One of my current quests is to learn more about the logic behind how NERO monsters are currently built. (I’m currently working on a monster build guide and a scaling guide which may facilitate a revision of the monster database.) I was interested to see some of the data about our monsters displayed visually. So I got a hold of the NERO National Monster database in excel format. Here are some charts I made to examine the relationships between level, body points, and weapon damage.
As a bit of background: the National Monster Database is a set of 319 monster stat cards which are distributed to all chapters of NERO. Chapters don’t have to use these monster’s stats, but it’s encouraged that they do so that there’s continuity in the creatures you encounter all over the country. During the game, the stats are often tweaked and tailored (this is called “scaling”) to adjust for players they’ll be facing – as well as other concerns of the LARP weekend.
So let’s take a look at some of the most important data: hit points, damage, and APL. All monster cards have an APL, or “approximate player level”. This is theoretically supposed to tell us which experience level players this monster is a good match against. When these monsters were created, there was probably some formula to calculate the monster’s APL, but I suspect this equation is lost to the mists of time. APL is a good method of ballparking a monster’s power, but shouldn’t be interpreted too literally.
This first chart displays the relationship between body points and approximate player level.
Based on this chart, a few things seem to pop out:
- The majority of the content in the database is designed to fight characters of level 15 and under.
- Past level 15, there is less fine differentiation between levels of monster power. Monsters are clustered around APL 15, 20, 25, 30, 35.
- Before level 20, it’s very rare for a monster to have over 100 body points
The second chart displays the relationship between approximate player level and long/short weapon damage. This may be a bit misleading because many monster’s weapon attacks are dangerous because of their carrier attack, not their damage number. And monsters with two handed weapons often have much higher damage than long/short weapon users due to the monster’s strength bonus. That being said, we can still get a rough idea of how monster’s damage input is related to their approximate player level.
This chart shows us:
- Before level 15, most monsters swing 5s to 10s.
- Not many monsters swing 20s before adding PC skills and other buffs. So if you’re fighting a creature that swings 20s, it’s probably been scaled up.
Here’s the relationship between weapon damage and body points. I thought this might be useful because in my experience, directors tend to scale based on body points rather than player level anyway. Level is a rather abstract way of evaluating a monster’s power – body points and weapon damage are generally a more reliable measure of what it’ll be capable of and how long it will last.
The rule of thumb I’ve seen in many NPC camps is to stat monsters with about 1 weapon damage per 10 body. For example, you tend to see monsters with 40 body swinging 4s, 50 body swinging 5s, 60 body swinging 6s, et cetera. This usually gets tweaked after adding abilities and other scaling factors, but that’s the template. On this chart we can see that this is more or less in line with the monster database up until monsters have over 80 body. It’s rare for a basic monster to swing over 10s.
And in summary, here are the averages for each level bracket:
|Level 1-10||Level 11-20||Level 21-30|
Based on this, we can say:
- A mid level monster has about 3x as many hit points as a low level monster
- A high level monster has about 2x as many hit points as a mid level monster
- Weapon damage increases by about 1 point per five levels
Keep in mind that these numbers do not account for armor, carrier attacks, threshold, magic, player character levels, and other abilities which many monsters possess. But as a very rough thumbnail of the monster database, I thought this was very interesting.
Did you learn anything about our monsters from these data? Let us know in the comments.