Friday, March 11, 2011

Creating a new monster in D&D the easy way

Creating a new monster for D&D can be rather complicated and time consuming. Building one from scratch means a lot of chart lookups and quite a bit of number crunching. While it can be fun to do, what if you either don't want to or don't have time to do all the work yourself? The easiest solution is to take the stats for a standard creature and just make a few tweaks. Viola, a new monster to trouble your players is born!

I created the creature below to add to the free adventure module The Burning Plague. That adventure features a group of kobolds with their dire weasel pets. Now back when kobolds used to be little dog men maybe them having giant weasels as pets made sense. In 3rd edition, however, kobolds are little dragon men. I just can't picture them befriending mammals anymore. What they really need is a giant lizard to be their pet.

The easiest way to do this was to simply change the dire weasel into a lizard. I just change the name and the description. I dropped the weasel's low light vision and scent abilities and gave it darkvision instead. Now this is a pet that a kobold could love! And its perfectly balanced for play and ready to drop into any module as a replacement for the dire weasel.

Blood Skink

Medium Animal
Hit Dice: 3d8 (13 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (+4 Dex, +2 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6+3)
Full Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6+3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Attach, blood drain
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +4
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 19, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11
Skills: Hide +8, Listen +3, Move Silently +8, Spot +5
Feats: Alertness, Stealthy, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Underground
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 4-6 HD (Medium); 7-9 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: -

A man-sized lizard that has a round, sucker-like mouth on its jawless head.

Blood skinks are common predators found in most of the underdark. As they don't seem to like the taste of kobold blood and are fairly intelligent for reptiles, kobolds have been able to train them for use as guard animals. Because of this, blood skinks can often be found in and around kobold lairs.

Blood skinks grow to be up to 10 feet long and can reach a weight of 700 pounds.


Blood skinks ambush their prey in the dark. If they are able to attach to their prey, they will drain its blood until it is dead.

Attach (Ex): A blood skink that hits with its bite attack latches onto the opponent's body with its powerful sucker mouth. An attached blood skink loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and thus has an AC of 12. An attached blood skink can be struck with a weapon or grappled itself. To remove an attached blood skink through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the creature.

Blood Drain (Ex): A blood skink drains blood for 1d4 points of Constitution damage each round it remains attached.