Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Creating 4e Monsters is kinda like a calculus exam!

I want to say up front that I don't know who Joshua Kitchens (aka Draconas) is. I'm sure he's a fine person and I applaud his entry into this contest.

Also, I have nothing against the judges of the contest. They're just judging based upon criteria and that's fine.

Now, check out this link and then come back for my rant. :)

The issue I have, and it's just personal bias I'm sure, is the mechanics inherent in the design of the monster itself.

Who in the hell wants to reference and cross reference other monsters to develop any given monster? I don't.

I don't care what it's CR (challenge rating) is. I don't care if you want to call it an aberration and I want to call it a magical beast. I don't care if its HP are too high. Or its perception skill. Or whatever.

Gawd! What a bunch of hooey!

This is my favorite (or least favorite part):

Compared to other creatures of the same CR:

For this section, I'll try and choose a variety of same CR creatures.

Senses: you gave it darkvision 60ft., perception +17
…..Dire Lion (large animal): low-light vision, scent, perception +11
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): darkvision 60, low-light vision, scent, perception +11
…..nightmare (large outsider): darkvision 60 ft., perception +12
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): all-around vision, darkvision 60ft., Perception +12

Conparison: on the low side of average

Hit Points: you gave it 52
…..Dire Lion (large animal): 60
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): 57
…..nightmare (large outsider): 51
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): 46

Conparison: within the acceptable range

AC: you gave it 19
…..Dire Lion (large animal): 15
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): 17
…..nightmare (large outsider): 19
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): 19

Conparison: on the high side of average

Damage reduction/immunities: you gave it none
…..Dire Lion (large animal): none
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): immune- cold (vulnerable- fire)
…..nightmare (large outsider): none
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): amorphous, DR 5/bludgeoning, immune-critical hits, precision damage

Conparison: Your churjiir is right on target. (gibbering mouther has negatives that make up for it’s defenses)

Speed: you gave it 40 ft., burrow 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
…..Dire Lion (large animal): 40 ft.
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): 30 ft.
…..nightmare (large outsider): 40ft., fly 90ft (good)
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): 10ft., swim 20ft.

Conparison: You are above the average here.

Attack Bonus: you gave it +6, +6, +6, +6
…..Dire Lion (large animal): +12, +13, +13
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): +10
…..nightmare (large outsider): +9, +4, +4
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): +7

Conparison: the attack bonuses start to get very diverse at this CR. I think you are within the acceptable range.

Max possible Damage/Round: you gave it 24
…..Dire Lion (large animal): 41
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): 36 ( breath weapon, reflex half)
…..nightmare (large outsider): 32
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): 24 (+ 2 con)

Conparison: you are below the average.

Spell like abilities: you gave it 2 at CL 10
…..Dire Lion (large animal): none
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): none
…..nightmare (large outsider): 1 at CL 6
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): none

Conparison: a little high, but acceptable.

Special Abilities/attacks: you gave it disease, flea swarm, necrotic wound, rat paramount, and telepathy
…..Dire Lion (large animal): pounce, rake
…..Worg, Winter Wolf (large magical beast): trip, breath weapon (see above)- reflex DC 17
…..nightmare (large outsider): smoke
…..gibbering mouther (medium aberration): blood drain, engulf, gibbering, ground manipulation, spittle

Conparison: you are on the high side of average.

I also love the word "conparison". I don't know if the author of the comment is trying to be funny (he does use compared correctly) but it's used too often to be a typo.

This kind of game element design is too much work to be fun.

Oh and PS: Wow. What a statblock for a single creature. It hurts my brain...

3 comments:

pseckler13 said...

You do realize this is a 3rd edition monster on a 3rd edition specific site (Paizo) and has nothing to do with 4e, right? The reason they are going to all this trouble is because it's for a contest.

Jim said...

@pseckler13 -- Oh. Ok. Well, it's still a lot of work. Are 4e monsters easier? My friend had to print out a bunch of cards to run it...

pseckler13 said...

4E monsters are a lot easier, but they have a certain amount in common. There's still a formula used to derive things like to hit and so on.

Here's a 4E Carnivorous Ape I made: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4069/4703362619_604dc606e2.jpg


Cards are generally part of the character sheet. (You might say that cards *are* the character sheet-> http://www.dragonavenue.com/images/uploads/Character_Builder_Beta_Sheet_Page_3.JPG