Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Combining D&D monsters into a single monster

I create unique monsters by combining them into one multi-part monster.
Combining robots into one large robot is often found in fiction and I use it on D&D monsters.

You might know combiners from the Transformers franchise, Zords in Power Rangers and other fictional works. I bring this concept into D&D to create unique monsters and surprise the PCs.

I discuss combined monsters made of 5 parts: 2 legs, 2 arms and a body.
Other combinations are possible like one flying body and 2 arms or 3 bodies and 1 leg.

In D&D it's dangerous for monsters to stick together, one area effect like a fireball targets them all.
So there need to be benefits to combining.


"Team work" by Budslife on Flickr
There are several benefits:
  • Damage resistance
  • Increased damage
  • New attack (energy beam, big sword) 
  • Body and arms should use ranged or area effects so they don't need to get into melee
  • Each individual monster retains its attacks and the combined monster gains its own turn
  • If its legs are constrained it impacts a combiner more, additional resistance to being constrained or moved is necessary.
  • Melee attackers can't reach the body or arms without jumping or climbing.


The combined monster is combined using:
  • mechanical: the individual monsters are hooked mechanically into each other, meaning a rogue can try to break the connection.
  • magical: some kind of magic holds the combined monster together, a wizard can break the connection.
  • psionic: an individual creature concentrates to hold the combined monster together. When this creature loses its concentration the combined monster falls apart.
    This psionic creature doesn't need to be a part of the combined monster.
    Concentration could be a check against Fortitude or Will when the psionic creature takes damage.

Forced movement of 1 monster moves the combined monster, preferably with a with Fortitude check.

The connection is broken when 2 or more creatures are disconnected or dead.
At that point the combined creature ceases to exist.


A combined monster has one Mind or many different minds.
One mind shares its Will among many, for example a necromancer with 4 skeletons.

All the minds are fused together which results in a mindless brute or a combined intelligence.

Many different minds is also a possibility, which may result in strange behavior if some creatures have different goals.



Legs: Clay golems
Arms: Arbalesters
Body: Stone Golem

This combined monster gains abilities from the stone golem and acts instead of the Stone Golem.
All damage done by the individual creatures is increased.


Legs: Skeletal Soldier
Arms: Blazing Skeleton (ranged fire attacks)
Body: Necromancer

The will power of all skeletons is replaced by that of the necromancer.
This combined monster gains a long skeletal whip and acts after the necromancer's turn.


Legs: Wind Elemental
Arms: Ice Elementals (ranged cold attacks)
Body: Earth Elemental

This combined creature has resistances to everything the separate creatures have, but none of the vulnerabilities.
This creature has a single brute mind. It wields an enormous greatsword which it uses on its own turn.

What do you think about this idea? Do you know of something like this that already exists in D&D?


  1. In terms of 4E, this sounds like multiple monsters combining into a solo. Have you thought about giving a big combined monster a stat block?

  2. Thanks for the comment.
    The combined monster sounds like a 4E solo creature and can be given a stat block.
    In my opinion it's easier to keep the stat blocks separate because each monster still has different initiative, powers, hit points and defenses.
    I guess it depends on how you want to organize those stats.


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