Tired of Pirates and Ninjas? Try T-Rexes and Krakens!
The Ninjas vs. Pirates universe doesn't just contain Ninjas, Pirates, and Wanderers. They'd all have to be vegetarians or cannibals if it did. No, there are monsters in the world at large as well, and they are as legendary, powerful, and amazing as the people of the world. Dinosaurs, Demons, Sea Monsters, Flying Beasts, and powerful creatures roam the lands, but even a squirrel can be a formidable foe in the right region.
This small book couldn't hope to contain every possibility that your mind could come up with. Just know that if it would be totally awesome if a Ninja or Pirate fought it, it's fair game. Since creating balanced monsters can be difficult, this section is here to give rules for creating your own monsters and how to test their general power levels along with a few example monsters.
The Tiers of Monsters
Not all monsters can be the Kraken. If they were, the Kraken wouldn't be so special. That doesn't mean that some monsters shouldn't be awesome. Every time your players fight a monster or group of monsters, they should be smiling and having fun. Neither a Zombie horde nor a swarm of wasps are particularly hard for a well-trained Pirate or Ninja to take out, but the Zombies are a lot more fun. So, every monster should be fun and interesting in its own way.
That said, monsters should generally be separated into 3 groups of combatants:
Mooks: These are the monsters your players will take out in one hit. They'll usually fight swarms of them. These cover zombies, giant bats, imps, Kappas, etc.
Encounters: These are the monsters that would give any one individual of the group a challenge if they had to fight it alone. Monsters that are a match for the average player character. These cover Banshees, Sirens, Small Dragons, Bears, Onis, Sirens, Nuckelavees, etc.
Bosses: These are the big ones. These are encounters that should challenge the entire party with one of them out. These are usually, but don't have to be, massive in scale. These cover creatures from a wide scale and include T-rexes, the Jörmungandr, Japanese Style Gods, Basans, a Yuki-Onna (with excellent snow control), etc.
Joke: This is a bit of a misnomer. The Joke tier monsters can be of varying power and could normally belong to any of the other tiers. However, monsters in this tier have the distinction of being patently ridiculous and having no excuse being in any campaign that tries to have ANY serious tone. Best used for 1-shots, trying to confuse the players, or for an over-the-top group. Use as the final boss to a campaign at your own risk.
Keep these tiers of monsters in mind, and it'll help to know how to go about creating them. Mooks should have lower ability scores and near absent Life totals while bosses should be powerful and have massive life totals.
Creating monsters is just like creating characters. They have the same four derived stats as everything else in the game (Body, Agility, Precision, and Will). They even have their own abilities that they can learn. Since there's no experience points rewarded for monster kills in this game, there's no measure for how good they should be, but the levels of their skills and how many of them they have compared to your players combined with their attribute scores should tell you how much of a challenge they will be.
The two biggest differences between monsters and player characters are reach and Life totals. Monsters can be bigger than one square. Normally characters can only attack the squares next to them in melee. Larger creatures can reach farther though. While not perfect, a general rule of thumb is to give creatures a reach on melee attacks equal to half their longest dimension on the board(rounded up). So, the average T-rex will take up around 5 squares by 5 squares on the board (It's a small T-rex and their feet are most of the space they're taking up. The real thing is huge. So, the T-rex can attack anywhere within 3 squares of it without moving.
The second factor is Life. Based on the tier of monster creation, monsters should either have less or more HP than the players.
Mooks should have half to even as low as a tenth the life their scores would give them depending on how fast you want them to go down. For instance, a zombie with 1 will and a 6 body (a meaty zombie) would have maybe 35 life, but could have as little as 7 if you wanted the players to take on a hundred of them back to back.
Encounters should have either equal life to what their abilities would give them or up to double. So, a bear with 2 will and an 8 body might have 100 life while a Large Oni with a 2 will and a 10 body might have as much as 240 Life. Once again, this depends on whether you want the party to fight one of them or a 2-5 of them.
Bosses are massive and should have anywhere from double their normal life to tens times it in some rare scenarios. A T-rex with a 4 will and a 10 body would have 280 Life while the Kraken, with it's massive size, 4 will, and 10 body would have upwards of 700-1400 life depending on how many people you want to be required to take it down (Consequently, the Kraken also has a pathetic 1 Agility and a 2 Precision. So even WITH the Kurosawa Corollary, he's not hard to dodge and hit).
Abilities in Pirates vs. Ninjas aren't that hard to figure out. The average melee attack should do 5 damage a level and cost the one and a half times the level in Life. If the ability does more damage, it should gain around -1 to hit per extra 5 damage. If it does less damage, give it a +1 bonus to accuracy for every -5 damage.
After that, if the attack is ranged in nature add up to 100% of the original cost to the total (depending on the range. Short range should be a couple extra life. Hitting from a ridiculous length should double the cost). If the attack hits two targets, double the cost. If it hits more than 2 targets, triple it. So, a ranged attack that hits up to 10 targets for 15 damage from 100 squares away should generally cost around 12 Life a shot (damage equivalent to a level 3 skill [3 points] + 200% the initial cost for multiple targets + 100% for long range). Extra abilities beyond this should either bump the attack up in level or increase the cost significantly.
Non-attack abilities are a bit harder to determine. Figure out how much of an impact the ability has on combat. Minor impacts or very circumstantial abilities should be level 1 or 2 and cost a few life a turn. Moderate impacts or abilities that will come in handy often should be around level 3 and are often passive or cost a significant chunk of life for a major benefit. Abilities that will almost always come up should be level 4 or 5 and are either passive or cost a large portion of hp once or 3-10 hp a round to keep up. So, being able to see in the dark is maybe a level 2 ability, being able to regenerate in water is a level 3 ability, and being able to fly is a level 4 or 5 ability.
Mooks will tend to do a little less damage while Bosses and higher level Encounters will tend to do more damage than these examples.
Also, feel free to modify existing abilities to suit your needs. Why make a new ability for water walking when one already exists?
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Pages in category "Monsters"
The following 21 pages are in this category, out of 21 total.