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D&D 5E Creature Features: Resistances, Vulnerabilities, and Bloodied Condition for all Creatures

A while back the players in my campaign said they really enjoy figuring out the vulnerabilities and resistances of enemies. We decided to add resistances and vulnerabilities to every creature (except for the characters)!

I wound up creating 19 categories that I "tag" enemies with. These tags grant new resistances and vulnerabilities. However, sometimes I change the resistance or vulnerability to fit the situation. I also gave each tag an ability that gets triggered when the creature is at half hit-points.

What's been fun is to switch up the Creature Feature tags for even the same species of enemy. For example, the characters were fighting a bunch of nothic cultists. Based on my description of them, I chose the tag "Creepy Crawly." The nothics gained a resistance to poison damage, and a vulnerability to bludgeoning. They also gained the ability to, when bloodied, move without provoking an attack of opportunity if they had made an attack.

But then the characters encountered a nothic covered in articulated armor. I used the "Armored" tag. This nothic was resistant to all bludgeoning and slashing damage, but vulnerable to piercing damage. The rogue soon figured this out, and it was fun describing how they were finding small gaps between the armored plates to stab through. When the armored nothic became bloodied, they gained some damage reduction, and this too added to the narration, as they made adjustments to their armor to cover those gaps.

This is definitely a work in progress! I may add some more resistances to tags that have very common vulnerabilities. I may change some of the bloodied powers, too. And it would be neat to combine some for especially powerful enemies!

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this list:

Arcane
  • Resistance: Force
  • Vulnerability: Radiant
  • Bloodied Condition: +1 to all spell attacks and DC's
Armored
  • Resistance: Bludgeoning, Slashing
  • Vulnerability: Piercing
  • Bloodied Condition: Gain Damage Reduction equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice
Big
  • Resistance: Piercing, Force, Poison
  • Vulnerability: Lightning
  • Bloodied Condition: Reach increases by 5 feet
Creepy Crawly
  • Resistance: Poison
  • Vulnerability: Bludgeoning
  • Bloodied Condition: After making an attack, creature may move without provoking attacks of opportunity.
Divine
  • Resistance: Radiant
  • Vulnerability: Psychic
  • Bloodied Condition: Immediately heal a number of Hit Dice equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice (only applies once per combat).
Earthbound
  • Resistance: Acid
  • Vulnerability: Lightning
  • Bloodied Condition: All attacks deal a extra acid damage equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice.
Firebound
  • Resistance: Fire
  • Vulnerability: Cold
  • Bloodied Condition: All attacks deal extra fire damage equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice.
Frostbound
  • Resistance: Cold
  • Vulnerability: Fire
  • Bloodied Condition: All attacks deal extra cold damage equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice.
Metallic
  • Resistance: Lightning
  • Vulnerability: Acid
  • Bloodied Condition: Adjacent creatures who make a melee attack suffer slashing damage equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice.
Pack Minded
  • Resistance: Psychic
  • Vulnerability: Thunder
  • Bloodied Condition: Gain the benefits of flanking when the target of attack is adjacent to an ally.
Quick
  • Resistance: Force, Piercing
  • Vulnerability: Poison
  • Bloodied Condition: Speed increases by an amount equal to 5 feet per 5 Hit Dice.
Shadowbound
  • Resistance: Cold, Necrotic
  • Vulnerability: Radiant
  • Bloodied Condition: May take the Hide Action as a Bonus Action.
Shielded
  • Resistance: Piercing
  • Vulnerability: Bludgeoning
  • Bloodied Condition: Armor Class increases by an amount equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice.
Skeletal
  • Resistance: Piercing
  • Vulnerability: Bludgeoning
  • Bloodied Condition: Become immune to piercing damage and gain resistance to slashing damage.
Stormbound
  • Resistance: Lightning
  • Vulnerability: Acid
  • Bloodied Condition: All attacks deal extra lightning damage equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice.
Thick Hide
  • Resistance: Piercing, Slashing
  • Vulnerability: Acid
  • Bloodied Condition: Gain resistance to all damage until the end of creature's next turn.
Tough
  • Resistance: Bludgeoning, Force, Thunder
  • Vulnerability: Piercing
  • Bloodied Condition: Gain advantage on Constitution and Wisdom Saving Throws.
Wooden
  • Resistance: Piercing
  • Vulnerability: Fire
  • Bloodied Condition: Adjacent creatures who make a melee attack suffer piercing damage equal to 1 per 5 Hit Dice.
Xenomorphic
  • Resistance: Bludgeoning, Slashing, and Piercing
  • Vulnerability: Roll 1d12 (1: acid, 2: cold, 3: fire, 4: force, 5: lightning, 6: necrotic, 7: piercing, 8: poison, 9: radiant, 10: thunder, 11: roll twice, 12: none)
  • Bloodied Condition: Reroll Vulnerability
 

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Dausuul

Legend
This is a nifty idea!

And I agree with your players. Discovering monster vulnerabilities that you can exploit is like a little Christmas present mid-combat. In our last session, I was playing my bard as a debuff/support character as normal... until the DM mentioned that he was doubling the psychic damage from my Psychic Blades attack.

In thirty-plus years of playing this game, it was the first time I have ever seen a bard turn into a damage monster. Bards don't have a lot of raw damage options, but virtually all of the ones they do have are psychic. 6d6 damage (plus opportunity attacks from the barbarian and the cleric) with a first level spell? Don't mind if I do...
 

Gadget

Adventurer
This is a nice little bit of mechanical flair to add to monsters. Not to be controversial, but it reminds me a little of 4e monster design (Man I miss 4e monster design, even if it did take couple of iterations to really get it right). One thing I noticed is that there is a lot of Force resistance in there, something that is normally not resisted, or at least only very rarely. That might change the dynamic a bit for certain spells and abilities.
 
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This is a nice little bit of mechanical flair to add to monsters. Not to be controversial, but it reminds me a little of 4e monster design (Man I mess 4e monster design, even if it did take couple of iterations to really get it right). One thing I noticed is that there is a lot of Force resistance in there, something that is normally not resisted, or at least only very rarely. That might change the dynamic a bit for certain spells and abilities.
That might have been a subconscious reaction to a warlock in the campaign. 😁
 

I especially like the bloodied effects. Cool stuff.
Thanks! The bloodied effects have been really fun. Last week the group fought some azers, which I applied the Firebound tag to. When they were bloodied, they started dealing more fire damage, and I described it as their metallic bodies getting ripped apart and fire bursting through. Really made them seem threatening!
 

This is a nifty idea!

And I agree with your players. Discovering monster vulnerabilities that you can exploit is like a little Christmas present mid-combat. In our last session, I was playing my bard as a debuff/support character as normal... until the DM mentioned that he was doubling the psychic damage from my Psychic Blades attack.

In thirty-plus years of playing this game, it was the first time I have ever seen a bard turn into a damage monster. Bards don't have a lot of raw damage options, but virtually all of the ones they do have are psychic. 6d6 damage (plus opportunity attacks from the barbarian and the cleric) with a first level spell? Don't mind if I do...
I also have a house rules that characters can use a Bonus Action to make a Knowledge Check (Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion, depending on the creature) to learn facts about them. A lot of times during the first few rounds of combat the characters are trying to figure out what these creatures are vulnerable and resistant to, and that then changed their strategies.
 

dave2008

Legend
This is a nice little bit of mechanical flair to add to monsters. Not to be controversial, but it reminds me a little of 4e monster design (Man I mess 4e monster design, even if it did take couple of iterations to really get it right). One thing I noticed is that there is a lot of Force resistance in there, something that is normally not resisted, or at least only very rarely. That might change the dynamic a bit for certain spells and abilities.
The bloodied condition tends to trigger the 4e connotations. Nothing wrong with that, though I do use the bloodied condition (different than 4e though) in my game, it is not a standard 5e thing.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Nice! I do something similar with resistances and vulnerabilities myself, but the bloodied effects are a really nice touch! Some of my rules of thumb (of course there are always exceptions):

Constructs
Vulnerabilities: Thunder
Resistances: Necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from non-adamanitine weapons
Immunities: Poison; exhaustion, stunned, unconscious

Fae
Resistances: Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from magical weapons
Immunities: Charmed

Mindless
Resistances: Psychic*
Immunities: Psychic**; charmed, frightened

* If capable of rudimentary thought
** If completely thoughtless

Swarms
Vulnerabilities: Damage from attacks and spells that affect each target in an area
Resistances: Damage from attacks and spells that target a single creature
Immunities: Charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, prone, stunned

Undead (Corporeal)
Vulnerability: Fire*
Resistance: Necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, slashing**
Immunity: Poison; exhaustion, poisoned

* skeletal undead are vulnerable to bludgeoning instead of fire
** often, there is a specific exception to undead resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, such as attacks targeting the head or another weak point (imposing disadvantage)

Undead (Incorporeal)
Vulnerabilities: Radiant
Resistances: Acid, cold, lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from non-magical weapons
Immunities: Necrotic, poison; exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained

Constructs and corporeal undead are often mindless.
 
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jayoungr

Legend
The bloodied condition tends to trigger the 4e connotations. Nothing wrong with that, though I do use the bloodied condition (different than 4e though) in my game, it is not a standard 5e thing.
In my experience, it may just be the single most popular thing from 4E that people like to port into 5E games.
 

Nebulous

Legend
Great idea. That's the kind of thing that would fit nicely into core D&D (or Level Up). And I agree, removing Bloodied from 5e wasn't the best idea; I did like how it changed combat with monsters.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I didn't play 4e, so could someone answer a couple questions about it....
  1. Did every monster in 4e have a "Bloodied" condition?
  2. Was every "Bloodied" condition a combat boost (as opposed to a nerf, change in tactics, or plea/flee attempt, or something)?
 

dave2008

Legend
I didn't play 4e, so could someone answer a couple questions about it....
  1. Did every monster in 4e have a "Bloodied" condition?
  2. Was every "Bloodied" condition a combat boost (as opposed to a nerf, change in tactics, or plea/flee attempt, or something)?
Every monster and PC had the bloodied condition. It was triggered when you first dipped below 50% of your max HP in an encounter. The condition itself didn't do anything, but certain abilities or traits only triggered when a creature was bloodied. And not every creature had such a trait, but PCs might have a power that triggered off your opponent (ie monsters) being bloodied. So it was typically always relevant. Either monsters got something special (dragon's instantly recharged their breathweapon and could use it as a reaction when they were bloodied) or the PCs got something (I was a DM so I don't remember the PC as well).
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I didn't play 4e, so could someone answer a couple questions about it....
  1. Did every monster in 4e have a "Bloodied" condition?
  2. Was every "Bloodied" condition a combat boost (as opposed to a nerf, change in tactics, or plea/flee attempt, or something)?
What @dave2008 said. Bloodied didn’t do anything on its own, but there were lots of features both positive and negative that cared about whether a creature was bloodied.
 


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