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 Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!

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Generic Fighter
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PostSubject: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:16 pm

So, I asked a qestion about starting a little Forum project and the One I suggested was a Collection of the Custom Monsters that several DMs of 4E have set up for their own games and maybe have a more detailed disscussion of them together. It won the most votes, so I'm setting up a thread for it here in the Forge.

So, I have about 200 plus Custom Monsters that I keep on my Dropbox folder in both a PNG and the .monster formats so I can access them on any computer without needing flash drives or any thing else. Also, I do not have to worry that i have an older version when I update another computer. I can link to my Dropbox folder with them if anyone wants it. I use the Olde Offline Adventure Tools Monster Builder so they should work with any of the other Monster Making programs. I use GIMP to make the PNG versions for Printing them easily, as well.

Anyways, I'm hoping to get at least 2 or 3 of my fellow DMs to help with the creation/posting of Custom Monsters and maybe a couple more who can help look them over or/and test them out on their PCs.

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:11 pm

I'm in the camp where monsters really need a very strong shtick going on to be worth it - generics are too easy to create in 4e to be worth it. This usually means a very cool power or an excellent pairing of capabilities. I'm also a very big fan of "powers with tells" that the PCs get to interact with as opposed to just being hit by them - a great example are the auras of the cataclysm dragons.

I'd be very glad to give my advice on creatures - I've just stated the above to give context to my (future) comments.

I can also post a few of my own - but they're usually more like tweaks on existing monsters... not all that impressive (also, about 90% of my library was lost in the great laptop-move of '12... Man I hated that Masterplan update! grrr!)
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:35 pm

This should just be the beginning a test run of gathering community made stuff that is also community tested. But the first step is posting a preferred method for DMs to post their custom monsters.



Also Not every monster should make it into the collection though even if balanced. They should fill some sort of hole. Like for example I have quite a few custom angels, fully made from the ground up. Including two lurker angels. Lurkers being something angels lacked.

But first how do you want things posted? I think ideally an all text version of each monster would be posted as well as a .monster file made with 4e monster builder or adventure tools.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:47 pm

Hmm actually I just noted that the monster file created by monster maker isn't the same as the character builder's .monster. Well that creates a complication.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:24 pm

A greater rapidity in responses would also help.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:01 pm

Sorry for the delays. Still working on the Painting Project I mentioned in the original thread.

MR,
Most of my Custom Monsters either have a Shtick or combo well with other monsters, usually other of my custom Monsters. So I see few difficulties there.

Ver,
I would prefer to have a Visual version of the Stat-Block, too. So that they can be printed easily for use in offline games. Sometimes text files are displayed badly on certain programs/OS and can be confusing to use should that happen. But mainly so we have enough back-up versions that everyone should be able to find a version that works for them, just to be sure. It is not as common as it once was but I don't want anyone to have difficulties should it happen.

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:42 pm

Probably want to go with either monstermaker or masterplan then as they allow exporting as html files. I'm not sure however if the masterplan filetype is transferable between systems.

Masterplan is fully portable; if you move your Masterplan folder onto a USB stick you can run the application from any device that has .NET 3.5 installed.
In addition, each Masterplan project file contains all the necessary library items it requires (creatures, map tiles, etc) so you can even open your project with a copy of Masterplan that has no libraries installed.
However, library files themselves cannot be moved to a different machine; this is to prevent copyright infringement issues

On the other hand maybe that just means the libraries themselves aren't portable but you can still export and transfer the individual file.

I hope thats the case as with Masterplan you can export magic items and skill challenges and other things.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:02 pm

Well lets try an example. Someone Download these files and tell me if it works.

Seers of Astaroth Monster Theme

Seers of Astaroth Theme:
 

Hellfire Viper

Hellfire Viper:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:43 pm

The .creature import works in masterplan (and, of course the .htm is fine)
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:52 pm

Great. Then I vote we use Masterplan as our chosen platform for creating and distributing these monsters.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:25 am

Are you still going to use an image of the stat block as well? I don't use Masterplan, but I'd definitely be interested in viewing and commenting on the custom creatures.

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:20 am

Does this forum even have an admin anymore? Because this would be a lot easier if html was activated on this forum. Anyway the html files can be opened in any browser and they'll show up in a neat copy pastable or printable stat block.  There is no way to actually make an image out of it save for using this resource.

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Which I guess is simple enough as it gives a persistent link so you don't have to use an image hosting site.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:24 am

That should be 'all involved not allied with the angel of pestilence' or maybe just 'all involved without the immortal origin'
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:27 am

Verbannon,
Well I have one tiny little problem with the Text version. I cannot easily tell what it does because it all dissapears into the "wall of text" it is. It kind of makes my Head hurt trying to read it. Some minor formatting and spaces would do wonders for making the text be more easily read without loosing ones place. I haven't used Masterplan for ages and even then I didn't use it much. So I would have to relearn a lot of skills to use it, should we choose it as our primary tool.

skwyd42,
I would like there to be a Picture/ Image of the Statblock too. At least for the Finalized version of a Monster. It would make it easy to print and the format will be familiar to most DMs of this edition so they can use them without most difficulties, hopefully.

GF

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:31 am

Well its not really formattable either because I just copied and pasted it from the html block and the forum doesn't even read the tables.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:37 am

Verbannon,
I was talking about the post with the Viper Seers of Asteroth text in spoilers. I started that post before your angel post. Also, it is possible to make a Picture format file from a PDF. It just takes some creativity and a editing program, such as GIMP. Open the PDF, Highlight the Statblock, Copy it, Paste into GIMP from clipboard, export as JPG or PNG from GIMP and save it somewhere on your computer.

GF

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:53 am

None of the monster makers even use PDF so I have no idea why you are bringing that up. And I know what post you were referring to. And I again say that I can't format the text, its not doable. Not without doing it manually which is much too time consuming. The goal here is simplicity and accessibility.

And you have two kind of DMs that might like custom monsters, those who play online with roll20, who have no use for images, they need a monster file. At minimal the html but preferably something importable.

And those who play offline and need something to print.

So if we use masterplan, we get html files that are not only printable and copy-pastable but that I just learned can be turned easily into an image so people can view it easily,  which has way fewer steps then export to pdf>open PDF>highlight>open paint>paste to paint>save image>upload to image site>post like you suggested. Its just Export to html>open html file>copy source code>upload to html to image site>post. Three less steps actually. And we get an importable filetype. Plus we can potentially open up threads  where people can post custom items as well.

If we use monstermaker, all of the advantages of masterplan minus the access to item stat blocks.

If we use adventuretools which well doesn't have any of that. Maybe the old one does but the current one has no exporting options other than print or export .monster.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:23 am

I think that most computers have a "print to PDF" option and if I want a PDF stat block, I can do that from the Adventure tools and it works just fine. Then I have my .monster file and the PDF as well.

I don't play online at all, however, I use an initiative tracker application that allows the import of .monster and .dnd4e files (and keeps a database of all of the characters and monsters I've imported). So having both is a benefit to me as well.

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:25 am

I did not know that. But still using PDF seems to just overcomplicate things.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:30 am

I'm not sure how a PDF overcomplicates anything. And please don't think I'm trying to be argumentative. I'm not at all. I'm just unsure how we would share things to this forum if they aren't in an image format of some sort. Perhaps I'm missing something.

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:34 am

Because there are simpler ways to get an image other than pdf. And there are many things html can do that pdf can't. Specifically it can be copy and pasted directly into sites that support html and maintain its neat statblock appearance.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:39 am



Seers of Astaroth Monster Theme

Seers of Astaroth:
 

Hellfire Viper

Hellfire Viper:
 


Last edited by Verbannon on Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:40 am

Now with images and that took me only a short 5 minutes less actually but thats whats provable.
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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:28 pm

Everyone,
Apearantly I should not type anything when that tired. Also, I play and DM online games and still use printed versions of my statblocks or PC sheets. I find it more efficient than trying to remember which of a dozen different windows/tabs is what I actually need during a search for something.

GF

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PostSubject: Re: Forum Project: THe Custom Creature Collection!   Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:30 pm

I'm not sure that post actually adds anything to the discussion.
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