View Full Version : [4e] Creating Monsters

Holocron Coder
2008-07-06, 08:58 PM
Alright, I have all 3 of the books currently out. I've found the section in the DMG (p184-185) on how to create monsters, but I've come across a few things that aren't clear and would like opinions on them.

Creature Type - Natural Beast? Elemental Beast? Shadow Humanoid? Aberrant Magical Beast? How do you figure what it is, and does it matter?

Ability scores - It only tells you how to generate the top two scores. How do you generate the rest? As for a point buy scenerio, what about creatures with a really low score (cha or int, for example)

Attacks - How many? Does it matter?

XP - How much XP is it worth?

I'm sure I'll come across more as I go...

2008-07-06, 09:36 PM
Personally, I find it much easier to simply take an existing monster from the MM, rename it, refluff it, take away what you don't want, and add what you do. It's very simple, very short, and you can still have a bunch of cool monsters, but to answer your questions.

1. It rarely matters I think, what with the lack of stuff like Favored Enemy. The sole exception I can think of is undead, which gets all sorts of boosts from different powers or for the obvious case of Turn Undead. Really, there is no set way to determine this, just use what you think is appropriate. For the examples you provided:

Natural Beast - Anything like a lion, tiger, or bear. Could also encompass made-up animals, as long as they are a part of the natural world and not magical in any way.

Elemental Beast - If you're using the presented fluff for 4th Edition, then there's probably some origin story involving giants, primordials, whatever, the main thing is, it's a normal beast either with some elemental properties (Read: flame snake), or it simply exists on one of those elemental planes.

Shadow Humanoid - Regular humanoid who is in some way connected to the Shadow Realm Shadowfell or underworld. In the case of Shadar-Kai or Dark Ones, they simply share a brief connection to the Raven Queen the way elves and eladrin share a connection to the fey or dwarves share a connection to Moradin.

Aberrant Magical Beast - Take one animal, some very corrupting Cthulu-esque horror mojo, stir them together with milk, flour, and butter, bake in an oven at 350 for 20 minutes, and you have a sin against god that vaguely resembles something from actual biology.

Ability Scores: Doesn't really matter. Put down what you think is appropriate. If you're not sure where to put some stats, just use some other level-appropriate monsters for comparison. Don't even bother using these to calculate AC and other defenses, just use arbitrary level-appropriate numbers for those too.

Attack: You'll need at least one basic attack, but other than that, no it really doesn't. Keep in mind though, that too many powers means you'll be stuck figuring out exactly what to do and half of said powers won't get used. As for exact numbers, once again, compare to other appropriate monsters and use an abritrary number.

EDIT: I think there's a basis for determining XP, but again, compare to monster of same role of same level.

2008-07-06, 09:38 PM
The creature type is up to you, as it has a minimal effect on the game now. Role is more important for hit bonuses, hp, and the like.

Ability scores: just pick something reasonable. I think they list things like what their average will defense should be (for example), so you'd want stats and level to represent that. Just kind of mix and match. The highest powers matter because they control best defenses and to hit with their powers.

Attacks: In general (though you can change this), and monster created should have at least one basic attack (oftentimes one ranged and one melee). It's number of abilities depend on tier: heroic is one or two, paragon is one-three, and epic is two-four (minions rarely have more than one). So just flavor em how you like. Even if they end up with a lot of powers, it doesn't really matter, because each should fit it's role, and a monster can only use one per round. (unless he has a double attack of some kind)

XP - I think that is hardline based on the level of the monster, but I'm not terribly sure on that one yet, as I haven't read everything verbatim.

[edit: yikes, ninja'd! :smalltongue:]

Holocron Coder
2008-07-06, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the responses :)


Creature Type - After looking at this, it does seem rather intuitive. However, is it possible to have an Aberrant Beast (rather than Aberrant Magical Beast)?

Ability scores - Aye, this almost seems arbitrary... I think I have a good base for it, though.

Attacks - That makes sense. So far, I've been giving heroic-tier monsters 1-2 basics (Melee and range, if appropriate), 1 special at-will, 1 encounter, and 1 utility-type (such as the wolf's combat advantage, etc). However, the damage done by the attack seems nearly random. The Dire Wolf's basic attack isn't even on the damage chart! And does Strength come into the picture somewhere?

XP - It does look to be hard-lined. I compared a few by role and level, and they all had the same XP result (e.g., Level 5 Skirmisher - 200)

2008-07-06, 10:28 PM
Creature type is relevant only to skill checks to have knowledge of it, and for fluff.

2008-07-06, 10:57 PM
Ability scores: Of each pair (Str/Con, Dex/Int, and Wis/Cha), the highest of the two should be about 13 + 1/2 level, unless the creature relies primarily on that pair, in which case it's 3 higher (16 + 1/2 level). The other of the pair doesn't generally matter, so it could be anything up to the hgiher. See DMG page 184.

XP is determined by level (1/4 for minions, x2 for elite, x5 for solo). See DMG page 120.

2008-07-06, 10:58 PM
Creature Type - Natural Beast? Elemental Beast? Shadow Humanoid? Aberrant Magical Beast? How do you figure what it is, and does it matter?


XP - How much XP is it worth?

I don't have the DMG, but my understanding is that creature type is split into two sections ([Origin] [type]) so a Shadow Magical Beast is a magical beast from the shadowfell and a Natural Humanoid is a humanoid from the prime plane (the natural world).

"Origin" is related to the creature's back story and mechanically is relevant at the moment only to which knowledge skill is used to identify them (eg. "Shadow" is religion, "Natural" is nature).

"Type" relates to body shape, but I don't think it has a direct use in the rules yet.

As for XP, my understanding from the DMG excerpts on the WotC site is that there is a table in the DMG assigning XP by creature level.

2008-07-06, 11:40 PM
Thanks for the responses :)


Creature Type - After looking at this, it does seem rather intuitive. However, is it possible to have an Aberrant Beast (rather than Aberrant Magical Beast)?

If the same rough classifications from 3rd Ed are in use, I think yes- the major difference there was that Animals had 1 or 2 Int, while Magical Animals had 3 or more. Magical Animals also tended to have assorted special abilities, but it was enough just to raise a normal animal to humanoid intelligence. So if you have a bear that has a mess of tentacles or a third arm or something but otherwise acts and fights like a normal bear, that would be an Aberrant Beast. But if it's smarter than the average bear or has, say, a debuffing aura of My God What Is That Thing, it's an Aberrant Magical Beast.

2008-07-06, 11:46 PM
In general, the answer to a lot of questions about making monsters is, "Wing it." Not always, but often.

Creature types: You can basically have any combination of Origin and Type. Origin tells where it's from, whereas Type tells what it looks like and it's general role. If you have something from the Far Realms that's a standard critter that runs around and hunts (like a tiger, for instance), then it'd be an Aberrant Beast. It might look like a tiger with some extra limbs, tentacles, or whatever, but it doesn't have special powers or anything (or, at least, it doesn't have anything that would be considered special in its home area), so it's not a "Magical Beast."

Ability Scores: Kind of like AC and Defenses, ability scores are just general guidelines to keep things balanced. You could use stuff that isn't [13+Level, +3 for primary abilities], and we know that the real MM didn't follow it, so just make it close and you'll be fine.

Attacks: You could give something as many attacks as you want, but it's still limited by actions. Generally, everything has a melee standard attack, maybe a ranged standard attack, and some other attack powers that aren't just basic attacks (i.e., that add a condition, that give two attacks at once, etc.). Higher level creatures get more powers, but there's not firm number. The guidelines are daedu said, but you can just compare it to others to be sure. Damage is basically based off of that chart (of low, medium, and high damage per level), but I think for enemies wielding real weapons you do it differently (i.e., as if it were a PC).

XP: The amount of XP is on a chart throughout the DMG. I think someone mentioned pg. 120, and I KNOW it's somewhere in pg. 56-58.

2008-07-07, 05:42 AM
Creature Type - After looking at this, it does seem rather intuitive. However, is it possible to have an Aberrant Beast (rather than Aberrant Magical Beast)?

I think it is pretty much the case now that an aberration is something at least slightly magical in nature. A bear with three arms wouldn't be an aberration anymore. It would just be a beast. But if those three arms come from an otherworldy being from beyond the stars, or dark wizardy goodness, then he probably has some other neat abilities to go with it and looks more hideous than your average bear.

For attacks, the damage is just a guideline. So compare it to other monsters, and make it roughly equivalent. If you want it to deal more damage, take away damage from another attack or some hps.