Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Noah's Ark - Generating Monsters With a Dictionary

So you’re writing up an adventure, and you want some original monsters to throw at the players – something they haven’t seen before. Unfortunately, you’re a bit short on time. Well, with a random word plucked from your head or generated at dictionary.com, and with this ridiculously goofy system below, you’ve got it covered.

As mentioned above, dictionary.com has a random word generator. What you’re looking for is a noun – this is the most important word – and maybe one or two modifiers. Adjectives are the obvious modifiers for nouns, but verbs can work as well, so long as you pop an -ing on the end (i.e. bite becomes biting, claw becomes clawing, sleep becomes sleeping).

Now we need to generate some basic stats for our monster. We’re going to use the noun to determine the monster type (even if you don’t use type in your system, this is still good for figuring out what the monster looks like and how it attacks), size (important – determines speed and damage), hit dice and armor class.

HIT DICE: Count the number of consonants in the word. This is the monster’s total hit dice.

ARMOR CLASS: Count the number of vowels in the word. Multiply this number by two and add to 10 for the monster’s (ascending) AC. For descending, just subtract the number from 11.

TYPE: The monster’s type is based on the first letter of the word:

* If the monster’s size is tiny to medium, feel free to change the giant into a humanoid or monstrous humanoid; in any event, increase the giant’s damage output by one size level

SIZE: The monster’s size is based on the last letter of the word:

There are two classes of special abilities for our purposes: Special Attacks and Special Qualities (which includes special defenses).

The monster’s special attacks are determined by the third, fifth and seventh letters in the word – if a monster doesn’t have a seventh or fifth letter, then they don’t have special abilities for those slots. In other words, the more letters (and more hit dice), the more special abilities.

I’ll present those tables tomorrow.

In the mean time, let’s look at a sample noun. Using dictionary.com, I generated the word “documentarian” and the modifier “mottled”. What the heck is a mottled documentarian?

Hit Dice: Documentarian has seven consonants, so our monster has 7 HD
Armor Class: Documentarian has six consonants, so our monster has an AC 22 (or AC -1)
Type: Documentarian starts with “D”, so our monster is a Giant with 2 slams
Size: The documentarian’s size should be Medium. A medium giant seems stupid, but in this case we’ll say the monster has giant girth – bulging muscles – rather than giant height

So far, we have:

Medium Giant

HD: 7
AC: 22
ATK: 2 slams (1d6)
MV: 30

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