Have you ever had a half-ass idea for a monster - just a description and a few ideas for special abilities, or maybe even just a picture - and wanted to use it without having to come up with all the other stats right then and there?
Today, I was jotting down some ideas for monsters at work and I thought up a way to do simple, one line monster descriptions and only one stat - a monster level - that ties into a random chart that determines the combat stats when you need them.
Monsters have levels that run from 1 to 10. The monster's level determines the dice you roll for its combat stats.
The combat stats are then rolled on this chart. You could do one roll and use all the stats for that line, or roll for each stat - whatever you want. Treat a roll that is less than zero as zero.
*Damage for first attack; second and third attacks are 1 level lower; third and fourth attacks are 2 levels lower
**Movement is slow (S), normal (N), quick (Q) and rapid (R) – use your best judgment for what these mean in your preferred version of the grand old game
Killa-Bot, the murderous automaton; 4th level; electro-touch (1d6), resist electricity, maniacal laughter (confusion)
Befouler, the drooling eye orb; 8th level; rust ray, acid ray (1d6), disease ray, rot ray (ruins food and water)
Mindbender, worms out to conquer the world; 3rd level; appear as normal neckware, control mind with their touch, magic resistance 15%
Tar-Bull, bovine made of flaming tar; 5th level; fire body (1d6 damage), foul smoke (save or blinded), charge for x3 damage
Mercury Ape, violet violent primate with force arms; 3rd level; constrict with arms (x2 damage), resist all energies, immune to mind effects
So the adventurers run into two of mercury apes while exploring a dungeon. The DM rolls d6-1 five times and discovers they have 2 HD, AC 13, 2 attacks for 1d6 damage and they are slow. She can now make a note of this for the next battle, or even roll over again the next time mercury apes show up.