4th Edition Monsters: As Usual, I’m Completely Wrong

As often happens when I’m utterly certain about something, a particularly strong competing theory says I’m completely wrong.

Assuming that “level 6 skirmisher” gives the creature six actual “hit dice”, what we find is that subtracting three (half the creature’s levels) from the ability scores listed will return the standard 3e ability score modifier for the score given in brackets. In this case, the boosted modifiers explain that characters add half their level to ability score checks and untrained skill checks.

This explains the Init and Perception of +5, which means that Init is treated as a skill. Saves match a formula of 10 + full level + ability score modifier. Hit points match a much more traditional 5HP/level plus a con modifier of +2/level and a bonus +5 HP from either a Toughness feat or double HP at first level.

In other words, ignore everything my previous post said about base attack and changes to ability score modifiers and hit dice, or at least take it with a grain of salt.

What can we still deduce? In either case, advancing monsters is definitely going to be easier for the dungeon master. I’ve speculated that “Level 6 Skirmisher” isn’t necessarily just a descriptor - “skirmisher” could determine base attack, saves and hit points, just like a character class would. Will this play out consistently? Our spiky devil here appears to have save bonuses and base attack equal to full level along with 5HP/level, precisely in keeping with outsider hit dice (interestingly, HP are average-rounded-up just like my house rule).

On one hand, this seems to match the stats we already know, namely that outsider’s HP/saves are based on it being an outsider. On the other, monster roles being delineated to classes like “brute” and “skirmisher” make far more sense and allow for level to match hit dice without narrowing the scope of monster special abilities. It also allows for more straightforward and refined creature advancement, so in other words I imagine it to be the superior design decision. We’ll see how it turns out.

Comments (4)

ChattyDm (October 15th, 2007)

This is extremely reminiscent of the Iron Heroes Villain Class mechanics that Mike Mearls designed with Malhavoc Press. It does something very similar by taking a Monster archetype: The Demonic Brute let’s say and create a CR Dependent Table of stats and abilities. Creating a CR equivalent mo0nster takes 10-15 minutes tops…

I for one love the mechanic and expect to see ‘Brutes’ templates for Ogres and Trolls and ‘skirmishers’ for fast strikers…

Jeffrey Boser (October 15th, 2007)

I really do hope this is not the case, and that it goes to a saner 1/3 score as a modifer. As a gm, I hate penalties being common, everything should just add. Its like rolling dice and subtracting some of them from the others.

Dominic Amann (October 16th, 2007)

I guess your name says it all: you drain wisdom from other’s comments and repost it as yours.

Jonathan Drain (October 16th, 2007)

@Dominic: I don’t understand; I did credit blog commenters as the an information source for my second post.

The theory turned out to be incorrect after all, so if I had credited people by name we’d have both looked stupid. ;)

I did refer to this post as deriving from a competing theory to my own. If you’re looking for the source for that, it’s here.

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