Friday, May 25, 2012

Non-randomized Monster Hit Points is the F'ing Devil

Non-randomized monster hit points? You, WOTC, are the real monsters good sirs.

You want minion and elite monsters in a large group for an encounter? You dice up the hit points for the group of monsters. The ones with crap hit points are the minions, and the ones with the extraordinary hit points are the elites. Because they're tougher the elites get to bully their hands onto the best weapons as well. Any magic arms in their loot? The elites are using them.

Hell, just roll a d8 for each one and multiply the result by their hit dice and add any pluses to make it swingier.

In encounters with groups of monsters, I love the emergent narrative that occurs due to varying hit points. "Holy crap, this guy has almost max hit points, he has a boat load of them. He's obviously some kind of big deal!"

I find the shocked aftermath when some badass terrifying monster had absolute shit hit points and gets fucking worked right off the bat to be a beautiful thing, from either side of the screen.

Some people would claim that it's not cinematic enough, that it's an anticlimactic disappointment. Those people do not understand drama.

Hell, as a player, realizing that we just wasted the last charge of the rod of zapping death and our remaining plasma grenades on a monster that was made out of tissue paper may elicit some good natured "God damn it!"s, but we'll be laughing our asses off and remembering it as D&D being totally fucking awesome.


  1. Thank the NINE HELLS I'm not the only one noticing how easy it is to run a simple Kobold hundreds of different ways without having a hundred entries in a MM for each color, flavor an position a Kobold has in a tribe.

    I don't need Minion and elite rules and guidlines I just need to know how to "wing it" and give a Kobold a +1 if need be.

    I just wrote how the 1e MM had one entry for the Kobold but managed to cover the ENTIRE tribe in that one entry.


  2. I agree. I wouldn't be surprised if standard monster hit points come back in the final product. There are hit dice give for some of the monsters in the sample adventure. Page 7, elite kobolds (3 HD), for example.

  3. Indiana Jones shooting the master swordsman and moving on is just as cinematic as an exhausting drawn out duel.

  4. In our latest CotMA adventure, there were several epic battles, and none of the monsters had "standard" hit points. I really like the term "emergent narrative". Nice.

    One battle went on and on. The stone golems were just really tough to kill. In another battle, the handsman KO's a red dragon in one punch. Didn't matter about the HPs. A final battle with a demon was over in ONE SWING because of a sword of sharpness. Off with its head.

    Are those not dramatic enough? :)