Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Monster Factory

Second Wednesday article in a row. Good job boys.
This is an idea that I stole (gasp!) from The Adventure Zone. It's basically a way to generate weird, random monsters for a wizard's tower, a magical arena, or whatever situation you might find yourself in that requires a zany, randomized monster.

Bonus points if your players know the system rules in-universe.

Edit: The Monster Factory is now an app! Check it out and give the creator some love!

Monster Factory

How to use
It's a really good show, guys
First, you'll want to make sure the monster is an appropriate level for the party. This should be done based on the group's average level and number of monsters you'll be creating

For a single monster, such as the guardian of a room, a single arena challenger, or a single chaos-beast:
  • Average Party Level 1-4: Low Tier monster die
  • APL 5-10: Mid Tier monster die
  • APL 11-16: High Tier monster die
For a group of monsters, such as a succession of battles, a group arena challenger, or a final battle against all a wizard's minions:
  • APL 5-10: Low Tier monster die
  • APL 11-16: Mid Tier monster die
  • APL 17-20: High Tier monster die
For all other dice, choose what you think is appropriate or roll on this table:

  1. Low tier damage die, Low tier additional ability die
  2. High tier damage die, Low tier additional ability die
  3. Low tier damage die, Mid tier additional ability die
  4. High tier damage die, Mid tier additional ability die
  5. Low tier damage die, High tier additional ability die
  6. High tier damage die, High tier additional ability die
  7. Low tier damage die, Low tier additional ability die, Bonus Die
  8. High tier damage die, Low tier additional ability die, Bonus Die
  9. Low tier damage die, Mid tier additional ability die, Bonus Die
  10. High tier damage die, Mid tier additional ability die, Bonus Die
  11. Low tier damage die, High tier additional ability die, Bonus Die
  12. High tier damage die, High tier additional ability die, Bonus Die

Tier System
Not that they play D&D by the rules very well
Low Tier
  • Monsters are CR 1 or 2
  • Damage type is more common to be resisted
  • Additional Abilities are simple and usually increase damage or defenses minimally
Mid Tier
  • Monsters are CR 5
  • Additional Abilities give the monster a big upper hand or deal a lot of extra damage
High Tier
  • Monsters are CR 8-10
  • Damage types are less common and not usually resisted
  • Additional Abilities are game-changers, make the fight significantly more deadly or complex
We don't have a higher tier, as these monsters are usually best when created over and over, so even a high-level party can fight multiple variants of a High-Tier monster.

Bonus Die
  • Can apply to any tier
  • Usually creates situations that change the way combat is approached
  • Use cautiously - can catch certain groups off guard

First Die: Monsters
Or that they have many famous people in their game...
Determines the type of monster being created. The creation has all of its original abilities, in addition to abilities added by other dice.

The creature also uses the listed numbers for creating charisma-based and Constitution-based abilities requiring a saving throw. Note that the saving throw required by the player will be based on the ability, but monsters will use either Charisma (for magical effects) or Constitution (for physical effects) when determining what DC the player has to hit.

  1. Brown Bear (Cha: 8 Con: 13)
  2. Dire Wolf (Cha: 8 Con: 12)
  3. Giant Hyena (Cha: 8 Con: 12)
  4. Lion (Cha: 9 Con: 11)
  5. Tiger (Cha: 9 Con: 12)
  6. Allosaurus (Cha: 8 Con: 14)
  1. Bulette (Cha: 8 Con: 16)
  2. Giant Crocodile (Cha: 9 Con: 14)
  3. Otyugh (Cha: 9 Con: 15)
  4. Gorgon (Cha: 9 Con: 15)
  5. Triceratops (Cha: 8 Con: 14)
  6. Young Remorhaz (Cha: 8 Con: 14)
  1. Tyrannosaurus Rex (Cha: 10 Con: 15)
  2. Abominable Yeti (Cha: 11 Con: 18)
  3. Treant (Cha: 13 Con: 17)
  4. Stone Golem (Cha: 7 Con: 17)
  5. Remorhaz (Cha: 9 Con: 17)
  6. Roc (Cha: 11 Con: 17)

Second Die: Damage Type
But the characters are so good!
All damage dealt by the monster is changed to the type listed. For area of effect attacks, change the saving throw to the one listed.

  1. Acidic (Acid, Dex)
  2. Icy (Cold, Con)
  3. Blazing (Fire, Dex)
  4. Electrified (Lightning, Dex)
  5. Poisonous (Poison, Con)
  6. Thunderous (Thunder, Con)
  1. Pure Magic (Force, Dex)
  2. Rotting (Necrotic, Con)
  3. Psychic (Psychic, Wis)
  4. Purifying (Radiant, Con)
  5. Pure Magic (Force, Dex)
  6. Psychic (Psychic, Wis)

Third Die: Additional Ability
And their dad is a radio host, so they all grew up learning how to have good presence on mic
Just as it says, this gives the creature an additional ability they wouldn't normally have. I did my best to avoid having base monsters with many abilities, but if you roll an ability that the monster already has, you can choose to double its effectiveness or re-roll.

  1. Feral (As a bonus action, the monster can move up to its speed towards a hostile creature it can see)
  2. Brutish (Increase all melee attack damage dealt by the monster by 1 damage die)
  3. Flying (The monster gains a flying speed of 60ft)
  4. Coordinated (The monster gains advantage on attacks if an ally is within 5 feet of target and isn't incapacitated)
  5. Wall-Crawling (The monster can move on walls and ceilings without requiring an ability check)
  6. Smelly (Creatures within 5 feet of the monster must make a Con save or be poisoned until the end of the monster's next turn, use the monster's Con to determine the DC of the save)
  1. Evasive (On Dex saves, the monster takes half damage on a failure and no damage on a success)
  2. Bloodthirsty (The monster gains advantage on attacks against creatures with less than their Max HP remaining)
  3. Stampeding (If the monster moves 20 feet in a straight line then makes a melee attack, it deals an extra 2d8 damage of the attack's type)
  4. Warded (The monster has advantage on saving throws against magical effects and spells)
  5. Rampaging (When the monster drops a creature to 0 HP, it may use a bonus action to move half its speed and make an attack)
  6. Undead (If the monster is reduced to 0 HP, it makes a Con save equal to 5 + the damage taken. On a success, the monster drops to 1HP instead. It can't use this ability against radiant damage or a critical hit)
  1. Angelic (All attacks made by the monster deal an additional 3d10 radiant damage, despite monster's damage type)
  2. Draconic (As an action (recharge 5-6) the monster spews a 60 foot cone from its mouth based on its damage type. Each creature in the cone must make a save based on the damage type, taking 8d8 damage on a failed save, and half on a success, use the monster's Con to determine the DC of the save )
  3. Giant (Increase the monster's size by one category (a medium creature becomes large, etc) and its weight by a factor of eight. The monster has advantage on all Str checks and saves, and its melee attacks deal an extra 1d4 damage on a hit)
  4. Terrifying (As an action, the monster can force all creatures within 60 feet to make a Wisdom save. On a failed save, they are frightened for one minute, and they can repeat the save at the end of their turn to end the effect. On a success, the creature is immune to this creature's ability for 24 hours. Use the monster's Cha to determine the DC of the save)
  5. Legendary (3 times per day, the monster may choose to pass a failed saving throw)
  6. Petrifying (If a creature starts its turn within 30ft of the monster, can see the monster, and the monster isn't incapacitated and can see the creature, the creature must make a Con save or be restrained. At the end of the creature's next turn, it must repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on a success. If the creature fails its second save, it is petrified until it is healed by a Greater restorations spell or similar magic. Unless surprised, the creature can avert its eyes to avoid the effect. Use the monster's Cha to determine the DC of the save)

Bonus Die: Bad stuff
It's a really polished, exciting story, and it's worth checking out.
In the Adventure Zone, this die was specifically used to punish groups and make the fight extra-hard. I'd suggest you use it in a similar fashion.
  1. Multiplying (At the start of its turn, the monster splits into two copies of itself. Each has half the hit points of the original. This cannot create a monster with less than 10 HP)
  2. Exploding (Upon death, the monster explodes in a 30ft radius. Each creature must make a saving throw based on the damage type or take 1d8 damage for each CR of the monster. Use the monster's Con to determine the DC of the save)
  3. Regenerating (As long as the monster has 1 HP remaining, it heals 10% of its HP each round)
  4. Incorporeal (The monster can move through objects/creatures as difficult terrain, taking 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside something)
  5. Reactive (The monster can take a reaction on each turn of a combat)
  6. Invisible (The monster is permanently invisible)
Just look at this face.
Have fun making horrible things for your players to fight!

Thanks for reading!


  1. How do I delete generated monsters?

  2. Question: Is there a ruleset for anything where you pit a Monster from the Monster Factory with another Monster from the Monster Factory?

    1. If you wanna hit me up to discuss rules based on Griffen's little minigame btw, my discord is Stropey #8013

      … just so I know it's you, author, the password so I don't suddenly kick you out of my DM's is the answer to the following question, "What relic did the party did not get, since it was with the head of the Bauru (fuck spelling) of Balance the whole time?"

    2. Hey there! I'm glad you enjoyed my post, and I think a monster battle would be pretty cool! I think you could run it just like any other combat, maybe even giving the players control of the monsters so they don't get bored.

      Also, I'm not too big on discord, so if you'd like to talk further, just comment here. However, I'm currently on hiatus from this blog, so I don't think I will be able to write up any major rulesets for you! But, I'd be happy answer any basic questions you may have.

    3. Very well then! Currently, we have set up a "card system" set up for certain monsters that are possibly "low leveled" or "fairly leveled" in my friend's terms. Any thoughts on that, like... how the cards would be dealt out, what kind of cards exist, perhaps even making a ruleset interesting by giving them a team of monsters from each teir?

      (Also, my sincerest apologies for taking so long to reply. XD)

    4. That sounds like a really interesting challenge. I made a post a while back about stealing mechanics from other games and putting them in D&D:

      If you're interested in running a minigame using these monsters, I would probably suggest pre-making the cards and assigning them values similar to Magic:the Gathering or Heartstone. In particular, using rules from the Pokemon Trading Card Game might simulate the "team of monsters" idea you're going for.

      However, like I said, that's an interesting question and challenge! I could probably write a whole article on player vs player or monster vs monster combat. Let me know what you end up doing with this, it sounds like it could be a lot of fun!

    5. I'll check it out as soon as possible and inform my friend as well about this. Thank you so much for your responses. :D