Friday, July 26, 2013

Stat Blocks

In my last post I showed 2 stat blocks for the same NPC.

Makpal Abdrazakova, Golden Eagle Hunter
Lawful Human Fighter 6
S: 14
I: 13
W: 12
D: 10
Cn: 9
Ch: 13

AC: 6
hp: 28
Dmg: 1d8+1

Equipment: Studded Leather +1, Saber (counts as longsword), Golden Eagle animal companion.

vs

Makpal Abdrazakova: AC 6, HD 6, hp 28, MV 120' (40'); #AT 1 saber; Dmg 1d8+1; THAC0 17; Save F6; ML 10; AL L; XP 500
The top version above is based on the stat block style from the Birthright Player's Secrets booklets, the lower one is from one of the basic edition boxed set adventures.

I actually went back and forth a couple of times about which set to use, and debated using the usual Rules Cyclopedia monster stat block. They all give basically the same information, and really, what's more useful?

I suppose it could be made even a little simpler, dropping the THAC0 and the Saving throws, and even the XP. For a monster that's certainly easier to put in an adventure, and you can always put the full stats in the back of the adventure or core rulebook.

Skeleton (AC7, HD1, #At1, Dmg d6)

You don't need much more than that. However when talking about an NPC, someone who's more than hit dice and armor class and damage, do they deserve a little more? Does it help the DM know more? Is it useful to know that Makpal has a Dex of 10? It's implied by her armor class. What if I just gave this:
Makpal Abdrazakova, Golden Eagle Hunter, Lawful Human Fighter 6, AC 6, hp 26, Studded leather +2, sword, eagle.
It's pretty much the same as the ones above, but maybe with more of the useful info. I definitely want to avoid stat blocks like in 3rd of 4th edition (unless for some reason I'm specifically doing a 3rd of 4th edition character) but I also want them to be useful.

What's the template you use for NPC stat blocks? What's most useful? What format do you want to see when looking at an NPC? I have a number of half written posts that hinge on your answer...

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