Jump to content

Creating D&D Monsters (5e)


Recommended Posts

Seeing the number of PbP D&D games here I thought this was a good place to get some feedback.

 

I've played D&D on and off over the years, and some friends and I are currently running a 5e game. I'd like to run our next campaign, and I have some ideas. But the monster manual is giving me trouble. Basically, I can't really work out how to create my own monsters at a suitable level for level 1 characters.

 

I want to have some ships swarming with pirates, the problem is creating a swarm of pirates that level 1 characters can deal with. How would people suggest setting the stats?

 

 

The valiant never taste of death but once.

 

Battle Log:

100 Day Bench Press Challenge (64 Days)

Challenge: 1, 2

         

Estrix, level 1 Goblin Raider

STR 3|DEX 2|STA 3|CON 3|WIS 3|CHA 2

Link to post

5e is pretty horrible the first 2 levels. Basically anything lucky/unlucky enough can get you killed one shot. Swarms of pirates will kill your players. But on the other hand, 5e level 3 is the equivalent of normal level 1 (WotC) did say so at one point during playtest. So maybe start with level 3 and give them hoards of level 1 pirates (which could just be styled level 1 soldiers) and a lvl3 captain to fight.

If you really wanna start at level 1, i suggest giving them some helping hands on their side and maybe make the boat load of pirates what 4e called minions (basicslly one hit kills, no matter the damage). This would also make seting them up easy: AC12 or 13 and a weapon :)

Link to post

I second the Hulk - either start the characters at a higher level, or make the characters part of a crew where they have some support.  You could nerf the heck out of the pirates, but that can set an unrealistic expectation on the behalf of the PC's - "Well, we trounced a horde of pirates no problem, so this bunch of whatevers should be easy!". 

 

The numbers just don't work out for lower level characters surviving high threat environments without exceptional tactics.

 

 - Murphy's Roommate

Link to post

I haven't dug into 5e enough to help with monsters, but I wanted to offer a warning about throwing players into a large-scale battle.  It can add depth and realism to a game, but it's difficult to pull off well.  Most of the time you'll end up in the realm of "why are we even here" (where the players have no real influence on the outcome) or "why are they even here" (where the npcs have no real influence on the outcome), with the first being far more common.  There are two ways I've seen it done reasonably well: 

 

-The players are a squad with orders to complete objective X; the npc's are other squads with other objectives.  This works best in a military game, but going with your ship concept: "we're about to be boarded, you lot *points at PC's* go defend X" when that's finished they can be told "Y has been overrun, get there and help" and so on.  The main battle should be backdrop with the final outcome at least partially dependent on how well the PC's complete their objectives (if their ship has to be captured for the plot to proceed, then they can't prevent that, but they may save more of the crew, or manage to help the captain escape, or manage to hide the McGuffin, etc).

 

-The players are doing the same thing as everyone else, and their success determines everyone's success.  Applying your ship concept:  the players are on deck when their ship gets boarded and begin fighting the enemy hoard, there are enough friendly crew to make it challenging without killing everyone outright.  During the first turn, the 4 players manage to kill 1 enemy and one of them gets hit for 1/2 hp (they're first level, it happens easily), so 1/4 of the crew kill an enemy and 1/8 of them get killed in return.  The final outcome is directly tied to the PC's actions and luck, so be sure to account for that when planning what happens next.

 

The main thing you want to avoid is "okay, you've all taken your actions, now sit and watch while I play the other hundred people on your boat, then continue watching while I play the hundred enemies."  Which is pretty obvious when stated that way, but I've still had DMs do it and have almost fallen in the trap myself a few times.

  • Like 2

Anim07734; God of Death in Training

Tiefling Assassin and Artificer

 

Maxim 70: Failure is not an option. It is mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do.

Link to post

Not much to add as the others have covered it pretty well ... but if you want to throw large groups at the players why not just "reskin" goblins and orcs?

 

Anim07734's idea if great with keeping the battle focus on the players as other things happen around them ... perhaps have the players roll a few dice to help make choices but otherwise focus on the players

Half-Ork Scout Leader
Running PRs : 5K 24m16s | 10K 53m32s | 15K 1h18m09s | Half Marathon 2h1m44s | Marathon 4h42m2s 
Past Challenges #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13  #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22
                               #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28 #29 #30 #31 #32 #33 #34 #35 #36
Current Challenge : #37 Strickland5 Keep Working At It

Scout of the Week - Week 6 of Challenge #42
Social Links | instagram | twitter | Athlinks |

Link to post

Basically everything Anim07734 said

 

The main battle should be backdrop with the final outcome at least partially dependent on how well the PC's complete their objectives

Fallen in the trap as well, but this ^ is my preferred method. The battle is a background, just a different setting than a dungeon or a forest with a more epic or survivalist (depends on your preferrence) mood to it. My checklist on such occasions looks something like this:

 

- Get the players into smaller combat scenes. Think like a highlight reel. A good example would be inividual Spartans kicking ass in the general chaotic battle backdrop of the 300 movie

- Make sure there's something interesting for them or something that highlights their unique abilities to deal with that special threat. Maybe an elite lieutenant, a hulking monster or a powerful spellcaster. That can also be the environment, such as fighting over a bridge or on the edge of the ship. Perhaps the interest lies in the prize, maybe they can seize control of that cannon and turn it against their enemies.

- Make sure their victory or defeat tips the scales of battle, even if only slightly. They need to feel like their actions matter. Making the difference is part of what makes them the heroes. It also helps them stay motivated and away from "Why am I here" territory

  • Like 1

Lvl 45 Ranger

HEY! DO YOU LIKE CHEESE?

Link to post

All this talk makes me want to rework my module into something much more epic and play in a ship/pirate 5e game!

  • Like 1

Half-Ork Scout Leader
Running PRs : 5K 24m16s | 10K 53m32s | 15K 1h18m09s | Half Marathon 2h1m44s | Marathon 4h42m2s 
Past Challenges #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13  #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22
                               #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28 #29 #30 #31 #32 #33 #34 #35 #36
Current Challenge : #37 Strickland5 Keep Working At It

Scout of the Week - Week 6 of Challenge #42
Social Links | instagram | twitter | Athlinks |

Link to post

All this talk makes me want to rework my module into something much more epic and play in a ship/pirate 5e game!

 

Find a damn game to play in around here!  ("here" being St Louis, though I would love to play an actual NF game too)  

 

Interestingly, I already have a 5e character made, since it's kinda fun for me to just randomly make a character.  lol.  

  • Like 1

"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

 

Current Challenge

 

Also, I Agree With Tank™

Link to post

Find a damn game to play in around here!  ("here" being St Louis, though I would love to play an actual NF game too)  

 

Interestingly, I already have a 5e character made, since it's kinda fun for me to just randomly make a character.  lol.  

 

http://nearbygamers.com/

 

I'm in a monthly 5e game (level 7 Human Warlock) but am enjoying the 5e system enough to ponder doing a play by post.

  • Like 1

Half-Ork Scout Leader
Running PRs : 5K 24m16s | 10K 53m32s | 15K 1h18m09s | Half Marathon 2h1m44s | Marathon 4h42m2s 
Past Challenges #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13  #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22
                               #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28 #29 #30 #31 #32 #33 #34 #35 #36
Current Challenge : #37 Strickland5 Keep Working At It

Scout of the Week - Week 6 of Challenge #42
Social Links | instagram | twitter | Athlinks |

Link to post

Find a damn game to play in around here!  ("here" being St Louis, though I would love to play an actual NF game too)  

 

Interestingly, I already have a 5e character made, since it's kinda fun for me to just randomly make a character.  lol.  

Randomly making characters used to be a favourite pasttime of mine. That way I had a pool of character sheets when I needed an interesting NPC, when my players wanted to hire a mercenary or on those rare occasions when I was given a break from DMing.

 

I'd love to run a game with NF people, it's just that Time Zones are killing me

  • Like 2

Lvl 45 Ranger

HEY! DO YOU LIKE CHEESE?

Link to post

http://nearbygamers.com/

 

I'm in a monthly 5e game (level 7 Human Warlock) but am enjoying the 5e system enough to ponder doing a play by post.

 

I'm already in one PbP, but I'd gladly join another.  

 

Randomly making characters used to be a favourite pasttime of mine. That way I had a pool of character sheets when I needed an interesting NPC, when my players wanted to hire a mercenary or on those rare occasions when I was given a break from DMing.

 

I'd love to run a game with NF people, it's just that Time Zones are killing me

 

False Aesop was trying to put one together as well, but had a similar issue.  You might touch base with him and see if something can happen.  I know he was planning to use roll20.net for the game.  As before, I'd be interested.  

"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

 

Current Challenge

 

Also, I Agree With Tank™

Link to post

Wow, I went away for awhile and came back to a full thread lol! Thanks all. I'll try and hit everything I want to reply to in one go.

 

Firstly, thanks for the warning about large scale battles. There will be some of these in the campaign I'm planning. But I think I'll take the objectives approach. They will have missions within the overall grand strategy, with the battle occassionally penetrating into their mission.

 

I also like the idea of just reskinning goblins, or my just rename bandits (though i need to check their exact xp/challenge rating). For larger encounters i'm also thinking of block rolling for enemies in squads. So instead of rolling for say 10 enemies 10 times, rolling twice for two squads of 5 or some such.

 

To give a broader idea of what I'm actually trying to do, the players will need to sneak aboard a pirate ship to steal some information with regards to the larger ongoing war and pirate raids. However, we've all played together before and I've never known us to successfully sneak anywhere that was more than 10 paces :P

 

They will have access to a crew and a ship later in the game, but not at this juncture.

 

I should also mention that my group are expecting me to create the Darksouls of D&D campaigns, hence new level 1 characters, no one expects to survive the entire campaign lol! I'm not sure if this is a compliment or not, so I'm taking it as one :D However I think there may be some good sense in letting them start higher than level 1 to make it more...interesting lol.

 

If Europe players are interested I could translate this Campaign to PbP on here running on GMT? If there's enough interest it could be good. Although my background for the world is not quite complete (might make me hurry up though).

  • Like 2

The valiant never taste of death but once.

 

Battle Log:

100 Day Bench Press Challenge (64 Days)

Challenge: 1, 2

         

Estrix, level 1 Goblin Raider

STR 3|DEX 2|STA 3|CON 3|WIS 3|CHA 2

Link to post

On re-skinning goblins: I like to keep intelligent monster races interesting by adding character classes. Kobold rangers, goblin rogues, orc barbarians, they all make sense in existing and they bring something more challenging to fights beyond the first few levels.

  • Like 1

Lvl 45 Ranger

HEY! DO YOU LIKE CHEESE?

Link to post

On re-skinning goblins: I like to keep intelligent monster races interesting by adding character classes. Kobold rangers, goblin rogues, orc barbarians, they all make sense in existing and they bring something more challenging to fights beyond the first few levels.

 

If you really want to scare your players, you can do the same thing with dragons.  "They're smarter than you and live for thousands of years; now shut up and fight the red dragon wizard." 

 

Also: the look on the players' faces when the green dragon rogue tumbles around them to position itself for a breath attack.

  • Like 3

Anim07734; God of Death in Training

Tiefling Assassin and Artificer

 

Maxim 70: Failure is not an option. It is mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do.

Link to post

Not sure dragon really NEED character levels to scare players but yeah that would certainly frighten anyone with a clue ... now I want to see what a barbarian black dragon would do to a party

Half-Ork Scout Leader
Running PRs : 5K 24m16s | 10K 53m32s | 15K 1h18m09s | Half Marathon 2h1m44s | Marathon 4h42m2s 
Past Challenges #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13  #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22
                               #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28 #29 #30 #31 #32 #33 #34 #35 #36
Current Challenge : #37 Strickland5 Keep Working At It

Scout of the Week - Week 6 of Challenge #42
Social Links | instagram | twitter | Athlinks |

Link to post

If Europe players are interested I could translate this Campaign to PbP on here running on GMT? If there's enough interest it could be good. Although my background for the world is not quite complete (might make me hurry up though).

 

I'm still very new to the world of PbP (and D&D in general), but as I understand it, a PbP somewhat ignores time zones, so long as players and the DM are willing to work with each other on timing.  I know the Pathfinder PbP is running (roughly) on a twice a week story post schedule, with players filling in and posting in between.  It seems to be working pretty well, since it's been running for over a year now.  

"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

 

Current Challenge

 

Also, I Agree With Tank™

Link to post

I do like the idea of reskinning dragons :D

 

And Oramac (sorry, quote button not working). you're right about PbP and time zones when I thought about it. But I think it tends to run smoother when players are only a few hours apart rather than 8 or 9 hours. I ran a PbP game years ago with some people from the US and Europe and we often ended up with long pieces that didn't involve the other time zone, or people missing an opportunity to post. Because we tend to check more than once during the free time in our time zones. Could be fixed by saying one post each till everyone has gone, then start again.

 

Anyway, when I get my world done and happy and more of the adventure fleshed out I might offer it up for PbP...sort of liking the idea now.

  • Like 1

The valiant never taste of death but once.

 

Battle Log:

100 Day Bench Press Challenge (64 Days)

Challenge: 1, 2

         

Estrix, level 1 Goblin Raider

STR 3|DEX 2|STA 3|CON 3|WIS 3|CHA 2

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

New here? Please check out our Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines