The following is a quick reference guide for how to read monster descriptions:

Armour Class is explained in the rules for combat. If you’re using the descending AC system (where a lower AC is better), disregard the numbers in brackets. If you’re using the ascending system (where a high AC is better) use the numbers in brackets.

Hit Dice is the number of dice (d8) rolled to determine an individual creature’s hit points. If there is a plus or minus next to the number, you add or subtract that number from the total, only once. For example: for a creature with 4+1 hit dice, you’d roll 4d8, and then add one more hit point. Note: inSwords & Wizardry, the monster’s normal "to-hit" bonus is equal to its number of hit dice (capped at +15). A monster with 3 HD attacks with a +3 bonus to its roll on the "to-hit" chart. When using the Ascending AC system, the monster would attack by rolling a d20, adding its hit dice, and comparing the result to the opponent’s AC—if the result is equal to or higher than AC, the attack hits. When using the descending AC system, the 3 HD monster would roll d20, add 3 for its hit dice, and compare the result to the target number on the chart.

Attacks is the number of attacks the monster has, and the damage they inflict. Monsters get a separate attack roll for each attack. A monster’s attack bonus is the same as its hit dice, up to a maximum bonus of +15.

Saving throw means the target number (on a d20) the monster needs to meet or beat in order to make a successful saving throw.

Special is usually just a “flag” for the Referee, to remind him that the monster has a special ability.

Move is the monster’s movement rate, and it’s handled just as movement rates are handled for characters.

Challenge Level is used to separate the monsters into “difficulty levels,” so when you’re creating an adventure you’ve got some guidelines about what the characters can handle and what they can’t. XP tells you how many experience points the adventuring party gains for killing the creature. In some cases, you may choose to award experience points for defeating a creature without killing it (circumventing it by creative means, or capturing it to bring home are two examples of when such an award might be made).

Magic Resistance: This isn’t one of the entries, but some creatures may have “magic resistance.” The given percentage chance is the likelihood that any magic used against the creature (other than bonuses from weapons) will fail to take effect. Roll a d100, and if the result is less than the given percentage, the magic will fail.

There’s not a lot of detail given about the monsters, because the more detail given, the more your own mental image of the fantasy world is going to be locked into a single track. We’re not going to say that giant ants are red, nocturnal, three feet long, and fond of eating Elves. Because in your mind, they might be blue, diurnal, five feet long, and eat only plants unless they’re attacked. Details about monsters toss roadblocks in front of your imagination. Yes, details can also inspire the imagination, but we’re making the assumption that if you’re interested in fantasy gaming in the first place, you’ve got a good imagination that doesn’t need details about the size of a giant ant.

Monster Attack Rolls

AC (Descending) 9876543210-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9
[AC] (Ascending) [10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28]
Hit Dice Attack Roll (d20) Required to hit Opponent’s Armour Class1
< 1 HD 10111213141516171819202122232425262728
1 HD 9101112131415161718192021222324252627
2 HD 891011121314151617181920212223242526
3 HD 78910111213141516171819202122232425
4 HD 6789101112131415161718192021222324
5 HD 567891011121314151617181920212223
6 HD 45678910111213141516171819202122
7 HD 3456789101112131415161718192021
8 HD 234567891011121314151617181920
9 HD 12345678910111213141516171819
10 HD 1123456789101112131415161718
11 HD 111234567891011121314151617
12 HD 11112345678910111213141516
13 HD 1111123456789101112131415
14 HD 111111234567891011121314
15+ HD 11111112345678910111213
1A monster's base "to-hit" bonus is equal to the number of Hit Dice (HD) it has, up to a maximum of +15.