Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

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Gunbunny
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Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Gunbunny »

Quick question..I *think* class-based NPCs use the traditional saves of the class (plus any due to race, etc), much like a PC would, but I'm not sure...is this the case? Just wanted to make sure before I go about converting any more of the NPCs in Temple of Elemental Evil from 1E to C&C.

Thanks!

GB

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Lord Dynel »

All the NPCs I've made that have class levels use "regular" saves. A dwarf NPC fighter, for example, would have strength and another of your choosing.
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Gunbunny »

Thanks!!

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Buttmonkey
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Buttmonkey »

Just a suggestion:

Don't use traditional class-based NPCs. It's too much work as a GM. Instead, treat every NPC like a monster, but give some of them class abilities. For example, instead of statting out a 4th level dwarf fighter, use a 4 HD dwarf that has a +4 BtH specializing in hammer for an extra +1/+1. This isn't such a big distinction with fighters, but the change in mindset is huge when it comes to spell-casting NPCs. There is no need to look at the spells per level chart or factor in extra spells for high intelligence. Instead, just assign hit dice and AC as you see fit, then give the NPC/monster whatever spells you want them to have. You can also give them spell-like abilities/effects that aren't tied to spells in the PHB. You want the NPC wizard guy to be able to shoot flames from his eyes doing 2d6 damage as a spell-like ability? Then just say the wizard-thing can do it. The class rules are for PCs, not monsters/NPCs. Putting together villains is much easier if you unshackle yourself from the PHB.
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bestialwarlust
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by bestialwarlust »

Buttmonkey wrote:Just a suggestion:

Don't use traditional class-based NPCs. It's too much work as a GM. Instead, treat every NPC like a monster, but give some of them class abilities. For example, instead of statting out a 4th level dwarf fighter, use a 4 HD dwarf that has a +4 BtH specializing in hammer for an extra +1/+1. This isn't such a big distinction with fighters, but the change in mindset is huge when it comes to spell-casting NPCs. There is no need to look at the spells per level chart or factor in extra spells for high intelligence. Instead, just assign hit dice and AC as you see fit, then give the NPC/monster whatever spells you want them to have. You can also give them spell-like abilities/effects that aren't tied to spells in the PHB. You want the NPC wizard guy to be able to shoot flames from his eyes doing 2d6 damage as a spell-like ability? Then just say the wizard-thing can do it. The class rules are for PCs, not monsters/NPCs. Putting together villains is much easier if you unshackle yourself from the PHB.

This is usually the best way to do it. Plus it keeps players guessing instead of meta gaming.

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Captain_K
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Captain_K »

I can't count all the hours I wasted making highly detailed full up NPC from PH... get h.p., AC, a few abilities like a class and a cool MI or two and play.. usually you have more than one anyway.. plus its fun to have NPCs NOT be obvious classes or a odd mix of some or all.. rules, what rules??
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serleran
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by serleran »

NPCs are definitively not PCs. Therefore, the rules in the PHB do not apply. Give a dwarf 5 Primes if you want and it fits what the NPC "does" in the game -- not the "story," per se.

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Annok »

I disagree with many of the posters here - most of the NPCs in my campaign are 'classed' - they have identities and abilities that reflect their histories - consequently they are rarely 'slain' by the PCs in initial confrontations. There is no wasted time in generating their abilities - through discourse, magic and combat some become allies, some become enemies and some become unknowns. An NPC who has already fought the PCs and lived has much greater context - as soon as the PCs encounter that NPCs there is tremendous awareness about their history, motives and involvement in the plot and situation - this is much more FUN for the Keeper - these characters are your agents - facilitate their escape from treacherous/traitorous contexts and have them RETURN to fight another day - nobody wants to die so only have them die if there is no way for them to LIVE.

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Omote »

I'm also an advocate of putting classes on monsters. Bad-to-the-bone Orc out of the M&T can be pretty bland just by increasing +to hit and + to damage. Add on 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger and that orc has become a dire opponent that scouts for the enemy orc armies. Lookout!

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Buttmonkey
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Buttmonkey »

Omote wrote:I'm also an advocate of putting classes on monsters. Bad-to-the-bone Orc out of the M&T can be pretty bland just by increasing +to hit and + to damage. Add on 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger and that orc has become a dire opponent that scouts for the enemy orc armies. Lookout!

~O
This is where you lose me. Why give the monster levels of a PC class rather than just give the monster the class-like abilities you want it to have and bump the hit dice to whatever you want? The distinction isn't hugely important when it comes to fighter or ranger abilities, but it makes a big difference with spell casters.
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Rigon
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Rigon »

You all have it wrong, you have to have full character write ups, along with several pages of background information, motivations, contingency plans, etc. That's the correct way to do NPCs.

:D

Seriously, just add the features to the monster/NPC that you want them to have. They do not have to follow the rules for PCs.

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Omote »

Buttmonkey wrote:
Omote wrote:I'm also an advocate of putting classes on monsters. Bad-to-the-bone Orc out of the M&T can be pretty bland just by increasing +to hit and + to damage. Add on 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger and that orc has become a dire opponent that scouts for the enemy orc armies. Lookout!

~O
This is where you lose me. Why give the monster levels of a PC class rather than just give the monster the class-like abilities you want it to have and bump the hit dice to whatever you want? The distinction isn't hugely important when it comes to fighter or ranger abilities, but it makes a big difference with spell casters.
By giving the monster class levels (per the PHB), you have a measure by which you can judge the relative power of of opponent. Yes, I understand all good CKs can do the same by simply giving the monster class abilities, and increasing it's number of HD. But when adding class levels, you not only have an instant gauge on relative power versus the PCs or other opponent, but you have a simple way to explain to players the reason why the orc in question was so tough... he was a standard orc but with 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger. Every player can instantly understand that, because the players increase the powers of their characters in the same way.

Yes, you can handwave all that, and the CK can do as he pleases, but I love the sense that enemies and PCs can be "built" in the same way, and play by the same rules.

All of that aside, it's simply easier for my brain to comprehend tacking on class levels to an existing race. Since it works like that for PCs in the PHB, I like that it can work that way for the enemies.

Now, take a non-humanoid type of creature out of the M&T, like say, the gelatinous cube. You could add fighter levels to that, but I think that is just silly. For the purposes of strange creatures like the cube, if I need an "elder" enemy version of it, I simply add on some HD, perhaps change the damage amount.

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JohnD
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by JohnD »

Personally I build out my NPCs following the same rules as I employ for the PCs. It gives my world consistency I believe. I use a lot of AD&D materials and a good portion of my adversaries are classed instead of monsters. I can't imagine running the ToEE and not building the NPCs out following the same schemas the players used when creating their personas for example.

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by pawndream »

I use the quick and dirty approach advocated by several other posters in this thread: bump up a monster's HD and select a few class features to graft over the top. I spent far too much time in my 3.5 years building class-based monsters and got that well out of my system.

:)

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Spade Marlowe »

Omote wrote:
By giving the monster class levels (per the PHB), you have a measure by which you can judge the relative power of of opponent. Yes, I understand all good CKs can do the same by simply giving the monster class abilities, and increasing it's number of HD. But when adding class levels, you not only have an instant gauge on relative power versus the PCs or other opponent, but you have a simple way to explain to players the reason why the orc in question was so tough... he was a standard orc but with 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger. Every player can instantly understand that, because the players increase the powers of their characters in the same way.
If you do give monsters class levels, how do you determine hit pts? Say you want to make 5th level fighters out of both a goblin and an orc. Would the goblin get 5d6 hp, while the orc got 5d8 hp? I just remember with Pathfinder you would use 5d10 (all fighters use d10 for hit dice), but then you would make adjustments to their ability scores based on race.

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Rigon »

Spade Marlowe wrote:
Omote wrote:
By giving the monster class levels (per the PHB), you have a measure by which you can judge the relative power of of opponent. Yes, I understand all good CKs can do the same by simply giving the monster class abilities, and increasing it's number of HD. But when adding class levels, you not only have an instant gauge on relative power versus the PCs or other opponent, but you have a simple way to explain to players the reason why the orc in question was so tough... he was a standard orc but with 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger. Every player can instantly understand that, because the players increase the powers of their characters in the same way.
If you do give monsters class levels, how do you determine hit pts? Say you want to make 5th level fighters out of both a goblin and an orc. Would the goblin get 5d6 hp, while the orc got 5d8 hp? I just remember with Pathfinder you would use 5d10 (all fighters use d10 for hit dice), but then you would make adjustments to their ability scores based on race.
If I do give class levels, the monster gets the hit die of the class (especially if it is a one HD creature).

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Omote »

Spade Marlowe wrote:
Omote wrote:
By giving the monster class levels (per the PHB), you have a measure by which you can judge the relative power of of opponent. Yes, I understand all good CKs can do the same by simply giving the monster class abilities, and increasing it's number of HD. But when adding class levels, you not only have an instant gauge on relative power versus the PCs or other opponent, but you have a simple way to explain to players the reason why the orc in question was so tough... he was a standard orc but with 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger. Every player can instantly understand that, because the players increase the powers of their characters in the same way.
If you do give monsters class levels, how do you determine hit pts? Say you want to make 5th level fighters out of both a goblin and an orc. Would the goblin get 5d6 hp, while the orc got 5d8 hp? I just remember with Pathfinder you would use 5d10 (all fighters use d10 for hit dice), but then you would make adjustments to their ability scores based on race.
So when I give monsters class levels, I simply bolt the classes right on top of the monster statistics as they are presented in whichever C&C monster book you are using. For example, a standard Orc out of the M&T comes with the monster's listed abilities/statistics, including 1 HD of 1d8 hit points. If I make that Orc a fighter, I keep the orc exactly the same, plus put all of the 1st level fighter fighter abilities on top. The only thing I change, that if the HP die is better for the class than the monster, I give the classed monster the HD of the class. Also, if the monster takes levels in say, wizard, the BTH of the monster with wizard levels is equal to the BTH of the wizard class, and NOT the HD (like it is usually prescribed in the M&T).

So in your example, the 5th level fighter goblin will have 5d10HP, +5 to hit in combat (fighter BTH), and have all of the abilities of a goblin + a 5th level fighter. Of course, you'll have to adjust the XP for your game if you award XP in the standard way. A 5th level fighter goblin is much more dangerous than a normal goblin from the M&T. I guess it works pretty close to the Pathfinder method, but I am not overly familiar with that system.

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Spade Marlowe »

Omote wrote:
Spade Marlowe wrote:
Omote wrote:
By giving the monster class levels (per the PHB), you have a measure by which you can judge the relative power of of opponent. Yes, I understand all good CKs can do the same by simply giving the monster class abilities, and increasing it's number of HD. But when adding class levels, you not only have an instant gauge on relative power versus the PCs or other opponent, but you have a simple way to explain to players the reason why the orc in question was so tough... he was a standard orc but with 5 levels of fighter and 5 levels of ranger. Every player can instantly understand that, because the players increase the powers of their characters in the same way.
If you do give monsters class levels, how do you determine hit pts? Say you want to make 5th level fighters out of both a goblin and an orc. Would the goblin get 5d6 hp, while the orc got 5d8 hp? I just remember with Pathfinder you would use 5d10 (all fighters use d10 for hit dice), but then you would make adjustments to their ability scores based on race.
So when I give monsters class levels, I simply bolt the classes right on top of the monster statistics as they are presented in whichever C&C monster book you are using. For example, a standard Orc out of the M&T comes with the monster's listed abilities/statistics, including 1 HD of 1d8 hit points. If I make that Orc a fighter, I keep the orc exactly the same, plus put all of the 1st level fighter fighter abilities on top. The only thing I change, that if the HP die is better for the class than the monster, I give the classed monster the HD of the class. Also, if the monster takes levels in say, wizard, the BTH of the monster with wizard levels is equal to the BTH of the wizard class, and NOT the HD (like it is usually prescribed in the M&T).

So in your example, the 5th level fighter goblin will have 5d10HP, +5 to hit in combat (fighter BTH), and have all of the abilities of a goblin + a 5th level fighter. Of course, you'll have to adjust the XP for your game if you award XP in the standard way. A 5th level fighter goblin is much more dangerous than a normal goblin from the M&T. I guess it works pretty close to the Pathfinder method, but I am not overly familiar with that system.

~O
My question was more towards differentiating a 5th level fighter goblin from a 5th level fighter orc. From your example they would both have the same hp, but the goblin would still have the higher AC (and not be light sensitive). I was stuck on the thought that the goblin should have less hp than the orc, but I could also just be over thinking this too much.

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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by Omote »

I see why you would want to differentiate the HP for a orc versus a goblin, and you wouldn't be wrong doing so. In fact, regardless of class in keeping the racial HD equal to the class level of the monster is a neat idea, but not in line with the way the C&C rules work. For example, a halfling barbarian still gets 1d12 HP per level, regardless of race ~ that's why I keep the class HD in there, instead of racial HD... and the fact that admittedly I run a slightly more high-powered version of C&C than BTB. ;)

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serleran
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Re: Quick Question concerning Class-based NPCs

Post by serleran »

Here is a rough guide for modifying class HD by size. However, it should not be blindly followed as, for example, a race can be small but notoriously resilient so the descriptions and abilities should always be considered.

Size / HD_Adjustment
Small / -1 Die Type
Medium / None
Large / +1 Die Type

Not amazing, but easy.

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