Rebalancing the Monster Manual
Okay, now this is going to be a HUGE endeavor on my part, and anyone who helps me, but the idea is that if PCs get interesting capabilities, than monsters need to be more interesting. You've seen my rebalanced classes (Warlord, Sohei, Spellmaster, etc), you've seen my rebalanced feats (or have you?
), and you have a basic idea of what I'm trying to do (I hope, if you don't here's the skinny - rebuild the game so that no options are glaringly better or worse than others, and so that melee and spellcasting contribute equally, but differently to every encounter).
I've come to the conclusion that Monsters as written by the current standard do not work for me, and the CR system needs to be rethought. What I'd like to happen with this is that one CR 1 Monster has a 25% chance to defeat a 1st level PC, and is therefore an appropriate match-up against the PC. This pattern would be repeated across levels so that encounters are easy to build for varied party sizes. Another problem I see is that meleers seem to be slightly too effective against lower CR monsters, even when their CR is the same as the PCs' levels. For example a greatsword wielding Warblade in Punishing Stance can mow through CR 1s and 2s in one hit, and is capable even of one-shotting CR 3s if he gets lucky. I want to make monsters slightly less fragile to melee, if only in the first few levels of play to mitigate this (but not necessarily wholly eliminate it).
I want Monsters to be able to have interesting abilities and capabilities just like the PCs. If a PC can have DR at first level why can't a Monster? If a PC can utilize swift actions, immediate actions, and do cool stuff via opportunity actions, why can't a Monster?
New rules will be introduced in this thread to account for some of the issues I have with CR and level-appropriate threats and the melee one-shot problem of low level play. I hope I can come up with a much more user-friendly CR system and with some more interesting and challenging encounters for the more powerful (melee) classes and more interesting PCs. - More starting HP:
Lots of 3.5 rewrites do this for whatever reason. I don't know exactly why Pathfinder did it, maybe to make PCs feel less squishy. My reason is to make monsters less squishy. It works both ways, and both are equally valid I think. I don't know exactly how I want to do this yet. Max HD is a given, I might add Con score + mod, and I might add something else on top, or of course I might do something else entirely different. The point is that PCs are easily slinging anywhere from 10-20ish damage per round at first level, whereas CR 1 monster hps are anywhere from 4-12ish. The damage to hp ratio is just out of whack.
**Temporary Solution: Add a class (or in the case of Monsters type) bonus to HP at first level. It varies, but is never less than +6, and never greater than +10.** - Low Level Resistances:
PCs can have 'em, but too few low CR monsters do. Damage Reduction, Energy Resistance, etc should be used more often, because casters are throwing around at-will destruction, and meleers of course can charge for lots of damage. - Monsters have relevant feats:
Not only do we have the rule that creatures with less than 4 intelligence don't get feats, but apparently natural selection is too dumb to give monsters real feats. This is partially mitigated by the fact that I'm trying to make all feats good choices, but I will be building monsters with themes and that means some monsters will have interesting combat strategies determined by their feats, rather than solid listen and spot checks and lots of hp. - Elite and Solo Templates:
I can see this one being controversial, but I have a good reason for this. The idea is to make two templates called Elite and Solo, which would be applied to a CR appropriate monster to make it a tougher encounter than normal. If four CR 4 critters are an appropriate challenge for a 4th level party, than two CR 4 Elites are an appropriate challenge for the same party. What will happen is that the monster will get additional hp, better action economy, maybe slightly increased stats and defenses, but the actual power level of the foes' actions will remain the same as a normal CR 4 critter. It's saves and save DCs of it's abilities will remain the same. It's damage output the same, etc, so that the problems of "I put a CR 12 mob up against my level 8 party, but it got toasted because it didn't have enough hp", or the reverse, "it toasted my party because no one could save against it's AoE stun attack" are eliminated. - Advancement Tables:
Monsters don't just gain extra hp, skills, feats, and ability points as they gain HD, they gain actual abilities. All creatures will have an advancement table which resembles a stripped class table outlining all of the abilities the monster gains throughout its advancement, up to the max HD it is capable of advancing. This will allow DMs to run "lesser" as well as "greater" versions of the same monster, possibly with all 1HD monsters being CR 1s, 2HD being CRs, and so on.
So, in my following developments of this thread, I'll be working on the new monsters, and when providing feedback I'd like people to remember than I want a CR 1 monster to have roughly a 25% chance of defeating a 1st level Warblade or a 1st level Warlock (as Robby's rebalanced Warlock). So, who's with me? Here we go! We'll start this from the bare basics.Rebalancing Monster Types
(As in, Monstrous Humanoid, Magical Beast, Outsider, etc)
Not all monster races are created equal, and nor should they be. Any generic dragon is a more serious threat than any generic animal. The point here is that of equivalent CR an animal has to try way harder to be a legitimate threat than a dragon has to. I won't be making any attempt to make the monster races balanced against each other, but I will be tweaking their chassis here and there, as well as making sure they are all internally consistent.The AberrationHp:
16+Con mod at 1st HD +d8+Con mod/HD thereafter; Medium BAB, Poor Fort, Poor Ref, Good Will, 2+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe Animal/VerminHp:
12+Con mod at 1st HD + d6+Con mod/HD thereafter; Poor BAB; Good Fort, Good Ref, Poor Will; 2+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe ConstructHp:
18+Con mod at 1st HD +d10+Con mod/HD thereafter; Medium BAB; Poor Fort, Poor Ref, Poor Will; 2+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe DragonHp:
22+Con mod at 1st HD +d12+Con mod/HD thereafter; Full BAB; Good Fort, Poor Ref, Good Will; 6+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe ElementalHp:
18+Con mod at 1st HD +d10+Con mod/HD thereafter; Medium BAB; Good Fort, Poor Ref, Poor Will; 2+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe Magical Humanoid (Fey)Hp:
12+Con mod at 1st HD +d6+Con mod/HD thereafter; Poor BAB; Poor Fort, Good Ref, Good Will; 6+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe HumanoidHp:
16+Con mod at 1st HD +d8+Con mod/HD thereafter; Medium BAB; One save is Good, Other two are Poor; 4+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe Magical BeastHp:
18+Con mod at 1st HD +d8+Con mod/HD thereafter; Full BAB; Good Fort, Good Ref, Poor Will; 2+Int Skill mod Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe Monstrous Humanoid (Giant, etc)Hp:
18+Con mod at 1st HD +d8+Con mod/HD thereafter; Full BAB; Poor Fort, Good Ref, Good Will; 4+Int Skill mod Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe OozeHp:
20+Con mod at 1st HD +d10+Con mod/HD thereafter; Poor BAB; Poor Fort, Poor Ref, Poor Will; 2+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe OutsiderHp:
18+Con mod at 1st HD +d8+Con mod/HD thereafter; Full BAB; All Good saves; 4+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe PlantHp:
16+Con mod at 1st HD +d8+Con mod/HD thereafter; Medium BAB; Good Fort, Poor Ref, Poor Will; 2+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HDThe UndeadHp:
22 at 1st HD +d12/HD thereafter; Medium BAB; Good Fort, Poor Ref, Good Will; 4+Int mod Skill Points/HDx4 at 1st HD
* Monsters gain feats and ability score increases at the same rate PCs do - 1 feat at 1st HD, +1 feat at 3HD, +1/3HD thereafter.The CR 1 Monsters
* Creatures with no Intelligence (mindless creatures) gain no skills or feats.
* Creatures with less than 4 Intelligence always gain at least 1 skill point per level, but gain feats slower at a rate of 1 feat at 2nd HD, +1 feat at 5th HD, +1/4HD thereafter.
Small Magical Beast
Speed: 10ft land, 20ft fly (poor)
AC: 14 (+1 size, +2 dex, +1 natural), 13 Touch, 13 Flat-footed
Attacks: Slam +3 (1d4+1) + Improved Grab, Constrict 1d4+2
Opportunity Actions: 2/round
Spell-like Abilities: Darkness 1/enc
Special Qualities: Hide in Plain Sight, Darkvision 120ft, Echo Locate 20ft, Reflexive Grab
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +2
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 14, Con 6, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 8
Skills: Hide +12* (*+4 racial bonus)
Alignment: Usually Neutral
Advancement: 2-3 HD (Small), 4-8 HD (Medium), 9-10 HD (Max, Large)
Improved Grab: After successfully dealing damage with a Slam attack, a Darkmantle can attempt to initiate a Grapple. As a Darkmantle advances and gains additional attack modes his Improved Grab feature applies after successfully dealing damage with them.
Constrict: Whenever a Darkmantle succeeds at an opposed grapple check against a creature, it deals that creature 1d4+twice it's strength modifier. When a Darkmantle advances it's Constrict ability deals extra damage as shown on the Advancement table below.
Spell-like Abilities: Once each encounter, as a full-round action, a Darkmantle can reproduce the effect of the 1st level Light domain Greater Spell Darkness.
Hide in Plain Sight: Darkmantles can use their natural camouflage to attempt Hide checks even while being observed.
Darkvision: A Darkmantle can see in natural darkness out to 120ft, and even in magical darkness out to 40ft.
Echo Locate: As a swift action, a Darkmantle can let out a high-frequency shriek that only other Darkmantles can hear in order to locate it's prey. This grants the Darkmantle the benefits of Blindsight for 1 round, out to 20ft.
Reflexive Grab: A Darkmantle can attempt to initiate a Grapple by spending an opportunity action.
1. Improved Grab, Constrict 1d4, Spell-like Abilities: Darkness (Greater), Hide in Plain Sight, Darkvision 120ft, Echo Locate 20ft, Reflexive Grab
2. Constrict 1d6, 2 Secondary Claw Attacks 1d4+1/2 Str, Improved Grab (Claw), +2 Natural Armor
3. Spell-like Abilities: Net of Shadows (Lesser), Resist Cold/Elec 5
4. Constrict 2d6, Echo Locate 30ft, +3 Natural Armor, DR 5/magic
5. Spell-like Abilities: Ray of Enfeeblement (Lesser), Slam (1d6), Claws (1d6), Primary Bite Attack 1d8+Str, Improved Grab (Bite), +4 Natural Armor
6. Constrict 3d6, Poison Bite (DC 10+1/2HD+Darkmantle's Con mod; 1d6 Int, Wis, Cha penalty; duration 1 minute), +1 Deflection, Resist Cold 15/Elec 10
7. Spell-like Abilities: Shadow Walk (Lesser), +5 Natural Armor
8. Constrict 4d6, Echo Locate 40ft, +6 Natural Armor, DR 5/--
9. Constrict 4d6+triple strength modifier, Spell-like Abilities: Invisibility (Lesser), Swallow Whole, Slam (1d8), Claws (1d8), Bite (1d10), +2 Deflection, Immunity to Cold, Resist Elec 30
10. Constrict 5d6, Mind Echoes, +7 Natural Armor, +3 Deflection