When you have a single creature against 3-4 players, how “hard” do you go?

When you have a single creature against 3-4 players, how “hard” do you go?

When you have a single creature against 3-4 players, how “hard” do you go? What’s the most successfully fearsome, yet fair, creature you created? Include your beast’s hp and hit dice properties.

11 thoughts on “When you have a single creature against 3-4 players, how “hard” do you go?”

  1. Those numbers mean very little. Once you describe it as being able to face them all and just say “no” to some unimaginative hack and slash attempts they will begin to fear.

  2. Hmm, I see your point. However, at that point I feel like I am controlling the time of death of the creature rather than the players. I may hasten the demise of a creature based on a situation but I don’t want to prolong it simply because I want the right ending. Though, maybe I should.

  3. This is a monster so fierce that a handful of skilled adventurers are scared to fight it. “I hit it with my sword” gets a “no.” Or at least a “you see no way past its whirling weapons/magic armor/face melting gaze. What do you do?” Kick them in the teeth until they Discern a way to get a clear shot or collaborate to drop a house on it.

  4. When the party ran into a revenant they quickly figured out they couldn’t put it down through normal means when the fighter’s signature weapon failed to do any lasting damage. You know, severing an arm and the guy just sort of reattaches it and seems a bit cross about the situation. I’s worth noting however that the revenant wasn’t directly hostile to the party so they were able to negotiate with it and have it realize it’s revenge and duty was over and it could go back to sleep as it were.

  5. On their first venture, the Wayward Spirits were ambushed by a camp of river bandit. All but one boarder was repelled, both through handwaving for missing players and excellent manoeuvring. Anyhoo, there was three of us on board and this one heavily armoured dwarf pirate. Well, it was technically a longbeard beserker, straight from Krusty Wightbred’s Numbers Appearing. The essential stats being Armour 4, 12 HP, 1d10+2 damage and many axes.

    Man, that dwarf right nearly killed us all.

  6. hp and hit dice all fall in the same range, from 3 to 25-30, from 2d4.w to 2d12.b+what, 6? 7? and some piercing/ignoring armor. The apocalypse dragon is what could be seen as one of the highest statted monster for those values. Yet its moves and special qualities are the most fearsome entries in its write up.

    My most successful monsters are always powerful wizards and necromancers. I just love to have them almost all-powerful (especially if the party itself established one of them as their own invincible archenemy). They summon fierce minions, they teleport party members into dangerous places, they control their minds… Gee, this Tuesday the party is going to face such a bad ass sorcerer I tremble at the mere thought. They usually have base stats though, 12 hp, 1d10 damage, maybe ignoring armor, maybe +2, maybe messy, and either 0 armor or 4 uber magical armor. But damage is a warriors’ thing, mages know better than that.

  7. Basically the best way to make a monster interesting is to make the players think about how they approach or overcome it in interesting ways.

    Another thing you can do is get your monsters to just increase the ambient peril of the location you’re in. I had a fabulous goblin orkaster where I fell in love with the “cast a poorly understood spell” move, his bungling just kept causing problems for everybody – cave ins, summoning giant undead stone scaled lizards that dry humped the stony rock face they were under and dropping necromantic maggot-worms on everybody, casting teleport spells that sent him gods know where…

    I loved that incompetent little shit.

  8. This was before dungeon world days but I was thinking about how to adapt this. I designed a solo monster… a demon…specifically to my players’ playstyles. It’s knack was this: it was immune to any attack that it was not attacked by in the previous round. So when the players first attacked it (with arrows, magic missiles etc) it just grinned and shook its head at them. And they instantly started going through their repertoire of other ways to damage things always mentally crossing off things that had no effect the first time. It would eventually practically ignore them while going about it’s task (destroying some artifact, killing a victim etc) then flee while mocking them. And thus they would plan even more elaborate means of harming it which would always fail the first time because it was something new. And all they had to do was keep hitting it after the first attack was shrugged off and it would have gone down in short order.

    This lasted across five different encounters with it in different game sessions. They never did figure it out eventually doing a bunch of research onto who kind of demon it was to get a clue. Ah well…

  9. I think I did it! My PCs finally ran up against one of the long-foreshadowed “mad druids.” One NPC druid explained, many times, that his brethren give up their sanity in order to be powerful enough to do the will of nature. They can’t be reasoned with and a mere handful of them have held back the ogre horde forever.

    So they’re pursuing a freshly re-risen lich and his ever-growing, undead army. A member of a scouting patrol they’re trying to pick off escapes and, after dealing with the rest of the group, they hear trumpets in the distance. The wizard pulls out a war trumpet they took off a previous group and tries to mimic their communique.

    Snake eyes.

    “Oh yes, you successfully keep the lich and his deep elf host confused about your position. But… Mwahahahahah!”

    I decided that the mad druid has a completely mutable form. At one point, while it was somewhere between an elephant and a bear, they blew off its lower jaw with a spell to free one of the barbarian’s companions. He got free, the jaw bone disintegrated into the earth, and he grew a new one. Instantly, no damage. For the most part their attacks cut through it for no effect, their attempts to ensnare it were meaningless, and so on. Until they Discerned Realities and Spouted Lore about the druid’s heart being immutable and its only vulnerable point and where in its enormous body that heart might be.

    At that point a single combined strike from the fighter and barbarian took it down. Epic.

    I’m not sure if they were more scared or frustrated, I had a bad headache and was kinda off my game, but I felt it was pretty good.

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