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I have a good handle on 4e monster creation, but there is one particular role missing for me that the current monsters don't satisfy, and I need assistance making sure it works well.

I want a monster role for a ranged standard monster with higher damage, as the brutes have, but I want it to be balanced, such as by having lower defense or HP — a glass cannon. I want it to be a monster that would be easy to kill, but which would become a great problem because of its damage if it went ignored throughout the combat.

How can I create a balanced monster role for creating monsters that fill the place of a glass cannon?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is essentially what Artillery and Lurker monsters do, is there a reason you aren't using those? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Jan 16, 2015 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Their damage expressions is the reason. \$\endgroup\$
    – Davi Braid
    Jan 16, 2015 at 17:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaviBraid Then why in your example of what you were thinking of using did you have a lower AC and low HP? That is a glass cannon, not a balanced monster with added offense. \$\endgroup\$
    – Korack
    Jan 16, 2015 at 18:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Either something is a regular monster in terms on health and defense and has increased offense or it's a glass cannon. Nothing else will 'feel' like a glass cannon, in my opinion. So what exactly are you shooting for? Be specific with what this 'feeling' is because the vibe I'm still getting is that you just want to turn a regular monster into an easy to kill, high damage bezerker version of that monster aka a glass cannon. \$\endgroup\$
    – Korack
    Jan 16, 2015 at 18:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for discussion. Take this to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2015 at 5:14

1 Answer 1

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The fun thing about 4th edition is that you can really wing it on monster creation. It makes DMing a snap. You want a glass cannon? Make a glass cannon. Here's how I'd do it:

  1. Make an elite monster
  2. Halve its HP (or rather, just don't double it in the first place)
  3. In place of the HP, double its damage output for all abilities

Mathematically, this works out as equal in terms of "who should win" questions, but makes it a lot "swingier". Basically, who goes first suddenly has a LOT more importance, a situation some people like to call "rocket tag", but would correspond to your description of "glass cannon".

One thing you should NOT do is decrease its defenses (AC, Fort, Reflex, Will). 4th edition is really based around the idea that the dice should always matter, and in general, you should never have to throw dice where you're pretty much guaranteed a hit (or a miss). So keep the defenses steady, tinker with HP, and compensate with damage output. As one decreases, the other increases.

More HP, less damage, and the fight gets longer, and more predictable. Less HP, more damage, the fight gets shorter, and more "swingy".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ High damage and low hp is a good solution. I didn't think of using an elite monster with double damage. I might try that once. Though maybe it's too much. Double damage means something around 4d6+12 against lvl 5 characters. \$\endgroup\$
    – Davi Braid
    Jan 17, 2015 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's 36 damage max with an average damage of 26. It will really hurt but if you spread out who you hit you should be safe testing it out with your group. I know with my (admittedly striker heavy) group, if they decide something is a threat it's usually down or heavily disabled within a round or two \$\endgroup\$
    – Lunin
    Jan 17, 2015 at 23:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm about to test your elite monster idea, but I needed an standard monster, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Davi Braid
    Jan 19, 2015 at 8:48

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