Building a Module : Part 2 : Basics of Monster Building

Last time I made a rough outline for our module. Today we are going to go into details on the design of the first encounter. Again, I’m going to try to avoid spoilers unless they pertain to the design.

First up is the smaller area, which only has one easy and one hard fight.

Again, an easy fight will be 40xp per player. This could mean a single level 7 monster per player, or two level 5 monsters(base 30xp -10xp for being two levels lower).

I decide that the first fight I want to be smaller to help the players figure out the mechanics of the area. So I decide on making two types of monsters, one that is per even number players, and one that is per odd number players.

For the first enemy, we are going to look at making a Dark Ranger.

Choosing the proper type for the monster is important. Do I want them to be fast Strikers, heavy Brutes, strong Defenders, or the Base creature stats. I could honestly see Striker for a ranger, but I know I’m going to pair it with a Mage, who also does huge damage from the back. So I decide to go with the average Base stats for now.

Looking at the monster spreadsheet, I see the base stats are:

HP: 127 AC:23(22) Saves:7
Basic Attack: +11(55)

First of all, I know I want these rangers to be corrupted by dark seeds, wrapping their bodies in these leeching vines that control them and give them strength. I look at the Customize Stats portion of the Monster Guide and decide that because of the vinesthey have Weakness(fire), which will increase any fire damage they take by 50%. To off-set that, I’m giving them +1 AC and Fast Healing 7. I also decide that since they are being mind-controlled, they have -2 Will, but +2 Fortitude.
For their attacks, they will have Thorn Blades, which can cause the target to bleed, and a Seed Arrow ranged attack using their bows and corrupted seeds.
Thorn Blades is going to have +2 Crit and cause the target to bleed(works like Burn, dealing 7 damage each round that ignores non-typed DR) on critical hits. The +2 Crit costs 2 “points”, meaning I’m going to have to lower either the hit or the damage. I decide to lower the damage by 10%.

To cover the bleed part, I decide to lower the damage by 5%(2.75 damage), but have the bleed last 3 rounds(21 damage) since it only happens 15% of the time(or avg 3 damage per turn).
Thorn Blades: +11(46 piercing damage, crits on 18-20. On crit, target bleeds for 3 rounds, taking 7 piercing damage per turn that ignores non-typed DR)

For the Seed Arrow, I decide that once a target is hit two times by the arrow, they are Dominated for 1 round. Domination for 1 round is a pretty powerful ability. Ray of Greed is rank 2 spell that does it with a ranged touch attack that deals no damage. I’ve off-set the power by requiring 2 hits, or an average of 4 turns. Of course, multiple Dark Rangers focusing on one target can be pretty harsh. With that in mind, I settle on -20% damage. I also decide to give the target a save. I look over at the mage stats in the monster spreadsheet and see the DC is 19 at this level, so I use it.
Seed Arrow: +11(44 piercing damage. Targets hit twice by these seeds must make a Will save(19) or be Dominated for 1 round).

Final Dark Ranger:

Dark Ranger  – Level 7 base
HP: 127 AC:24(23) Saves:9/7/5 Fast Healing 7 Weakness(fire)
Thorn Blades: +11(46 piercing damage, crits on 18-20. On crit, target bleeds for 3 rounds, taking 7 piercing damage per turn that ignores non-typed DR).
Seed Arrow: +11(44 piercing damage. Targets hit twice by these seeds must make a Will save(19) or be Dominated for 1 round). Range 12.

Tomorrow we will be building the Corrupted Druid to round out the first encounter.

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