Monster Manual and DND Conversion

Do you have suggestions? Questions? Are there mechanical or balance problems?

Monster Manual and DND Conversion

Postby Maugh » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:07 pm

This is a continuation of this thread:

posting.php?mode=reply&f=4&t=497

I figured that the monster manual and conversion deserved its own thread.

1. The monster manual that's on the forum is a VERY rough draft, (not sure exactly where it is, but glad you found it,). Some of the stats in there, if they are past 16, are pretty much wrong. Sorry about that. I'm fairly certain there are other bugs that you're going to find working through those as well, not the least of which is the fact that a couple of the skills and stats are going to be interpreted differently in that book than in the Vol 1 core manual. This game has gone through a lot of shifts and changes through development, and unfortunately, the monster manual I think you've got may be a couple of steps behind.

The reality is that updating and completing that book is a colossal amount of work, and I'm spread a little to thin to get to it in the very near future. It WILL be done, and it WILL be much better balanced and tuned than it is. I have a programmer who I'm working with to try and create a functional character/monster generator that will help me speed that process a great deal, but it's one of several things on my plate right now. I'll get to it.

You can actually help that a lot by posting any bugs and such that you're noticing with the book as it is. Stuff like the forest dragon's lack of magic and the Watcher of the Woods exceeding 16 are minor problems, but it really helps for me to have a record of these so I know what to fix. I take feedback pretty seriously and will definitely look at fixing them. In the meanwhile, please enjoy the tools that are there, and I will try to make more tools available as I get them done. I am happy to share rough drafts and playtesting iterations, just understand that we're a small team, so sometimes our time gets spread pretty thin, and the work may have a few minor problems and can be slow in coming.


2. Conversion
The conversion process is by no means perfect, and is more a useful tool for ad-hocking things than anything. As you convert monsters, there are things that are going to be a little wonky. As a Storyteller, the job is to adjust, often on the fly, to balance with what the characters are doing. Ultimately, the range of balance of this game is pretty dramatic, based on the skill level (and luck) of the players. This means that the storyteller should be flexible and be able to pay attention to how much fun people are having, adjusting for higher difficulty to increase engagement, or lowering difficulty to decrease frustration. That balance is tricky to find, because it's different from group to group.

The great thing about converting from older systems is the wealth of concepts that are there. It is the concepts that are more important than the stats.


3. The Skill Cap
As a storyteller learns to run the game well, it becomes clear that the skill cap is the DM's best friend. With a good character concept and some decent storytelling skills, all the storyteller has to do is have a character concept, an idea of what that monster/character is very good at, what they're okay at, and what they can't do well or at all, as well as 2 or 3 cool tricks they can pull off.

A character at even level has their good skills at skill cap, weaker skills at 2 or 4 below skill cap, and others at 0. A tough character will follow this same formula, but will be 2 higher for a tough enemy, or 4 higher for a very tough enemy, 6 over skill cap for brutal characters requiring a lot of teamwork.

Attributes follow the same idea. 14-16 for ridiculously powerful, 10-12 for tough, and 6-8 for average or weak.

Hp is also similar. 10-20 for weak critters, 30-40 for average to tough, 50+ for very tough. It's not hard to use the character sheet to see what kind of an endurance might have.

Damage stats and speeds mimic weapons and spells.

As long as the monster/npc has both strengths and weaknesses, then this plays out pretty well. I may be oversimplifying a little, but it really boils down to that, mechanically. the storytelling is actually more important anyway.

Anyway, that's enough for now. Good luck!
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Re: Monster Manual and DND Conversion

Postby Maugh » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:39 pm

Also, it's very, very easy to give out too many HP or to have monsters with too-high defensive skills. Every monster should have a hole in its defenses, be that autonomy, grit, dodge or parry. Something should work against them. It's kind of critical to the way the game works, and makes it so you can reward a variety of different strategies in different situations.
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