Wednesday, October 8, 2008

4e Monster: Aerial Servant

This is my first monster that I've created for 4e. It is the first monster listed in the 1e Monster Manual and I've added it to my list of 1e Monster Manual monsters for 4e. You might notice that I've added Frequency, Environment, No. Appearing, % In Lair, and Treasure Type. This is because I'm putting together my own house rule Monster Manual with the intent of playing 4e D&D in the old school fashion.

For reference, I used the descriptions of the aerial servant from the 1e MM p. 6 and the 3.5e Tome of Horrors p. 9. If you are familiar with the AD&D aerial servant, you'll know that it can be summoned by a PC cleric. In 4e terms, this obviously requires some sort of ritual spell. Unfortunately, I have not defined such a ritual here.


AERIAL SERVANT

Frequency: Very rare
Environment: The Elemental Chaos
Number Appearing: 1
% In Lair: 0
Treasure Type: Nil

The aerial servant is a semi-intelligent form of an air elemental. It is typically encountered only due to summoning.

Aerial Servant Level 16 Solo Lurker
Medium elemental magical beast (air) XP 7000
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Initiative +17 Senses Perception +8
HP 770; Bloodied 385
AC 32; Fortitude 29, Reflex 30, Will 25
Immune disease, poison, non-magical weapons; Vulnerable 10 thunder
Speed fly 12 (hover)
Action points: 2
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M Airy Crush (standard; at-will)
+21 vs. AC; 2d8+7 damage, and the target is grabbed (until escape). The grabbed target takes 2d8+7 damage at the start of its turn while grabbed.
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r Wind Blast (standard; recharge 4 5 6)
An aerial servant can release a blast of wind. Ranged 8/16; +21 vs. AC; 4d10+7.
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Natural Invisibility
This ability is constant, allowing an aerial servant to remain invisible even when attacking. This ability is inherent. This ability does not function when an aerial servant is on the Astral Plane or Ethereal Plane, but instead grants the creature lightly obscured concealment.
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Spellcaster Link
When summoned, an aerial servant creates a mental link between itself and the caster who summoned it. Should the aerial servant fail the mission it has been assigned, it returns to the caster and attacks him. The aerial servant can find the caster as long as they both are on the same plane of existence. If the caster leaves the plane, the link is temporarily broken. Once the caster returns or the aerial servant enters the plane the caster is on, the link is immediately reestablished and the aerial servant moves at full speed toward the caster's current location. Only when the aerial servant or caster is destroyed, is the link permanently broken.
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Str: 23 (+14) Dex: 21 (+13) Wis: 10 (+8)
Con: 18 (+12) Int: 4 (+5) Cha: 11 (+8)

AERIAL SERVANT TACTICS

Aerial servants attack by using a shearing blast of wind as a weapon or by grabbing an opponent and crushing it within their powerful grasp. Aerial servants can only be killed on their native plane. If slain elsewhere, they simply dissolve into wisps of vapor and return to their home plane. An aerial servant's natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

AERIAL SERVANT LORE

A character knows the following information with a successful check.

Arcana DC 10: Aerial servants are semi-intelligent creatures from the Elemental Chaoes that often roam the Astral Sea. They normally are only found on this world as a result of some sort of summoning ritual and commanded to perform some task, often being required to use their immense strength to carry objects or aid the summoner.

Arcana DC 15: Aerial servants can carry weights in excess of 400 pounds.

Arcana DC 20: If the aerial servant is frustrated from completion of its assigned mission it becomes insane, returns to the spellcaster which sent it forth.

[Disclaimer: I'm relatively new to making 4e monsters. Although I'm pretty sure I did a good job, I may have missed a few details. If you think there needs to be changes, let me know.]

5 comments:

RPG Ike said...

Hey!

The defenses don't synch up exactly with the formula in the 4e DMG, but then neither do any of the defenses for any of the other, official monsters (or mine for that matter). :)

The damage seemed low to me at first as a solo critter, and he also doesn't have many extra options (solos of his level should probably have an encounter power that recharges when he's bloodied, or some other way to make extra actions).

Otherwise, I think he's pretty solid.

M.gunnerQuist said...

@rpg ike:

I have to confess that I'm using the 4e Monster Math Cruncher over at Asmor.com. So I'm relying on its accuracy while trying to pay attention to what is said in the DMG.

I think the defenses are right. So I might leave it the way it is.

He has a recharge power, the Wind Blast.

RPG Ike said...

Right, sorry. I should have explained myself better.

The defenses are probably just fine. As I said, the formula from the DMG (12 + level + ability score mods, I believe) doesn't seem to be widely followed, but I could just be missing something there.

Much more important is that the Aerial Servant, as a Solo critter, needs to either be able to cause more harm with fewer actions (so blasts or bursts), or it needs to be able to take more actions than a normal or even elite critter could.

If you look at the Primordial Naga, for example (and forgive me if I'm wrong as I don't have my books with me), you'll see he can make attacks with each of his heads as minor actions, which is pretty crazy, but necessary in a world where 4E PCs can do what they do.

Thanks for pointing me towards Asmor. I'll have to check that out.

Gregor LeBlaque said...

@RPG Ike:
"The formula from the DMG (12 + level + ability score mods, I believe)"

I see where you're confused, Ike. That's close but not quite it:
"A given defense based on an
average ability score
is equal to 12 + the monster’s level." DMG pg. 184

So the 12 + level already assumes the average ability score, which is 13 + one-half level. Since you mentioned the primordial naga, I'll check against it:
Level 25 means the average ability score is 13+12 = 25(+19)
For each defense, the higher associated score is:
Fort: Con 32 (+23) = avg bonus + 4
Ref: Dex 22 (+18) = avg bonus - 1
Will: Cha 28 (+21) = avg bonus + 2

So we expect the defenses to be level + 12 (37) + adjustment:
Fort - 37 + 4 = 41 (actual 40)
Ref - 37 - 1 = 36 (actual 35)
Will - 37 + 2 = 39 (actual 38)

I might be off by one somewhere, but that lines up pretty well. Another problem is that since this is a solo creature those should all be bumped 0-2 points above my numbers, and they're not.

The aerial servant is dead on. Average score is 21, Dex = 21 so Ref = 12+16 (+2 for soloness) and the others follow if you assume Will was also bumped by 2. My only suggestion would be to bump Fort instead of Will per the DMG: "Increase up to three defenses, including AC, by 2. Focus on the creature’s best defenses first. If your monster has a specific weak defense, don’t increase it."

Gregor LeBlaque said...

I agree with Ike on the "needs lots more actions" front, though.

Wind Blast would be much better for it as a close blast than ranged.

In addition, something like an immediate recharge and use when bloodied (like dragons' bloodied breath) would help it get more bang for its blasty buck.

Heck, it could use a few more powers, period. Look at the adult red dragon for an example of a solo a level lower - 7 powers to your guy's 3 or 4 (not sure spellcaster link really counts).

He also needs "Saving Throws +5" right below the Vulnerable line.

Deciding to do a solo for your first 4e creature was an... ambitious choice :) I made monsters on my blog daily for almost two solid weeks and still got pretty overwhelmed when I tried to do a solo as a finale.