Abstract Monster Cards
I’m messing around with some index-sized monster reference cards. The idea is that most monsters will fit into one of four categories: easy, average, hard, and epic. Under the heading is a short list of the kind of monster that might fit in that category.
The choices from the monster-creation guide are stripped down and divided among the four types of cards. I’m not worrying about tags, etc., since I can usually do a decent job of that stuff in my head.
There are also tick boxes for HP.
23 thoughts on “Abstract Monster Cards”
Ara Kooser check your inbox.
I am intrigued/sub
Post when you are ready I am interested in this! I might make some of my own for personal use with pics from the intraveb on each one
I’ve been grooving lately on organizing baddies by motivation/instinct and moves toward those ends.
I’m actually planning to see how well it works to use DW monster write-ups in Monsters & Magic.
Mathew Mailer those are great.
I tried them out last night, and they worked great. The HP tick boxes were super useful.
I love HP as tick boxes rather than tons of math. I changed to hit boxes for my 4e campaign and it transformed my GMing.
Brennen Reece I’d love to see what you have whenever they’re workable.
This may just be me, but I’m not a huge fan of “easy, average, hard, and epic.” It sounds like planning based on how tough a thing will be, not finding out through play. It starts to sound a little like a Challenge-Rating type thing, which Adam and I banged our heads against but eventually decided was completely wrong for DW.
Everything else rocks, though! Maybe if instead of difficulty levels they were something equally generic, but more based around the world? “Leader of Men” (implies powerful, maybe magic, maybe skill) “Arcane Dabbler” (implies magic), “Blessed of the Gods” (implies divine power) etc. Some of those could imply a place in the world too: “Soldier” is probably not all that powerful compared to “Leader of Men.”
(Don’t take these as Sage-the-game-designer saying it’s wrong, take this as Sage-the-gamer saying how he likes to do things.)
I see what you’re saying Sage LaTorra. My rating is based mainly on damage dice and hit points. Things like goblins and kobolds would be easy, though when they attack in groups they are anything but. Dragons and Lich Kings would be epic.
I’m mainly using them so I don’t have to think. As much as I love the monster creation rules (which I’m really kind of using for these), it’s kind of weird to stop in the middle of play and answer a bunch of questions. I’m still putting lists on the cards, but they’re simplified a bit by only including what is appropriate to the monster, and can be ignored entirely if desired.
Oddly, rephrasing these things so they seem less like game mechanics and more like descriptions of how the world works eases me into it. If “easy” was “Rank and File” or “The Common Folk” or whatever, it feels more grounded (to me). Average might be “The Skilled And Dangerous” maybe. Hard could be “Leaders and Powers,” with epic being “Supernatural, Legends, and the Like”
Again, this is totally just my hangup!
I was actually pretty bothered by my system of ranking. I really like the ones above!
Or you could organize by general approach: Physical, Magic, Technique, Divine, Social.
Here’s a proof-of-concept:
For the way my brain works, I think organizing by number appearing (horde, group, solitary, etc) is the best way to do it.
I like keeping it as simple as possible, and this card isn’t intended to be a full reference as much as a combat tracker or a tool for a DM who has had a bit too much whisky at the table.
Please, please, please give me ideas for the other cards.
Looks nice. What’s the square with a 6 after the title? Something about a d6 result?
Why not organize them by setting as in the DW book? I really like that method (The pdf hierarchy is great for it, but I only wish the various settings were more easily navigable in the hardcopy book)
The main reason is that I’m trying to organize them by like mechanics. It’s really meant to be an encounter tool more than a conceptual tool.
Could have one for a solitary Champion (goes well with a group of underlings).
Another could be for one or a group of manipulators (hexers, buffers, debuffers, mind controllers, commanders, intimidators, illusionists, terrain alter-ers).
Post the content for a card and I’ll (probably) put it in the set.
Ah gotcha. In that case, I usually find need to track the mobility critters separate from the ground squad (fliers, skitterers, skirmishers, dancers, invisible stalkers). They could be as a group.
If i was using them as an encounter tool, I’d probably want a card for fodder (like your horde example), for specialists/manipulators/artillery, for a champion or two, and for mobile baddies (if there are any). That’s 4 standard types I commonly feel the need to track separately.
My monsters tend to be tailored to their location and context, so generic monsters don’t do much for me. Maybe they could be archetypes that you fill in with bits of the existing fiction? That way you could even draw them randomly from a deck:
– “Threat Lurking in the Shadows”
– “You Are Betrayed By a Comrade”
– “Someone with Selfish Intentions Involves Themself in Your Life”
– “The Remains of a Failed Experiment”
– “Something is Stalking You, Wanting What You Possess”
– “A Trap That Seeks Not Your Death, But to Ensnare You”
But the things I want from a monster description are guidelines for what they do and feel like in the fiction, rather than stats and HP and stuff. Maybe that’s a different project, though.
Adding to Jonathan Walton’s archetype list: “Someone whose glorious plans you’ve just muddled”
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