Sorry if this is the wrong place for this, but am I the only one that feels like there needs to be more guidance for how to create a custom monster. There doesn't seem to be enough options available to just pick and choose from what is available in the bestiary.
I wanted to make a custom BBEG that isn't a humanoid, but the monsters don't seem to follow any kind of rhyme or reason as why some creatures traits justify their higher xp values. I really wish that the level and xp of creatures followed some reasonable pattern.
Another issue is how to calculate the budge for a challenge or earned experience when you have henchman or ally NPCs involved. I have been just subtracting their xp totals from the encounter, but it feels like they end up contributing more then their xp value to the party.
I attempted to create an encounter for next session that includes the custom monster below. Compared to other creatures its level the custom creature seems pretty tame, but its hard to judge; the halfblood and medusa, of the same level, seem very strong by comparison.
Medium Monstrosity (Shapechanger)
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 33 (6d8+6); see Traits below
Speed 30 ft.
Senses darkvision 100 ft.
Str 12 (+1) Dex 16 (+3) Con 12 (+1)
Int 14 (+2) Wis 10 (+0) Cha 16 (+3)
Alignment chaotic evil
Languages Abyssal, Common
Resistances: The Sonyia is resistant to cold, fire, and lightning, and to nonmagical weapons except those made of cold-forged iron.
Telepathy: The Sonyia can communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 feet of it that can understand a language.
Multiattack: Sonyia makes two claw attacks and if either hit the target must make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw (elves are immune). Failed Save: The target is charmed for 1 minute but can use an action while charmed to make a DC 12 Wisdom check. If the check succeeds, the charmed ends.
Melee Attack—Claws: +5 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature).
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 1) slashing damage.
Melee Attack—Kiss: +5 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature charmed by Soniya). Hit: 13 (2d10 + 2) pychic damage, and the target must make a DC 12 Will saving throw (elves are immune). Failed Save: The target is paralyzed for 1 minute but can use an action while paralyzed to make a DC 12 Constitution check. If the check succeeds, the paralysis ends.
A creature whose hit point is reduced to 0 by this attack remains conscious and is dominated. If the targeted creature regains 1 or more hit points both affects end.
Change Shape: The Sonyia polymorphs into a Small or Medium humanoid, and can remain in this form indefinitely. The succubus’s statistics do not change when assuming a new shape (except for its size). The Sonyia reverts to its natural form when killed.
Level 5 XP 240
The encounter include my customer creature, a Dark Priest and a dozen lemure, both from the bestiary, fighting against three level 3 adventures and 4 orc support fighting with them. The budget for three levels 3 is 480xp, a tough encounter, and this would sum up to 350xp, I deduct the xp for the orcs. Is this too much for a level 3 party with a few orcs for support? Too little? I'm finding the DM packet really lacks proper guidance I feel.
Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl
"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke