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Standard Reference Document 3.5

Monsters and Class Levels

Improving Monsters

This material is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.

Each of the monster entries describes a typical creature of its kind. However, there are several methods by which extraordinary or unique monsters can be created using a typical creature as the foundation: by adding character classes, increasing a monster's Hit Dice, or by adding a template to a monster. These methods are not mutually exclusive-it's possible for a monster with a template to be improved by both increasing its Hit Dice and adding character class levels.

Class Levels: Intelligent creatures that are reasonably humanoid in shape most commonly advance by adding class levels. Creatures that fall into this category have an entry of 'By character class' in their Advancement line. When a monster adds a class level, that level usually represents an increase in experience and learned skills and capabilities.

Increased Hit Dice: Intelligent creatures that are not humanoid in shape, and nonintelligent monsters, can advance by increasing their Hit Dice. Creatures with increased Hit Dice are usually superior specimens of their race, bigger and more powerful than their run-of-the-mill fellows.

Templates: Both intelligent and nonintelligent creatures with an unusual heritage or an inflicted change in their essential nature may be modified with a template. Templates usually result in tougher monsters with capabilities that differ from those of their common kin.

Each of these three methods for improving monsters is discussed in more detail below.

Ability Score Arrays

Monsters are assumed to have completely average (or standard) ability scores-a 10 or an 11 in each ability, as modified by their racial bonuses. However, improved monsters are individuals and often have better than normal ability scores, and usually make use of either the elite array or the nonelite array of ability scores. Monsters who improve by adding a template, and monsters who improve by increasing their Hit Dice, may use any of the three arrays (standard, nonelite, or elite). Any monster unique enough to be improved could easily be considered elite.

Elite Array: The elite array is 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. While the monster has one weakness compared to a typical member of its race, it is significantly better overall. The elite array is most appropriate for monsters who add levels in a player character class.

Nonelite Array: The nonelite array is 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8. The nonelite array does not necessarily make a monster better than normal, but it does customize the monster as an individual with strengths and weaknesses compared to a typical member of its race. The nonelite array is most appropriate for monsters who add class levels in a NPC class.

Ability Score Improvement: Treat monster Hit Dice the same as character level for determining ability score increases. This only applies to Hit Dice increases, monsters do not gain ability score increases for levels they 'already reached' with their racial Hit Dice, since these adjustments are included in their basic ability scores.

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