Creature rules

Creatures can be interacted with and potentially fought and killed. Creatures vary from something as harmless as a frog or as benevolent as a unicorn to common species like humans, elves, dwarves who might be friends or rivals to the player characters. Most of the creatures that haunt the world, however, are threats that are meant to be stopped: rampaging demons, conniving devils, soul-sucking undead, summoned elementals—the list goes on.


A creature’s statistics, sometimes referred to as its stat block, provide the essential information that you need to play the creature.


Tiny50 cm. by 50 cm.
Small1 m. by 1 m.
Medium1 m. by 1 m.
Large2 m. by 2 m.
Huge3 m. by 3 m.
Gargantuan4 m. by 4 m. or larger

A creature can be Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, or Gargantuan.


A creature’s type speaks to its fundamental nature. Certain spells, magic items, class features, and other effects in the game interact in special ways with creatures of a particular type. For example, an arrow of dragon slaying deals extra damage not only to dragons but also other creatures of the dragon type, such as dragon turtles and wyverns. The game includes the following creature types, which have no rules of their own.

Aberrations are utterly alien beings. Many of them have innate magical abilities drawn from the creature’s alien mind rather than the mystical forces of the world. The quintessential aberrations are aboleths, beholders, mind flayers, and slaadi.

Animals are nonhumanoid creatures that are a natural part of the fantasy ecology. Most are unintelligent and lack any society or language. Animals include all varieties of vertebrates and invertebrates including amphibians, arthropods, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.

Beasts are nonhumanoid creatures that are similar to animals in that they are part of the ecology, but they are often more intelligent, better able to communicate, and sometimes have unique physical traits such as multiple heads or the ability to spew an element.

Celestials are creatures native to the Upper Planes. Many of them are the servants of deities, employed as messengers or agents in the mortal realm and throughout the planes. Celestials include angels, couatls, and pegasi.

Constructs are made, not born. Some are programmed by their creators to follow a simple set of instructions, while others are imbued with sentience and capable of independent thought. Golems are the iconic constructs. Many creatures native to the outer plane of Mechanus, such as modrons, are constructs shaped from the raw material of the plane by the will of more powerful creatures.

Dragons are large reptilian creatures of ancient origin and tremendous power. True dragons, including the good metallic dragons and the evil chromatic dragons, are highly intelligent and have innate magic. Also in this category are creatures distantly related to true dragons, but less powerful, less intelligent, and less magical, such as wyverns and pseudodragons.

Elementals are creatures native to the elemental planes. Some creatures of this type are little more than animate masses of their respective elements, including the creatures simply called elementals. Others have biological forms infused with elemental energy. The species of genies, including djinn and efreet, form the most important civilizations on the elemental planes. Other elemental creatures include azers, invisible stalkers, and water weirds.

Fey are magical creatures closely tied to the forces of nature. They dwell in twilight groves and misty forests. In some worlds, they are closely tied to the Feywild, also called the Plane of Faerie. Some are also found in the Outer Planes, particularly the planes of Arborea and the Beastlands. Fey include dryads, pixies, and satyrs.

Fiends are creatures of wickedness that are native to the Lower Planes. A few are the servants of deities, but many more labor under the leadership of archdevils and demon princes. Evil priests and mages sometimes summon fiends to the material world to do their bidding. If an evil celestial is a rarity, a good fiend is almost inconceivable. Fiends include demons, devils, hell hounds, rakshasas, and yugoloths.

Giants tower over humans and their kind. They are humanlike in shape, though some have multiple heads (ettins) or deformities (fomorians). The six varieties of true giant are hill giants, stone giants, frost giants, fire giants, cloud giants, and storm giants. Besides these, creatures such as ogres and trolls are giants.

Humanoids are the main peoples of the world, both civilized and savage, including humans and a tremendous variety of other species. They have language and culture, few if any innate magical abilities (though most humanoids can learn spellcasting), and a bipedal form. The most common humanoid species are the ones most suitable as player characters: dwarves, elves, gnomes, hin, and humans. Almost as numerous but seen less often are the goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears), orcs, gnolls, kobolds, and ssurran.

Oozes are gelatinous creatures that rarely have a fixed shape. They are mostly subterranean, dwelling in caves and dungeons and feeding on refuse, carrion, or creatures unlucky enough to get in their way. Black puddings and gelatinous cubes are among the most recognizable oozes.

Plants are vegetable creatures, not ordinary flora. Most of them are ambulatory, and some are carnivorous. The quintessential plants are the shambling mound and the treant. Fungal creatures such as the gas spore and the myconid also fall into this category.

Undead are once-living creatures brought to a horrifying state of undeath through the practice of necromantic magic or some unholy curse. Undead include walking corpses, such as vampires and zombies, as well as bodiless spirits, such as ghosts and specters.


A creature that wears armor or carries a shield has an Defense that takes its armor, shield, and Dexterity into account. Otherwise, a creature’s Defense is based on its Dexterity modifier and natural armor if any. If a creature has natural armor, wears armor, or carries a shield, this is noted in parentheses after its Defense value.


A creature’s armor or natural armor protects it from attacks. Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage that it takes is reduced by the amount listed. If it have resistance or vulnerability to one of the damage types, reduce the damage by the Soak amount before halving or doubling the damage.


SizeHealth Die

A creature usually dies or is destroyed when it drops to 0 health. A creature’s health is presented both as a die expression and as an average number. For example, a creature with 2d8 health has 9 health on average (2 × 4.5). A creature’s size determines the die used to calculate its health, as shown in the table.

A creature’s Constitution also affects the amount of health it has. Its Constitution is multiplied by the number of Health Dice it possesses, and the result is added to its health. For example, if a creature has a Constitution of 1 and 2d8 Health Dice, it has 2d8 + 2 health (average 11).


A creature’s speed tells you how far it can move on its turn. All creatures have a walking speed, simply called the creature’s speed. Creatures that have no form of ground-based locomotion have a walking speed of 0 feet. Some creatures have one or more of the following additional movement modes.


A creature that has a burrowing speed can use that speed to move through sand, earth, mud, or ice. A creature can’t burrow through solid rock unless it has a special trait that allows it to do so.


A creature that has a climbing speed can use all or part of its movement to move on vertical surfaces. The creature doesn’t need to spend extra movement to climb.


A creature that has a flying speed can use all or part of its movement to fly. Some creatures have the ability to hover, which makes them hard to knock out of the air. Such a creature stops hovering when it dies.


A creature that has a swimming speed doesn’t need to spend extra movement to swim.


Every creature has six abilities (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma).

Saving throws

The Saving Throws entry is for creatures that are adept at resisting certain kinds of effects. For example, a creature that isn’t easily charmed or frightened might gain a bonus on its Will saving throws. A saving throw bonus is the sum of a creature’s relevant ability and its Aptitude Bonus, which is determined by the creature’s challenge rating.


The Skills entry is for creatures that are capable or proficient with one or more skills. For example, a creature that is very perceptive and stealthy might have bonuses to Perception and Stealth checks. A skill bonus is the sum of a creature’s relevant ability and its Aptitude Bonus, which is determined by the creature’s challenge rating.

Vulnerabilities, resistances, and immunities

Some creatures have vulnerability, resistance, or immunity to certain types of damage. Particular creatures are even resistant or immune to damage from nonmagical attacks (a magical attack is an attack delivered by a spell, a magic item, or another magical source). In addition, some creatures are immune to certain conditions.


The Senses entry notes any special senses the creature might have. Special senses are described below.

All-around sight

A creature with all-around vision can see in every direction so they are always aware of events that occur there and cannot being flanked.


A creature with blindsight can perceive its surroundings without relying on sight, within a specific radius. Creatures without eyes, such as grimlocks and gray oozes, typically have this special sense, as do creatures with echolocation or heightened senses, such as bats and true dragons. If a creature is naturally blind, it has a parenthetical note to this effect, indicating that the radius of its blindsight defines the maximum range of its perception.


A creature with darkvision can see in the dark within a specific radius. The creature can see in dim light within the radius as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. The creature can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray. Many creatures that live underground have this special sense.


A creature with tremorsense can detect and pinpoint the origin of vibrations within a specific radius, provided that the creature and the source of the vibrations are in contact with the same ground or substance. Tremorsense can’t be used to detect flying or incorporeal creatures. Many burrowing creatures, such as ankhegs and umber hulks, have this special sense.


A creature with truesight can, out to a specific range, see in normal and magical darkness, see invisible creatures and objects, automatically detect visual illusions and succeed on saving throws against them, and perceive the original form of a shapechanger or a creature that is transformed by magic. Furthermore, the creature can see into the Ethereal Plane within the same range.


The languages that a creature can speak are listed in alphabetical order. Sometimes a creature can understand a language but can’t speak it, and this is noted in its entry. Some creatures can neither speaks nor understand any language.


Telepathy is a magical ability that allows a creature to communicate mentally with another creature within a specified range. The contacted creature doesn’t need to share a language with the creature to communicate in this way with it, but it must be able to understand at least one language. A creature without telepathy can receive and respond to telepathic messages but can’t initiate or terminate a telepathic conversation.

A telepathic creature doesn’t need to see a contacted creature and can end the telepathic contact at any time. The contact is broken as soon as the two creatures are no longer within range of each other or if the telepathic creature contacts a different creature within range. A telepathic creature can initiate or terminate a telepathic conversation without using an action, but while the creature is incapacitated, it can’t initiate telepathic contact, and any current contact is terminated.

A creature within the area of an antimagic field or in any other location where magic doesn’t function can’t send or receive telepathic messages.


A creature’s challenge rating tells you how great a threat the creature is, according to the encounter building guidelines in chapter 3 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Those guidelines specify the number of adventurers of a certain level that should be able to defeat a creature of a particular challenge rating without suffering any deaths.

Creatures that are significantly weaker than 1st-level characters have a challenge rating lower than 1. Creatures with a challenge rating of 0 are insignificant except in large numbers. Some creatures present a greater challenge than even a typical 20th-level party can handle. These creatures have a challenge rating of 21 or higher and are specifically designed to test player skill.

Experience points (XP)

Experience points are an optional system to calculate the progress of characters. If used, the number of experience points (XP) a creature is worth is based on its challenge rating. XP is awarded for defeating or neutralizing the creature. Unless something tells you otherwise, a creature summoned by a spell or other magical ability is not worth XP. The Dungeon Master’s Guide explains how to create encounters using XP budgets, as well as how to adjust an encounter’s difficulty.