Friday, 8 April 2022

Six One Sentence Monsters

Sadly, the Forge, a nice little online fantasy monster/spell name generator, is defunct and now appears to be something to do with NFTs. Luckily other name generators are available. Here are six monsters (six more to follow tomorrow, most likely), described in a single sentence, derived from randomly generated names:

Quiet Creeper - A slinking spy, soft-footed and slowly careful, endlessly stalking and never approaching. HD 2, AC 4, #ATT 1 bite, DMG 1d4*, Move 120, ML 6, No. Appearing 1 (*Bites to slow (save vs poison to avoid); never surprised and always surprises opponents)

Bewitched Presence - A lost fragment of the soul of one stricken by a curse, broken off by the shattering impact of the spell; it lingers now in dark corners, waiting for a passer-by on whom to visit its pain and sorrow. HD 4+1, AC 5, #ATT 1 freezing embrace, DMG 2d6*, Move 90, ML 12, No. Appearing 1 (*Attack ignores armour)

Dawnman  - The name given to those who come at dawn to dance on the dew and, when they know themselves to have been seen in performance of their ritual, pursue their observer to death. HD 2, AC 6, #ATT 1 weapon (spear, axe, sword, club, trident), DMG By weapon+1, Move 120, ML 8, No. Appearing 2d6+2 (One in 6 dawnmen is a magic-user with 3 HD)

Thin Face - A tall, gangly-limbed, grasping thing, hideously thin as though squashed and stretched by some malicious giant. HD 6, AC 4, #ATT 1 grab*, DMG 1d6*, Move 150, ML 7, No, Appearing 1 (*After grabbing successfully, will crush for 1d6 damage automatically each round thereafter until letting go; always surprises opponents; to look on its face causes stunning on a failed save vs magic due to its exquisite ugliness and melancholy)

Aromatic Guardian - A tall cylinder composed of flowers of many kinds, tightly furled around a column of wood or stone; when needed, it summons itself into jerking, writhing motion. HD 5, AC 5, #ATT 3, DMG 1d3x3, Special*, Move 120, ML 12, No. Appearing 2d4 (*Main attacks are whipping fronds, but it also emits a cloud of fragrance with a 12' radius, causing either sleep, confusion or blindness as the spell of the same name, 1/day)

Forsaken Mumbler - The mournfully babbling remnant of a being created to worship a demigod, who then tired of mindless supplication and cast its followers heartlessly adrift. HD 1, AC 8, #ATT 1, DMG By weapon (club or spear), Move 120, ML 6, No. Appearing 2d20 (*The collective droning nonsense-talk of 6 or more forsaken mumblers causes dehabilitating ennui to all within 30'; save vs magic or be inactive for d6 rounds)

[I am running a Kickstarter throughout April. You can read more about it, and back it, here.]


  1. I posted your 6 monsters into the OpenAI playground for shits & giggles, and asked for some more suggestions. It came up with Shinebright Guardian, Illusory Antelope, Arboreal Gorger, Cyclone Messenger, Pangolin Guardian, Oasis Ritualist, Gorgon's Crown, Green-Sky Survivalist, Corrosive Shield, Mistform Wakecaster

    (I think I know an Oasis Ritualist)

    I also pasted your entire descriptions & stats, and asked the AI to come up with similar. Here's what it gave me:

    Vine Creep - A writhing mass of twining vines, greenish-black with red flowers blooming along its length; it drags itself along the ground towards anything that moves. HD 1d6+1, AC 4, #ATT 1, DMG 1d6, Special, Move 30, ML 6, No. Appearing 2d6 (*While grappling, the vine creep drains 1 point of Strength per round; a character reduced to 0 Strength dies; the vine creep can support itself on a wall or other surface and reach down with its vines to attack)

    Frostbite - A fearsome predator of the arctic wastes, it looks like a white-furred wolf with long, curved icicles in place of teeth. HD 4, AC 6, #ATT 1 bite, DMG 1d6+1, Move 150, ML 9, No. Appearing 1d4+1

    NB The Forge site looks like it used Adobe Flash, which most browsers stopped supporting a year or two back, which will be why it doesn't work. As an ex Flash developer, this makes me very, very sad.

  2. Over at, Dan Sumption has done a great job of demoing the potential of machine learning and D&D.

    I'm rubbish at Python, but for my part, I took your excellent monster descriptions above and fed them into OpenAI's GPT-3 DaVinci engine along with a selection of monster names generated from

    This is verbatim what I got back for each name:

    Steamhand - "A fearsome warrior clad in steam-spewing, thick armour, brandishing a sword or hammer that leaves behind a hissing trail of vapour. HD 7, AC 4, #ATT 1 weapon, DMG By weapon+2, Move 120, ML 8, No. Appearing 1"

    Coffin Pest - "A small, dark, fast-moving insect that burrows into the wood of coffins and feeds on the dead. HD 1/8, AC 8, #ATT 1, DMG 1d3, Move 120, ML 2, No. Appearing Swarm (100-400)"

    Dreary Babbler - "A sad little figure, huddled in the dirt, who babbles endlessly in a voice just above a whisper. HD 1, AC 8, #ATT 1, DMG 1d4, Move 120, ML 6, No. Appearing 2d20 (*The cumulative droning of 6 or more dreary babblers within 30' feet causes listlessness and ennui; save vs magic or be inactive for d4 rounds)"

    Faint Ooze - "A barely sentient, jelly-like creature that wanders in search of food. HD 1, AC 10, #ATT 1, DMG 1d4, Move 10, ML 1, No. Appearing 2d6"

    Glowteeth - "A floating, vaguely shark-like creature composed of a maw full of needle-sharp teeth encircled by a nimbus of sickly green light. HD 3, AC 4, #ATT 1 bite, DMG 1d6+2, Move 120 (Fly), ML 8, No. Appearing 1d4"

    White Keeper - "A small, delicate creature that flits about in the shadows. It seems to be made of fine porcelain, and is beautiful in a eerie way. It has long, spider-like fingers, and large black eyes. It is said that if you catch a glimpse of it, you will be driven insane. HD 1, AC 8, #ATT 1, DMG 1d4, Move 120, ML 6, No. Appearing 1d4"

    1. Those are actually really good! I have to admit it. Especially the White Keeper.

    2. I know, right? I'm always worried with ML that it's just ripping off some text the engine found somewhere, but I couldn't find a direct source for the White Keeper description.

      I found interesting:
      1. You can see how your input has shaped the output, especially the similarity between the Forsaken Mumbler and the Dreary Babbler.
      2. It's somewhat scary how decent the stats are. How does the tool know oozes move so slowly? A 100-400 swarm of insects with HD 1/8? Steamhand has HD 7?
      3. Why are there 2d20 Dreary Babblers? I'd never have thought of that, but a field filled with them is so much odder than a single babbler. Passing through an area of 20-odd Babblers becomes an actual challenge.
      4. The White Keeper is just the AI showing off.

      With the recent announcement of it's really not hard to imagine an AI like this fulfilling a DM role.

    3. Scratch that comment about the 2d20 Dreary Babblers - I was reading your Forsaken Mumbler description. I am definitely using that encounter, though.

    4. Yeah, it's almost like it just took the "tone" of the entries and reproduced it. It's very effective.

  3. Chris McDowell has been delving this corner of the hobby recently by trying to distill design into smaller segments in order to refine pure content.

    His video entitled “Qualitative Monster Design” on his Bastionland YouTube channel explores this quite well.

    It’s been revelatory to my gameplay. I’ve made a couple of spark charts with adjectives, verbs, and nouns. As long as I look at what comes out through the filter of theme or setting, the Silent Guardian or the Bladed Warden become really great launching off points when paired with the Feywild forest or the desert temple that is my current concept.

    This is aided by the “rules lite” approach of games like Cairn, Into the Odd, and Knave. The names alone inform the spartan stat blocks.

    1. Yes, I like playing around with that kind of thing - to be honest all you really need as a DM are spurs to the imagination. The stats side of thing usually follows very quickly and easily.