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Appendix 1: Creating Monsters and Other NPCs / Step 1: Array

Using an Array

Source Alien Archive pg. 127
In this system, you don’t calculate an NPC’s final statistics the same way as a player character would. Instead, you take the numbers directly from the array and then make a few adjustments based on grafts and special abilities chosen later. In other words, if the array says the NPC’s Reflex saving throw bonus is +6, that number already represents the benefits of its statistics or any gear it might have.

Each arrays is spread out between two tables; the first table lists the NPC’s main statistics and the second table has the NPC’s attack statistics.

CR: Find the CR you want for your NPC in this column, then read across that row to determine the other values to use.

EAC, KAC, and Saving Throw Bonuses: Use the listed numbers for your NPC’s EAC; KAC; and Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saving throw bonuses. If it would be thematically more appropriate to switch the saving throw numbers around, you can swap them (giving a combatant a low Reflex save and high Will save, for example).

Hit Points: Use the listed number for an NPC’s Hit Points, adjusting it if you want the monster to be especially tough or frail.

Note that NPCs don’t have Stamina Points, and most NPCs don’t need Resolve Points. See the Stamina and Resolve sidebar on page 128 for more information.

Ability and Spell DCs: Use the Ability DC entry for all the NPC’s abilities, such as a breath weapon or poison, that don’t function as spells. If the NPC uses spells or spell-like abilities, determine the DC of each spell or spell-like ability separately, adding the level of the spell or spell-like ability to the number in the Base Spell DC column. For example, a CR 3 expert NPC’s DC for a 1st-level spell is 14.

Ability Score Modifiers: NPC stat blocks display only a creature’s ability score modifiers, not its ability scores. The array lists numbers for the NPC’s three highest ability score modifiers. Assign these as you see fit based on the NPC’s theme. A combatant usually should have at least the top two among Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution; a spellcaster should have its highest ability score modifier in what would thematically be its spellcasting ability. With a few exceptions, these modifiers don’t influence other statistics, so set an NPC’s Dexterity bonus where you want it without worrying that you’ll change its Armor Class, for instance. After assigning these top three scores, you can set the NPC’s remaining ability score modifiers as you see fit, usually equal to or less than the lowest listed modifier.

Special Abilities: Choosing special abilities (see page 141) is where you set your NPC apart from others of its CR and array. Choose the number of abilities indicated; these can be an adjustment to its statistics, a universal creature rule, or simply a feat. You can also give your NPC unique abilities you invent; see page 142 for advice on doing so.

Some special abilities are designated as “free” abilities as they don’t count against the number of special abilities an NPC gets at its CR. These are described in further detail on page 142.

Skills: The two columns for skills indicate the NPC’s bonus with skills it has mastered and with ones it’s good but not exceptional at (see page 142). All other skills default to the NPC’s relevant ability score modifiers.

Each entry also lists a number in parentheses. This is a suggestion for how many master skills and how many good skills an NPC of that CR should have. NPCs generally have Perception as a good skill, and it isn’t included in these numbers. If you want, you can pick Perception as a master skill and choose another good skill for the NPC.

All the numbers in these charts are flexible, especially for skills. You can add or remove skills without making too much of an impact on a melee combat–focused NPC, for instance.

Attack Bonuses: The second table of an array lists high and low attack bonuses for the NPC. Use the high value for the NPC’s best attacks and the low value for the rest. Use one value for all ranged attacks and the other for all melee attacks (you generally don’t need to worry about differences between one weapon and another in the same category). For example, if your NPC is a sniper, you should use the high value for its ranged attacks and the low one for its melee attacks.

Ranged Damage: If an NPC uses ranged weapons, you can give it a weapon with an item level equal to the creature’s CR. An NPC always adds its full CR to its damage to mimic the Weapon Specialization feat (0 if its CR is less than 1), regardless of the weapon’s category. It doesn’t add the bonus to damage it deals with grenades. If you don’t find an appropriate weapon at the given level, you can choose an item with a level between the NPC’s CR – 3 and its CR + 1; the NPC’s specialization bonus will make up some of the difference. If you end up with a weapon that’s far from the right level, you might need to give the NPC a higher or lower attack bonus or a different benefit or drawback.

If the NPC has a unique ranged attack, such as an acidic spit attack, using the value from either the Energy Damage or Kinetic Damage column as appropriate for the damage type of the weapon. If you want the NPC’s attack to be especially deadly, you can use the damage entry from the row for the NPC’s CR + 1. If you do, it’s usually best to lower its attack bonus or AC a bit or give it some other shortcoming.

Melee Damage: As with ranged attacks, you can give an NPC a weapon and add its CR and its Strength modifier to the damage dealt. If the NPC has natural weapons, use the table to determine the damage they deal. If the NPC has the multiattack universal creature rule (see page 155), and thus can attack more than twice with a full attack, use the relevant column to determine the damage each attack deals. For an NPC that can do more than four attacks with a full action, it’s better to give it a penalty to further attacks rather than to decrease the damage.

Because melee attacks tend to target KAC, there aren’t separate entries for energy attacks. Instead, reduce the damage dealt for a standard melee attack against EAC to the three attacks value. If the NPC can make three attacks using an energy weapon, reduce the damage dealt to the four attacks value.