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Tutorial: How to Homebrew Monsters on D&D Beyond – Posts


Have a horrifying monster you’ve only managed to scribble down? You can bring it to life using D&D Beyond’s homebrew creation tools—and then throw them into combat using Encounters! In this introduction to building monsters, we’ll take you step by step to creating a creature on D&D Beyond. Click below to get started:

Access homebrew monster creation tools

The first step in building a monster is navigating to the tools. From anywhere on D&D Beyond, you can begin creating a monster through the mega menu by hovering over “Collections” and choosing “Create Monster” under the Homebrew section.

Create homebrew monster menu item

If you happen to be browsing official monsters, you’ll notice a handy “+ Create a Monster” button in the top right of the page:

Create monster button

Similarly, you can find a shortcut menu for all manner of homebrew directly on your Creations page, where you can select “Create a… Monster.”

Create a monster menu optionCreate a monster using a template or from scratch

Before diving into homebrew monster creation, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll build the creature entirely from scratch or use an existing monster as a template.

Create homebrew monster from template or scratch

Working from a template is a great option when existing material already accomplishes a portion of what you aim to build. It can also be a helpful resource for learning how official content is built! This might also come in handy when creating rollable expressions (see below), which allow for dice rolling on monster stat blocks in the combat tracker of the Encounters tool. (Not sure how to use D&D Beyond’s encounter builder and combat tracker? See our tutorial here!)

We’ll be creating a variant season of the eladrin, which would typically be more easily accomplished by starting with a template. We’re still going to choose to “Create from Scratch,” however. This is a 101 course, after all!

Fill out information for your monster

When you land on the “Create a Monster” page, you’ll see a section for entering basic information for your monster. The majority of the monster stat block will be entered here. After creating the monster, you’ll be able to add more relevant details, such as senses, languages known, and movement speeds.

Fields with a red asterisk are required, with three exceptions: it is not necessary to upload a small or a large avatar nor to provide information for Armor Class Type. Every field also has help text that explains its function. Trying hovering a field name or adjacent help text icon (Help text icon).

General information

Here is where we fill in the most basic monster information: its name, type, size, challenge rating (CR), etc. Much of this information can be used to filter through homebrew monsters. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll be creating a spooky season variant of the eladrin. 

Filling in homebrew monster informationSpecial traits description

This text field and others like it come with sample text, showing the appropriate formatting and examples of what might belong in each box. Special traits involve any monster traits not explicitly grouped under a specific action and typically include passive traits and spellcasting. As an example, here are special traits for our spooky season eladrin.

Monster special traits description field

Here, you’ll notice two different types of markup. The first, seen in the Fey Step trait, is called a rollable expression. It is a data structure wrapped in the rollable tag. This tag allows you to roll dice directly from the monster stat block in the combat tracker of the Encounters tool. If this looks daunting, don’t worry: we have a guide for adding rollable expressions in the D&D Beyond forums. Further, you’re not required to use rollable expressions, especially when the monster is for your own personal use!

The remaining simpler sets of allow you to create mouse-over tooltips. A full guide to their use can be found here!

Actions description

This text field contains all of the details for your monster’s actions. Note that reactions and bonus actions have their own separate fields.

Actions description field

Reactions description

Just as in the above actions description field, this is where your monster’s reactions are defined. Our homebrew eladrin doesn’t have any reactions, so we’ve deleted the sample text found here and left the field blank.

Monster characteristics description

This is where all of the non-mechanical descriptions of the monster should be placed, including flavor text.

Monster characteristics description field

Bonus actions description

See the section above on the actions description field. Our example monster doesn’t have any bonus actions, so we’ve emptied this field of the sample text and left it blank.

Legendary actions description

If your monster is legendary, checking the “Is legendary?” box will not only give it the legendary icon (Legendary icon) but also unlock the “Legendary actions description” field.

If you’re homebrewing a monster that doesn’t have legendary actions, check the “Is legendary?” box and remove the sample text. Then, uncheck the box. Otherwise, your monster will have the sample text in its stat block. Our monster isn’t legendary, so we have removed this text and left the “Legendary actions description” field blank.

Mythic actions description

Similar to the above section, checking the “Is mythic?” box will unlock the “mythic actions description” field, allowing you to enter the details of your monster’s mythic actions, if it has any.

If you’re homebrewing a monster that doesn’t have mythic actions, check the “Is mythic?” box to remove the sample text, then uncheck the box. Otherwise, your monster will have the sample text in its stat block. Our monster isn’t mythic, so we have removed this text and left the “Mythic actions description” field blank.

Lair and lair actions description

If your monster has a lair or lair actions, this section will allow you to designate that fact and include a description of the monster’s lair actions.

If you’re homebrewing a monster that doesn’t have a lair or lair actions, check the “Has lair?” box to remove the sample text, then uncheck the box. Otherwise, your monster will have the sample text in its stat block. Our monster doesn’t have a lair, so we have removed this text and left the “Lair and lair actions description” field blank.

Add in monster statistics

All of the non-action characteristics and statistics of your monster belong here, including ability scores, hit points and Hit Dice, Armor Class, and so forth. Here you can also indicate in which environments the creature might be found, as well as give it special tags that can be used when filtering monster listings. You can also upload avatars that will display custom monster images when in your collection.

Monster statistic fieldsWhen we’ve ensured that every required field is filled in (remember that the Armor Class Type and both Small and Large Avatar are not required), hit the following “Create monster” button!

Add in metadata

Once we have created our monster, we are able to add metadata for languages, senses, skills, and movement.

Adding in metadata

Languages

For each language your monster understands or can speak, click “Add a language” and fill in the appropriate language and any notes that might be associated with it.

Senses

Add any special senses your monster might possess using the “Add a sense” button. Remember to include information such as the range of the sense in the “Monster sense note” field!

Skills

If your monster has proficiency in any skills (or any other types of proficiency or additional bonuses), add that information here with the “Add a skill” button. Note that the base value is typically the sum of the relevant skill ability modifier and the monster proficiency bonus. Any additional bonuses (positive or negative) belong in the “Additional bonus” field.

Movement

Any movement speeds your monster possesses belong here. For each type of movement speed, select the “Add a movement” button.

View your completed monster

After saving all of our changes, we want to see the finished product! There are a few ways to do this. Directly from the monster editing page, we can click on the name of the monster as it follows Homebrew > Creations in the navigation bar:

Navigation bar

We can also find it from anywhere on D&D Beyond by navigating in the mega menu to Collections > My Homebrew Creations.

My Homebrew Creations in the menu

Et voilà! Our masterpiece, the spooky season eladrin!

Spooky Season Eladrin

Armor Class 19 (natural armor)

Hit Points 127 (17d8 + 51)

Speed 30 ft.

Skills Intimidation +8, Performance +8

Damage Resistances necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Condition Immunities frightened

Senses darkvision 120 ft., Passive Perception 13

Languages Common, Elvish, Sylvan

Challenge 10 (5,900 XP) Proficiency Bonus +4

Fey Step (Recharge 4–6). As a bonus action, the eladrin can teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space it can see.

Innate Spellcasting. The eladrin’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

At will: chill touch, fog cloud, thaumaturgy

3/day each: animate dead, darkness, speak with dead

1/day each: eyebite, mislead, phantasmal killer

Magic Resistance. The eladrin has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spooky Presence. Any non-eladrin creature that starts its turn within 60 feet of the eladrin must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature becomes frightened of the eladrin for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to any eladrin’s Spooky Presence for the next 24 hours.

Actions

Multiattack. The eladrin makes two weapon attacks. The eladrin can cast one spell in place of one of these attacks.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage, or 8 (1d10 + 3) slashing damage if used with two hands, plus 9 (2d8) psychic damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage plus 9 (2d8) psychic damage.

Publish your monster

After adding our basic Information, languages, senses, skills, and movement, our monster is complete! Time to share it with the world! But wait—Must we? Publishing public homebrew is only necessary if you want other D&D Beyond users who aren’t in any shared campaigns with you to be able to view your work and add it to their collection.

If you have proofread your work, are satisfied that it has been thoroughly tested, and—most importantly—you have read the Homebrew Rules & Guidelines, then click the “Share with community” link for your unique homebrew creation!

Sharing homebrew creation

Carefully read the text box that appears, and if you are ready for the world to see your work, smash that Submit button! Remember: Published homebrew cannot be edited or unpublished! You can always create an updated version, but publishing is permanent.

Need more help? The Homebrew & House Rules D&D Beyond subforum not only has an incredible community of fellow homebrewers willing to help with any questions, it also has homebrew guides pinned for easy reference.


Cameron (@CameronRPowell) is a Discord moderator for D&D Beyond. He is a real-life bard who accidentally dumped Charisma, and has played Purloque the loxodon cleric on Dice, Camera, Action!. When he’s not behind the DM’s screen, he enjoys hiking Icelandic volcanoes, knitting, and creating his hundredth unused character on D&D Beyond.



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