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2e: How to Make a Monster

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  • 2e: How to Make a Monster

    So... short of just adding more and more mutations onto the animals in the corebook, are there any guides for building animals, demons and behemoths from whole cloth?

    Or is NPC building in Exalted just a matter of throwing some numbers in a blender and seeing what comes out?


    The Teller of Tales, and the Weaver of Dreams

    Behold! My 2e characters.

  • #2
    For me, in 2e I really liked using Mutations to build monsters. There were some homebrew mutations from Revlid that were amazing at designing unique and terrifying creatures. I used them to build the Zerg from Starcraft in a game once.

    There aren't any official guides that I'm aware of, so aside from mutations yeah you just kind of eyeball some numbers and tweak it from playtesting.


    I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
    I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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    • #3
      And I don't really know how to properly playtest things for Exalted... wonderful. So behemoths really are just throw some numbers together and hope the game doesn't break in the process.


      The Teller of Tales, and the Weaver of Dreams

      Behold! My 2e characters.

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      • #4
        When it comes to pools, there are the guidelines presented in the Antagonists chapter.

        If you aren't comfortable coming up with new mechanics, your best bet is to beg borrow and steal from what's already out there. In the heat of the moment, if you describe things differently, no one will notice that your Two-Story Serpent-Ape is just using the latent abilities of a Tyrant Lizard with slightly larger pools.

        And from Behemoths/Warstriders you have a pretty good template. Higher end of Dice Pools, 30 HLs give or take, 15/10 Soak hardness give or take, some custom gambits to make the fight dynamic, and whatever other powers you can cook up or steal.


        Raksha are my fae-vorite.

        Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Voyd211 View Post
          And I don't really know how to properly playtest things for Exalted... wonderful. So behemoths really are just throw some numbers together and hope the game doesn't break in the process.
          There is no risk of breaking anything; it is already broken.

          Or rather, it is not a system that work with the mindset of balanced encounters (so, say, more Runequest than D&D). If the players (and ST) have the mindset that everything will be fair and beatable, then that behemoth might swath them like flies. If they are aware that they have to have a plan B and an exit strategy, then anything happened to be more powerful than intended can always be upgraded from "obstacle encounter" to a potential long time goal for the characters to defeat.

          Then, with some practice, it will get easier to estimate the rough ballpark of how powerful something might be.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MoroseMorgan View Post
            When it comes to pools, there are the guidelines presented in the Antagonists chapter.

            If you aren't comfortable coming up with new mechanics, your best bet is to beg borrow and steal from what's already out there. In the heat of the moment, if you describe things differently, no one will notice that your Two-Story Serpent-Ape is just using the latent abilities of a Tyrant Lizard with slightly larger pools.

            And from Behemoths/Warstriders you have a pretty good template. Higher end of Dice Pools, 30 HLs give or take, 15/10 Soak hardness give or take, some custom gambits to make the fight dynamic, and whatever other powers you can cook up or steal.
            It's a 2e thread. I don't remember if the 2e core had dice-pool guidelines for antagonists.

            Originally posted by Voyd211 View Post
            And I don't really know how to properly playtest things for Exalted... wonderful. So behemoths really are just throw some numbers together and hope the game doesn't break in the process.
            As far as playtesting, I just meant build something and throw it at your players. If they destroy it, raise the numbers a bit on the next one. As a GM you also have the power of changing numbers behind the scenes on the fly if things are too powerful. Did that last hit almost 1-shot a player? Maybe it should be dialed back a bit. Nothing stopping you.


            I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
            I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Unsung Hero View Post

              It's a 2e thread. I don't remember if the 2e core had dice-pool guidelines for antagonists.
              D'oh. My apologies. I missed the little 2e in the title.

              2e never had a dice-pool guideline that I recall either.

              My beg/borrow/steal advice still stands!


              Raksha are my fae-vorite.

              Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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              • #8
                The unfortunate thing is... I currently have no means of actually playing Exalted.

                I'd love to. But all of my friends are far away, I don't own a car yet, and I'm of the belief that people at work aren't my friends.

                So all I really do is build characters and monsters for shits'n giggles. I can't actually use them.

                That's why Storyteller fiat and testing against players aren't really factors for the things I come up with.


                The Teller of Tales, and the Weaver of Dreams

                Behold! My 2e characters.

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                • #9
                  Well, it would be a limited sample size, but you could always do a quick playthrough by your lonesome. Be the player and the ST. ST fiat then just becomes "what is best for the narrative" (which is what it should be anyways). I've had a lot of fun just rolling through some situations. It's like a creative writing exercise with dice rolling.


                  Raksha are my fae-vorite.

                  Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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                  • #10
                    Hmm.

                    I've never actually tried running any mechanics in Exalted, because of how much fluff and crunch are interwoven. Trying to run just the numbers seems less Exalt-y.


                    The Teller of Tales, and the Weaver of Dreams

                    Behold! My 2e characters.

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                    • #11
                      Then don't just run the numbers? Set up little scenarios and run through them. Like I said previously, Creative Writing Exercise with Dice Rolling. I made a Brawl Wildman character and wanted to know how he played, so instead of doing math or whatever, I played a little scenario where the wafting scent of roasting meat from his camp lured a Tyrant lizard upon him and played it out. Lots of fun, and also gave me great insight on the character, as well as the system at large.

                      Don't get me wrong, running numbers can be it's own reward (I've lost many an hour on Anydice.com), but that's not what I was advocating.


                      Raksha are my fae-vorite.

                      Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So... something like this?

                        I have to wonder how long this would take to run in an actual game.
                        Last edited by Voyd211; 12-21-2017, 02:04 PM.


                        The Teller of Tales, and the Weaver of Dreams

                        Behold! My 2e characters.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here are some ideas of how I do it.

                          Be forewarned (part 1) that this is generalized for Storyteller games moreso than Exalted just yet. And (part 2) that I'm only a crunch monkey when I'm on the player side of the screen.

                          In Exalted, roughly half the dice thrown will be successes. (In WoD / CoD , it's more like one third of the dice) So, find out what the defenses of your party are like - then double that number to form a dice pool (triple in WoD / CoD) that will generally land a hit.

                          I expect my players to always get bonuses from stunting or equipment (as relevant to the setting), so the enemy will get a couple of bonuses too. Plus the ability to use Excellencies. So I add a few more dice to put the pressure on.

                          Memorable enemies need a bit of style, such as a signature type of attack or Charm. I try as hard as I can not to dig back through books in session, so I'd rather gloss over some details or basically wing them in play.

                          Boiling all that down, if you've got a Circle with basic defenses in the 4's and 5's...
                          -> 10 dice for a basic attack, or perhaps 8 dice if you've got two or three enemies per Circle member.
                          -> Another 5 dice when you decide the enemy is taking the fight seriously enough to tap Excellency.
                          -> A special attack with a special effect. My favorite starting point is flat out doubling some number of dice, somewhere. Say, double pre-soak Decisive damage dice.

                          My experience in actual play is more current on the WoD /CoD side of things, but I find that posing a reasonable risk of hitting gets the players' attention. Bumping up to the higher number of dice is a great trick to throw when you want to reverse the tide of battle - or make a cinematic show of trying to. The big special attack will get the players thinking about how to prevent it from happening more than once -- a were-shark ripping through the Gauntlet and throwing a train car at you will inspire quite a lot of creative tactics.

                          Then, once I've got the basic gist of the numbers, I scoot about that many over into one corner of my dice arena ready to go. Then I don't bother counting. In actual play I scoop up however many look right (part 2, remember), make a show of "counting" a couple of extra for "modifiers", then of dropping a few for "injuries" and roll them.


                          Check out Momentum Exalted!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Voyd211 View Post
                            The unfortunate thing is... I currently have no means of actually playing Exalted.

                            I'd love to. But all of my friends are far away, I don't own a car yet, and I'm of the belief that people at work aren't my friends.

                            So all I really do is build characters and monsters for shits'n giggles. I can't actually use them.

                            That's why Storyteller fiat and testing against players aren't really factors for the things I come up with.
                            Have you considered trying to set up a game online? There are services out there that are set up for forum style play by post games and for online chat style games. Alternately, if you and your friends can afford webcams or smartphones, you could just use facetime or google chat or something.

                            http://rpol.net
                            https://roll20.net


                            ....

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                            • #15
                              I do have online friends who are interested in playing, but we do need a Storyteller. None of us feel like we're up to the task (and I'm the only one with GM experience, and then only in Pathfinder).


                              The Teller of Tales, and the Weaver of Dreams

                              Behold! My 2e characters.

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