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March 21, 2018

Making Custom Monsters Using DND Monster Maker

Dungeons and Dragons

This post has been updated a bit to show current screenshots of DND Monster Maker and provide new information based on changes made to the program since this post was originally written in 2015. I’ve kept the majority of the content the same besides some clarifying changes and editing.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m gearing up to DM for a larger than recommended party for D&D within the next two weeks. We ran a custom, combat heavy, one-shot as a test run because I wanted to try a few things out with them, particularly how combat would work in such a large group.

One of the things I wanted to test in this quick one-shot was my ability to make custom monsters. I tend to throw in a big boss creature in most dungeons; partly because it’s my style and partly because everyone in the group is an avid gamer and tends to enjoy the big boss fights.

To do this I had to first figure out what would be a good CR or total EXP for a boss encounter. I wanted something hard as a boss fight, so something above a medium encounter for sure. Thankfully over at dhmstark there is a great 5e encounter calculator that I used so I wouldn’t have to waste time calculating all this out myself! I

Awhile ago on Reddit there was a thread advertising a free software that allowed you to enter stats, skills, abilities, etc. for a creature. You can download this program, DND Monster Maker, here.

Edit courtesy of Bryan Holmes: “One thing I’ll note, please ensure that .net 4.0 (minimum, I prefer 4.5 but that killed it for XP users) and C++ distributables are installed! I’ve had some people able to use the program but have Black PNG files get generated”

Using DND Monster Maker

A screenshot of a New Monster in DND Monster Maker

When we open up DND Monster Maker we have a screen that is devoid of pretty much any text. You can either fill in the text boxes manually or opt to use the drop down menus when applicable. It’s great because it allows you to automatically calculate things like HP bonuses and attack/damage bonuses based off of your stats.

There are a couple of errors that will pop up in this program and unfortunately basically force it to completely freeze and shut down. One of these is if you input an invalid value into a field and try to move to a different field, the whole program shuts down. I’d recommend saving your progress on a regular basis while you’re working in it.

So if you click on the Add Ability/Action/Legendary these three windows will pop up. Depending on what you’re going for you’ll want to add the proper spells/custom abilities/custom attacks/custom legendary actions to the character. You have to add them one at a time, but it’s not really that much of an inconvenience as you can do all of this without closing the windows.

Do not close the windows before you have clicked the Add button. Doing so will erase the work you have completed.

The Finished Product

A screenshot of DND Monster Maker when populated with information.

In the picture above you can also see that you can preview the monster sheet. You can print this preview out or save it as a HTML, PNG, PDF, or CSV. You also can change the style of the sheet and load in your own style sheets. Prior to printing you can change the formatting of the printout. You can change the number and size of the columns. There is also an option to change feet measurements to meters though this is not a conversion.

Conclusions

After a few updates, DND Monster Maker, has become one of my most-used D&D 5e tools since I first wrote this post in 2015. I love using it for creating new creatures and boss monsters.

There are many options such as The Homebrewery that will allow you to create a formatted monster stat block. DND Monster Maker takes care of all of the formatting for you so you can focus on creating an interesting creature. I love using both of these tools, though, so I tend to use DND Monster Maker for quick and dirty drafts and Homebrewery for finished products. They work very well together in my opinion.

It’s also free to download so be sure to give it a try!

If you liked this post and want to check out more of my posts about my favorite D&D 5e tools feel free to check out this page I’ve made that contains them all! Or check out my ongoing review for all of the official D&D 5e books!

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Changelog

5/3/2018: Unfortunately the original site that created this program has been shut down. The link now goes to a Dropbox where I have included the files needed to install and run DND Monster Maker. This is not the most recent version, but it runs fine. Should the site come back online at any point I will change this link back to its original location.

6/7/2018: The link now points to thegeniusinc.com as it is back online! Thank you to those of you that messaged me to tell me it was back up.

7/24/2018: The Genius Inc. seems to be having technical difficulties. I’ve temporarily hosted DND Monster Maker again on Dropbox. I will change the link back to its proper source when it’s able to be downloaded from The Genius Inc. again. 

8/1/2018: The link currently points to The Genius Inc. again.

8/20/2018: The link is again pointing to the temporary Dropbox folder.

22 Comments on “Making Custom Monsters Using DND Monster Maker

Jack
December 30, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Reblogged this on Tome and Tomb.

Reply
Bryan Holmes
January 7, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for the kinds words! I’m pretty active on Reddit and oddly Google+ so if you find any bugs/freezes with errors, send them my way and I can zap em!

One thing I’ll note, please ensure that .net 4.0 (minimum, I prefer 4.5 but that killed it for XP users) and C++ distributables are installed! I’ve had some people able to use the program but have Black PNG files get generated, and that’s why.

Reply

[…] a big project like this into smaller, more specific tasks. I made a post awhile ago about the software I use to make homebrew monsters if you’re interested in that sort of […]

Reply
Aric Cowan
October 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm

how do we run the program

Reply
Oreo Golem
May 3, 2018 at 3:10 am

1The download link is currently displaying a “This domain name has expired.Click here to renew.” error. Is there a mirror? Was I too late?

Reply
Eldadres
May 3, 2018 at 7:02 am

Thanks for the heads up, their site appears to be down. I will look for an alternative link in the meantime.

Reply
Eldadres
May 3, 2018 at 4:42 pm

I just updated the post with a new link to a .zip folder that contains the program. Thanks again for alerting me about the site issue!

Reply
Wolf
August 20, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Link not working again, please link the dropbox file please.

Reply
Eldadres
August 20, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Updated, thanks!

Reply
DrakeVal
September 2, 2018 at 8:56 am

Seems to be down. Takes me to a HTML saying the XML file does not have information associated with it.

Reply
Eldadres
September 2, 2018 at 11:05 am

Yes, unfortunately their website still seems to be having issues. The dropbox folder I linked in this post contains the same program.

Just download the .zip folder and extract it on your computer. It runs fine after that!

Reply
Tijay
October 10, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Hi i downloaded the files from the drop box but when i click the appication it wont open

Reply
Eldadres
October 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm

Did you extract the files from the .zip folder first when you downloaded it?

I just downloaded it again and it worked fine for me. I’m using Windows if that helps.

Reply
Tijay
October 10, 2018 at 6:52 pm

i clicked here then download then direct download then i opened it and dragged out DnD_monster file

Reply
Eldadres
October 10, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Ok, that’s probably the issue!

Try downloading the .zip folder again then right click the folder and select extract all. Choose where you’d like to extract the folder and then open up the folder and open DND_Monster.exe. It should work then. Basically the .exe file needs the other files in order to work properly.

You can create a shortcut for it for your desktop as well by right-clicking your desktop and selecting “new” then “shortcut”. Then select the DND_Monster.exe and you’ll have a desktop shortcut for the program.

Reply
Tijay
October 10, 2018 at 9:56 pm

i did that but DND_Monster.exe turns to DND_Monster when extacted and when i click it loads for a second then stops and nothing happens

Reply
Eldadres
October 11, 2018 at 11:17 am

That’s very odd, try this link and see if it works. I uploaded the folder after it’s been extracted.

Reply
Tholomew
October 17, 2018 at 2:40 am

Is there any way to remove the cantrips from the spell casting ability? I made a paldin gunslinger and its showing the cantrips on the list with no cantrips bc its a paladin lol

Reply
Eldadres
October 17, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Unfortunately I don’t believe so. I looked and there doesn’t seem to be a way to remove Cantrips from your spellcasting type.

I tried it with the class set to ranger thinking that might change things, but it still showed up with Cantrips.

Reply
Tholomew
October 17, 2018 at 2:44 am

Also I would like to ” *The paladin casts these spells on itself before combat.” under the spells but idk how to put it so it looks nice. thanks!

Reply
Eldadres
October 17, 2018 at 6:39 pm

So for this you could have an * next to each pre-casted spell and then add a custom Ability stating that the * means that the spells have already been casted on the creature. Not exactly the nicest-looking way but it does the job.

Personally I would use DND Monster Maker as a rough draft in your scenario. Once you get all the mechanics nailed-down I’d use something like Homebrewery or GM Binder for the final draft to make it look nice. You can add pictures and do all sorts of custom formatting with these if your goal is a nice looking statblock!

Reply
Tholomew
October 17, 2018 at 7:34 pm

ok thank you so much for the replies!

Reply

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