Welcome to Heroes & Monsters™, a fantasy roleplaying game with a set of simple rules and an old school mentality, meant to capture the feel of the early roleplaying games, but with more modern and less restrictive rules. Heroes & Monsters™ was created with the intention of being used with any campaign setting—preferably one of the many classic settings from the early days of roleplaying—but it can be used in any way you want, really.

Use for your own created world, use it in a published campaign setting, use it in a sandbox setting, where you and your friends create the world as you go along. It’s all fine.

The Basics

Heroes & Monsters™ is a role playing game set in a fantasy world of Dwarfs, demons, dragons and hordes of gold coins and magic swords.

Heroes & Monsters™ is a “pen & paper” game that requires a group of players to sit around a table with pencils, pieces of paper and dice and interact with one another to make things happen.

One of the players is declared the Game Master, or (GM) and has the task of running the game.

The other players take on the roles of fantasy characters—wizards, warriors, etc.—delving into dungeons in search of treasure.

Most games have four to six players, but more or fewer players is possible.

About Role-Playing

You could say that a roleplaying game consists of two ingredients: one is the world itself, full of places to visit and creatures to meet; the other ingredient is the rules which set the framework for what you can and cannot do within the game world and determines the outcome of events.

When you play a roleplaying game, you play in a group together with your friends, and the goal is to have fun, plain and simple. You don’t compete against each other; instead you work together, experiencing adventures and developing your characters.

One person in the group take on the role of the Game Master—the referee of the game, and they don’t create any player characters. Instead they act as the rules referee and the story teller of the game, presenting the world to the players and filling it with inhabitants for the players to interact with and obstacles for the players to overcome. But the mutual story, the adventure experience, is created by both the Game Master and the players together.


When you play a roleplaying game, everyone (except the Game Master) has their own character, an alter ego through which the player acts in the game world. The player decides the actions of their character and rolls a die to see if the action succeeds or not.

The Character

When you create a character, you do it by consulting this site and by using a character sheet to write down the results of your choices. The character sheet holds information about your character, like your character’s name, abilities, goals, equipment, previous experience, etc. When your character learns something new, buys new equipment or receives a reward, you simply write it down on your character sheet.

The Game Master

The Game Master (GM), is simply put, the referee of the game, the one who envisions and describes the game world to the other players and puts the player character to test when they try to reach their goals. Like a real-time director, Game Masters should be prepared to improvise when the player characters do something unexpected, but also sometimes gently help the players along the way – so that the mutual story will be as exciting and fun as possible.

Non-player Characters

Those individuals and creatures that the player characters meet during play are called non-player characters (Npcs) and are controlled by the Game Master.

As mentioned earlier, the Game Master doesn’t roll any dice to see if the Npcs succeed with their actions, instead they have fixed values that modify the dice rolls of the player characters.


Even if the players have a big impact on what happens during an adventure, the Game Master has the utmost responsibility for the story. It’s mainly the Game Master who makes the preparations before the session, either by creating their own adventure or reading an adventure created by someone else.

In Adventures there are tips and advice on how to create adventures that are both exciting and fun for everyone, players and Game Masters alike.

What You Need

There are a few things that you need in order to play this game:

Dice: You need several different polyhedral dice with four, six, eight, ten, twelve and twenty sides (called d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20 for short).

Paper: You’ll need paper for taking notes, drawing maps and diagrams etc. to help describe what is going on during the game.

You can also find a character sheet at the back of the book which you will need to print out for each player character.

Time, some friends and imagination: You need to find some friends willing to play the game and you need time, usually three to four hours worth of game time for a game session.

And last, but not least, you and your friends need imagination—and lots of it—as the game takes place in the minds of the players and the Game Master.

The Dice

Heroes & Monsters™ uses several different kinds of dice, and we abbreviate them according to how many sides they have. So, the four-sided die is called a d4, and if we’re telling you to roll 3 of them, we say to roll 3d4. The six-sided die is a d6, the eight-sided die is a d8, the ten-sided die is a d10, the twelve-sided die is a d12, and the twenty-sided die is a d20. There is no die with 100 sides—what you do to roll a d100 is to roll two ten-sided dice, treating the first roll as the “tens” and the second roll as the “ones.” If you were to roll a 7 and then a 3, for example, the result would be read as “73”. A roll of 0 and 0 means a result of “100.”

The Core Mechanic

Everything a character might possibly attempt that could result in failure is resolved by testing attribute stats, in order to successfully test a stat—a player must roll below it on a d20.

Monsters don’t make tests—a character must avoid their attacks by making a test, the only time a monster would roll is for damage.

Advantage & Disadvantage

A GM may decide that a particular course of action or task has a higher or lower chance of success.

They will ask a player to roll an additional d20 when making a test—with Advantage the lower result is used and with Disadvantage, the higher.


Each player takes the role of a fantastic character, and through that character explores the world and attempts to overcome the challenges created and adjudicated by the Game Master. Creating a new character involves rolling some dice to determine the character’s basic attributes, picking a character race and using the character’s game money to buy equipment.

If you’re the Game Master, you’ve got a bit more preparation to do, which is covered later in the rules. For now, let’s look at creating a Heroes & Monsters™ character.

Character Creation Steps

  1. 1. Determine your Stats.
  2. 2. Choose Alignment.
  3. 3. Choose a Class (and Race).
  4. 4. Buy Equipment.
  5. 5. Determine the final details (background, appearance, personality, alignment, motivations and goals).
  6. 6. Start playing!


The basic Stats are numbers which represent the Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma of the character.

The Stats are rated in values from 7 to 15, where 7 is the lowest and 15 is the highest. Start with a score of 7 in the Stats and you have a pool of 30 points. Assign points to each of the six Stats. No Stat may start higher than 15.

Each Class makes particular use of a number of the stats, so if you wish to carefully construct your character, you may wish to check the classes to see how they are used.

Strength (STR)

Strength is a measure of your physical strength and applies to direct physical task, such as lifting, pushing or dragging heavy objects, climbing, jumping, and for attacking someone in melee combat. Strength also determines how much equipment you can carry without being encumbered and for resisting physical harm that cannot be dodged.

Dexterity (DEX)

Dexterity is a combination of coordination and quickness. Dexterity applies to coordination tasks, such as hiding, sneaking, manipulating fine objects, operating vehicles and for attacking someone with a ranged weapon. Dexterity also determines your Initiative in combat and resisting physical harm that can be dodged.

Constitution (CON)

Constitution is the health and endurance of the character. Constitution applies to health tasks, such as wilderness survival and resisting disease, poison and death.

Intelligence (INT)

Intelligence represents IQ, reasoning, and the ability to solve puzzles or understand difficult concepts. Intelligence applies to mental tasks, such as memory and problem-solving, casting Magic-User spells, and for resisting spells and magical devices.

Wisdom (WIS)

Wisdom determines a character’s insight, perception, willpower and good judgment. Wisdom applies to intuitive tasks, such as perception and resisting deception, detecting illusions and casting Clerical spells.

Charisma (CHA)

A highly charismatic character has a better chance to talk his way out of trouble. Charisma applies to social tasks, such as persuasion and guile, and resisting Charming effects.


All sapient creatures in Heroes & Monsters have an Alignment.

This represents the philosophical outlook of the creature. There are two opposing philosophical alignments that a creature might have: Order, or Chaos.

Creatures aligned with Order, usually referred to as “Lawful” creatures, enjoy stability, routine, and predictability. They are likely to live in large cities with well-defined social mores and caste, class systems or other forms of social stratification where everyone knows their place and there is little social mobility.

Such societies can be benevolent and protective or oppressive and tyrannical in nature, but in either case one’s position in society and feeling as if one belongs to a group are often seen as more important than individuality.

Creatures aligned with Chaos, usually referred to as “Chaotic” creatures, are quite the opposite. They prefer novelty and change to stodgy routine, and are more likely to live in small family groups or clans than in cities. Position and respect in such groups is often very changeable and linked to individual traits such as strength or honor. Chaotic societies can be bastions of altruism, freedom and individuality or brutal dog-eat-dog places where only the strongest survive.

Many creatures don’t wholly embrace either of these philosophies, preferring something in-between the two. These creatures are usually simply referred to as “Neutral”.

The constant struggle between Order and Chaos is the struggle between civilization and barbarism and the balance swings back and forth as empires rise and fall. This struggle is also an inherent part of the way magic works, and there are magical effects and spells that vary depending on whether the alignments of their caster and target match.

A character’s alignment may make them more susceptible to certain magical effects.


After determining your Attribute scores, the next thing you need to do is to pick your class. A class is both your profession, and life style. It determines what you are good at (and also bad at), and what abilities you may learn during play.

There are seven classes available in Heroes & Monsters™, four human classes – Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, and Thief, and three non-human classes – Dwarf, Elf and Halfling.

The classes are presented below in more detail with a description, a list of its special class abilities and some background information that might help new players better realize their character.

The Cleric

Clerics are armored priests who serve a particular alignment, religion, or patron deity. Players may make up the details if the Game Master doesn’t use a particular mythology for the campaign.

Mythologies and other details of a campaign world often come later if the Game Master is just starting. The Cleric is a champion of his faith and moral alignment. The character might be a sinister witch-hunter, an exorcist of demons, a shining knight of the faith, or a secret agent of some temple hierarchy.

Since many of the Cleric’s abilities are oriented toward healing and protecting, they tend to play a support role during combat.

However, they are able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the party’s Fighters if need be—at least for a while. Clerics must be either Lawful (good) or Chaotic (evil). There are no Neutral

Clerics unless the Game Master decides otherwise.

Starting HP: 8+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 4

HP Gained during Resting: 1d8

Weapons & Armor: All Blunt Weapons, thrown oil, and all Armor and Shields

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Faithful: Roll with Advantage on any one area that is promoted by the deity.

Blessed: Roll with Advantage when testing CON to avoid damage from poison or being paralyzed.

Banish Undead: A Cleric can spend an action to banish all Nearby undead by testing their WIS and adding the creature’s HD to the roll. Banished undead must spend all their actions to move away from the cleric for 2d4 rounds.

Clerical Spellcasting

Clerics can cast a number of Cleric Spells per day, see the Spellcasting section.

Sacred Text

Clerics start with a large sacred text containing a total of 1d4 spells from the Level 1 and 2 Cleric Spell lists.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR or WIS.

The Fighter

The Fighter is a warrior, trained in battle and in the use of armor and weapons. Your character might be a ferocious Viking raider, a roaming samurai, or a medieval knight. Because they are the best equipped of all the character classes to deal out and absorb damage, Fighters often end up on the front lines, going toe-to-toe with dragons, goblins, and evil cultists. If you are the party’s Fighter, the down-and-dirty work is up to you.

Starting HP: 10+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 5

HP Gained during Resting: 1d10

Weapons & Armor: Any and All.

Attack Damage: 1d8/1d6 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Brute Force: Roll with Advantage when testing STR related to physical strength, brawn, pulling, pushing and breaking things.

Hard to Kill: Roll with Advantage when testing CON to avoid damage or effects from poison and death.

Weapon Mastery: Fighters have Advantage on all attack rolls.

Extra Attacks: As part of their action a Fighter can make up to 1 attack per odd level with any weapon.

Parry: A fighter can parry a melee attack or a thrown missile, giving Advantage to the STR or DEX stat roll to avoid being hit. However, this counts as an action, so the fighter cannot also attack in the same round.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR or DEX.

The Magic-User

The Magic-User is a mysterious figure, a student of arcane powers and dark magic. They can be devastating opponents.

However, in the beginning, as new and inexperienced spellcasters, they are quite vulnerable and must be protected by the other party members. As Magic-Users progress, they generally become the most powerful of the character classes—holding sway over the political destinies of great kingdoms and able to create wondrous magical artifacts.

Starting HP: 4+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 2

HP Gained during Resting: 1d4

Weapons & Armor: Dagger, Sling, and Staff. No armor or shields.

Attack Damage: 1d4/1 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Loremaster: Roll with Advantage when testing INT for deciphering texts, reading and speaking languages and understanding magical items.

Strong Mind: Roll with Advantage when testing INT to avoid damage or effects from spells or magical devices.

Magic Scrolls: Magicians can write a one-use scroll for any spell they know. This takes 1 day and costs 100gp per level of the spell, e.g. 2 days and 200gp for a 2nd level scroll.

Magic-User Spellcasting

Magic-Users can cast a number of Magic-User Spells per day, see the Spellcasting section.


Wizards start with a large spellbook containing a total of 1d4+2 spells from the Level 1 and 2 Arcane Spell lists.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for INT or WIS.

The Thief

While there are many who wield sword and spell while exploring tombs and dungeons, the thief hopes to recover lost riches through the use of guile and stealth. Though trained in arms, he is not a combatant by trade. Instead he strikes from the shadows and his keen eyes see dangers that his companions do not.

Their unique skill set makes them very useful to dungeoneers and explorers.

Thieves often go equipped with but a few weapons and light armor, and rely on picks and tools for survival.

When combat does arise, they fade into the darkness, ready to plunge a dagger into the backs of unsuspecting foes.

Starting HP: 6+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 3

HP Gained during Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Any weapon, leather armor, no shields.

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Thieves’ Skills: Roll against DEX with Advantage to open locks, remove traps, pick pockets, move silently, or hide in shadows. Roll against WIS with Advantage to hear noise. Roll against STR with Advantage to climb sheer surfaces.

Quick Reflexes: Roll with advantage when rolling DEX to avoid damage from traps or magical devices.

Lucky: Once per day, when making a Stat roll a Thief can roll twice and take the better of the two.

Quick Draw: Right before combat breaks out, the Thief is able to make a Dexterity check. If successful, they pull out a light weapon (i.e., dagger, dart, hand crossbow, etc.) and can attempt an attack on a target.

Sneak Attack: Roll with Advantage when attacking from behind, +1 damage die plus the Thief’s level in extra damage.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for DEX or WIS.

The Dwarf

Dwarfs tend to live in underground cities. As such, Dwarfs easily take note of certain features of stonework: sloping corridors, moving walls, and traps made of stone (in particular: falling blocks, rigged ceilings, and tiny slits designed to release arrows, darts, or poison gas).

What the Dwarf does or does not perceive is for the Game Master to decide but for an optional die roll to use, see the Dwarf special features below.

Starting HP: 10+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 5

HP Gained during Resting: 1d10

Weapons & Armor: Any light and medium weapons and battle axes, no other heavy weapons. All armor and shields.

Attack Damage: 1d8/1d6 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Extra Attacks: As part of their action a Dwarf can make up to 1 attack per odd level with any weapon.

Axe Fighter: Dwarfs have Advantage on attack rolls when fighting with axes.

Fortitude: Dwarfs have Advantage on CON rolls against poisons and diseases, and Advantage on INT rolls to avoid damage or effects from spells and magical devices.

Miner: Roll with Advantage on INT tests when mining, and on WIS tests to spot traps, slopes, shifting walls, and new construction.

Small Stature: When fighting very large creatures, such as Giants, Ogres, and Trolls, Dwarfs only take half damage from the creature’s attacks.

Darkvision: A dwarf can see in complete darkness (nonmagical) out to Nearby distance.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR or CON.

The Elf

The Game Master can interpret Elves in many different ways. Are they faerie-folk of Irish legend, the Vanir of Norse mythology, or perhaps something more akin to the Elves of Tolkien’s imagination?

The Elf is essentially a blend of Fighter and Magic-user. Elves are associated with magic as well as being skilled with the sword and bow. Elves must use a spell book to prepare spells, just as a Magic-User.

Starting HP: 6+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 3

HP Gained during Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Any and all.

Attack Damage: 1d8/1d6 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Extra Attacks: As part of their action an Elf can make up to 1 attack per three levels with any weapon.

Strong Mind: Elves are immune sleeping spells and have Advantage on WIS tests to resist illusions.

Resist Paralysis: Roll with Advantage on CON to resist the damage and effects of paralysis from undead.

Keen Senses: Rolls with Advantage on WIS tests when listening and when searching for secret or hidden doors.

Darkvision: An elf can see in complete darkness (non-magical) out to Nearby distance.

Elf Spellcasting

Elves can cast a number of Arcane Spells per day, see the Spellcasting section.


Elvess start with a spellbook containing a total of 1d4 spells from the Level 1 Magic-User Spell lists.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR or INT. Elves have a slower rate of leveling than the other classes and need one additional game session played before being able to level up.

The Halfling

Halflings are short, often stout, and live in shires, rustic communities that are usually remote from those of larger folk. A few of them have a mildly adventurous spirit, enough to venture forth for a while at least, exploring the world beyond the farms and fields of the local shire.

Starting HP: 8+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 3

HP Gained during Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Any weapon, except heavy melee weapons. All armor and shields.

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Extra Attacks: As part of their action a Halfling can make up to 1 attack per three levels with any weapon.

Magic Resistance: Roll with Advantage on CHA against Fear effects and on INT when avoiding damage or effects from spells or magical devices.

Sharpshooter: Rolls with Advantage when attacking with Ranged weapons.

Small Stature: When fighting very large creatures, such as Giants, Ogres, and Trolls, Halflings take only half damage from their attacks.

Stealth: Rolls with Advantage when hiding in shadows or undergrowth, moving silently, and keeping hidden.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for DEX or CHA.


Each character has 200 gold pieces (gp) for buying equipment.

See Equipment for more details.


All characters in Heroes & Monsters™, are considered literate and fluent in their native language and Common, plus a number of bonus languages equal to INT -10 (any negative numbers counts as 0), which means that they are fluent in at least one additional language beyond their native language. Your character may choose any language available in the campaign setting.

Final Details

The character creation process provides you with the skeleton of your alter ego, but it’s up to you to put meat on those bones. The background details of your character’s life are largely up to you, as is personality. Some people like to develop their characters during play and that’s a perfectly reasonable approach. When you start to play, it may be enough to know that your character is a Barbarian who has left the Frozen North to seek his fortune.

Many players, however, prefer to work out background and personality before play begins. This section offers some advice on doing so.

Choose a Personality

While the descriptions above give some clues to a race’s overall outlook, the personality of your character depends entirely upon you. Characters can be heroic or villainous, logical or whimsical, romantic or businesslike as you see fit. You should keep in mind, however, that all characters in Heroes & Monsters™ are adventurers by trade, and selecting a personality that does not jibe well with a profession that involves crawling into ancient ruins and battling terrible monsters is probably not a good idea.

You should also keep in mind that you will typically be playing the game with others, and a certain amount of cohesion between team members is suggested. Extreme personalities that cause disruptions might not be welcome in some groups as they are seen as a distraction from the game and an obstacle to successful play.

Age & Appearance

Dwarfs are typically 4’3” to 4’8” tall and weigh 110-130 lbs. They have a lifespan of 300-400 years. Elves are typically 5’0” to 5’6” tall and weigh 100-125 lbs. They have a lifespan of up to 1000 years. Halflings are typically 3’6” to 4’0” tall and weigh 50-70 lbs.

They have a lifespan of 100-150 years. Humans are the most varied, but on average they are about 5’6” to 6’2” tall and weigh between 150-200 lbs. Humans have a lifespan of 70-100 years.


No character is complete without having weapons, armor and a backpack filled with various equipment. This chapter starts with a description of the weapons and armor available, followed by the general adventuring items a character might need. Also included are costs of living and prices for using hired services.

Buying Equipment

Each character starts with 200 gold pieces at the beginning of the game, used to buy equipment. One gold piece (gp) is worth 10 silver pieces (sp) or 100 copper pieces (cp). Prices for equipment are listed on the tables below, and all are given in gold pieces.


As a homage to old school games of the 70s and 80s a simple rule is included to moderate the amount of loot, armor and equipment that a character can carry. Gms should feel free to apply this rule ‘on the fly’ if a particular character appears to be heavily weighed down. Carrying 50 coins is the equivalent of 1 item.

A character can carry a number of items equal to their STR with no issues. Carrying over this amount means they are encumbered and all attribute tests are taken with Disadvantage—you can also only ever move to somewhere Nearby. They simply cannot carry more than double their STR.

Usage Die

Any item listed on the equipment table which has a usage die (UD) is considered to be a consumable item. When that item is used the next turn, its UD is rolled. If the roll is 1-2 then the UD is downgraded to the next lower die in the chain: d20 > d12 > d10 > d8 > d6 > d4

When you roll a 1-2 on a d4 UD, the item is expended.


Armor is a good life insurance, and might well be the difference between winning and losing in a combat situation. Armor reduce the damage taken from attacks. This damage reduction is called armor points (AP). Shields makes it easier to defend against attacks; subtract -2 on the dice roll for the STR roll to defend from a melee attack and -1 on the DEX roll gainst ranged attacks.

Armor Proficiency

If a character wears armor that is not listed in their class, then they roll at a Disadvantage to any rolls for Initiative, to Attack or Avoid Damage.

Armor & Shields
Armor AP Cost
Leather 1 25
Mail coat 2 50
Plate mail 3 100
Shield STR/DEX Cost
Shield -2/-1 20


Like armor, weapons in Heroes & Monsters™ are divided into a number of general categories based on function, with the exact description of the weapons within a category highly variable.

Some weapon categories provide special advantages.

Class Weapons

When using a weapon not listed in their class, combat tests have Disadvantage.

Weapon Damage Range Cost
Light Melee Weapon -1 Close 10
Medium Melee Weapon +0 Close 25
Heavy Melee Weapon +2 Close 50
Light Ranged Weapon -1 Nearby 10
Medium Ranged Weapon +0 Far 25
Heavy Ranged Weapon +2 Nearby 50

Notes: Light Melee weapon: -1 on the attack roll. Includes dagger, hatchet, club and shortsword.

Medium Melee Weapon: Includes axe, mace, spear, staff, sword and warhammer.

Heavy Melee Weapon: +2 on the attack roll. Includes battle axe, maul, polearm and two-handed sword.

Light Ranged weapon: -1 on the attack roll. Includes javelin, sling, throwing knife and throwing axe.

Medium Ranged Weapon: Includes bow and crossbow.

Heavy Ranged Weapon: +2 on the attack roll, includes longbow and heavy crossbow.

Adventuring Gear
Equipment Cost UD Notes
Quiver of arrows/bolts 10 d10
Pouch of sling stones 2 d10
Backpack 5 Carry +2 extra items over Str
Flask of oil 2 d6
Hammer 2
12 iron spikes 1
12 wooden stakes 1
Grappling hook 5
Crowbar 5
Lantern 10
Tent 20
Bedroll 2
Handheld mirror 5
Preserved Rations 15 d8
Fresh Rations 5 d4
Common herbs 10 d8
Spellbook (blank) 100
Scroll case 3
Holy symbol, wood 2
Holy symbol, silver 25 +2 WIS when banishing
Holy water 25 d4
Shovel 5
50′ Rope, hemp 1
50′ Rope, silk 5
Small Sack 1
Large Sack 2
Flint & Steel 5
Equipment Cost UD Notes
Torches (6) 1 d6 Each torch has a Usage Die
Wineskin 1 d6
Wine 1
10′ Pole 1
Horse, draft 30
Horse, light riding 40
Mule 20
Warhorse, medium 100
Warhorse, heavy 200
Saddle 25
Saddle bags 10
Horse armor, leather 120
Horse armor, metal 320
Cart 80
Wagon 160
Raft 40
Boat 100
Small sailing ship 5,000
Large sailing ship 20,000
Small galley 10,000
Large galley 30,000

Hiring Assistants

Many characters, particularly when first starting an adventuring career, are in the need of hirelings to assist in carrying loot or fighting monsters. The table below assumes that a typical adventure lasts roughly one week. Prices are in gold pieces. Demi-humans cost 50% more to hire.

Hiring Assistants
Hireling Cost per week
Non-combatant (servant, torch bearer) 5
General “redshirt” soldier 2
Horseman, Sailor 3
Blacksmith 5
Armorer 25
Ship Captain 75
Animal Trainer, Spy 125
Engineer 200
Alchemist 250
Assassin, Sage 500

Optional: Better Quality

As an option, the GM might allow the players to buy items with a higher quality. This cost five times the normal price and the item gets Advantage on Stat rolls to use it. Armors gain +1 AP and weapons gain +1 on damage rolls.

Rules of Play

This chapter describes how to play the game. Here we will cover when to roll dice, how to survive melee and magical effects, monsters and foes and how characters advance in expertise to become stronger and more capable.

The rules are relatively short and simple to apply. As such, this section provides a framework in which to play and enough to give you the tools to make a rule for any situation that comes up in play. The rules are for both the Game Master and the Players so that there is a shared understanding of the game, allowing you to all get on and tell some great stories about the heroes that you have created.

The Basic Rule

Everything a character might possibly attempt, where failure would be interesting, is resolved by testing one of the Attribute Stats. These numbers were generated as part of character generation.

In order to successfully test a Stat—a player must roll below it on a d20.

Monsters and other adversaries don’t make tests—a character must avoid their attacks by making a test. The only time a GM would roll dice is when a player fails a defensive test and a monster’s attack damage die must be rolled.

Advantage & Disadvantage

A GM may decide that a particular course of action or task has a higher or lower chance of success. They will ask a player to roll an additional die when making a test—with Advantage the player picks the most advantageous result and with Disadvantage the GM chooses the die. A character’s Race and Class provide examples when Advantage and Disadvantage dice rolls are in play. Advantage and Disadvantage do not stack; you can only ever have one extra dice in play. If there were two reasons to have Advantage, and one for Disadvantage, you would only have a single Advantage die.

Saving Throws

Heroes & Monsters™ asks the player to roll Attribute tests when any spell, trap or effect would impact them—using the below as a guide. Apply the advice in the Powerful Opponents section (p. 36).

Strength: Physical Harm that cannot be dodged.

Dexterity: Physical Harm that can be dodged.

Constitution: Poison, Disease or Death.

Intelligence: Resisting Spells and Magic.

Wisdom: Deception and Illusions.

Charisma: Charming and fear effects.


Whenever a character carries out a significant action where the outcome is uncertain then it is a test. Tests, like combat actions and saving throws, require a d20 roll under a Stat to succeed.

Choose a Stat depending on the type of action.

Strength: Physical strength, brawn, pulling, pushing and breaking things, swimming, climbing.

Dexterity: Athletics, dodging, handeye coordination, juggling, moving.

Constitution: Keep going, Holding your breath, Staying sober.

Intelligence: Debating, understanding, lore and knowledge, reading, healing, building and construction.

Wisdom: Perception, common sense, force of will, empathy.

Charisma: Persuasion, seduction, negotiation, haggling, oratory, command.

The Races and Classes identify the sorts of tests that gain Advantage.

The GM may decide that some tests require specialist or intensive training. In these cases the default test roll is at a Disadvantage or simply not possible. Examples of these tests might include specialist lore or knowledge, battle tactics, chirurgery or trained physical discipline, such as horse archery.

Initiative, Attacking and Defending in combat are particular types of test and are covered below.

Degrees of Success

When rolling for any kind of test, certain die results create special effects.

If you roll a 1 on a test then that is the best result possible and is called a critical. The Test is carried out to perfection. More information is available if it is an observation.

Devotion follows a persuasion Test. A critical climb or jump would place the character precisely where they needed to be with the minimum of fuss and at great speed. Attacks will do more damage (see p. 36) and Defenses negate all damage and create a positional advantage to the defender.

If you roll equal to or less then your character level and also lower than the Stat being tested then this is a special. This is a particularly good success. Some classes use this to generate extra impressive attacks. With a special something extra, unexpectedly useful or good for the character, can be described along with the success.

If you roll a ‘20’ on a test then it is a failure, even if it should have been a success.

Even characters with stats at 20 or high stats with bonuses will fail some of the time.

If you roll exactly equal to the stat on a test then Fate has taken an interest and has stepped in. The GM decides the outcome of the test, either a success or a failure, but also introduces a new situation into the action, either linked to the test or the overall story. Fate acts as a trigger for the GM to bring new and unplanned things into play.

Here are some examples: ? The dragon is suddenly seen overhead. After so long, it has now emerged to hunt.

  • Your sword is embedded in the troll’s hide. You cling on as it lumbers through the undergrowth.
  • As you turn you see the outline of a door shimmering in the revealed moonlight.

Combat and Action

In the deadly and tumultuous worlds of Heroes & Monsters™ mortal combat is frequent and inevitable. The lands are full of dangers and evil foes. It is quite possible that your character can die in the game. The rules below will guide you through the perils and hopefully you will come out the other side unscathed.

Time & Turns

There are 2 important types of tracked time—Moments (rounds) and Minutes (turns). Moments are short pulses of time, only a few seconds, used during combat and fast paced scenes of danger. It’s enough time for all characters and opponents to act. Minutes are used when exploring and adventuring. A GM may advance the clock as they need substituting Minutes for Hours, Days or even Months should the adventure require it.

Player’s Turn

During a player’s turn in a Moment, a character may move and perform an action.

They could attack, look for a clue, talk with an NPC, cast a spell – interacting with the world is an action. Often they will test their attributes to determine the outcome.

Movement & Distance

Rather than track precise numbers, Heroes & Monsters™ uses 4 abstract ranges for measuring distances. Close, Nearby, Far-Away and Distant. On their turn every character can move somewhere Nearby as part of an action, performing that action at any stage of the move. They can forgo their action and move somewhere Far-Away instead. Anything beyond Far-Away can be classified as Distant and would take 3 moves to get to.

This system is designed to support the narrative ‘theatre of the mind’ style of play, and is less concerned about tracking squares and fiddly distances. For converting existing movement rates or measures (for spells or areas of effect) use the following as a guide: CLOSE NEARBY FAR-AWAY DISTANT 0-5ft. 5-60ft. 60-120ft. Beyond 120 ft.


When combat breaks out, everyone must be sorted into an order so that they each get to act and react in turn. Every character tests their DEX, those that succeed, take their turn before their opponents, they must then act as a group, deciding their own order for actions. Those that fail their DEX tests, go after their opponents.


If one side or another are attempting to ambush the other, then first resolve a Test of Stealth vs Perception. If the Pcs are being ambushed they must choose one of their number to test WIS on behalf of the group. Class or Race may provide Advantage, and there may be circumstances where the characters are at Disadvantage.

If the ambush is successful then the opponents have initiative and go first for the duration of the combat.

Conversely the group must be successful in a test of DEX to ambush opponents. If the ambush is successful then the Pcs have initiative and go first for the duration of the combat.


When a character attacks an opponent they must roll below their STR stat for a Melee Attack or DEX for a Ranged Attack. Likewise, when a creature attacks, the character must roll below their STR to defend against a Melee Attack and their DEX against a Ranged Attack to avoid taking damage. A GM will often give the stat required for the test.

The damage an attack deals is based on the character’s class or the number of HD a monster has. Class special abilities sometimes increases the damage die.

To make a Melee Attack an opponent must be Close. Ranged Attacks against Close opponents are possible, but the attacker suffers a Disadvantage.

Monsters deal damage based on their HD – refer to the table next to the list of Monsters but if you’d prefer to use the damage stats listed in an existing module that you are playing, you can certainly do that instead.

Light & Heavy Weapons

Light weapons, i.e. daggers, are easy to use but cause less damage.

You subtract –1 from any dice rolled with them, including stat rolls and attack damage.

Heavy two-handed weapons (great sword, halberd, flail, morning star, pole arm, pike, and heavy crossbow), as well as lance, add +2 to any dice rolled with them.

Critical Damage

If a player making an attack rolls a 1, they double the result of the damage dice they roll. If they roll a 20 when avoiding an attack, they take double damage. Armor Points are used normally.

Monster Hit Dice

Hit Dice, or HD, represents a monster’s level and the number of d8 rolled to determine its HP. The higher the HD the more powerful the monster and the more damage it inflicts when it hits a character. Also, note that for every HD the monster is above a PC level, then add that number to all dice rolls against it (see below).

Monster HD Damage
1 d4 (2)
2 d6 (3)
3 2d4 (4)
4 d10 (5)
5 d12 (6)
6 d6 + d8 (7)
7 2d8 (8)
8 3d6 (9)
9 2d10 (10)
10 d10 + d12 (11)
11+ 2d12 (12)

Powerful Opponents

For every HD above the character’s level, add +1 to every roll the player makes for any attribute test that would determine the outcome of a conflict between them and the opponent. – A level 3 character defending against a HD 5 monster’s attack would add +2 to their roll.

Player vs. Player

There may come points in your shared story when player characters come to blows with each other. Apply the following rules: Initiative – everyone rolls initiative. Lowest successful initiative rolled goes first, followed by other successful rolls in ascending order. Next is the lowest rolled failed initiative, followed by other failed rolls in ascending order.

Tests – apply the Powerful Opponents rule using Levels instead of HD for all Tests, including Attacks.

Armor Points

Armor provides protection by reducing all incoming damage.

Each type will reduce damage by a number of Armor Points.

Shields also help to protect in battle. They add -2 to the character’s STR roll when defending against a melee attack, and -1 to the DEX roll when defending against a ranged attack.

Monsters may also benefit from armor. If it is natural armor then there is no UD and this is usually simply factored into the monster’s Hit Points. Some humanoid monsters also carry shields.


A character who is falling takes 1d6 damage for every 10 feet of falling distance.


Some monsters in the main rulebook will cause PC’s to become Paralyzed. Whilst Paralyzed a character cannot move, talk or take any actions. At the start of their turn a character can make a CON test, if successful they are no-longer Paralyzed and can continue the rest of their turn.

Note: You can use the same approach to model lots of impairing effects, Poison, Fire, Insanity, Blindness etc – just vary up the associated attributes.

Disease & Poison

If the CON roll fails, a victim of disease dies in one week unless Cure Disease is cast. A victim of poison dies in 6 rounds unless a Neutralize Poison is cast.


Monsters will often attack as a horde, seeking to surround and overwhelm opponents with numbers. When acting as a horde you can simplify how to handle the situation and minimize die rolls.

Use these optional rules to handle a horde: ? A maximum of 4 monsters of human size can attack a character at once.

  • For a mixed group of Monsters pick the one with the highest HD for the Powerful Opponent Rule.
  • Make one Defense roll for the whole Horde. Add +1 to the die roll for each opponent after the first attacking.
  • Hordes inflict damage by taking the highest HD monster as base damage and then increase the damage die one step for each monster after the first.
  • To attack a horde, treat it as one target. Add +1 to the die roll for each opponent after the first in the horde. Roll damage as usual and choose which of the horde are affected.

Random Encounters

The GM should roll a d10 Usage Die every 15 minutes of real world play. A result of 1-2 means the players will encounter a randomly generated creature or distraction in the following Minutes (turn).

The Usage Die is reduced to the next lower until it becomes a d4.

Banishing Undead

Clerics can attempt to banish nearby undead as an action. They must successfully test their WIS for each group of creatures they are attempting to banish, adding the highest creature’s HD to the roll. A cleric can Banish a number of undead equal to Level x 3 in HD.

A GM will determine which creatures are in any particular group.

Undead monsters that are Banished by Clerics must spend all their movement (and convert actions to movement) to move away from the Cleric for 2d4 Moments after being Banished.

Creature Reactions

Most monsters and Npcs will have predetermined personalities and goals that will guide a GM when choosing their actions and feelings towards the characters. Those that do not, such as randomly encountered creatures, make a Reaction roll on the following table:

d8 Roll Reaction
1 Flee then roll again.
2 Avoid the Pcs entirely.
3 Trade with Pcs.
4 Give the Pcs aid.
5 Mistake the Pcs for friends.
6 Trick the Pcs (roll again).
7 Call for Reinforcements.
8 Capture/Kill/Eat the PCs.

Hunger & Rations

At the start of a session every character rolls their ration’s Usage die. If they are unable to eat/drink for any reason – they roll all tests with Disadvantage until they do.

As soon as they have eaten rations, a character regains 1 Hd Hit Points, they can eat more should the story dictate – but only gain the healing benefit once per games session.

Death & Dying

When a character is reduced to zero Hit Points (HP) they are taken Out of Action (Oofa), they are unconscious and cannot make any actions. When the fight is over/are out of danger, a character that is taken Oofa can roll on the table (below) to see what happens to them. If they survive they gain 1d4 HP.

If the characters lose the fight or are unable to recover the body of the character, the character is lost forever!

d10 Roll Out Of Action
1 KO’d – Just knocked out.
2 Fat Head – Disadvantage on all tests for the next hour.
3 Cracked Bones – STR, DEX and CON are temp. -2 for the next day.
4 Crippled – STR or DEX is permanently reduced by 2.
5 Disfigured – CHA reduced to 4.
6 Dead – Not alive anymore.
7 Disfigured – CHA reduced by 4.
8-9 Dead – Not alive anymore but spirit is at rest.
10 Undead – Not alive but the spirit is restless and will return as a ghost or raise the corpse as a hungry undead with HD equal to character’s level unless buried with the full appropriate rites.


Characters can gain Hit Points from Spells, Potions, Abilities and Time. They can never gain more than their maximum – and can never go below zero either. When healing a character who is Oofa, just start at zero and count up. That character is now back on their feet and no longer Oofa.

A character with a healing ability can heal someone up to 1d4 HP per odd level gained on a successful WIS test. So, a level 5 healer would heal 3d4 HP. A character can only receive the benefit of a healing ability once until damaged again.


Once per day, after resting, characters may roll the Hit Die associated with their class and regain that many HP.


Adventurers learn through defeating and overcoming obstacles.

Killing one boring Kobold won’t bring a revelation of learning to someone. Surviving a dungeon of terrors, completing a quest, or simply living to tell the tale, are the things that bring perspective and growth.

For every 2-3 sessions the character survives they gain a level. The GM will decide which, and it’s recommended that this decision remains more or less a constant throughout the campaign – and a GM should be clear and upfront with the players so they know where the ‘goalposts’ are.

Note: Elves need 3-4 sessions before they gain a level.

Gaining Levels

When a character levels up, their maximum Hit Points increase by rolling the Hit Die for the class. Also a player should roll a d20 for each Stat, if the result is higher – that Stat increases by 1.

Level 10 is the highest level where all the special Class gains apply. At 10th the character has reached the apex of their capabilities.

However, if you want to play on with your mighty hero, then why not? For every level from 11 to 20 gain 1 extra Hit Point, Stat increase rolls are made as usual, but the limit is 20. Level dependent class abilities stop improving after level 10.

If this starts an arms race with even more fearsome monsters having HD greater than 12 then so be it!


Clerics, Elves and Magic-Users have the ability to cast spells that are chosen from their appropriate class list. Elves and Magic-Users using INT and Clerics using WIS.

They can cast any spell they know by reading from their spellbook/holy text/music, or can memories a number of spells equal to their Level and cast those without them. Write them down, these are the spellcaster’s spells for the day.

They have a number of ‘spell slots’ they can cast each day—as shown below. These represent a magic user’s ‘energy’ and the taxing nature of casting spells over a long period. When they run out of spell slots, they cannot cast any more spells.

Once a spell is cast the character must test their INT/WIS—adding the spell’s level to the roll.

If they fail then they reduce the number of ‘spell slots’ corresponding to the spell level just cast by 1. When a memorized spell is cast it is not forgotten. If there remain spell slots for the level of spell, the memorized spell can be cast again.

After roughly 8 hours rest, the number of ‘spell slots’ a character has refreshes to its maximum.

If you are adapting a spell from a traditional OSR or original era game that calls for a creature to make a save, then instead the spellcaster must test their INT or WIS—to see if the magic cast was powerful enough to overcome their defenses (remember the Powerful Opponents rule).

Cleric Spells Per Day

Note: columns are spell slot levels, lines are character levels.

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 1
2 2
3 2 1
4 2 2
5 2 2 1
6 2 2 2
7 2 2 2 1
8 2 2 2 2 1
9 3 3 2 2 2 1
10 3 3 3 2 2 2 1

Magic-User Spells Per Day

Note: columns are spell slot levels, lines are character levels.

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 1
2 2
3 3 1
4 3 2
5 4 2 1
6 4 3 2
7 4 3 2 1
8 4 3 3 2 1
9 4 3 3 2 2 1
10 4 3 3 2 2 2 1

Elf Spells Per Day

Note: columns are spell slot levels, lines are character levels.

1 1
2 2
3 3 1
4 4 2
5 4 2 1
6 4 2 2
7 4 3 2 1
8 4 3 3 2
9 4 3 3 2 1
10 4 3 3 2 2

Cleric Spells

1st Level

Cure Light Wounds: Heal 1d8 HP to a Nearby target.

Detect Evil: Everything Nearby that is evil glows – 5 mins.

Detect Magic: Everything Nearby that is magic glows – 5 mins.

Light: Create dim light from a Nearby spot or object – 1 hr.

Protection from Chaos: Advantage on tests from Chaotic (Lawful) sources, enchanted beings blocked – 1 hr.

Purify Food and Drink: Removes all diseases from all Nearby food and drink.

Remove Fear: Roll WIS to remove fear from a near target.

Resist Cold: Ignore normal cold, advantage against cold attacks – 5 mins.

2nd Level

Bless: Nearby allies gain +1 to stats when making attacks and saves – 1 hr.

Control Snakes: Control of 1 HD of nearby snakes per level – 10 mins.

Find Traps: Find Traps : Notice all nearby traps – 10 mins.

Hold Person: Paralyze 1d4 Nearby targets. Test WIS each turn to see if the effect lasts.

Resist Fire: Ignore normal fire, advantage against fire attacks – 5 mins.

Silence: Magical silence covering everything Nearby to a target – 1 hr.

Speak with Animals: Can understand and talk with animals – 1 hr.

3rd Level

Daylight: A nearby area is illuminated by sunlight – 1 hr.

Cure Disease: Cures a Nearby target of all diseases.

Locate Object: Sense direction of a known object – 1 min/ level.

Prayer: All Nearby allies defend against attacks with Advantage – 1d4 rounds.

Remove Curse: Removes a curse from a Nearby target.

Speak with Dead: Ask a Nearby corpse 3 questions.

Warding: Does 1d4 damage per level to any enemy coming close to a point

4th Level

Control Plants: Control of 1 HD of nearby plants per level – 10 mins.

Create Food/Water: Create enough food/water for all Nearby creatures for a day.

Cure Serious Wounds: Heal 3d8+3 HP to a Nearby target.

Neutralize Poison: Remove/Immunize poison from a Nearby target – 10 mins.

Protection from Chaos: Nearby allies gain 6 temp AP against evil creatures – 10 mins.

Speak with Plants: Can understand and talk with plants – 1 hr.

Sticks to Snakes: Can turn 2d6 sticks into snakes, 50% are venomous – 1 hr.

Tongues: Caster speaks, understands languages of near beings – 5 mins.

5th Level

Commune: The Cleric’s deity truthfully answers 3 questions – 10 mins.

Create Food and Drink: Create enough food for all Nearby persons for a day.

Dispel Chaos: Removes a Nearby Divine (Chaotic) spell.

Finger of Death: Choose a Nearby target and test WIS, if a pass the target is Oofa.

Flame Strike: 6d8 to all targets close to a specified near point.

Plague: Test WIS for all Nearby targets, they lose 2d8 HP for the next 1d6 minutes.

Quest: Force a Nearby creature to obey an order.

Raise Dead: Return a Nearby willing target to life, who’s died within the last 7 days.

6th Level

  • Animate Object: Give a Nearby object motion and a simple intelligence – 10 mins.
  • Blade Barrier: Wall covers a Nearby area, WIS to attack Close targets (3d8) – 10 mins.
  • Conjure Elemental: Summons an elemental with HD equal to caster’s lvl – 1 hr.
  • Find Path: Shows shortest, safest path to a chosen location – 10 mins.
  • Heal: Undoes all damage, disease, poison, etc. on one close living target
  • Lightning Strike: 6d8 to all targets near to a specified far point.
  • Speak with Monsters: Can understand and talk with monsters – 1 hr.
  • Word of Recall: Give ability to teleport back to the location this spell was cast – 1 year.

7th Level

  • Aerial Servant: Summons a servant to recover a distant object.
  • Astral Spell: Projects an avatar of the caster onto a chosen plane – 1 hr.
  • Control Weather: Control the Nearby weather to all extremes – 10 mins.
  • Earthquake: Test WIS for all Nearby creatures, passes are taken Oofa.
  • Holy Word: Nearby creatures with less than 5HD die, 6-10HD paralysed for 1d4 minutes.
  • Projection: Projects avatar at a speed of 100 miles/min per level – 10 mins.
  • Wind Walk: Turn into mist and back, at will – 1 day.
  • Restoration: Returns all levels lost to monsters with level drain or lost Stats.

Elf/Magic-User Spells

1st Level

  • Burn: Near targets in a 90° arc take 1d4 damage/level.
  • Charm: A Nearby target obeys commands. Test WIS each turn to see if the effect lasts.
  • Detect Magic: Everything Nearby that is magic glows – 5 mins.
  • Enlarge: Doubles size of one human-sized target. Increase the attack damage by one die step – 2 mins.
  • Feather Fall: Target floats gently instead of falling – 1 min.
  • Floating Disc: Carries 500 pounds – 12 mins.
  • Hold Portal: A Nearby door or gate is held either open or closed – 2d6 mins.
  • Light: Create dim light from a Nearby spot or object – 1 hour.
  • Magic Missile: A Nearby, Far-Away or Distant target takes 1d4 damage/level.
  • Protection from Chaos: Advantage on tests from Chaotic (Lawful) sources, enchanted beings blocked – 1 hr.
  • Read Language: Read all languages – 10 mins.
  • Read Magic: Read all magic – 10 mins.
  • Shield: Gain 1 AP/ level – 1 round/level.
  • Sleep: Puts 1d6/level worth of HD monsters to sleep. 8 hours. Only affects monsters with HD equal to or less than the caster’s level.
  • Ventriloquism: Throw voice up to far range – 1 round.

2nd Level

  • Blur: All defense Tests are at an Advantage – 1min.
  • Continual Light: A nearby area is illuminated by sunlight – 1 hr.
  • Darkness: Creates darkness covering a Nearby area that blocks all types of vision – 1 hr.
  • Daylight: A near object or point permanently casts bright light.
  • Detection: Specify one type of the following: hostile, invisible or evil creatures. Everything specified that is Nearby glows – 5 mins.
  • Inflict Fear: All near enemies flee in terror – 5 mins.
  • Invisibility: A nearby creature is made invisible until it attacks or dispelled.
  • Knock: A Nearby door or lock is opened.
  • Levitate: The caster floats up to 6 feet from the ground – 10 mins/level.
  • Magic Weapon: By touching a weapon it becomes magical and +1 – 1 hour.
  • Mirror Image: 1 illusion of caster per level, vanishes if attacked – 5 mins.
  • Phantasmal Force: Creates a Nearby illusion dispelled by touch. Test WIS, if a pass, a viewer can be harmed (1d6).
  • Read Thoughts: Understand thoughts of any near being – 10 mins.
  • Web: Traps a Nearby area, stopping movement. Test WIS/hr to see if the effect lasts.
  • Wizard Lock: As Hold Portal, except it is permanent until dispelled. A Magic User 3 levels higher than the caster or a Knock spell can open a door so locked, but this doesn’t dispel the Wizard Lock.

3rd Level

  • Alter Time: 4d6 Nearby allies can act twice per round. Or on a passed INT test, 4d6 enemies can be slowed to act every other turn – 5 mins.
  • Blink: Teleport to a near point as an action – 5 mins.
  • Clairvoyance: See things at a distant point with normal vision – 10 mins.
  • Darkvision: See in absolute darkness – 10 min/level.
  • Dispel Magic: Removes a Nearby Arcane spell or other magic effect at the GM’s discretion.
  • Fireball: 1d6 Nearby creatures take 1d6/level damage.
  • Fly: Allows a Close target to fly 120 ft/round – 1d6 mins + 1 min per level.
  • Haste: Perform two actions instead of one – 2 mins.
  • Hold Person: Paralyze 1d4 Nearby persons. Test INT each turn to see if effect lasts.
  • Lightning Bolt: Creates a lightning bolt in a line out to Nearby. DEX roll to hit, creatures Close to that line take 1d6/level damage. A failed DEX roll causes half damage.
  • Magic Circle: A protective circle that prevents one type of summoned being to cross the circle – 1 hour
  • Magic Mouth: Creates an illusory mouth that repeats a phrase to all Nearby creatures.
  • Protection from Missiles: A Nearby ally becomes immune to small, non-magical missiles – 2 hours.
  • Read: Read all languages and magic – 10 mins.
  • Suggestion: Target obeys simple (non-self-harming) suggestion – 1 week.
  • Water Breathing: Water Breathing: A Nearby ally can breathe under water – 2 hours.

4th Level

  • Charm Monster: On an INT test, 3d6 Nearby creatures of 3 HD or less obey commands until dispelled.
  • Confusion: 2d6 Nearby targets immediately make a Reaction roll. See Reactions.
  • Dimension Door: Teleport a target to a Distant Location.
  • Enchant Weapon: Advantage on all rolls with weapon – 5 mins.
  • Illusionary Terrain: Perfect illusion of any type of terrain (1 week).
  • Inflict Fear: Near enemies flee in terror, 1HD per level – 5 mins.
  • Magic Eye: Invisible floating 360° viewpoint up to distant range – 5 mins.
  • Massmorph: 100 or less persons appear as trees – until dispelled.
  • Plant Growth: Creates impassable tangle of vegetation, far range.
  • Polymorph: Transform a creature to have the appearance of another.
  • Remove Curse: Removes a curse from a Nearby target.
  • Stone Shape: Changes the form of existing stone, 5 cubic feet per level Spell Shield: Protection from level 1-4 spells.
  • Wall of Fire/Ice: Wall covers a Nearby area, WIS to attack Close targets (3d6) – 10 mins.
  • Wall of Stone/Iron: A wall covers a Nearby area – 1 hour.
  • Wizard Eye: Sends an invisible magic ‘eye’ up to Distant at 120 ft/min that allows the caster to see distant events.

5th Level

  • Animal Growth: Makes 1d6 Nearby normal animals to grow to giant size – 2 hrs.
  • Animate Dead: Create 2d4 Skeletons/Zombies with HD/ level, from nearby bodies.
  • Cloudkill: Anyone with less than 5HD that touches it must test INT or be Oofa – 1 hr.
  • Cone of Cold: 1d6/level in front arc of caster, freezes liquids, far range.
  • Conjure Elemental: Create an Elemental of chosen type with 3d4 HD.
  • Contact Higher Plane: Ask 1 question/level.
  • Feeblemind: Reduce a Nearby target’s INT to 4 – 10mins/level.
  • Hold Monster: Paralyze 1d4 Nearby creatures (test INT) or 1 Nearby creature (test INT+2).
  • Passwall: Creates a temporary 10′ deep hole through solid objects big enough for a person to pass – 5 mins.
  • Rock-Mud: Transmutes a 300 ft x 300 ft area of rock or earth to mud 10 ft deep. Reversible.
  • Telekinesis: Move Nearby objects – 1 hour.
  • Teleport: Transports a Nearby target to any place known to the caster.
  • Wall of Stone or Iron: A wall covers a Nearby area – 1hr.

6th Level

  • Anti Magic Shell: Creates a Nearby Zone around the caster blocking all magic – 10 mins.
  • Death Spell: 2d8 Nearby targets with 7HD or fewer die.
  • Disintegrate: Makes one Nearby target or object turn into a fine powder.
  • Invisible Stalker: Summons an extra-dimensional monster to perform one task.
  • Death Spell: 2d8 near targets with less than 7HD die.
  • Disintegrate: Turns one near target into a fine powder.
  • Flesh to Stone: Turns one near creature and its equipment to stone.
  • Geas: Forces target to obey a short instruction from the caster.
  • Move Earth: Shifts topography as desired, up to far range – 5 mins.
  • Part Water: Creates a dry passage through water up to 50’ deep – 5 mins.
  • Reincarnation: Transfers spirit of dead target to a near living creature.
  • Spell Ward: Protects caster and near allies from level 1-4 spells – 1 day.
  • Stone to Flesh: Revives petrified creature or turns mass of stone into flesh.

7th Level

  • Clone: Exact physical and mental duplicate of target, will try to kill original.
  • Conjure Demons: Summons a Demon with 2HD/level.
  • Control Undead: Control over 2HD/level of near undead – 10 mins.
  • Crystaliron: Turns one iron object into a clear substance of half the weight.
  • Dispel Enchanment: Permanently removes all magic from one near item.
  • Immunity: Target is immune to all harmful magic – 5 mins.
  • Limited Wish: Change reality in a limited way or time.
  • Meteor Swarm: Effects the same as casting Fireball 4 times.
  • Permanence: Makes one spell of level 1-3 permanent.
  • Power Word, Kill: A Nearby target with 50 HP or fewer dies and cannot be resurrected.
  • Time Stop: Stops time completely in a Nearby area – 1d4+1 Rounds.
  • Undeath: Target becomes specified type of undead, HD half caster level.


Monsters are the inimitable foes to the player characters.

They will appear everywhere, in large armies controlled by evil sorcerers, in dark corners of wilderness, or in unsuspecting haunts in the midst of civilization.

Monsters are provided in a list, ordered by their Hit Dice (HD), with the weakest at the top. Most monsters will tend to be at a particular HD level, but some are created somewhere on a range, depending on how individually powerful they are. This is particularly true of evil orcs.

To calculate a monster’s Hit Points, roll a number of d8 equal to their HD and total the result.

By default, Monster damage is dictated by their HD. The higher the monster’s HD the more damage they do.


Roving companies of humanoid bandits are common throughout the Wilderness. They can number up to 300 or more, and include archers and cavalry. Large bands have high-level fighters, magicians, and clerics among their leaders. They normally hold 1 prisoner for every 10 bandits.UndeadThe undead are immune to all types of mind-affecting spells or effects.Were-CreaturesIn beast form these creatures are only harmed by silver weapons or magic.They will not approach wolvesbane. Victims bitten by a werecreature will contract lycanthropy in 1 week unless cure disease is cast.Feel free to create your own monsters, it’s really quick. All you need is a name, a description, the number of HD, which equates to power level, and notes on any special powers or attacks. Use the table above to provide a guide on where to place your monster amongst the others.

Monster HD Damage
1 d4 (2)
2 d6 (3)
3 d8 (4)
4 d10 (5)
5 d12 (6)
6 d6 + d8 (7)
7 2d8 (8)
8 3d6 (9)
9 2d10 (10)
10 d10 + d12 (11)
11+ 2d12 (12)

Zombie1 Immune to Sleep and Charm spells. Roll fire damage against the zombie at an Advantage. Advantage when trying to detect due to stench of corpseHippogriff3 Flying, bite or kick.

Creature HD Actions and Specials
Centipede, small 1 Bite (0) + CON test or Oofa – only has 1-2hp.
Dwarf 1 Disadvantage on magic rolls against dwarf.
Elf 1 Immune to ghoulish paralysis.
Fire Beetle 1 Light glands have a usage die of d8.
Fish, Giant 1 1 Bite (1d6).
Goblin 1 Only has 1d6 HP. Will always plan cunning ambushes and place their opponents at a Disadvantage.
Hobgoblin 1 Usually has a backup shield if one is sundered. Uses 1d10 HP.
Human Berserker 1 Disadvantage on defense rolls when Berserker attacks.
Kobold 1 Only has 1d4 HP. Defend at Advantage if the Kobold is attacking in sunlight.
Manes Demon 1 2 Claws (1d2) + 1 Bite (1d4), Half damage from non-magic weapons.
Nixie 1 10 nixies can charm person. Travel with 10-100 giant fish (see above).
Orc 1 +1 to stat for attacks and defense against orcs in sunlight
Pixie 1 Invisible at will (even when attacking).
Rat, Giant 1 Only has 1d6 HP. If bit, test CON to avoid disease.
Disadvantage on stealth rolls if the rat can use its keen sense of smell.
Skeleton 1 Immune to Sleep and Charm spells.
Attacks twice. WIS test or shocked and at a Disadvantage for the first round. Edged weapons roll at a Disadvantage to damage a skeleton.
Stirge 1 Bite (1d4), drains 1d4 HP per round.
Vampire Bat, Giant 1 1d6 damage next moment after attack.
Ant Fighter, Giant 2 Poisonous Bite (1d6) + CON test or add 2d6 damage to the attack.
Carrion Creeper 2 Bite (1) + 6 Tentacles (0) + CON test or Paralyzed.
Dryad 2 Weapon or Charm, test WIS or obey commands.
Ghoul 2 2 claws (1d3) + 1 bite (1d4) + CON test or Paralyzed.
Gnoll 2 Has 2 AP. Spear and Bite attacks. Also can be armed with longbows.
Leech, Giant 2 Drains a Level the moment after dealing damage.
Lizardman 2 Can hold breath underwater for 1 hour.
Pegasus 2 Kick or bite, flying.
Spider, Giant 2 Poison bite, test CON or Oofa, Web as per spell, d6 web usage die. Test DEX to avoid getting stuck.
Trogledyte 2 2 claws + 1 bite (1d4 each), chameleon ability. Stench causes disadvantage on all rolls (CON roll).
Horse 2-3 Can carry 500 pounds (including rider).
Bugbear 3-4 All DEX tests are rolled with disadvantage.
Demon, Lemure 3 Regenerate 1 HP / round, only destroyed by holy water.
Doppleganger 3 Change form in a moment, disadvantage against magic tests.
Grey Ooze 3 Strike, immune to spells, heat, cold, and blunt dam-age, metal weapons or armor must test DEX or be destroyed.
Harpy 3 Song – CHA test or Pcs must move towards it. Two attacks.
Pegasus 3 Can carry 500 pounds (including rider).
Screecher 3 Emit loud screech if approached.
Shadow 3 Touch (1d4 and -1 STR), only hit by magic weapons. Gain Advantage against it if fighting in daylight.
Tick, Giant 3 Bite (1d4), drains 1d4 HP/round, disease (CON roll).
Wererat 3 Cannot gain Advantage when attempting to surprise a Wererat. Can control rats. Only silver and magical weapons can hurt it.
Wight 3 Can only be hit by magical or silver weapons. Drains a Level the moment after dealing damage.
Green Slime – Metal or organic that touches it turns to green slime, test DEX to avoid.
Killed with fire or extreme cold. Transformation can be stopped with Cure Disease.
Yellow Mold – When touched causes 1d6 acid damage.
Destroyed by fire. If disturbed, 50% chance of releasing spores in 10′ area, test CON or Oofa.
Blink Dog 4 Teleport nearby once per fight.
Centaur 4 Weapon or kick (2d6)
Gargoyle 4 2 claws (1d3) + 1 bite (1d4) or 1 horn (1d6).
Gelatinous Cube 4 CON test on touch or be paralyzed, immune to cold and lightning. WIS test to see the cube.
Grizzly Bear 4 2 claws + if both hit hug for 1d8 damage.
Ogre 4 Gives advantage on all CHA tests made against it.
Unicorn 4 Charge for critical damage, spells cast against it test with Disadvantage, can teleport once per day up to 360 feet with rider. Only tamable by a virgin maiden.
War Horse 4 CHA test to get the horse to attack. Kick + Bite (d6)
Wereboar 4 Gore (2d6).
Werewolf 4 Only silver and magical weapons can hurt it.
Worg 4 Mounts for orcs.
Wraith 4 Only silver and magical weapons can hurt it. Half damage from silver weapons. Drains a Level the moment after dealing damage.
Hell Hound 4-7 Bite or Breathes Fire – d3 nearby targets (2d6), test DEX for 1/2 damage.
Barbed Devil 5 2 Claws (1d10), if both hit then crushes opponent into its barbed hide for 1d12. Or, can hurl flame for 2d8 damage.
Disadvantage on magic tests, immune to non magic weapons.
Cockatrice 5 Bite (1d6) and CON test or Petrified.
Ochre Jelly 5 Acid strike, dissolve dead, making hard to revivify, lightning divides creature
Ogre Mage 5 Weapon, Spells: Fly, Invisibility, Polymorph, Dark, Sleep, Charm Person, Spell-like Ability: Frost (3d6) 2+d4 Nearby targets. d8 spell usage die.
Owlbear 5 2 claws (1d8) + 1 bite (2d6) + DEX test or Hug for 2d8.
Rustmonster 5 Touch rusts all iron objects.
Weretiger 5 2 claws + 1 bite (1d6 each).
Hydra 5-12 1 head per HD, some hydra breathe fire or regenerate heads.
Dragon, White 5-7 2 Claws (1d6) + Bite (1d6) or Breathes Cold – d4+2 nearby targets (2d6), test DEX for 1/2 damage.
Basilisk 6 CON test on eye contact or be petrified.
Manicore 6 Flying. Claws and bite or throw 24 tail spikes up to 6 at a time to Far-Away.
Medusa 6 Weapon and hair snakebite (0), test CON or Oofa. Test CON on eye contact or be petrified.
Minotaur 6 Never lost in a labyrinth.
Mummy 6 Attacks stop healing until cure wounds cast, immune to normal weapons, half damage from magic weapons.
Spectre 6 Touch (1d8), drains 1 level, only harmed by magic.
Succubus/Incubus 6 2 Claws (1d10), Disadvantage on magic tests, immune to non magic weapons, level drain (-1) with kiss. Can cast Charm person (spell) once per hour.
Troll 6 Regeneration 3 HP/round, must be burned to kill, even heads can regrow.
Werebear 6 2 claws + 1 bite (1d8 each).
Wereshark 6 Bite (3d6).
Dragon, Black 6-8 2 Claws (1d6) + Bite (1d6) or Spit Acid – d4+2 nearby targets (2d6), test DEX for 1/2 damage.
Banshee 7 Shriek – CON test or Paralyzed for 2d6 rounds.
Djinni 7 Can take gaseous form, create objects, create illusions, cast Invisibility (spell) as action.
Griffon 7 Flying, bite or claw.
Salamander 7 Touch (1d6) or constricting tail wrap (3d6).
Werebear 7 Only silver and magical weapons can hurt it.
Wyvern 7 Bite or poison tail sting, test CON or Oofa. Flyer.
Treant 7-12 Can control up to 2 Nearby trees, making them walk, attack (2d6).
Dragon, Green 7-9 2 Claws (1d6) + Bite (1d8) or Breathes Poison Gas – d4+2 nearby targets (2d8), test DEX for 1/2 damage.
Vampire 7-9 Only magic weapons can hurt it. If killed, turns to mist and returns to coffin. Regenerates 3 HP/round, turn into gas or bat at will, summon horde of bats or 3d6 wolves. Eye contact test INT-2 or charmed, killed by immersing in running water, exposure of sunlight, or a stake through heart. They retreat from garlic, mirrors, and Good/Lawful holy symbols. Human killed by vampire becomes a vampire under master’s control.
Chimera 8 2 Claws (1d3) + 2 Goat horns (1d4) + 1 Lion bite (2d4) + 1 Dragon bite (3d4) or Breathes fire as a Dragon (3d8).
Giant, Hill 8 Can hurl boulders.
Gorgon 8 Stone breath – Nearby creatures test CON or be petrified.
Invisible stalker 8 Flying and invisible.
Specter 8 A person killed by a Specter will become a Specter in 1d6 turns.
Dragon, Blue 8-10 1 Claws (1d6) + Bite (1d8) or Shoots Lightning – d4+2 nearby targets (3d10) test DEX for 1/2 dam-age.
Elemental, Air 8-16 Strike (2d6) or whirlwind attack, throws Nearby 1 HD creatures, test STR or Oofa.
Elemental, Earth 8-16 Fist (2d6), can rip down a castle wall in 1 turn.
Elemental, Fire 8-16 Strike (2d6), ignite flammables on a failed test.
Elemental, Water 8-16 Strike (2d6), can overturn a ship in 1 turn, a small boat instantly. Can destroy a ship completely in 1 hour.
Balor Demon 9 Sword (1d12+2) + Whip (0) DEX test or be pulled Close to the Balor and burnt for 3d6 fire damage.
Giant, Stone 9 Can hurl boulders.
Hezrou Demon 9 2 Claws + 1 Bite (2d8), Cause Fear (as per Banish) or Darkness (spell) – each once per fight.
Dragon, Red 9-11 2 Claws (1d8) + Bite (1d10) or Breathes Fire – d4+2 nearby targets (3d8), test DEX for 1/2 damage.
Black Pudding 10 Metal objects that touch it melt the next moment.
Efreeti 10 Fist or sword, can cast Wall of Fire d6 usage die per day.
Giant, Frost 10 Throws boulders or great chunks of ice. Can make two Great Axe attacks.
Dragon, Gold 10-12 2 Claws (1d8) + Bite (1d12) or Breathes Poison Gas or Fire – d4+2 nearby targets (3d8) test CON for 1/2 damage.
Lawful, can speak, has 1 spell per age category, up to 1/2 age category in level.
Giant, Fire 11 Can hurl boulders, immune to fire.
Giant, Cloud 12 Can hurl boulders, acute sense of smell.
Golem, Flesh 12 Lightning heals, slowed by fire and cold. Immune to other spells. Only hurt by magic weapons.
Golem, Stone 12 Only spells that affect rock or stone work, weapons must be +2 or better to damage it.
Pit Fiend 12 Claws + Mace + Bite (1d10), + Tail (1d8) Can cast Fireball at will.
Roc 12 Flying, claws and bite.
Slug, Giant 12 Spit Acid – d4+2 nearby targets (1d12) test DEX for 1/2 damage.
Lich 12-18 Magic-User of same level as HD, target paralyzed if touched – no test, eye contact paralyzes creatures 4 HD or less. Will reform by its hidden phylactery in 1d10 days At a Disadvantage to Turn.
Golem, Iron 13 Poison gas attack (10′ radius) test CON or Oofa, only hurt by +3 magic weapons or better. Slowed by lightning spells, healed by fire spells, no other affects from spells.
Purple Worm 15 Bite or tail sting (2d8 + test CON or Oofa), swallowed prey whole on 17-20 for defense roll.
Giant, Storm 16 Can hurl boulders, can cast Control Weather.
Sea Serpent 30 Swallow prey whole on failed DEX test of 17+.

Running a game of Heroes & Monsters™ is a lot easier than running most other roleplaying games, simply because there are not as many rules and your own discretion overrides them anyway. Most situations are handled by making common sense decisions concerning what happens next.

For example: the players are in combat with a group of orcs and the fighter wants to trip one of them. It’s up to the Game Master to decide what the fighter needs to do or roll to be successful.

If a Player decides that his character is going to jump through a wall of fire, with several bottles of flammable oil in his backpack, it’s up to the Game Master to determine whether or not they explode.

This means making up a lot of stuff on the spot. If you’re not a good storyteller or if you’re not up to doing a lot of creative thinking on the fly, it might be better that you try a different game— one that provides more rules and guidance for every situation that might arise. But if you’re a good storyteller, creative and fair, the small, spartan rule-set of Heroes & Monsters™ frees up your creativity to create a fantasy role-playing experience completely different from the type of game that depends on a multitude of rules.

Heroes & Monsters™ also frees up your creativity in terms of customizing the game. Unlike a more complex game, you can add house rules wherever you want to without accidentally messing up something else buried in the rules. If you want to use critical hits and fumbles, add ‘em in. You won’t break anything—there’s not that much to break!

Being A Player

Here are some suggested principles and pointers when playing Monsters & Heroes™: ? Live and breathe your character during play. See things from their perspective.

  • Speak to the other players in character and address them by their character names.
  • Seek out adventures and excitement.
  • Share the spotlight with your GM and fellow players and support their characters so that they can shine.
  • Get to know the game rules so that you know what you are doing and help to speed up play.
  • During play, be creative and embellish your character with background stories and other important characters that the GM and other players can use to develop the shared narrative.
  • Offer to make a round of tea or bring snacks.
  • Dance when you go up a level.

Being a Game Master

Here are some suggested principles and pointers when Gming Monsters & Heroes™: ? Create a compelling and magical setting, which the characters can shape and develop with you through their heroic exploits.

  • Give your setting a life of its own, but place the heroic player characters in the center of it.
  • Provide opportunities for the player characters to shine and be the heroes.
  • There are many character fulfilling rewards of greater substance than loot and experience levels.
  • Provide props such as maps, figures, plans and music; anything that helps to visualize the setting and adventure.
  • Listen to your players, note their ideas and inventions, and use them to help fuel the stories that you are all telling.
  • Address the characters directly by their names.
  • Ask questions all the time, allow the players to narrate outcomes of action.
  • If fate suggests that character death is necessary then you have the Ooa table to determine the outcome. Make character death noteworthy and meaningful, but don’t shy away from it.
  • Give your monsters and other Npcs their own purpose and objectives.

Example of Play

Here’s a short example of play with a party of 1st level characters.

GM: So you’re in the sewer, knee deep in muck, it’s dark and to the north there’s a portcullis, what do you want to do?

Fighter 1: Is the portcullis Nearby?

GM: Yeah.

Fighter 1: I’ll move to it and as my action I’ll check it for traps.

Fighter 2: Assuming it’s safe, I want to bend the bars.

Magic User: And I want to cast light on my staff.

GM: Ok, Fighter 1, test your Wisdom by rolling a d20 under your WIS score – to check the portcullis for traps.

Fighter 1: *rolls* Made it!

GM: You’re confident it’s free of anything designed to do you harm, Fighter 2, still want to bend the bars? If so test your Strength!

Fighter 2: *rolls* Piece of cake!

GM: Good stuff, now Magic User, you cast Light on your staff. That’s a level 1 spell right?

Magic User: Yup.

GM: Ok, well test your Intelligence and add one to your d20 roll, if you fail you lose a level one spell slot for the rest of the day.

Magic User: *rolls* I need to roll under, not on it, right?

GM: That’s right.

Magic User: Damn, I failed.

GM: Unlucky! Beyond the bent iron bars is a long dark sewer tunnel heading deep down. What do you want to do?

Fighter 2: Explore down the tunnel..?

Fighter 1: Agreed! I’ll sneak ahead.

Magic User: And I’ll protect the rear!

GM: Ok Fighter 1, you move down the sewer, still Nearby to your friends, please test your Dexterity to see how quiet you are.

Fighter 1: *rolls* I’ve got a 17. I’m such a failure!

GM: Ouch. You’re making so much noise being sneaky, a Ghoul hiding in the darkness close to you leaps and attacks!

Fighter 1: Bugger!

GM: Initiative time! Everyone test their Dexterity, passing means you act before the Ghoul, failing means you go after. Fighter 1 you test with Disadvantage.

Fighter 2: I go before.

Magic User: I’m after.

GM: Fighter 1?

Fighter 1: How long was it to roll up a character again? I go after.

Fighter 2: I want to run down the sewer and smash the Ghoul with my Broadsword.

GM: Ok Fighter 2, you move Close to the Ghoul. Test your Strength to see if you hit it, you should add +2 to the roll, as the Ghoul is a powerful opponent.

Fighter 2: *rolls* Rolled a 7! *rolls again* So that’s 8 HP damage.

GM: Good hit! Now the Ghoul’s turn. Fighter 1 test your Strength to try and avoid the Ghoul’s paralyzing claws and bite. Remember the +1.

Fighter 1: *rolls* Ugh! 18.

GM: Oh dear. You feel a painful numbing sensation run through your body. The Ghoul paralyzes you.

GM: Yes. Magic User, you see the Fighter 1 fall rigid to the floor, what do you do?

Magic User: I’ll start backing away slowly.

Fighter 1: I’ll get you in the next life you git!


Player characters explore lost dungeons, brave abandoned crypts and traverse dark woodlands. In short, they go on adventures.

Game Masters are encouraged to design adventures that challenge the players and force them to think creatively.

Heroes & Monsters™ is built around a few core themes that should be present during the adventures of the player characters.

Exploring the Unknown

Player characters will be traveling to the wild, dangerous places of the world. As a referee, describe these places with a sense of mystery, wonder and danger. The ruins of an abandoned castle shouldn’t be just “creepy.” Use descriptions like, “long spires of broken towers cast shadowy claws across a courtyard littered with the remnants of long forgotten glory.” Often times the player characters may be the first beings to set foot in a location in one hundred or even one thousand years. These amazing locales have existed since time out of memory and have a rich history that began long before they arrived. While the referee doesn’t need to know the entire history of every place the characters visit, they should strive to evoke a sense of the legendary and ancient in these places.

Heroic Characters

The player characters are the heroes of their age—or they will be, with a bit of experience under their belt. They are a cut above most normal folks. Soldiers are mundane protectors of a village or castle, but fighters and duelists are masterful warriors with intense training or untapped natural talent. Moreover, the player characters are the active forces for good in the world. Buried deep in the heart of a thief is a spark of roguish nobility and while he may offer no quarter to a dark beastie in combat and slit his throat without a moment’s hesitation, he’s not likely to rob a goodly church aiding the community—unless of course he discovers the high priest is fleecing the good faith of the local congregation.


The world of Heroes & Monsters™ is one riddled with danger.

Combat is deadly and even the most powerful barbarian lord can find himself near death after a few lucky spear thrusts from a pack of goblins. Battle is not entered lightly and whenever a sword is drawn, it could mean the end of that warrior’s life.


Magic is not just a resource to be expended. Magic spells are something that draws power from the fabric of reality or the blessings of the gods. Even a “simple” first-level spell is a miracle or powerful incantation to most in the world.

Magic items are not bought and sold in shops, for they are not easily crafted and often require exotic and rare components or incantations to create. The most powerful magic items are those wielded by heroes and empowered by the very legends which they were a part of. They are not cast aside lightly by their wielders because they often grow in power alongside them. As a hero’s legend becomes more renowned, so too does the artifact grow more powerful.

Non-human player characters are regarded as exotic and rare, immediately noticed in a world dominated by the mundane ways of the human race. Elves are rare, wondrous and exotic.

Halflings are a curiosity. Their homelands exist in places far from most known settlements and their presence is a portent of stranger things to come.

Even the weakest monster is something to fear. Goblins are sallow eyed beasts with leering smiles who titter madly as they cry for blood. Skeletons and zombies are unholy abominations who evoke fear and revulsion from all who see them. Greater beasts are things of legend and song. Giants, dragons and other terrible creatures inspire pure awe when seen, as if myth has stepped from the voice of a fireside story and into reality.

Bringing The Heroes Together

Heroes & Monsters™ is a game about a group of adventurers.

They’re a team, a fellowship, a band of allies. Whenever possible, character creation should be done as a group. This way players can work together, feed off of one another’s excitement, and naturally develop connections between their characters. An important thing to remember is that the player characters should be united in one way or another and have a sense of shared trust between them. After all, going out to explore dangerous places filled with horrible monsters isn’t exactly something you’d do with another person whom you didn’t trust. This isn’t to say that the player characters are all best friends.

Conflicts of ideology and priority can make for interesting roleplaying and a character may be predisposed to certain stereotypes depending on their character—but in the end, the players need to trust each other at the gaming table to know that even if their characters don’t like one another or have struggles, that no one is going to leave each other hanging when things get tough.

Connections between characters can be anything; from two characters being family or childhood friends, to friendly rivals, to everyone working together for the same employer—the reasons they’re all adventuring together are endless. They don’t even have to begin as friendly. Maybe a Cleric has a young Thief as their ward because the Thief is on parole in return for service to the Cleric’s holy order. Sure, these two characters are going to begin from a place of distrust, but through roleplaying and putting their lives in each others hands the characters could learn important lessons from one another.

It’s important for players and their characters to begin the game with some common ground and a basis of trust. It contributes to a positive gaming experience for everyone at the table.

Veteran Characters

Some campaigns might require more powerful starting characters.

As a guideline, you can use the following table to determine the starting levels for the player characters: Campaign Type Starting Level Starting Money

Standard 1 200 gp
Heroic 3 500 gp
Epic 5 1,000 gp

Challenging The Players

Heroes & Monsters™ is game where combat is a dangerous undertaking and quite likely to get those involved killed. Both players and referees should remember this before leaping blindly into battle. That’s not to say that combat should be absent from a campaign —far from it. The epic clash of swords or watching a few brave warriors face off against a terrible dragon are staples of the fantasy genre and an important part of Heroes & Monsters™. But even a tenth level character is only a few steps from death.

While they might be able to handle the spears and arrows of some blood-thirsty orcs, the greater monsters of the world such as giants, dragons, undead knights and terrifying sea beasts can destroy an entire adventuring company with little effort. When players enter battle, they need to think carefully, plan their tactics and prepare—even then, victory is not assured.

On the other side of that, the referee should not go out of their way to kill the player characters. There is a fine line between challenging the characters and overwhelming them and it can take a few sessions of being the referee to find that balance.

For your first few game sessions ease your players and their characters into things. Perhaps fudge a few dice behind a screen or shield and reduce the damage taken from a lucky sword strike or perhaps the player characters stumble upon a cache of magical healing potions at just the right moment. You don’t always have to coddle your players just to keep them alive, but when you find the balance between fun and danger everyone at the table has a better experience.

Designing an Adventure

Basically, the “adventure” is just the setting for the game – usually a map and then notes about certain locations on that map. As the Players tell you where their characters go and what they do, you’re referring to the map and your notes to describe what happens as a result. Don’t try to plan for all contingencies—it’s guaranteed that the players will do something unexpected during the adventure and you’ll just have to roll with it, thinking on your feet and making up new things as you go. Just as you challenge the Players with adventure, they challenge you to keep up with their collective creativity.

For the basic dungeon adventure, draw the dungeon floor plan on graph paper, number the rooms (or other important locations), and then write yourself a “key” to remind yourself what monsters, treasures, traps, and tricks are found in these numbered locations.

Creating A Campaign

A campaign is the world beyond the adventure—the cities, forests, coastlines, and kingdoms of the fantasy world. The players will almost certainly want their characters to explore the wilderness, visit cities, and do all sorts of things in the fantasy world. At the beginning of the game, you might want to sketch out a map of a single village (as the starting point) and some of the surrounding area. (The location of the first adventure—a dark forest, perhaps) As the players move their characters around from adventure to adventure, you can expand the little map into an entire fantasy world with the continents, kingdoms, and great empires at your disposal.

If you want to take a shortcut, you can set your entire campaign in a fictional world created by the author of one of your favorite fantasy stories. Most of these have maps and the author has already created the details and feel of the world for you. For example: the worlds of Conan’s Hyboria (Robert E. Howard), of Elric and the Eternal Champions (Michael Moorcock), and of the Dying Earth (Jack Vance) are popular fictional settings ready for gaming.

Indeed, publishers have already created pre-packaged campaigns for all three of these examples.

Dungeons & Wilderness

Many Game Masters will create a map of the Underworld or Wilderness in advance of play. The player characters will then explore the map but are unaware of its contents.

In the Dungeon a map is filled with monsters, traps, treasure, and any mysterious creatures or locations the Game Master can dream into existence.

The Wilderness map is created using hexagon paper, with each hex representing 6 miles, and having a primary terrain and possibly an interesting feature.

A feature could be a Magic-User’s tower, a Fighter’s stronghold, and an Evil High Priest’s dark temple or maybe it could be a small elf like creature, sitting on a tree stump, playing a magical flute. Let your imagination run wild when creating features.

Dungeon Doors

Dungeon doors are large, heavy and even unlocked are hard to open. An unlocked door can be opened by making a successful STR test. Fighters have Advantage on the STR test.


Torches and lanterns illuminate a 30-foot radius. Players using a light source cannot normally surprise monsters, but they can of course still be surprised. It is assumed that all monsters see in the dark, unless they are charmed or otherwise in the service of players.

Listening at Doors

Characters can hear noise making a successful WIS test. Note that success indicates the player heard something, but they may not know what caused the sound.

Secret Doors

Secret doors can be detected by any player who is actively searching for one with a successful WIS test. It takes one turn for each 10’x10’ area searched.


Most traps and pits are triggered when any player who passes over the triggering mechanism fails with a DEX test. Players falling into a pit trap will take 1d6 damage per 10 feet fallen.


Creatures that are traveling long distances must rest for a full day for every six days that they travel.

Failure to do so results in a cumulative –1 penalty to to-hit and damage rolls due to long term fatigue per six days (or part of six days) of continuous travel after the initial six. This penalty is reduced by 1 for each full day of rest taken.

Note on finding secret doors and traps

Ideally, players will be descriptive enough during a search that they will automatically find a trap or secret door. For example, if moving a wall sconce opens a secret door, and the player says “I examine the sconces on the north wall for anything unusual”, a Referee might automatically allow them to figure out how the secret door opens. If, however, they merely state “I search the north wall for secret doors”, the Game Master can require a die roll.

Some features might be so well hidden as to always merit a die roll, or at least a roll with some sort of adjustment.


Although wise adventurers carry supplies with them, they sometimes prefer to—or need to—supplement their carried food with fresh food, whether hunted or foraged. Characters who are traveling can gather food while on the move.

If the party move at only 2/3 of their normal per-day movement rate, they can gather (from hunting and foraging) half of their day’s food at the same time, meaning they only need to use half of a day’s carried food supply each day.

If the party chooses to remain stationary, they can gather (from hunting and foraging) a whole day’s food, and don’t need to use any of their carried supplies.

In either case, if the party member leading the foraging or hunting (which may be an NPC guide) succeeds with a WIS roll, twice as much food is gathered that day.

Finding Treasure

The amount of treasure a monster owns or guards is usually related to the monster’s HD. That’s not necessarily realistic, but keep in mind that treasure is one of the ways the game reflects what a character has done: it’s used in awarding experience points. Too many large treasures and the characters will become powerful without actually having done very much. Too many monsters with small treasures and the characters won’t gain levels to reflect their achievements.

As a general guideline, the monetary value of a treasure ought to be about 100 times the monster’s HD x HD in gold, and keep in mind that hunting and patrolling monsters likely won’t be carting their treasure around with them. If the characters can’t find the monster’s lair, they may get none of the treasure. Also, it obviously doesn’t make sense for every wild boar and wolf to have a cache of treasure hidden away somewhere. Averaging the treasure out over several of the monsters in an adventure is a good way of making sure the characters get the right amount of experience points from treasure. Perhaps the goblin treasure hoard contains some “extra” treasure to account for the wolves in the area. If the characters avoid the wolves and kill the goblins, so much the better.

If they have to fight the wolves and never find the goblins, then the treasure is there for them to find next time.

Magic Items

Items imbued with magical power, from simple trinkets to ancient artifacts, can be discovered in lost halls, deep underground, buried with legendary kings, held at the bottom of lakes, in ruined castles or found in the treasure hordes of emperors and dragons.

A magical item should be relatively rare and, for those of more power, come with a story as to their creation. These stories could be very old, drawn from ages past when the item was conceived and wrought. Magic items can be anything that has been enchanted to hold a spell. Give the item a 1d6 Usage die to see how long the effect can be called. Each time the item is used roll the die. Here are some examples: ? Potion of Healing – heals 1d8 HP.

  • Potion of invisibility – as per the 2nd level Arcane spell.
  • Potion of Changing – as per Disguise Self Spell.
  • Ring of Protection – 1d8 Usage Die – Provides 3 Armor Points per activation.
  • Brush with Death – a broom with level 2 magic missile.
  • Gloves of Knocking – I’m going to leave that one to your imagination.

Most Magic items will have spell powers up to 2nd Level, but the same principles apply to all spell levels.

Magic Weapons typically add +1 to any attribute being tested whilst using the weapon and +1 to each damage dice rolled. More powerful weapons (+2/3) can be found if the GM includes them.

These weapons will have names and histories, which the players can discover or create.

Magic Armor increases the amount of AP by +1 in addition to any other effects.

Creating Magic Items

Elves and Magic-Users can enchant magic items. Placing a spell into an item takes 1 week of dedicated time per level of the spell.

A mixture of common and rare arcane materials are expended to bind the magic to the item. The materials cost 100 coin per level of spell.

Elves and Magic-Users can create magic weapons and armor at 5th Level. It takes 5 weeks to create a + 1 weapon or suit. Material cost is 5 times the suit value. At 7th Level Elves and Magic-Users can create +2 items and at 9th Level +3.

Detecting and Understand Magic Items

Items imbued with magic are generally detected using the 1st level Detect Magic spell.

Understanding the sort of magic an item carries requires a successful INT test.

Runepriest (Dwarf)

A Dwarf Fighter/Cleric.

Starting HP: 8+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 4

HP Gained during Resting: 1d8

Weapons & Armor: Any light and medium weapons and battle axes, no other heavy weapons. All armors and shields.

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or improvising

Special: Rune priests cannot banish undead as Human Cleric

Special Features

Extra Attacks: As part of their action a rune priests can make up to 1 attack per 3 levels (4, 7 & 10) with any weapon.

Axe Fighter: Rune priests have Advantage on attack rolls when fighting with axes or hammers (Pick one weapon at rune priest creation).

Fortitude: Rune priests have Advantage on CON rolls against poisons and diseases, and Advantage on INT rolls to avoid damage or effects from spells and magical devices.

Miner: Roll with Advantage when mining, spotting traps, slopes, shifting walls, and new construction.

Small Stature: When fighting very large creatures, such as Giants, Ogres, and Trolls, Dwarfs only take half damage from the creature’s attacks.

Darkvision: A dwarf can see in complete darkness (nonmagical) out to Nearby distance.

Clerical Spellcasting

Rune priests can cast a number of Cleric Spells per day, see the Spellcasting section. They share the same spell progression as the elves.

Sacred Text

Rune priests start with a large sacred text containing a total of 1d4 spells from the Level 1 and 2 Cleric Spell lists.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR or WIS. Rune priests have a slower rate of leveling than the other classes and need one additional game session played before being able to level up.

Nightshade (Elf)

An Elf Mage/Thief.

Starting HP: 6+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 3

HP Gained during Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Any weapon. Leather Armor and no shields

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Thieves’ Skills: Roll against DEX with Advantage to open locks, remove traps, pick pockets, move silently, or hide in shadows. Roll against WIS with Advantage to hear noise. Roll against STR with Advantage to climb sheer surfaces.

Strong Mind: Elves are immune sleeping spells and have Advantage on tests to resist illusions.

Steal Spell: Once per day Nightshades can attempt to steal a magic effect from a creature. Before executing the attack action the hero must declare the intention. Only creatures with special abilities can be affected. You can try additional times at levels 4 and 8.

Darkvision: An elf can see in complete darkness (non-magical) out to nearby distance.

Elf Spellcasting

Nightshades can cast a number of Arcane Spells per day; see the Spell casting section below.


Nightshades start with a spellbook containing a total of 2 spells from the Level 1 Magic-User Spell lists.

Leveling Up

Pick 2 attributes and roll twice to see if attributes increase.

Nightshades have a slower rate of leveling than the other classes and need one additional game session played before being able to level up.

Nightshade Spell Progression

Note: columns are spell slot levels, lines are character levels.

Level 1 2 3
1 1
2 2
3 2 1
4 2 2
5 2 1 1
6 2 2 1
7 2 2 2
8 3 2 2
9 3 3 3
10 4 3 3

Master (Halfling)

A Halfling Fighter/Druid.

Starting HP: 6+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 3

HP Gained during Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Any weapon. Leather Armor and no shields

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Extra Attacks: As part of their action a Halfling can make up to 1 attack per three levels with any weapon.

Blessing of Nature: When Masters are outdoors they gain Darkvision out to nearby distance. Also they can cast purify food and drink 3 times per day.

Small Stature: When fighting very large creatures, such as Giants, Ogres, and Trolls, Halflings take only half damage from their attacks.

Stealth: Rolls with Advantage when hiding in shadows or undergrowth, moving silently, and keeping hidden.

Master Spellcasting

Masters can cast a number of Arcane Spells per day; see the Spell casting section below.

Rhymes of Nature

Masters start with a pouch of exotic spices containing a total of 1d4 spells from the Level 1 and 2 Cleric Spell lists.

Leveling Up

Pick 2 attributes and roll twice to see if attributes increase. Masters have a slower rate of leveling than the other classes and need one additional game session (3-4) played before being able to level up.

Master Spell Progression

Note: columns are spell slot levels, lines are character levels.

Level 1 2 3 4 5
1 1
2 2
3 2 1
4 2 2
5 2 2 1
6 3 2 2
7 3 3 2 1
8 3 3 2 2
9 4 3 3 2 1
10 4 3 3 2 2

Appendix Puppeteer (Gnome)

Starting HP: 6+1d6

HP Gained per Level: 3

HP Gained during Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Light and Medium weapons. No Armor or shields

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or improvising

Special Features

Burrowing Animals: Puppeteers can speak at will with those kinds of animals

Master Illusionist: When performing certain spells; Gnomes roll with advantage when trying to keep spell slots. (Ventriloquism, Blur, Mirror Image, Phantasmal Force, Alter Time, Illusionary Terrain, Feeblemind.

Small Stature: When fighting very large creatures, such as Giants, Ogres, and Trolls, Gnomes only take half damage from the creature’s attacks.

Darkvision: A Puppeteer can see in complete darkness (non-magical) out to nearby distance.

Puppeteer Spellcasting

Puppeteers can cast a number of Arcane Spells per day; they share the same spell progression as the elves.


Puppeteers start with a spellbook containing a total of 1d4 spells from the Level 1 Magic-User Spell lists.

Leveling Up

Pick 2 attributes and roll twice to see if attributes increase. Puppeteers have a slower rate of leveling than the other classes and need one additional game session played before being able to level up.

15. COPYRIGHT Notice

The Black Hack Copyright 2016, David Black.

The Race Hack Copyright 2016, Mark Craddock.

Heroic Fantasy Copyright 2016, Graham Spearing

BLUEHACK™ Copyright 2016, Michael Thomas

The Zero Edition (Zebra) Hack Copyright 2016, Brett Slocum.

The Basic Hack Copyright Copyright 2016, Nathan Hill.

Swords & Wizardry Core Rules, Copyright 2008, Matthew J. Finch Swords & Wizardry Whitebox Rules by Marv Breig, copyright 2008-2011 Matthew J. Finch

Delving Deeper Reference Rules Compendium v4, copyright 2014, Simon J. Bull

The Hero’s Journey Fantasy Roleplaying, copyright 2016 Barrel Rider Games: Author James M. Spahn

Bloody Basic: Sinew & Steel Edition, copyright 2015. John M. Stater

Snw Whitebox Essential Adventuring Rules v1, Copyright 2014 Douglas Maxwell.

White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game, Copyright 2016, Charles Mason

Dungeon Questing Rules Copyright 2016, Mikael Hassel

Heroes & Monsters Rules Copyright 2017, Mikael Hassel