Adventure Tools - Monster Builder

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We’ve had a bit of time for the idea of Adventure Tools to settle in and I’ve heard and been involved in a lot of great conversations about what these tools could/should be. I wanted to take a few moments to give us all a better idea of where we are with this.

Of these Adventure Tools, the first that we’ll be releasing is what I’m going to refer to as the Monster Builder. We should expect the name to change by release. I don’t have dates, screenshots or beta keys to give away, but I’ve had the chance to play around with the tool recently and I really wanted to share some of what I saw.

To hit some highlights, here’s what this Monster Builder will be able to do:

  • Search through and display monsters that appear in any of our books or magazines.
  • Edit monsters so they fit into your planned encounter/campaign.
  • Create, display, and print your own unique monsters in the official formatting style you see in our printed D&D material.

“But Trevor,” you ask, “You already have an Encounter Builder that helps me with my monsters. Why is this any better?”

Simply put, the Monster Builder has a lot of features that the Encounter Builder doesn’t have. Besides the ability to easily create your own monster, one example of these new features is the ability to grab an existing attack/power from one monster and drop it into another. For a more colorful analogy, this Monster Builder tool would be eating its cornflakes, and not even notice that the Encounter Builder had landed in its milk.

I've only had a little time to play around with this tool and I already find myself wishing I had it to manage my current campaigns. I believe the Monster Builder will change the way we put together encounters in much the same way that the Character Builder dramatically improved how easy and fun it is to make characters.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I hope to have more information for you next time. If we’re lucky, that next time will include screen shots and some more features about the Monster Tool. Thanks again for all the great feedback concerning D&D Insider and the Adventure Tools, and I’ll talk with you soon!

Trevor Kidd Community Manager

Is this new tool web based or a client program similar to CB?
Edit monsters so they fit into your planned encounter/campaign.

Is there an autoleveling tool that just applies the basic rules for +/- level rules from the DMG/DMG2?

Other than that, awesome sauce!
OOO, that is something I was hoping would be in the Campaign Tools. Quite cool. I especially like the dragging of abilities around. One big thing I am wondering is if it will be able to tell difficulty. Like you combine so many abilities together it will say it averages out around a Level 10 monster. I imagine that be next to impossible to do, but be cool.
Is this new tool web based or a client program similar to CB?

Is there an autoleveling tool that just applies the basic rules for +/- level rules from the DMG/DMG2?

Other than that, awesome sauce!

It's always more fun to get answers directly from the source so I've pinged Mike Donais on this topic. He's the lead designer for these tools and he should be popping in this thread from time to time to share more tidbits with us.

Trevor Kidd Community Manager

It's always more fun to get answers directly from the source so I've pinged Mike Donais on this topic. He's the lead designer for these tools and he should be popping in this thread from time to time to share more tidbits with us.

Thanks Trevor, and thanks for telling us about this.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I hope to have more information for you next time. If we’re lucky, that next time will include screen shots and some more features about the Monster Tool. Thanks again for all the great feedback concerning D&D Insider and the Campaign tools, and I’ll talk with you soon!

You really need to put this kind of information in a neatly formatted article on the DDI front page, just like the non-digital publishings are previewed.

just look at how "they" do it with e.g. the Eberron or Divine power previews:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4ex/20090629b
"You" need to do this as well with the DDI tools in order to generate greater interest in these tools, as well as keep information going towards your players asides from those forum-goers.

it's not important how often you update these - but it should be regularly. once a month a screenshot and little article from one of the devs? Not a big deal, but it could go so far in customer-satisfaction....
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
Is this new tool web based or a client program similar to CB?

Is there an autoleveling tool that just applies the basic rules for +/- level rules from the DMG/DMG2?

Other than that, awesome sauce!

The new tool is a client program very similar to D&D Character Builder. It is designed to contain the monster builder to start and be easily added to.
For example the graphics and UI elements can be used for any tool we include with this application. It also updates monthly in the same fashion as the D&D Character Builder.

You can level up and down monsters with the touch of a button and it does the math for you as per the DMG/DMG 2. Some things don't work out perfectly, like a monster's damage doesn't always fall into the chart in the DMG but things like attack bonus, hit points, defenses, etc it is all automatic.
Mike Donais. Cryptozoic R&D
OOO, that is something I was hoping would be in the Campaign Tools. Quite cool. I especially like the dragging of abilities around. One big thing I am wondering is if it will be able to tell difficulty. Like you combine so many abilities together it will say it averages out around a Level 10 monster. I imagine that be next to impossible to do, but be cool.

Well a monster's level determines his stats and the attack bonus for his powers. His level isn't affected by him having a bunch of powers, so if you think he is harder than a normal monster of his level because he has more powers then you can just increase his experience point value.

Everything about a monster is easily editable so this shouldn't be a problem.
Mike Donais. Cryptozoic R&D
You really need to put this kind of information in a neatly formatted article on the DDI front page, just like the non-digital publishings are previewed.

Although we are not very regular about it, I suspect you will see something about monster builder on our web page soon enough. I do absolutely agree with your statement though.
Mike Donais. Cryptozoic R&D
You really need to put this kind of information in a neatly formatted article on the DDI front page, just like the non-digital publishings are previewed.

That's the plan WB. In the near future we should have an article up with some screen shots and more information about the tool features.

Trevor Kidd Community Manager

Well a monster's level determines his stats and the attack bonus for his powers. His level isn't affected by him having a bunch of powers, so if you think he is harder than a normal monster of his level because he has more powers then you can just increase his experience point value.

Everything about a monster is easily editable so this shouldn't be a problem.

Oh cool, it will change the attack bonuses great. I was worried if like copying over a ability would make it separate from that. This is sounding great
So us forum users are getting the info before everyone else!!

That rocks Trevor, Mike. Thanks for sharing the info, even if I am a little jealous that I haven't been offered a chance to play with it yet.

IMAGE(http://ihasahotdog.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/funny-dog-pictures-big-sad.jpg)
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I have to admit, it sounds exactly like the kind of enhancements I was hoping to have with the Encounter Builder.

Hope to see it soon.:D
"The new tool is a client program very similar to D&D Character Builder."

Guess that means PC only. It will be the second program I have to run in a VMware Fusion copy of XP.

gah!
is it done? what about now? and now?
is it done? what about now? and now?

Not quite yet Avin, keep hitting refresh though!
Mike Donais. Cryptozoic R&D
If you listen carefully, on patch-day, you can here WOlfStar76 and I bugging Trevor repeatedly.

"Patch done yet??"
"Patch done yet??"
"Patch done yet??"
"Patch done yet??"
"Patch done yet??"
"Patch done yet??"
"Patch done yet??"
and so on.

Lately, he has been conveniantly "in meetings" during those periods.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Not quite yet Avin, keep hitting refresh though!

*Looks at mouse* Umm... I think it caught on fire from pressing refresh to much.
*Looks at mouse* Umm... I think it caught on fire from pressing refresh to much.

In case of mouse fire use F5.....

Thanks for the info Trevor and Thanks to mdonais for stopping by.

Oh and Trevor the next time you get to use it, use the "Print Screen" button, and leak the images. We won't tell anyone you posted them... :D
((((Please see and answer this))))


1)Is this going to be able to take templates and apply them??
2) Will I bee badle to input my own new powers??
3) will it upgrade to elite and solo with out templates???

and

4) will it be able to make NPCs...?

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

That's the plan WB. In the near future we should have an article up with some screen shots and more information about the tool features.

I appreciate any and all info you all share. Thanks and plz keep it up.
((((Please see and answer this))))

1)Is this going to be able to take templates and apply them??
2) Will I be able to input my own new powers??
3) will it upgrade to elite and solo with out templates???
4) will it be able to make NPCs...?

1) Templates didn't make the first build.
2) Yes, powers are fully customizable, or you can use existing ones and tweak them.
3) Yes, you can swap solo/elite/minion/normal with a dropdown and it does the math instantly.
4) Yes, NPCs use the same rules as monsters, they just have different powers.
Mike Donais. Cryptozoic R&D
I've been waiting for a preview of the Campaign Tools; thanks a lot for this update! This'll save a lot of time for my campaign, as I'm getting tired of cut/pasting from the compendium. Can we get any info on what other tools you'll all be working on for the Campaign Tools set?

Resident Basement Dwelling Freak of Dice

The new tool is a client program very similar to D&D Character Builder. It is designed to contain the monster builder to start and be easily added to.
For example the graphics and UI elements can be used for any tool we include with this application. It also updates monthly in the same fashion as the D&D Character Builder.

This is all very encouraging news, keep up the communications!
I applaud the releasing one feature at a time and am glad that its not web based (sorry non-pc users), as it's much easier to use remotely.

Create, display, and print your own unique monsters in the official formatting style you see in our printed D&D material.

This sounds excellent!

Will we be able to print multiple monsters per sheet, thus being able to effectivly print a complete encounter?

Then you would simply need to add the encounter XP/math calculations and we could fire off encounters faster than characters with Improved Initiative... ;)

*P.S. Glad I took advantage of the pricing extension...
Right now the policy is basically not to talk about what is coming until we have it all ready.

Also if we talk about tools other than the monster builder people might get the wrong impression that those are going to be in the initial release. I think it is important to be clear that we are only talking about the Monster Builder in the initial release of the Adventure Tools.

I am hoping the quality of the tools like the Character Builder and Monster Builder demonstrates that we are making high quality tools even if they are taking some time to get out.
Mike Donais. Cryptozoic R&D
thank you for taking the time to answer...

1) Templates didn't make the first build.

bummer...but your answer seams to indecate it may be something on the table...
2) Yes, powers are fully customizable, or you can use existing ones and tweak them.
3) Yes, you can swap solo/elite/minion/normal with a dropdown and it does the math instantly.

cool...that is perfect...infact I could not have hoped for better answers...
4) Yes, NPCs use the same rules as monsters, they just have different powers.

well those diffrent powers are sometimes PC powers...will that be supported?

Example: I want to make a kobold rogue, can I take sly flurish???

on a related note what about mixing and matching monster/NPC...like I want a werewolf to have a barbarian rage daily...is it drag and drop, or do I need to enter it as custom??

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

Right now the policy is basically not to talk about what is coming until we have it all ready.

Also if we talk about tools other than the monster builder people might get the wrong impression that those are going to be in the initial release. I think it is important to be clear that we are only talking about the Monster Builder in the initial release of the Adventure Tools.

I am hoping the quality of the tools like the Character Builder and Monster Builder demonstrates that we are making high quality tools even if they are taking some time to get out.

I totally understand, and I think it's awesome that info was released to the forum first. But hey... can't blame me for trying

Can't wait to try it!

Resident Basement Dwelling Freak of Dice

1) Templates didn't make the first build.

Well, here's hoping for the second build. Though if I can move powers from a templated monster to a non-templated monster and have the program auto-adjust the math (plus let me convert from regular to elite), that'll be a workable bridge.

Will PC class powers be included? ie, if I want to give an orc the wizard power Lightning Bolt, will that be around as a drag and drop as well?
Something I would really want for this...because it's a pain for me at the table (especially with the addition of Monster Manual II), is to be able to print out a list of some basic monster stats for a single game. So instead of having to flip back and forth between my books, I would have a quick reference. There really is no easy way to do that right now, and it slows the game down heavily. Even if it's simply a limited stat block...
Something I would really want for this...because it's a pain for me at the table (especially with the addition of Monster Manual II), is to be able to print out a list of some basic monster stats for a single game. So instead of having to flip back and forth between my books, I would have a quick reference. There really is no easy way to do that right now, and it slows the game down heavily. Even if it's simply a limited stat block...

This is getting off-topic, but what I do is use the existing Encounter Builder, make my fights, then when you click on the little eye symbol, you can get their stat blocks. Then some Print Screen / GIMP fu to put them all one one page. Print that out and I've got the whole fight or two on one sheet.
Just finished adding another year to my sub and came here to see if there's any news, so nice timing. It is moving slowly, but I am encouraged to see another tool on its way. Thanks for the info.
One thing I would like to see offered in the stats block, following right after the hit points, are rows of boxes. I stick these in mine so I can check off damage.

Maybe as an option. I always do mine up to the bloodied mark, and then work back, this way, I won't forget to mention when the monster is bloodied.
If this has been mentioned already, point me too it, though I didn't see it.

My question is formatting, I see that it will be in the official stat block format, but my question pertains to can you put multiple different monsters on the same page?
Ohboy, really seems to pay off gettin' DDI early
My Questions were already asked, so i'm curious for the answers.
Very good move in tellin' us WotC!
The new tool is a client program very similar to D&D Character Builder. It is designed to contain the monster builder to start and be easily added to.
For example the graphics and UI elements can be used for any tool we include with this application. It also updates monthly in the same fashion as the D&D Character Builder.


You can level up and down monsters with the touch of a button and it does the math for you as per the DMG/DMG 2. Some things don't work out perfectly, like a monster's damage doesn't always fall into the chart in the DMG but things like attack bonus, hit points, defenses, etc it is all automatic.

Can the bolded above be legitimately interpreted to mean that you guys have built this with modularity in mind? If so, I heartily applaud and thank you! This was probably my top request. Awesome, awesome, awesome! (Though my other top request, feature-wise, is allowing us to print "playing card sized" stat cards, like those that come in the Dangerous Delves boosters. Power Cards from the CB in plastic sleeves are a huge boon to playing at the table.)

As for the features outlined so far, just some more awesomesauce poured over the top. Just based on the teasers we've seen so far in this thread, it's clear that Wizards listens when we "speak."

Can't wait to see more, and to get my hands on this thing! Will there be a Beta period? If so, and it's not an "every DDi subscriber" one, will there be a way to sign up? I'd love to test it if needed.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
May I inquire as to when? No offense, but we heard the same stuff about the VT and Character Visualizer back in the day. I'm not trying to be negative, but I'm also not getting my hopes up again.
May I inquire as to when? No offense, but we heard the same stuff about the VT and Character Visualizer back in the day. I'm not trying to be negative, but I'm also not getting my hopes up again.

No date at this time. They learned from their mistakes about doing that with the VTT.
No date at this time. They learned from their mistakes about doing that with the VTT.

well, they could do it the other way round, at least: they could say that it won't be ready over summer.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
Sorry if this an obvious question or I missed the answer somewhere... but will it also be able to build the encounters as well as the monsters?

This tool is great and I can't wait to get my hands on it, but one of the things I really like about the Encounter builder is that it's easily able to help me with my encounter math. I play with a smaller than normal party (3 characters), so the encounter builder has been a life saver for speeding up my prep time.
What about in-game support?

Will I be able to load all the monsters needed for one encounter?

Will I be able to track these opponents' hit-points? Power status?

WillI be able to apply effects to these monsters?

As of now, the tools are usable for game preparation only. While this is perfectly ok with me, I'm longing for a good reason to buy a notebook. :D

In-game support offered by your tools might do the trick...

Huldvoll

Baron von Bomberg

Huldvoll

 

---Baron von Bomberg

 

Former DDI subscriber

Thanks for posting the update, it is wonderful to be able to follow along, even if we don't know how long the road is. By the sounds of it, it seems like you are further along than I would have guessed.
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