Monsters As Races

While every monster has the statistics that a player would need to play the creature as a character, most monsters are not suitable as PCs. Creatures who have an Intelligence score of 5 or lower, who have no way to communicate, or who are so different from other PCs that they disrupt the campaign should not be used. Some creatures have strange innate abilities or great physical power, and thus are questionable at best as characters (except in high-level campaigns).

Starting Level of a Monster PC
Multiply a monster’s challenge rating by 4 to get the creature’s effective character level, or ECL. Monsters that have an effective class level of 20 or less are suitable for play. If the monster’s hit dice is not equal to its ECL, the monster has a level adjustment (LA) equal to the difference.

Monsters with Classes
The monster gains all the class features for every level you gain, with the following exceptions:

  • The Monster doesn’t gain the starting equipment of the added class.
  • For each class level you add, the monster gains one hit dice of its normal type (based on its size), ignoring the class’s hit dice progression.
  • The monster’s proficiency bonus is based on its challenge rating. Every four class levels increases the monster’s CR by 1.

Proficiency Bonus by Challenge Rating Table

Challenge Rating Proficiency Bonus
0 Range (yards)
1/8 +2
1/4 +2
1/2 +2
1 +2
2 +2
3 +2
4 +2
5 +3
6 +3
7 +3
8 +3
9 +4
10 +4

Level Adjustment and Effective Character Level
Use ECL instead of character level to determine how many experience points a monster character needs to reach its next level. Also use ECL to determine starting wealth for a monster character.

Monster characters treat skills mentioned in their monster entry as class skills.

Ability Scores for Monster PCs
The character gains the monster’s ability scores in descending order from highest to lowest if the monster’s scores are higher than the following ability score array: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. If the monster’s scores are not higher, then the character uses the lower lower score from the ability score array.

For example, a Succubus has the following ability scores: Str 8, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 20. A Succubus character gains a Dexterity of 17, a Constitution of 13, a Intelligence of 15, a Wisdom of 12, and a Charisma of 20. A Succubus character gains a Strength of 8 from the ability score array.

Another example, Minotaur has the following ability scores: Str 18, Dex 11, Con 16, Int 6, Wis 16, Cha 9. A Minotaur character gains a Strength of 18, a Constitution of 16, and a Wisdom of 16. A Minotaur character gains the follow scores from the from the ability score array: a Dexterity of 12, a Charisma of 9, and a Intelligence of 6.

Monsters As Races

D&D 5E S6nculve