EDIT: Magical Murder Mansion is now available.
HD: # (~4x# HP)
Found In / Number Appearing:
- Name goes first, obviously, for indexing and reference purposes.
- Found In / Number Appearing: I've given up putting condensed statblocks into room descriptions. It saves time if monsters have nothing going on but HD and armour but how likely is that? Instead, I've put a page # reference to the monster section. To make it easy to flip back to the right room without having to use a page marker, I've included the room #s below the monster name. Number Appearing is for non-dungeon bestiary entries.
- A space because room #s can get confused with HD and HP#s without some way to separate them.
- HD goes next because it's an immediate indicator of danger and it's probably the bit the GM will need to look at the most.
- Appearance after that, because once the GM finds the monster they'll probably want to describe what the PCs see. Same with Voice.
- Morality is an odd one. It lets me add a bit more flavour to a creature's behavior without taking up too much extra space. It works for NPCs and slimes alike.
- Intelligence is another helpful tool for GMs. How well can the monster plan? Not a number, but a brief blurb.
- There's a space between the "descriptive" entries and the "combat" entries to allow GMs to quickly look at the relevant section. It might not seem like much but it really does help.
- Armour is expressed "as plate", "as leather", etc. Damage reduction and immunities go here.
- Move is expressed as "normal" or "1/2 normal" or "fly 2x normal", etc. Useful for chases.
- Morale is a number from 2 (craven) to 12 (unbreakable).
- Damage deals with attacks (e.g 1d6/1d6/1d8 claw/claw/bite) and attack modes (1d6 claw or 1d8 bite) fairly elegantly. Damage is at
- There's another space. This lets GMs scan upwards from the bottom of the statblock to quickly find the damage rolls for a monster.
- Special abilities, spells, etc. go below the main statblock.
ExamplesHere are 10 monsters from my upcoming dungeon, Magical Murder Mansion, a funhouse dungeon in the vein of Tomb of Horrors or Tegel Manor, but with a bit less cruelty. You can see all 90 rooms (and get a free PDF copy) by backing at the $5 level or above on Patreon. Two of the monsters are adapted from a previous post. Thanks to Chris Wilson and Brian Ashford for the prompts.
Ancestral StatueFound In: 17: HALL OF ANCESTRAL STATUES, 55: STATUE ALCOVE.
HD: 5 (22 HP)
Appearance: glowering men and women in antique costumes. All resemble Hubert Nibsley.
Voice: dolorous gravely groans.
Wants: to protect Hubert Nibsley's good name,
Morality: not vindictive but very thorough.
Intelligence: as smart as a very obsessive person.
Armour: as plate. ½ damage from slashing/piercing weapons.
Move: ½ normal, cannot leap or swim.
Damage: 1d12 bludgeoning.
Ancestral Statues will rarely pursue more than one or two rooms away from their starting location unless antagonized.
Bound GhostFound In: 1: CLOAKROOM, 15: BOILER ROOM, 25: SIDEBOARD, Random Encounter Table.
HD: 10 (40 HP)
Appearance: ragged white shape with a human face. Foggy scraps of livery, mournful eyes.
Voice: deeply depressed grumbling or unnatural screaming.
Wants: to repeat memories of life.
Morality: deeply confused.
Intelligence: disjointed, like pages of a book put back out of order.
Armour: as plate. Can only by harmed by silver (½ damage), spells, or magic weapons (full damage).
Move: normal, through floors and walls.
Damage: touch inflicts 1d8 cold damage or target ages 2d20 years. Target's choice.
Bound Ghosts were Hubert Nibsley's attempt at solving the servant problem. It didn't work.
Coal GolemFound In: 16: COAL STORAGE.
HD: 12 (50 HP)
Appearance: a pile of coal, animated jerkily. Huge coal-toothed head, short coal fingers.
Voice: inarticulate roaring.
Wants: to crush intruders and stuff them in its mouth.
Morality: blind rage.
Intelligence: dumb as a rock.
Armour: as leather.
Move: ½ normal.
Damage: 1d8+2 bludgeon / 1d8+2 grab. If grab hits, next round will try to eat for 4d6 damage.
The Coal Golem takes double damage from fire. If set on fire, it takes 6 damage per round and fills the room with thick black smoke.
Found In: 30: CALLOWFEX MAZE.
HD: 2 (12 HP), +1 HD (+6 HP) every time it is hit.
Appearance: a sad fat iguana with mange. Lunatic eyes.
Voice: grunting at 2 HD, screeching at 5 HD, megomanical speech at 10 HD.
Wants: to bite things, to rule the world.
Morality: millions of years of cold lizard loathing.
Intelligence: dumb at 2 HD but rapidly grows smarter.
Armour: as leather, but cannot take damage (see below).
Move: ½ normal at 2 HD, normal at 5 HD, 2x normal at 10 HD.
Damage: 1d6+HD bite / 1d6+HD claw.
The Corpulent Callowfex is a backwards castoff from an orthogonal timeline. Don't worry about it too much. Nobody understands time travel anyway. It needs to die to live. Every attack that hits it give the Corpulent Callowfex +1 HD instead of dealing damage. As it gains HD it gains power. By 10 HD it is as intelligent as a person, as large as a velociraptor, and as mean as the devil.
Anything that does not deal damage affects the Corpulent Callowfex normally. Tying it up works. Running also works; it wants to break out of the Maze and the Mansion and wreak havoc in the city.
Dire PhantasmFound In: 33: GARDEN, Random Encounter Table.
HD: 0 (1 HP)
Appearance: a disconnected collection of parts. Giant clawed feet. Scythe-like claws. Slavering maw, teeth like railroad spikes, red glowing eyes.
Voice: heavy breathing, occasional raspy wheeze.
Wants: to feed off ambient fear.
Armour: as plate+shield, but automatically hit by area-of-effect attacks.
Move: 3x normal.
The Dire Phantasm is mostly illusory. It feeds off ambient fear. The creature itself resembles and eyeless tailless mouse, but it creates the illusionary impression of a much larger, much more fearsome creature stalking through the grass. It is exceptionally quick and can scamper out of sight and range with ease.
Kiln-Fired ZombieFound In: 5: VELVET BEDROOM, 11: BUTLER'S ROOM, 21: TORTURE CHAMBER, 27: MAIDS' QUARTERS, 56: LOUNGE, Random Encounter Table.
HD: 2 (8 HP)
Appearance: shuffling human corpse with spots of light brown baked clay. Dried, seared flesh, dense thumping step. Sometimes dressed in burnt and tattered livery.
Wants: to wring the life out of people.
Armour: as leather. Reduces all incoming damage by 1.
Damage: 1d8. Always strikes last in combat. Will only attack or pursue things they can see.
Hubert Nibsley attempted to combine legal golem technology with illegal necromancy. The results are less than spectacular. Kiln-Fired Zombies are slightly more durable than traditional zombies but are equally lousy servants.
Found In: 8: BROCADE BEDROOM, 18: SOUTHEAST TOWER, 85: ARMORY ALCOVE, Random Encounter Table.
HD: 0 (2 HP)
Appearance: fat brown or grey rat with a glowing third eye on its forehead.
Voice: angry squeaking.
Wants: food, warmth.
Intelligence: feral cunning combined with magical enhancement.
Armour: none. 25% chance to resist magic.
Move: normal, can climb anything.
Damage: 1d4 bite or laser beam (rat goes last in combat. Inaccurate. 30' range, 2d6 damage, Save for half damage. Hits everything in a straight line, reflected by mirrors and shiny surfaces. One use per day, makes a warbling raygun noise, sets paper on fire.)
Escaped experiments. If startled and threatened, the rats will blast threats with inaccurate laser beams and flee into the walls. They could potentially be tamed or trained.
Thirty-Inch BookwormFound In: 9: RUINED BEDROOM.
HD: 12 (50 HP)
Appearance: Fat grey worm, 30" diameter, coated in slime and bits of paper. Rotating lamprey-toothed mouth, no eyes.
Wants: books, to protect its eggs.
Intelligence: moronic but dedicated.
Armour: as leather.
Move: normal, charge 2x normal.
Damage: 2d12 bite or 2d6 thrashing (hits all adjacent creatures) or 1d20 charge (move at least 30', knocks target prone on a hit).
The saliva of the Thirty-Inch Bookworm dissolves paper on contact, ruining books and reducing them to a nutritious grey sludge. The Bookworm will pursue anyone holding a book, but will otherwise only try to drive explorers away from its eggs.
Tooth FairyFound In: 70: TOOTH FAIRY INFESTATION.
HD: 0 (1 HP)
Appearance: tiny flying insect-like humanoid. Pincer claws like a crab, wings like a dragonfly.
Voice: high-pitched shrieking. Nails on glass.
Intelligence: dim but cruel.
Armour: as plate + shield. No armour against area-of-effect attacks.
Move: fly 2x normal.
Damage: 1 prodding or 1d4 tooth removal (only if target is being attacked by at least 2 other Tooth Fairies.)
Vicious little parasites, Tooth Fairies will try to pry an isolated target's mouth open and pull out their molars. They can be distracted by additional teeth. The lay eggs in molars, which hatch in 20 days to produce another full-sized Tooth Fairy.
Wrestling AngelFound In: 38: "GOOD" CHAPEL
HD: 11 (45 HP)
Appearance: 10' tall glowing human in a white robe. Beautiful, androgynous. Has a gold halo and huge white wings.
Voice: booming, good-natured, excited.
Wants: to wrestle.
Morality: utterly and totally good and kind. Still wants to wrestle.
Armour: as plate. None against unarmed attacks. Immune to non-magical weapons, except for unarmed attacks.
Move: fly normal.
The Wrestling Angel will pick one person and ask them to wrestle. If they show any signs of agreeing, or even if they hesitate, the Angel will try to grab them and throw them. The Angel does 1d4 temporary Constitution or Strength damage on a hit, or 2d4 if the Angel decides to throw their opponent through some pews. Using weapons will be greeted with "THAT'S CHEATING" and a vicious elbow to the stomach. It treats anyone who attacks it as an opponent and everyone else as an audience member. Once all opponents have been reduced to 0 Strength or Constitution, the Wrestling Angel struts around for a few seconds then ascends in a beam of light. Characteristic damage inflicted this way heals in 1hr and cannot kill a person.
Angel blood heals all wounds. A dead angel is worth at least 5,000gp but will probably attract questions.