[Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

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AxesnOrcs
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[Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by AxesnOrcs » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:17 pm

Hey it's me again. The guy digging too deeply into Serraine expecting silly things like rhyme, reason, and cross-product consistency.

A week ago I finished a draft reworking the Sphinx into something more playable in a mixed group. I've been continuously cleaning it up because I am my worst editor. Like usual, I'll dump the full text of my blog post because I care more about getting input where ever.

Sphinx Monster Class
Ability Score Requirement: 9 Strength, 13 Intelligence, 9 Wisdom
Hit Dice: Id8 per level up to 12th level. Starting with 13th level, +1 hit point per level, and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Saving Throws: As a Fighter
Armor: Any barding at triple cost and encumbrance.
Weapons: Natural Weapons Only.
Special Abilities: Flight, Roar, and Magic-User or Cleric Spellcasting (choose one at first level)

A sphinx's roar has three zones within its area of effect: z1, z2, z3 for reference. Z3 is the furthest and all within it must save vs spells or be feared. Z2 is as z3 with the addition of a save vs paralysis or be stunned. Z1 is as z2 and z3 with the addition of a save vs spells of be deafened for 1d10 turns, save for half duration, as well take an amount of sonic damage, no save for half effect. The duration of the fear and stun are by hit dice, as is the damage of the roar.

A sphinx has a base movement of 180'(60') and a fly movement of 360'(120'). Aerial Combat stats are: Air speed: 120', MF & Takeoff: 1(b), Carry 100 lbs per Level.

Due to difficulty formatting the bbcode for the level advancement tables, in order to so them you will have to visit the blog post. I am not spending forever trouble shooting this.
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by Big Mac » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:49 pm

AxesnOrcs wrote:Hey it's me again. The guy digging too deeply into Serraine expecting silly things like rhyme, reason, and cross-product consistency.

A week ago I finished a draft reworking the Sphinx into something more playable in a mixed group. I've been continuously cleaning it up because I am my worst editor. Like usual, I'll dump the full text of my blog post because I care more about getting input where ever.
I don't know enough about Mystara to help directly, but I've added links to your topic and to your blog post, to the PC2 Top Ballista page on the Book-House on The Piazza, in the hopes that fans can find your Sphinx Monster Class, and use it in their games when you have it finished. :)
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by Havard » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:43 pm

Looks interesting!

What were the main issues you wanted to change for this reworking of the class?

I collected some lore about Sphinxes of Mystara in this thread. Maybe that could be useful to your players?

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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by AxesnOrcs » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:30 pm

Big Mac wrote:
AxesnOrcs wrote:Hey it's me again. The guy digging too deeply into Serraine expecting silly things like rhyme, reason, and cross-product consistency.

A week ago I finished a draft reworking the Sphinx into something more playable in a mixed group. I've been continuously cleaning it up because I am my worst editor. Like usual, I'll dump the full text of my blog post because I care more about getting input where ever.
I don't know enough about Mystara to help directly, but I've added links to your topic and to your blog post, to the PC2 Top Ballista page on the Book-House on The Piazza, in the hopes that fans can find your Sphinx Monster Class, and use it in their games when you have it finished. :)
Thank you.
Havard wrote:Looks interesting!

What were the main issues you wanted to change for this reworking of the class?

I collected some lore about Sphinxes of Mystara in this thread. Maybe that could be useful to your players?

-Havard
In general the frequently pointed out negative experience totals and the skipping of hitdice on certain levels. Specific to the Sphinx the 300k exp needed per level. Sure sphinxes are fairly powerful monsters, and I didn't next to nothing to curb that in my current rebuild, but that huge amount of exp needed means everyone else in a mixed party is at potentially ruling a domain level of play while you went from 2d8 to 3d8 with a slew of mediocre increases to mediocre benefits.

I've bookmarked your thread, and I'll show it to my wife. We are between gaming right now on account of parenthood and baby brain. She has expressed a great deal of interest in playing a Sphinx since I told her what I was doing.
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by AxesnOrcs » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:42 pm

My version of the pegataur. Again, y'all'll have to click through to the post since I am not fighting the troubleshooting fight. I'm not really sure what the issue is adding a table is here.
The pegataur is not as egregious of a mess as a PC class as the sphinx is, requiring a more reasonable 20,000 exp to go from negative 3 to normal monster level (level zero), but still negative experience totals make sense only if you consider the base monster stats as level-0. It is also a linear progression until level "two," unlike the core classes.

While I gave the sphinx a similar exp progression to the elf with an additional amount per level to account for the additional abilities of the sphinx, I do not place much extra value to the flight of either class in a Serraine campaign, PCs can be assumed to be airplane pilots in the same campaign. Airplanes outclass most flying monsters in general, and do for sure outclass the PC options. Likewise, I do not place much extra value in the delayed spellcasting progression of the pegataur, with default casting ability of a 1st level elf at 5 HD.

In Top Ballista pegataurs could choose to become a wicca, later renamed to wokani (because wicca was offensive to neo-pagans?), or a shaman in lieu of elf spellcasting at 5 HD. I am not sure as why wicca would be an appealing option with its more restrictive spell list. This is in addition to the extra ability score requirements, extra experience, and ability checks to even become either. Sticking with the initial idea of wicca/shaman as extra options, is why this rebuild has the option of using the spell lists of cleric, druid, or magic-user.

There are also some pegataur specific jousting rules? Wholly unnecessary, use your own.

Pegataur Monster Class
Ability Score Requirement: 9 Strength, 9 Intelligence, 9 Wisdom
Hit Dice: Id8 per level up to 10th level. Starting with 11th level, +2 hit point per level, and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Attack Progression: As a Fighter.
Saving Throws: As a Fighter.
Armor: Any barding at double cost and encumbrance.
Weapons: As a Fighter.
Special Abilities: Flight, natural AC, hooves, mid-level spellcasting, use Elf spell progression (one of cleric, druid, or m-u spell lists), two hoof attacks (1d6 each), base AC 5(15).

Pegataurs have fucking elfin/human torsos with a winged equine body from the waist down. They are generally insular people with the bulk of their external dealings being as mercenaries. "Normal" pegataurs will only contract out as groups, never singularly. The pegataurs of Serraine have lived there so long, ever since its founding when a large enough unit was contracted for a very long term, and being in such long-term close proximity has given them a less insular outlook. They still keep to themselves in their quarter of the floating city, but it would not be unusual to see singular pegataurs looking at home in mixed company.

A pegataur has a base movement of 180'(60') and a fly movement of 360'(120'). Aerial Combat stats are: Air speed: 120', MF & Takeoff: 3 (b), Carry 100 lbs per Level.
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:13 am

Following this thread with interest. I've always been a bit bothered by some of the monster classes in PC2 myself, for many of the reasons you mention (the sphinx and nagpa were extremely notable here, in their excessive XP costs not being better offset by more incremental gains at lower levels to make them comparable to other classes they might be adventuring with).

Additionally, it's always kind of bothered me that the gnomes weren't given a "proper" demihuman treatment like the other demihuman class/race combos (dwarf, elf, halfling) instead of the monster class treatment. I think I get why it was done that way- so as not to have conflicting approaches - but then PC3 notably has both the Aquatic Elf- following standard elf rules- among the other classes. In any event, I've been thinking a lot lately about how to do a more standardized "demihuman" race for gnomes.

What I'm currently toying with (and stuck on) is to give them a level/Attack Rank progression like the other demihumans, but give them natural spellcasting like elves. I am going to use the Cleric spell progression (1st spell at 2nd level) and have their max level be 8, like halflings. At that point, though, I get stuck.

The working ideas for how to handle their spellcasting are as follows:

1) Give them a spell list like the illusionist list from 1E AD&D, in keeping with their traditional D&D illusionist specialties and "trickster"-like characteristics.
2) Let them cast off the Fairy spell list from PC1
3) Make them some kind of unique hybrid-list that would encompass spells from both the Cleric and Magic-user lists that are more closely elemental in nature, in keeping with the Earth, Sky, and (from the HW map) Ice-gnome designations of Mystara gnomes.

All of these have drawbacks, among which are:
1) Most of the illusionist spells are not in BECMI currently, and so would require a unique spell section just for gnomes
2) Many of the Fairy spells do not necessarily seem appropriate for gnomes (there are some curative spells and the like thereon)
3) There is a surprisingly spare amount of "elemental" type spells from both lists that currently exist, and would thus require a couple of things:
  • 3a) New elemental spells created/borrowed from other sources, to cover all the various (known) gnomish elemental leanings;
  • 3b) Special annotations would have to be made to show which types of gnomes could use which spells;
  • 3c) There would probably still need to be some "generic" catchall spells added to the list that gnomes of any elemental stripe could use in addition to the elemental spells.
In any event, that's where I'm at with a revised gnome class right now. Stuck on spells for it.
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by AxesnOrcs » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:35 am

I can see how trying to stick as much within BECMI could cause those problems reworking the Gnome. I do agree that Gnomes are likely best served as treating them as the other demihumans with some kind of caster progression.

I think this is what I might do for the Gnomes when get to re-re-working them: MU or Cleric spell progression, 1e illusionist list, plus additional spells with appropriate elemental themes. I was thinking of using the elemental spell lists from Al-Qadim, but the groups are Sand, Sea, Wind, Flame, and sand is heavily sand flavored. That's still less of a problem for me since I don't plan on having Rock Gnomes.
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by agathokles » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:58 am

There's an option for Gnomes as demihumans in the Rules Cyclopedia, page 293. They use Halfling as a base, with dwarf STs and detection abilities instead of hiding.

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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:17 pm

agathokles wrote:There's an option for Gnomes as demihumans in the Rules Cyclopedia, page 293. They use Halfling as a base, with dwarf STs and detection abilities instead of hiding.
I'd forgotten they gave some guidelines for that in the AD&D conversions section. Still, I prefer to do something a little more unique for them. Those guidelines don't do much other than make them a slightly weaker version of the dwarf (and have some confusing notes about having dwarf attacks- which is weird, since all demihumans use the same attack chart). Granted, the baseline gnome (from the rules) was always pretty much just a dwarf with a different description, but I'd like them to be different.
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by AxesnOrcs » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:07 am

Does anyone else find the Nagpa to be really unexciting as a PC option, or is it just me?
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by AxesnOrcs » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:52 pm

I'm probably not going to bother with the Nagpa conversion. I'm also thinking about combining the Faenare and Harpies because bird people. I'm not really excited about "these are just people with wings." Harpies might make the cut because they're a classic monster. Gremlins are just right out. The Tabi are uninspiring as a PC option, but I know lots of people like playing the tiny mischief maker characters. Example, my halfing druid class has been getting hits daily for 4 years. Some people just want to play tiny jerks. But I'll be doing a more heavy conversion of the Tabi if I do them. I will be removing a lot of the Gnome higher abilities, front loading several of them, and discarding other. I think.
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Re: [Top Ballista] Redoing the Monster Classes

Post by AxesnOrcs » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:05 am

Sky Gnomes v2 I felt the gnomes were suffering from splatbook power creep, so I chopped them down a bit.


Sky Gnomes
Ability Score Requirement: Dexterity 9, Intelligence 9
Hit Die: d6 per level 9th level. Starting with10th level +2 hit points per level and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Saving Throws: As a Halfling.
Armor: As a Thief
Weapons: As a Halfling.
Special Abilities: 3 in 6 chance while skyborne to determine height and speed, safety of maneuvers, and the naturalness, or lack, of weather; -1/+1 bonus on rolls related to machinery.

In addition to weapons common throughout the world, sky gnomes are all considered proficient with all the standard aeroplane weapons, the anti-aerial-assault weapons of Serraine, and technological weapon of gnomish manufacture.
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