Making Monsters Marvelous – Monstrous RPT Gems For You

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1128

A Charter Member of the Adventure Building Master Game Plan asked me about monsters.

Great topic.

One might say there are three kinds of monsters:

  • Constructs
  • Tricksters
  • Mirrors

Constructs fulfill our System needs. Stats, abilities, xp/treasure.

Tricksters serve our Story needs. Clue bearers, agents, plot twisters.

Mirrors serve our Setting needs by reflecting darker aspects of the characters and their world.

One might say all three should be aspects of making monsters marvelous.

Next time you whip up a homebrew critter, try any of these RPT Gems for leveling up your MonsterCraft:

Generating Monsters

Sometimes it’s the Lore that cramps our brains at the table, not the Law.

Follow this three-step recipe for making improvised monsters marvelous:

  1. Crunch. Reskin any monster into another on-the-fly for instant Law stats.
  2. Theme. Use Chaotic Shiny’s Monster Generator for a quick theme to inspire your Lore. Alternatively, grab dice and use Harvey Smith’s monster generator.
  3. Name. Ideas here and here.

Following this recipe takes moments and gives you everything you need to GM a great foe.

Crafting Monsters

Building a better monster has been covered in past Roleplaying Tips Newsletters.

Check out these highlights:

Monsters Under the Skin – Motivating wandering monsters, four questions to characterize monsters, how to make mythical monsters.

Don’t Be Afraid to Modify Your Monsters – Quick tweaks to make monsters fresh again.

How to Get More From Your Monsters (Part I, Part II) – Tips on turning monsters into entire campaigns.

What Are Your Favourite Monster Resources?

What tools, books, and other resources do you use to make your monsters more marvelous? Please hit reply and let me know!