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82

Numerous spells, abilities, and actions change The boss is stronger in strange ways, because they... Can try to save four times per round against hold monster and similar save-or-suck spells. Other effects, like a monk's Stunning Strike, are unaffected. Can grapple or shove four times per round. (One cannot substitute a grapple for an attack within ...


73

For a first adventure, don’t. Don’t start modifying monsters. In time you’ll be able to judge how tough monsters are, and what to throw at your players. There is a procedure for making and modifying monsters in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, but it requires some experience and judgement to use. But you don’t have the experience to make those judgements yet. I ...


55

Ok, there's two ways to go about it. Limited use, or limited reliability. Limited Use This is simple: as a reaction, teleport up to your move. Reaction rules limits this to 1/round. Limited Reliability Follow the 3.5's Wall of Blades 'spell' example: opposed rolls. Pick a save that makes sense (might be Dexterity, for reaction, or Intelligence, for the ...


53

Based on the wording used for the Rakshasa's Limited Magic Immunity and the Helmed Horror's Spell Immunity, it fits the template text of the rules to just write a feature that explicitly states the custom immunity. In other words, we don't need a fancy template, because the stat block designers already just make up whatever they need for a particular ...


47

It's not only not wrong, it's encouraged in the DMG and the MM The Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG; pp. 273-282) has a set of guidelines for making your own monsters. This is alluded to in the Monster Manual (MM; p. 6) in the green box entitled "Modifying Creatures." Your problem with the longbow bearing orcs was their to hit bonus, not the fact that they were ...


37

There's always going to be some clever exception if you try to phrase it negatively like that. This is D&D, not a limited computer program. If you want something fancier than "immune to everything but magic missile", you could say: Regeneration. The chicken regains 1 hit point at the start of its turn. If the chicken takes damage from the magic ...


36

We can determine the Challenge rating of the new "Koldbold" (like it? it's all yours!) by using the steps in DMG page 273. Firstly, a few assumptions: The Kobold's ability scores do not change. With this, we can assume that the spell attack bonus is at +1 using either Int or Cha, because Wisdom is just... no... You're only giving it Ray of Frost as a ...


35

Just fake it You're asking for an epic one-on-one duel for a player, and it has to feel suitably epic. Sadly enough, CR ratings are only a rough estimate and one-on-one duels in D&D are extremely 'swingy'. Two misses on the players end or a crit on the monster's will likely make the encounter completely impossible. On the flip side, if the player crits ...


34

If you are OK with a potential TPK: Sympathy Its permanent, forces creatures to approach and remain within reach and you could easily add a requirement to pet the creature without breaking the spirit of the spell. The risk is, that you only get a saving throw every 24 hours and its possible for a party to starve to death petting the dog.


33

You could have a bard Awaken the dog and then teach it to cast Suggestion. The Awaken spell description says: After spending the casting time tracing magical pathways within a precious gemstone, you touch a Huge or smaller beast or plant. The target must have either no Intelligence score or an Intelligence of 3 or less. The target gains an ...


31

There's a very simple (implicit) rule that is very much put on a pedestal in D&D, especially in 5e: If You [the GM] don't like it, Change It! What does that mean? Well... If the GM feels that their orc tribe is equipped with Longbows and has a +6 for that, this is their decision and it is not in the right of the players to challenge this decision ...


30

Your initial premise is flawed: The encounter tables are designed for parties of three to five characters. A CR4 monster is a challenge for 4 fourth level characters. The DMG says to adjust for smaller parties. The preceding guidelines assume that you have a party consisting of three to five adventurers. If the party contains fewer than three characters, ...


30

The D&D 5E system already has built-in rules for important creatures acting out of turn or more than once per turn: Legendary Actions and Lair Actions. Legendary Actions happen a certain number of times each turn (usually three), though some specific instances take up more than one. These actions take place after another creatures turn, interrupting the ...


28

The size of the die is determined by monster size, and the number of die is determined by CR. According to AngryGM's very useful monster building series, the size of the hit die is determined by the size of the creature: The die you roll is determined entirely by the creature’s size. Small creatures ALWAYS use a d6. Large creatures ALWAYS use a d10. ...


25

Barbed Devils and Otyughs (with a +7 mod to Con saves) It's possible to use D&D Beyond to get a filtered monster list that answers this question. You can do this by selecting all monster types except fey, elemental, and undead, then filtering to CR 0-5 creatures, and filtering to monsters proficient in Con saves using the advanced filter. Here's the ...


25

My idea is that there is a hidden pirate witch on board that can get a lightning bird to attack once a day, or something, but that she needs to burn incense as a consumable part of the spell. This is actually exactly just what you need already. Monsters and adversaries in 5E do not need to follow exactly the same rules as PCs, and in fact in many cases ...


23

In my experience, the best thing to do is to write a cheat sheet instead of a real character sheet. In a cheat sheet, you divide the informations based on when you will need them, then you just list options of things the creature can do under each header. Some things are pretty stable once they have been calculated, just provide the final result to remove ...


22

30x30 is not the limit for a colossal creature's space, its the standard. From there it only goes up. If you look at the kaiju, you will see that colossal creatures are not limited to 30x30 space (only one of them is actually 30x30). There is even a kaiju that takes a 80x80 space. The design of colossal creatures is so that if you need any larger stats, ...


20

Monsters exactly as MM? Not really. The MM says: Modifying Creatures Despite the Versatile collection of Monsters in this book, you might be at a loss when it comes to finding the perfect creature for part of an adventure. Feel free to tweak an existing creature to make it into something more useful for you, perhaps by borrowing a trait or two from ...


19

It seems too weak. From the DMG p. 273 onwards, if you make the math: For defensive CR: It is not resistant to Slashing, on the opposite, it is vulnerable. As it is resistant to Bludg. and Piercing, I would say it doesn't change the CR, but by strict DMG ruling it probably would have even lower effective HP. With the HP you got there, it would be a CR 1/4 ...


19

The Dungeon Master's Guide is your friend Chapter 9 of the DMG covers both Modifying Monsters and Creating Monsters. That's the best place to start for what you're trying to do. Otherwise, have fun, get creative, and be open to adjusting the monster on the fly if it's not turning out the way you expected (too difficult or not difficult enough.) Using a ...


19

Give your villain the blink spell The blink spell description says: Roll a d20 at the end of each of your turns for the duration of the spell. On a roll of 11 or higher, you vanish from your current plane of existence and appear in the Ethereal Plane (the spell fails and the casting is wasted if you were already on that plane). At the start of your next ...


16

You (and your DM) are right. Customizing monsters is part of the game As others have said, changing up monsters from the MM is encouraged. This is especially useful if you have players who know, for example, that orcs only use javelins with a +5 to hit. Modifying them slightly to be a bit better trained to up the challenge is completely within the bounds of ...


15

You are correct that a great many creatures' skill points are inaccurately spent (cf. this question). Other errors, too, exist in creatures' stat blocks (cf. this question). Errors like these can remain uncorrected even by errata and reprints like the premium edition Monster Manual (2012)) that include stealth errata: its dog entry has the dog's Jump skill ...


15

Consider the power of descriptions over stats, here. Don't make extra work for yourself. Whenever you're thinking of using a custom monster, flip through the Monster Manual first to see if there's anything that resembles what you want. You want a stronger wolf? Look at the Dire Wolf stat block. You can alter the description of the monster to whatever ...


15

There are more unintended consequences than I could list Consider that all of the following things are connected to a turn: Movement Actions Bonus Actions Reactions Object Interactions Events that happen automatically during a turn Possibly other things I may have forgotten. If all you need is more attacks, then that means you need to fix everything ...


14

He's still alive when the PCs meet him, but his phylactery is ready to go Although it's widely believed that a lich must always commit suicide as part of the process of attaining lichdom, that's D&D canon, not Pathfinder. In fact, in Pathfinder, the process of lichdom is unique to the individual (wiki/SRD): The spellcaster must first research the ...


14

Command (1st level enchantment): You speak a one-word command to a creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or follow the command on its next turn. [...] Glyph of Warding (3rd level abjuration): When you cast this spell, you inscribe a glyph that harms other creatures, either upon a surface (such as a ...


13

This is a general answer, not a specific one, but it applies to your problem: Run the encounter ahead of time. Numbers will only take you so far, as they cannot take into account every possible variable, or deal with things like player experience and tactics, the vagaries of environment or battlefield control spells. As DM, you should have access to their ...


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