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 on 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.
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
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
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.
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!