Monsters always follow the simple 4-Suit Zilch rules. They are presented using the following format:
NAME (Parent type) Size subtypes type #C #S #D #H (hp) [suits] DR: damage resistance and armor ER: energy resistance Dmg: physical attacks, damage, and effects SA: special attacks... ST: Special talents... SQ: special qualities... Movement: modes and speeds Senses: senses Language: CR: challenge rating Description: Strategy:
If a particular line is not relevant to the given monster, it will be omitted.
Monster traits and abilities are either natural (Nat) or magical (Mag). Unless specified as Magical, assume a monter's ability is natural. A Magical ability can be countered or supressed with an anti-magic field, etc.
Each monster entry has a unique name.
Many monsters are specializations of a more general type of monster. Their entries will be found listed under the given parent type. For example, entries such as Peasant (Human) and Soldier (Human) would be found listed under Human.
Though the math gets a little trickier, you may want finer granularity on size differences. After all, there are a lot of mythical creatures that are only about 8 or 9 feet tall; treating these as Large can be a bit deadlier than desired.
With this variant, here is a half-step between each size category designated with a + or -. As an example, Large- is the same as Medium+ (except when not using this rule, where Large- is instead treated as a Large creature but Medium+ is treated as a Medium creature). When using half-step sizes, split the difference between the two sizes for purposes of dmg modifier.
Here's a table for quick lookups:
Each monster is of one of the following types:
Outsiders are primordials formed from the outer planes. They fall into three categories: Angels, Devils, and Demons.
In the beginning, Celestials of Heaven sought to preserve the world through Order and Life, while the Demons of the Abyss fought for its destruction though Chaos and Death. However, Heaven grew divided between the laws of Order and the mercy of Life. The schism grew and those that followed the Law grew more militant, seeking righteousness, justice, retribution, vengence. They were eventually cast out of Heaven. Still waging their war against the Demons in the Abyss, these "fallen" become Devils. Carving out their own Hell from what was once part of the Abyss, they become darkened and corrupted by the enivornment there. Now the three factions wage a balanced war, each against the other two forces: the Angels of Good, the Devils of Law and Evil, and the Demons of Chaos and Evil. The term Feind refers to either a Devil or Demon.
Outsiders come in three levels: Minor, Lesser, and Greater. Minor outsiders can enter the Material plane through any opened gates and naturally-occurring rifts that they find.
Major outsider have true names and must be invited into the Material plane by a native. For some, this can be as simple as reciting their name or title 3 times. Outsider can always refuse the invitation, though fiends rarely do so. Powerful casters that know an outsider's true name can compel them to come. Summoned outsiders--either invited or compelled--can turn on the person that brought them there. Once summoned, the outsider can then remain in the world until banished. Many will often try to start cults or religions to lure other material dwellers into inviting more of them companions into the world.
Major outsiders can be divided into Lesser and Greater. Lesser outsiders physically enter the Material world. Greater outsiders cannot physically manifest in the world. Instead, they are incorporeal, though they can possess creatures and objects, often shaping them into more comfortable forms. Though their hosts can be destroyed or their spirits banished, Greater outsiders cannot be slain on the material world. To be truly destroyed, they must be slain in an outer plane.
The outer planes are also home to a number of other creatures that seems to be primiarly Beast or Humanoid, but shaped by life in the outer planes These are often called Angelic, Devilish, or Demonic creatures.
A monster may also have one or more subtypes. The type is always listed last. Types can also serve as subtypes. The following are also subtypes: Good, Evil, Fire, Cold, Acid/Earth, Electricity/Air
IDing (if not encountered before):
S: recognize Type/Subtype. (Additional test may recal features common to that type/subtype)
CS: species, including some salient feature
The following table gives a rough guideline as to how different Suit values map to human ability for a Medium-sized creature.
|Suit Value||As a Human||Diamonds|
|A||Beyond human ability||Ex: Great wyrm dragon, ancient lich|
|K||Pinnacle||Ex: Gifted eidetic genius|
|Q||Grand Master||Ex: Aged scholar|
|J||Master||Ex: Subject specialist|
|9||Skilled||Ex: University grad, young scholar, respectable bard, well-read noble.|
|8||Practiced||Ex: Young tutored noble|
|7||Trained||Basic education: reading, writing, simple math, some basic history. Speaks Common.
Ex: Innkeeper, market merchant, city dweller, rural village elder.
|6||Some causal/amateur experience||If has a racial language, also speaks Common (poorly). Functionally illiterate: Able to make out most letters, but struggles to read anything more than a simple sentence or two.
Ex: Village dweller.
|5||No (or very little) personal experience||A primitive, uneducated humanoid. Can speak clearly in its local dialet. May know a few words of another language used in common trade. May draw pictures or some significant symbols.
Ex: Slave, barbarian, poor serf.
|4||Sub-human||Semi-human. May have a crude language of its own, or can learn one, albiet poorly.|
|3||Handicapped||Canny. Capable of learning a vocabulary of a couple hundred words. Can follow simple orders.
Ex: Chimp, dolphin.
|2||Very Handicapped||Animal. Exhibits some proto-personality. Can be trained to very simple one-word tricks or responses. |
Ex: Cat, dog, skeleton.
|(1)||Bare minimum||"Mindless". Reacts to stimuli, capable of feeding itself. If under magical control, can be directed to attack a specific target or attack at will or made to stand down.
Ex: toad, zombie.
|(0)||Nonexistent||Unconscious (comatose or dead)|
* shields * hps
Some creatures have additional protection from physical damage beyond armor. This is often due to special protections that can be overcome with certain kinds of materials, holy/unholy weapons, etc. The creature's total DR is given, followed by any special kinds of physical attacks that may modify this total. For example: DR: 5 (-2/holy, -1/silver). This creature has DR 5 against most physical attacks, DR 4 against silver weapons, DR 3 against holy weapons, and DR 2 against holy silver weapons.
When a creature is immune to physical damage (DR: Imm), other modifiers are used. For example: DR: Imm (#1/magic) means this creature will take up to 1 damage from magic weapon attacks, but is otherwise immune to physical dmg. DR: Imm (=3/ethereal, -1/cold iron) means DR 3 vs an ethereal attack (or one that affects ethereal creatures), or DR 2 vs an ethereal cold iron attack, but is immune to all other physical attacks (including regular cold iron).
Protects from one of the 4 elemental engery types. Comes in 3 degrees for monsters. Immune means the creature takes no damage of that type. Resistant means it takes 1/2 dmg. Vulnerable means it takes double dmg. (Magically-granted energy protection instead reduces the damage taken by -3; see R).
Engulf: Creature or object moves into square. Swarms, oozes, and the like. S(Acrobatics) to avoid (CS,S: Escape; F: suffer attack; CF: fall prone and take attack) [S: narrow miss: 1 dmg?] Slow, Medium (diameter): +0 mod. +2 for each larger or faster; -2 for smaller or slower Worse if cramped or can't move out of swquare Avalanche
Call (Mag): An audio version of gaze.
Other attacks are possible. A creature may have unique rules following the Description.
Other qualities are possible. A creature may have unique rules following the Description.
Monsters have a different mode of movement than walking/running, such as: burrowing, climbing, flying(wings), flying(perfect), and swim. If a creature has a different mode, it can move in that way as easily as humans walk or run (no checks required), though it may still experience certain terrain handicaps. Flying(perfect) means the creature can hover or move vertically or backwards at will (like a hummingbird or will-o-wisp). Flying(wings) operates like winged flight: the creature must spend a minor action each turn to flap its wings, either to move forward or to hover (though hovering may be of limited duration, as per holding breath); it may be able to glide for free for a turn or two, though.
In addition, monsters may move at different speeds than their ♠ would suggest:
Visual senses include Normal (human-like), Lowlight, and Darkvision. Depending on the current lighting conditions, you may be able to able to see normally (OK), Visually Impaired (Occl), or Blinded (X), as shown in the following table.
|Sunlight||Direct natural sunlight, which may also have special effects on some monsters.||OK||OK||Occl|
|Bright||Well-lit. The brightest level of magical lighting.||OK||OK||OK|
|Lowlight||Includes moon or star light, phosphorescence, or torch/fire light.||Occl||OK||OK|
|Darkness||Pitch-black, as underground or on a moonless cloudy night.||X||X||Occl|
Darkvision is normal low-light vision combined with an infravision Blindsense. Such an adaption to darkness means that the brightness and heat of natural sunlight is hard to tolerate, however.
Other possible senses include:
Trade Tongue Human [by region] Dwarven [Giant, Old Dwarven, Deep Dwarven, Common Dwarven] -> (Terran) Elven [High Elven, Wild Elven, Dark Elven] -> (Gnomish) Undercommon [Common, Dark Elven, Terran, Abyssal] Beastial [(Trade), Abyssal] Goblin [Orc, Hobgoblin, Crude Goblin] Sylvan [High Elven, Gnomish, Druidic, Halfling] Draconic  -> (Elemental) Elemental [Aquan, Auran, Ignan, Terran] Outsider [Celestial, Abyssal, Infernal, True Speech] Telepathy: Speak directly into another's mind. That creatures "hears" your speech as if in their first language. Thus, you can only be understood if the target creature can speak a language. You can also pick up conscious surface-level thoughts. If Telepathy(empath) you can send and receive only emotions and fuzzy sense impressions (images, tastes, etc).
Combat Rating: 1 to 7. (No Threat), Very Easy, Easy, Average (3), Hard, Very Hard, Dangerous, Deadly. Earn this much swag for "defeating". Before combat, roll under (6 = 0) to see one of these is an item. If so, randomly generate quality/specifics based on threat. If creatures uses item, give +1 swag to replace.
Home (in lair, etc) vs Away Adv (ambushing; on home ground) Disadv (most allies injured or one dies; surpised) Injured (taken damage; half # of original allies) Hurt (half hp or less) Cornered (fight or flight R: Savagely attack, generally closest or recently damaging B: Attack, intelligently: most dangerous (to extent possible by cognition) C: Aid each other, retreat to better poition, thwart G: Flee