Monster advancement help


Advice


I don't come looking for help often so I'd appreciate it with this issue, I am currently running a module not built for the number of players I have. Thanks to an eidolon built for melee I'm treating the party as +1 APL, now, I need to change a creature to become more of a threat for said party, I want them to have a fighting chance but I also don't intend for them to run rough shod over the encounter.

I think the best way to do this is to create an ambush set up, I was thinking the creature will have a slam attack that it does from ambush in the trees if it goes unnoticed.

Thoughts on if this is advisable? And if so, how do I treat this change mechanically while upping the CR?


bump


What's the creature?

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Do you want it to "be by the rules" (add a HD, apply a template, etc.) or can you be more ad hoc (give it a higher AC, more hit points, increase the damage it deals, give it some form if special attack, etc.)

After all the PCs don't see your notes. If you have a owlbear for example, describe it differently. Instead of

An amalgam of fur and feathers, this bizarre half-bear, half-owl monstrosity raises its huge, ursine claws in anger.

say

the hulking creature is silent as it stalks towards you. It rises up on its hind legs, unsheathing saber like claws that are colored a sickly yellow. Its beak snaps open and close as if it is a pair of axe blades coming together with finality.

Then i would increase the damage the owlbear does from 2 claws +8 (1d6+4 plus grab), bite +8 (1d6+4) to 2 claws +10 (increaing its strength appropriately) (1d8+6 plus grab), bite +10 (1d8+8). And if i really wanted to add challenge, make the claws pouisonous of disease ridden.


I'm open to ad hoc, and am leaning towards it, but I'd prefer by the rules. The creature is a giant spider trying to make it more ambush-y

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Solo monsters have a hard time unless you make them mythic, so they can at least go multiple rounds or have other benefits. To increase the cr of a monster there are many ways...adding templates, adding class levels etc...so it depends really how much you need to bump up the monster.

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Eyebrow Bill wrote:
I'm open to ad hoc, and am leaning towards it, but I'd prefer by the rules. The creature is a giant spider trying to make it more ambush-y

You could advance it using the advanced creature template. Which I did. Then i added the shadow creature template. the result is this:

Spoiler:

Shadow advanced giant spider CR 3
XP 800
(Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide 238, Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, 258)
N Medium outsider (vermin)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +6
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 18, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+5 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 22 (3d8+9)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +3
Defensive Abilities shadow blend; Immune mind-affecting effects; Resist cold 5, electricity 5; SR 9
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee bite +4 (1d6+3 plus poison)
Special Attacks poison, web (+7 ranged, DC 14, 3 hp)
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 15, Dex 21, Con 16, Int —, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 19
Skills Climb +18, Perception +6 (+10 in webs), Stealth +9 (+13 in webs); Racial Modifiers +8 Climb, +4 Perception, +4 Stealth, +4 Stealth in webs, +4 perception in webs
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
+4 Perception in webs +4 Perception in webs
Climbing (30 feet) You have a Climb speed.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Energy Resistance, Cold (5) You have the specified Energy Resistance against Cold attacks.
Energy Resistance, Electricity (5) You have the specified Energy Resistance against Electricity attacks.
Immunity to Mind-Affecting effects You are immune to Mind-Affecting effects.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Poison (DC 16) (Ex) Poison: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 16; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Str; cure 1 save.
Shadow Blend (Su) When not in bright light, gain concealment.
Spell Resistance (9) You have Spell Resistance.
Tremorsense (60 feet) Sense things and creatures without seeing them.
Web (+7 ranged, 3 hp, 8/day, DC 14) (Ex) You can set or toss webbing.

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Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC®, and are used under license.

What CR are you looking to hit?


I'm only trying to hit cr 2, and while that stat block does do the job of making it a better ambush creature, this is not a boss fight and I don't want it to be that powerful, but I'm trying to learn more about advancing creatures as I feel I'll probably have to do that a lot. Are there any rules for adding an ability to a creature and how that affects it's CR?

Though I may use that stat block, examining it I think it might do the job pretty well.

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

You can always remove the the advanced template. and leave the show stuff.

Calculating the CR/EL of an encounter is more an art form than an exact science unfortunately.

Alternatively you could grant it 20% concealment and tell the players that it has misleading shadows writhing and twisting around it misleading you into where to strike. I would up the CR on a spider with that ability by 1.

Let me ask this, what is the most devastating attack the PCs have? What is it that makes your encounters not challenging? Can you approach the mechanics of the encounter in order to minimize that?

For example say it was a barbarian with a two-handed sword that was cutting things to pieces. But him in cramped quarters or where he has to squeeze and that 2-hand sword gets taken out of play.

Liberty's Edge

You probably want to stick with the advanced creature template to boost the CR, however adding an ambush ability to the creature isn't game breaking either. Perhaps a significant stealth bonus in it preferred terrain so that players can't really notice it before it pounces (not referring to the ability here). If you're looking for it to do more damage the advanced template will provide a little of that. You could probably also add a secondary natural attack, or a low damage dice primary natural attack if you want the creature to be more threatening.


Alright, let me be clear, this will be the first real fight of several interlinked modules. I suspect at this point the main problems is the numbers arrayed against it, but I just don't know. I know they have the advantage. And I'll probably go with the shadow template spider for this first fight. But is there a way to just straight out legally add an attack and gauge how it affects CR? If not, I'll ad hoc, but I would like to stay in the rules while learning.

Liberty's Edge

You can legally do anything you want if it's your game. There are monster creation guidelines that you can follow, or just ad hoc things to cater to your specific party. For your example, it will probably be a good idea to increase the hit points of the creature since it's facing a lot of opponents. That way the combat isn't a cake walk, but the character aren't really in that much more danger because none of it's attack get better, it just sticks around a little longer.


one thing to note is that a CR 2 encounter is not supposed to be all that challenging to even a 1st level party. A coin flip encounter does not happen until you reach average party level +4.

I recommend adding more monsters instead of beefing up solos. Solos either die fast or are immune to the party and curb stomp them.


Idea one (Some Work)
1 Spider Giant with the Advanced Template, (Mom)
1 Spider Swarm (Kids)

Idea two (No Work)
1 Spider Giant (Mom)
2 Spider Swarm (Kids)

Idea three (a lot of work)
1 Spider Giant (Mom)
1 Mite Ranger 4 with Giant Spider poison Arrows (rider)
With mounted combat, rapid shot, Skill focus ride feats

Liberty's Edge

Like catdragon has mentioned, it's kind of an art though, not a science. You can find the monster creation rules in the appendix of the beastiary, but it's usually easier to modify existing creatures.

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I liked Tom S 820's ideas, though i would go with an advanced spider and a bunch of young giant spiders...

Spoiler:

A spider the size of a man crawls silently from the depths of its funnel-shaped web.
--------------------
Kid Spider CR 1/2
XP 200
Male young giant spider (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, 258)
N Small vermin
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +4
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 11 (+5 Dex, +1 size)
hp 10 (3d8-3)
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
Immune mind-affecting effects
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee bite +1 (1d4-2 plus poison)
Special Attacks poison, web (+8 ranged, DC 10, 3 hp)
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 7, Dex 21, Con 8, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2
Base Atk +2; CMB -1; CMD 14
Skills Climb +14, Perception +4 (+8 in webs), Stealth +13 (+17 in webs); Racial Modifiers +8 Climb, +4 Perception, +4 Stealth, +4 Stealth in webs, +4 perception in webs
--------------------
Ecology
--------------------
Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or colony (3-8)
Treasure incidental
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
+4 Perception in webs +4 Perception in webs
Climbing (30 feet) You have a Climb speed.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Immunity to Mind-Affecting effects You are immune to Mind-Affecting effects.
Poison (DC 12) (Ex) Poison: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 12; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Str; cure 1 save.
Tremorsense (60 feet) Sense things and creatures without seeing them.
Web (+8 ranged, 3 hp, 8/day, DC 10) (Ex) You can set or toss webbing.

--------------------

A spider the size of a man crawls silently from the depths of its funnel-shaped web.
--------------------
Mother CR 2
XP 600
Male advanced giant spider (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, 258)
N Medium vermin
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +6
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 18, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+5 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 22 (3d8+9)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +3
Immune mind-affecting effects
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee bite +4 (1d6+3 plus poison)
Special Attacks poison, web (+7 ranged, DC 14, 3 hp)
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 15, Dex 21, Con 16, Int —, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 19
Skills Climb +18, Perception +6 (+10 in webs), Stealth +9 (+13 in webs); Racial Modifiers +8 Climb, +4 Perception, +4 Stealth, +4 Stealth in webs, +4 perception in webs
--------------------
Ecology
--------------------
Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or colony (3-8)
Treasure incidental
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
+4 Perception in webs +4 Perception in webs
Climbing (30 feet) You have a Climb speed.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Immunity to Mind-Affecting effects You are immune to Mind-Affecting effects.
Poison (DC 16) (Ex) Poison: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 16; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Str; cure 1 save.
Tremorsense (60 feet) Sense things and creatures without seeing them.
Web (+7 ranged, 3 hp, 8/day, DC 14) (Ex) You can set or toss webbing.

Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at http://www.wolflair.com
Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC®, and are used under license.


I agree with the "adding monsters" idea -- especially at low levels, a small increase in damage can often make the difference between life/death or conscious/unconscious. One Big Monster vs. a large party isn't really a great game -- either the monster goes down to a swarm of PC actions, or else it kills one or more of them before dying. Two or three monsters make the fight more interesting for all the PCs, and probably longer-lasting too.


Alright, well thanks for your help, It sounds like there aren't rules for what I want to do, which I want as a baseline while learning how to adjust and seeing how it works. Tom idea one and two would work quite well, and I believe is what I'll use. Thank you all for your time.

Liberty's Edge

There are rules for creature creation and creature adjustment in Appendix 1 and 2 of the beastiaries. So if you want to read through them, you'll probably glean some insight into the guidelines Paizo uses to create monsters. The only thing is that even Paizo breaks these rules all the time, and they're not the most elegant rules for modifying creatures. That's why it's often easier to ad hoc if you have a specific desired result, like the ambush you mention.

Although, like most have mentioned, it's much easier to have a fun, balanced, and engaging combat with numerous opponents than one strong opponent, so going with some of Toms suggestion would probably work out pretty well.


Swarms are very difficult a low level but if the party will think to use burning oil or has access to spells like burn hands they can be dealt with. If the party lack AoO damage I would use catdragons idea. 3 of those with mama would make a good CR 3 encounter.


Mathius wrote:
Swarms are very difficult a low level but if the party will think to use burning oil or has access to spells like burn hands they can be dealt with. If the party lack AoO damage I would use catdragons idea. 3 of those with mama would make a good CR 3 encounter.

I've checked this and between them they should be fine.

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