Hit Dice for Monster Deity Avatars

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.

14 Responses to Hit Dice for Monster Deity Avatars

  1. André says:

    Shouldn’t it be 8+2 HP/Priest level as only the fighter gets the +3 and +4 exceptional constitution bonus? Beyond this interrogation, I pretty much agree with you.

    As a side question when can we expect to see a Demihuman ‘missing’ God?

    • AuldDragon says:

      Avatars get Warrior Constitution bonuses, per the rules in Faiths & Avatars.

      As for the missing Demihuman deities, it will be a while, unfortunately. I’m not a very fast writer, and I’m finding it easier to remain cohesive when I focus on groups of deities/pantheons.

  2. Leo says:

    Sorry for posting this semi-randomly here, but I’ve got a question regarding PoR. You (humorously) demonstrated the consequence of maxing out all stats to 18 or 25.

    My question: Does it make any difference if you only max out the relevant stats? E.g. maxing out STR, DEX and CON for everyone but giving fighters INT and WIS 3?

    • AuldDragon says:

      It’s been a long time since I did in-depth testing, but I think it takes into account both the maximum scores and the average. Maxing out just one stat still leads to large encounters.

  3. Barastir says:

    Don’t you think those monster avatars are only relevant if the monster’s stats can’t be translated adequately into a class? Another musing: don’t you think Tiamat (and Bahamut would follow) don’t have monster stats because she has a form that is human to congregate human worshippers?

    • AuldDragon says:

      It’s more a question of power. A dragon or a giant has a LOT of hit points, often easily more than a high level, high constitution fighter. A god who is manifests as, and identifies strongly with, one of these types of creatures should be more powerful than a one who manifests as a human, kobold, or the like. You can see this included in the elemental lords and Null in Cult of the Dragon. I’d guess that it just didn’t occur to Eric Boyd when he did Tiamat, but I don’t know for sure. Either way, I do think it SHOULD be applied to her, and I will eventually be revising my entry on her.

  4. Barastir says:

    Are avatars still subject to class level cap when calculating hit points? I ttought it didn’t apply, and if so, having high level in warrior classes would actually be an advantage to a power.

    • AuldDragon says:

      Yes, they are still subject to the hit dice cap. An avatar that is a 20th level fighter only gets 9d10 Hit Dice, then +3 for each level after that. They always get the warrior hit point bonus for high Constitution and max hit points per die, but that only goes so far. The Giants and Dragons should have more hit points for monster hit dice (although Constitution bonuses don’t apply to those numbers) IMO.

  5. Barastir says:

    I’ve actually calculated my avatars’ HP using these calculation, including the level cap, I just didn’t remember doing it some years ago. Checking Null’s avatar in Cult of the Dragon I haven’t found the logic behind its HP total, though, for although its descriptions says great wyrm shadow dracolich, its classes come just after that. Gotta figure it out.

    • AuldDragon says:

      I think the bonus hit points for the higher level cleric class was forgotten or something. Not all of the hit points across all of the books are correct (the Elemental Lords are off too in F&A). The hit points for the Cleric class with the Con bonus and the Great Wyrm Hit Dice comes to 214, which +2 for the Wizard classes makes 216.

  6. Barastir says:

    Got it. I’ve done version which would give him less HP (by priorizing the dragon HD without the CON bonuses), but most of the other calcularions I made (considering the 9 levels of cleric and then his dragon HD until he reaches great wyrm status) would end up with a lot more HP than the listed in the book.

    • AuldDragon says:

      Were you adding hit points for all of the dragon hit dice? You’d only add those in excess of the cleric. You’d start with the 9d8+Con Bonus for the cleric, then 11d8 with no Con bonus for the 20-HD great wyrm shadow dragon (the first 9 are superceded by the cleric hit dice), then +16 for the high level cleric (up to 28; this is what I believe was forgotten), then +2 for the additional two wizard levels. So that would be 126 (Cleric) + 88 (dragon) = 214; +2 from the wizard gets 216. There should be another +16 there though.

      • Barastir says:

        This is the calculation I made that ended up with more HP for the avatar. It would be 9 levels of cleric, plus 11 of dragon (214 hp), plus 2 hp per level of cleric until level 28, (i. e. plus 16 hp), plus the 2 levels of wizard (2 hp), for a total of 232 hp.

        • AuldDragon says:

          Yeah, that’s correct; it’s not a big enough difference to matter much, and a number of the avatar HP are slightly off from where they should be in the various books. I’m pretty sure the avatar stats were not checked over for accuracy, mainly because there was an expectation no one would really use them.

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