DiscoverMaking a Monster
Making a Monster

Making a Monster

Author: Lucas Zellers

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Game designers show you their favorite monster, how it works, why it works, and what it means. Each weekly episode features a new creator and the monster of their choice.
26 Episodes
Nils Hintze is the lead writer of Vaesen, a Nordic horror role-playing game by Free League Publishing. In this game, fairies and other monsters manifest the anxieties of a rapidly-urbanizing 19th century Sweden. Read the full transcript here: Meet my guest: Get early access to episodes and other monstrous perks: Join the conversation: Music by Arcane Anthems:
The true and actual origins of the displacer beast with author A. E. Van Vogt. Find out more at
Keith Ammann, author of Monsters Know What They're Doing, shows us how to decode a monster's game mechanics to discover its intended use. We also get into how culture makes monsters, both in game and out. Read the full transcript here: Meet my guest: Get early access to episodes and other monstrous perks: Join the conversation: Closing music from Jason Shaw at
The Cherokee myth of the Raven Wizard is retold in Connor Alexander's Coyote and Crow, a tabletop role-playing game set in an alternate future of the Americas where colonization never occurred. Full transcript: monster-coyote-and-crow-raven-wizard /
From the Bard College of Silence by Kai Linder comes Vo the Voice Snatcher, an aberration capable of stealing the voice from your throat and adding it to its own. It's a kind of creepy that stays with you long after the fight is over. Get the College of Silence for 75% off by clicking here:
Dvati is a race option for D&D to play 2 characters at once. An extra-long bonus episode 20 years in the making, bringing together the original designer, the 5th edition homebrewer, and maybe the only person to play the Dvati in a long-running campaign. Full transcript:
"They're capricious little scrap robots, and I love them." The Wizmos from Dark Matter (a sci-fi D&D conversion by Mage Hand Press) are just doing the best they can, and it isn't very good. Get the one-page-RPG Wizmo Havoc here: ‎
What if the Kraken is too big to release? Niels RPG Toons uses cartoon-style fantasy art to tell vibrant, expressive stories, including one about a tentacle monster so big it's an ecosystem unto itself. Transcript:
The Melusine legend has so many tails in our modern cultural heritage that you've probably seen her even if you didn't know her name - much like the work of a good spymaster. Designer Chris Hopper talks about bringing the Melusine to Dungeons & Dragons in the first episode of Making a Monster Season 2! Get the stat block for the Melusine and read the full transcript here:
What happens when the monsters level up too? Matthew Whitby, host of the Dungeon Master's Guild House, shares a goblin with power enough to be more than a level 1 punching bag. Get the full transcript and see the art of Grikk the Many here:
Steve and Rebecca from House Sivis Echoer Station, an unofficial Eberron podcast that put NPR in D&D, discuss the werepigeon, their show's running joke, and whether you have to be scared of an animal to make a lycanthrope out of it. Full transcript:
When the devil's payment is due, who comes to collect? Justice Arman shows us fiendish collection agents in this episode of Making a Monster. Read the transcript and see art from the book:
Bonus: Endless Houses

Bonus: Endless Houses


After 3 weeks of moving, I have a lot of thoughts about haunted houses. Featuring previously-unreleased audio from guests Michael Sands, Robert Turk, and James Harrington, here's a quick bonus episode for you on the horror of place! Visit our website for more bonus content and to catch future episodes:
Two monsters from Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden - Malquaestus Pizkor, literal boss monster, and Saja Snowtooth, the winter hag. Ft. Sebastian Yue, Cassandra MacDonald, Michael Sands of Monster of the Week, Will Savino of Music d20, Adventure Music, and Justice Arman. Read the transcript and see art from the book:
Lucas, Alex, and James revisit Dagon, Lovecraft's first eldritch horror, to discover the Marianas Trench of origin stories. Listen to the original "Dagon" episode and get a free copy of Alex's monster-fighting supplement "Go for the Eyes!":
Ashley Warren, lead writer for the Heckna carnival horror campaign setting, introduces us to Heckna himself, the post-human clown king of the Revelia. Transcript:
Kyle Pointer, also known as user/ItsADnDMonsterNow, shares the most mechanically interesting monster he's made as Reddit's resident D&D graffiti artist - the music elemental. Transcript:
A cosmic horror game set in World War I uses supernatural aberrations to reflect the human corruption of that period in history. Featuring Never Going Home's writer Irvin Jackson, artist Charles Ferguson Avery, and system designer Brandon Aten. Transcript:
Alex Clippinger brings H.P. Lovecraft's first published monster, Dagon, to 5th edition D&D. We track how monsters become "dungeon and dragons-ed", and explore how game mechanics imitate the experience and intent of the cosmic horror genre. Get a free copy of "Go for the Eyes!":
Monster of the Week is the system that powers The Adventure Zone and Critshow. Designer Michael Sands talks about Marilynn, the improbable fairy creature who nearly derailed a playtest campaign, and the system's story-first approach to creating mysteries and monsters. Transcript:
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