Nov. 5, 2021

Monster


This week I am joined by Lucas Zellers, host of the 'Making a Monster' podcast to talk, unsurprisingly, about monsters! This episode is broadly split into two halves, the first focusing on mechanical minutia of running stat blocks, including various tips and tricks, such as "do your homework"! We also discuss the elegance of Matt Coville's Action Oriented Monster design approach and how it highlights shortcomings in the design of Dungeons & Dragons. Running higher level monsters RAW is essentially parsing a database; it might not appear like it at first glance, but communicating intent, theme, history, and philosophy in a way which is easy to understand is really an exercise in technical writing. The second half of the episode focuses on the historical weight and implication of monsters in the D&D-verse. Lucas shares his passion and knowledge of Dagon, using them as an example of the "iceberg" history all monsters have. Perhaps next time you haphazardly throw an encounter together (much in the way I do!), you'll spare a thought for the legacy of these creatures... which will likely open up interesting and unique ways to play!

  • 01:18 - What Monster Design Reveals About the System
  • 08:46 - "Monsterless" Games
  • 21:57 - Planning & Running Monsters
  • 43:41 - 'Named' Monsters & Historical Baggage

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References:

Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

Lucas Zellers

Monster journalist

Lucas is a writer, tabletop game designer, and podcaster working at the intersection of ecology and storytelling. He's a Platinum-best selling author on the DM's Guild, writer for Mage Hand Press, and host of the Making a Monster podcast. You can read about his work and creativity as an ecosystem at Scintilla.Studio.