in the universe.



A wise call. It would have been a very bad homecoming if my first post here in something like 10 months derailed the thread. Obviously, I'm out of practice. Embarassed

Steve

If your only tool is a warhammer, every problem looks like a gnoll.

A wandering wall of text has appeared...

I'm not sure that the monstrous humanoids really all need to have a mechanical gimmick.  That said, I'm going to comment on them...

*for those playing along at home - traits are not intended to necessarily be unique to one creature, for instance there a ton of stealthy critters in the bestiary.  Any of these traits could potentially pop up on other monsters, so the evaluation is not just in terms of monstrous humanoid that features them, but looking at it's generic use instead.

Rage (orc): Mechanically it's just kind of terrible - mathematically almost never worth using. It reminds me of 3e power attack in that it forces the user to try and calculate odds and guesstimate the AC of the opponent. Or maybe we're not supposed to think that tactically with it and the orcs should be raging all over.  I'd like to know about the intent and purpose of this ability (In terms of fluff and mechanics - when do Orcs use this?)

Savage (gnoll): This is oddly named for what it does. Maybe "Pack Hunter" would be a better name for this trait? (wolves and hyenas could also have a "Pack Hunter +X" rating)
At first I was going to say this trait seemed pointless and uninteresting, but I think I've changed my mind. It doesn't add much depth to a battle, but someone who glanced over the flavor text might be more inclined to use gnolls in a gnoll like manner.  I can imagine a GM deciding how his gnolls would defend their lair... "So the gnolls station one guard at each... hmm, that makes them much weaker doesn't it?  Ok so the gnolls station 3 guards at each of these choke points..."

Dirty Fighter (goblin): Like a weakened sneak attack, fits the name and easy to get across to the players. "You are distracted by one goblin, as another jabs his crooked knife into your side."

Stealthy (goblin): Pretty straightforward.  My only concern is long-term - if they decide a particular monster is best represented by giving them advantage on stealth. If we have "stealthy" and "sneaky" as separate traits that will undercut the trait design concept.  You know, +5 is pretty close what advantage gives... (and every example so far is Stealthy +5.  (related to this... minotaurs have "keen senses" but they do something different then what elven "keen senses" do)  I'm thinking Stealthy should give advantage on checks to avoid notice, with an optional additional bonus.  So Stealthy +2 would be advantage and +2 on the roll, etc.

Steadfast (hobgoblin): Interesting... it seems kind of "powerful" though, every hobgoblin is so well trained that even magical fear does not break them? Also the leader doesn't have this - intentional or not?

Disciplined (hobgoblin): Name doesn't really match the effect. There isn't anything inherently "disciplined" about aiding someone-else's attack. As written this is really only useful if the hobgoblin is assisting a more powerful creature. (in the case of 2 hobgoblins attacking the same target, they're better off just making separate attack rolls)

Burly (bugbears): Mechanically this is straight forward.  Of course, it raises questions about what strength scores represent - how come the 15 strength bugbear can use big huge oversized weapons, but strength a 20 humans can't? (this is far from the only question that surrounds the inflated players attributes of 3rd and later editions)

Mob Tactics (kobold): Fits well, allows them to gangup on big creatures.

"A wandering wall of text has appeared..."

I use "Skim". It's Super Effective!

Rage seems to be more of a DISadvantage than an advantage. Maybe that's intentional, or maybe it's a side effect of monsters having poor hit probabilities in general.

Wouldn't "You deal +5 damage and grant opponents advantage until your next turn" be better? Or would that be too much record keeping?
"A wandering wall of text has appeared..."

I use "Skim". It's Super Effective!

Rage seems to be more of a DISadvantage than an advantage. Maybe that's intentional, or maybe it's a side effect of monsters having poor hit probabilities in general.

Wouldn't "You deal +5 damage and grant opponents advantage until your next turn" be better? Or would that be too much record keeping?



when it would be worth using is very a much a question of your to-hit versus their AC, and your base damage vs the bonus damage... and I don't know the answer.  My off the cuff guess is that for the orc it's only really beneficial against enemies that have significantly below 10 AC.

The higher the target DC, the more horrible disadvantage is.

picture



Wouldn't that be a wondering monster?

It's a wandering minded monster.
Specific wibbles aside, it does show someone's paying attention, and that's meat by me.
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
A wandering wall of text has appeared...

I'm not sure that the monstrous humanoids really all need to have a mechanical gimmick.  That said, I'm going to comment on them...

*for those playing along at home - traits are not intended to necessarily be unique to one creature, for instance there a ton of stealthy critters in the bestiary.  Any of these traits could potentially pop up on other monsters, so the evaluation is not just in terms of monstrous humanoid that features them, but looking at it's generic use instead.

Rage (orc): Mechanically it's just kind of terrible - mathematically almost never worth using. It reminds me of 3e power attack in that it forces the user to try and calculate odds and guesstimate the AC of the opponent. Or maybe we're not supposed to think that tactically with it and the orcs should be raging all over.  I'd like to know about the intent and purpose of this ability (In terms of fluff and mechanics - when do Orcs use this?)



This is an instance when they didn't do the math.
Average AC of a player with AC 10 to 18 armor is 14 assuming an average of +1 to dex mod.
Orcs have a +2 to attack which means against AC 14 they have a 40% chance to hit.
This means an Orc normally deals 35% - 1d12 + 2 average 8.5 = 2.975 plus 5% crit 0.7 for a total of 3.675 average damage per round.

Now with disadvantage (about a -4 to attack in this case) and +5 to damage we end up with:
10% at 1d12 + 7 average 13.5 = 1.35 plus 5% crit 0.95 for a total of 2.3 average damage per round.

I'm sure Cyber-Dave will magically find this post and decry my numbers as wrong, but you can see the effect the rage has and a measly +5 to damage does not even come close to making it worth using. You actually lose damage when the Orc uses this.

Savage (gnoll): This is oddly named for what it does. Maybe "Pack Hunter" would be a better name for this trait? (wolves and hyenas could also have a "Pack Hunter +X" rating)
At first I was going to say this trait seemed pointless and uninteresting, but I think I've changed my mind. It doesn't add much depth to a battle, but someone who glanced over the flavor text might be more inclined to use gnolls in a gnoll like manner.  I can imagine a GM deciding how his gnolls would defend their lair... "So the gnolls station one guard at each... hmm, that makes them much weaker doesn't it?  Ok so the gnolls station 3 guards at each of these choke points..."

Dirty Fighter (goblin): Like a weakened sneak attack, fits the name and easy to get across to the players. "You are distracted by one goblin, as another jabs his crooked knife into your side."

Stealthy (goblin): Pretty straightforward.  My only concern is long-term - if they decide a particular monster is best represented by giving them advantage on stealth. If we have "stealthy" and "sneaky" as separate traits that will undercut the trait design concept.  You know, +5 is pretty close what advantage gives... (and every example so far is Stealthy +5.  (related to this... minotaurs have "keen senses" but they do something different then what elven "keen senses" do)  I'm thinking Stealthy should give advantage on checks to avoid notice, with an optional additional bonus.  So Stealthy +2 would be advantage and +2 on the roll, etc.

Steadfast (hobgoblin): Interesting... it seems kind of "powerful" though, every hobgoblin is so well trained that even magical fear does not break them? Also the leader doesn't have this - intentional or not?

Disciplined (hobgoblin): Name doesn't really match the effect. There isn't anything inherently "disciplined" about aiding someone-else's attack. As written this is really only useful if the hobgoblin is assisting a more powerful creature. (in the case of 2 hobgoblins attacking the same target, they're better off just making separate attack rolls)

Burly (bugbears): Mechanically this is straight forward.  Of course, it raises questions about what strength scores represent - how come the 15 strength bugbear can use big huge oversized weapons, but strength a 20 humans can't? (this is far from the only question that surrounds the inflated players attributes of 3rd and later editions)

Mob Tactics (kobold): Fits well, allows them to gangup on big creatures.




For the most part they really just need to run some numbers on these features before they implement them, it would save them a lot of trouble...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.



No it makes it a wonderful monster...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
They need something similar to a flora, fauna, and organization (society) aspect to each creature, in reference to wandering monsters to determine the likelihood based on the setting. If something stands out after that, then provide a trait. For instance, depending on you basic view of a gnoll, you may expect them to exhibit behaviors common to a hyena with some social aspects added to the mix. A trait may show their tendency to take full advantage of a wounded creature that is singled out.
Anyway, we best not go on in this vein, lol. I freely admit, there are as many spins on all this as there are posters in the universe.



A wise call. It would have been a very bad homecoming if my first post here in something like 10 months derailed the thread. Obviously, I'm out of practice. 

Steve


I dunno. You're quite an effective communicator in my experience. I doubt you're going to exactly lower the level of dialog here under any possible circumstances ;) At the least you'll dilute my posts down a bit, that HAS to be a plus!
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I liked the traits that humanoids (especially) had in 4e. It worked. You can make monsters a bit simpler than 4e monsters, with every standard monster having one racial trait and its attack (possibly a secondary attack, usually something like throwing its spear or whatnot). A lot of 4e monsters have a bit more depth than that, which is not usually needed really. Still, it REALLY helps to have that little extra distinctive aspect. Its great to have skill bonuses and a specific weapon and AC, size, whatever, but all that falls into the noise. When the orc rushes up and slams your PC on his butt you notice.
That is not dead which may eternal lie