What information do you want to see listed in the stat block for an ACKS adventure? How should it be different from predecessors like Moldvay or Labyrinth Lord, if at all?
Something like this works for me: 1d10 Stirges: AC 2, Move 30’ (10’) or fly 180’ (60’), HD 1, #AT 1 (proboscis), Dmg 1d3, SV F2, ML +1, AL N, XP 13; blood drain 1d3 per round once attached, +2 to hit on first attack; ACKS page 197.
I’m not gonna lie. That’s a pretty sweet stat block right there.
It’s good, I’d prefer the Attack Throw value to be included.
e.g. ATK: Proboscis (10, 1d4 + Poison)
I agree. For quick reference the attack throw would be handy. Otherwise sky’s statblock seems great.
I also like having the attack throw listed. The XP per creature and the ACKS page number are also sweet.
What do you think about listing the saving throws? Probably all five aren't required - it's rare for monsters to have to save vs. breath weapon, right? The ones I see coming up in play are vs. spells (when PCs throw 'em at the monsters) and vs. poison/paralysis (when PCs attempt combat maneuvers at the monsters, or use poisoned weapons).
Yeah, I think adding those saves would be nice and not add too much heft to the block. Speaking of monsters, are they plans for a monster book, or even a conversion of a book? I was thinking of buying Tome of Horrors Complete for Swords and Wizardry and just converting on the fly or as necessary.
If you are ever planning on making a GM screen, I might rather see saves on that instead of in the monster stat block. But if not, that’s definitely a good addition. Also, for monsters with special abilities (particularly multiple abilites), I’d like to see those easier to reference in the text… maybe just making it a separate paragraph:
1d10 Stirges: AC 2, Move 30’ (10’) or fly 180’ (60’), HD 1, #AT 1 (proboscis), Dmg 1d3, SV F2, ML +1, AL N, XP 13, ACKS page 197.
Special: Blood drain 1d3 per round once attached, +2 to hit on first attack;
I haven’t DMed old-school in a while, but I’d prefer to see the saving throw table on a screen or in front of me on a printout to reference. I fear that having all of the saving throws in the stat block will be a too much… and if you include some but not all of them it will be odd, even though they rarely make a save vs. breath weapon etc.
Saying in the block that they save as a Fx, Mx, Tx, or Cx would be enough for me.
In theory I like the idea of separating special abilities for ease of reference - if you do that, however, I would make the ACKS reference page the either the last thing you see in the block or the first thing you see after the monster name:
1d10 Stirges (ACKS page 197): AC 2, Move 30’ (10’) or fly 180’ (60’), HD 1, #AT 1 (proboscis), Dmg 1d3, SV F2, ML +1, AL N, XP 13.
Special: Blood drain 1d3 per round once attached, +2 to hit on first attack.
1d10 Stirges: AC 2, Move 30’ (10’) or fly 180’ (60’), HD 1, #AT 1 (proboscis), Dmg 1d3, SV F2, ML +1, AL N, XP 13.
Special: Blood drain 1d3 per round once attached, +2 to hit on first attack; ACKS page 197.
That way it’s either “here’s the monster and the page it’s on … with the following statistics” or “here’s the monster and its statistics … if you need more information look at page xx.” Placing it in the middle seems confusing to me for some reason.
I have a spreadsheet of the ACKS monsters that generates basic stat lines. It needs a Special entry and some tweaking so that things like special move rates are identified by type, but I think it has promise. Here's a sample output:
|Ankheg: AC 8, Move 90’ (30’) or 60’ (20’), HD 5, #AT 1 (6+, 3d6 +1d4), SV F5, ML -1, AL N, XP 500|
Email me at email@example.com if you'd like a working copy - I'll share it on the downloads page when it's more polished.
If you do go with saves Breath/Blast is very important for resisting fireballs and similar spells. Honestly I think I’d like to see them there simply to save looking them up.
Hmmm… if you’re not going to eventually produce a screen with the most commonly used charts, then yes, printing the actual saves in the block sounds like a good idea.
Beragon, printing screens is prohibitively expensive at the print run size we'd be looking at. You can make a pretty nice one for yourself with the GM reference tables from the Download area, e.g. by paperclipping them to an old gatefold LP double album sleeve. I personally use a Hammerdog World's Greatest Screen, which has transparent pockets you can slip sheets into, and was talking with them about partnering on a Kickstarter reward at one point; maybe that'll make sense for Domains of War.
Anyway, if y'all see a use for Blast and I see ones for Paralysis and Spell, it probably makes sense to include all five rather than just three. Would it look like this?
Ankheg: AC 8, Move 90’ (30’) or 60’ (20’), HD 5, #AT 1 (6+, 3d6 +1d4), SV F5 (12/11/13/13/14), ML -1, AL N, XP 500
Trying to add abbreviations for the saves makes it take as much room as most of the rest of the stat line, but I know I don't have the order of the saves memorized the way I do the order of ability scores.
My tuppence: I don’t think there’s actually a truly satisfactory way of representing Saving Throws in the statblock.
On the one hand, the desire to have ‘all’ the information in the stat line means that the stat line gets too long. As Tavis says - including the abbreviations makes the line super long.
On the other hand, just including the relevant save ‘type’ (e.g. F2) means the need to look up what those saves are. So to do that quickly requires a quick reference table.
The middle ground shown above suffers a little from both problems. You still need something to reference if you haven’t internalised the saving throw order, and it uses up more space than the short ‘F2’ abbreviation.
If I’m going to need to use a reference source anyway, I’d rather just have the ‘F2’ abbreviation in the stat line as my reference pointer as it keeps the overall line size down.
Actually, after downloading the nice one in the downloads area, I was inspired to create my own personalized one. I’m almost finished with making my own “4 1/2 panel Judge’s Screen” with Microsoft Word. I’m trying to get it to just 4 panels. I’ll have to check out that World’s Greatest Screen you mentioned, as I was just debating what I could do beyond just clipping them to one of my existing screens from other editions.
Also, thinking more on it, I agree with James below too… F2 is probably the best compromise, with or without a screen. The example of the Ankheg is a bit confusing to look at when you add in all the save numbers, particularly without reference.
Here is the link. It holds 8 sheets of paper, although 4 are assumed to be facing the player. I tend to use mine more like a clipboard reference than a screen. I'm excited to see your final version and will put it in the download area if you like!