I wound up re-categorizing my previous post on the subject. Now you can find it under “Game of Roles” where it belonged all along.

The Elite Action (Mar 11, 2013)

I’ve had the opportunity to test it out, and I have this to say — the Elite Action property is the simplest, most elegant, and most effective means of improving the staying power of an Elite or Solo creature I have found.

With one change:

Elite Action: You gain one extra Standard and Immediate action each round. You can use these actions while Dazed or Stunned.

In addition to increasing the overall number of Immediate and Opportunity Actions creatures receive (simple ones, like a “defender’s riposte” opportunity attack), I’ve found some ways to worsen a monster’s bite without making them overpowering.

Ultimately, any changes you make to monsters ought to make them simpler, easier to run. You want to create a challenge for the players, not for you. A game master is at their best when they can easily improvise challenging encounters.

One of my other experiments with Elite and Solo monsters is in combining multiple character roles in the same monster. In addition to dropping the meaningless monster roles, I mean. An Elite monster will often be a striker and a defender, while a Solo monster will often have features and powers from all four roles at their disposal.

Aside from hit points, you don’t really want to change too much of the Elite or Solo monster statistics because then they tend to “fall off the RNG” — which is to say, the players have too much difficulty hitting them or hurting them. More HP is still okay.

But then, doesn’t it make sense that an Elite monster would have the powers of two roles? Each Elite is supposed to have the power to threaten to characters at once — why not take the logical conclusion and make the monster be two characters?

Simplified of course, but still.

Twice the normal hit points is a good start. The Elite Action is a good second step. I think the third step is to award the monster with features belonging to two roles — generally ones that complement one another but whatever, right?

That suggests that before you get into monster thematics, you have at least six main Elite types — Striker/Defender, Striker/Leader, Striker/Controller, Defender/Leader, Defender/Controller, and Leader/Controller — some more active, some more direct.

Still working on what those powers will be, but I will eventually come around to them — no doubt with a nice big list for you to see.