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Postby timemrick » Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:57 am

Melon-neko wrote:I was curious for others making creatures (especially using the documents on this thread), how do you determine the level of the creature? I am tempted to just take a direct CR conversion, but i haven't tried it. I am currently working on dire animals and i was wondering if anyone had an idea of how to level them before i just start making arbitrary decisions =)

[The omission of creature level and advancement data is one of my many beefs with True20's Adversaries chapter. /mini-rant]

True20 Level = D&D Hit Dice (HD). Monster HD function just like class/role levels for calculating skill ranks, combat values, saves, etc.

In D&D, a quick rule of thumb is that a creature that advances in monster HD (rather than class levels) can usually advance to between double and triple their starting HD. Many will also increase one or more size categories along the way, though that progression has even more variation than the HD cap. If you're advancing a creature that appears in the d20 SRD, you're probably best off just following the advancement entry there.

If the d20 SRD doesn't have enough dire animals for your appetite, you may wish to find a copy of The Tome of Horrors (for D&D, published by Necromancer Games), which includes a template for building a dire version of any animal.
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Postby Melon-neko » Fri Sep 30, 2005 10:16 am

timemrick wrote:
Melon-neko wrote:I was curious for others making creatures (especially using the documents on this thread), how do you determine the level of the creature? I am tempted to just take a direct CR conversion, but i haven't tried it. I am currently working on dire animals and i was wondering if anyone had an idea of how to level them before i just start making arbitrary decisions =)

[The omission of creature level and advancement data is one of my many beefs with True20's Adversaries chapter. /mini-rant]

True20 Level = D&D Hit Dice (HD). Monster HD function just like class/role levels for calculating skill ranks, combat values, saves, etc.

In D&D, a quick rule of thumb is that a creature that advances in monster HD (rather than class levels) can usually advance to between double and triple their starting HD. Many will also increase one or more size categories along the way, though that progression has even more variation than the HD cap. If you're advancing a creature that appears in the d20 SRD, you're probably best off just following the advancement entry there.

If the d20 SRD doesn't have enough dire animals for your appetite, you may wish to find a copy of The Tome of Horrors (for D&D, published by Necromancer Games), which includes a template for building a dire version of any animal.


Thank you for your help, although i think you misunderstood what i meant (that happens alot, really >.>)

I was trying to convert the Dire animals from the SRD to true20 and i wasn't sure what lvl to make them. So you're saying that Hitdice are pretty much equivilent to levels in true20?

So if i wanted to convert the dire bear, it would be a lvl 12 monster since it has 12 hitdice? I don't mind the combat score being high, since i suspect dire bears are pretty powerful, but should i give it 12 feats?
Giving them that many feats seems a bit off. Actually having my dire bear with a defense of over 20 seems a bit off, although it might just be me thinking monsters should be tough, not nimble ^^

Anyways, thanks again

Melon - Still pondering
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Postby timemrick » Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:15 pm

Melon-neko wrote:I was trying to convert the Dire animals from the SRD to true20 and i wasn't sure what lvl to make them. So you're saying that Hitdice are pretty much equivilent to levels in true20?

Yes. They're pretty much the same in d20, too (character level = HD), as well as in Blue Rose, which was the intermediate step of development between d20 and True20. (Blue Rose includes level in its creature stat blocks, which exactly match d20 HD.)
Melon-neko wrote:So if i wanted to convert the dire bear, it would be a lvl 12 monster since it has 12 hitdice? I don't mind the combat score being high, since i suspect dire bears are pretty powerful, but should i give it 12 feats? Giving them that many feats seems a bit off.

The sample creatures in True20 were converted straight from the d20 SRD, rather than created from scratch using the same rules as True20 heroes. Therefore, they use d20's feat progression: one at 1st level, +1 every 3 full levels. That's 5 feats for 12 HD.

[Dragonspawn's unofficial monster-building system was also converted directly from the d20 SRD, so uses that feat progression as well. But it's a more comprehensive treatment than the True20 core book offers. I've thought about trying to devise a system that is more compatible with True20's hero rules (1 feat per level, etc.), but haven't found a satisfactory solution yet.]
Melon-neko wrote:Actually having my dire bear with a defense of over 20 seems a bit off, although it might just be me thinking monsters should be tough, not nimble

A Dire Bear is a 12th-level animal, size Large, with Dex +1. In d20, animals use the level x3/4 base attack progression (same as True20's Expert role), so Combat is +9. Animals don't use weapons or shields, so I wouldn't allow them a parry defense, only dodge. So Attack and Defense are both +9 (+9 base, +1 Dex, -1 size), or Attack +10 with claw (+1 Weapon Focus). That's not too egregious compared to other powerful sample creatures in the True20 book.

You might also find my unofficial Errata & Notes page for True20 helpful. Among other things, I've tried to offer notes about how d20 handles various stats that True20 skims over, and fixes for conversion problems I found in the sample creatures.
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Postby DnDChick » Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:52 am

From one monster guru to another, I would like to dearly thank you for this thread! :)
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Postby DnDChick » Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:43 pm

Here is some work I did on monster subtypes, in case you wanted to add them. :) I tried to make them as generic and True20 applicable as possible.

(I'd like to add the demon and devil subtypes, but by golly they aren't in the SRD!)


Air Subtype: This subtype usually is used for elementals and outsiders with a connection to the Elemental Plane Air. Air creatures always have fly speeds and usually have perfect maneuverability.

Angel Subtype: Angels are a race of celestials, or good outsiders, native to the heavenly planes.
Traits: An angel possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
—Darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision.
—Immunity to acid, cold, and petrification.
—+2 to toughness to resist electricity and fire.
— +4 racial bonus on saves against poison.
—Protective Aura: Against attacks made or effects created by evil creatures, this ability provides a +4 deflection bonus to defense and a +4 resistance bonus on saving throws to anyone within 20 feet of the angel. Otherwise, it functions as a ward and the shining ward effect of the purifying light power (adept level equals angel’s level).
—Tongues: All angels can speak with any creature that has a language, speaking and understanding any spoken word. This ability is always active.

Aquatic Subtype: These creatures always have swim speeds and thus can move in water without making Swim checks. An aquatic creature can breathe underwater. It cannot also breathe air unless it has the amphibious special quality.

Archon Subtype: Archons are a race of celestials, or good outsiders, native to the heavenly planes.
Traits: An archon possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
—Darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision.
—Aura of Menace: A righteous aura surrounds archons that fight or get angry. Any hostile creature within a 20-foot radius of an archon must succeed on a Will save to resist its effects. The save Difficulty varies with the type of archon, is Charisma-based, and includes a +2 racial bonus. Those who fail take a -2 penalty on attacks, defense, and saves for 24 hours or until they successfully hit the archon that generated the aura. A creature that has resisted or broken the effect cannot be affected again by the same archon’s aura for 24 hours.
—Immunity to electricity and petrification.
— +4 racial bonus on saves against poison.
—Protective Aura: Against attacks made or effects created by evil creatures, this ability provides a +4 deflection bonus to defense and a +4 resistance bonus on saving throws to anyone within 20 feet of the archon. Otherwise, it functions as the shining ward effect of the purifying light power (adept level equals archon’s level).
—Teleport: An archon can teleport itself and up to 50 pounds of objects at will. Archons can travel up to 1,400 miles when they teleport. Interplanar travel is not possible. There is no chance for the archon to arrive off target. In addition, the archon need not have seen its destination, but in that case it must have at least a reliable description of the place to which it is teleporting. If it attempts to teleport with insufficient information (or with misleading information), it disappears and simply reappears in its original location.
—Tongues: All archons can speak with any creature that has a language, speaking and understanding any spoken word. This ability is always active.

Augmented Subtype: A creature receives this subtype whenever something happens to change its original type. Some creatures (those with an inherited template) are born with this subtype; others acquire it when they take on an acquired template. The augmented subtype is always paired with the creature’s original type. A creature with the augmented subtype usually has the traits of its current type, but the features of its original type.

Cold Subtype: A creature with the cold subtype has immunity to cold. It has vulnerability to fire, which means it has a -5 to saves against fire, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.

Earth Subtype: This subtype usually is used for elementals and outsiders with a connection to the Elemental Plane of Earth. Earth creatures usually have burrow speeds, and most earth creatures can burrow through solid rock.

Extraplanar Subtype: A subtype applied to any creature when it is on a plane other than its native plane. A creature that travels the planes can gain or lose this subtype as it goes from plane to plane. Monster entries assume that encounters with creatures take place on the Material Plane, and every creature whose native plane is not the Material Plane has the extraplanar subtype (but would not have when on its home plane). Every extraplanar creature in this book has a home plane mentioned in its description. Creatures not labeled as extraplanar are natives of the Material Plane, and they gain the extraplanar subtype if they leave the Material Plane. No creature has the extraplanar subtype when it is on a transitive plane, such as the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, and the Plane of Shadow.

Fire Subtype: A creature with the fire subtype has immunity to fire. It has vulnerability to cold, which means it has a -5 to saves against cold, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.

Native Subtype: A subtype applied only to outsiders. These creatures have mortal ancestors or a strong connection to the Material Plane and can be raised, reincarnated, or resurrected just as other living creatures can be. Creatures with this subtype are native to the Material Plane (hence the subtype’s name). Unlike true outsiders, native outsiders need to eat and sleep.

Shapechanger Subtype: A shapechanger has the supernatural ability to assume one or more alternate forms. Many magical effects allow some kind of shape shifting, and not every creature that can change shapes has the shapechanger subtype.
Traits: A shapechanger possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
—Proficient with its natural weapons, with simple weapons, and with any weapons mentioned in the creature’s description.
—Proficient with any armor mentioned in the creature’s description, as well as all lighter forms. If no form of armor is mentioned, the shapechanger is not proficient with armor. A shapechanger is proficient with shields if it is proficient with any type of armor.

Swarm Subtype: A swarm is a collection of Fine, Diminutive, or Tiny creatures that acts as a single creature. A swarm has the characteristics of its type, except as noted here. A swarm has a single pool of levels, a single initiative modifier, a single speed, and a single defense. A swarm makes saving throws as a single creature. A single swarm occupies a 5-foot square (if it is made up of nonflying creatures) or a cube (of flying creatures) 10 feet on a side, but its reach is 0 feet, like its component creatures. It can occupy the same space as a creature of any size, since it crawls all over its prey. A swarm can move through squares occupied by enemies and vice versa without impediment. A swarm can move through cracks or holes large enough for its component creatures.
A swarm of Tiny creatures consists of 300 nonflying creatures or 1,000 flying creatures. A swarm of Diminutive creatures consists of 1,500 nonflying creatures or 5,000 flying creatures. A swarm of Fine creatures consists of 10,000 creatures, whether they are flying or not. Swarms of nonflying creatures include many more creatures than could normally fit in a 10-foot square based on their normal space, because creatures in a swarm are packed tightly together and generally crawl over each other and their prey when moving or attacking. Larger swarms are represented by multiples of single swarms. The area occupied by a large swarm is completely shapeable, though the swarm usually remains in contiguous squares.
Traits: A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernable anatomy, so it is not subject to critical hits. A swarm made up of Tiny creatures has a +5 bonus to toughness against slashing and piercing weapons. A swarm composed of Fine or Diminutive creatures is immune to all weapon damage. Reducing a swarm to 0 hit points or lower causes it to break up, though damage taken until that point does not degrade its ability to attack or resist attack. Swarms are never staggered or reduced to a dying state by damage. Also, they cannot be tripped, grappled, or rushed, and they cannot grapple an opponent.
A swarm is immune to any power or effect that targets a specific number of creatures (including single-target powers), with the exception of mind-affecting if the swarm has an Intelligence score and a hive mind. A swarm has a -5 to toughness against powers or effects that affect an area, such as splash weapons.
Swarms made up of Diminutive or Fine creatures are susceptible to high winds. For purposes of determining the effects of wind on a swarm, treat the swarm as a creature of the same size as its constituent creatures. A swarm rendered unconscious by means of nonlethal damage becomes disorganized and dispersed, and does not reform until its hit points exceed its nonlethal damage.
Swarm Attack: Creatures with the swarm subtype don’t make standard melee attacks. Instead, they deal automatic damage to any creature whose space they occupy at the end of their move, with no attack roll needed. Swarm attacks are not subject to a miss chance for concealment or cover. A swarm’s statistics block has “swarm” in the Attack and Full Attack entries, with no attack bonus given. The amount of damage a swarm deals is based on its levels, as shown below.

Swarm level = Swarm Base Damage
1-5 = +2
6-10 = +4
11-15 = +6
16-20 = +8
21 or more = +10

A swarm’s attacks are nonmagical, unless the swarm’s description states otherwise. Some swarms also have acid, poison, blood drain, or other special attacks in addition to normal damage.
Swarms distract foes whose squares they occupy, as described below.
Distraction (Ex): Any living creature vulnerable to a swarm’s damage that begins its turn with a swarm in its square is nauseated for 1 round; a Fortitude save (Difficulty 10 + 1/2 swarm’s level + swarm’s Constitution; the exact Difficulty is given in a swarm’s description) negates the effect. Using powers or concentrating on powers within the area of a swarm requires a Concentration check (Difficulty 20). Using skills that involve patience and concentration requires a Difficulty 20 Concentration check.

Water Subtype: This subtype usually is used for elementals and outsiders with a connection to the Elemental Plane of Water. Creatures with the water subtype always have swim speeds and can move in water without making Swim checks. A water creature can breathe underwater and usually can breathe air as well.
Last edited by DnDChick on Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby DnDChick » Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:50 pm

I'd also winnow out some of the chaff of monster types.

1. Eliminate the Giant and Monstrous Humanoid types. These can just be Humanoids. All you need to do is say "Some humanoids have low-light vision or darkvision, or even both."

2. Remove the word "Magical" from Magical Beast and just call it Beast. Not all monsters of this type are magical, and in settings where there is no magic, you don't have to come up with some other name for them. A Beast is a Beast, regardless of whether or not it uses magic.
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Postby Bhikku » Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:27 pm

Good call. In a couple of campaign designs, i've been using subtypes such as "horrid" for critters that would traditionally be magical beasts or monstrous humanoids, just to flag them as using Warrior combat advancement and so forth. I think i also billed them as being immune or resistant to certain powers (like a 'horrid' beast is immune to 'gentle beasts' - note that i'm still working from Blue Rose for the most part, so i may end up using obsolete terms here); in fact, in some of these settings, "animal" is treated as a subtype of beast, purely for flavor reasons. (Although I realize subtypes are pretty unnecessary, i find them useful mainly as a way to flag specific effects.)
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Postby Michael Hopcroft » Sat Nov 19, 2005 6:07 pm

HalWhitewyrm wrote:You know, we could publish this. ;)

I know that if you did, I'd buy it.

One thing I'm wondering is whether the same principles can be applied to sci-fi and other settings. The strange idea of combining True20 with the Cthulhu Mythos springs to mind, but how well that would work depends on your feelings about CoC d20 (I seem to recall the response to that game being decidedly mixed).
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Postby HalWhitewyrm » Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:19 am

Michael Hopcroft wrote:
HalWhitewyrm wrote:You know, we could publish this. ;)

I know that if you did, I'd buy it.

Since you mentioned it...

Because of a last minute problem, we were not able to get a submission into the setting search contest, which means we have no chance at a True20 license, at least for the time being. Since I really liked the product that was being developed, I turned it over to GR for evaluation for possible publication. Last thing I am aware of is having introduced the author to Chris Pramas, so I don't know what happened after that. Personally, I hope it does see publication either from GR or from a True20-licensed publisher, because I think it will be a good resource for True20 GMs everywhere.
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