How I improvise NPC and Monster stats in VTT games


I have the extreme blessing of running a Ravenloft game currently with some old friends. I have been running it on Rolz.org new free VTT, which I absolutely adore (mostly because its free and easy to use).

I have also been running the game my usual way. If we want to make me look like some badass GM, I could say I run it "full improv" or "freeform". If we wanted to be ostentatiously modest so I can prove I am a million times more humble than thou art, then I would say I'm "lazy". I will settle for "lazy" because it's less letters to type.

And as such, I don't prepare much in the way of encounters or maps, at least not custom ones.

Instead, I maintain a folder of several hundred images, with file names changed to make searching easy. I then drop those images straight into the VTT.

But what about combat? Don't I have to make stat blocks for my baddies?

Nah, screw that. All you really need for any monster is


Attack bonus




Most opponents have a 30 feet move speed, so I just move them no more than 6 spaces. If they need to be faster, I increment by 10 as needed.

Attack Bonuses

I make up attack bonuses on the fly, not even necessarily adding anything up in my head. Like, if I want a simpleton mook to harass the players, I give the mook like a +2 to attacks. The head mook might get a +3 or +4, big woop. I do this for melee, ranged, and spell attacks


HP is also made up on the fly. I roughly calculate how much average damage my PCs are doing each round first, sometimes just by remembering one or two attacks they did and getting that average. Then I add up that damage and multiply that by 3 to 5 rounds, depending on how long I want my baddie to last if they unleash the beast on them.

For example, say I have a golem I want to last 3 round. I my four players deal 15, 20, 20, and 15 damage each round usually. That's 70 damage. If I want the golem to be able to face my players for 3 rounds, I could give it 70*3+10 > 210+10 = 220.


Saves I also simply give an arbitrary number. +0 or even -1 if I want them vulnerable on that save, +3 or more if I want them pretty tough there.

Prepared for nothing = prepared for anything

In this way, I can be prepared for nearly any fight. Did the PCs crash an enemy nobles wedding and suddenly guards are summoned and the warlock best man is pissed? No need to wait for stat blocks or even a generator, I just start throwing Eldritch Blasts and go. Did I set up a cool dungeon with a badass guardian and accidentally forget to stat said guardian? Instant stats.

This method is also good for figuring out how long groups of Mooks might last. Going back to the example party that does 70 damage per round: Each PC does 17.5, or 18 if your round up, damage per round. If I wanted to throw mooks that would be one hit kills for any one party member, I would give them a low AC and maybe like 12 HP or something. In the wedding example above, these could be the town guards. If I threw 4 guards like this at them, I could reasonably expect that all 4 would be killed the first round. If I doubled their HP, then one or two may remain standing for two or even three rounds. Same thing could happen if I upped their AC. 

I'll do a blog post on the dynamics of multiple low AC opponents as opposed to single high HP opponents one day. Do remind me loyalist readers!

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