The Lazy DM's Forge of Foes

The Lazy DM's Forge of Foes

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Built for the Lazy Dungeon Master, Forge of Foes is a 128-page hardcover book and PDF focused on helping you build, customize, and run monsters for your 5e fantasy roleplaying games. Like the material found in Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, The Lazy DM’s Workbook, and The Lazy DM’s Companion, Forge of Foes gives you the tools and guidance to help you easily run awesome monsters in your games.

Check out and enjoy the free 30-page Forge of Foes sample to see what this book can do for you, and use some of these tools in your game tonight!

We all love monsters. We love them because they exist outside of our world and yet feel real to us. We love how strange they can be. We love the sense of danger that arises when we talk about them. We love how they live in our imaginations.

And when monsters come to life in our imaginations, we love to face and defeat them. We battle dragons and demons and undead—and conquer them in tales we’ll remember our whole lives.

Within the Forge of Foes, we’ll build these monsters. Here in the forge, we’ll modify creatures, giving them new attacks and strange new abilities. We’ll harden their scales and sharpen their claws. We’ll create entirely new creatures from our endless collective imagination, then watch them crawl into the stories of high adventure we share with our friends.

This project is a partnership between three TTRPG industry veterans—Teos Abadía, Scott Fitzgerald Gray, and Mike Shea, whose combined D&D credits in design, development, and editing total hundreds of books and projects published by Wizards of the Coast, MCDM, Kobold Press, Ghostfire Gaming, Schwalb Entertainment, Penny Arcade, Dwarven Forge, and more.

Each page of this 128-page book offers tips, guidance, instructions, and examples of ways to make your monsters and your creature-based combat encounters more dynamic — and to show you how to do more with monsters while keeping your game prep simple.

Forge of Foes covers a wide variety of monster-focused material. You'll find discussions ranging from game mechanics to the philosophy of monster design, to the fine art of reskinning monsters, to the all-important relationship between monsters and story, to managing the complexities of challenge rating when building exciting encounters — all wonderfully illustrated by Jack Kaiser, Allie Briggs, Nikki Dawes, Víctor Manuel Leza Moreno, Matt Morrow, and Jackie Musto.

Here’s a list of topics in this book:

Monster Toolkits

  • Building a Quick Monster
  • Building Legendary Monsters
  • Building Spellcasting Monsters
  • Building and Running Boss Monsters
  • Creating Lair Actions
  • Dice Rolling Options
  • General-Use Stat Blocks
  • Monster Powers
  • Monster Roles
  • Monster Type Templates
  • Monsters by Adventure Location

    Monster Tips and Tricks

    • Lazy Tricks for Running Monsters
    • Bosses and Minions
    • Evolving Monsters
    • The Layers of Reskinning Monsters
    • Lightning-Rod Monsters
    • Modifying Monsters Before and During Combat
    • Monster Abilities and Theater of the Mind
    • Monster Combinations
    • The Relative Weakness of High-CR Monsters
    • Running Minions and Hordes
    • Running Monsters for New Game Masters
    • Running Spellcasting Monsters
    • Understanding the Action Economy
    • Using NPC Stat Blocks

      Building Encounters

      • Assessing Published Encounters
      • Building Challenging High-Level Encounters
      • Building Engaging Environments
      • The Combat Encounter Checklist
      • Exit Strategies
      • The Lazy Encounter Benchmark

      Monster Discussion and Philosophy

      • Balancing Mechanics and Story
      • Building the Story to Fit the Monster
      • Choosing Monsters Based on the Story
      • Decolonizing Monster Design
      • Defining Challenge
      • The History of Challenge
      • Monsters and the Tiers of Play
      • On Encounters Per Day
      • On Morale and Running Away
      • Reading the Monster Stat Block
      • Romancing Monsters
      • Running Easy Monsters
      • Understanding 5e Monster Design
      • What is Challenge Rating?
      • What Makes a Great Monster Great?
      • Where Do the Best Monster Ideas Come From?

      Each of these topics is presented as a stand-alone piece that you can use straight away in your game, your prep, or your campaign building. But many topics also dovetail into others, creating an expansive continuum of creative ideas to help energize your 5e games.