Author Topic: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?  (Read 29238 times)

sage

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2012, 09:46:07 PM »
We've got a revision to monster damage in the works that lower it just a bit and might make the questions make more sense to some people. Hang tight, hope to have it out tonight along with character sheets.

sage

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2012, 10:26:42 PM »
Interested folks: we have a new version, what do you think?

Replace the first two questions with these:

How does the monster usually fight or hunt?
  • In a large group (5+): 5 damage
  • In a small group (2-5): 7 damage
  • All on its lonesome: 9 damage
What is the largest that the monster could cause problems for (in its usual numbers)?
  • An isolated village: +0 damage
  • A defended village: +4 damage
  • A rural keep: +8 damage
  • A garrisoned keep: +12 damage
  • A city: +16 damage
  • A seat of power: + 20 damage

This is slightly more forgiving at low levels, gives a little more fine differentiation, and doesn't compare PCs to NPCs in odd ways. Thoughts?

Dan Maruschak

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2012, 11:31:43 PM »
The paladin's healing not being very useful is certainly useful information though. We've had a hell of a time dealing with the healing niches and we'll keep working on it.
The healing not being useful was from my perspective. I'm not sure how the Paladin player himself felt. It was useful that he had the move because he used it twice to bring back the Thief who had stabilized after a Last Breath roll, but as the GM I was looking at my monsters knowing that anything that did its normal damage to the healed Thief at that point was going to kill him again.

With your new proposed rule, I'm not sure if I have an easy time parsing "cause problems for", especially since village is the lowest level. At first I thought "would a gang of rowdy toughs really cause problems for an entire village?" But then I thought that if a village was beset by a gang of rowdy toughs the people that live there would probably consider it a problem. I think that using addition rather than multiplication seems less scary, which I like. With these rules my big lizard would be doing 9 or 13 points of damage rather than 24, which seems a lot more reasonable to me.

sage

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2012, 11:38:34 PM »
We'll certainly add text to unpack it, but your instinct is right: a gang of thugs could cause trouble for an undefended village. They'd probably call them bandits. A defended village less so. A gang sounds like a few guys, so probably 7 damage. Unless they're skilled or well-armed.

Glitch

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2012, 03:57:31 AM »
Sage, I think the new damage guidelines are much better.  My lone tiger would now do 9 damage instead of 48, which seems more in line with reality :)

Just another thought, basing monster hp on their spawn environment seems strange to me.  In my thought process, I'd imagine first a list of size categories, Tiny to Gargantuan perhaps, and after that, the hitpoints possibly modified by extreme spawn environments.  That was just my impression after reading the creation rules ... I wonder what others thought?

Perfecting this phase of the system will be tricky, thanks for listening to our feedback!  I see it moving in the right direction :)

skinnyghost

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2012, 06:36:49 AM »
In my thought process, I'd imagine first a list of size categories, Tiny to Gargantuan perhaps, and after that, the hitpoints possibly modified by extreme spawn environments.  That was just my impression after reading the creation rules ... I wonder what others thought?

Size is a real tricky one because a goblin or a rat, sure.  Size = small = wuss.  More problematic is a dragon whelp or an imp or something.  We're thinking damage is just something that happens, more often than not, as a byproduct of the fray, and doesn't indicate dangerousness in it's entirety.  The monsters' moves should give you a good idea of how scary or deadly it can be.

Mike Olson

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2012, 08:07:13 AM »
I think maybe the problem is that "can kill peasants in a small group" doesn't match up to "can go toe-to-toe with a player character." In retrospect that's super obvious!
Okay, good. I'm glad this is the issue. You can understand my confusion then, I'm sure.

Here, look at part of what I'm told about the Fighter: "You are a beast of iron. ... Fighter, you are steel. ... You are the wall -- let every danger smash itself to nothing on you."

Likewise, the Paladin: "Eyes, hands and sweet killing blow of the gods, you are."

And need I even mention the Wizard, who I'm told "can hurl fireballs from [his] eyes?"

I never even considered that my dwarven-city-protecting automatons would be doing peasant-level damage, because by these descriptions the PCs are clearly way tougher than your typical agrarian laborer.

Anyway. By the New Method, it looks like my Iron Dwarf would now do about 11 damage, and I'm down with that. Much more reasonable. It'll take 3 hits to kill a Fighter and 2 hits to kill a less melee-oriented character, which is about where I wanted it.

"What does it threaten?" still isn't a useful question for these guys (or for the green slime), but I get the gist of it.

Oh, and I really like the "Which of these describes it?" questions, too. Adding more there can only be a good thing, and seems like the sort of task you could easily farm out to the fan base (for suggestions, at the very least).

noofy

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2012, 11:36:39 AM »
Sorry, I've been away guys and not added to the discussion. :(
I like the newest damage descriptions and questions Sage, excellent.

I just wanted to point out to folks when making monsters that don't let the damage part of their stat block overshadow the power you can invest in the creature with its moves. The fictional consequences are so much more immersive (and powerful) within the framework of your very own dungeon world. The damage questions on threat give you an idea to the potential lethality of a monster, its damage a suggested blow, but its moves ground that all within the fiction.

I love spending time on monster moves, these are where the monster creation rules shine.

Oh and I Love the new playbook layout Adam and Sage, Brilliant!

Played a totally impro session this weekend and was heavily inspired by the 4e D&D Comic 'Shadowplague'. Had a blast! AP to follow soon :)

Glitch

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2012, 05:44:28 PM »
>>Size is a real tricky one<<

Hi Adam,

I think basing monster HP on environment is also tricky.  For example, take the Imp that you mentioned, and let's create an Imp and a Balrog.  Both are spawned in The Planes (50 HP base).  The Imp gets -6 HP because it's smaller than a Halfling, and the Balrog gets +7 HP because it's much larger than a man.

Imp = 44 hitpoints
Balrog = 57 hitpoints

It strikes me that the Imp has too many HP with this method.

On the other hand, assume a framework something like this:

Tiny = 2 hp base
Small = 5 hp base
Man sized = 10 hp base
Large = 20 hp base
Huge = 30 hp base
Gargantuan = 40 hp base

Spawned in Dangerous or Twisted places = x2 hp
Spawned in the Planes = x3 hp

With a framework like this we get:

Imp = 15 hp
Balrog = 60 hp

which is closer to what I would have expected.

After pondering this for a while, I feel that trying to shoehorn monster stat generation into a rigid set of questions like this will unfailingly lead to some results that defy logic.  As sage stressed earlier, the monster stats aren't even the most important part of the monster, so why devote so much energy in the rules?  I actually think the advice in the earlier DW Print Edition made alot more sense in this regard.  With those brief, helpful paragraphs, and eyeballing the existing monsters, a GM could easily stat out custom monsters.

sage

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2012, 06:55:44 PM »
Glitch, the issue with those was that they had Zero to do with the monster. I wrote a ton of monsters and always started with a clear idea of how tough the monster should be for the players and then worked back to stats. That's not how DW works! That's a thing you do for "balanced" encounters, DW is a living breathing world.

With the Imp we have an expectation clash. We, through the rules, are saying: anything from the planes is a big deal. Even the weakest thing is supernatural and can absorb a lot of damage. Your expectation that Imps are low level opponents doesn't match that.

Our goal here is not to make a system that puts every D&D monster in the same place. Our goal is to make a system where the monster's stats come from something besides "How tough should it be to players of this level?"

I like your size + modifier approach and it's something we've messed with before. My only concerns are adding more questions and adding more math. Also if we did something like that we'd use fewer size classes and bigger multipliers most likely, but that's a matter of taste.

Overall how are people liking the question-based monster creation?

Glitch

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #40 on: February 04, 2012, 07:08:26 PM »
Alright sage, I'll let other people weigh in.  But, in closing I don't think that the impetus for my ideas was balancing encounters, I'm not a fan of the "balanced encounter" at all.  Just wanted to point out some possible areas where the stat generation rules don't give enough variety for the huge scope of monsters DW will be inhabited with.

JBMannon

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2012, 07:54:33 PM »
I'm with glitch here. I think that even in the planes there will be weak and strong creatures.

Mike Olson

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2012, 05:03:58 AM »
I just wanted to point out to folks when making monsters that don't let the damage part of their stat block overshadow the power you can invest in the creature with its moves.
Indeed. But damage is important, too. Oftentimes, a character's HP total is an indicator to the player of when things are really getting bad. If I fictionally beat up on them but never deal damage, for a lot of players (me included) that's going to lack a certain amount of weight. Like I said earlier, dealing damage isn't my only option for a move, but it's certainly one of them -- and important one -- and I don't want to lose it.

Besides, healing magic, armor, shields -- damage really matters to these elements of the game. I'm all for the Cloud, but the Dice are a part of the system, too.

noofy

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2012, 10:25:15 PM »
Oh, I agree Mike. But Damage isn't strict either. I see it as a 'Guide' to the monster's potential. I mean, if you want, you could just kill 'em all with an earthquake too, but that would be a dick move.

When Fizbo the wizard misses his hack and slash with the giant, I could make my monster move and say hurl the wizard against a cavern wall... But I also decide to deal damage (as warranted by the fiction). Now that could be the Giant's damage that it deals as listed in its stat block. Or I could ask the fighter 'Hey Groo, you've fought giants before right? Is that sickening crunch as Fizbo hits the stalagmites got you worried?' You know that the giant's damage as listed will kill the wizard, and you are a fan of the character's right?

You could knock Fizbo out, forgetting all his spells.
You could break his bones, or cripple him permanently.
You could bounce him painfully off the stalagmites and have him clinging precariously to the edge of a subterranean abyss. Groo can either save him from certain death or attack the Giant, what does he do?
You could have his bundle of books save his scrwany hide but get pierced by the stalagmites and use up his resources.
You could impale his leg on a needle thin stagalmite causing the loss of all his HP bar one and have (up until this point)  the trustworthy goblin guide named Snitch smirk evilly as he draws a rusty dagger and approaches Fizbo to 'help'.
You could disclaim decision making, ask questions and use what they give you, thus letting Groo's answer guide the fiction (or if he waxes lyrical - snowball and say, 'hmmmm sounds like you are spouting lore...').

Or you could just deal the Giant's damage and have Fizbo make the death move.

They are all vaild moves, I personally feel that the fictional ramifications have far more tension ridden 'weight' that simply choosing to either deal damage as established (or roll monster damage if that's your thing). And simply rolling the death move. The more I can tie the immediate fiction into the mechanics, the more weight our story has.

I really like telling them the consequences and asking. Foreshadow the pain and suffering. You know that the Giants stat block lists its damage as enough to kill all the PC's with one or two blows. Show them that doom! Have the Giant smash shit in front of them, crushing dwarven architecture into splinters. If they really decide that attacking the Giant is worth the risk, despite the fact you've said 'Hey, y'know one blow from his meaty fist will crush your bones into jelly', then by all means deal 500 damage.

I think the most powerful part of the game is the emergent potential of monsters as they are seated within your dungeon world, as tools of the story. Monsters exist to illustrate what a dangerous awful place Dungeon World can be, so illustrate with their moves, and deal damage as appropriate.

John Harper

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Re: New Monster Building Guideline Weirdness?
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2012, 12:45:32 AM »
Maybe "where it's spawned" has more to do with the fictional positioning needed to hurt it (and its particular weaknesses), and less to do with piling on HP.

A creature from the outer planes can't be harmed by weapons forged by mortals. It cannot abide the touch of quicksilver.

A ghost from the death lands has no physical form to hit. It cannot abide that which is holy and consecrated by the gods.


Etc.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 08:37:56 AM by John Harper »