Creating NPCs & Monsters

Quick tip: use the WOIN Monster Creator to quickly create the baselines stats for a monster or NPC. Once you have the base stats, you can tweak them to suit. You will need to then add any exploits to make the critter unique, though this will output some suggestions you can use.


This creature design engine is a process by which you will be able to easily create a monster, creature, or generic NPC type. You can create anything from alien monstrosities to reusable NPC stat blocks such as “Soldier” or “Psionic Interrogator”

Monsters and generic NPCs tend to be a bit more arbitrary than player characters. Of course, a monster can have whatever statistics you need - if you need your 3-foot alien furry bear to have STR 20 or 200 HEALTH for some reason, you can just assign those values. The following is just a set of guidelines to help your design process; feel free to ignore any of them.

This method is the reverse method to creating a character, because you are starting at your desired result and working backwards - you will know in advance that you want an 8d6 “brute” style robot, and this informs the rest of the creature’s statistics.

Once you have decided on your creature concept, following these steps.

Important! It is important to treat this process as a guide only. It is a tool to help you design creatures, but it is advisory only, not proscriptive. You can and should deviate from the figures below when it is thematically appropriate to do so.


Max Dice Pool (MDP)

Choose your monster’s Maximum Dice Pool. This will decide many of the following statistics. You should start with an idea of how powerful you want your monster to be. For comparison, a starting character is 5d6, and a fire dragon is 15d6.

PCs tend to be a little more optimised than monsters, so monster scores are slightly higher. Generally, a monster with +1 MDP over a PC is a challenging match which the PC should win. +2 MDP means the PC will probably lose one-on-one, and with +3 MDP the PC is almost certain to be defeated.

Throughout this section, the term “MDP” means “Maximum Dice Pool”. Throughout this section, when you halve, quarter, or otherwise divide the MDP to derive a value, always round up.


ROLE ,SIZE, & TYPE

Choose a “role”, a size category, and a type for your monster.

The role is just a broad descriptive tag which is not used in-game, but can be useful when designing. Choose from:

  • Artillery. A creature which does area damage from a distance, such as a grenadier or a ranged heavy robot.
  • Brute. A creature focuses on raw melee power, smashing its foes to the ground, such as a great ferocious beast or a mighty robot.
  • Expert. A creature whose focus is not combat, such as a medic, engineer, or pilot.
  • Ninja. A fast, mobile melee creature, able to attack quickly and accurately and dance around its opponents.
  • Skirmisher. A fast, mobile, ranged creature, weak in melee, but able to keep its distance and pick off its targets from afar. Many gun-toting bandits are skirmishers.
  • Support. A creature which heals or buffs other creatures, or alters the battlefield; this could be a specialist support robot, or an adept commander.
  • Trickster. A frustrating opponent such as a teleporter, or psychic foe, able to inflict a range of conditions.

These names don’t really mean anything. They are descriptive tools during the design process, but you’ll never need them again once the creature is finished.

The creature’s size uses the same scale as player characters, and includes tiny (mouse-sized), small (dog-sized), medium (human-sized), large (tiger-sized), enormous (elephant-sized), gigantic (whale-sized), colossal (kaiju-sized), and titanic (skyscraper-sized).

You also need to know the creature’s type. This is an open-ended list which includes, but is not limited to, the following creature types: aquatic, avian, beast, changeling, crystalline, insectoid, humanoid, gaseous, mechanoid, plant, projection, and reptile. A creature can have more than one type, of course - it might be an avian mechanoid or a crystalline plant. The type will help determine some of the creature’s exploits, which you’ll list at the end of this process.

Its important to note that this is just an “introductory” list of creature types; you can no doubt imagine more exotic things like oozes and electricity monsters, and many more.

Using these details, note the monster’s descriptor, which is formed as follows:

[size] [sentience] [types] (dice pool)

For example:

Large semi-sentient mechanoid beast (7d6)


Attributes

A creature’s attributes depends on the monster’s role, which you chose in the previous step. Only give the creature a MAG/PSI/CHI score if you want it to have a supernatural ability. A creature’s REP score will help determine how much the player characters (and others) know about it. The creature’s mental statistics assume that the creature is sentient, but non-sentient, semi-sentient, and super-sentient creatures may radically alter these values in the next step.

Role

STR

AGI

END

INT

LOG

WIL

CHA

LUC

REP

SUP*

Artillery

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.2

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

Brute

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.2

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

Expert

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.6

Ninja

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.2

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.4

Skirmisher

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.2

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.4

Support

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.6

Trickster

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.6

MDP x 0.3

MDP x 0.5

MDP x 0.8

*SUP refers to one of the three supernatural attributes: MAG, PSI, or CHI.


SENTIENCE

Also consider the creature’s sentience.  Sentience typically comes in the following categories, and can alter the creature’s mental statistics in the following ways.

Non-sentient. Non-sentient does not necessarily mean non-intelligent. Non-sentient creatures are immune to mental attacks.

Semi-sentient. These are dogs, wolves, bears, and other animal-level intelligent creatures.  Semi-sentient creatures have 1-2 (1d6) LOG (carnivores are usually more intelligent than herbivores), and may often have INT attributes as high as their AGI attributes. INT represents senses, perception, and animal cunning.  Note that creatures known for specific senses (such as owls) can also have extremely high skill ranks in those specific abilities. CHA tends to be 1 (for ugly critters) or 2 (for attractive critters). WIL will tend to be around average (4) unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.

Sentient. This includes most living sentient creatures with LOG attributes of 2 or more. Sentient creatures should be assigned mental attributes normally.

Super-sentient. Generally with LOG and INT attributes of 20 or more, these creatures are supra-geniuses far beyond even the greatest of humans. Super-sentient creatures automatically have the power of truesight, which enables them to see through illusions, invisibility, and disguises. They can also see in the dark, and through obscuring effects like smoke, although not through cover. Additionally, super-sentient creatures can automatically speak and understand any language.


DEFENSES

You now need to determine the creature’s four DEFENSEs. Each DEFENSE is high, medium, or low, and is based on the monster’s MDP. The lowest a DEFENSE can be is 10.

If your monster doesn’t fit neatly into these categories, that’s fine (a dragon is a brute with some artillery traits, for example). Just pick the closest match and tweak it, or use entries from different roles. Remember, these are guidelines, not rules.

Role

MELEE

RANGED

MENTAL

VITAL

Artillery

low
MDP x 2

high
MDP x 4

medium
MDP x 3

low
MDP x 2

Brute

high
MDP x 4

low
MDP x 2

low
MDP x 2

high
MDP x 4

Expert

low
MDP x 2

medium
MDP x 3

high
MDP x 4

low MDP x 2

Ninja

high
MDP x 4

medium
MDP x 3

low
MDP x 2

medium
MDP x 3

Skirmisher

low
MDP x 2

high
MDP x 4

medium
MDP x 3

medium
MDP x 3

Support

medium
MDP x 3

medium
MDP x 3

high
MDP x 4

medium
MDP x 3

Trickster

low
MDP x 2

medium
MDP x 3

high
MDP x 4

low
MDP x 2


SIZE

You then need to adjust for SIZE (see the table below). While size can affect physical attributes, it does not necessarily correlate to them - a tiny, tiny tardigrade might have an END score many times higher than a human. STR, however, is an attribute you might consider capping by size; you don’t have to (after all, there’s nothing wrong with a tiny super-strong robot!) but a suggested cap is presented in the table below.

STATISTIC

Tiny

Small

Medium

Large

Enormous

Gigantic

Colossal

Titanic

MELEE DEFENSE

+4

+2

-

-2

-4

-8

-16

-16

RANGED DEFENSE

+4

+2

-

-4

-8

-16

-32

-32

VITAL DEFENSE

-2

-2

-

+2

+4

+6

+8

+16

ACTIONS

2

2

2

2

3

4

5

6

HEALTH

x1

x1

x1

x1

x1.5

x2

x3

x5

REACH

5’

5’

5’

5’

10’

15’

20’

40’

STR Cap

1 (1d6)

3 (2d6)

10 (4d6)

15 (5d6)

21 (6d6)

45 (9d6)

78 (12d6)

120+ (15d6+)


SOAK

Most creatures have a SOAK value. When you assign SOAK, you won’t necessarily know where that SOAK comes from - it may be from armor they are wearing, or from a tough hide, or thick fur, or a hard shell. You’ll have a total amount of SOAK appropriate to the creature; you can describe it however you wish.

Like before, you will be choosing from high, medium, and low SOAK. However, you should be very cautious about allowing SOAK scores above 20 -- the hardest substances in the core rules are diamond and duranium at SOAK 20 and tritanium and adamantium at SOAK 25. Unless you have a very compelling reason to do otherwise, you should cap the SOAK at 20.

Role

SOAK

HEALTH

Artillery

low
MDP x 0.5

low
MDP x 3

Brute

high
MDP x 2

high
MDP x 10

Expert

low
MDP x 0.5

low
MDP x 3

Ninja

medium
MDP x 1

medium
MDP x 6

Skirmisher

low

MDP x 0.5

low

MDP x 3

Support

medium
MDP x 1

medium
MDP x 6

Trickster

low

MDP x 0.5

low

MDP x 3

 


HEALTH

HEALTH is an important value. As always, we choose from high, medium, and low, scores, and then we adjust for size. These values can be found in the same table as the SOAK table.

Size affects HEALTH as follows: enormous x1.5, gigantic x2, colossal x3, and titanic x5.

Monsters tend to have higher HEALTH than PCs. This abstracts the fact that they don’t have all the resources available that PCs have to heal and recover.


INITIATIVE, PERCEPTION, & SPEED

Using the same method, determine your monster’s INITIATIVE, PERCEPTION, and SPEED scores.

Role

INITIATIVE

PERCEPTION

SPEED

Artillery

medium

MDP x 0.75

high

MDP x 1

slow
MDP x 0.5

Brute

low

MDP x 0.5

low

MDP x 0.5

slow
MDP x 0.5

Expert

low

MDP x 0.5

medium

MDP x 0.75

medium
MDP x 1

Ninja

high

MDP x 1

medium

MDP x 0.75

fast

MDP x 1.5

Skirmisher

medium

MDP x 0.75

high

MDP x 1

fast
MDP x 1.5

Support

medium

MDP x 0.75

medium

MDP x 0.75

medium

MDP x 1

Trickster

high

MDP x 1

high

MDP x 1

fast

MDP x 1.5

You will need to assign movement modes at this time. The listed SPEED is for the creature’s primary movement mode. For additional modes, it moves at half SPEED.

If a creature has a natural movement mode, it is denoted in the stat block with a “+” symbol (e.g. CLIMB+ 8); this means that it does not need to make any attribute checks to move in this manner, and it uses the speed listed for the primary movement mode.

If the creature can fly, you should note whether or not it can hover by putting the word “hover” in parenthesis after its FLY speed; if it cannot hover, it must move at least half its FLY speed each round to stay aloft.


Attacks

You will need to determine the creature’s melee and ranged attack pools, plus an optional mental attack pool and psionic attack pool. Only include the latter two if they are relevant; the psionic attack pool, if it exists, is the same as the most thematically similar existing attack pool - most likely ranged (for something like a lightning bolt) or mental (for something like a psionic blast).

Most creatures will only use their primary attack pool, but if a PC charges a ranged attacker, it might be forced to resort to its weaker attack mode.

The attack values in particular can be tweaked. If you want your brute to have a high ranged attack, go right ahead and assign it.

You might consider giving some creatures with a high single attack a secondary medium area attack. A dragon’s breath weapon would be a good example of this.

Damage. Damage tracks with the attack pool, and is 50% of the attack pool. For example, an attack pool of 8d6 means 4d6 damage, while 7d6 would become 3d6+3. You will need to assign the damage type manually.

Range. A ranged attack has a range in 5’ squares of MDP x 1.5, unless the creature is a skirmisher or artillery, in which case the range is MDP x 2.

Role

MELEE ATTACK

RANGED ATTACK

MENTAL ATTACK

Artillery

low
MDP x 0.5

high

MDP x 1

low
MDP x 0.5

Brute

high

MDP x 1

medium

MDP x 0.75

low
MDP x 0.5

Expert

low

MDP x 0.5

low

MDP x 0.5

medium

MDP x 0.75

Ninja

high

MDP x 1

low

MDP x 0.5

low
MDP x 0.5

Skirmisher

low

MDP x 0.5

high

MDP x 1

low
MDP x 0.5

Support

medium

MDP x 0.75

medium

MDP x 0.75

medium

MDP x 0.75

Trickster

low

MDP x 0.5

medium

MDP x 0.75

high

MDP x 1

 


EXPLOITS

You now need to give the creature exploits. This is by far the most arbitrary part of the process. You should be inventive with its exploits - each creature should feel different. There’s a whole smorgasbord of area attacks, grabs, throws, mental attacks, psionic abilities, and more. Below is a small selection to get you started, but this is just the tip of the iceberg - it’s really important to note that this section is limited only by your imagination.

Feel free to allow creatures to use exploits from other categories; these are listed thematically for convenience. Creatures and NPCs should also have access to regular exploits, and all have the ability to Aim or Feint.

Artillery

  • Burst. This attack does burst damage (in a Burst equal to half MDP, so artillery with MDP 8 does a Burst 4). The attack attacks all creatures within the burst area (make only one attack roll and only one damage roll and apply it to all targets in the area). A psi-cop unleashes a psionic blast or soldier fires a grenade launcher.
  • Cone. Alternatively, the artillery could unleash a half MDP cone such as a breath weapon or flamethrower.

Brute

  • Stop Right There! Enemies which try to move past the brute (move within reach) are subject to a free action attack, which stops their movement if successful.
  • Charge. The brute moves its SPEED and makes an attack with one action.
  • Burst. The brute uses an action to attack all adjacent targets. On a hit they are pushed back 10’.
  • Cone. Alternatively, this could be a cone such as a tail swipe.
  • Grab. This attack inflicts the Restrained condition on a creature, and requires a melee attack to escape. The brute’s natural damage is automatically inflicted at the start of the grabbed creature’s turns.
  • Hurl. Send a creature flying 3 squares plus one square per size difference and, do natural damage; this attack inflicts Downed condition.
  • Roar. This burst attack with a Burst equal to the brute’s MDP does a mental attack which inflicts the Afraid condition.
  • Trample. The brute can move through a smaller creature’s square, getting a free melee attack which knocks the target aside and prone for the attacker’s natural damage. If the attack misses, the brute must stop its movement.
  • Monstrous Leap. The brute leaps into the air a height of 5’ per MDP, making an attack against one foe it can reach while doing so.
  • Quake. The brute slams a foot, fist, or tail on the ground, shaking the area within its aura. The brute makes an attack against everybody within the area, knocking targets prone and doing 1d6 damage to them.
  • Monumental. The brute has double SOAK against ranged weapons.
  • Living Shield. The brute picks up another creature smaller than itself and uses it as a shield. The target can escape the grab as normal. Until then, the brute gains the protection of a shield of the same size category (e.g. a medium-sized creature is a medium shield). Additionally, attacks which miss but would have hit had the shield not been in place hit the grabbed creature instead.
  • Come Here! A target struck with a weapon or tentacle with a range equal to half its regular ranged attack range is pulled adjacent to the brute. The target cannot be larger than the brute.

Expert

  • Skill dice. The expert’s primary skill dice pool is its MDP. It could be piloting, medicine, engineering, heraldry, or any other area of expertise.
  • Analyze. For one round the expert can remove one enemy’s SOAK. This only works on a given target once.
  • Healing. The expert can heal allies with an action equal to their damage roll. Each can only benefit once.

Ninja

  • Third attack. If the ninja makes two melee attacks, it gets a third attack for free.
  • Achilles heel. The ninja can bypass SOAK once per foe.
  • Dart In. The ninja moves its SPEED, attacks, then moves its SPEED back again.
  • Stealthy. The ninja can make MDP stealth checks to remain effectively invisible.
  • Teleport. The ninja can move a double move as one action. A psionic ninja teleports, special forces use transporter tech, a super-fast race zooms to a new location, or an alien simply makes a giant leap.
  • Poison. This attack inflicts the Poisoned or Sick conditions.

Skirmisher

  • Perfect aim. The skirmisher gets +2d6 from aiming instead of +1d6.
  • Mobile attack. The skirmisher moves two moves and make a single ranged attack at any point.
  • Dive For Cover. On a missed attack, the skirmisher may use a reaction to move its SPEED and either get prone or behind cover.
  • Backpedal. When someone attempts a melee attack, the skirmisher use a reaction to step back 10’ and take a shot.
  • Panicked Unload. The skirmisher fires two shots at a target and if both hit, it gains a third shot.

Support

  • Healing. The support NPC can heal allies with an action an amount of HEALTH equal to their damage roll. Each can only benefit once.
  • Leadership. The support has a dice pool equal to its MDP to donate to its allies; it must declare this before any dice are rolled.
  • Designate target. The support chooses one target. That target may not benefit from cover until another target is selected. A spotlight illuminates the target or a commander uses a tactical battlefield targeting drone.
  • Battlefield control. The support can create difficult terrain or darkness in a burst area radius equal to its MDP. An ice cannon creates an icy patch, or an engineer throws caltrops
  • Summon. The support can summon, create, or activate activate 1d6 mooks. An engineer activates some security droids, or a commander summons some ninjas.

Trickster

  • Teleport. The trickster can move a double move as one action, bypassing any obstacles.
  • Deceive. An illusion of self disguises the trickster’s true location.
  • Controller. A mental attack makes the target Charmed.
  • Taunt. A mental attack makes the target Angry.

General/Unusual

  • Aura. An aura equal to half the creature’s MDP does low damage or inflicts a condition.
  • Berserker. The creature gains +1d6 damage when below half HEALTH; it cannot stop attacking until all foes are dead.
  • Called Shot. The creature has a weakness which can be exploited via a Called Shot (-2d6 to hit). This might inflict a condition, or even kill it outright.
  • Disease. The creature inflicts a disease on a critical hit.
  • Poison. The creature inflicts the Poisoned condition on a hit.
  • Regeneration. The creature automatically heals a quarter MDP HEALTH at the start of each turn.

Remember, this is just a small selection of ideas. You should try to vary your creatures as much as possible and design your own exploits.


CREATURE TYPE

The creature’s type(s) also grant it some exploits or other adjustments. Apply these now.

  •    Aquatic. The creature gains a SWIM speed equal to its regular SPEED. It can breathe underwater. Swimming is a natural movement mode for aquatic creatures.
  •    Avian. The creature gains a FLY speed equal to its regular SPEED. Flying is a natural movement mode for avians.
  •    Beast. These are normal animals such as dogs, bears, and dinosaurs.
  •    Changeling. A rare creature type, changelings are able to alter their shape and appearance. The exact details of this varies. They are typically immune to critical hits and conditions.
  •    Crystalline. Crystalline creatures are resistant to heat damage (SOAK 5 heat), but vulnerable (1d6) to sonic damage due to their brittle nature. They are immune to the Bleeding condition.
  •    Insectoid. Climbing is a natural movement mode for insectoids. The creature gains a CLIMB speed equal to its regular SPEED and does not need to make checks to climb. Such creatures can move on walls and ceilings normally.
  •    Humanoid. Humanoids gain no special advantages. They are bipedal, mammalian creatures.
  •    Gaseous. Gaseous creatures are immune to non energy-based physical attacks, and have SOAK 10 to energy-based attacks.
  •    Mechanoid. Mechanoids are immune to mental attacks, are vulnerable (1d6) to electricity damage, and vulnerable (2d6) to ion damage. They are usually immune to the Sick and Fatigued conditions.
  •    Plant. Plant creatures vulnerable (1d6) to fire, but have an additional 5 SOAK. Plants usually cannot wear armor. They are usually immune to the Sick and Fatigued conditions. They ignore natural difficult terrain, unless it is fire or heat-based.
  •    Projection. Projections are incorporeal entities, including psychic entities and holograms. Projections are incorporeal. This makes them immune to physical weapons unless they do psionic damage (in the case of a psychic entity) or ion damage (in the case of a hologram); they can pass through physical barriers. A projection will usually do psionic or electricity damage, if it does any damage. Projections cannot usually be killed; reducing them to 0 HEALTH simply disperses them for a while. Projections can freely fly, although many do not. Projections have superior darksight and lifesense to a distance of 5' per point of INT. Projections are usually immune to any physical conditions.
  •    Reptile. Reptiles are cold-blooded and are vulnerable (1d6) to cold damage. They usually have scales granting +5 natural SOAK.
  •    Swarm. A swarm is a collection of thousands of tiny creatures which attack en masse. A swarm is immune to all attacks except for area attacks. When it attacks, it simply moves into the target's square. Any creature which starts its turn in or enters the swarm's square suffers melee damage automatically, and may suffer the Blind condition. Swarms can move through gaps of any size.

SKILLS

You will also need the monster’s skills. While most of the time you will just be using its derived statistics, occasionally you may need something more specific. To determine these, you will need to “reverse engineer” them from its derived statistics. In particular, the following skills should be calculated:

  •  combat skill* - the monster equivalent of unarmed combat is simply called combat.
  •  perception - this may be named after the creature’s special senses, such as scent, hearing, etc., or it may juts be called perception.
  • movement skill* - this may be running or some similar skill.
  • tactics or reactions - the monster should have one of these two skills.
  • social skill(s)* - this optional skill, especially for tricksters and supporters, might includebluffing, intimidation, persuasion, and so on.
  •  stealth - most creatures will have this at some level, even if it is very low.
  • psionic skill(s)* - assign these if relevant, but most psionic powers will be in the form of easy-to-use exploits.
  • carrying - four-legged herbivores, and similar creatures, often have a dice pool in carrying equal to half their Maximum Dice Pool.
  • defensive skills - you don’t have to reverse engineer these, but you can if you wish. You may need one for each DEFENSE.

You already know the monster’s attributes from earlier in the design process, and you know what the derived dice pool is, so the related skill is simply the difference between the two.

For example, if you know that the creature has 8d6 INITIATIVE and that it has 5d6 INTUITION, you automatically know that it must have 3d6 to the tactics or reactions skill. The same applies to attack dice pools, PERCEPTION, and so on.

You should also manually assign any relevant skills. Remember that creatures can be naturally much better than humans at certain things, especially when it comes to senses, movement, and fighting. Don't be afraid to give them 10 or more ranks in something. If in doubt, compare them to an exceptional human (a professional athlete, for example), who would have 10 ranks or so. If the creature would be better than a trained athlete at a skill, then give it 10 or more ranks.

If in doubt, just give a creature a skill dice pool of half its Maximum Dice Pool.


FINISHING UP

Finally, you will need to finish up with the minor (or not so minor!) details. You should feel free to tweak any values on the stat block - if your NPC is from a race of speedsters who only move at light speed, go ahead and give it a SPEED of 100, or whatever is appropriate. If your creature is reflective and immune to heat weapons, go ahead and add that immunity. Remember, as the GM, the monster is exactly what you need it to be.

If you are publishing the creature, it’s probably worth encoding those arbitrary changes as exploits, just so that others can see clearly where they came from, but this is not vital. And if you are only using it in your home game, it really doesn’t matter!