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Lazy Monster Damage – Subtract 3, Add 1d6

by Mike on 29 January 2024

This tip is a trick I first heard attributed to Chris Perkins. I've used it a lot and love it. First, I'm a huge proponent of using static monster damage. It's fast, easy, and moves the game forward at a good clip. It's super lazy.

Some don't like how static damage is so, well, static. So here's a trick to add variance without a lot of work.

Subtract 3 from the static damage of a monster and add 1d6.

It adds just enough variance to make the damage feel different but needs only a single d6 and the math is easy.

What About Critical Hits?

For critical hits, double the static damage, subtract 3, and add 1d6. Sure, crits hit harder than usual but monsters can use the love.

Ignore for Lower Dice Damage

You really only need this trick if rolling monster damage uses two or more dice. If it's a single die and a modifier then subtracting 3 and adding 1d6 isn't making things easier. When a monster inflicts two or more dice worth of damage – often on a multi-attack – rolling all those dice slows things down.

That said, if you want to use a d6 for everything, you can still subtract 3 and add 1d6 to every static damage value you come across.

Give it a try!

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This work includes material taken from by Michael E. Shea available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

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