It seems to myself and my new fellow Storyguides that the published material for ArM gives us scanty advice for the actual design of new creatures, benign, malevolent, or mundane. As we explore each in our own ways, both Mythic Europe and Mythic Now, surely there must be some way to more clearly codify the traits and abilities of the beasts and spirits vast and sundry that tread and fly the earth.
So, more seriously, does anyone have any tips for creature design? It seems to me that the Medieval Bestiary for 4th ed. was inconsistent with the 4th core book and I haven't even seen a bestiary in print for 5th.
What do you do, for new creatures for your Sagas? Do you have a baseline for certain creatures, e.g. a dragon is never less powerful than X, or a ghoul is never more powerful than Y?
We three are at a bit of a loss, TBH. I've tried a couple of creatures from the Dresden Files but I honestly feel maybe they're underpowered to face Hermetic style magi.
See previous post of circa May 7 , Sample Creature of Our Saga.
The rules for mighted creatures are in the realm books, including dragons.
Rules for mundane animals are found under Bjornar HoH:MC.
I agree that a bestiary would have been useful, but the baselines for mighted creatures are there, expressed in guidelines for might level.
I am not quite sure what you need that isn't there.
Baselines would not solve your problem very much, balance depends as much on what kind of conflict the PCs and NPCs have been tailored for. A PC tailored to kill dragons can probably do it straight from gauntlet, even though most PCs would not stand a snowball's chance in hell. And a creature tailored for trickery could cripple the battle magus. Game balance is a little more tricky in ArM ...
Ars Magica has lots of examples, including a dragon abbot (Antagonists p.108ff) and beautiful Ghulas hunting for husbands (RoP:F p.74), but no mandatory power scales for generic creature types like dragons and ghouls.
Demons and angels, when characterized generically like as Thrones (RoP:TD p.22) or Vessels of Iniquity (RoP:TI p.39), come with power limits, though.
In published adventures, you normally can scale the power of the main adversary and the number of her underlings with a little experience.
If you have exhausted the RoP-, Tribunal- and adventure-books, some 25 new creatures from different authors are in sub rosa #18.
There are example Might ranges for different types of dragon on page 74 of Realms of Power: Magic.
Realms of Power: Faerie has a scale of typical Might scores for faeries on page 47.
I use the rules in HoH:MC for animals, for the most part, and at least take a look at the RoP:M rules for anything with Might (of whatever Realm).
My game is highly house-ruled, but I don't stick to the rules, and instead try to balance the player's stats and what I want from the combat. The scale is that lesser creatures (say, a bunch of Might 5 elves) should be a fairly weak challenge for the (starting) PCs, which in practice I find means artificially writing-in their combat stats to be similar to a Standard Solider or giving them special abilities that make them a hassle, and about 10 Magic Resistance to make it meaningful. I also give monsters Penetration = Might x 2 with their signature Power, which means (in my game) that these Might 5 creatures can't affect the magi (but can affect the grogs).
My current "sergeant" is Might 10 with Magic Resistance and Penetration 20, and Knight combat stats. This makes him able to affect some of the PCs (those who hasn't studied their Parma), and usually also survive a few rounds of combat.
Later on, I currently plan on keeping the MR = Penetration = Might x 2 shtick, with big bosses getting another +10-30 (Leadership-compensation) to combat, multiple attacks, and/or requiring special magic to attack/affect (e.g spirits). With the biggest "local" bosses being Might 50, while the top-opponents are Might 75 (or possible 100). But we'll see what the PC's stats and capabilities are, and change things accordingly.
I don't try to do any real power level comparison to magi. Magi in the same saga will have Parma 4 + Penetration 4 + MMF: Spears of Damage (ex), along with someone who has MT 6+2, inventive genius and Noncombatant. I know that's not a very helpful statement to make for your problem, but... There you go. If the monster is meant to be killed, one of your magi will be able to kill it. Also, the All or Nothing factor of magic resistance means that it'll be very difficult for players to have a challenge in a fight that won't swing suddenly one way or the other.
My group actually has more stories about the fallout effects from their victories than from the original challenges themselves. And one day, Thessaloniki will recover.
Thank you all, your replies do help. I've gotten some useful tips so far, but if I could trouble you for a bit more, perhaps?
Any of you who have read any of the Dresden Files novels, how would you stat up a Red Court vampire or White Court vampire, or a ghoul from that world for ArM4, as examples?
I posted the stats I wrote up for a juvenile Red back on May 7 but think I need to adjust the physical attacks to reflect a higher base combat score (a la Brawl). I also have stats for Red adults, elders, and infants if anyone is interested. Ditto for the needed Brawl adjustment, though.
It would be a lot more helpful if you would include a link to the post you are talking about as it is very bothersome to have to go back through the forum based only on the information you provide here.
Sorry, didn't even think of doing so.
A Sample of a Creature for Our Saga is the link to the post.