Thursday night, I started working on monsters for Escape from White Cliff again for the first time in several weeks. I took a break from DMing so I could sort out some life stuff that was easier to get done on the weekends. It was simultaneously relaxing and stressful, as life tends to be. Now I’m back to devising new challenges for our party and it feels like I was never stopped.

Some time away from designing beasties has given me time for a slight perspective shift. I have less overall attachment to individual monsters and it’s easier to create their powers and call them done without buffing them all to a shine. The players will never see most (or any) of the numbers on the monster’s stat block, so there’s little reason to adjust a monster’s ability scores unless it’s going to be making multiple appearances and has skills that will come into play.

The new perspective has benefits and drawbacks. I have less attachment to the crunch (numbers), and better ideas for the fluff (physical descriptions and behavior) — and I’m less interested in innovating with monsters now. I’m mostly keeping them within their prescribed roles without trying to make them self-sufficient. They’re designed to work better in groups than apart, now. Generally a plus, though.