[Let's Read] The 4e Monster Manual and Monster Vault

Sage Genesis

Two
RPGnet Member
Validated User
As for the role of traditional archons... would anyone object to opening up a monster book and seeing the entries “Angel, Lantern”, “Angel, Hound”, and “Angel, Trumpet”?
I take it you weren't here for some of the early 4e edition wars because yeah, some people are really, really attached to their D&D lore.
 

Eklev

Registered User
Validated User
Hey, since it's relevant to a lot of what would come up here: is there a good summary of the math problems that came up with MM1 and 2, and a systematic fix for them? I understand some of them (too much hit points relative to damage output, turning fights with same into a slog), but it'd be nice to have it all in one place, especially something I could download to reference were I ever to get masochistic enough to run 4e.
The quick fixes for MM1&2 monsters that I’m familiar with are to double static damage modifiers (so 2d8+4 to 2d8+8) for paragon and epic monsters, and to reduce all elite and solo defenses by 2. Many MM1&2 solos also lack enough actions, so a quick and dirty fix for that could be an additional action point, and you also want the solos to shrug off the stunned and dominated conditions faster.
 

Bira

Registered User
Validated User
Hey, since it's relevant to a lot of what would come up here: is there a good summary of the math problems that came up with MM1 and 2, and a systematic fix for them? I understand some of them (too much hit points relative to damage output, turning fights with same into a slog), but it'd be nice to have it all in one place, especially something I could download to reference were I ever to get masochistic enough to run 4e.
My suggestion is what I posted back at the first post in this thread:

By the way, this is a list of quick fixes you can make to bring early monsters more or less in line with the "new monster math":

- Add +1/2 level to all of their rolled damage (so a level 10 or 11 monster would get +5 damage to all of its attacks).

- Add +2 to all attacks for Brutes.

- Reduce all defenses for Elite and Solo monsters by 2.

The first fix is courtesy of this Blog of Holding post, which also presents another, unofficial fix proposed by players who still think the resulting combats are too long: reduce base monster HP by 3 times the monster's level. So a level 10 regular would have 30 fewer HP, an elite 60 fewer, and a solo 120 fewer.
The post linked above is a follow-up to the one that introduced the excellent business card above.
 

Bira

Registered User
Validated User
I take it you weren't here for some of the early 4e edition wars because yeah, some people are really, really attached to their D&D lore.
I'm not being entirely facetious when I say angels sparked some of the early skirmishes in the edition wars. IIRC a preview of them was published in the WotC site way before the actual book came out and that was enough to spark weeks-long flamewars everywhere. That was true of basically all D&D previews.

There was such a backlash about the fact that Magic Missile required a to-hit roll that they rewrote it for Essentials. I personally prefer the PHB version and use that in my campaigns.
 

Talisman

The Man of Talis
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Like Angels, Archons in 4e are significantly different from the monsters bearing the same name in earlier editions. In most of those they used to be Lawful Good angels, but here they are elemental creatures who made up the bulk of the Primordial armies during their war with the gods.
Like most people, I was surprised when 4e repurposed the name "archon," but after due consideration I really like this version. Previous editions of archons always felt redundant with angels, but 4e's elemental archons are cool, useful, and fit the lore.

Archons are militaristic and well-versed in tactics despite being Chaotic Evil, which can easily be explained by two important traits of 4e's alignment system: 1) "chaos" here means ruin instead of randomness and 2) Chaotic Evil is the alignment of Team Primordial, and these beings are definitely still on Team Primordial.
How very Old School. It makes a certain amount of sense, and it works, but it's going to seem odd to some modern gamers. It does imply that individual archons can still be disciplined and cooperative, and not be the raving balls of anger and craziness their alignment might seem to suggest.

Like Angels, Archons are paragon-tier monsters. The Monster Manual presents fire and ice archons, but also says there are a bunch of other types. Earth and Air are obvious, but you also have more "exotic" types like Slime, Storm, and Crystal. A typical archon force is composed of a jumble of different archon types, though without strong leadership they're prone to infighting.
A little early, but didn't 4e also emphasize elementals that were combinations rather than dull blobs of a single type of elemental matter? I always thought that was an interesting take on it. Could work well with the archons, too, especially with those names: "Blazesteel" screams "earth and fire" to me.

Fire Archons are quite fast at Speed 8, are immune to disease and poison, and have Resist 30 Fire. That last bit means you can theoretically pull a Dark Schneider on them and prove your awesomeness by killing them with fire.
Killing a fire elemental with fire is right up there with drowning a fish.

. . . are the water archons immune to drowning? Please say no.



Fire Archon Blazesteel

<snip>

Oh, and they blow up once bloodied and once again when dead, catching everyone in a Close Burst 2 in the ensuing conflagration and dealing ongoing fire damage.
Death burst, ugh. I can sorta defend an actual death burst, but death burst on bloodied just feels video gamey. Do they explode, then reconstitute themselves again? Can you, in fact, explode twice?


Yes yes, I'm sure they're not literally exploding twice, but it's still a bit silly.

Ice Archon Hailscourge

A plate-clad icy ninja who hops around throwing ice shuriken.
If it somehow gets pirate levels, we're all doomed.
 

Eklev

Registered User
Validated User
Bloodied means taking a proper, perhaps wounding hit for the first time during the fight. Makes sense that a creature of fire would release a blast of fire when struck to the point of pain and injury. Don’t really see the video game part there.
 

Talisman

The Man of Talis
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Bloodied means taking a proper, perhaps wounding hit for the first time during the fight. Makes sense that a creature of fire would release a blast of fire when struck to the point of pain and injury. Don’t really see the video game part there.
As I said, I realize they're not literally exploding, but that is the general feel. As for the video gamey-ness, it's a fairly common trope for enemies, especially boss enemies, to trigger some sort of area effect attack (and often get more dangerous) when they reach half health.

I don't expect you to agree with me, just sharing my opinion.
 

Eklev

Registered User
Validated User
The idea of someone or something getting stronger or angrier when wounded ultimately comes from the real world. Animals can become more dangerous if injured; a person could fly into a rage if struck and in a certain frame of mind. Whether it’s video games or tabletop games, the concept tries to model something that already exists. In 4e, half health means bloodied, which means injured in some way or another—thus you model the idea with the bloodied condition. Another way could be critical hits for example.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
To be honest, I personally prefer the World Axis. The Great Wheel's archons fall into the same rut that many extraplanar monsters do, to me, and that's existing for the sake of padding out the monster manual and having something on each plane of existence. They're just generic semi-Christian angels; most of them are just "humans with wings and funny skin colors", and the "weirdest" archons are the hound and lantern archons, who just look out of place. It's the same problem as the Great Wheel's eladrin, who literally only exist to be Chaotic Good angels and who basically elf angels.
Well you have to understand that Gary Gygax, being a devout Jehovah's Witness, and he didn't wanted Angels in the game at all. Which is why the only angels initially were a handful of generic winged humanoids (and none of the weird stuff like rings of fire with eyes and such). Archons were introduced in the 1st edition Manual of the planes, and the Guardinals and Eladrin were made whole cloth for Planescsape, starting off in the tie in card game of all things.

So while Demons and Devils draw from mythology and works like Dante's Inferno for inspiration, and we also got the Balrog in there too for good measure, Good outsiders were pretty much made whole cloth for DnD.

(And for the record I like old school Eladrin. Especially since their rulers were a polyamorous trio.).
 
Top Bottom