Full Page Monster Stats?

Monsters don't need to be full characters.

Why a full page monster that is a complete character?


Base the saves/attacks/whatever on HD and simplify it.
Agreed.

Monsters and NPCs need to be simpler than PCs, simply for the sake of the sanity of the DM.
Monsters don't need to be full characters.

Why a full page monster that is a complete character?

Base the saves/attacks/whatever on HD and simplify it.



Speaking as one of those hard-working DMs, I strongly disagree. I do like a streamlined stat block which is one really nice aspects of some of the more recent 4e monster books, *however* I also want all of those other details --  descriptions, combat tactics, information about the society/culture (if applicable), etc. The fluff is some of the best content in the older Monster Manuals (and the recent Nentir Vale supplement was one of the best monster supplements ever).

Give us both -- a compact stat block for easy referece during a combat, but a full page spread in the manuals with all kinds of mechanican details and background fluff.
 

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Monsters don't need to be full characters.

Why a full page monster that is a complete character?

Base the saves/attacks/whatever on HD and simplify it.



Speaking as one of those hard-working DMs, I strongly disagree. I do like a streamlined stat block which is one really nice aspects of some of the more recent 4e monster books, *however* I also want all of those other details --  descriptions, combat tactics, information about the society/culture (if applicable), etc. The fluff is some of the best content in the older Monster Manuals (and the recent Nentir Vale supplement was one of the best monster supplements ever).

Give us both -- a compact stat block for easy referece during a combat, but a full page spread in the manuals with all kinds of mechanican details and background fluff.
 


i agree with you. i have been looking through and noticed i dont know what some of those creatures are.
a basic description at least would be nice
Monsters don't need to be full characters.

Why a full page monster that is a complete character?

Base the saves/attacks/whatever on HD and simplify it.



Speaking as one of those hard-working DMs, I strongly disagree. I do like a streamlined stat block which is one really nice aspects of some of the more recent 4e monster books, *however* I also want all of those other details --  descriptions, combat tactics, information about the society/culture (if applicable), etc. The fluff is some of the best content in the older Monster Manuals (and the recent Nentir Vale supplement was one of the best monster supplements ever).

Give us both -- a compact stat block for easy referece during a combat, but a full page spread in the manuals with all kinds of mechanican details and background fluff.
 


Right there with you. I love the 2nd edition Monster Manual for just those reasons.
I like the 4e stat blocks but I want all that fluff info.
The monster entries need a decent description and a bit more fluff text, agreed.
However, not only do monsters not need a shorter stat block, they need to include additional details. 3E had it right: A combat-ready stat block and ability explanations (the late 3.5E layout, which was carried over in 4E, works better in this aspect), that also included enough details to permit a hard-working DM to personalize or improve the monster as needed (any DM who wants a ready-made stat block and cares little for anything beyond is hardly hard-working).
I've built all sorts of monsters in 3E: larger ankhegs (more HD), marilith swordsages, 30-HD balors, zombie hydras, you name it. So far, it has been the only edition where I could do so properly. 4E allowed it too, however it didn't feel as smooth and intuitive as in 3E. And it was impossible in 2E, because not enough stats were supplied for the monsters (they didn't even include ability scores, for christ's sake!).

No, I want monsters to have more detailed descriptions. What contributes to a monster's AC? How is its to-hit bonus calculated? What about save DCs? I want all that information, a decent description, an image if possible, and enough fluff text (ecology, habitat/society, etc.) to satisfy my players' Knowledge checks.
Full page stat block.- Gods no.


Full page monster description - Please, yes.

Carl
Try making an adventure with those complete stat blocks. Try a mega dungeon. With long stats it becomes work and not play.
Making an adventure is work. Playing the adventure (as either a player or DM) is play. If you have ever sat down to write a fully-detailed adventure from scratch, then you know how important it is to have comnplete stats and descriptions for the monsters. A complete description helps you fit the monster's role into the adventure neatly. A complete stat block will allow you to personalize or modify the monster, and have the monsters that need to stand out (like bosses) be different enough, not only in description, but also in play.

A complete stat block should be as large as required. A paragraph? A whole column? A page? Two pages? I don't care. As much as needed. The stat block usable in play, on the other hand, should be as simple and short as possible. At least, that's what my 15-year experience as an RPG designer has taught me... (and believe it or not, it has paid better than being an astrophysicist, which took a lot more effort and time in studying... lol)
I wrote a megadungeon's first two levels with 110 rooms average per level (About 4 sheets of graph paper per level) using Labyrinth Lord (A redbox clone) in less than two hours.

I later on tried to convert it to PFRPG for my players but it collapsed under the weight of the rules.

A megadungeon would take years to play through in 4e.

Before 3rd edition monsters were short and sweet and worked very well. 

Go try the old rules or their clones. In most cases they are free to download. OSRIC, Swords and WIzardry, Labyrinth Lord (with the Advance Edition Companion). They have some silly hold back rules but really fun games.

You don't need huge amounts of rules to cover everything as my 32 years of gaming has taught me.
I think giving people the option is the best way. Having a monster index in the back that has the bare minimun would suffice for those who want numbers and having the rest more detailed descriptions of monsters and enemies.
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Full page stat block.- Gods no.

Agreed.
Full page monster description - Please, yes.

I'd like to see descriptions (race, monsters, ect) to be in the setting books. Why would a monsters 'descriptions, combat tactics, information about the society/culture (if applicable), etc.' be the same in darksun, eberron and maztica? So I say bare bones in core and put fluff in setting books.

Full page stat block.- Gods no.

Agreed.
Full page monster description - Please, yes.

I'd like to see descriptions (race, monsters, ect) to be in the setting books. Why would a monsters 'descriptions, combat tactics, information about the society/culture (if applicable), etc.' be the same in darksun, eberron and maztica? So I say bare bones in core and put fluff in setting books.




In the bare bones books, as a DM, I would appreciate some suggested tactics and lore for the monsters--but it shouldn't be full pages for everyone.  Perhaps a few suggestions that could be used to grant info if PCs make the appropriate check.   I love your idea of specific culture and tactics being filled out in the setting books. 

Perhaps it could be treated like the giant lizards in the current beastiary.  The setting books give appropriate, but optional add ons for monsters crucial to the setting.  For instance, what if you met Orcs who liked to use squad tactics due to strong regimental traditions, as opposed to berserker rages?

Nonstandard tactics can be a pleasing surprise for players.

/thread derail initiated
"For instance, what if you met Orcs who liked to use squad tactics due to strong regimental traditions, as opposed to berserker rages?"
I would in this specific instance use hobgoblin stats and tell the players they are meeting orcs, but thats just me
/thread derail desisted
I would in this specific instance use hobgoblin stats and tell the players they are meeting orcs, but thats just me

and that's why full-page monsters are completely harmless.

I agree with a couple of posters - we dont need the full AD&D stat blocks, keep the current/4E format - but a decent amount of 'fluff' is needed too

My major concern is that the developers are moving back to a 3.5 and early method of having a vanilla 'orc' and letting DM's customise it to their needs - i would much rather see several pre genererated customisation as seen in 4E (think goblin cuthroat, goblin slinger, etc etc) each with their own semi unique style of play, with the view to modify a base monster with thematic options if required.
Look at Kobolds- they have the generic 'grunts,' the dragonshields, the urds, and the alchemist. It seems they ARE having a few specializations within the monsters for the ones that you'll fight many of. Some of the monsters don't have as many, but the Kobolds are only missing a chieftain from being able to throw together many combat encounters that make sense and have an entire kobold tribe ready to roll.
I agree with a couple of posters - we dont need the full AD&D stat blocks, keep the current/4E format - but a decent amount of 'fluff' is needed too

We don't need them, but having full-page monsters doesn't harm anything.
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