View Full Version : Playing monsters

Admiral Squish
2008-05-26, 05:37 AM
Okay, I always liked playing monsters, and I'm hoping to run a monster campaign soon. However, I really have no idea how I should encourage my players to play monsters without gimping themselves. I've been considering allowing players to swap RHD for class levels in the monster's favored class. Would this be overpowered? Another fix I've considered is cutting LA by 1/4. Same question. Also, if my players choose things with lot of immunities, like trolls or something, how would I go about threatening them without making it seem like I'm aiming for them? And is there any reasonable way for a party of outlandish creatures of all shapes and sizes to both stay together and get anything important done? Some generic plot hooks for monsters would also be appreciated.

2008-05-26, 06:07 AM
you could cut 1 or 2 from the LA, or give basic racial HD for the LA.
you could use savage progressions
you could just drop racial HD, and give monster abilities gradually over levels

just make sure the PC's are more or less balanced against each other.
if you're worried about some monsters, don't let them play those, or put a cap on LA. Be prepared to make their abilities useful (eg: a doppleganger will read everyone's thoughts, so you have to know/come up with what everyone is thinking). Don't design too many encounters to specifically counter them.

how to bring them together:
the world and large parts of civilisation consists of all kinds of monsters that live together: they meet in a bar
or their natural habitat is threatened and representatives of different races come together to deal with the problem
or they wake up in a dungeon together
or during character creation, let the players include how they met and why they hang out together.
or some king hires some special task force, requiring unique abilities (perhaps giving monster prisoners a chance of freedom)

2008-05-26, 06:11 AM
It helps if they're the same type of monster (e.g., Dragon).

However, I've found that going by CR (at least initially) seems to work out okay, for the most part.

And there's nothing like a bounty on your head for the way you were born(hatched) to keep you on your toes....

2008-05-26, 06:28 AM
Be prepared for crazy stuff. See my sig.

2008-05-26, 06:51 AM
Well, with trolls, a lot of people would know that trolls are more dangerous to kill than teeny-tiny-baby dragons, and they would have a lot of people focusing on the more dangerous ones. Play smart people smart.

2008-05-26, 07:14 AM
If it's all-monster campaign, I'd rather use CR rather than ECL to calculate the PCs' starting power level. It has its own problems but I found it better than LA system.

Kol Korran
2008-05-26, 08:54 AM
as to your questions:

1) ECL or CR or whatever... i realy can't give you a concrete rule on this. anything with a large LA seem to be either way too powerfull or way too weak. i would suggest to limit the LA cap, as in lower ones (+3 or +4 tops) it is still (faily balanced)

2) the "many immunities/ troll" question: there are still many ways to challange PCs- circumstantial and situational hazards and complications, time limits, and more. also- remember That the troll's main benefit from it's ability is that it doesn't need healing AFTER the battle. it can still be beaten to unconcious in mid battle, and if the battle is lost most people will take sure to burn it. (well known fantasy world) or eat it (in case of unintellignet monsters).

but more generally- as SoD said, play the challanges accordingly: simpeltons or unaware people will just fight the troll (or whatever) normally. half way through the battle they might try different tactics (and not always effective ones. the player will enjoy his/ her own "monstrosity factor"). but smarter foes, intelligent foes will respond smartly (even if that might mean to run and fight another day). be ingenious in your tactics, just as you would do with normal players (i assume you do!). and one last thing: have returning opponenets (such as a guild or a bounty hunters group, sending more merceneries after the "dangerous menace to society"), they could be tailored to the party's exact abilites.

3) ideas: by your avatar i assume you're familiar with Eberron. great! the perfect setting!

- have the party be a group of monsters in Droaam (starting at one of 3 locations: the Great Crag for intrigue and power games, Gray Wall for a more consmopolitan feeling, and mixing with the common races, or some warlord's tribal lands, preferably a powerfull one, for a more "monstery/ savage" beginning. the group is brought together either by a warlord/ figure of authority as a special elite team (either a cunning warlord's own idea, or perhaps a new initiative from the daughters of sora kell, wanting to explore inter species cooperation? the party might meet other mixed groups later on). the party starts as undertaking missions for the one who established the group, but later on (after finding out how effective they are), you might enable them to branch more...

- also in Droaam, but with a little twist: have them been sentenced to gladiatorial fights (whether because they were guilty of the transgression they were imprisoned for or not.) they are thrown together as the same team, to fight others. then, either they win their freedom and decide to work together (due to some plot hook you've established in the gladiatorial arena), or someone "buys them off", after seeing how effective they were. their servitude to this new master ought to last till they compensate him somehow (the law could be several years of serivce, or maybe some missions)

- final idea: the group are from Droaam/ Darguun/ Shadow marches or whatever. House Tharashk or Deneith hires them as merceneries. after some basic training and protocol, he lend them to some group or another as a team (again, the house in question seeks to see how integrated teams work). this idea could work well, or not, depending if "monster campaign" means savage and outlandish style to you, or just normal PCs with strange/ cool powers..

hope this helped,