Sunday, December 20, 2009

Build a Monster Workshop

So I'd been hoping to use this post to showcase the release of Project Xenophon. Then during a final play test of that module someone immediately struck a very good idea, that ruined the whole adventure. So I'm rewriting that portion of it. Not wanting to wait another month for a post, I thought I'd discuss some of the goings on.

The first other major project I'm working on is a small graphical overall of Piecemeal, to allow for the copy and pasting of text from piecemeal. This will be the first major phase of turning it into a PDF.

In that is also going to go naval rules, though I'm not sure if the existing naval rules I use are really the best. In their case they really require miniature (or tokens) and a map, I'm thinking on ways to make it follow a more abstract pattern in the same manner as hand to hand combat.

But enough news, onto today's topic: Build -a- monster workshop
One of the features I'm working on for the next release of piecemeal is a build-a-monster workshop rather than the current system of specific monsters from an entry in some form of folio, manual or the like.

This would work similar to the "build-a-weapon" system where some basic criteria is designed, and then tags are added.

Tags could include things like "Undead", "Infected/Cursed", "Unique", "Flying" or "Savage" to allow for quick and somewhat "on the fly" monster creation (with the ability to then fine tune to specific cases). In this case "Infected/Cursed" could make the creature vulnerable to silver, while "Savage" would make it immune to morale and unable to flee.

Why I think this will be good (not play tested):

Often some regions will have a myriad of minor monsters that the players may(or may never) encounter. It would seem ridiculous to make up a large number of minor entries for different creatures. How many different 5 feet long insectoid/arachnoid/crustaceans do you really need?

Why I think this may be bad:

Variety may be negatively impacted. The problem with a crutch is you grow to lean on it, while it may be useful when avoiding dealing with a different minor and forgettable winged monstrosity..if that creature becomes a staple as the players decide to settle, it may begin to seem bland and unoriginal. Likewise if the giant crab is much the same as the giant stag beetle....will the Players care to notice the difference?

What are your thoughts?


  1. It has been my experience that while the random critter generators are enjoying some success with the more liberated minds, the regularity and preponderance of books of critters in a format is the most common form folks look to for their adversary needs.

    However, if Raggi's Esoteric is a broad example and not a singular one, then those of use using the build a critter approach should be 'good to go'.

    As regards the statistics dressed in critter suits, at some point, everything reduces to numbers or pure narrative qualities. I don't think too-similarity will affect players so much as possibly bore the Referee.

  2. I'd straddle the fence and dip into both types of presentations for monsters. I'd definately invest in a modular system for making monsters though. Having a system where you could 'plug' in abilities/characteristics to make an appropriate creature I think would be a positive selling point for potential GMs.

    Grats on your 100 post!

  3. I just realised from counting that 3 of my posts are "secure" posts, so only 97 are visible, I may yet get to release Xenophon as the 100th visible post.