Creature Crucibles

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Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:22 am

I remember the old BECMI/RC style D&D game had supplements called Creature Crucibles that gave stats for really odd non-standard races playable as PCs.
It would be interesting to convert these to Dark Dungeons.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:38 pm

It would.

Are you volunteering?

I'm unlikely to do such a project myself - one of my goals for Dark Dungeons was to have a one-book system, so I'm not terribly interested in doing supplements at this time (I am going to produce a campaign world, but that will only contain setting information, not rules). However, I'm more than happy for someone else to produce such a thing.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Rindis » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:37 am

I've been contemplating a Dark Dungeons Companion, but it's not off the 'need to look into it' shelf yet. Extra race/class info would probably be the biggest section.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:31 am

Blacky the Blackball wrote:It would.

Are you volunteering?

I'm unlikely to do such a project myself - one of my goals for Dark Dungeons was to have a one-book system, so I'm not terribly interested in doing supplements at this time (I am going to produce a campaign world, but that will only contain setting information, not rules). However, I'm more than happy for someone else to produce such a thing.


I would, but I kind of suck at creating rules and crunch and stuff.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:56 am

Hmm. Looked over the books. There are four Crucibles, as well as rules for orc and other gobliny races in the supplement The Orcs of Thar.
One point of weirdness is that these characters start pre-1st level. 0 xp is Normal Monster level and they have to work their way up to 1st level, and then rise from there.
More powerful races start pre-Normal Monster. They are young characters who haven't reached their full potential, which means they start with negative experience that they have to work off in order to reach Normal Monster level. Usually this isn't too bad. -2,000 in the case of the Brownie, or -3,000 for the Dryad. The most extreme example of this is the Sphinx, which starts at -3,000,000 xp, and works it's way up to Normal Monster in stages.

I would like to convert these guys, but I would have trouble adapting them, especially in terms of how they work in combat.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:12 am

BillionSix wrote:I would like to convert these guys, but I would have trouble adapting them, especially in terms of how they work in combat.


What combat abilities would need converting?

Hit points can remain unchanged. Saving throws can remain unchanged. Armour class can remain unchanged. Number of attacks and damage can remain unchanged. The only thing that might need to change would be to give them an Attack Bonus based on their Hit Dice - and I provided a table for that on p205 of the Dark Dungeons book.

Of course, humanoid monsters should also be given skill points and weapon feats, but they can just be copied across from the normal classes...
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:44 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:Of course, humanoid monsters should also be given skill points and weapon feats, but they can just be copied across from the normal classes...


Yeah, I thought of that. How would that apply to the pre-normal monster guys, I wonder. Would the Sphinx have to gain 3,000,000 xp before improving weapons and skills? Part of me wants to say yes. Wanna play a powerful monster? Sure, but you are going to spend all your time honing your natural abilities! And by the time you reach 1st level, all your human and demi-human friends will be questing for godhood! Neener neener!

I think I might do this. It's an interesting idea.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Cthulhudrew » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:59 pm

BillionSix wrote:Yeah, I thought of that. How would that apply to the pre-normal monster guys, I wonder. Would the Sphinx have to gain 3,000,000 xp before improving weapons and skills?


In regards to the Sphinx and the Nagpa (another high xp monster class), I'd suggest trying to split them up a little bit more than they were in CC2. I'd say the Sea Giant (from CC3) was a far better model for a high xp monster. It split the leveling into a lot more brackets, which makes for a better sense of progression than the CC2 models did. A lot more incremental, so you actually feel like you're gaining levels, rather than having to wait forever, watching your buddies all reach 30th level before you even get a HD increase.

And I'd link skills and weapon masteries to HD progression, rather than levels. I think this was addressed in at least one of the CC books (I'll have to double check), but I'm not sure what they suggested- levels or HD. I imagine they went with levels, since there aren't that many massively high HD PC races, but I'd go- give them those improvements for HD up until you hit level one, then progression as normal.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:12 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
BillionSix wrote:Yeah, I thought of that. How would that apply to the pre-normal monster guys, I wonder. Would the Sphinx have to gain 3,000,000 xp before improving weapons and skills?


In regards to the Sphinx and the Nagpa (another high xp monster class), I'd suggest trying to split them up a little bit more than they were in CC2. I'd say the Sea Giant (from CC3) was a far better model for a high xp monster. It split the leveling into a lot more brackets, which makes for a better sense of progression than the CC2 models did. A lot more incremental, so you actually feel like you're gaining levels, rather than having to wait forever, watching your buddies all reach 30th level before you even get a HD increase.

And I'd link skills and weapon masteries to HD progression, rather than levels. I think this was addressed in at least one of the CC books (I'll have to double check), but I'm not sure what they suggested- levels or HD. I imagine they went with levels, since there aren't that many massively high HD PC races, but I'd go- give them those improvements for HD up until you hit level one, then progression as normal.


Well, they Sphinx is split up a bit, and gains regular HD increased on its trek to Normal Monster level. But they are rather staggered. It takes 300,000 XP between pre-NM levels. Whereas the Sea Giant starts at -400,000, much less than the Sphinx. I think they split the Sphinx up as best they could. By the time you get up to Normal Monster level, you have 12d8 in hit points, so you are a bit comparable to the others.
Yeah, it would be frustrating as hell to have to wait 300,000 xp while your friends are all showing improvement, but that's the price you pay for being such a rugged individualist! (Or a "Beautiful and Unique Snowflake", as I like to call that type of player who absolutely has to play something weird.)
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Lucifer_Drake » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:51 pm

Why bother with converting Sphinx & other larger monsters to playable race/class? Are they even going to factor into most games? I see Orcs , Minotaurs , Centaurs & the other Goblinoids being desired as PCs.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Havard » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:03 pm

I've had a Sphinx PC in a campaign once :)

And several pegataurs...

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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Lucifer_Drake » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:09 pm

Ok with rare exceptions like yours & the 'newer' Greyhawk novels ... most people don't play or allow to have players take such races. If you are doing it to be a completist, that's fine but I wouldn't bother if I was doing the work myself. Just my opinion.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:49 pm

Did a little preliminary research. The Orc, if I went by Hit Dice (not levels) and used the table on page 205, would start the game with a +1 attack bonus, but by the time it reached Level 8, would have 7 hit dice giving it a +8 attack bonus, compared to the Fighter's +5. Granted, the Orc would gain social problems from being an Orc, and would probably not start with the same number of Weapon Feats due to more limited training opportunities, but it seems that the monsters advance faster on the chart than even Fighters.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:16 am

BillionSix wrote:Did a little preliminary research. The Orc, if I went by Hit Dice (not levels) and used the table on page 205, would start the game with a +1 attack bonus, but by the time it reached Level 8, would have 7 hit dice giving it a +8 attack bonus, compared to the Fighter's +5. Granted, the Orc would gain social problems from being an Orc, and would probably not start with the same number of Weapon Feats due to more limited training opportunities, but it seems that the monsters advance faster on the chart than even Fighters.


Presumably that would have been the same in the original, though - since I haven't changed the numbers, only the way they're presented.

In the original gazetteer, did a level 8 orc attack as a 7 hit-dice monster? If so, then they've always advanced faster than fighters...
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Cthulhudrew » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:19 am

I know they addressed the to Hit numbers at one point; possibly more than one- I have a vague recollection that it was changed (or clarified) in PC3: The Sea People, where it might not have been clear originally. I want to say that- initially, in Gaz10, humanoids stopped improving once they reached their maximum HD; it was considered one of the tradeoffs/disadvantages. Then PC3 actually did something to remedy the lack of noticeable improvement.

I guess I should just check them, but I'm too lazy right now. I'll give it a look tomorrow.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Havard » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:22 pm

Lucifer_Drake wrote:Ok with rare exceptions like yours & the 'newer' Greyhawk novels ... most people don't play or allow to have players take such races. If you are doing it to be a completist, that's fine but I wouldn't bother if I was doing the work myself. Just my opinion.


Yeah, its a fair point. I just wanted to point out that some of us like being a little different. I normally dont use such weird monsters as PCs anymore either, but when the Creature Crucible series were new, we went through them trying out most of the classes from PC1 and PC2, and a few from the other two. We never got around to running that all-Undersea Campaign we always talked about, however.

I agree with you that races like Gnomes, Humanoids, Minotaurs, Centaurs, Lizardmen etc are probably more useful than the more oddball type ones. Sidhe were always extremely popular in my group however. I blame it on the "Invisibility to Mortals" power which really screwed up more than one gaming session...

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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Lucifer_Drake » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:33 pm

Cool .. I did go through that stage to briefly but I preferred Half-Orcs & Drow but I can play Dragons in RIFTS so I can't slam people for playing monsters either :P
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Rindis » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:37 pm

To a certain extent, I always thought it was a crock that some intelligent races could benefit from experience, while others could not. To a certain extent, I want levels for sphinxes and the such just so an older, experienced sphinx NPC has some guidelines as to what he's like compared to the more run-of-the mill ones.

And, I do like the possibility of having a really off-the-wall campaign.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:39 pm

Okay, let's assume that I just port them over more or less directly. So, an Orc starts off as a 1 Hit die monster, and follows a slightly staggered progression up to 8th level, when it is a 7 HD monster. After that it only gets 2hp per level without the benefit of Constitution bonuses.
Now, do those higher levels count as Hit dice for purposes of attacking? They seem to already have an advantage over Fighters, but it would suck to limit them to 7HD forever.
Hmm....
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:21 pm

Okay, here is how I might decide to do it.

A monster class will use it's hit dice on the Monster chart to determine fighting skill, at Normal Monster level or below. Once it hits it's first level and rises above NM level, it starts using "class progression."
There are three categories as I recall. Fighters and dwarves have the fastest progression. Magic-users have the slowest, and everyone else has the middle one.

The goblinoid races will advance as Fighters once they hit 1st level. Others will take the Cleric et al. or Magic user progression based on how fighty they are. Most non-goblinoid ones will use the Cleric progression, but ones like the Dryad would use the Magic-User.
If they already have a higher Attack Bonus than a 1st level character, then they will be effectively frozen until their level catches up. That will be frustrating for some of the more powerful monsters, but that's the price of being a beautiful and unique snowflake.

It's sort of house-ruley, I admit, but I think it sort of works.

EDIT: Wait. I forgot to figure the fact that hit dice are often staggered for these guys. I suppose their hit points will be staggered, but their fighting ability will increase as normal.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Blacky the Blackball » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:23 pm

If I were doing it (at least for the basic humanoids), I'd ignore stuff like hit dice completely.

I'd just use the Dwarf as a template for fighty orc types, but swap out the "Stone Lore" for a similarly powered racial-equivalent; and I'd use the Halfling as a template for sneaky goblin types, swapping out their racial abilities for equivalents too.

It's far simpler than trying to mess about with hybrid hit-dice/level stuff. They'd attack (and make saves) just like any other PC.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:34 am

Blacky the Blackball wrote:If I were doing it (at least for the basic humanoids), I'd ignore stuff like hit dice completely.

I'd just use the Dwarf as a template for fighty orc types, but swap out the "Stone Lore" for a similarly powered racial-equivalent; and I'd use the Halfling as a template for sneaky goblin types, swapping out their racial abilities for equivalents too.

It's far simpler than trying to mess about with hybrid hit-dice/level stuff. They'd attack (and make saves) just like any other PC.


True. But then you get the more powerful ones like Ogres and Trolls that start at a higher level.

I think partly it's the challenge of porting it over as closely as possible, or at least maintain the spirit of the original rules.

Kind of like how you tried to convert BECMI/RC as closely as possible, while making minor changes and improvements.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:41 am

Okay, the Orcs of Thar says that the goblinoid races make saving throws on the Fighter chart according to Hit Dice. Hmm.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby Cthulhudrew » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:04 am

PC4 says that monsters attack as a creature of its HD (in beast form) up until 8th level, when they stop gaining HD. From that point on, for combat purposes, they are treated as having one extra HD for every two levels after 9th.

Similarly, PC4 notes that creature PCs attack at their HD up until 9th level (not 8th), where they are thereafter treated as having 1 extra HD for every 2 additional levels. PC4 makes it 9th, but in both cases the criteria seems to be more that it begins to occur after they've stopped gaining regular HD, rather than the level at which such an event takes place.
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Re: Creature Crucibles

Postby BillionSix » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:45 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:PC4 says that monsters attack as a creature of its HD (in beast form) up until 8th level, when they stop gaining HD. From that point on, for combat purposes, they are treated as having one extra HD for every two levels after 9th.

Similarly, PC4 notes that creature PCs attack at their HD up until 9th level (not 8th), where they are thereafter treated as having 1 extra HD for every 2 additional levels. PC4 makes it 9th, but in both cases the criteria seems to be more that it begins to occur after they've stopped gaining regular HD, rather than the level at which such an event takes place.


In PC2, it says that upon reaching 8th level (or the maximum HD level) the PC's fight and use saving throws based on either their HD or their character level, whichever is more advantageous. This will cause weird cases where a monster race jumps far ahead of the others, but then will have to wait a long time to continue improving.
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