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1/10/2018 10:12 pm  #1


The Perfect Simple Statblock?

I often incorporate simple statblocks in my adventure notes, so that they read like an old-school module (why did we call them modules anyway?). I often wish the various iterations of old D&D right now had the 2-3 line format stat blocks included in their bestiaries, simply so I can cut/paste them into my notes. (Consider that a "wish to see" if AS&SH ever does a monster book, which I dearly would love to happen...)

Anywho, for now, I use this template in Scrivener, maybe someone else might find it useful or have suggestions for improvement.

Monster Name | App d# | SZ SML | MV x | AC x DR x | HD x (hp xx)  | ATT #, type+bonus (damage+effect) | SV x (+bonuses) | ML x | INT "x" | DX # | TC pers;lair | XP x | Special: x | Instinct: "x"
Describe me here!
Regular text, include tactics, morale notes, special abilities —in brief!

A few clarifications.
I find my eye easily distinguishes text separated with "|" -- though some might prefer colons, dashes, or semicolons.
The first few blocks are used in describing and setting up the encounter. "How many, how big, and how fast can it get to us?" are the sorts of things that need to be known before the dice roll or the creature's fine details are described.
The next few blocks are basic defense and offense stats, followed by morale. Fighting ability usually equals HD so I omitted that stat for this "generic" statblock. If FA differed from HD, I'd note it beneath.
I added an INT block, like 1st edition AD&D, because intelligence informs the creature's tactics and that helps the referee -- you don't need a number, just say "animal" "low" high" or "genius."
Following is the creature's Dexterity (initiative ties being very situational, though I'm considering calling out the creature's Dexterity bonus to AC, if any, in this area in case the creature is immobilized).
The last info blocks are self-explanatory, rewards and a place that calls out "special" abilities by name -- though it's sometimes helpful to note the mechanics of certain abilities in the text under the statblock.
Last, I don't find alignment useful in the statblock, so "instinct" serves as an at-a-glace statement of the creature's immediate intent, like "to eat" "to guard" or "defend young" for examples.

Again, I'd love to hear feedback on this http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/nerdy.png


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
 

1/11/2018 1:38 pm  #2


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Cool. It has everything I would need as a GM. Unfortunately, the order they're in is not intuitive for me. I prefer HD-AC-Atk first. The rest I can look for within the stat block as needed, but these three are the most important (for determining hp, attacking, and being attacked). Also, SV is HD-dependent, so I don't need to put it down.

I personally use the following format, illustrating it with skeletons from the rulebook:

Skeleton (2d4 | 10d20)
HD 1 | AC leather | 1/1 sword 1d6 | DX 11 | ML 12 | MV 30 | XP 16
Undead type 1.
Half dmg from edged/piercing weapons.

 

1/11/2018 3:04 pm  #3


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

why did we call them modules anyway?

It was originally a wargaming term (along with hit dice, hit points, saving throws... basically, 90% of what seems eccentric about D&D is explained by its wargaming roots). Anyway, in the context of D&D, they were "modules" because they were modular - you could use them in any campaign setting, or at least that was the original idea.
 


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

1/11/2018 6:28 pm  #4


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Ynas Midgard wrote:

the order they're in is not intuitive for me. I prefer HD-AC-Atk first.  ... Also, SV is HD-dependent, so I don't need to put it down.

You are probably right, despite what I said about pre-combat. I remember when I was running games right out of the modules as a kid, I would rewrite the hit points in pencil by the name of the creature. As for SV, also quite right, but I can never remember the formula http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/embarrassed.png


Blackadder23 wrote:

they were "modules" because they were modular

That makes sense, and why the term became more esoteric as adventures got more setting specific and plot-driven.
 


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

1/11/2018 8:14 pm  #5


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Blackadder23 wrote:

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

why did we call them modules anyway?

It was originally a wargaming term (along with hit dice, hit points, saving throws... basically, 90% of what seems eccentric about D&D is explained by its wargaming roots). Anyway, in the context of D&D, they were "modules" because they were modular - you could use them in any campaign setting, or at least that was the original idea.
 

There was a lot of printed material in the 60s/70s referred to in modules, especially when it came to educational/training material.  It was always my assumption that D&D (and wargames before) adopted the term from that field, possibly from publisher sales staff referring to modular/supplemental printed material as "modules".   I don't have direct evidence of that, but it was always my assumption.

 

1/11/2018 10:29 pm  #6


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Aha! Was looking through my module collection for exactly this. I figured, this was when TSR had ironed out a lot of the early formatting bugs, right before they jumped the shark.

NPC and Monster Statistics
The inhabitants of an encounter area are summarized within the DM text for that area. The statistics for these inhabitants are given in paragraphs with all lines but the first indented on the left side. The stats are presented in the same order in all cases, separated by semicolons. This order is given below, with the abbreviations used explained. Spells and special equipment are given below the stats. Name (number): AC (armor class); MV (movement in inches); HD (hit dice) or Profession and level; hp (hit points); #AT (number of attacks); D (damage done for each attack); AL (alignment); SA (special attack type); SD (special defense type),

Gygax, Gary, and Lawrence Schick. Advanced dungeons & dragons - realms of horror: official game adventure: an adventure for intermediate level characters. TSR, 1987.

By the way - I've had to play the captcha game on every post I've made today. When will it end!?

Last edited by Jimm.Iblis (1/11/2018 10:33 pm)


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

1/12/2018 8:31 pm  #7


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

By the way - I've had to play the captcha game on every post I've made today. When will it end!?

Yeah, it's hell, but it eventually goes away. Somewhere around 75-100 posts or so.
 


"I, Satampra Zeiros of Uzuldaroum, shall write with my left hand, since I have no longer any other, the tale of everything that befell Tirouv Ompallios and myself in the shrine of the god Tsathoggua..."
 

1/15/2018 1:00 pm  #8


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

I like it, I will try it out and thanks for the mention on Scrivener. I had to go look it up but if it will drive me less crazy than Word it will be worth it.


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1/16/2018 6:52 pm  #9


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Omg I can't run games or plan campaigns without Scrivener now. Totally worth it. It isn't a word processor, so your notes won't get the formatting you might do in Word, but seeing as they are just "notes" that aspect is very liberating. You just organize all your headings in the left, like a table of contents. You can have your adventure, lists names, NPCs, maps, images loads of whatever . Even the rulebook, if you have a PDF. You can split the view window, which is great when you are map-crawling--the map on one side and your key on the other.


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

1/16/2018 7:22 pm  #10


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

I've been thinking about doing a blog or vid on using Scrrivener as a referee tool. There really is no comparison, and I am not sure the developer knows what a potential market he has amongst role-players.
https://i.imgur.com/kQgu5tC.jpg


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

1/16/2018 7:39 pm  #11


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

By the way, I updated based on Ynas's suggestion and the late 1e module format. I like this a lot more.

Monster Name | App d# | AC x DR x | HD x (hp xx)  | ATT #, type+bonus (damage+effect) | SV x (+bonuses) | ML x | INT "x" | DX # | SZ SML | MV x | TC pers;lair | XP x | Special: x | Instinct: "x"
Describe me here!
Regular text, include tactics, morale notes, special abilities —in brief!


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

1/20/2018 11:01 am  #12


Re: The Perfect Simple Statblock?

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I've been thinking about doing a blog or vid on using Scrrivener as a referee tool. There really is no comparison, and I am not sure the developer knows what a potential market he has amongst role-players.

Please do!  I have Scrivener and have thought about using it this way.  Need to get back to that train of thought.
 

 

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