Creating Monsters

The monster creation process is essentially the same as the character creation process. Select one or more monster paths, select one or more advantages from each path and decide how many CP will be spent on each advantage. Unlike the creation of characters which has to be fair and balanced, the Game Leader is not restricted by a character point or meta-character point budget.

The lack of restrictions on monster creation frees the Game Leaders to focus on creating interesting monsters. This is not the same as creating powerful monsters with lots of CP. Monsters which are excessively powerful will defeat the characters easily, providing no amusement to anyone. An interesting monster, however, will have no more points than needed to pose a challenge to the players. The ultimate aim for a monster is not to kill characters but to provide entertainment.

Using & Creating Monster Paths

Monster paths differ from character paths in one key regard - they take no account of game balance or fairness. Different monster paths may have widely different mixes of advantages with varying levels of power. Intelligent monsters who move in the same or similar cultures to the characters may also make use of character paths. However the reverse is not true and players may not use monster paths for their characters.

The paths help define the monster and no more monster paths should be used than needed. Game Leaders should avoid picking a path just to access one specific advantage and instead ensure each selected path is well used. This helps keep the design of the monster focused and distinctive.

Game Leaders are encouraged to create their own monster paths for their own game worlds. Each class or group of monsters will need its own path with its own unique mix of advantages to give them a distinctive look. For example, a new path for all the species on a particular planet or a path for a particular race such as elves. The paths may contain advantages taken from other paths or the Game Leader can create new advantages. These advantages will never be available to the characters, and the Game Leader has a free hand in their creation.

CP & MCP for Monsters

Monsters spend CP to purchase advantages and increase their dice value using the normal scale. The total CP used is not very important but it is a vague indicator of the monster's overall strength. A creature with all its advantages at 1d6+6 / 25 CP is going to be a bigger threat than a creature with only 1d6+0 / 4 CP on its advantages. A well-designed monster will have its most frequently used advantages at higher CP values and the rest lower.

As with character points, the Game Leader has no limits on the meta-character points (MCP) used on monsters. A starting character is limited to 9 MCP, normally as four dynamic potential, two static potential, two recoup and one free resist. By changing this mix for monsters the Game Leader can create interesting challenges for the players. Monsters with only two dynamic potential but a recoup of four will behave very differently from the standard starting character even though they have the same MCP.

Considerations

Monster creation is an art and not a science. There is no equation for working out how many CP and MCP a creature needs to be a challenge for a party of adventurers. A lot depends on the circumstances in which the characters encounter the monster. Weak monsters can be deadly when catching players in an ambush and powerful monsters can be quickly slain if the characters have a form of attack against which the monster has no defence.

The significant factor to consider about a monster is whether it will be alone when facing the characters in combat. A solitary monster facing five or six characters will always struggle. The characters' combined potential will exceed the monster's and the sheer weight of attacks will overwhelm the creature. Monsters designed to fight alone should have more free resists at higher CP values to offset the players' numerical advantages.

The complexity of the monster must be considered during its design. Creatures with lots of advantages, especially unusual ones, require more attention from the Game Leader during play. This increases the chances the Game Leader will make a mistake and the monster may not provide the hoped-for challenge to the players. It is best to have complex monsters supported by mooks instead of other fully-defined creatures. Keeping track of several monsters' potential and making the best use of their advantages while monitoring the players' action is demanding. Keep this in mind during the design and include suitable mooks to support the monster. New traits can be created which enhance the monster's abilities or help cover any weaknesses.

The final consideration is what is the purpose of the monster? Is it simple sword / cannon / laser-blaster fodder, an end-of-level boss monster or something else? The role of many monsters is to fight the characters and they do not need advantages relating to social skills or challenges. This keeps the monster sheets simpler and the Game Leader can ad-lib and add advantages on the fly for those rare occasions when characters do talk to the monsters. If players are expected to meet the monster in other situations, the creature needs to be designed accordingly and it will probably need to use character paths to access some of the abilities it needs.

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open/settings/100monster/creatingmonsters.txt · Last modified: 2014/12/31 10:23 by tregenza
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The 6d6 RPG tabletop store is owned and operated by Chris Tregenza. Who also owns and runs Myomancy, a site about ADD / ADHD medication, Autism and Dyslexia Treatments and also site called Poosk. Chris also provides copy-writing, web design SEO advice to sites like Dingles' Games pathfinder rpg resources.