Wednesday, January 4, 2017

More Than I Can Chew: Monster Stat Block

I have this terrible habit of starting an RPG project and then going way too far with it. I read somewhere or other that James Spahn, author of The Hero's Journey Fantasy RPG originally set out to do something much smaller than rewrite and entire set of White Box Rules, but got a little carried away.

I can relate.

The problem is, school starts back up in less than a week and my free time is going to greatly diminish. I need to prioritize what to do in the family White Box campaign that I've been talking about on here. I've done more work than I've posted, most of which will find its way here once its in more complete form. I'm not exactly reinventing the wheel, but I am doing more than I actually need to just to run this thing. Here's a little insight into how my thinking goes, and how easily I fall down the rabbit-hole of too much game design.

Monster Stats
Look, I love the simplicity of White Box. On the other hand, I like the way ACKS incorporates things like % in lair and number appearing for each monster. It's a little built-in system where the GM gets to play a bit, too. Trigger a random encounter? What kind of creature? Did the PCs just happen upon a full monster lair, complete with treasure, or was it just a monster out wandering about? In either case, how many creatures are we talking about?

The people who own this have lawyers. I do not
ACKS has all this baked-in to the system. I'd like to have the relevant info in the same place as the monster stats themselves, so why not copy and paste? And, since I'm already combining stat blocks, why not put them in an order I find most useful at the gaming table?

Here's what I've got so far, using the Orrg. Oh, and I changed the spelling again because of something I'd forgotten about from way back in my ever-so-brief time as Magic the Gathering Player (see picture to the right).

I tried to separate this into two parts: stuff I need outside of an encounter and stuff I need during. I'm not sure if I'm sold on having Alignment and CL/XP up at the top, but that's how I'm currently leaning. The reasoning is that I only care about CL when planning or generating an encounter and XP afterwards when I'm awarding experience. Alignment finds its way up there because I generally don't care about alignment during a combat. It might come up, sure, but not as often as Armor Class or Hit Points.

You'll also notice I use treasure types, similar to but not 100% identical to ACKS. I may end up changing the lettering system they use to one of my own creation. The system I use to roll treasure is borrowed from ACKS which, considering the amount of work the authors put into the economics of that game, I'd be a fool to ignore. The actual charts are a little different, however, since my coinage is not the same as ACKS. More on that in a future post. Also, I've added Morale to my stat block, since I really like having the option of rolling randomly to see how my monsters react.

% In Lair: 30%
Dungeon Encounter: Gang (2d6) / Lair (1 warband)
Wilderness Encounter: Warband (3d6 gangs) / Village (1d10 warbands)
Treasure: G (per warband)
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 2/30

Hit Dice: 1
Move: 12
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: Weapon or natural weapon
Saving Throw: 17+
Special: Fury
Morale: +0

Orrgs are savage humanoids that resemble a cross between men and beasts. Orrgs are broad-shouldered, muscular, and covered with thick, curly hair. Their flat faces resemble a sheep or goat, as do their legs and cloven hooves, but they are otherwise human from the waist up. Most but not all orrgs have horns, usually broad and curled like a ram’s, although some have short straight horns and a few sport deer-like antlers. Creatures of almost pure chaos, the orrgs are a universally violent, bloodthirsty race. They fight to the death, adding a +2 to all attack rolls because of their great fury.

Rumors exist of orrgs who possess far different characteristics than the rest of their race, with bony-plated skin, bear-like muzzles, or even serpentine appendages. Whether these mutants are the elite warriors of the orrg’s chaos-gods, some rare off-shoot of the main race, or merely the bugaboo of some adventurer’s tall tale remains unknown.

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