I’ve talked about it, I’ve tweeted about it and now here it is: my first post in a series about reskinning monsters. I think this is one of the simplest and most powerful tools in the GMs toolbox. Put plainly, reskinning means to take the stats of a creature and describe it differently. It’s when your PCs encounter a long serpentine crocodile with a red lion-like mane, but you use the stats for a generic wolf. If the wolf can trip, your crocolion can chomp down on character’s legs and snap them to the ground. If the wolf has some sort of howling ability, make it a fearsome roar instead.
Most of the time, your players will never know the difference and they’ll be entrance and in-awe of this weird new monster they’ve never seen in all your monster books and supplements. It also has the benefit of them not getting the upperhand on you through player knowledge. “Oh, watch out guys, wolves can trip you”. If it doesn’t look like a wolf, they won’t immediately know its abilities.
There’s a lot more to it than that though. You can have a lot of fun with it and step-by-step build up an unique monster with ecology, tactics, weakness and strengths actually quite different that the base creature. In this post, we’ll take a look at the basics and reskin a creature as we go. I’ll follow up this article with a deeper look at other aspects of reskinning.