Questions tagged [monster-design]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
38
votes
8answers
5k views

Is it wrong to use monsters other than how they appear in the Monster Manual?

A one-shot I joined last week was tasked with fighting a bunch of tribal orcs. At one point the orcs drew longbows (with what was at least a +6 to hit as the DM was asking if 25 AC hits). At this, ...
32
votes
4answers
6k views

Is there a meaningful difference between giving a monster multiattack and giving it multiple turns per round?

I'm creating a CR21 boss for my medium-level party of six players to fight. I know that action economy is a big disadvantage for a single enemy fighting an entire party, so I'm giving the boss the ...
28
votes
9answers
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 ...
26
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
26
votes
13answers
19k views

How to create a villain for level 1 players

I want to build a cool devil overlord as a villain for a group of three level 1 PCs. How would I go about making a villain who's more powerful than them without going overboard? Should I be scared to ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I modify a wolf enemy to fit my campaign?

I'm trying to get into DMing and my buddy who always DMs for us offered to teach me. He wants me to create a 2 hour long adventure that he and I will run through with me as the DM. My problem is ...
22
votes
8answers
10k views

How to increase a monster's CR without adjusting its flavour too much?

Background I have a player who has a level 8 Half Orc Paladin (STR 16, CON 18, CHA 14, Vengeance oath, Sentinel and Orcish Fury feats, no magic items) whose backstory involves running away from his ...
20
votes
3answers
17k views

Are there guidelines for creating a lower-level Legendary Creature?

A recent Wizard’s article, Unearthed Arcana: Encounter Building, states: If you want to use a single monster, you’re typically best off using a legendary monster, all of which are specifically ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

How should I handle REALLY big creatures in combat?

In Pathfinder, most creatures take up no more than 30' square. However, this size doesn't really do justice to a number of larger creatures, should I want to model them. Being, frankly, exceedingly ...
17
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
21k views

How do I decide how many hit dice a custom creature has?

I am planning to create some custom monsters for my games. I know how to determine a monster's average hit points, however I don't know how you determine the decomposition in hit dice. For example if ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

How would a Kobold's challenge rating be affected if I gave it a cantrip and a resistance?

I want to create a version of a Kobold that has the Ray of Frost cantrip, as well as resistance to cold damage. How would this affect the challenge rating of the monster? A normal kobold is CR 1/8. ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

How to make a Nightcrawler-esque NPC villain for my players?

I am currently DMing a D&D 5e campaign for a party of 4, and I wanted a villain with a teleporting ability similar to Nightcrawler, from X-Men/Marvel Comics. I have run into an issue. The main ...
13
votes
2answers
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
5k 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, ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I organize absurd monster sheets?

A friend wants me to develop several CR 40+ monsters for Pathfinder, by chain-applying useful templates to high-CR monsters. This endeavour includes one CR 61 creature, which will be an advanced (as ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

How is monster balancing supposed to be done?

I GMed my first game the other night and, while we had fun once I got the hang of what I was doing, we found the combat difficult to get our heads around. Let me set the scene: A wild "5 giant ...
12
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
819 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

What creature of CR 5 or lower has the highest Constitution saving throw bonus?

What creature of CR 5 or lower has the highest Constitution saving throw bonus? I am currently DMing a campaign and have slowly been introducing higher and higher Con save creatures as zombies, as a ...
10
votes
3answers
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How does a monster giving disadvantage to hitting it affect its CR?

I'm working on a big creature with an AC of 22 and for flavour reasons, I'd like attacks against it to be made with disadvantage. Could you suggest how this would effect the creature's CR? I ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Do the HP multipliers for resistance and immunity when computing EHP stack?

DMG p. 277 provides a table and some instructions for the computation of effective hit points based on resistances and immunities when computing the defensive Challenge Rating of a monster, or ...
9
votes
1answer
501 views

Are there any official or tried and true methods to translating D&D 3.5e creatures to 5E?

I play 5E almost exclusively, now, and while I love the resources out there, I have many a miniature from other editions that is now stat-blockless. I've scoured the internet already, so I think I ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How does regeneration affect CR?

I'm building an ice elemental based on the iron golem. I want to give it an ability that regenerates 1d10 hp at the beginning of each of its turns as long as it is in a cold environment. I'm trying to ...
9
votes
1answer
173 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....
9
votes
3answers
959 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
410 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
324 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
179 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
790 views

Monster Skill Ranks don’t match RAW?

I've had this problem for awhile now. When deconstructing monsters from the various Monster Manuals (to modify or add templates etc) their skill ranks do not add up properly. Am I missing something, ...
8
votes
1answer
12k 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, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
439 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
332 views

What happens when a creature with two gaze attacks focuses its gaze?

How does having two gaze attacks work? I'm guessing that creatures must make saving throws against the effects separately, but if the creature focuses its gaze, must the creature pick a gaze or do ...
7
votes
2answers
405 views

Can Multiweapon Fighting feats be taken as fighter bonus feats or be received as ranger fighting style?

I am building a Marelith as a mastermind villain for my campaign. I was going to give her levels of fighter (or maybe ranger) in addition to her racial hit dice. The various Multiweapon Fighting ...
6
votes
2answers
326 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
152 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
524 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
406 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
548 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)...
5
votes
3answers
583 views

How do I account for attack distribution when calculating CR?

When calculating a monster's CR, how do I account for whether the monster deals all its damage in one attack or via several attacks? Based on the DMG, it doesn't matter how the damage is distributed, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Creating monsters with guaranteed damage

The DMG has some really useful guidelines on creating monsters and assessing their challenge. But they seem to assume that all monster attacks will key off their attack stats or spells, and completely ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Is this “Timberwolf” Balanced?

Based on the dire wolf an a twig blight, this creature is a essentially a large wolf-like construct made of wood, held together by arcane magic. Timberwolf Large Construct, unaligned Armor Class 14 (...
4
votes
2answers
117 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
245 views

Monster can choose between an attack-preventing reaction or a 20hp attack - which is more significant when calculating CR?

I'm working on a reaction which allows a creature to raise its AC in response to being hit by an attack. This reaction will be effective against any single attack that is resolved against the creature'...