How To Make A Monster
When it comes to Monsters in AD&D 1E and OSRIC, there are three things to think about. This page is here to help the aspiring Monster maker in getting their Monster up and running.
- The Point of it
- The Description
- The Stat-block
When we talk about the Point of a Monster, we want to think of answering the question "Why am I adding this monster?"
It could be a variety of wanting to fit a particular location (arctic, desert, Abyss, one of the circles of Hell, etc... It might be that you want something that will produce a certain effect and have a specific impact on the party. Some thing that will turn them to stone, or freeze them or change them into something with a bite or touch maybe. Perhaps you just have an idea for something that you think would be really cool or unexpected for a party to come up against. Something that came from a book or a movie that you want to introduce to the game.
Whatever the reason, think about it because the point or purpose the Monster will serve will provide a lot of the other information you will need to come up with later for the description and the stat block.
The Description is where you provide details about how the Monster looks and acts. You provide details about it's environment and any other pertinent information that will help you best implement this Monster into a game.
You can use the DMG pages 194-195 (Appendix D) to help you determine the Monster's appearance and abilities. The Appendix is specifically related to "Random Generation of Creatures From the Lower Planes" but it could be used to create a wide variety of Monsters as well.
Some people consider Devils and Demons, especially the arch-types, to be akin to Deities and Demi-gods. I think they are wrong and I think the DMG backs me up on this as it provides Appendix D specifically for the creation of those from the lower Planes (Demons and Devils)
Though I do not personally consider it to be a "Core" book in 1E, the Monster Manual 2 does include some very good resources related to Monster creation on pages 6-7. Especially as related to creation of Monsters with Class abilities and those requiring Abilities such as Strength, etc.. that go beyond the typical Player Character.
The Stat Block
Of course, the stat block is the details needed to properly roleplay and adjudicate the Monster in a game. There is a base list of things we need to know about a Monster to properly implement it. These are;
Name: What is the thing called? What type of Monster is it?
Frequency: How often is this kind of thing encounter? frequently, not very often, hardly ever, only in unique circumstances?
No. Appearing: How many of these are likely to be encountered at a given time? Does only one of these show up at a time? Do they travel in packs?
Move: How far can they travel in a given amount of time? How fast or slow are they? How fast do they move on ground? When flying? When swimming? etc... Take a look at the aerial maneuverability guide in the DMG (pages) 50-51.
Hit Dice: This gives you the number of Hit Points a creature can have based on the number of Hit Dice hey have available to roll (Monsters always roll an eight sided dice for Hit Points). A 1 H.D monster can roll 1d8 for up to 8 H.P. A 5 H.D Monster can roll 5d8 for up to 40 H.P. and so on. sometimes, the Monster can have a specific set number of Hit Points declared for a variety of reasons. For example, if you declare a particular Monster to have 200 Hit Points exactly, that would be a 25 H.D. Monster. (200 divided by 8)
% In Lair: How often will this monster be found in it's home or cave or wherever it holes up?Usually expressed as a percentage of time it is at home, like 40% of the time, etc... For that matter, it may not even have a lair.
Treasure Type: To figure this out you will likely need to have access to the Treasure Tables in the Monster Manual Book. This will let you figure out what kind of treasure is to be found in a Monster's lair if there is any to be found.
No. of Attacks: How many attacks does the Monster get? Does it only attack once? Does it have multiple attacks for multiple appendages?
Damage/Attack: How much damage does each attack cause.
Special Attacks: Does the Monster have a magical or special kind of attack ability beyond a typical hand/claw blow or bite?
Special Defenses: Does the Monster have some kind of defensive ability/ Is it's hide so thick that it repels missiles or does it secret an oil that makes it resistant to fire?
Magic Resistance: Does the Monster have some type of resistance to certain types of magic spells or any magic at all?
Intelligence: Is the Monster an intelligent one or does it operate only on instinct? Is it a great strategist and cunning or does it have basic survival instincts?
Alignment: It the Monster essentially Evil or Good? Is it Neutral and not necessarily one or the other?
Size: How big is the Monster? Small, Man sized or Large Usually S = up to about 5 feet. M= % to 7 feet and L= over 7 feet.
Psionic Ability: Does the Monster possess any Psionic abilities? Can it use Psionic powers?
Level/X.P. Value: You can use the table on DMG pg. 174 (Appendix C. Random Monster Encounters) to determine a Monster's level based on their Hit Points.
How To Make A Demi-Human
Creating demi-humans is a lot like creating Monsters. As a matter of fact, all of the demi-humans that you find able to make Player Characters of are also included in the Monster Manuals as well. Because of that, creating a demi-human begins by following the above advice on the How To Make A Monster page.
Once that much is done, you can use them as NPC's. To use them as PC's, roll them up as you would normally. Any extra work involved in making PC's of them is if you enforce racial limitations on demi-humans and allow for multi-classing of them.