Creating monsters

Monster Attack and Saving Throws
Hit Dice To-hit Bonus Saving Throw1
< 1 HD +0 18
1 HD +1 17
2 HD +2 16
3 HD +3 14
4 HD +4 13
5 HD +5 12
6 HD +6 11
7 HD +7 9
8 HD +8 8
9 HD +9 6
10 HD +10 5
11 HD +11 4
12+ HD +12, etc. 3
1Value does not improve beyond 12 HD

Monsters are not player characters, and their abilities are not at all determined by the rules for player characters—not even the stats for races that can have player characters, such as Dwarves.

The Referee decides a monster’s abilities, and he doesn’t have to follow any rules about this! Feel free to add wings, breath weapons, extra hit dice, wounded versions, or whatever suits your adventure and your campaign.

Toggle and tweak, imagine and invent! The rules aren’t responsible for the quality of the swords and sorcery in your game, you are! So don’t try to create monsters according to any sort of power formula.

Create monsters based on how they feel and how they play at the gaming table. Create challenges for the players, not headaches for yourself.

Your job is to imagine and create, not to slave at rulebooks finding out what you’re “allowed” to do.

Challenge levels

To help you with determining Challenge Levels and experience point values for monsters, the table below may be helpful.

“Challenge Level” determines the experience point value for a monster.

To determine a monster’s challenge level, take its hit dice and then add to that number if the monster has special abilities that make it harder to kill, or more dangerous to the characters.

The Challenge Levels table shows the XP values for challenge levels.

The Challenge Level Modifications table contains guidelines for how many additional challenge levels to add to a monster’s hit dice, based on special abilities.

Challenge Level XP Value Challenge Level XP Value
A (1d4 hp or less) 5 8 800
B (1d6 hp) 10 9 1,100
1 15 10 1,400
2 30 11 1,700
3 60 12 2,000
4 120 13 2,300
5 240 14 2,600
6 400 15 2,900
7 600 16+ +300/ HD level

Challenge Level Modifications

4+ attacks per round (minimum d6 or saving throw each)

+1 HD
AC 20 or higher+1 HD
Automatic damage after hit+1 HD
Breath weapon 25 points max or below+1 HD
Breath Weapon 26 points max or more+1 HD
Disease+1 HD
Drains level with no save+3 HD
Drains level with save+2 HD
Flies, or breathes water+1 HD
Greater than human intelligence+1 HD
Immune to blunt/piercing (including half damage)+1 HD
Immune to energy type (acid, fire, etc)+1 HD
Immune to non-magic weapons+1 HD
Magic resistance 50% or below+1 HD
Magic resistance higher than 50%+2 HD
Massive attack for 20+ hps+1 HD
Paralysis, swallows whole, immobilizes enemies (web, etc)+1 HD
Petrifaction, poison, or death magic+2 HD
Regenerates+1 HD
Undead (subject to banishment but immune to sleep, charm, hold)+0 HD
Uses a spell-like power level 3 equivalent or above+2 HD
Uses multiple spells level 2 or lower+1 HD
Uses multiple spells level 3 or above+2 HD
Uses multiple spells level 5 or higher+3 HD
Poison+1 HD
Miscellaneous other+1 HD