I'm running my first campaign of D&D Next and I'm tailoring some custom monsters, and using some of the weakest from the Monster Manual from the Playtest (I'm using the October 2013 document).

I'm pretty new to all of this lethal style from older editions, considering that the lowest HP from my party is 8 and the highest 12, coming from 4e everything seems so hard now.

I want to add a solo monster in the end, but there are no indicators of which monster is a solo and who is an elite, I've even checked this document for help and I still don't get it: http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20120723

All monsters seem to be able to kill any of my PCs in onnly one hit and I'm not sure how much HP a "boss" should have considering this factor... Any tips?

  • \$\begingroup\$ While max damage is high on the monsters, don't forget to factor in AC and to-hit bonuses for how likely it is for a monster to kill a PC in one hit. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 15:08

3 Answers 3


Next does not have monster roles or guidelines when building encounters like 4e does

There are no monster roles anymore, they do give levels, but like the XP value they aren't as hard a guideline as they would've been in 4e. In fact the only way to really gauge monster difficulty is look at its HP, AC, stats (because mods affect save rolls), damage output via attacks and spells, and the strength of its monster properties/abilities (immunity, resistance, special powers). All of the guidelines and tools you've come to expect in 4e no longer exist and nothing approaching them will exist in 5e until the DMG comes out in August.

My Suggestion

create a monster that has a nice HP pool and a multiattack power, but one that doesn't do too much damage so that you don't TPK the party if you get to go first. At low levels though, dying is very easy to do in Next, its almost unavoidable because of the influences that Next took from earlier editions of D&D.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There are in fact monster levels listed in the Bestiary, as well as XP values which can be used to match up on the table in the DM Guidelines. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Grubermensch You are correct, the last few seasons of encounters (which is 5e) have dropped listing monster level in the stat blocks altogether so I misremembered the final playtest packet as soidn that as well. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 19:07

If you end up going creating a monster.

I strongly suggest to take a look at Surf's D&D Blog he made a really interesting serie of articles about Monster Math from the latest DND Next Play Test Packet.

The serie is kind of long ... 16 articles but really interesting, if you don't have time to read all of it, I suggest to read at least the 3rd and the 10th articles and maybe the 16th.

Because the 3rd explain how he converted monsters to formula, so it helps to create monsters from the formula / or table.

The 10th sums up the monsters as they are now.

And the 16th, is the conclusion after "recalibrating" the math from the play test packet.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you put the gist of the information in your answer? If the links die, this answer has no value. If you edited the essential information into this answer, I could vote for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do the articles match up with the revealed 5e monsters, (hobgoblin, ogre etc.)? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 15:06

While D&D 5e does not have set categories for Solo or Minion etc, D&D 5e does have a special type of solo creature called "Legendary"

A great example of a legendary creature is the Lich used in the "Dead in Thay" adventure. Some features of this legendary creature is saving throw immunities, recharging abilities, and multiple actions when it's not it's turn.

The rules for Legendary creatures will be able to be found in the Monster Manual when it is released October 2014.

As for building encounters, D&D 5e uses a two tiered system but unfortunately the playtest packets only have the XP info and not the Challenge ratings. You should be able to use hte monster level to replace the CR, but it's not going to be very finely tuned.

First you use Challenge Rating of monsters to eliminate all monsters above the player's levels, and then with the monsters you have left, you use the XP table to build an encounter. If you have a budget of say 240 xp, and a particular monster is worth 240 xp, then that monster can be used a good solo, even if it is not legendary. However, be careful, even when using 10 xp goblins, not to have more than 2 times the number of monsters than characters without assuming that the encounter is counted as being more difficult.


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