In-Line Monster Stats

You know what the WotC Dungeons and Dragons adventures are missing? In line monster stats. That change alone would make these adventures infinitely more usable at the table. Instead of having to drag along my Monster Manual whenever I run an adventure, why not include all the relevant monster information in the adventure itself? It's really just a question of formatting and coming up with some consistent naming conventions.

For example, here's a goblin.

Goblins (2d6)- AC 15, hp 7, Spd 30' [St -1 Dx +2 Co +0 In +0 Ws -1 Ch -1] Stealth +6, Darkvision 60, Atk +4 (1d6+2) scimitar or shortbow, BA hide or disengage, CR 1/4

That's not too bad for a simple creature like a goblin, but what if we look at something like a demon with multiple attacks and several special abilities? It's more complicated and takes more space, but it's still pretty concise.

Hezrou (1d3)-  AC 16, hp 136, Spd 30' [St +4(+7) Dx +3 Co +5(+8) In -3 Ws +1 (+4) Ch +1] DR  col, fir, lgt, non mag: blu, prc, sla; DI poi, CI poi, Darkvision 120, Telepathy 60, SD Adv. vs magic, Stench: 10' radius, DC 14 Con or Poisoned, Atk (3) +7 (2d10+4) bite, + 7/+7 2d6+11 claw, CR 8

So that's a little more complicated. But all the information we need right away is there, and there are enough mnemonic elements to remind us of special abilities. We don't know exactly how the Stench works, but we have the important bits and a quick lookup will clarify things. The saving throws are next to the stats in italics, which saves space. We have the damage resistances, damage immunities, and condition immunities in their truncated form. We can estimate what we're talking about : cold, fire, lightning, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing just from the three letters. It's not a replacement for a full monster stat block, but with very little space we can cover most of what we need.

Now let's integrate that into a quick encounter, like what you'd find in a packaged adventure.

12. A group of violent bandits have surrounded a small caravan of travelers. Little do the bandits know, the caravan is bait for the polymorphed barbed devil hidden in the caravan crew. They are looking for the savagest and cruelest human souls to recruit into the Blood War, and will try and provoke a massacre. They are impatient and will wipe out everyone and start over if disappointed.

So there, that's all we'd need for an encounter. We wouldn't need to even put these in-line if space or presentation is a premium, we could drop these lines into an appendix at the end of a chapter so the DM could print them off and have them on hand.


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