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Creating New Monsters

You flip through the pages of the Dor Un Avathar, the new monster handbook, and see all the monsters, some new, some old, some changed, some the same. But wait! The monster that you thought for sure would be in here isn't. Now what do you do? Well, you could do two things.

1) Whine and complain, or
2) Make it yourself.

If you really want to, then whine, but nobody likes a whiner. So, your other option is to play Amt-god and create this new creature yourself. Congratulations! This is a great way of participating in a non-combat aspect of the club. Now, there are some general guidelines that probably should be followed if you have decided to make it yourself. These are guidelines and guidelines only, but they would probably increase your chances of getting your monster done, done well, approved by your local monster's guild, and passed by an althing.

These guidelines are fairly simple and often common sense, yet never-the-less, they must be stressed. You may see some things that are stated almost directly from the AMTGARD: Handbook on the Rules of Play. Again, these are things that must be stressed. And now, on to creating your monster.

Guidelines:

1) Follow the basic format. The format is the way that the monster is drawn up on paper. The format presented in this monster book is a good one. It allows for a clean presentation of the monster and covers just about anything. It is well organized and easy to read, and recognizable as the basic monster format. In the event that your monster is passed by an althing, having this format will make it easier to add into the monster book.

2) Don't create a monster that could be played more easily by role-playing one of the basic classes. Basically, this means that a monster should be unique to itself. It lessens both the class it is similar to, as well as the monster itself, if the monster is too similar to a class. If such is the case, then play the class, and have some fun role-playing. Still wear your 'monster' garb, as a part of your role-playing. It's fun for you and for the other people playing. Moreover, monsters that appear too similar to a class are often shot down at althings because of their resemblances.

3) Don't copy copyrighted material. This is a tricky one. Most monsters in this book can be found in other sources as well, be it mythos of any region, role-playing games, movies, or books. It is imperative that, though you like the monsters in other material, you try to make it somewhat unique. In the case of mythological monsters, you may attempt to make it as accurate as possible. In the case of monsters from non-mythological material, you should make sure there are differences. Never use specific names found only in that source's material. This may seem overcautious, but it doesn't hurt to do it.

4) Determine whether your monster is a quest-only monster, or if it may be played on any weekend (with permission, of course). This will affect a number of things that the monster will have. This decides the monster's overall power, and the quester-monster ratio (the number of average combatants that the monster should be able to combat). If a monster is extremely powerful, it will usually have fewer lives, or even only one life. Generally, the more powerful a monster is, the more likely it is to be quest-only.

5) Try not to create totally new abilities. While you are determining this monster's abilities, try to find abilities already created and in use. This cuts down on confusion when the monster is being played. In some instances, a new ability is justified, but those are rare instances. All abilities should be easily justifiable, and never assume that the reader of the monster can make that justification himself. Basically you should just include a brief explanation of what the ability simulates. This helps people to understand the monster better, and can often make the monster seem much more cool.

6) Try to balance the monster's power. When creating a monster, keep his power in check by balancing it against the basic classes at the same level. For a basic any-weekend monster, there should be a quester-monster ratio of no more than 3:1 and generally no less than 1:1 . This means that basically your average grunt monster should be on a one to one basis, or maybe a one to two basis against most classes, at the same level. If your average grunt monster can handle more than three people (of the same level as the monster) at the same time, then he's not an average grunt monster and should either be toned down, or made a quest-only monster.

7) Submit your monster to the local monster's guild for play testing. Generally, when you submit your monster to the local monster's guild, the guild should decide whether or not the monster is appropriate for Amtgard, and therefore appropriate for play testing, or if it needs to be reworked further before being play tested. When and if the monster is play tested, someone should be specifically designated to keep an eye on the monster to see how it fares on the field. This is usually a reeve, but can also be a monster's guild non-combatant that's just watching the games that day. The individual watching the monster should note how well the monster works, and determine whether the monster is more or less powerful than necessary. The monster should be play tested several times, and possibly by different people. A monster should only be play tested with Monarch, Prime Minister, and GM of Monsters approval.

8) Always be willing to rework your monster. Even if the monster's guild play tests it and decides it's a good monster, the monster still needs the approval of an althing. If an althing votes it down, then this simply means it needs to be reworked further. Don't give up hope and try not to get frustrated. If your monster has already gotten this far, then odds are that a little more work and some perseverance will eventually pay off.

By following those guidelines, you should have a nifty new monster, that's well balanced and ready for play testing, quickly. Remember, always use common sense. Always play in the spirit of the game. Do not use loopholes or gray areas to derive an advantage on the battlefield. The AMTGARD: Handbook on the Rules of Play always takes precedence in any dispute.

Finally, you should always role-play while at Amtgard, but when you're playing a monster, it's doubly important. Have good garb, and enjoy yourself. Happy monster playing (or monster hunting).

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This document was last updated on April 2, 1997
by Sir Ivar Nefarious
Copyright: 1986-2000
by Amtgard, Kingdom of the Burning Lands
The 7th edition, being an update of the 6th edition monster rules
in the reigns of: the monarchs of the 8 kingdoms-
Ivar, Taldak, Arion, Oriana, Wolfram, Stefan, Lukor, Ashki