Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Stat Block - Orc

Classic D&D Humanoids

I have a folder on my laptop's desktop titled Old School 4E Bestiary where these stat blocks are saved. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been creating new stat blocks for D&D's classic humanoid monsters to try and bring them back to levels more consistent with their 1E hit dice. As a result, my version of the hill giant is not a mid-Paragon monster as it otherwise is in 4E - nor does it have the 12 hit dice it had in 2E or 3.xE - but it's an 8th-level brute based on the 8 hit dice it had in 1E (and in OD&D, for that matter).

Using the hill giant as a baseline, I then had to reduce the levels of pretty much every other humanoid and giant that exists in 4E. For the classic humanoids that had 1-hit dice in 1E - orcs and hobgoblins being the ones that spring to mind - I decided to bump them up to 2nd-level in 4E. This was a choice I made to allow for a progression in power from a kobold as a 1st-level minion to a goblin as a 1st-level skirmisher and then to azers, firenewts, gnolls, grimlocks, hobgoblins and sahuagin as 2nd-level monsters. Bugbears are 3rd-level and ogres are 4th-level, in both cases matching their 1E hit dice. I've statted all of these mentioned humanoids up already and will post them as my internet connection and inspiration allow.


In my mind a brute should not just have the potential for high damage, but also become more dangerous when bloodied (although this stat block doesn't incorporate any powers based on this idea - some of my other brutes do). I also like the idea of a higher damage attack that lowers the brute's defences. In the case of this orc, hacking frenzy doesn't do higher damage, per se, but it allows the orc to attack all adjacent opponents at the cost of granting combat advantage. Of course, offsetting that potential cost is that the orc is only going to use hacking frenzy when surrounded by two or more opponent who are likely to have combat advantage due to flanking anyway.

I have also retained savage demise which is the signature power for orcs in 4E. I would love to see it used in combination with hacking frenzy: imagine an orc dying after being surrounded and then lashing out against all of its foes with the last of its strength.

A quick thought about hacking frenzy. I just noticed that I made it target enemies in the burst. It might be more thematically appropriate to have it target all creatures instead. That way an orc in a frenzy is a threat to its enemies... and its friends. As a recharge power, rather than an at-will, it might also be appropriate to have it do minion-level damage on a miss, especially if changed to target all creatures.

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