D&D 5E Monsters as PCs


I only played a few games of 2e D&D but my favorite thing I did was play a minotaur. My GM wasn't thrilled about it since according to the rules, minotaurs were always evil. I promised I wouldn't be a dick and he was cool with that. Mind you, the character didn't last long, but I still had fun with him nonetheless. My girlfriend has a particular fetish for lizardfolk characters. She frequently talks about her blind lizardfolk monk that, according to her tales, rocked the house.

For both her and me, Savage Species was one of the best books in 3.0. We are both glad that monsters as PCs got support in the 3.5 Monster Manual, making it easier to play such a character straight away, even if full support was some distance off. However, the basic setup of races in 5e does leave me wondering if we will see the ability to play monstrous characters in a short timeframe. The 5e Monster Manual is not likely to have subraces of centaurs right there. I'm currently expecting to see about half of the options stripped out and made a subrace. So a "cave" minotaur would have rage +10 and keen senses while a "mountain" minotaur would have rock throwing and a climb speed, for example. But these options will not be presented in the first year (unless they are in an issue of Dragon, once it restarts). Wizards will have larger ground to cover before worrying about making monsters playable.

But I do want to say that that will be one book that I am looking forward to.

What kind of monstrous creatures do you want to see as playable races? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Assuming three books, I'd expect in the back of the Monster Manual to have guidelines to play orcs, goblinoids, kobolds, lizard folk, and gnolls (ungamebreaking monstrous humanoids).

I'd really like a rules framework to allow playing any intelligent creature, and having the creature look more or less the same as a PC or "monster". Something like 3e effective character level as it should have been rather than how it actually worked out.

Dragons are necessary. I don't mean "dragon-like races." I mean young adult bronze dragon, or mature adult green dragon, etc.


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
If you want to play a dragon as a PC, as a DM you just need to figure it out on your own. Demanding it is "necessary" to provide you rules for that is, I think, asking for too much. It's an extremely obscure and little-used house rule. I've never heard, in all my decades playing and posting to boards and even usenet before that, anyone playing a dragon as a PC.

Ever heard of the Council of Wyrms setting? You aren't likely to play a dragon in a nomal campaign. It's generally going to come up in a campaign specifically based around either dragons or powerful characters.

It won't require a lot of rules unless it is done wrong. About all that needs to be done is give each intelligent monster a level equivalent. The creature is a character of that level. Customize ability scores and skills if you don't like the default arrangement, and then begin adding levels in normal classes and following the normal multiclassing rules. That's it. It's like 3 paragraphs in a book, and a number in monster stat blocks. I just want us to get that number, and have it actually work, unlike 3e where you were normally sorely underpowered as a monstrous character.

Sorry if that post sounded snarky.

I've actually run a high-level monster character 3e campaign and it worked well. I used the basic concepts of ECL, but I used my own system to set them, which almost always gave monsters lower ECLs than RAW. Once I had the system for character level equivalency it wasn't much different from normal multiclassing.

We were somewhere in the teens, and that allowed juvenile (bordering on young adult) bronze and silver dragons in my algorithm, and we had one of each. We also had a half-celestial doppelganger, a sirine werepanther (technicaly fey can't become lycanthropes, but I invoked a magical exception to allow the character), and a half-illithid githzerai psion with a hat of disguise. They could walk around looking like humanoids until they needed t reveal themselves. It was great fun. Some characters had larger combat presences than others, but everyone had things that they did that no one else could. Defining which characters were more or less powerful would be difficult on the basis of the vast differences between them. In my opinion, that's a virtue of playing extreme monstrous races--everyone has their own tricks.

So really, all I'm saying is that if I can fix the mess they made of level adjustments in 3e and educe it to a 3 or 4 step process to set equivalent character level from a stat block, they can come up with a system like that and devote a few paragraphs and a number in the monster entries or a table in the back of the MM to give us such numbers. Or better yet, design the game so that it keys off of numbers that are already there. I think it would work well to adjust the listed level for the monsters so that they function equally well as a character level. Then they wouldn't even need to devote any extra ink to it.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads