This is for The AD&D 1st edition Monster Manual. The Fiend Folio and Monster Manual II both give monster levels in the stat block of the monster and yet the Original Monster Manual does not. So I am wondering where I can find a list with all the MM monsters with there corresponding level?


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The concept of "monster Level" is introduced in the Dungeon Master's Guide, Appendix C, page 174. The levels for the creatures in the Monster Manual are in the tables on the following pages of that appendix. The listings in the Monster Manual II include it right in the monster listing for convenience, because the book wasn't published when the Appendix C tables were compiled. As the Monster Manual II says in How To Use This Book (p. 6; emphasis mine):

LEVEL and EXPERIENCE POINT VALUE are determined by the method indicated in THE DUNGEON MASTER'S GUIDE. If a type of monster has varying hit dice and/or experience levels, values for each are shown.

Monster Level is a rough indicator of relative challenge, but is far from an exact science. Monster level is a direct function of the XP value of the creature, as calculated from the table on page 174 of the DMG. Monster level is roughly equivalent to the level of the dungeon on which they will be commonly found, though they can be found lower or higher, in greater or lesser numbers encountered.

Created as a rough guide for random encounters, it should be taken only as a suggestion, and as a means of sorting creatures into any random encounter tables you might create yourself. It was never intended to be used as a fixed measure of difficulty, and if you try to use it that way (like CR in WotC editions of D&D) you'll find your games become more unpredictable instead of more predictable.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So encounter building (and more generally DMing) in AD&D is really an art isn't it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Antonio
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jonn_Underwood Very much so. It's something that you learn over time as you get to know how your group plays. What's balanced for one group of players will be unbalanced for another (even with the same characters), so there's no shortcut for it. Just remember that you can make encounters easy (they're fun) and hard (they're for running away from), and that will give you even more feedback for what is actually easy and hard, since our guesses are often off. It also teaches players that mindlessly attacking everything they meet is not safe. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 0:29

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