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View Full Version : How do you use Normal/Common monsters?



DMMike
09-11-2009, 07:00 PM
Who says normal monsters have to be normal? Forry realized that and started throwing in specialized versions of normal monsters (look at the lizardmen. I dare you).

Examples from my campaign:
Ogres are another common race, called giants, who are generally considered unwelcome barbarians but can be valuable once they're domesticated.

Elves aren't friendly. They're not part of the Alliance. They're ancient mortal enemies of the dwarves, and you're as likely to be eaten as turned into a newt if you enter their lands unbidden.

Kobolds: don't exist. Nope, not even the dog-like variety.

tesral
09-12-2009, 01:16 AM
It really depends on the "common" monster. First you need to define "common".

In my current game PC races are the monster they meet the most. An urban game gives you plenty of opportunity for that, but little for the usual suspects in the monster division.

-Crash-
09-12-2009, 08:44 AM
Yeah, my Campaign also has the majority of bad guys being the common races. Of course it doesn't hurt to throw in some savage races, and outsiders for good measure.

DMMike
09-14-2009, 06:45 PM
Common: appearing in 25% or more of all WotC and TSR level 1-5 adventure modules.


So, goblins, orcs, ogres, minotaurs, giants, dragons...what am I missing? Drow...

DMMike
10-03-2009, 10:27 PM
Trolls:
Are they the D&D, regenerating, half-treant half ogres?
Or the Tolkien nocturnal, cave-dwelling, petrifying ogres?
Or the ugly, oversized, super-strength man from Beowulf?

Mine are greedy fey, sprouting from the tainted earth near places of greed and murder. You know, places where PCs should think twice about crossing, like bridges, mountain passes, and crossroads. They're not a problem for the authorities, because you can usually dispatch a platoon of cavalry and archers to destroy a troll. But PCs usually don't have that kind of resources...

Hoitash
10-03-2009, 11:05 PM
In the campaign I DM, the southern neighbor of the country the PC's are in has supposedly recruited hordes of goblins, gnolls, and orcs to bolster it's forces and serve as fodder so their trained units don't get wasted.

The war is gonna be so awesome. Especially if the PC's secure the gnomes as allies and their steam powered tanks. And flamethrowers.

I take pride in the world I have created.

Common monsters are good for random encounters, too.

DMMike
10-05-2009, 11:26 PM
In the campaign I DM, the southern neighbor of the country the PC's are in has supposedly recruited hordes of goblins, gnolls, and orcs to bolster it's forces and serve as fodder so their trained units don't get wasted.

The war is gonna be so awesome. Especially if the PC's secure the gnomes as allies and their steam powered tanks. And flamethrowers.

I take pride in the world I have created.

Common monsters are good for random encounters, too.

What's the pay for being war-fodder?
Do the bad guys know they're up against tanks and flamethrowers?

Common monsters ARE good for random encounters - because when something weird shows up the question begs: where did THIS guy come from? What's even cooler than a common monster, is a sly common monster. For example: you could have THREE wolves show up and get killed, or you could have a pack of wolves show up, which only attack THREE at a time, and run away when they get injured. Only to be replaced by three fresh wolves, looking for a weakspot for the pack to attack...

Hoitash
10-06-2009, 08:16 AM
Actually they don't know, my steam punk gnomes are so far neutral in this conflict. They can tip the balance in our heroes favor.

As to payment, my gnolls have Rings of Protection +1, and the humanoids usually carry Martial weapons and potions. And gold, you gotta have gold.

Castagir
10-26-2009, 01:38 PM
DMMike - I have to say I love your thought process behind the monsters you mentioned. Awesome!

Why can't you live closer? We could have a kick-a$$ game...

DMMike
10-26-2009, 06:37 PM
Thanks Castagir. I spend a decent amount of time trying to mix fantastic and practical. That, and I'd rather spend an hour figuring out how to make an orc (tribal, magic-wielding hobgoblins) encounter cool than open up to the Otyugh page of the MM1 and hope for the best.

Pushkins
11-01-2009, 11:40 PM
I love giving "realism" to common monsters in D&D, and most recently I read a bit in Pathfinder about Orc War Banners, that grant morale and attack bonuses to all orcs in view, Very cool.

But my comment isn't so much about what I've done to enrich common monsters so much as to what I've done to enrich Common realism

The setting was a wooded path, following Deer trails, headed back to the coast were the party's ship was left moored to the coast with a crew of around 180 maning it while they were gone. In the month the party was gone they had faced plenty of frost giants and Thryme hounds, took over a keep from a vampire, and found that a town was under rule of an evil army, so they needed the ship to attack it. On their way through this forest in twilight, they smelled smoke from a forest fire, their vision began to be limited due to thick smoke now in the forest, and they heard the hollowing of wolves. As they drew closer to the area a flames they heard something coming at them at a high rate, and something with some girth.

As the party sprang to life, casting spells on themselves and reading actions, getting all ready for combat, all of them 14-15th level had to make a spot and a listen check

Epic Fails. as a deer bound over a bush catching them all flat footed as it ran from the fire ahead and past the party to continue running in the woods..

Rounds later they met a group of giants and thryme hounds assaulting the ship, and the ship fired greek fire into the woods causing it to burn

Grandore The Giant Killer
11-02-2009, 05:30 PM
There is a variety of ways we use races in our game. My DM once used the human race to enslave any other race that they deem as "uncivilized" which really meant every race aside from humans and elves were thrown in prison. It was funny too because some characters were carted around in circus style carts and were auctioned off. Think of the war that broke loose aligning some races that would normally never think of working with eachother.

DMMike
11-06-2009, 01:31 AM
Think of the war that broke loose aligning some races that would normally never think of working with eachother.


Fire giants and dwarves? I bet giants could take dwarf-tossing to a new level.

Hmm. Dwarf-bombs could be cool. I wonder if giant eagles are strong enough to carry dwarves. By the way, I like the idea of huge, intelligent eagles. Common monster? Sure. Usage: well they don't speak people languages too well, what with having a beak instead of a mouth. Plus they're really big, which means they need lots of food. So they probably make good raiders of cattle, mounts for elite units, or recipients of regular sacrifice.

WhiskeyFur
11-10-2009, 11:12 AM
Think the most fun I had with a 'common' monster was with a pack of wolves in ravenloft.

Werewolf country, a pack of wolves find our camp and sat on the edges, each one looking in at us. We wern't sure if they were going to attack or what... and none of us had silver. If they were werewolves and had attacked, we were done for.

We spent the night looking at each other and when the morning mists rolled through, the wolves all up and walked away. No combat, no nothing, but that was our introduction to Lord Strahd's power. It was a lesson we hadn't forgotten.

The GM /still/ hadn't told us if they were werewolves or just wolves, and this was years ago.

Dr.Dead
11-11-2009, 09:58 PM
I like version 3.5 because you can use common monsters and upgrade them your selfs. But I'm not saying a Kolbalt can be upgraded so high that he can take on a Great Wyrm Gold Dragon, but the kobalt can upgraded to the point he is counted as a challenge rating of 5.

tesral
11-12-2009, 05:15 PM
Slap enough character levels on the breast and it can take on anything.

Hoitash
11-12-2009, 05:55 PM
Now that's More Dakka at it's finest.

Blasted TVtropes.com and there addictive information.