What is a “monster”, exactly?

What is a “monster”, exactly?

What is a “monster”, exactly?

The term seems to be used by the book for any GM controlled character or creature that opposes the players, but in other cases (such as the training of a ranger’s animal companion), “monster” refers to a non-humanoid creature only.

Connected to that, what is the best term to use to generically refer to any being/creature/monster that is not the players?

12 thoughts on “What is a “monster”, exactly?”

  1. NPC?

    As far as monsters are concerned, I would say that they are your first definition. “…any GM controlled character or creature that opposes the players…”. If you went with non-humanoids only, you’d would be callings orcs or kobolds or goblins or any other critter like that a monster. =P

  2. GM character or NPC if you want to refer to all non-player characters. Enemy or foe for ones that are hostile only.

    There is a definition of “monster” on page 39.

  3. Alfred Rudzki Tim Franzke 

    It’s a problem because it’s useful for talking about the game to have a term that refers to any GM controlled  character.  Some people use “monster” for this (As pointed out by Tim Franzke).  Other people use “monster” as a fictional term, as what you’re suggesting.

  4. Generally, we use the basic d&d definition of monster:

    “A monster is any animal, person, or supernatural creature that is not

    a player character. A monster may be a ferocious dragon or a humble merchant.”

    This addendum might be useful to note, too;

    “For game purposes, any creature not a player

    character is a monster. Human monsters are often called nonplayer characters (or NPCs) to separate them from other monsters.”

  5. Adam Koebel

    Thank you for that; the first definition is how I understood it, I was just thrown off by the option on the Ranger’s animal companion training to “fight monsters”.   On further reflection, though, that’s not actually a problem, as “fight monsters” is an extension of “fight humanoids”, rather than a separate category.  So, one can see the “fight monsters” training as just meaning “fight anything”.

    I’ll just have to be careful not to confuse the use of the word monster as a game term, with the use of it in the fiction.

  6. Adam Koebel

    My favourite bit about that is “a humble merchant” being a monster, it’s so damn creepy. That one phrase is pretty much all you’d need to start a whole adventure.

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