View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other [PEACH] The Defiant Template: Or, How to Make Elite Monsters

Gan The Grey
2015-03-04, 06:13 PM
Hello, fellow playgrounders! It's been some time since I last posted, but I'm about to start a new game with a new group, and I need some advice! The game centers around a town built on the edge of the frontier, and the players will likely become members of one of three adventurer's guilds. One of the main purposes of these guilds will be the hunting of Marks - elite monsters guilty of terrorizing the land or possessing unique and desirable qualities. These monsters are designed to be more of a slog-fest than your traditional combat.

However, it is difficult to design a four or five on one combat that lasts long enough to feel challenging and interesting without creating a monster that can just instagib a player with a single attack. Thus, after skimming some old notes, I discovered the Defiant template:

A Defiant creature is one that is extremely hard to kill. They cling to life (or unlife) with a tenacity unheard of by lesser creatures. The reasons are many. They may be chosen by destiny, favored by some higher power, powered by some unspeakable ritual magic, driven by their sheer bloody-minded will to survive or they may simply be preternaturally fortunate.

The Defiant Template can be applied to any creature, hereafter referred to as the Base Creature. This template can be applied up to five times (or more if the party size is larger).

All statistics are as the base creature except:

HD: A Defiant creature always has maximum hit points. A Defiant creature's hit points are divided into blocks, with the base creature's maximum hit points forming the first block. For each time this template is taken, it gains an additional block of hit points equal to its maximum hit points. When one block is reduced to 0, damage transfers immediately to the next one.

These are not temporary hit points and are treated as regular hit points; if the creature's Constitution is reduced (or any other stat that applies to its hit points), the base and the blocks are all reduced accordingly. Effects that reduce a creature's hit points to 0 or 1 (e.g. Harm, suffocation) instead reduce the current block's hit points to 0 or 1. Effects which likewise function on current hit points only treat the current block's hit points. The creature's HD remains unaffected.

Defiant creature hit points are indicated with the format x+x, where x is the base creature's maximum hit points, with each block being separated by the plus sign.

Special Qualities: As the base creature plus the following special ability.

I Got Better (Ex): Once per encounter per template application, if the Defiant creature fails a saving throw, it can reroll its save as a free action, taking the higher of the two rolls. It cannot reroll any one occurance more than once. Each time it uses a reroll, it takes a cumulative -1 penalty to attack rolls, skill and ability checks, opposed checks and saves.

At the end of its turn, as a Swift action, the Defiant creature can expend an amount of hit points equal to 5 times its HD to negate any one negative condition, power, spell or other negative effect currently affecting it. This effect on the creature ends immediately.

Any time the Defiant is subject to a non-hit-point-damaging effect that kills it outright or leaves it otherwise Confused, Cowering, Dazed, Helpless, Nauseated, Paralyzed, Petrified (or similar), Polymorphed or Stunned, it may expend an amount of hit points equal to 5 times its HD to negate that portion of the effect.

I feel like I may have stolen this from somewhere, but it's been so long, I can't remember. Anywho, thoughts?

2015-03-05, 10:03 AM
It definitely does what you want it to do - make the fight drag on for a while. At first I was concerned about the absolutely massive amount of hit points the templated creature gets, but if it's gonna be spending scores of hp at once to negate effects, it's not necessarily broken. That said, putting this template, even once, on a creature with any respectable fast healing or regeneration could easily result in an absurdly long fight - while I understand the desire for the battle not to go on too long, you also don't want the party to completely run out of resources (per encounter / per day abilities, spells, etc.) and have the boss still at, effectively, like 70% health. I think it needs to be toned down, personally, and from a stylistic standpoint I'd probably remove the multiple-application feature as well.

Perhaps, maximum hp per HD, plus bonus hp (similar to how constructs gain for their size, but maybe like an additional 50hp higher than those values). I'd maybe have it grant fast healing or regeneration to the tune of 5 or 10 (even up to 20 if this is designed for higher-level play) - this will also cause the fight to drag on, as the damage they put out is being effectively negated at the start of each of the creature's turns. Maybe, in addition to the bonus hp, give out some large buffs to ability scores, and/or some kind of less-common bonus to saves (e.g. profane, insight, etc.)
I think the ability to spend hp to end an active effect is neat, but shouldn't scale with the creature's HD. Maybe something like an amount of hp equal to twice the save DC of the ability that caused the effect (or, if no save was offered, what the save DC would have been). I'd probably bump it up to at least a move action as well.
In keeping with the idea of single application of the template, I would have the I Got Better ability useable a number of times per day or per encounter based on HD, so creatures of like 5 or 6HD and below would get it 1/day or 1/encounter, up to maybe 5/day or 5/encounter at 20+ HD.

I notice the template doesn't list a CR adjustment - what were you thinking that would look like?

Gan The Grey
2015-03-05, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the input!

At first, instead of spending 5x its HD to negate an effect, I had it to where you would spend an entire block of HP. The idea behind this ability was to prevent players from getting around the massive pool of HP by using save or die type abilities, whilst still rewarding them for successfully affecting the creature.

Also, this was designed to be put on a single creature of CR = Party level, up to CR+2. A single creature of equal CR is often not hard to take down in a round or two with a party of four characters, so this could extend the fight to four to ten rounds without dramatically increasing the creatures ability eliminate party members. In addition, fights like this the party goes in fully prepared for. They are hunting this creature specifically, so they should have greater than normal preparations.

As for CR increase...doubling HP doesn't exactly double the danger. They still get the same amount of actions per round. I'm thinking +1 CR for each application of the template...but I feel like that's a bit much.

And you are absolutely right. Placing this template on certain creatures, namely ones with fast healing or regeneration, would make for an extremely difficult or tedious encounter. UNLESS the party prepared specifically for it. That's the idea behind these monsters. Put the players up against a seemingly insurmountable monster and force them to strategize accordingly. Also, this will be used in an E6 game, so this template will likely never get placed on something with CR higher than 8.