Disagreements on building monsters


Advice

Liberty's Edge

So cutting right to the chase, as a DM I'm trying to make weak monsters (HD and AC weak) as viable threats later on in a campaign I'm going to be running (5-7 people, Path of War is being used if that sways the opinion any). Two things I want to avoid though:

1) Excess use of traps. These ain't Kobolds.
2) Class levels. No reason these little buggers, who are little more than Goblins mixed with Morlocks without the Swarming ability, should be able to pull off complex teamwork feats and such.

What I'm trying to go for is:

1) Low HD. The players should be one-shotting these monsters by ~lvl 5-7. ~12-16 hp each.
2) Low AC. Hitting them ought not be a problem save for like single digit rolls maybe. No armor, only their piddly Dex.
3) High or scaling BAB. Yes, you may have like 26 AC and the thing these creatures are based off of (Goblins most likely) only have about a +1 or +2 to hit, but yes, they hit you.
4) Possibly scaling damage. Not by much though, replace weapons with claw attacks for small size creatures.

The idea I had was each of the monsters gets like +1 BAB and +1 damage for each creature like it in a 30ft radius. Strategy would be that these things attack in hordes and waves but die easily, so things like blunderbusses, shotguns, reach weapons with Combat Reflexes/Cleave and AOE magic make short work of them.

So anyway I brought the idea to one of the players who has a good grasp of the rules and he more or less suggested no on the BAB and damage scaling, insisting on the class levels or a more "mooks led by monsters with class levels". "Not really what I was going for" was my reply, to which he responded with "Well that's what the system is designed for" or something of that nature.

So I'm askin' ya'll, what are your thoughts on this? Any way that I could make this work, or do ya figure I already have it more or less sorted out and just need to go the "Because the DM says so" route?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

look at mook roles for 4e and adopt that template?

alternately the troop template, which lets them basically get some swarm like traits.


Silus wrote:
So cutting right to the chase, as a DM I'm trying to make weak monsters (HD and AC weak) as viable threats later on in a campaign I'm going to be running

This doesn't work in Pathfinder. You pretty much need a different game built for this, like 5e to pull it off.

Silus wrote:
2) Class levels. No reason these little buggers, who are little more than Goblins mixed with Morlocks without the Swarming ability, should be able to pull off complex teamwork feats and such.

So, uh, don't give them complex teamwork feats? You get to pick the class levels and feats you give them as the GM, obviously.

Silus wrote:
1) Low HD. The players should be one-shotting these monsters by ~lvl 5-7. ~12-16 hp each.

12-16 damage is one-shottable straight up at level 1. Full BAB + 18 Str + Power Attack + Greatsword is 2d6+9 damage, averaging 15 damage at 1st level.

Silus wrote:
3) High or scaling BAB. Yes, you may have like 26 AC and the thing these creatures are based off of (Goblins most likely) only have about a +1 or +2 to hit, but yes, they hit you.

This just isn't going to work. You're best bet might be if you gave them the "helpful" trait or some similar aid another bonus and then have them attack in swarms. So, maybe the first three all aid another the fourth, giving it a +12 to hit you.

Silus wrote:
4) Possibly scaling damage. Not by much though, replace weapons with claw attacks for small size creatures.

And yet, you don't want class levels or feats, which could easily give you scaling damage via things like Sneak Attack and Precise Strike.

Silus wrote:

So anyway I brought the idea to one of the players who has a good grasp of the rules and he more or less suggested no on the BAB and damage scaling, insisting on the class levels or a more "mooks led by monsters with class levels". "Not really what I was going for" was my reply, to which he responded with "Well that's what the system is designed for" or something of that nature.

So I'm askin' ya'll, what are your thoughts on this?

I think your friend is right. You're way better off with 5e, but you can maybe kind of sort of make it maybe work with some kind of aid another chaining. I guess.

Shadow Lodge

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It's definitely do-able, you just might have to stretch the rules a bit. The concept you have is fine - I'd write them up, skew them a bit for the easy side, and run them. Don't worry about all the complex monster creation rules.

If you are just looking for a good way to run lots of little enemies to make them intimidating, this is what I use


Take basic creature: Apply template, repeat until threatening.

Liberty's Edge

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Broken Zenith wrote:

It's definitely do-able, you just might have to stretch the rules a bit. The concept you have is fine - I'd write them up, skew them a bit for the easy side, and run them. Don't worry about all the complex monster creation rules.

If you are just looking for a good way to run lots of little enemies to make them intimidating, this is what I use

I think I'll use the templates you linked. Easier than applying and updating class levels as the players raise in levels.

Edit: also it solves a problem I didn't think about having later :D


Touch attacks and numbers.

This can take several forms- alchemical weapons, minor cantrips, weird mutations- whatever.

The general point is that most classes, outside of monks and high dex builds, have terrible touch AC. That means that even mooks have a chance.

Since a protection from energy spell would ruin this fairly easily, you might want to give them some kind of force attack-something without common resistence.

Maybe they got into some ancient civilization's stach of magic items. Something simple, like a gun (only not a gun- maybe wand-ish deal?), simple enough that even brain dead morlock/goblins can use them. I won't say they should be magic missiles, since the shield spell blocks magic missiles (thus making mages immune), but you get the idea.

Liberty's Edge

lemeres wrote:

Touch attacks and numbers.

This can take several forms- alchemical weapons, minor cantrips, weird mutations- whatever.

The general point is that most classes, outside of monks and high dex builds, have terrible touch AC. That means that even mooks have a chance.

Since a protection from energy spell would ruin this fairly easily, you might want to give them some kind of force attack-something without common resistence.

Maybe they got into some ancient civilization's stach of magic items. Something simple, like a gun (only not a gun- maybe wand-ish deal?), simple enough that even brain dead morlock/goblins can use them. I won't say they should be magic missiles, since the shield spell blocks magic missiles (thus making mages immune), but you get the idea.

Problem is that these things are supposed to be just north of animal intelligence. Feral, inbred mutants that behave like a mix of Fallout feral ghouls and zerglings. I want there to be legitimate panic if the PCs stumble upon a nest of them the things but at the same time have little worry if they encounter like one or two on their own. That's the balancing act problem: no threat when there's only a few, massive threat when there's like 20-30 of them.


If you're homebrewing monsters with unique racial traits like "+x to hit for every comrade in range", there's no reason that you can't have that. There's no requirement that things follow the rules. This is a well-disguised "the GM needs to talk to the players" thread. Are you running an AP and the players want the full Paizo experience (I'm assuming not), are the players just full on orthodox regarding the rules, or what? Because there are a dozen ways you could make the thing you're trying to make, none of them is elegant, and only a few of them don't involve bending or breaking the rules as published without handing the players a few dozen wands of fireball with 3 charges each.

You can easily go the route of making the monsters later on form into troops. You can give them homebrew abilities. You can give them class levels. You can give them custom items. I just don't get why it's a big deal how exactly you get from point A (weak monsters) to point B (dangerously weak monsters). Do what makes your players and you the happiest.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

They might also be threats (or at least nuisances) in indirect ways, like filching belongings or horses tied to the entrance of a dungeon. Creating large fires or other natural disasters the PCs have to deal with could be another possibility. They can also strike at friends and hirelings of the PCs (though don't use this one too ofter).

Sometimes it may be about timing. After the group has taken on a major opponent and just about been beaten to a pulp, they might come out like jackals and swarm the survivors not bleeding out or maybe just make off with the dead bodies.

Diseases, have them carry some horrible (supernatural?) plague or other affliction that doesn't have a DC based on the creature, preferably fast-acting. Might be worse if they can quickly create spawn among normal commoners, then you have something approaching exponential growth.

Using the mob template (from DM2 3.5) might be an option, or use some version of the Troop subtype (from Rasputin Must Die! AP volume)

Another thing might be to have them not be the threat, but the thing that unleashes the threat, like in their pilfering they unleash some ancient horror or some such by accident.


Silus wrote:
Problem is that these things are supposed to be just north of animal intelligence. Feral, inbred mutants that behave like a mix of Fallout feral ghouls and zerglings. I want there to be legitimate panic if the PCs stumble upon a nest of them the things but at the same time have little worry if they encounter like one or two on their own. That's the balancing act problem: no threat when there's only a few, massive threat when there's like 20-30 of them.

Fair enough. I just suggested tools since I was going on about force damage.

IF you can surprise your PCs with acid damage, then making the little buggers vomit acid because they ATE magic junk and got mutated seems appropriate.

Still, the idea of touch attacks in general does present a fairly serious problem if the PCs don't have a resistence up, since it can end up being 20d4 to 30d4 damage spread around the party when each one has a 1d4 attack.

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