I’ve purposely refrained from posting a lot of speculation about the next edition of D&D until I get to see more playtest information. However, (now I’m about to do the exact opposite) I have been following the news from the D&D experience convention pretty closely and thought I would share some of lead designer Monte Cook’s thoughts on monsters for the next edition:
We want to work hard to provide actual meaningful guidance on how to be a good DM. We want to embrace the 4E idea of quick prep time. New monster, 5 mins. High level NPCs in 10 minutes. Lots of 4E ideas. Decoupling the idea that NPCs have to advance or be built in the same way as PCs.
We were just talking about throwing in some extra abilities to monsters. So you might have a normal orc, or you might decide to make him a vicious orc that would add an attack that to a nearby creature when the monster dies. That kind of thing could be added in by a DM on the fly because it doesn’t really change the challenge too much or make you rewrite anything. It might give you a little bit of an experience bonus if/when you defeat it too.
These ideas sound promising to me. The way monsters are created and run by the DM are one of the best features of 4e, and it looks like they want to continue that tradition and add in Pathfinder style simple templates (one of that game’s great modifications of 3e). The next edition of D&D is still at least a year away (though probably more) and a lot can happen between then and now, but it’s nice to see the game heading in a direction I like.
For now, I’ll try and refrain from adding to the noise and continue to post about games that I’m playing and daydreaming about (that’s 4e, Gamma World and an upcoming Pathfinder campaign), lest some horrible vilstrak beat me with a ripped up phonebook.