D&D 5E How do you handle using a different race for common Monsters?

Here's the scenario: I'd like to populate a Gith prison with a lot more Gith guards and whatnot, however the party is of a level where too many of a Githyanki Warrior would be very, very dangerous. Already it will hopefully be mostly a stealth mission, but I'd like to have them be able to have the potential for the entire compound to descend upon them and not immediately kill everyone.

So my thought was using some stats for normal NPC monsters like "Guard" and "Thug", but having them be Gith. However, it seems like most of the Gith have the addition of "Innate Spellcasting" with spells of "Jump, misty step, nondetection, tongues, plane shift, and telekinesis". Would you add those to the "Guard" statblock to make it a "Gith Guard"?

In a more general sense, how do you reskin Monsters for use in other environments/settings?

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The alternative to making generic guards more gith-y is to make gith more minion-y. Take the Gith Warrior stat block, halve its hit points, shave a couple of points off its attack bonus and AC, drop its damage die a step or two and you'll have a serviceable mook.


Magic Wordsmith
I'm in general agreement with not mookifying the gith guards. That there is a threat of the jailers descending en masse is a problem for the players to consider and solve, not really for the DM to essentially solve for them ahead of time by weakening the threat.

As long as you make clear that these guys aren't pushovers by some hopefully evocative yet reasonably clear description, then it's a fair challenge in my view and the players will have to plan and set their expectations accordingly.

The only thing I might do is create some kind of "threat meter" mechanic that the players can see that ticks up or ticks down based on character actions. That way they can judge how effective or ineffective they are being as they conduct their business. Dead in Thay has something like this.


Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I do this quite a lot. I just don't do it to turn things into mooks. To some extent I share the sentiment that iconic badasses should get a little more respectful treatment. :)
I agree that in some cases it isn’t appropriate and that this may very well be one of those cases. I’d have to think about it. For example, I’d never make a bugbear commoner. The bugbear in the MM is the commoner!


I modify monsters all the time, but it's almost always to increase threat level, not lower it. When I have done it, I've given some in-world explanation. If it really makes sense for the group to be fighting a dragon, it's been beaten up and is half dead or it's been shackled (with it's mouth chained shut) to limit what it can do.

In a case like this, I could justify it as the guards being "commoner" gith. The only gith people normally encounter are the best of the best, raiders that are significantly more dangerous than the typical guard. Normally the only gith people encounter are part of the special forces.

Or just use slave races like the others are saying.

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