The way of the TAG, monster prep proof of concept



Hey beautiful people! Been some while since I last posted, I was kept bussy with so much stuff to read around here and real life things going about.

Anyways, there’s been some discussion on how to use TNs, stats and rolls in our tables, and I’m completely sold on a couple of mechanics. One is roll under TN for monsters/GM and roll over/meet TN for players (as discussed in another thread recently). This I found, liberated my mind on the prep part of my GM routine, allowing me to create monsters and challenges as a collection of simple TAGs and elaborate mechanics inspired by them.

But I wouldn’t stop there and included TAGs as reference codes for the types and abilities for the monsters… what? This means that a Goblin Warchief can have a Goblin tag and have access to every ability that baseline Goblins have.

I also created Boss and Elite TAGs so I have 3 distinct monster tiers for use on say, random dungeon encounters and whatnot.

  • Boss: Bosses receive an additional :heart: for each PC facing it.
  • Elite: There’s a random chance that any enemy spawned might be an Elite type.

Here’s a link to my take on Goblins in order to illustrate this!

I hope someone finds this method/phylosophy useful somehow. Also let me know how you prepare your monsters if you will!

EDIT: Also thanks to @Shadymutha and @Khan for their input on such subject on this thread


Glad to be of service!

Here’s a couple of questions for you.
It says that Goblin Warchief does 1d12 damage. Does that mean that the Warchief always does 1d12 EFFORT?
Does the Warchief have 2.5 HEARTS?
I also don’t see #Elite explained anywhere.
Do you come up with the mechanics of spells etc. during the game (like Goblin Warlock’s Drain Life)?

Like I said on that thread we talked about TNs, rolling under for NPCs is a great mechanic now that you removed all of the bonuses. No more subtractions.

One downside of all that is, all monsters behave the same stat wise but that may not be such a big issue because you differentiate them with lots of TAGS.

Basing a creature on another creature is a simple solution but then you’d have to look at both monsters’ entries, which can be somewhat cumbersome.

Things that I noticed:
Goblin Boss’s #Cleave ability isn’t bolded and there is a typo under Goblin’s #BOOM!. First sentence says “a Goblins”.

Overall very nice document and I can see why you like the system. The drawings are very cute too!


@Khan senpai! xD

Well that’s interesting. I outlined Damage instead of effort because in fact, I have never had to roll effort for a monster other than damage! I have a general way of doing stuff that is based on having players roll and try to resolve things, and environment/monsters just responding with consequences or difficulty adjustments. Pretty much Dungeon World mentality I guess.

Drinking contest with the orc chief? Try to reach the top of the cliff before the spiders reach you? Set a couple of hearts and a timer that ticks down on failed attempts.

Talking about hearts, I added a small :heart: with a + that is explained in my notes as a visual reminder that such monster’s hearts can vary depending on things.

Now the Elite tag is not fully explanied on the post or in the document because I don’t have a permanent mechanic for it. Sometimes I roll 1dX monsters and let 1dY of them be Elites, sometimes I set a number of hearts and cherry pick monsters to fill hearts slots, letting Elites use x2 heart slots. So I figured I wouldn’t explain it at all lol sorry.

I do have the mechanics for the spells, I just didn’t include them because I convert different sources (Shadow of the Demon Lord, ICRPG MAGIC and your spells&feats add on mostly) to my house rules in a sort of compendium I have, and because possible copyrighted distribution issues I choose to keep the text for myself. But sometimes I do come up with the mechanics on the fly!

Thanks for the corrections too, I recklessly translated this from the original spanish doc I use as my hack compendium and left out some major inconsistencies and typos.

Also the art is made by Aekashics, which I found not long ago and has been a holy grail of illustrated inspiration for monster creation!