View Full Version : How to make a monster

2019-02-02, 12:16 PM
I want to make a monster but dont know how to do it.

John Out West
2019-02-02, 01:17 PM
I generally start with a purpose for the monster. Is it supposed to scare the players, or make them laugh, fill them with dread, etc. Knowing your monster's purpose will guide all future decisions. Then you think about how to go about making it fulfill it's purpose. If its supposed to be scary, why is it scary. If its supposed to make them laugh, how does it do that?

Second you think about its aesthetics. How does it look, what do people call it, what do people compare it to. Think about all the senses: Smell, feel, sound, and even taste. How does it react to people it sees, and how do people typically react to it. How does it move around its environment. What Environment does it typically live in. What does it like. What does hit hate. What does it fear. What does it eat, if anything. Is it intelligent or bestial.

Lastly, you want to consider its balance. What level of player is going to fight this creature. How difficult should an encounter with this monster be? Based on its purpose, does it have high health, thick armor, dangerous attacks, strange powers, etc. The source book you're using should have stats for creatures of the level you're looking for, so unless you already know how to improvise stats, i would use the stats from other creatures for reference on how much health/armor/damage a creature of that level should deal. Its important to know that a group of creatures can be just as deadly as one strong creature, so keep that in mind when deciding the stats.

For an example creature, lets say i want a monster that will make my players feel clever. In order to make the players feel clever, the monster can be easily tricked. In this case, the monster will run away whenever it believes there is a greater threat than itself around. This means that the monster will have to be stronger than the players, but not the biggest fish in the pond.

For aethetics, i'm imagining a creature that lurks in dark forests, crawling along the sides of tall trees with pitch black skin and no face; just a mouth for a head with lots of shark teeth. Its game is typically large slow animals such as pigs, young deer, or humans. It is a monster, so it is cruel, always playing with its slow food by growling and yipping. It allows its prey to run away, only to jump in front of it from the trees. It is a solo hunter, and although it is strong, it is unable to fight an adult stag or a group of adult boars without getting hurt.

In town, people warn of a creature that lurks in the forest that falls vulnerable prey. They call it the Timber Chaser, and warn you not to run away if you see it, but rather stand your ground and bluff that you are stronger. If you run away it will attack. Legends say a local ogre that also resides in the forest, and that the two rarely meet.
If the players have met an ogre before, they may be able to mimic its call, or create an illusion of an ogre, or simply shake the earth like the ogre is approaching.

Lets say its a 5e Monster designed for level 1 characters. It should be strong enough that, if the players cannot trick it, it should be a dangerous fight. So i would have it be a large creature, with low ac (13) and high health (42), with tremendous speed (50ft), a climbing speed (50ft), and a deadly claw attack (2d6+3). It has no special abilities or instructions, except that it will run away if it has lower than 12hp (Making its hp effectively 30) and that it will run away if it believes it is outmatched.

So there's an example of my method. Purpose, aesthetics, and stats are how i design monsters.

Hope this helps.

2019-02-02, 01:55 PM
What system are you using? Pathfinder? 5e? 3.5? Something else.

Here are some questions.

What role is this monster going to have? Short term or long term?

Where are you putting it? Dungeon? City? Plains? Mountain? Artic, etc.

What level are your heroes? Is this monster specifically for your campaign or more generic? Could anyone use it?

What kind of creature is it? Fey? GianT? Undead?


2019-02-02, 02:11 PM
I have never made one before and I don't know much about the stats or abilities or the correct terminology. But here is what I have in mind:

It is a monster designed to kill above level 20 characters.

I know that I want its HP to be around 2 * 10^180, and its strength to be around 2.7 * 10^55.

Its speed is 3 * 10^27 feet

It is humanoid medium size.

It will have an ability that can target as many creatures or objects of any size that it can perceive, and instantly reduce them to negative infinity HP, as well as permanently destroying them beyond any chance of regeneration or resurrection. There is no save possible against this ability and it can use this infinite times per round.

It is also immune to all types of energy based damage. And is going to need omnific abilities.

2019-02-02, 02:15 PM
Unless we know what game system you are using, we can't really help. Every game has different rules.

That's not a monster that's a total party killer. Not fun for anyone who'd be playing your game. Why not just have a meteor land on your party and take everyone out? No resurrection if there is nobody left to cast it. It would be faster and less painful for the players.

Nothing should be immune to everything and have an infinite ability without breaking the economy of action rules.


2019-02-02, 02:23 PM
Well it's less of something meant to be used in an actual game and more of a thought experiment. And it's not meant to be immune to everything.

As for the system I am not sure because I need to know which one is best compatible with what I want to do (5e probably).

John Out West
2019-02-02, 02:30 PM
Well if you're goal is to have a creature that can kill high level players than that certainly works. If your goal is to CHALLENGE high level players than, yes, I would call that a failure too. Too hard for the players to win in an even fight.
I'm assuming your monster serves some other purpose, such as to threaten the players with its mere existence.

That being said, from what i can tell you want advice on how to write the monster, or how to organize its stats. For that its just a matter of being clear in the Monster's description. Don't say that the monster can travel 30 to the power of 27 feet per round, just say that it can cover any distance. You should also say how it does this, such as teleportation, or Flash-like speed, or slowing down time.

Generally abilities have a title, followed by a description of the power. In this case it would be:
Omnipotent Strike: This creature can deal infinite damage as an attack.
Omnipresent: This creature can be anywhere at anytime whenever it chooses to be.

Again, just model it after the creatures in your source book. If it talks about HP and AC, followed by abilities, just mimic that and fill in the abilities of this god-monster.

2019-02-02, 02:36 PM
But I want its stats like speed and such to be ridiculously high, but still finite.

Also I don't think there is a single source book that covers all of the aspects I want to include.

John Out West
2019-02-02, 02:38 PM
Clarity is important, especially in design, and even more so in a design forum.

Could you please restate your question to maximize clarity so we could give you the best possible answer.

2019-02-02, 02:44 PM
Okay well as an example I would like to do something similar to the Mortiverse monster (I can't post the link because I don't have enough posts)

Except the stats would just be very high and not infinite, and it would have different abilities. Also it wouldn't be insanely huge sized but medium sized and humanoid.

I am just unsure of how to calculate things like the armor class, challenge rating, and where I can find a comprehensive list of skills, feats, etc.

John Out West
2019-02-02, 02:53 PM
Awesome, yeah that's a simpler question to answer.

First off, I don't believe there is a compendium for abilities. Most abilities, as i mentioned, are made up for each individual creature.

I would suggest looking at this Link (https://www.5thsrd.org/gamemaster_rules/monster_indexes/monsters_by_cr/). It contains all the monsters in 5e and orders them by CR, their difficulty rating. You're gonna want to look at the Tarrasque, Kraken, Ancient Dragons, and any other monster about CR 20 for inspiration on what an extremely powerful monster looks like. You can look up similar lists in pathfinder and other games if you're looking for more inspiration.

2019-02-02, 02:55 PM
I'd like to know how to find the right level of hit dice for a given value of hit points. So if I want its HP to be 2 * 10^180, how many hit dice that equals.

John Out West
2019-02-02, 02:58 PM
For a monster like that, divide the HP by 6 to get the number of 1d12 Hit Dice. I'm assuming the creature has the largest hit dice possible, and typically the average health of a creature is half of its max hit dice score.

Edit, also, here's a list of special abilities (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm).

2019-02-05, 06:22 PM
Well it's less of something meant to be used in an actual game and more of a thought experiment. And it's not meant to be immune to everything.

As for the system I am not sure because I need to know which one is best compatible with what I want to do (5e probably).
This sounds like a 3.5 thing. Those kinds of numbers and thought challenges work with 3.5 epic play.

2019-02-05, 08:12 PM
5e really seems like the wrong game system for this monster.

2019-02-07, 10:11 AM
Well it's less of something meant to be used in an actual game and more of a thought experiment. And it's not meant to be immune to everything.

As for the system I am not sure because I need to know which one is best compatible with what I want to do (5e probably).

Actually, you can make any monster for a game as long as you follow the rules AND know when to bend the rules to make things fun for your players.

What you seem to be doing is making a BAD monster that is not fun for anyone who would be in your game. Monsters are not just there so you can throw a kitchen sink of abilities on them. They're designed to challenge the PCs.

If all you want is to make an untenable creature so you can play with a design then just pick a system. It honestly doesn't matter which one you use, as you can have the same result in any of them.

I prefer 3.5 with the old stat block because that is the easiest to recognize when there's a mistake in design. What you say want doesn't matter for design because you are already saying it is not supposed to be balanced.

It is a monster designed to kill above level 20 characters.

I know that I want its HP to be around 2 * 10^180, and its strength to be around 2.7 * 10^55.

Its speed is 3 * 10^27 feet

The reason gods aren't statted in Pathfinder is because the PCs can't beat them and there's no point to it. Kinda like what you are suggesting.

There is no biggest baddest thing that you can create that someone else can't top. It's a futile and rather juvenile exercise.

FYI, no game uses exponential equations for Hit Dice. Nobody wants to spend that kind of time doing math. That's the opposite of fun.

The D&D game and its offshoots use averages of HD to get hit points (health). The average of a d6 is 3.5. The average of a d12 is 6.5. 2d10 results in 5.5 and 5.5 or 11. If you end up with a leftover .5 you round DOWN.

Good creature design isn't just about numbers and abilities.


2019-02-07, 10:24 AM
Here, let me design it for you. It's compatible with any system.

Read this aloud to your players: You are all dead.