Thursday, 17 July 2014

D&D 5e Monsters: Part 2: Construction: Before Building

D&D 5e Monsters: Part 2: Construction: Before Building

Surf talks about the preparations we need to make before building out a D&D 5e monster...


Part 2: Construction: Before Building

So what do we need before we start building a D&D 5e monster?

Well some way of recording the result, of course. And some way of doing some rudimentary calculations. The average laptop, tablet or smartphone should suffice. Or good old pen and paper.

But that's not really the point of this post. What we really need is the idea for the monster. That might seem obvious to most folk reading this, but with a process-oriented build methodology this is a pretty important thing!

You need a clear idea of the critter you are going to build!

Some might consider this some sort of "generic before-you-build-monsters advice", but this clear image does have a direct impact on monster creation. True, a certain amount of this mental image might be considered "fluff". But a good deal of it is directly relevant to the build process itself.

If you have a good idea for a monster this shouldn't take much time or effort to work out.

Following are the areas I generally try to have a handle on and the kinds of questions I try to consider.


Physical Aspects

This is all about the creature's physical appearance and physical presence (or lack thereof!).

Key questions to consider...

  • How big is the creature in relation to an average adult human?
  • What does the creature look like?
  • How capable is it, physically?
  • What else about it's physical form is unusual? Whether above or below average. Or simply unusual.


Modus Operandi

This area is all about how the creature gets along in the world.

Key questions to consider...

  • Is it a melee type? Ranged? A caster? Something else?
  • How does it attack?
  • How does it defend itself?
  • What are it's mental/spiritual/supernatural capabilities?
  • What kind of persona does it have?
  • How does it relate to other creatures?


Nature And Nurture

These aspects of a creature influence all kinds of things, from how creatures behave to skills to their attacks and more.

Key questions to consider...

  • What is the creature's natural environment?
  • What's the racial heritage?
  • How do the creature's instincts tell it to behave?
  • What was the creature's upbringing?


These questions aren't relevant all of the time. But considering these areas and thinking along these lines help us get a solid mental picture of the creature. And that becomes useful as soon as we start building the mechanics.