Monster Patrol is a simple fantasy role-playing game, aimed at younger players with shorter attention spans. Character creation is fast, game mechanics are simple, and the emphasis is on atmosphere and action.
Monster Patrol is inspired by Jason Morningstar’s excellent Dungeon Squad! and others; see the Acknowledgements.
A role-playing game is a little bit like acting in an action movie. One of the players is the director: she sets the scenes by describing where the characters are and what they see. The other players are the actors; they create characters and describe to the director what their characters are doing in the scene.
The director often uses a script which sets the scene: what the stage looks like, what kinds of monsters and extras are in it, and any props that might be available. The director also plays the parts of everyone in the scene other than the characters.
You should gather a few things before you start playing Monster Patrol:
|d4||four sides, marked 1-4|
|d6||six sides, marked 1-6|
|d8||eight sides, marked 1-8|
|d10||ten sides, marked 0-9 (treat “0” as “10”)|
|d12||twelve sides, marked 1-12|
Snacks and drinks are always a good idea.
You may also find it helpful to have a large mat marked in squares or hexagons, and miniature figures or cardboard counters to mark where the characters and monsters are.
Players create characters by following these five steps:
Pick a name.
Decide what your character looks like. How tall is she? What color is her hair? What kind of clothes does she wear?
Choose what your character is good at. All characters have three talents: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. Take three dice: one four-sided (d4), one eight-sided (d8), and one twelve-sided (d12). Give each talent one die. The bigger the die, the more talented the character is in that area.
Give your character two skills with weapons, armor, or spells. Take two dice: one six-sided (d6) and one ten-sided (d10). Give each die to one weapon, armor, or spell. The bigger the die, the better the skill.
Write down any other stuff your character carries, such as rope or food. You start with 15 coins.
Emma is creating a witch named Hermione. She pictures Hermione as short, with curly brown hair and brown eyes, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Emma decides Hermione is best at casting spells, average at sneaking around, and not very good with a sword, and so gives her a d12 for Mage, a d8 for Rogue, and a d4 for Warrior. Emma chooses two spells for Hermione, a d6 Shield spell and a d10 Lightning spell.
Logan is creating a warrior named Percy. Logan imagines Percy as tall and strong, with short dark hair and blue eyes. Logan decides Percy is a d12 Warrior, d8 Rogue, and d4 Mage who carries a d10 sword and a d6 bow.
You may want to print a character sheet: the Starter sheet is a good choice for new players; experienced players may prefer the Advanced sheet.
You can also make your character a dwarf, an elf, or a halfling. Use the table below to adjust your character’s talent die size:
J.R.R. is creating a halfling named Merry. J.R.R. chooses a d12 for Warrior, a d8 for Rogue and a d4 for Mage. Merry’s new talent dice are d10 Warrior, d10 Rogue, d4 Mage.
Most times when you do something it just works: eating, running, talking, etc. But sometimes you will try to do things that might not work, like shooting an arrow at a monster, or opening a locked door with a hairpin, or casting a spell. When that happens the director will ask you to make a talent roll; that is, roll your talent die against a target number. If you roll equal to or higher than the target number, then you succeed. If you roll less than the target number, things didn’t go exactly as planned.
The director will tell you which talent die to roll and what the target number is, using the chart below as a guide:
Use the Warrior talent when you are fighting monsters. You attack monsters by rolling your Warrior die against the monster’s Defense. If you roll equal to or higher than the monster’s Defense number, then you hit the monster.
Percy attacks a goblin with his sword. He rolls his d12 Warrior die and gets a 7 which is greater than the goblin’s 2 Defense, so he hits the goblin.
After you hit a monster, roll your weapon die to see how much you Hurt it. If the monster is wearing armor, the director rolls the armor die and subtracts it from the Hurts total, then subtracts that result from the monster’s Health. Monsters die when they have no Health left.
After hitting the goblin, Percy rolls a d10 for his sword and gets a 5. This goblin has 8 Health and is using a d4 shield. The director rolls a 2 for its shield, reducing the Hurts to 3, which is then subtracted from its Health. The goblin now has 5 Health left.
Monsters attack characters the same way. All characters have 4 Defense and start with 15 Health. A character falls unconscious when he has no Health left, and will die soon unless someone helps him.
The goblin tries to chop Percy with its axe. Goblins are d6 Warriors; the director rolls a d6 and gets a 3. Percy’s Defense is 4 so the goblin misses.
Anyone can use a dagger or fists as a d4 weapon.
Fancy Attack: If you have more than one Warrior die, you can use each die to attack a different monster, or the same monster multiple times, instead of adding the dice together in one attack.
Fancy Defense: A character’s Defense is based on her Warrior die:
Use the Rogue talent when you are trying to be sneaky, look for hidden treasures, or open a lock without a key. Moving quietly or hiding in shadows is usually Easy (target number 2), picking a lock or climbing a wall is often Normal (target number 4), and jumping a chasm or disarming a trap is typically Hard (target number 6).
Hermione is trying to sneak down a hallway without being noticed by a giant. The hallway is dark and the giant is sleepy, so the director decides this is an easy task. Hermione must roll a 2 or higher with her d8 Rogue talent.
You also use the Rogue talent to shoot a bow or throw a knife. Bows can hit monsters far away, but the further they are, the harder they are to hit. Your Rogue talent is -1 die size for medium distances, and -2 die sizes for long distances. (You can use Fancy Attack with bows as well.)
Percy shoots his bow at a giant spider. The director says the spider is long distance, so Percy’s d8 Rogue talent is -2 die sizes. He rolls a d4 and gets a 2 which is less than the spider’s 4 Defense, so he misses the spider.
Use the Mage talent to cast spells. The target number for easy spells is 2, normal spells is 4, and hard spells is 6. Spells marked with “▸” keep working for as many turns as you roll. You have to stop the spell or wait for it to end before casting it again.
Hermione wants to open the door at the end of the hallway. Unlock is an easy spell, so she needs to roll a 2 or higher with her d12 Mage talent.
Blink – Move instantly to any spot you can see, up to as many spaces as you roll.
▸ Climb – Magically help one character climb walls and ceilings for as many turns as you roll.
Heal – Erase as many Hurts as you roll from one character. Healing is hard to cast in the middle of a battle (target number 6). You can also use this spell to Harm a monster by adding Hurts.
▸ Light – Magically light up a circle about 9m (30') in diameter. The light moves with you and lasts for as many turns as you roll. You can also use this spell to create Darkness.
Luck – Add your roll to someone else’s roll, before they make it. You can also use this spell to make someone Unlucky and subtract from a roll.
Unlock – Magically open any door, window, chest, etc. You can also use this spell to Lock things.
▸ Wall – Creates a magical wall that acts just like a real wall. Each 1.5m x 1.5m (5' x 5') section costs one point and lasts one turn. Use your roll to make multiple sections, or have the sections last for more turns.
Warn – Shows you any traps, hidden enemies, or other dangers within 9m (30').
▸ Bless – Add two die sizes to someone else’s talent or skill for as many turns as you roll. You can also use this spell to Curse someone and subtract two die sizes.
▸ Charm – Become a monster’s Best Friend for as many turns as you roll. “These aren’t the ‘droids you’re looking for.”
Dazzle – Create a bright flash and loud sound which confuses one or more monsters, causing them to do nothing for one turn. Each weak monster (2 Defense) takes 1 point to dazzle, each normal monster (4 Defense) takes 2 points, and each strong monster (6 Defense) requires 3 points.
▸ Fly – One character can fly around for as many turns as you roll.
▸ Haste – Make one character twice as fast for as many turns as you roll. You can also use this spell to Slow a monster.
Shield – Put magical armor around one character. The armor stops as many Hurts as you roll, and vanishes once it is used up.
Turn – Make undead monsters (skeletons, vampires, zombies, etc.) run away. Each weak monster (2 Defense) takes 1 point to turn, each normal monster (4 Defense) takes 2 points, and each strong monster (6 Defense) requires 3 points.
Ward – Set a magical trap that blasts anyone who triggers it.
Bolt – Send a magical arrow flying around obstacles to hit one monster.
▸ Change – Change your appearance to look and sound like any monster or person you have seen, for as many turns as you roll. Even though you look different, you still have all the same talents, skills, and stuff. If you change into an eagle, you still won’t be able to fly (unless you also know the Fly spell).
▸ Conjure – Summon a magical creature to do your bidding for as many turns as you roll. The creature is a d8 Warrior with a d6 weapon and 10 Health. You can exchange two turns to increase its Warrior or weapon by one die size.
Dispel – Turn off a spell cast by someone else.
Fireball – Ignite a fiery explosion that hurts a monster and everyone nearby. The monster takes all the Hurts rolled. Everyone within 3m (10') of the target takes half the Hurts rolled, and everyone within 6m (20') takes a quarter of the Hurts rolled.
▸ Invisibility – Make one character invisible for as many turns as you roll. An invisible character is Very Difficult to hit (8 Defense) and attacks with +2 die sizes.
Lightning – Zap one or more monsters with a bolt of electricity. Split the roll among as many monsters as you like.
▸ Sleep – Put one monster to sleep for as many turns as you roll.
You regain Health points by resting, or using potions and spells.
After combat you can take a quick (15 minute) break and gain back d4 worth of Health. An hour’s worth of rest with food and water will return d6 Health. A good night’s sleep and a full meal will recover d8 Health.
Bandages, salves, potions and spells restore Health immediately, but are less effective the more they are used. Reduce the healing power by 1 die size for each use after the first, until you get a good night’s sleep.
Some monsters gather treasure. Most treasures are money like coins, gems, and jewelry. You can use money to buy more stuff, or to make your character better. You can spend 200 coins to learn a new d4 skill, 100 coins to add +1 die size to any talent or skill, or 50 coins to add +1 to your Health.
Hermione finds a bag with 67 coins in it. She could increase her Health by 1 and have 17 coins left; or if she finds 33 more coins, she can make her Warrior die a d6.
Sometimes monsters will have magical treasures, like weapons or armor that are +1 die size. Wands and scrolls can cast spells on monsters, while rings and potions give you magical powers.
Magic items can be quite powerful, like a Cloak of Invisibility, a Potion of Healing, or a Wand of Lightning. They can also help a talent roll, like Elven Boots that add +1 die size to your Rogue roll when trying to move quietly.
These are items you might carry.
|1 coin||5 coins||10 coins||25 coins||50 coins|
|candles (3)||bandages (d4)||grappling hook||healing potion (d8)||pocketwatch|
|fishing line & hook||bedroll||hammer & spikes||hourglass||spyglass|
|mallet & stakes||food for a week*||healing salve (d6)||mirror|
|needle & thread||pole, 3m (10’)||lantern & oil||musical instrument|
|sack||rope, 15m (50')||padlock||saddle|
|soap||snare||parchment, ink & quill||tent|
* Food could be bread, crackers, dried meat, cheese, dried fruit.
Changing die size just means moving up to a larger die or down to a smaller die. You can’t roll a die smaller than a d4. After d12 just add more dice starting with d4.
|-1 size||Die||+1 size|
|d10||d12||d12 + d4|
|d12||d12 + d4||d12 + d6|
|d12 + d4||d12 + d6||d12 + d8|
and so on.
|Basilisk||d8||4||d6 bite + petrify||d6 hide||15|
|Bat, Giant Vampire||d4||1||2 bite||–||swarm|
|Bear||d10||6||d6 claws, d8 bite||–||16|
|Boar, Wild||d8||4||d8 tusks||–||10|
|Bull||d8||4||d6 bite, d8 horns||–||15|
|Camel||d6||2||1 bite, d4 kick||–||15|
|Centaur||d8||4||d6 sword or d6 bow, d8 kick||–||15|
|Chimera||d10||6||d8 claws, d8 horns, d8 breath||–||20|
|Cockatrice||d8||4||d6 bite + petrify||–||15|
|Crocodile||d8||4||d10 bite||d6 hide||20|
|Demon||d12||8||d10 claws, d8 whip, two d12 spells||d8 hide, immune to fire, lightning||50|
|Devil, Screech||d10||6||d6 Dazzle, d10 claws||d10 hide||25|
|Dragon, Huge||d12||8||d8 claws, d10 bite, d12 fire breath||d10 hide||60|
|Dragon, Small||d10||6||d6 claws, d8 bite, d10 fire breath||d8 hide||40|
|Dwarf||d8||4||d6 hammer||d4 chainmail||15|
|Elemental||d12||8||d12 slam||only magic||50|
|Elephant||d8||4||d6 tusk, d12 trample||–||25|
|Gargoyle||d10||6||d6 claws||d8 hide||20|
|Ghoul||d8||4||d4 claws + stun for d4 turns (except elves)||–||12|
|Goblin||d6||2||d6 axe or d4 dart||d4 shield||8|
|Gryphon||d8||4||d6 beak, d4 claws||–||15|
|Hellhound||d8||4||d6 bite, d8 breath||–||15|
|Hippogriff||d8||4||d8 beak, d6 claws||–||25|
|Hobgoblin||d8||4||d8 sword or d6 bow||d6 shield||10|
|Horse||d6||2||d4 bite, d6 kick||–||15|
|Hydra||d10||6||d10 bite (per head)||–||25|
|Lich||d12||8||three d12 spells||only magic||75|
|Lion||d8||4||d4 bite, d6 claws||–||20|
|Lizardman||d8||4||d8 mace or d6 spear||d4 hide||12|
|Manticore||d12||8||d8 claws, d6 bite, d10 tail + d4 poison for 4 turns||d6 hide||24|
|Minotaur||d10||6||d10 axe||d8 hide||25|
|Mold, Stinking Slime||–||1||erodes metal||–||25|
|Mold, Magic Sponge||–||1||absorbs magic||–||25|
|Mummy||d10||6||d6 hands + d6 rot for 4 turns||–||20|
|Pegasus||d6||2||d4 bite, d6 kick||–||15|
|Rat, Giant||d6||2||d4 bite||–||4|
|Sheik||d12||2||d8 Harm||d10 Shield||80|
|Shockler||d10||6||d8 bite + d4 poison for 4 turns||d6 scales||20|
|Skeleton||d8||4||d6 sword||half hits from edged weapons||4|
|Snake, Giant||d8||4||d6 bite + d4 poison for 4 turns||–||15|
|Soldier||d8||4||d6 sword||d6 shield||10|
|Spider, Giant||d8||4||d4 bite + d4 poison for 4 turns||–||12|
|Tiger||d8||4||d6 bite, d8 claws||–||20|
|Troglodyte||d8||4||d4 bite, d6 claws||d4 hide||15|
|Troll||d10||6||d8 claws||heals d4 per turn||12|
|Vampire||d12||8||d10 bite + drain||–||40|
|Werewolf||d10||6||d8 claws, d10 bite||only magic or silver||25|
|Wolf, Dire||d8||4||d8 bite||–||12|
|Wraith||d10||6||d8 touch + drain||only magic or silver||20|
|Wyvern||d10||6||d6 claws, d8 bite, d4 tail + d4 poison for 4 turns||–||20|
|Zombie||d6||2||d4 bite||half hits from blunt weapons||10|
Copyright © 2016-18 by $mike cremer. This is Draft #7a.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 2.5 license.
Suggestions and improvements courtesy of Keith, Lionel, Owen, Samuel, Shepherd, Stuart, and Sullivan.
These rules are based on DUNGEON SQUAD! by Jason Morningstar
with additional material adapted from: