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Monstrous Mindscapes. Have you ever struggled to roleplay intelligent creatures and NPCs in Dungeons & Dragons, or to fully understand their thought processes and strategies? After a brief detour in Tactical Roles & Creature Niches, this week I finish my D&D 5e series tackling guidelines for running hyper-intelligence. I detail various aspects of that and articulate how behavioral traits emerge as INT scores progress, concluding with my Intelligence Index graphic. And I flesh out my Intellect Archetypes system more, beginning to envision monstrous mindsets in detail. Using real D&D 5e creatures, not just conjecture. Let’s dive in!
Monstrous Mindscapes. Have you ever struggled to roleplay creatures in Dungeons & Dragons, or to fully understand their thought processes and strategies? After working on my D&D 5e Resource Compendium the last couple weeks, this week I decided to kick off a D&D 5e series tackling guidelines for running intelligent creatures, starting with low and moderate intelligence then working our way up. I’ve developed an Intelligence Index detailing various aspects of intelligence and articulating how behavioral traits emerge as INT scores progress. And I’ve started an Intellect Archetypes system as well, beginning to envision monstrous mindsets in more detail. Let’s take a look!
Difficulty, Danger, and Death. Have you ever played Dungeons & Dragons, like D&D 5e, and noticed how Monster Encounter Difficulty becomes increasingly unpredictable at high-level? Ever wondered why? Conversely, ever had a low-level Total Party Kill (TPK)? The traits that really make encounters in D&D 5e difficult or dangerous, don’t always boil down to Challenge Rating. What makes for Deadly Encounters? Using this guide, you as a Dungeon Master can better balance encounters, or just adjust difficulty up or down dramatically. And you as a D&D Player can approach the game more tactically. I contrast Apparent Challenge Rating and Actual Challenge Rating, and discuss Challenge Rating Instability. Beyond just Action Economy Parity, inspired by projects like The Monsters Know, I examine how Supplies, Schema, Status, Space, Structure, and Strategy all shape Game Balance.
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