You’re exploring deep in a ruined temple when something steps into the torchlight. What does that monster want? How will it try to get it? Why is it here?
Those are the questions players ask when they confront a monster, and they are the questions GMs ask themselves when figuring out how to use that monster. Whether in Dungeon World or Dungeons & Dragons, creating a new terrifying foe starts with the story.
But in Dungeon World, that’s the vast majority of the process for making monsters! Sure, those things then inform a bit of mechanics like HP and how much damage they do, but most of the core mechanics of a monster lie in the tags: is it Intelligent or just a brute? Does it have friends or even a full Horde?
The creators of DW have thoughtfully provided a monster codex with tools to create new monsters. I thought I’d show a few of my own creations from my Krevborna campaign that I referenced in Session 3.
Wererat Mage Group, Magical, Intelligent, Devious
Effluvial bolts (d8 damage) 6 HP 0 armor
Close, Near, Ignores Armor
Not all wererats simply huddle in the dark, gnawing on crumbs. Whether through innate ability or serendipitous discovery, some few of them learn to access the arcane powers around them. Other wererats often realize that safety lies in both numbers and power, and thus the mages rise to positions of leadership within their clans. Instinct: Protect its wererat clan
- Call upon arcane power
- Call upon natural decay in the sewers
Sewer Nemesis Solitary, Construct, Terrifying, Amorphous
Life drain (d10 damage) 23 HP 2 armor
Close, Ignores Armor
Special Qualities: Protector of its summoner, Composed of hardened raw sewage
Sewer mages have learned to animate the raw materials of their surroundings for their protection. These horrors feed on life force, whether the effluvial emanations from the organic material in the sewers or the much denser and richer lives of whatever the sewer mage designates as feeding material. Instinct: Consume life force
- Draw power from decaying life
- Shuffle continuously