Hit Dice for Monster Deity Avatars

September 1, 2013

I came to the realization recently that I’ve been doing some of the hit dice for the giant deity avatars incorrectly. The avatars of many of the giants, as well as other deities that are essentially divine versions of powerful monsters (for the most part only dragons), should actually include a monster Hit Die component; calculating them as human or demihuman deities doesn’t really give them as many hit points as they probably should have. I had noticed that the avatars for the Elemental Deities in Faiths & Avatars, as well as the entry for Null in Cult of the Dragon did this, although the Hit Points don’t quite match how they should be calculated, at least as I understand it. I’m sure this won’t be of interest to many people, as almost no one actually uses avatars in game play, but I have to “get it right” due to my obsession with the format.  :) And, well, I figure it would be beneficial to anyone else who is like me and is creating their own deities using the full Faiths & Avatars format.

To calculate the hit points for such an avatar, the basic process is the same as that described in Faiths & Avatars, but you can add, say “20-HD Giant” or “20-HD Dragon” (similar to how Akadi’s avatar is a 30-HD Air Elemental) to the list. Hit points are still generated in descending order of magnitude, however, with Constitution bonuses only applying towards class hit dice. For example, you created a deity whose avatar is a 24-HD Dragon, a 36th level wizard, and a 30th level Priest with a Constitution of 18. The highest hit points for the first 9 “levels” would come from the Priest class, at 8 + 4 hp each level (maximum class hit points per hit die, plus Constitution bonus), for a total of 108 hit points. For “levels” 10-24, the most hit points would come from the monster hit dice, for a total of 120 hit points. Then for the next 6 levels, the avatar would get hit points from the Priest class again, for 12 hit points, followed by the last six levels from the mage, for another 6 hit points. Thus, the avatar would have a total of 246 hit points.

This sort of calculation would really only apply to deities who are essentially divine versions of powerful monsters. In general, unless the god matches an existing monster with 10 hit dice or more, it is best to calculate them as normal for a humanoid avatar. A good example is the god Stalker, from the goblin-kin pantheons; he doesn’t really match any existing monsters except maybe a shadow, and a shadow only has 3 HD. You could of course list him as a 20-HD Shadow, but there’s really no reason to, as it doesn’t offer anything to the avatar that can’t be arrived at through a description of his appearance and powers. Having normal class levels commensurate to the avatar’s power makes Stalker powerful enough on his own.

Of the deities in Monster Mythology, only the actual giantish deities, the dragon deities, Jazirian, Koriel, Shekinester, Emmantiensien, Great Mother, and Gzemnid would probably warrant this treatment.