While each monster is a unique creature, many possess similar special attacks, defenses, and qualities. Unique abilities are described below the monster’s stat block. Many abilities common to several monsters appear in the universal monster rules. If a monster’s listed special ability does not appear in its description, you’ll find it there.
Each monster description is presented in the same format, split into three specific areas:
- Stat Block.
Each monster is presented alphabetically. In the case of a group of monsters sharing similar traits (such as outsider races and some animals or vermin), the monster’s basic name is listed first. Each stat block lists the monster’s full name, organized by Challenge Rating.
Name and CR For the page name itself we use the Formal format, whereas in the blue header at the top of the page we use the “conversational” or informal name. That is, in the case of a dire wolf, the page name would be Wolf, Dire whereas in the blue header it would simply say “Dire Wolf.” The monster’s CR (challenge rating) is a numerical indication of how dangerous it is—the higher the number, the deadlier the creature. It is included in the blue header for easy visibility to the GM.
XP Listed here are the total experience points that PCs earn for defeating the monster. It should be in the format of “XP #,###” all in bold.
Race, Class, and Level Some monsters do not possess racial Hit Dice and are instead defined by their class levels. For these monsters, their race, class, and level appear here. Note Unless otherwise noted, the first class listed is the class chosen by the monster as its favored class. This line should also be used to describe unique/variant creatures such as “Advanced Iron Golem” or “Elite Dread Skeleton Minotaur”. This line should be omitted if the creature is a base creature with no levels.
Alignment, Size, and Type While a monster’s size and type remain constant (unless changed by the application of templates or other unusual modifiers), alignment is far more fluid. The alignments listed for each monster represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign. Only in special cases is this more fixed, such as creatures with an Intelligence of 2 or lower (which are almost always neutral) and planar monsters (outsiders with alignments other than those listed are unusual and typically outcasts from their kind). Note “type” and “subtypes” are not capitalized. Each type and subtype should be appropriately linked, as many of them provide special abilities.
Aura If the creature has a particular magical or exceptional aura, it is listed here along with its radius from the creature and, as applicable, a save DC to resist the aura’s effects. Each entry in this line should either be linked to UMR (Universal Monster Rules) or have an entry in the special abilities section at the bottom of the block. Auras are lowercase.
hp The creature’s hit points, followed by its Hit Dice (including modifiers from Constitution, favored class levels, creature type modifiers, and the Toughness feat). Creatures who recieve their first HD from a PC class level receive maximum hit points for that HD, but all other HD rolls are assumed to be average. Fast healing and regeneration values, if any, follow the creature’s HD, separated by a semicolon. For creatures with multiple types of HD, list a total number of HD and then specify each individual HD type.
Saving Throws The creature’s Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves, followed by situational modifiers to those rolls. Saving throws are always capitalized (e.g. Fortitude save), and should be spelled out unless inside a short-hand parenthetical, so ‘a DC 15 Fortitude save negates’ or’ (DC 15, Fort negates).
Defensive Abilities/DR/Immune/Resist/SR All of the creature’s unusual defensive abilities. Damage Reduction, immunities, resistances, and spell resistance are called out separately as necessary. See example on right for details of formatting these. Each entry in the “Defensive Abilities” heading should either be linked to UMR (Universal Monster Rules) or have an entry in the special abilities section at the bottom of the block.
Weaknesses All of the creature’s unusual weaknesses are listed here. Each entry in this line should either be linked to UMR (Universal Monster Rules) or have an entry in the special abilities section at the bottom of the block.
Speed The creature’s land speed, and additional speeds as necessary for the creature. Land speed is listed first, rest are listed alphabetically.
Melee The creature’s melee attacks are listed here, with its attack roll modifier listed after the attack’s name followed by the damage and crit modifiers in parentheses. See example for details.
Ranged As Melee above, but for ranged attacks.
Space/Reach The creature’s space and reach—if the creature’s space and reach are a 5-foot square and a reach of 5 feet, this line is omitted. Special reach, such as a dragon’s bite, is listed in parenthesis.
Special Attacks The creature’s special attacks. Each entry in this line should either be linked to UMR (Universal Monster Rules) or have an entry in the special abilities section at the bottom of the block.
Spell-Like Abilities After listing the caster level of the creature’s spell-like abilities and concentration, this section lists all of the creature’s spell-like abilities, organized by how many times per day it can use the abilities.
Spells Known/Prepared If the creature can cast true spells, its caster level is indicated here with its concentration followed by the spells it knows or typically has prepared. Unless it has levels in the class or it is otherwise indicated, a spellcasting creature does not receive any of a spellcasting class’s other abilities, such as a cleric’s ability to spontaneously convert prepared spells to cure or inflict spells. Spell names are lowercase and italicized and lower case.
Any special tactical or combat-oriented information sometimes appears in this area. Sometimes they are broken out into separate entries for Before Combat, During Combat and possibly Morale. This frequently appears in the description section in source material, but we usually try to move this information into this area when possible.
Ability Scores The creature’s ability scores are listed here. Unless otherwise indicated, a creature’s ability scores represent the baseline of its racial modifiers applied to scores of 10 or 11. Creatures with NPC class levels have stats in the standard array (13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8), while creatures with character class levels have the elite array (15, 14, 12, 11, 10, 8); in both cases, the creature’s ability score modifiers are listed at the end of its description. Ability scores are capitalized and their names are listed in bold.
Feats The creature’s feats are listed here alphabetically. A bonus feat is indicated with a superscript “B.” Feats are always capitalized.
Skills The creature’s skills are listed here alpahbetically. Racial modifiers to skills are indicated at the end of this entry. Skill names are always capitalized.
Languages The languages most commonly spoken by the creature are listed here. For unusual creatures, you can swap out the languages known for other choices as needed. A creature with a higher-than-normal Intelligence score receives the appropriate number of bonus languages. Remove any links in this line.
SQ Any special qualities possessed by the creature. Each entry in this line should either be linked to UMR (Universal Monster Rules) or have an entry in the special abilities section at the bottom of the block.
Any of the creature’s more unique special abilities are detailed in full here. DC comes before the descriptor of what the DC refers to.
Environment The regions and climates in which the creature is typically encountered are listed here.
Organization This lists how the creature is organized, including number ranges as appropriate.
Treasure The exact value of the creature’s treasure depends on if you’re running a slow, medium, or fast game. In cases where a creature has specific magical gear assigned to it, the assumption is a medium game—if you play a fast or slow game, you’ll want to adjust the monster’s gear as appropriate. “Standard” treasure indicates the total value of the creature’s treasure is that of a CR equal to the average party level. “Double” or “triple” treasure indicates the creature has double or triple this standard value. “Incidental” indicates the creature has half this standard value, and then only within the confines of its lair. “None” indicates that the creature normally has no treasure (as is typical for an unintelligent creature that has no real lair, although such creatures are often used to guard treasures of varying amounts). “NPC gear” indicates the monster has treasure as normal for an NPC of a level equal to the monster’s CR.
Here you’ll find information on how the monster fits into the world, notes on its ecology and society, and other bits of useful lore and flavor that will help you breathe life into the creature when your PCs encounter it. Some monsters have additional sections that cover variant creatures, notes on using the monsters as PCs, methods of constructing the creature, and so on.
Gold pieces is written ‘gp ‘, not ‘gp.’ (there should be no period denoting abbreviation)
Feats and spell names in the construction requirements of an item are listed in alphabetical order within their group, i.e, all feats are in alphabetical order, followed by all spells in alphabetical order.
Magic items are treated the same as spells (e.g. bag of holding (type I), chime of opening, immovable rod, etc.)
AC 50, touch 35, flat-footed 42 (+8 Dex, +15 natural, –1 size, +9 insight, +9 profane)
Speed 20 ft., swim 60 ft.
Constant—speak with animals (aquatic only), true seeing, unholy aura (DC 27)
Spells Prepared (CL 20th)
9th—mage’s disjunction (DC 27), soul bind (DC 27), teleportation circle, time stop
Dagon prefers to use his trident in battle but can attack with his powerful fists if he so chooses. One of his favorite tactics is to grab an air-breathing opponent and dive as deep as he can in the waters where he holds the victim until it drowns.
Str 37, Dex 27, Con 33, Int 26, Wis 29, Cha 28
Unique Item: Embrace of the Uncaring Sea
On a successful critical hit, the target must make a DC 39 Fortitude save or begin to drown. This affects even creatures that can ordinarily breathe underwater or are under the effects of a water breathing spell.
The target is allowed a new saving throw each round. The drowning continues until either the target is dead, a successful save is made, or the effect is successfully dispelled (CL 30th). Even if the effect is successfully removed, another critical hit starts it once again. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +10 racial bonus when used by Dagon.
Dagon is the demon prince of sea creatures. He is worshiped as a deity by legions of sahuagin, locathah, skum, lizardfolk, tritons (those that have accepted the ways of evil), and some merfolk. His Abyssal lair is not unlike the Elemental Planes of Water in that it is composed entirely of water. Pockets of air, though, are rumored to be trapped in invisible “bubbles” throughout his lair (so as to allow the non-water breathing demons to exist comfortably). Dagon makes his home in a great underwater iron citadel called Thos located in the deepest recesses of his home plane.
Dagon appears as a 10-foot tall merman and weighs about 2,000 pounds. He can move on land using his fists to drag or pull his body, but prefers to remain in water whenever possible.
Section 15: Copyright Notice – Tome of Horrors Complete
Dagon from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Author Scott Greene.