Questions tagged [monster-design]

For questions about designing adversarial monsters and NPCs for use in a game.

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17 votes
9 answers
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How to mechanically implement enemies with single vulnerable points? [closed]

I am a GM for both DnD 5e and Pathfinder 1e. I was thinking how some creatures in stories only die with a blow to a very specific spot and all hits anywhere else are completely nullified, and how ...
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How would resistance to non magical weapons change a creature's challenge rating?

Suppose we took a normal monster - say, perhaps, a lion (CR 1) - and gave it resistance to non-magical slashing, piercing, and blunt damage. How much would this affect the threat to a party? I'm ...
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  • 1,326
7 votes
2 answers
807 views

How might I instantiate this NPC concept in a fun way within the systems of DnD 5e? (think Picture of Dorian Gray crossed with Dr Jekyll)

I have this concept for an NPC that I would like to throw into a world I am building for my friends. We are all novices to dungeons and dragons. The NPC is a Baron in a backwater village that sits in ...
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5 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I design a boss that shifts between two dimensions to avoid attacks?

This boss character, Omega, is inspired by Zhylaw, leader of the Necromongers, in the Riddick film series Tobi, Akatsuki member from the Naruto anime This boss, meant for a level 16 boss fight (...
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4 votes
2 answers
452 views

What are the mechanical effects of uneven ability scores in monster stat blocks?

Whilst homebrewing some variations of existing monsters, I noticed something unusual: Some monsters have odd (i.e. mathematically uneven) ability scores. Uneven ability scores matter for player ...
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14 votes
2 answers
3k views

How do you design monsters that ignore armor?

I'm trying to homebrew a nasty hornet swarm with some added attacks to make it more dangerous. One of the ideas that I had was to make the hornets crawl under the armor/clothes when attacking, thus ...
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  • 428
5 votes
4 answers
978 views

Does a monster with multiple abilities recharging regain their use on a roll of 5-6?

From the MM, pg. 11 Recharge X-Y. The notation "Recharge X- Y" means a monster can use a special ability once and that the ability then has a random chance of recharging during each ...
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8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can a monster cast a higher-level spell using a lower-level spell slot?

Is there a rule for monsters that allows a higher-level spell to be cast using a lower level? I ask because I came across the "Shadow Fey Enchantress" statblock in the third-party book Tome ...
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  • 2,231
11 votes
1 answer
485 views

How to balance enemies in BESM 4e?

I'm only somewhat experienced in DMing, and decided to run a game of Big Eyes Small Mouth 4th edition. I've started world building around the other characters, and during creation I found that one of ...
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5 votes
1 answer
464 views

Does Spell Resistance scale when advancing a monster?

I just advanced a Canoloth (MM 3, p. 200) as I wanted to use it against a level 14 party. It is originally CR 5, and I wanted to raise it to CR 8. So I added 4 HD (CR+2) and the elite array (CR+1). ...
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  • 5,040
1 vote
0 answers
178 views

How to make mind flayer mind control better [closed]

I feel like the Mind Flayers ability to control minds (a once per day Dominate Monster) is almost universally thought of as underpowered, especially given the description of Mind Flayers. How could a ...
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3 votes
2 answers
211 views

What is the earliest example of a variant monster in a published D&D adventure?

In an answer to another question I made the point that using non-standard variants of published monsters has been common practice since the early days of D&D. This was based on my own experience, ...
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  • 5,813
2 votes
1 answer
152 views

Is this monster level appropriate?

It's been a while, but I decided to take one of my Pathfinder 1e Dungeons and transfer it into Pathfinder 2e. That being said, I could not find a Kyrana anywhere in the Pathfinder 2e Bestiary, so I ...
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  • 3,166
5 votes
2 answers
884 views

Is this "Siren" creature balanced?

I just finished playing a 6th level 4 players session and the GM used this creature in a fight with us: https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Siren_(5e_Creature) Specifically it used the ability: Sing (5/day)...
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  • 153
6 votes
2 answers
520 views

How to interpret "round up or down" in monster CR calculation

In the "Creating Quick Monster Stats" section of the DMG (p.274) we are given the procedure for determining the CR of a new DM-designed monster. Step 4 of that procedure (pp.274-275) tells ...
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  • 26.6k
2 votes
2 answers
178 views

Does adding multiple skills when combining creatures cause balance issues?

I'm creating a Svirfneblin Evil Mage by combining the stat blocks for each Evil Mage and Svirfneblin. A Svirfneblin has the skills Investigation +3, Perception +2, Stealth +4. An Evil Mage has the ...
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  • 9,820
4 votes
2 answers
213 views

Is a creature's Innate Spellcasting save DC affected by changing ability scores or adding Spellcasting features from another creature?

I'm creating a Svirfneblin Evil Mage by combining the stat blocks for each Evil Mage and Svirfneblin. A Svirfneblin's Innate Spellcasting Save DC is 11 and its INT is +1. An Evil Mage's Spellcasting ...
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  • 9,820
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Does the effectiveness of a harpy's song fluctuate based on its Charisma score?

In D&D 5e, the harpy has the Luring Song action option: Luring Song. The harpy sings a magical melody. Every humanoid and giant within 300 feet of the harpy that can hear the song must succeed on ...
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3 votes
1 answer
190 views

How dangerous is this modified exhaustion compared to other harmful conditions?

In this question, I asked about the ramifications of monsters causing exhaustion: How dangerous is exhaustion? The answers concluded, that this would generally be very risky and dangerous. I therefore ...
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the AC equivalent of mirror image?

It is suggested (by the DMG) to account for defensive options by assuming increased AC, e.g. +2 AC for magic resistance. I would like to give some of my monsters the spell mirror image as part of a ...
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

How dangerous is exhaustion?

I'm interested in adding exhaustion effects to monsters. I might homebrew changes to the exhaustion mechanic, but for now, I'm interested in assessing how dangerous it is if monsters can cause RAW ...
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  • 10.8k
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the impact of banishment on CR?

Disclaimer: I know that monster balance is never exact and I don't expect it to be, I'm looking for rough guidelines like they are given in the DMG for many traits. I like to flavor up my monsters ...
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  • 10.8k
2 votes
0 answers
186 views

help in adapting a monster from a short story to 5E [closed]

This is the 'Big Bad' of the short story Undefiled, written by James M. Ward for the collection Tales of Ravenloft. From what I've inquired the creature was created by Ward specifically for the story. ...
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9 votes
1 answer
771 views

Does adding the Damage Absorption trait to a not-immune creature change its CR?

The DMG has a "Monster Features" table (p. 280), containing traits that can be added onto monsters for customization purposes. One of the traits with no effect on CR listed is Damage Absorption (it ...
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  • 27.9k
1 vote
0 answers
75 views

How do save-or-die effects modify CR in 5e? [duplicate]

I have a homebrew monster with an ability that can drop a target to 0 hp if they fail a saving throw. How should this alter its CR?
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2 votes
1 answer
80 views

How do crossbred dragons inherit movement, MR, and special defenses?

1990's Draconomicon has some guidelines for crossbred dragons that seem useful for 3.5/5e. From what I can tell, though, rules for land/flight/(swim) speeds, magic resistance, and elemental immunity (...
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  • 3,565
9 votes
1 answer
261 views

How would Undead Fortitude and Regeneration work in tandem?

I've created a custom undead for a campaign I'm running called a dread zombie. The idea is for it to have a bit of a "you've got to be kidding me" factor with how resilient the seemingly weak enemy is....
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10 votes
1 answer
239 views

Pentex African Killer Bees!

Welcome to Pentex Labs! We have everything to destroy nature: Banes, Vampires, Reality Warpers! Now, my boss wants to weaponize Bees. He wants them to be super deadly, he wants them to destroy cacao -...
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  • 27.8k
4 votes
1 answer
155 views

What are the best templates to give oozes a better to-hit?

Pretty self-explanatory. Try to keep it under CR 5 tough. It is for bottled oozes, as per the alchemist discovery.
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  • 411
9 votes
2 answers
762 views

How is the damage required to regurgitate a creature calculated?

As an addition to my previous question "How is CON save DC determined for the Behir?" there is another figure that I'm curious as to how it is determined. If the behir takes 30 damage or ...
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  • 1,384
4 votes
1 answer
835 views

How is CON save DC determined for the Behir?

I am homebrewing a monster that has incorporates the Swallow mechanic used by the Behir (MM, pg. 25). My monster is not at the same CR and I need to adjust its statistics accordingly, but there is one ...
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  • 1,384
3 votes
1 answer
138 views

How to create a class-level-defined monster

I would like to create some small groups of kobolds for my players to tackle with. The idea is to have some "standard" kobolds copied directly from the Bestiary 1, but to also have some "special" ones ...
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  • 1,381
4 votes
1 answer
453 views

What is the CR of one half of an Ochre Jelly?

Suppose I want my party to fight an ochre jelly, but they're low level, so it would be too hard a fight for them. What I could give them is a smaller ochre jelly: the original jelly got split somehow, ...
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  • 201
-1 votes
3 answers
243 views

When running animated water as a creature, how can I get stats quickly?

A subquestion of How does animated water work? When a player conjures a creature formed of animated water, for example a small horse, I find it works best to model that animated water as a CR0 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
102 views

How does Spell-Eating compare to Energy Drain?

I'd like to replace the standard Energy Drain effect on a few CR3 Wights with the following Spell-Eater effect: Spell-Eater On a successful Melee attack, the target must make a Will save against ...
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  • 2,911
2 votes
0 answers
996 views

Designing a stat block for a 5e Hieracosphinx [closed]

The Hieracosphinx is a lesser Sphinx that does not have an official stat block for 5e, as via Christopher Perkins' Twitter. However, I would like to use this monster in a desert setting with Level 6 ...
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  • 1,801
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there a guide on how to create a monster as a solo combat challenge for a PC?

I have read all about how to create an encounter or "boss" monster for a group of PCs to defeat based on challenge rating, but I have not seen any guidance on how to create/modify a monster to make it ...
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  • 525
7 votes
2 answers
729 views

Understanding CR calculations of these monsters from the Monster Manual

I've been working on a tool to help me design monsters, specifically doing CR calculations as described in the DMG. In order to test it, I've tried it out on some monsters in the Monster Manual, which ...
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  • 581
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

How can I design a witch (or other enemy) that summons/controls lightning birds at sea to attack the party while hidden on a ship?

The PCs (3 of them, at 3rd level) are on a disabled, abandoned pirate ship at sea in a storm. I want them to have hard encounters that become somewhat predictable and that they can put a stop to, so ...
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28 votes
9 answers
5k views

How could I create a situation in which a PC has to make a saving throw or be forced to pet a dog?

Here is how this question came up to me : I have a dog (IRL), and it's so cute that I'm pretty crazy about it (I guess like most dog owners). My players, which are also my friends, know that. I ...
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  • 3,680
2 votes
3 answers
183 views

Do intelligent items have Hit Dice?

I know that Intelligent Items are considered creatures for at least some purposes, but I have heard that they don't possess skills or feats from Hit Dice, on account of having no Hit Dice. Do the ...
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13 votes
5 answers
7k views

How can a Lich look like a human without magic?

This question is for 5e; I've posted a similar question for Pathfinder here. I'm designing a character for a campaign whose role is to be a recurring antagonist. When the characters first meet him, ...
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12 votes
4 answers
3k views

How could a Lich maintain the appearance of being alive without magic?

I'm designing a character for a campaign whose role is to be a recurring antagonist. When the players first meet him, I want him to seem undeniably human. The idea is that the party will "kill" him ...
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3 votes
2 answers
467 views

Is this Half-dragon Quaggoth boss monster balanced?

This is going to be an early boss for my upcoming campaign. I have 7 5th-level player characters, and this fight is meant to challenge them quite a bit. There will also be a few minions. The story is ...
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25 votes
5 answers
7k views

How would I stat a creature to be immune to everything but the Magic Missile spell? (just for fun)

My DM has, for the sake of adding some light-hearted fun to our campaign, introduced a magic chicken that has 1HP but can only die due to the magic missile spell. My question is, if we were to create ...
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can the "Create a Monster" table be used to accurately change a creature's CR?

Related: How do I scale up a Monster for a big Party in D&D 5e? There have been a lot of questions about Mimics, so I'll use that, but this applies to any creature that doesn't match up with the ...
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  • 20k
8 votes
1 answer
17k views

Is the official Necromancer NPC’s CR calculation accurate?

I am planning to make a variation of the official Necromancer NPC statblock from Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and I wanted to make sure the challenge rating was correct based on the original. However, ...
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6 votes
1 answer
169 views

How would strategic but non-damaging actions affect monster CR?

I'm in the middle of designing a dungeon with heavy fire and ice elemental themes influencing a lot of undead enemies. I'm relying on CR a lot to rough out encounters, as I don't have a super great ...
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there a quick and fair way to adjust stats for an upcast Conjured Elemental?

The 5th level spell Conjure Elemental spell states (PHB, p. 225, bold added): An elemental of challenge rating 5 or lower appropriate to the area you chose appears in an unoccupied space within 10 ...
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17 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does the ability to cast healing spells affect a monster's CR?

I've been making a few homebrew monsters for my current D&D 5e campaign, and I ran into a problem when I wanted to create a creature that used healing magic. There were general rules for offensive ...
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