Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monster Strength

I want my strength bonus!
I've been running my AD&D campaign now for a few months and something finally penetrated my thick brain the other day.  Let's take the Ogre for example, in the Monster Manual is does 1-10 damage or by weapon type.  No strength bonus is figured in.  The only reason this penetrated my thick skull was one of the characters has an 18/00 and is a fricking slaughtering machine.  The ogre is 9' tall and one mass of muscle and no bonus and if I remember correctly and I know do, the magic item Gauntlets of Ogre Power provide the wearer with an 18/00 strength.  The only creatures I can think of off the top of my shaved head that strength is figured are the giants, but again not into the damage itself. 

Here is a table I got out of the Monster Manual II.  It gives 19 to 25 strengths and a comparable monster.
Str   Monster
19    Hill Giant
20    Stone Giant
21    Frost Giant
22    Fire Giant
23   Cloud Giant
24    Storm Giant
25    Titan

Again, none of these strength bonuses are included into the damage.  Now I can hear some readers out there saying they don't include any attribute bonuses into the stats. True and not true.  Some of the armor classes are lower because of creature being quick, some critters can cast spells because they have a higher intelligence and so on.  Is it quantified?  No.  Would I want it to be?  No.  I'm just saying this because I've been thinking about it.  Although I wouldn't go around figuring out dexterities for creatures, I have done a lose configuration of strengths.  Why?  Because I'm on vacation this week.  If you want to make any more sense of it beyond that then you are wasting your time.  I'm doing this before I go out and by Skyrim.

Since my campaign is mainly populated by gobliniods, humanoids and the occasion horrific abomination here is my half ass list.  Is this set in stone?  No.  Why am I asking myself all these questions and answering them?  I don't know.

Str    Monster
7       Kolbolds
8       Goblins
12     Orcs
16     Hobgoblins & Gnolls & Troglodytes
17     Bugbears
18/00  Minotaurs & Ogres & Owlbears
19     Trolls & Umber Hulks
20     Ettin


  1. Down that road lies madness.

    Monsters don't have strength scores because they don't need them. The do the damage that's listed.

    If your fists only do one point of damage, then how do you think that zombie is hurting you?

    What is it you gain by spending all that time 'figuring out the strength scores' when you could be just playing?

  2. I'm magic, I can play and figure it out. And the reason I did it was to make the critters a bit more monstrous. And just because I wanted to. No other reason.

  3. Why have ettins STR 20 when they are described (afaik) as hill giants with two heads?
    Because they tend to armwrestle against each other while hill giants are gerally two lazy two work out...


  4. I like your approach. OD&D wasn't concerned with adding a lot of depth to monsters and the stats treatment reflected that. I'm all for things that make individual monsters more unique and ultimately more problematic for adventurers to deal with.

  5. I realize it's for the wrong edition, but the 2e supplement "Dungeon Master's Option: High Level Campaigns" does this sort of thing, but for all 6 of the basic stats. Don't know if that will help you or not.

  6. This is the kind of stuff that made me pick up other games. ;)

    But you could drop their damage scores, give humanoids a strength stat, and then just arm them normally. Ogre with a spear does 1d6+6 for his 18/00 strength, that sort of thing.

    It's a pain to do for non-humanoid monsters, but it's also harder to eyeball the comparison. People might not blink when the dragon rolls a 1 on his 1d8 claw damage but wonder how an Ogre can do 1 damage but Freddy the Dwarf (ST 17) does at least 2.

  7. Not that it matters, but I always thought that one of the reasons ogres did 1-10 with a mace-like club instead on 1-6 like a human is that the ogre's club is really big.

    Didn't the 1e monster manual also sometimes give damage bonuses if creatures like ogres and bugbears used 'variable damage' weapons?

  8. I've occasionally thought about this too. It makes a lot of sense though, especially when doing damage by weapon type, or for establishing a baseline humanoid leaders or boss types.