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Author Topic: [3.5e] Standardizing Monster Abilities  (Read 3642 times)
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SiggyDevil
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Magmar, the ultimate butthead

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« on: October 06, 2010, 09:18:21 PM »

Assigning when and where monster abilities can be gained removes the "feels good" method of monster design, and provides new options for players. Treat them as feats.

Amorphous (Ex): The character is immune to Precision damage and can not be flanked, but can not wear armor.

Amphibious (Ex): The character can breathe water and air.

Aura of Menace (Su): Archon, Level 6+. A righteous aura surrounds a character that fights or gets angry. Any hostile creature within a 20-foot radius of the character must succeed on a Will save to resist its effects. The save DC is Charisma-based, and includes a +2 racial bonus. Those who fail take a –2 penalty on attacks, AC, and saves for 24 hours or until they successfully hit the character that generated the aura. A creature that has resisted or broken the effect cannot be affected again by the same character’s aura for 24 hours.

Aquatic (Ex): Swim speed. The character can breathe water but not air and gains the Aquatic subtype. This trait may be taken for free.

Blindsense (Ex): Scent or Listen 4 ranks. Distance is +30 feet each time this ability is taken.

Blindsight (Ex)
: Listen 9 ranks, Blindsense. Distance is equal to that of Blindsense, and another +30 feet each time this ability is taken beyond the first.

Blood Drain (Ex): Bite natural attack. The character may inflict 1d4 CON damage as a Grapple Action.

Breath Weapon (Su): Level 5+, CON 13+. As a standard action the character breaths a single element in either a 40 foot line or 20 foot cone, dealing 1d6 damage per odd level. Opponents get a Reflex save (10 +1/2 level +CON) for half. Every size increase beyond Small increases the length of area by half. In any round the character uses this ability, they must wait until 1d4 rounds later to use it again.
Alternatively instead of damage, the character may choose to cause one of the following status effects when this ability is gained;
• Sleep Gas (Will save, Unconscious for 1 rounds +1 per odd level, new save at the beginning of every turn)
• Repulsion Gas (Will save, move away for 1d6 rounds +1 per odd level, Enchantment [Mind-Affecting, Compulsion])
• Slow Gas (Fortitude save, Slowed for 1d6 rounds +1 per odd level)
• Weakening Gas (Fortitude save, 1 STR damage per odd level)
• Paralyzing Gas (Fortitude save, Paralyzed for 1 round +1 per odd level, new save at the beginning of every turn)

Burn (Ex): Natural attack, Ability with fire, electricity, or acid. Opponents hit must make a Reflex save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CON) or catch fire for 1d4 rounds.

Coating (Ex)
: Level 6+, CON 13+. The character's body secrets a specific type of element. Anything touching the character for a round automatically takes 3 per odd level damage (including grappling) at the end of the round, but lightly striking with a weapon allows a Reflex save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CON) to avoid the damage to both weapon and user.

Constrict (Ex): As a Grapple Action the character deals damage appropriate for its size, increasing by 2d6 for every size category past Medium (1d6 for Small, 2d6 for Medium)

Cursed/Infernal Wound (Su): Level 6+. Melee attacks caused by the character bleed a living target for cumulative 2 HP each round, unless a cure spell is cast with Caster Level check or a Heal check is made (DC 10 +1/2 level +CON)

Damage Reduction (Ex): Reduce damage taken from non-energy sources by an amount equal to half the character's level, rounded down. If a weakness to magic weapons or single alignment is added, increase the DR by 5 to a maximum value equal to the character's level.

Darkvision (Ex): Distance is +30 feet each time this ability is taken.

Destructive Harmonics (Su): Level 8+. This Sonic effect can be blasted as a 80 foot cone or 30 foot radius. It has 3 modes;
Flesh: Disrupting tissue and rending bone, this attack deals 1d6 Sonic damage per odd level to all within the area, with a Reflex save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CHA) for half damage.
Nerves: The character can focus its harmonics to knock out foes rather than slay them. This attack deals 2d6 points of nonlethal Sonic damage +1d6 per odd level to all within the area, with a Reflex save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CHA) for half damage.
Material: When using this form of harmonics, the character chooses wood, stone, metal, or glass. All objects made of that material within the area must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CHA) or shatter. Objects (or portions of objects) that have up to 30 hit points are potentially affected by this attack.

Disease (Ex): A single natural attack infects a target with a successful hit. The target must pass a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + CON) or contract a single disease with baseline Infection DC no greater than the carrier's level x2.

Earth Glide (Su): Earth Mastery, Level 5+. The character can glide through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water. Its burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other signs of its presence. A Move Earth spell cast on an area containing a burrowing character flings them back 30 feet, stunning them for 1 round unless it succeeds on a DC 15 Fortitude save.

Elemental Mastery (Ex): The character gains bonuses or applies penalties according to the type of element they are made of or control.
Earth: Gain +1 bonus to attack and damage if the character or its target are touching the ground.
Air: Gain +1 bonus to attack and damage if the character or its target are flying.
Water: Gain +1 bonus to attack and damage if the character or its target are touching liquid.
Fire: Gain +1 bonus to attack and damage if the character or its target is on fire.

Energy Resistance (Ex): Reduce damage taken from a single energy type by 5 but increases according to character level.
Level   Resistance
1          5
6          15
11        30
16        Immunity

Eye Ray (Su): Level 11+. As a free action the character may blast a target for 1d6 damage per level within 100 feet once every 4 rounds. The damage may be Fire, Cold, Electric, Light, or Earth, chosen when this ability is gained. If Earth, the target is Petrified if killed by this ability.

Extra Limbs (Ex): STR 13+, Level 5+. The character gains another pair of limbs. If legs, increase Land Speed by +20 racial bonus. If arms, any Slam or Claw attacks granted to both arms are also duplicated for this pair. If wings, the character gains +10 Fly Speed may hover in mid air regardless of flying maneuverability.


Fast Healing (Ex)
: Level 3, Constitution 19+. Heal 1 HP at the end of every 10 rounds. At level 6 increase the healing to 1 HP every round. Gaining this ability again increases the healing amount by 1 each time.

Fear Aura (Su): Level 9+. As a free action, for the rest of the round all opponents within 20 foot radius must pass a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + CHA) vs. Fear or become Panicked. Success on the Will save means they can not be affected again for 24 hours.

Frightful Presence (Ex): Level 15+, CHA 13+. Opponents with less levels must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + CHA) vs. Fear every time the character attacks, charges, or moves past, or become either become Panicked (if the opponent has 4 or less levels) or Shaken (if 5 or more levels) for 4d6 rounds. Success on the Will save means they can not be affected again for 24 hours. The radius of this ability is 30 feet for every 5 levels the character has. If the character has the Dragon type, other Dragons are immune to this ability.

Ground Manipulation (Su): Amorphous or Earth Mastery, Level 4+. At will, as a standard action, the character can cause stone and earth in all adjacent squares to become a morass akin to quicksand. Softening earth, sand, or the like takes 1 round, while stone takes 2 rounds. Anyone other than the character in that area must take a move-equivalent action to avoid becoming mired (treat as being Pinned).

Hive Mind (Ex): All beings of the same type or subtype as the character within 50 miles are in constant communication if willing and have this ability. If in a group, no one is flanked, surprised, or flat footed unless they all are.


Improved Grab (Ex)
: Level 3. Choose one type of natural attack except Gore or Hoof. If the attack hits a grapple may be attempted as a free action.

Improved Natural Attack (Ex): All natural attacks of the character increase die size by one.

Incorporeal (Ex): Level 9+. The character is always naturally ethereal and gains the Incorporeal subtype. Its natural armor only applies to other ethereal/incorporeal beings where it is not considered incorporeal, but in the Material Plane add CHA modifier  +1 to AC as a Deflection bonus. They gain a Fly Speed of 30 feet.
If this ability is gained twice, the Incorporeal state is optional and may be gained or suppressed as a free action once each round.
Manifestation: All incorporeal beings also have this ability. When this subability is used the character becomes visible to the Material Plane. Only magic weapons, spells, and incorporeal attacks may harm them, with a 50% chance to ignore damage from corporeal sources. They ignore armor and non-Force barriers, and always move silently.

Malevolence (Su)
: Incorporeal. As Magic Jar, but the character occupies a target's space and possesses the character if they fail a Will save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CHA). A target that passes this save is immune to the character's further attempts for 24 hours.

Movement (Ex):
Climbing (either claws, tentacles, or more than 2 hands): Climb 4 ranks
Climb speed value is equal to half of land movement speed, or the same if Climbing is taken twice.
A creature with a climb speed has a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. The creature must make a Climb check to climb any wall or slope with a DC higher than 0, but it always can choose to take 10, even if rushed or threatened while climbing. If a creature with a climb speed chooses an accelerated climb (see above), it moves at double its climb speed (or at its land speed, whichever is slower) and makes a single Climb check at a –5 penalty. Such a creature retains its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) while climbing, and opponents get no special bonus to their attacks against it. It cannot, however, use the run action while climbing.

Swimming (either aquatic, amphibious, has tentacles, or fins): Swim 4 ranks
Swim speed value is equal to half of land movement speed, or the same if Swimming is taken twice. The swim speed may be racially increased in 10-foot increments at the expense of land speed.
A creature with a swim speed can move through water at its indicated speed without making Swim checks. It gains a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform a special action or avoid a hazard. The creature always can choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered when swimming. Such a creature can use the run action while swimming, provided that it swims in a straight line.

Flight (Ex has Average maneuvering, Su has good. Either improves by one grade at level 11): Jump 4 ranks
Flight speed value is equal to half of land movement speed, or the same if Swimming is taken twice. The flight speed may be racially increased in 10-foot increments at the expense of land speed.
A creature with a flight speed can fly at its indicated speed. Such a creature can use the run action while swimming, provided that it flies in a straight line.

Natural Armor (Ex): Gain +1 Natural Armor per odd level, stacking with natural armor from other sources if any. If this ability is taken twice the bonus becomes +1 per level.

Natural Attack (Ex): Examples are for size Medium characters. One attack type is primary with any Full Attack at no penalty, while the others are secondary and take -5 penalty in the same action.
• Slam (limb, per hand) - Bludgeoning, 1d6 +1 1/2 times Strength bonus
• Claw (limb, per hand) - Comes in a pair, Slashing/Piercing, 1d4
• Hoof (limb, per leg) - Comes in a pair, Bludgeoning, 1d4
• Tentacle (body, maximum 8) - Comes in a pair, Bludgeoning, 1d4
• Gore or Horn (head, limit one per head) - Piercing, 1d6
• Bite (head, limit one per head) - Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing, 1d6
• Tail Slap (limb, limit one) - Bludgeoning, 1d6 +1 1/2 times Strength bonus

Paralyzing Touch (Ex): Bite, Claw, or Tentacle, Level 2+. Opponents hit by a specific natural weapon are Paralyzed if they fail a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CHA). A new save may be made at the beginning of every turn to end this effect.

Petrifying Gaze (Su): Level 6+, CHA 13+. An opponent within 30 feet must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CHA) or take 5 Earth damage per level and become Slowed until the end of their next turn. An opponent killed by this attack is Petrified.

Poison (Ex): A single natural attack poisons a target with a successful hit. The target must pass a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + CON) or begin to take Initial Damage from the specific poison. The character's poison type may not have a baseline DC higher than their level x2.

Powerful Charge (Ex): Horn natural weapon. When attacking as part of a Charge, the character's horn attack deals twice as many dice in damage.

Protective Aura (Su): Good, Level 12+. Against attacks made or effects created by evil creatures, this ability provides a +4 deflection bonus to AC and a +4 resistance bonus on saving throws to anyone within 20 feet of the character. Otherwise, it functions as a magic circle against evil effect and a lesser globe of invulnerability, both with a radius of 20 feet (caster level equals angel’s HD). This aura can be dispelled, but the character can create it again as a free action on its next turn.

Regeneration (Ex): Level 8, Fast Healing 3, Constitution 23+. Convert all damage to nonlethal except from fire or acid. Limbs may be reattached or grow back after 3d6 minutes.

Rend (Ex): Level 6. Choose two natural attacks. If both attacks hit the target takes damage equal to both attacks again. Apply damage from Strength modifier only once for the Rend attack.

Rend Armor (Ex): Level 12+, 2 or more Slashing natural attacks. Whenever 2 or more Slashing natural attacks hit an opponent, deal damage equal to both of those attacks combined to the opponent's armor as well.

Roar (Su)
: Level 9+, CHA 13+. As a standard action the character roars, forcing all opponents within 120 feet to make a Will save (10 +1/2 level +CHA) or become Fatigued. Opponents within 30 feet become Exhausted instead of Fatigued. In any round the character uses this ability, they must wait until 1d4 rounds later to use it again.

Rock Throwing and Catching (Ex):
Throwing: The character gets +1 attack rolls when throwing rocks. Rocks of two sizes smaller than the character may be thrown for 1d6 Bludgeoning damage per size category (starting at size Medium character). The range increment is 60 feet per size category of character.
Catching: Rocks no larger than the character may be caught once per round as a free action if aware. The Reflex DC is 15 for a Small rock, 20 for a Medium one, and 25 for a Large one.

Scent (Ex): Survival 4 ranks.

Shadow Shift (Su): While in shadowy areas the character may cause one of the following effects as a standard action;
Obscure Vision: The character gains concealment (20% miss chance) for 1d4 rounds.
Dancing Images: This effect duplicates a Mirror Image spell.
Silent Image: This effect duplicates a Silent Image spell.

Spell Resistance (Ex): Level 3. Gain SR equal to 10 + CHA modifier + level.

Stench (Ex): Level 4+. Everyone within 10 feet of the character that can be affected by Poison is immediately Sickened for 1d6+4 minutes, while those that fail a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CON) are Nauseated for 1d4 rounds. Anyone that passes their save is unaffected by the character for the next 24 hours.

Stonecunning (Ex): This ability grants the character a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework. A character who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as though actively searching, and can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. The character can also intuit depth, sensing the approximate distance underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.

Sustenance (Su): Level 5. Character does not need to eat or drink. At level 12, they do not need to breathe.

Swallow Whole (Ex): Level 9+. The character may attempt to swallow a grappled opponent of at least 2 sizes smaller. The opponent takes 1d6 Acid and Bludgeoning damage per odd level while inside, and may cut their way out by dealing as much damage equal to 1/4th the character's HP against AC 15.

Tremorsense (Ex): Level 3. Distance is +60 feet each time this ability is taken.

Trill (Su): A Sonic, Mind-Influencing, Compulsion effect is emitted to a radius of 100 feet. Opponents must pass a Will save (DC 10 +1/2 level +CHA) or become Stunned for 1d4 rounds. If attacked or interrupted physically, the opponent gets another save. If the save is made they can not be affected again for 24 hours.

Trumpet (Su): Archon, Level 14+ An archon’s trumpet produces music of utter clarity, piercing beauty, and, if the trumpet archon wills it, paralyzing awe. All creatures except archons within 100 feet of the blast must succeed on a DC 19 Fortitude save or be Paralyzed for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based. The archon can also command its trumpet to become a +4 greatsword as a free action.

Vigor (Ex): CON 13+. The character gains Fast Healing +1 per 5 levels (1, 6, 11, and 16) as long as they remain below half HP.

Whirlwind (Su): Fly speed, Level 5+. The character may become a tornado of the same size and move through the air or along a surface at its fly speed. Movement while in whirlwind form does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Another creature might be caught in the whirlwind if it touches or enters the whirlwind, or if the character moves into or through the creature’s space.
Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the character might take damage when caught in the whirlwind and be lifted into the air. An affected creature must succeed on a DC 20 Reflex save (DC 10 +1/2 level +STR) when it comes into contact with the whirlwind or take 3d6 points of damage. It must also succeed on a second DC 20 Reflex save or be picked up bodily and held suspended in the powerful winds, automatically taking 1d8 points of damage each round. A creature with a Fly Speed is allowed a DC 20 Reflex save each round to escape the whirlwind. The creature still takes damage but can leave if the save is successful.
Creatures trapped in the whirlwind cannot move except to go where the character carries them or to escape the whirlwind. Creatures caught in the whirlwind can otherwise act normally, but must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to cast a spell. Creatures caught in the whirlwind take a –4 penalty to Dexterity and a –2 penalty on attack rolls.
The character can eject any carried creatures whenever it wishes, depositing them wherever the whirlwind happens to be.
If the whirlwind’s base touches the ground, it creates a swirling cloud of debris. This cloud has a diameter equal to half the whirlwind’s height. The cloud obscures all vision, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment, while those farther away have total concealment. Those caught in the cloud must succeed on a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to cast a spell.
A character in whirlwind form cannot make melee attacks and does not threaten the area around it.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 09:43:30 AM by SiggyDevil » Logged

RobbyPants
Organ Grinder
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2010, 12:43:46 PM »

I'm not sure I like tying so many effects to Con.  Basically, if someone wants to play a "monster", they're always going to have a really good Con.  I'd either leave them as static or base them on HD or CR or something.
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My balancing 3.5 compendium
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SiggyDevil
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Magmar, the ultimate butthead

igtsigma
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2010, 01:31:15 PM »

hmmm
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SiggyDevil
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Posts: 1111


Magmar, the ultimate butthead

igtsigma
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2010, 11:07:32 PM »

Altered sense distances.

Any other common monster powers?

I'm thinking of how to handle DR.


EDIT: Added DR and ER
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 11:37:03 PM by SiggyDevil » Logged

SiggyDevil
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Magmar, the ultimate butthead

igtsigma
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 08:21:13 PM »

Added Sustenance to explain creatures such as Dragons and Giants. Pulled straight from Vow of Poverty... nyuk nyuk
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SiggyDevil
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Magmar, the ultimate butthead

igtsigma
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 10:58:38 PM »

Added Constrict. Planning on Frightful Presence and Breath Weapon next.
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SiggyDevil
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Magmar, the ultimate butthead

igtsigma
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 03:45:42 PM »

Added more abilities. These are coming straight from the monsters, but I must make some changes at times.
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