Creating and Using Monsters in Role-Playing Games Premium class

Lewis Pulsipher, Game designer, Teacher, Author

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4 Videos (21m)
    • Dos and donts of creating RPG monsters, part 1

    • Do and donts of creating RPG monsters, part 2

    • "Bosses"

    • The Notion of Bosses is for Video Games, not suitable for Tabletop RPG


About This Class

Most role-playing gamers thrive on meeting new challenges and wonders. Monsters are a big part of RPGs, and of action and shooter video games as well.

  • Some game designers say that the major objective in any game is to surprise the player(s)
  • So, perhaps the most effective way to design RPG monsters is to surprise the players
  • Many of my suggestions derive from surprise
  • Of course, surprise may work only once
  • Which is one reason why so many people keep making up new monsters!






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Lewis Pulsipher

Game designer, Teacher, Author

Dr. Lewis Pulsipher (Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental" ) is the designer of half a dozen commercially published boardgames. His game "Britannia" is described in an Armchair General review "as one of the great titles in the world of games." Britannia was also one of the 100 games highlighted in the book "Hobby Games: the 100 Best". He has over 17,000 classroom hours of teaching experience including teaching video game design and production, and over 20 years of part-time graduate teaching experience.

His book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish" (McFarland) focuses on practical advice for beginning game designers, about how you actually create and complete game designs. He also contributed to the books "Tabletop: Analog Game Design," "Hobby Games: the 100 Best," "Family Games: the 100 Best." His game design blog has been active since 2004, and he is a contributor and "expert blogger" on, the #1 site for professional video game developers.

His latest published game is the 2015 "Sea Kings", a Viking adventure game. Three new versions of Britannia, including a 90-120 minute version and a diceless version, are forthcoming.

Lew has a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history from Duke University, from ancient days when degrees in media, computer networking, or game design did not exist--nor did IBM PCs. In 2012 he was a speaker at the East Coast Game Conference, PrezCon, Origins Game Fair, and World Boardgaming Championships. Long ago he was contributing editor for White Dwarf and Dragon magazines, and publisher of various game fanzines.

Game design blog: and
Teach game design blog:
"Expert blogger", Gamasutra:
former contributing editor, White Dwarf, Dragon, Space Gamer, etc.

Recent Interviews with Lew:

Boardgame University #27 (with Tom Vasel, audio): 

Designer Spotlight (with Jason Levine, video)):

RPG Review (with Lev Lafayette, text):