5E: Alternate Takes on Official Fifth Edition Monsters

Cleon

Legend
I'm starting this thread for alternative versions of Fifth Edition monsters with official stats, for reasons that'll become obvious in my next post.

Finished conversions will be added to the Completed Fifth Edition Creatures Index.

Index of Alternative Versions of Official 5E Monsters
NAME​
CR​
D&D Beyond​
Enworld​
Animated Object (animate objects spell)
varies​
—​
—​
Animated Object, Tiny
1/4​
—​
Animated Object, Small
1/2​
—​
Animated Object, Medium
1​
—​
Animated Object, Large
2​
—​
Animated Object, Huge
4​
—​
Animated Object Swarm
3​
—​
Animated Object Swarm, Large
5​
—​
Animated Object—Animated Catapult
5​
—​
Animated Object—Shrapnel Swarm
6​
—​
Animated Object—Top Ballista
6​
—​
Animated Object—Walking Springal
3​
—​
Animated Object—Whirling Razor
1​
—​
Animated Object—Winged Fan
0​
—​
Name—Subtype
#​
—​
 
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Cleon

Legend
I was watching a YouTube Series of Tabletop 5th Edition Play and one of the PCs cast animate objects for the first time (they'd just leveled up and gained the spell).

So two Large animated objects and a Medium one appeared to attack their enemy, only to be hit by a charm effect which knocked out the Medium and one Large. The DM pointed out that was what the Rules said, since the spell description does not give the constructs it produced any immunities.

While technically correct (the best kind of correct) that doesn't seem right at all!

The Animated Objects in the Monster Manual have the Immunities to Damage (poison, psychic) and Conditions (blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned) you'd expect for a construct, but the creatures created by animate objects don't use their stats. For example, a Flying Sword has different stats to the Small Object an animate objects spell can create.

Then I looked at the spell description and it became even worse!

A default animate objects spell transforms up to ten non-magical objects into creatures. It can cause ten Tiny or Small targets to come to life, but a Medium target counts as two objects, a Large target is four and a Huge is eight.

But just look at these objects' stats:

Table: Animated Object Statistics
SizeHPACAttackStrDex
Tiny2018+8 to hit, 1d4 + 4 damage418
Small2516+6 to hit, 1d8 + 2 damage614
Medium4013+5 to hit, 2d6 + 1 damage1012
Large5010+6 to hit, 2d10 + 2 damage1410
Huge8010+8 to hit, 2d12 + 4 damage186

An animated object is a construct with AC, hit points, attacks, Strength, and Dexterity determined by its size. Its Constitution is 10 and its Intelligence and Wisdom are 3, and its Charisma is 1. Its speed is 30 feet; if the object lacks legs or other appendages it can use for locomotion, it instead has a flying speed of 30 feet and can hover. If the object is securely attached to a surface or a larger object, such as a chain bolted to a wall, its speed is 0. It has blindsight with a radius of 30 feet and is blind beyond that distance. When the animated object drops to 0 hit points, it reverts to its original object form, and any remaining damage carries over to its original object form.​
If you command an object to attack, it can make a single melee attack against a creature within 5 feet of it. It makes a slam attack with an attack bonus and bludgeoning damage determined by its size.​

Notice the problem?

It'll become clear if you feed the above numbers into the CR Calculator:

Table: Animated Object CR Calculator Results
SizeChallenge
Rating
Off.
CR
Def.
CR
Prof.
Bonus
Effective
HP (HD)
Armor
Class
Eff.
AC
Average Damage
Per Round
Effective
Attack Bonus
Tiny2 (450 XP)21+220 (8d4)18 (14 +4 DEX)206 (1d4 +4 DEX)+8 (+4 DEX +2 PB +2??)
Small1 (200 XP)11/2+225 (7d6+1)16 (14 +2 DEX)186 (1d8 +2 DEX)+6 (+2 DEX +2 PB +2??)
Medium1 (200 XP)11/2+240 (9d8)13 (12 +1 DEX)158 (2d6 +1 DEX)+5 (+4 DEX +2 PB +2??)
Large1 (200 XP)21/2+250 (9d10+1)10 (10 +0 DEX)1213 (2d10 +2 STR)+6 (+2 STR +2 PB +2??)
Huge3 (700 XP)41+280 (12d12+2)10 (12 –2 DEX)1217 (2d12 +4 STR)+8 (+4 STR +2 PB +2??)

Look at the projected CR of the objects. The Tiny Object has a higher Challenge than the Small to Large ones due to its unusually, I would say inappropriately, high AC and Attack Bonus. Also, the number of created objects halves for each size above small. but most of them are the same CR, so instead of four CR 1 Small constructs you can have one CR 1 Large construct for a lot less combat effectiveness.

EDIT—
Dang it. Just noticed that I'd left "Save Proficiences 3-4" in the CR Calculator from a previous monster which adds +2 to effective AC and makes the above Challenge columns wrong.

They should be:

Table: Animated Object CR Calculator Results

SizeChallenge
Rating
Off.
CR
Def.
CR
Eff.
AC
Tiny1 (200 XP)21/218
Small1 (200 XP)11/416
Medium1 (200 XP)11/413
Large1 (200 XP)21/410
Huge2 (450 XP)41/210

The overall principle that the Tiny ones are way too strong still holds and the following Game Theorizing holds.
—ENDEDIT


Let's run a little game theory comparing one Huge Object to the eight Tiny Objects you can animate in its place.

The Tiny Objects have a total of 160 hit points to the Huge Object's 80, so that's 200% as much.

An opponent who hits the Tiny Object's AC 18 50% the time (i.e. one with +7 to hit) would hit the Huge Object's AC 10 90% of the time. Allowing for double damage on a natural 20 (which counts as an extra 5%), that means their DPR against a Tiny will be 55/95 as much as against a Huge.

Both Tiny and Huge have a +8 to hit so there's equal odds of doing damage. Eight Tiny Objects have a DPR of 52 to a single Huge Objects DPR of 17.

However, as combat proceeds the number of Tiny Objects in the battle will slowly diminish. First eight, then seven, six, five, four, three, two and finally one. Assuming the rate of loss is even, then the effectiveness or eight combatants with a total of 52 DPR vs one combatant with the same DPR is 36/64 or 56.25%. (The maths is pretty easy: 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8 divided by eight 8 for the equivalent single combatant).

So multiply all those ratios together: 160/80 hp times 95/55 AC times 52/17 damage times 36/64 "whittling down the numbers" and we get a ratio of 5.94 to 1. So those eight Tiny Objects could theoretically inflict roughly six times as much damage over their combat lifetime than one Huge Object.

The ratio won't be quite so bad against opponents with a higher to hit number, but even in ideal circumstances (100% to hit against both sizes) the ratio is still 3.44 to 1, or over three times as much damage.

Now the main problem with the model is it assumes ALL the Tiny Objects can attack at the same time. If only one or two can target the enemy in a round, the DPR drops proportionally. However, any bottleneck that's barely large enough for a couple of Tiny creatures to squeeze through would surely be too small for a Huge creature, so wouldn't the Huge Object be completely unable to attack and be at the mercy of ranged weapons?

Anyhow, I conclude the spell and animated object stats need rewriting to be a bit more balanced.
 
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Cleon

Legend
Okay, so I think the spell needs a rewriting. For a start, it'd be nice if the animate objects spell could produce the Animated Objects in the Monster Manual and SRD, namely the Medium CR 1 Animated Armor, the Small CR 1/4 Flying Sword, and the Large CR 2 Rug of Smothering.

Note that the statistics of these SRD Animated Objects don't match those of the animate objects spell creations.

I'd also quite like the option of creating a swarm of animated objects.

Now the closest SRD spell comparison I can find are the conjure elemental and conjure minor elemental spells. These summon elementals based on their Challenge Rating.

The 4th-level spell conjure minor elemental has:

You summon elementals that appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. You choose one the following options for what appears:​
  • One elemental of challenge rating 2 or lower
  • Two elementals of challenge rating 1 or lower
  • Four elementals of challenge rating 1/2 or lower
  • Eight elementals of challenge rating 1/4 or lower
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots, you choose one of the summoning options above, and more creatures appear: twice as many with a 6th-level slot and three times as many with an 8th-level slot.​

While the 5th-level spell conjure elemental has:

An elemental of challenge rating 5 or lower appropriate to the area you chose appears in an unoccupied space within 10 feet of it.​

That seems the best approach. I'll write up a proposed alternative description for the spell.
 
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Cleon

Legend
ANIMATE OBJECTS
5th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Objects come to life at your command. Choose up to ten non-magical objects within range that are not being worn or carried. You can't animate any object larger than Huge. Each target animates and becomes a creature under your control until the spell ends or until reduced to 0 hit points. You can animate a single creature of challenge rating 5 or lower, or up to ten creatures whose total challenge ratings add up to 4 or less (eight CR 1/2 creatures, four CR 1/4 plus six CR 1/2, two CR 2, or any other combination). Standard animated objects have a CR based on their size: CR 1/4 for Tiny, CR 1/2 for Small, CR 1 for Medium, CR 2 for Large and CR 4 for Huge.

Option: You can animate creatures from the Animated Objects entry in the Monster Manual: the CR 1/4 flying sword, CR 1 animated armor, CR 2 rug of smothering and, at the DM's discretion, other animated creatures. A non-standard animated object may have special requirements. Animated armor, for example, requires a complete suit of plate mail (1,500 gp) mounted on a sturdy display frame (10 gp); a flying sword requires a longsword (15 gp). Some animated objects can only be created from targets that are custom crafted for that purpose.​

 As a bonus action, you can mentally command any creature you made with this spell if the creature is within 500 feet of you (if you control multiple creatures, you can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one). You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.

Table: Animated Object Statistics
Object​
CR​
HP​
AC​
Attacks​
STR​
DEX​
Tiny
1/4​
10​
16​
+4 to hit, 1d4 + 2 damage​
6​
14​
1/2​
17​
17​
+6 to hit, 1d6 + 2 damage​
10​
14​
1​
36​
17​
+6 to hit, 1d10 + 2 damage​
14​
12​
2​
66​
17​
+6 to hit, 2d8 + 4 damage​
18​
10​
Huge
4​
110​
16​
+8 to hit, 2d10 + 6 damage​
22​
8​
3​
45​
16​
2 at +5 to hit, 4d6 damage​
16​
14​
5​
71​
16​
3 at +7 to hit, 4d6 damage​
18​
14​

 A standard animated object is an unaligned construct with challenge rating, AC, hit points, attacks, Strength, and Dexterity determined by its size. Its Constitution is 10, its Wisdom is 3, and its Intelligence and Charisma are 1. Its speed is 30 feet; if the object lacks legs or other appendages it can use for locomotion, it instead has a flying speed of 30 feet and can hover. If the object is securely attached to a surface or a larger object, such as a chain bolted to a wall, its speed is 0. It has blindsight with a radius of 60 feet and is blind beyond that distance.
 An animated object is immune to poison and psychic damage and cannot be blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified or poisoned. When the animated object drops to 0 hit points, it reverts to its original object form, and any remaining damage carries over to its original object form.
 If you command an object to attack, it can make a single melee attack against a creature within 5 feet of it. It makes a slam attack with an attack bonus and bludgeoning damage determined by its size. The DM might rule that a specific object inflicts slashing or piercing damage based on its form.
At Higher Levels: If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, the challenge rating increases by 1 for each slot level above 5th and the maximum number of objects you can animate increases by 2.
 
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Cleon

Legend
Okay, that just leaves the object's stats:

Table: Animated Object Statistics
Size​
CR​
HP​
AC​
Hit​
Damage​
STR​
DEX​
Tiny​
1/4​
10 (4d4)
16 (14+DEX)
+4 (2+DEX)
1d4+2​
6 (–2)
14 (+2)
Small​
1/2​
17 (5d6)
17 (15+DEX)
+6 (4+DEX)
1d6+2​
10 (+0)
14 (+2)
Medium​
1​
36 (8d8)
17 (16+DEX)
+6 (4+STR)
1d10+2​
14 (+2)
12 (+1)
Large​
2​
66 (12d10)
17 (17)
+6 (2+STR)
2d8+4​
18 (+4)
10 (+0)
Huge​
4​
110 (17d12)
16 (17–DEX)
+8 (2+STR)
2d10+6​
22 (+6)
8 (–1)

Here are the Animated Objects from the Monster Manual for comparison.

Table: SRD Animated Objects
Name​
Size​
CR​
HP​
AC​
Hit​
Damage​
STR​
DEX​
S​
1/4​
17 (5d6)
17 (15+DEX)
+3 (2+STR)
1d8+1​
12 (+1)
15 (+2)
M​
1​
33* (6d8+6)
18 (18+DEX)
+4 (2+STR)
2×1d6+2​
14 (+2)
11 (+0)
L​
2​
33 (6d10)
12 (10+DEX)
+5 (2+STR)
2d6+3​
17 (+3)
14 (+2)
*Note the Armor has CON 13 (+1) instead of the CON 10 (+0) of a standard animated object.
 
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Cleon

Legend
I think the trick is to make sure the Armour Class and To Hit are not too swingey.

All the SRD Monster Manual objects have better ACs than the default spell versions and their to hit numbers are considerably lower.

Hmm… I guess the main question is do I keep the AC 18, +8 to hit, DEX 18 of the spell's Tiny Animated Object or modify them, and how the bigger sizes progress up from Tiny. I certainly don't like the Large and Huge ones having AC 10 like the official stats!

To me it makes more sense to have similar to hit numbers to the SRD Animated Objects, so maybe:

Tiny +5 (DEX +3 and +2 proficiency)​
Small +4 (DEX +2 and +2 proficiency)​
Medium +4 (STR +2 and +2 proficiency)​
Large +5 (STR +3 and +2 proficiency)​
Huge +8 (STR +5 and +3 proficiency)​

As for Armour Class, I'm tempted to give them all the same AC.

Tiny AC 16 (base 13 plus DEX +3)​
Small AC 16 (base 14 plus DEX +2)​
Medium AC 16 (base 15 plus DEX +1)​
Large AC 16 (base 16 plus DEX +0)​
Huge AC 16 (base 17 plus DEX –1)​

If we want to keep the original Tiny's AC 18 though, I'd rather have it vary a bit with the Tiny and Huge ones being the hardest to hit.

Maybe:

Tiny AC 18 (base 15 plus DEX +3)​
Small AC 17 (base 15 plus DEX +2)​
Medium AC 17 (base 16 plus DEX +1)​
Large AC 17 (base 17 plus DEX +0)​
Huge AC 18 (base 18 plus DEX +0)​

Hmm, it'd be easier to run some numbers through the CR Calculator and see what works…
 



Cleon

Legend
Animated Object, Shrapnel Swarm
Medium swarm of Tiny constructs, unaligned
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (12d8 + 12)
Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
18 (+4)​
16 (+3)​
13 (+1)​
1 (–5)​
4 (–3)​
1 (–5)​

Saving Throws CON +4, DEX +6
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 6
Languages
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Antimagic Susceptibility. The shrapnel swarm is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the swarm must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the shrapnel swarm remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal pile of shrapnel.

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny creature. The swarm can't regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

Actions

Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: two with shower of cuts and two with hail of nails.

Hail of Nails. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) piercing damage, or 7 (2d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Shower of Cuts. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) slashing damage, or 7 (2d6) slashing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.


Description

An animated swarm of shrapnel may appear to be a pile of metal junk, but its component objects have been carefully selected for their lethal potential.
 Instead of being a creature created by animate objects or similar magic, a shrapnel swarm may be a normal construct that does not require the Antimagic Susceptibility trait.


VARIANT: SHRAPNEL SWARMS
A typical shrapnel swarm is formed from knives, razor blades, arrowheads, shuriken, crossbow bolts and similar sharp implements, but the swarm may also include steel ball bearings, lead sling bullets or the like, which gives it the following action option.
Blizzard of Blows. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (4d6) bludgeoning damage, or 7 (2d6) bludgeoning damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Alternate Multiattacks. Depending on the objects an animated swarm of shrapnel is composed of, its Multiattack option may change to one of the following.
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: two with shower of cuts and two with blizzard of blows (or two with hail of nails and two with blizzard of blows for some swarms–those made of bullets and lancets, for example).
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks using any combination of blizzard of blows, hail of nails, and shower of cuts.
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: one shower of cuts, one hail of nails, one blizzard of blows, and one attack with either shower of cuts, hail of nails, or blizzard of blows.
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks with shower of cuts (some swarms make four attacks with hail of nails or blizzard of blows instead).

Alternate Multiattacks. Other arrangements are possible, such as:
Multiattack. The shrapnel swarm makes four attacks: two with hail of nails, and two attacks using any combination of shower of cuts and blizzard of blows. The swarm can make one volley of missile attack instead of its two hail of nails attacks, or it can make two volley of missile attacks instead of all four melee attacks.
Volley of Missiles. The swarm sprays darts and arrowheads in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 14 (4d6) piercing damage, or 7 (2d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points of fewer; the target takes half as much damage on a successful save.
 A shrapnel swarm with volley of missiles is Challenge 7 (2,900 XP).

(Original monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
 
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Cleon

Legend
Animated Object, Walking Springal
Large construct, unaligned
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (12d10)
Speed 40 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
18 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
10 (+0)​
1 (–5)​
3 (–4)​
1 (–5)​

Saving Throws DEX +4
Skills Perception +0
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 3 (700 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Antimagic Susceptibility. The walking springal is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the springal must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the walking springal remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal object.

Actions

Multiattack. The walking springal makes four bolt attacks or two slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Bolt. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) piercing damage.

Boltblitz (Recharge After a Short Rest or Reload). The walking springal hurls a storm of bolts in a 160-foot trapezoid that is 10 feet wide at the base and 30 feet wide at the end. Each creature in that area must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, with advantage if they are more than 80 feet away from the springal, or disadvantage if they are within 20 feet of it. On a failed save, a target within 40 feet takes 22 (4d10) piercing damage, one from 40 to 80 feet takes 16 (3d10) piercing damage, one from 80 to 120 feet takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage, and one from 120 to 160 feet takes 5 (1d10) piercing damage. On a successful save, the target takes half damage if they are within 120 feet of the springal, or no damage if they are further away.

Reload. The walking springal recharges its boltblitz.


Description

An inactive walking springal looks like a large wooden box on short table legs, with metal reinforcement on the face and sides of one end. It has large hatches on each side and the reinforced end has a large slot in the middle above which are set one or more pairs of glass discs.
 Instead of being a creature created by animate objects or similar magic, a walking springal may be a normal construct that does not require the Antimagic Susceptibility trait.
Missile Machine. A springal is a type of light siege engine similar to a ballista that uses the energy stored in twisted skeins of sinew or hair to throw clusters of crossbow-style bolts. They are comparatively short ranged weapons that are usually used to defend gatehouses and the like from assaults. Walking springals are constructs that are often used for the same purpose but their high mobility compared to an non-animated springal makes them very useful on open battlefields too.
Targeting Sights. The glass discs set in its front are eyes, allowing a walking springal to aim at targets beyond its blindsight range. The construct can see as well as an average humanoid, a useful trait when its master orders it to stand guard.

(Original monster designed by Cleon on the Creature Catalog General Monsters forum.)
 
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