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logistical issues with monsters 
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Henchman

Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:46 pm
Posts: 5
Post logistical issues with monsters
sorry if this is the wrong forum for this.

Hey I am a CK that still wet behind the ears, and I am going crazy trying to keep various monster stats straight, organized and ck friendly. As in mainly health/damage, xp, and loot. I am still learning and would like some tricks of the trade to make game play a little smoother.


Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:27 pm
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Lore Drake
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Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:00 am
Posts: 1082
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
Moved into the Rules, Laws and Chaos forum, as you're looking for general advice, and I think the entire community can help provide some pointers.

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Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:35 am
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Lore Drake

Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:00 am
Posts: 1047
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
For me, the only stats you really need "quickly" are those for combat. So attack bonus, hit points, damage, those are the big 3. How much detailed info you need depends on the monster. Little guys like goblins or kobolds are easy- since they often go down on one hit and have few special abilities. But bigger enemies with multiple attacks, you'll want to write down a few numbers on a spare sheet of paper. Of course, these are probably planned encounters, so you can be ready for them.

As for XP, you can work that out later. XP doesn't have to be awarded right after combat. I find a good way to do it is work it out after the session is over, and then award it at the start of the next session.

For Treasure, first keep in mind that what is listed is always a guideline. You can either speak in vague terms, like "a bag of gold". If the players want an exact number, that means their characters have to take time to count it. If you're not sure, just wing it. For example, instead of given them an exact value, just tell the player that they found some gems. The players may try to appraise the gems, but regardless of the result you can decide on their exact value later.

In other words, don't feel that you have to have all the answers right away or that everything needs to be looked up immediately. You won't break anything if you give them a bit too much or too little from time to time.

-Fizz


Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:07 am
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Henchman

Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:46 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
when I was talking about health/damage I was referring to the starting HP each monster gets and keeping track of how much damage gets dealt to them by the party. since their is normally a range for starting HP. but the other tips I will try them out. I was already keeping a condensed stat sheet for enemies with pre rolled HP values for planned encounters. and something similar for fandom's but it tends to get messy keeping track of the fandom's especially.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:46 am
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Lore Drake
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Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 7:00 am
Posts: 1592
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
I don't know if this counts as actual advice, but more of a DM/CK/GMing style.

I never use "random" encounters, per se. I have my planned encounters but I also have a number of monsters pre-genned that are ready if I feel like throwing something "unplanned" at them. The style is indistinguishable from regular rolling for randoms on tables.

As far as keeping track of HP I usually have my notes and then just a scrap piece of paper that I use for jotting down things like HP only tracking (Not worrying about anything else) and things like initiative count, which after the monster is disposed of just a quick "X" through the column to mark it as "done".

I also usually have another page that has player character names only and under it I'll put individual XP as it comes up and any group XP goes in a separate column. At the end of the game it is simple to add-up the group XP and divide it by the number characters in the group adding that number to the individual XP columns, then just adding up each characters XP and giving it out.

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Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:36 am
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Ungern

Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:00 am
Posts: 95
Location: London Ontario Canada
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
Remember too that you'll develop it on your own after a while. But yeah, the three things Fizz said HP, Atk Bonus, and damage are all you really need...although AC is pretty important too ;)

So my little encounter sheet/card will look something like this: (and don't be proud...just write it out shorthand and save time and ink - no one will see it but you)

______________________________________
4 Skeletons (room 4)
AC 13, +1 to hit, shortsword 1d6, 7 HP, P saves
(50 gp bloodstone in refuse pile in the corner)

1. 7 (here you just tally hp as the PCs cut down the skels)
2. 7
3. 7
4. 7
_______________________________________
3 Lizardmen (room 7)
AC 15, +2 to hit, claw/claw/bite (d2 d2 d8) HP 9, P saves (can hold breath vs gases)
(Lizard 2 has 25 gp necklace)

1. 9
2. 9
3. 9
_________________________________________

....and so on and so on.

So if you're devising your own dungeon, you can make a master encounter sheet and have them all on the same sheet(s) of paper. Its handy and makes it easier for reference when you're tallying up the XP later. (I do it the same way Fizz does...tally it after the game and hand out the xp at the beginning of next session.)

This has worked with me, as I always hated running a combat right out of the monster manual. Though if you're pre-populating encounters, its not a bad idea to put a sticky note in your monster book as a bookmark, just in case you need to look something up, which you will later when you get into more elaborate foes.

Hope this helps


Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:53 am
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Unkbartig
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Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:01 pm
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Location: NE Wisconsin
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
My basic stat block is:

HD (so you know attack and save bonuses)
hp
AC
Attacks (e.g., "1d8 sword")
Saves (P, M, or P&M)
Special Abilities (e.g., spells)

Loot will be listed in the encounter description.

I do not follow the point-by-point XP accounting system. I read through the adventure, get a general idea of the total XP involved, and ultimately just decide on an amount of XP that I will award after the adventure has been completed, based on how quickly I want characters to level up in our campaign. I never award XP during an adventure.

Hope that helps!

PS: Here's an Excel sheet I made that you can print out to help keep track of things:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4Nf1f ... sp=sharing

Print sheets 1 & 2 double-sided and use them to keep track of PCs; print copies of sheet 3 separately for monsters.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:54 pm
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Henchman

Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:46 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
thanks I will try that sheet for my next session. how do y'all handle HP generation for randoms when/if y'all use them. right now I am rolling for each one which takes time and stuff. so I was wondering bout yalls techniques.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:15 pm
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Red Cap
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Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:20 pm
Posts: 248
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
To add to the notes ideas, I also include the page number and where the monster's from (Monsters and Treasure, Classic Monsters, etc.), so if there's any information I've missed, I can find it rapidly. As far as random monsters go, if using them I usually roll by hand their HP, but if it was going to slow down flow of the adventure, there's apps for smart phones and websites (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm comes to mind) that will allow you to roll a chunk of a given sort of dice with whatever modifiers you like and sum the end result for you.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:29 pm
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Lord High Inquisitor
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Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
I rarely roll for HP anymore, only for big bosses or important stuff. I usually just randomize it in my head.

Say a creature is a 4HD creature. I think to myself the maximum hp this creature can have is 32 (4x8), the minimum is 4 (4x1) or an average of 18 so this monster will have, on average, 18 hp. If I have just one, I'll usually bump that up, this time to a 20. If there are a bunch, I'll start in the middle and go up and down from there, so if there are 5, for example, the hp will be 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24. I can do that in about 30 seconds.

But I never use random encounters. My main game I DM is online (at Roll20.net). A random encounter would kill that game. ("OK, hold on guys... let me upload this map. OK, while that's uploading, let me make a few tokens. You know what, give me 15 minutes...") Everything in that game is planned. But even with planned encounters, I usually just average out the HP.


Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:06 pm
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Ulthal

Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:26 am
Posts: 524
Post Re: logistical issues with monsters
I pre plan each encounter and have my little booklet with all my baddies premade. BaB, AC, HP, and save M or P. If they are a big bad, i'll include their special abilities such as spells and such. I don't award xp any more, I just let my pc's level up every other play session. As far as weapons and dmg go, I use a lot of minis so whatever weapon the mini is carrying is the weapon they're using. What you see is what you get.

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Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:12 am
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