These are great Sage! I know I seem to be in the minority here, but that is a rather comprehensive (and extremely useful) set of lists to determine 'hard and fast' numbers for the Monster's HP / Damage and Armour. This is great to create monsters 'on the fly' as Adam origianlly intended.
But what of guidance to a monster's Instinct and Moves? I realise they can appropriate moves from their Danger category, but what some guidelines / rules / examples on creating the narrative side of the Monster 'Stat Block'?
The Early Rules (25-8-10 ruleset) said:
The most important of these is the cool idea. Without
that, everything else about a monster will feel the same
as any other monsters. Go scrounge old Monster Manuals
and movies for inspiration. Come up with something that
sounds interesting before you think about any of the other
To me, making sure the GM knows that the most
important part of the Monster is your cool idea, rather than how many HP it has or how much damage it does, is ESSENTIAL
. I think this is vital to avoiding the disconnect some playtesters have been having with the monster builder 'math'.
When you frontload the builder with mechanical values first and tack on your cool idea (and thus instinct and moves) after, it lowers the importance of a monster's narrative moves in its ability to imaginatively 'challenge' the PC's, what it looks like, what it does, why it stands out. The stories told about it and what effects it has had on the world and the monster's importance within the Hero's world.
I know the current Beta rules have wonderful rules in the 'Elements'
paragraph of the monster chapter, and they highlight in bold (in order of importance) the 'stats' of any given monster. Remembering that the most important part of any monster is what it does
So maybe there could be a section of Questions to establish (or at least get the GM's imagination flowing) in the following section on 'Creating Monsters'
for its Moves / Instinct / Description before
the questions on Damage / Tags / HP / Armour?
Maybe a sample move or two? Or a basic template (similar to Defy Danger
) for a player initiated monster move? Some common instincts listed and their obvious effect on the fiction?
Just ideas to help folks who are finding a disconnect between the stats as generated by the questions as they stand and the 'lethality' of the monsters Damage / HP / Armour without the nessesary 'temperance' by the narrative (descriptive) potential in monster moves / instinct / special qualities.
I'm really enjoying playtesting this process and putting myself in the 'shoes' of folks who are finding the monsters they are building not working in the ways they expected mechanically. I for one, find the rules as written excellent
for our little to no prep improv style and I will test out the new monster builder questions this weekend with our newly levelled Thief & Ranger as they explore ever deeper in search of the Skull of Akatosh.