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MONSTERS, MINIONS, AND MARAUDERS -- What Would *You* Like To See?


Steve Long
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You could do thinly disguised versions of popular Monster Manual critters, so as to make it easier for GMs to adapt published adventures from That Other Game until DOJ publishes some of its own.

 

And I know Hero is all about generic fantasy, but Hero should have some unique, signature monsters of its own. In particular I'd like to see an attempt to make a 'bad guy' race that is so evil and unique that it supplants orcs as the standard baddie in fantasy. I have slain tens of thousands of orcs in my day; I want to kill something different for a change.

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I want to emphasize the fact that I want generic characters, not necessarily monsters, that I can through at my pc';s.

 

Generic City Guard.

Generic Bandit.

Generic Thief

Generic Fighter

Generic Cleric

Generic Infantry

Generic Calvary

Generic Knight

on...and on...and on.

 

I can list more if you need them, but you get the idea. I wouldn't even give them any serious text just stats would be good.

 

Also for each you could have the basic 100pt, then options to boost it up to 150pts then more options to go up to 200pts or some other point levels.

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Thanx for all the suggestions, folx! Keep 'em comin'!

 

At the risk of seeming ungrateful, though, let me point out a couple of things:

 

1. I'm seeing some requests for things that are already published in the HSB. Please double-check your copy of HSB before suggesting something that seems "basic." Since we're not going to reprint any of that stuff, what I'd most prefer is suggestions for new stuff for MMM.

 

2. This is a Fantasy Hero book. It's not a sci-fi book or a horror book or anything like that, so monsters or creatures primarily associated with non-Fantasy genres aren't appropriate for it. For instance, I would definitely like to do a book at some point where we could write up Greys (Roswell-style aliens) -- but I definitely don't intend to put 'em in a collection of Fantasy monsters. ;)

 

3. Don't get hung up on the name (unless it helps organize your thoughts or something). I'm not organizing the monsters into three categories, any more than I organized the villains in CKC into three categories based on that title. I just like three-word alliterative titles for enemies books. ;)

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A semi-sentient creature that lives by creating halucinatory terains through some sort of AOE:Mental Illusions, then just waits for its prey (the players) to starve to death or die of exposure. Perfect for running psychadelic adventures without dimension hopping or changing the entire world.

 

Also, dream creatures. Not incubi/sucubi, creatures that live in and on dreams.

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Additional thoughts....

 

1) Some of the comedic monsters can fall under the header of, "It's only funny until it happens to you." This would include things like twelve-foot-tall squirrels with nine-inch fangs and flames shooting from their eyes, clumsy flightless birds with highly toxic feathers, or crowds of marauders with "Mad Viking Syndrome" (demolishing everything in their path).

 

2) In the "real world" department, you could put in a few more species of dinosaurs, and other prehistorically-extinct creatures (such as the apteryx). It would take a bit of research, but if you can manage 15-20 pages of it I think it'd be worth it. :D

 

3) Don't forget plants. Carnivorous or toxic trees and bushes can always make for an interesting encounter, even if they're not powerful enough to be life-threatening. You could even expand a bit on the "Deadly Ooze" (HSB page 47) to give GMs a few "viscous beasts" to work with. ;)

 

4) A short section (probably a quick appendix) on using parts of animals, beasts, and creatures in alchemical potions could give GMs a lot of cool plot hooks.

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Summoning!?!

 

I would really like to see a side bar or index with a summoning table. I.E. a list of 50 point creatures, a list of 100 point creatures, a list of 250 points creatures. This list should not be a master list of creatures but rather a list of creatures appropriate for summoning (.i.e. Demons, spirits, familiars, etc).

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I second someone's opinion that some FH "signature" creatures would be cool. Just as Orcs, Umber Hulks, and the Tarrasque defined D&D, it would be neat to come up with a few monsters (hopefully very new and unique ones) which would be the sort of things that would end up on the cover of the book. I also really like the idea of trying to include an equal (or close to it) number of monsters for the different fantasy subgenres. Grendel-like uber-monsters and Sauron-like demon king types for epic fantasy, typical stuff for high fantasy, some monsters for swords & sorcery and low fantasy as well. I also like the idea of little one line plot hooks for different monsters.

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Re: Summoning!?!

 

Originally posted by Starwolf

I would really like to see a side bar or index with a summoning table. I.E. a list of 50 point creatures, a list of 100 point creatures, a list of 250 points creatures. This list should not be a master list of creatures but rather a list of creatures appropriate for summoning (.i.e. Demons, spirits, familiars, etc).

 

That is an excellent suggestion. I second the notion.

 

I also like the idea of trying to come up with something fresh... even if it isn't connected to Turkinian. If it could come slithering out of Chris Avellone's fevered imagination complete with purple prose... we should probably put a couple of those kind of ideas in there. Y'know, disgusting, horrible, demonic thingamajings. I'm not suggesting channeling Avellone for the whole book... gods no.. one would go insane. But for a couple of the entries....

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I assume you're more looking for style or categorical sggestions than "I have a neat idea for a monster" suggestions. In that light:

 

1) A small section on how the creatures/opponents might work together. i.e. think how effective it would have been in the LotR if Gwaihir and his folk each had a Lothlorien archer upon his back? How could these creatures interact to tactical advantage?

In a similar light, suggestions for creating "enemy parties".

 

2) When you are adaping a beast from folklore, you could cite the cultural source. If there are equally valid takes on a creature, list how the creature should be adapted. Example: A Welsh troll shoudld be different from a Scandinavian troll. For the first, give it more strength and armor, for the other, regeneration.

How do Chinese dragons differ from European dragons, etc.

 

3) On a related note, somewhere in the entry note the milieu common to the creature. This might be helpful in creating a particular "flavor" of fantasy. This could either be done in the write-up, or you could list common genres in the back along with creatures that would go with them. Example, the entry on "Arabian Nights" style fantasy could include Rocs, elephants, phoenixes, etc. Many folks have a hodge-podge fantasy world where different geographic areas mimic different historical archetypes: "This is the Classical Greece area of my world." Lists like this would be helpful in designing encounters that feel right.

These lists could include references to write-ups in the HSB, which contains many generic, yet regional creatures.

 

 

4) Avoid adapting D&D as much as possible. D&D already does D&D very well.

 

 

I realize I have mentioned some beasts already in the HSB. I have done this as shorthand, since I don't know what is going to be in MMM. The suggestions are still valid, though.

 

 

Keith ":(Still don't have Fantasy Hero:(" Curtis

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Steve,

As you're very well aware of, each person's idea of Fantasy is widely varied. Some people like D&D monsters, some want nothing to do with D&D. Some people consider aliens visiting, like the movie Krull, to be appropriate fantasy.

What I think would be the most useful is probably not going to fit in one book.

First, there should be more templates to use in building critters, so that building an Aboleth is taking the basic large fish, adding to it the templates for telepathic species, for survive deep oceans, and making it intelligent and evil (appropriate Psych Lims).

There should be some of the creatures from various myths, of course...the Welsh? black hounds, the Chinese ogres, and so forth. And there should be options/templates to convert them to other monsters.

Also, some writeups of monster-like powers, such as a template so that the creature feeds on souls instead of blood, or mana intead of blood, the kinds of things that make a creature into a MONSTER. Creatures are somewhat scary...spiders and snakes, oh my. But Monsters should be SCARY.

The other thing that would be really useful is groups of "generic" villains...bandits, pirates, bounty hunters, orcish raiders, and the like. With FH and HSB we can create some of those, but what I'm talking about is more from a group view. For example, if my group of 6 players is going to run into a group of pirates in one of the ports they travel to, what guidelines should I follow in point level, skills, tactics, for these pirates to make it memorable? funny? dangerous? deadly serious? etc.

And finally, don't forget to put in the monsters you didn't put in HSB because you said they belonged in the Fantasy genre ;)

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How about more "low' point monsters.

 

in D&D there are scads of low monsters from simple skeletons, rats, and zombies and Orcs etc...

 

 

in HERO a Zombie/skeleton is 170+

(more than most starting characters by 20 points) with almost all of it in combat effectiveness (how many Zombies have Turkarian High Society knowledge skills ?!!!?!?!)

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All I can think to ask is that you don't restrict inspiration to just books or movies. I'm sure I don't have to remind the folks that publish Champions that comics have alway included a lot of great ideas for fantasy, although I get the feeling that they're often overlooked by game authors.

 

Also, don't be shy about looking to videogames for idea for creatures. I know some people stigmatize video games as juvenile, but I've seen some monsters in games I could only dream of seeing in a major motion picture.

 

Lastly, don't overlook b-movies, both fantasy and horror. A lot of these feature monsters no major motion picture would touch (Pumpkinhead and Deep Rising come to mind). Along the same lines, horror monsters often work just as well in fantasy settings: the Alien monster would be just as scary in a dwarven mine or isolated castle, the Kothoga creature from Relic would probably work better in fantasy, the Cen(t)obites from Hellraiser are perfect for sophisticted demons... I could go on but I'm starting to have flashbacks of watching late night cable during my teens....:rolleyes:

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What would I like?

 

Several years ago I read in Adventurer's Club about how to incorporate NPCs into an FH game. I was fairly amused by it. My games are always NPC-oriented, As such Monsters are less of a concern for me than Races I can make into NPCs. Intelligent creatures, humanoids, talking slime, whatever...

 

That said, there is the whole concept of the Unique monster, Talos, the (original) Terrasque, Scylla, Grendel or any of hundreds of other one-shot critters. A short description of critter's habitat would be nice as well...

 

The Arkoshoon lives in a sun-blasted desert, the gaudian of the secrest long held beneath the burning sands...

 

Note how it says a sun-blasted desert not The Bargoyan Expanse which is setting specific....

 

Sounds like fun to me...

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Sure, wait until I've left work to start the thread. :)

 

  1. Some sort of measure of the creature's effectiveness and power level. One of the most frequent questions here is "I'm new to Hero, how do I balance heroes against NPCs?" I don't expect a full-blown effectiveness rating system -- even a simple note would be better than nothing.
  2. In that vein, a few pre-defined groups (in particular for Marauders) would make a great appendix. Ideally, this would be in "ready to run" state: equipment, tactics, etc all provided for a couple different power levels, so the GM could turn to the 50+50 section and pick something.
  3. Summary Stats. Hero publications have been moving more and more toward the philosophy of giving basic information up front, followed by the full points writeup. Please do the same for this book!
  4. Monsters for a full range of power levels, from 0 point normals to 250+ high fantasy powerhouses.
  5. As previously mentioned, monsters (or more monsters) that can serve for familiars and summon spell targets.
  6. Don't do "thinly veiled" versions of D&D monsters; it makes Hero seem derivative rather than original. Obviously some D&D favorites are going to show up, but I'd rather that be because you're drawing from the same original source material.

That's it for now...

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Some of this has probably already been said, but I'd like to see:

1. Scalable monsters - e.g., stats for an orc, orc lieu, orc capt, etc., which can effectively be used as different levels of creatures for different point level campaigns (i.e., the orc lieu might be the orc lieu for a 100pt FH game, but be the base orc for a 150pt FH game if so desired).

2. Motivations - overarching goals, reasons to be and act, etc., which can lead to plot seeds.

3. Tactics - a sentence or two regarding general combat tactics of each monster, especially for those with lots of abilities.

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Originally posted by CrosshairCollie

I'd like to see some non-Western monsters, too, myself, especially Oriental stuff like kitsune, tanuki, tengu, oni (demons) and the like. I don't have the HSB, so I don't know if those have been done or not.

I believe Steve mentioned that Mike Surbrook was working on an oriental bestiary that will be a Hero Plus product.

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Not to be difficult, but if Oriental monsters are fantasy creatures, why shouldn't you put them in the fantasy creature book? At least the popular ones people would expect to find. It seems silly to me to ask for suggestions about filling out "extra pages" when you've got whole stables of critters that people will probably expect.

 

Small rant: There seems to be a trend in Hero now to spread material out across multiple books. As far as I can tell, it has something to do with being able to categorize rules by function rather than genre. I confess, it's a little irksome to me. It's not as if the genre books don't have large enough page counts to encompass every aspect of each genre. Yet I have to buy The Ultimate Vehicle to get the full rules on vehicles. Fantasy Hero refers the reader to the Grimoire for spell systems, instead of including spell system writeups. The basic 5E rulebook doesn't even have sample characters (!) presumably because we're supposed to buy other products for that.

 

Maybe this is a marketing strategy to get us to buy more books, but for me it's producing diminishing returns. I can't bring myself to buy TUV simply for the fifteen or so pages that I want. I have no idea what the difference is between The Ultimate Martial Artist and Ninja Hero, but I'm certainly not going to buy NH to find out. Instead, I'm house-ruling the stuff that's not in the basic genre books.

 

So if you ask me what I want in Hero's Monster Manual, here's my answer: I want every type of fantasy creature I need for my FH game. I don't want to be referred to books I haven't bought. (I won't even get into the inconvenience of e-books.)

 

Okay, rant over.

 

-AA

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AA

 

AA -

 

I don't know what your history is with the Hero system, and I am sorry that the way they are producing books bothers you. All I can say in reply is this: In the 10+ years between 4th and 5th edition, many of us would have bought ANY book we could have with new material in it for Hero. I am not going to complain at this point with whatever strategy Steve uses to get books on the shelves. As a matter of fact, I think the manner with which he is releasing them shows incredible business smarts, not that he needs my approval in any way.

 

In short, sorry you don't want to buy more books, but you have options available since the core books lets YOU build anything you want. Personally, I would rather have more books rather than less.

 

- Ernie

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I like the way the rules books are published. You have a vehicle heavy campaign, get TUV. You have a martial arts heavy campaign, get UMA. You run a lot of different campaigns, get them all and get a little benefit over each and every campaign you run. If you don't want to get them, that's fine too, because FREd has all you need in it anyway.

 

Back on topic:

 

I would like to see templates, templates, templates. Something I can throw onto any creature and make it a unique but similar creature. What makes a Phaeree horse different from a normal horse?

 

More non-Eurocentric monsters. I understand Mike Surbrook is working on an Asian bestiary (and doing a very complete job of it, if his researches on the message boards are any indicator). Maybe MMM can make room for monsters native to N. American myths, or S. America, or Africa, or Australia, or Polynesia... Lots of good material to mine out there.

 

Monsters with a traditional feel, even if they are new creations. Too many monsters in fantasy games come across to me as less of a fairy tale beastie and more of a transplanted Cthulhuoid. Example: a levitating ball covered with eyes => Chthulhu's cousin; a hairy giant beast covered with eyes (even if it has the exact same powers) => Grendel's drinking buddy. I prefer a traditional feel in a fantasy game, and not a low-tech sci-fi feel.

 

Maybe I'll come up with more later.

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Originally posted by austenandrews

So if you ask me what I want in Hero's Monster Manual, here's my answer: I want every type of fantasy creature I need for my FH game. I don't want to be referred to books I haven't bought. (I won't even get into the inconvenience of e-books.)

Just as a point for understanding, DOJ already has a "Monster Manual." It is called the HERO System Bestiary. MM&M was originally supposed to be the Turakian Age Bestiary in the same way that CKC is the Champions Universe "Enemies" book. That does not mean you cannot use CKC or MM&M as generic books, but they were supposed to be tie-in books, not general purpose books. It seems that DOJ has now decided to change their policy in those regards, but the original intent when the product was annouced was for it not to be their generic Monster Manual II.

 

I am personally disappointed in the change. Since I have not opened the Bestiary more than 4 times since I bought it, I probably will not buy MM&M. I have no interest in generic books, and zero interest in generic fantasy monsters. But I will buy the Turakian Age "enemies" book if it ever comes out.

 

The Asian Bestiary book was more than likely contracted long before DOJ decided to change the nature of MM&M. That is why you will see that information in two different books. Their intent is not to gouge you of your money. Their intent is to give the fans the books they want, but in many cases that requires more than one book. I do not know about you, but I personally do not want to have to buy another book the size of FH. I would much rather have two 200 page books over one 400 page book. Even if it does cost me an extra $15.00.

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