In today’s Dungeon Master's Guide 2 preview, we explore the fourth chapter of the book -- looking at customizing monsters through templates and themes.
The Monster Manual books offer hundreds of enemies to include in your encounters, but you can further customize these monsters, to tailor them to fit the feel and flavor of your campaign. Chapter 4 of the DMG2 adds more elements to your DM’s toolbox by expanding the options from the Dungeon Master’s Guide and adding a new tool: monster themes.
This chapter includes the following sections:
Monster Themes: Each monster theme provides a suite of powers you can draw upon to add to existing monsters or use when you create new monsters. You then create thematic links across encounters, even when using monsters that might not normally be associated with each other. The section also details nine themes drawn from D&D lore.
Templates: First introduced in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, this section on templates includes more than a dozen new monster templates, as well as class templates for each of the nine classes from Player’s Handbook 2 and the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide.
Creating Monsters: Updated guidelines for how to create your own elites, solos, and minions.
A template adds features to a monster, making it more powerful in a number of ways—it increases a monster’s hit points, its saving throws, and the number of powers it has, its action points, and, in the case of a class-based template, its defenses. Frequently it grants battlefield functionality and story considerations the monster didn’t have before.
Typically, you give a template to a monster when you want it to have a special impact in your game. Monsters with templates can serve as elite guards, spies, favored beasts, chief lieutenants of major villains, or just about anything out of the ordinary.
The two types of templates are functional templates and class templates. A functional template allows you to customize a creature to fulfill a story or combat role. Some functional templates allow you to change some aspect of the creature’s nature (for instance, the terrifying haunt template transforms a living creature into an undead one) while others provide a number of abilities that allow the creature to epitomize a certain monster theme. A functional template can work well with a monster theme (discussed in the earlier part of this chapter), and you can use one to create an elite or a solo monster that serves as a “boss” monster or generate a powerful creature within the theme.
A class template grants a creature a limited number of feature and powers from a class, allowing you to flavor the creature to that class without having to treat it like a player character. With the release of the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide and Player’s Handbook 2, nine new classes have been added to the game. Toward the end of this section, you’ll find templates for the classes from these two books.
Functional templates allow you to add story and combat hooks to your monsters. Many functional templates allow the monster to work more smoothly with monster themes, such as the ones presented earlier in this chapter, or with the less implicit themes that already exist in the various Monster Manuals and other game supplements. A functional template might grant leader powers to an ordinary creature, or make it a unique and truly fearsome foe. Like all templates, each of the following functional templates transforms the modified creature into an elite monster—a force to be reckoned with on the game table.
Beast of Demogorgon
Blindly destructive and insanely bloodthirsty, these two-headed mutants are revered as the “blessed” of the demon lord by the insane cults that serve him. In most cases, a cult of Demogorgon creates these odd two-headed mutants by using torture and agonizing rituals. Other times, the evil forces of the Abyss warp these creatures and thrust them out into the world.
No matter the method of their creation, these creatures are the focus of fear, awe, and reverence among the demented worshipers of the demon lord, and they hold a place of honor . . . though they are frequently bound to that place by chains and other protections until the beast is needed for its master’s work. When you apply this template, the subject of the template gains an extra head.
Prerequisite: A one-headed beast or magical beast.
Beast of Demogorgon
Senses All-around vision
Hit Points +8 per level + Constitution score
Saving Throws +2, +4 against fear
Action Points 1
If the creature this template is applied to already has a bite melee basic attack, it can make two of those attacks with a standard action. If it does not have a bite melee basic attack, it gains the following attack:
Level 1: +3 vs. AC; 1d8 + Strength modifier.
Level 11: 2d8 + Strength modifier.
Level 21: 3d8 + Strength modifier.
The beast of Demogorgon gains regeneration 5 and scores a critical hit on a roll of 18–20 until it is no longer bloodied or drops to 0 hit points.
Level 21: Regeneration 10.