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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Troll, Cave


    MM3 gave us a few variations on the plain old troll which, incidentally, got +1 LA for a total ECL of 7 in a much earlier thread. Looking back, I wonder if by modern standards it'd have been given +0 instead, and I guess there's no way to know for sure.

    Anyway, the cave variant has a total of 9 RHD, and comes with Large size, two 2d6 claws, and a 1d8 bite. Their stats are par for the course: high strength and constitution, abysmal (as in, barely-sentient) intelligence, and mid-low stats elsewhere.

    Notably enough, cave trolls get Pounce. They also enjoy Rake, Rend, Improved Grab that works off bite, and the ability to daze a foe it hits with both claws. It's a strong status to hit foes with, but having to use either a mouthpick weapon or no weapon at all worsens it considerably. Cave trolls do not have regeneration, and get Fast Healing 8 instead.

    Cave trolls have enough muscle to make completely reasonable characters, even if they are lacking in terms of versatility. +0 it is.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2019-03-15 at 06:31 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #242
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Let's see...

    • Large size: nice for any melee type.
    • 9 Giant HD: let's face it, not great. At least you get MWP for free.
    • 40 ft move: not bad, but nothing special for a large creature.
    • +11 natural armor: pretty decent.
    • 3 natural attacks: good in the right build.
    • Dazing blow is pretty darn good, if you ask me: again, it depends on the right build, but it does suck that you're losing your iteratives or being relegated to a mouthpick weapon.
    • Rend gives you bonus damage when you hit with both claws, so combos with dazing blow.
    • Pounce is gold for any melee build.
    • Improved grab works with bite only...meh.
    • Rake would be pretty handy in a grappling build.
    • Scent, 90 ft darkvision and low-light vision are decent senses.
    • Fast healing 8 is nothing to be sneezed at, IMHO. It's no regeneration, but makes after combat healing a breeze. May also save your bacon in a fight, on occasion.
    • Str +18, Dex +2, Con +16, Int -8, Wis +2, Cha -4: net +26. The Int hit really hurts, though.
    • Very small racial skill list, but some handy skills there. Lets face it: with the hit to Int, you probably don't need to worry much about putting ranks in much beyond Listen and/or Spot.

    I'm pretty comfortable giving these guys LA +0, in the context of this thread. You could make an absolute beast of a natural attack build with this, balanced by the fact you've only got 11 class levels to play with, and an IQ marginally better than a dog.

  3. - Top - End - #243
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    -0, too many subpar HD.
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  4. - Top - End - #244
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    What is the wording on claw daze? Is it just hit with 2 claw attacks? Totemist for a daze focus king of smack type might be interesting, or psywar for their claw attacks.

    I think it is good enough as a melee beatstick to get +0, but just.

  5. - Top - End - #245
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Efrate View Post
    What is the wording on claw daze? Is it just hit with 2 claw attacks? Totemist for a daze focus king of smack type might be interesting, or psywar for their claw attacks.
    the Relevant bit would be: "If a cave troll hits with both claw attacks," This is somewhat ambiguous if you're looking at adding more than 2 claw attacks to try and get more than one dazing blow off.
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  6. - Top - End - #246
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    They have a cave troll!

    Upon looking at it, I have to say +0. Unless you're seriously optimising, you're going to have trouble keeping up with one using a standard race, though at higher levels you'll get better.

  7. - Top - End - #247
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I can't with good conscious vote for +0 LA on these guys even though I love them for the simple fact that you are 3 bab behind which is horrible for a beatstick. This is -0 LA for me needing one or two hd removed to be +0 LA.

  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Thatís a lot of RHD for what amounts to just numbers. Dazing Blow is almost interesting (dazed is a deadly debuff), but as stated, the fact that it only works when you hit with your claws (which, while technically possible to boost, are still not exactly friendly to scaling) really cuts into the long-term utility.

    A normal troll has fewer bad RHD and true regen. I donít think Dazing Blow is worth what you give up relative to being a normal troll, and I donít think the whole package is worth what you give up relative to being a human or an orc. Even on a bruiser, you could be at least knee-deep in a PrC before the cave troll gets a single class level.

    Gotta be -0. Not sure how many RHD to shave off, but probably at least 3 to bring it down to regular troll levels (remembering that fast healing is inferior to regen).
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  9. - Top - End - #249
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    It'd make a decent Effigy. That said it would not make a decent PC.

    In a levels system superpowers gotta scale and these just dont do that well enough.

    -0
    Last edited by unseenmage; 2019-03-12 at 11:18 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #250
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    Thatís a lot of RHD for what amounts to just numbers. Dazing Blow is almost interesting (dazed is a deadly debuff), but as stated, the fact that it only works when you hit with your claws (which, while technically possible to boost, are still not exactly friendly to scaling) really cuts into the long-term utility.

    A normal troll has fewer bad RHD and true regen. I donít think Dazing Blow is worth what you give up relative to being a normal troll, and I donít think the whole package is worth what you give up relative to being a human or an orc. Even on a bruiser, you could be at least knee-deep in a PrC before the cave troll gets a single class level.

    Gotta be -0. Not sure how many RHD to shave off, but probably at least 3 to bring it down to regular troll levels (remembering that fast healing is inferior to regen).
    I could get behind 6 rhd +1 LA for this guy, it seems pretty similar to the standard troll. Personally, I would probably go barbarian 1/fist of the forest3/frost rager 5 and maybe a couple levels in totemist or psychic warrior on this thing. Not everything needs a two handed weapon to play well, I mean at least it can open doors and talk, that is a lot better than a lot of the beat sticks we review...

  11. - Top - End - #251
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    DFA 6 can get you the Humanoid Shape invocation, but waiting until you're at ECL 14 before you can even function like a normal humanoid is pretty ridiculous. I'm not even sure it works: Change Shape says you keep your type and subtype, so you'd still be incorporeal?
    That's an amusing mental image. I guess you'd have to pretend to be a ghost or something?



    The cave troll is similar to the standard troll, but with a couple more RHD and a few useful tricks. The best one long-term will probably be Pounce, but rend and Dazing Blow are pretty nice too. If it's not +0 LA, it's close.
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  12. - Top - End - #252
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Do remember that a regular beatstick can get pounce with a one level dip in barbarian, so the fact that the cave troll gets it is largely irrelevant.
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  13. - Top - End - #253
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I'm torn between +0 and -0. If he could get rapidstrike ... But Giant. Still, with +0 I'd consider playing one (but probably end up not). I could really go either way, but I think 9HD is a -0. 8 HD might be a low powered +0, since pounce saves you a barbarian level, and you're Large.

    TLDR; -0 is my vote.
    Last edited by Scrollreader; 2019-03-12 at 12:37 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #254
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrollreader View Post
    I'm torn between +0 and -0. If he could get rapidstrike ... But Giant. Still, with +0 I'd consider playing one (but probably end up not). I could really go either way, but I think 9HD is a -0. 8 HD might be a low powered +0, since pounce saves you a barbarian level, and you're Large.

    TLDR; -0 is my vote.
    It really doesn't save you a barbarian dip, it just lets you choose something else to replace the lion totem acf. Either way most players would probably still go barbarian or at least prc with rage...

  15. - Top - End - #255
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    It really doesn't save you a barbarian dip, it just lets you choose something else to replace the lion totem acf. Either way most players would probably still go barbarian or at least prc with rage...
    The problem is that most barbarian ACFs just aren't that great. The ones you gain access to by being able to give up fast movement aren't very impressive. I'd still rather go wolf totem and just keep the speed, especially on a troll that absolutely will not be meeting the int requirement for combat experience.
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  16. - Top - End - #256
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    Question Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Primordial Giant helps (a bit) with the stats: Str +14, Dex +2, Con +14, Int -4, Wis +2.

    How would a Swordsage natural attack pounce build look on these guys? You'd only be hitting +14 BAB by 20, and IL 15.

    I assume there's no templates that would change type to aberration, dragon, elemental, magical beast, or plant that don't come with hefty LA? Would be nice to open up (Improved) Rapidstrike...

  17. - Top - End - #257
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I am leaning towards LA -0. The superior Natural AC compensates somewhat for the inferior net abilities, but it is still statted out on the low end of 7 RHD. Quality list of of nasty things to do with your teeth and claws, and you are already permanently Large size, which saves you a lot of running around in your build. Obviously bruiser, with some of the most heavily skewed stats we have reviewed on a critter with no zeroes.

    I am combortable at LA -0 as is, and shaving only 1 RHD to reach LA +0. At 8 RHD, you are only 2 BAB behind, and the chassis is a decent enough fit there.

    Incidentally, these make for good awakened Skeletons, since they have good beatstick bonuses and regain their vicious natural attack routines once awakened. And no worries about the random Int roll for the spell!

  18. - Top - End - #258
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    -0 from me too. I was going to say +0, because this thing can clearly contribute in a level 9 party. But then I thought "what about outside combat ...?" The only other party function it'd take is trap-handler, and it'd do that by setting them all off. No thanks.
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  19. - Top - End - #259
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    -0 from me too. I was going to say +0, because this thing can clearly contribute in a level 9 party. But then I thought "what about outside combat ...?" The only other party function it'd take is trap-handler, and it'd do that by setting them all off. No thanks.
    A troll would actually make for a rather decent trap detector. The massive con bonus would give it enough hit points that it would be unlikely to get one shot by any trap, and then with the fast healing, it could sit in a corner sucking its thumb for a few minutes and get back to full health without expending any resources. Plus, that con bonus will also make it virtually immune to poison and, with steadfast determination, magic traps that target will. The only hole would be the probably low reflex, but I can't think of a single reflex effect that doesn't simply deal damage. Of course, a regular troll with regeneration would do it better since there'd be no risk of getting offed by a trap, unless you get dropped in a pool of acid, I guess. But if every dungeon you come across has inconveniently located acid holes everywhere, then your DM is just being a jerk.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Yeah, it could do a decent job. But "combat plus miscellaneous pincushion" isn't sufficient party role for my taste.
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  21. - Top - End - #261
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I don't really understand people worried about being behind in BAB when you got +18 strength, but either way I put this at a barely +0, -8 int is brutal but it could meat shield and break down doors for you while putting out ok damage with pounce and rend.

  22. - Top - End - #262
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    I don't really understand people worried about being behind in BAB when you got +18 strength, but either way I put this at a barely +0, -8 int is brutal but it could meat shield and break down doors for you while putting out ok damage with pounce and rend.
    I think people are mainly worried about the iterative attacks you miss out on, with -3 BAB. But to be honest, the Cave Troll is often going to be better off attacking without weapons anyway.

    That's why I was hoping to find a template that would open up (Improved) Rapidstrike: Arachnoid, Corrupted by the Abyss, Greenbound, Half-Dragon, Half-Illithid, Insectile, Spellwarped, Symbiotic Creature and Yellow Musk Zombie are all either illegal for PCs, or come with unwanted LA and other side effects.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    I don't really understand people worried about being behind in BAB when you got +18 strength ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    I think people are mainly worried about the iterative attacks you miss out on, with -3 BAB. But to be honest, the Cave Troll is often going to be better off attacking without weapons anyway.
    Even for weapon-based monsters, another roll at -10 or -15 from your highest value isn't doing you much good against level-appropriate enemies ... or any good at all when you can't full-attack, or any good at all when making an AoO, or when tripping or grappling or god only knows what else. Give me the strength boost any old day.

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  24. - Top - End - #264
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    This seems like a +0. A vicious pouncing full attack and 3 hits per round with +18 Str means that even BAB 11+ characters will be looking enviously at your full attack without some serious work on their part. My only concern about them is their out of combat utility, as they are pretty much stuck with intimidate because "I r lurger tan you."

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    This might not light the world on fire, but there's a difference between that and -0. +0 seems fine for a combat monster like this.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I don't think it's meaningfully worse at whomping face than any other tier 4 face-whomper.

    +0.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I guess a Thorn and a Cave Troll have to make a party and go on a quest of self-discovery to see if they're +/- 0. Do we have imitation clerics and wizards to round out the party?

    I would consider +0 because giant type helps stop those save ors that only hurt humanoids and thus improves defenses left open from a beatstick's bad will save. You may not have non-combat options, but you're able to keep the option of combat on the table. I also think anyone who picks a 'cave troll' would be willing to accept that arrangement.
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  28. - Top - End - #268
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    This one is definitely a borderline case for sure, cave trolls have a decent goody bag and good stats for a bruiser, however, loosing 3 bab, animal level int, and -4 to cha makes this thing pretty rough and one dimensional... Like said before dropping a single hd would be enough to tip it back into +0 but as is it is -0.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    This one is definitely a borderline case for sure, cave trolls have a decent goody bag and good stats for a bruiser, however, loosing 3 bab, animal level int, and -4 to cha makes this thing pretty rough and one dimensional... Like said before dropping a single hd would be enough to tip it back into +0 but as is it is -0.
    I agree. Dropping one RHD and the lost BAB would be enough for me to say +0.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I'm going to side with +0 on this one.

    -3 BAB hurts, but +18 str is +9 to hit, +6 after BAB loss, +4 compared to orc warblade. Your bite is only -1 to orc warblade, and you have 4 2d6+a lot attacks at full BAB on a charge. And for the level 9 feat, shock trooper is definitely on the table. Only at +6/-6 but this looks to be a solid ubercharger. Amulet of Natural Attacks is actually reasonably priced for this guy.

    It is a near-mindless beatstick, but it does that well. Free grapple in that pounce means he can wreck medium sized casters as a free action. Eyeballing it looks like he has spot and survival as class skills, among others. With 90' darkvision, low-light vision, scent, and a decent spot bonus (+1 from wis) he's shaping up to be a solid front liner.

    And +16 con and fast healing 8, that will soak an extra hit or two that could have killed most other beatsticks. Good AC once he grabs a class level that gets armor. Well, unless he maxxed shock trooper recently.

    You might make a T3 beatstick that is overall better, but the cave troll brings things I'm sure your beatstick won't. (scent is never bad) I think it performs it's role in a level 9 party, and will continue to be at least adequate adding warblade and/or crusader to the mix at higher levels. And not half-elf fighter adequate, water orc warblade or human crusader adequate.

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