In a fantasy setting, it can be hard to tell what’s a monster, and what’s not. In Insight Fantasy, creatures are mainly one of the following categories; People, Savage, Undead or Animal.
“People” is the collective term for all playable races (humans, elves, halflings, dwarves, gnomes and civilized orcs). Savage creatures are quite similar to people, but their mental abilities (Reason, Social and Knowledge) are in general less developed. Both people and savage creatures can use and create tools, weapons and structures, communicate and cooperate. Goblins, gnolls, minotaurs and wild orcs are some of the races categorized as savage creatures.
Animals do not have the three mental abilities (Reason, Social, and Knowledge), instead, they have one single mental ability, called INT, which has a special range of skills. The same goes for undead creatures; they do not have a reasoning mind either, so their mental abilities are also merged into one INT value.
So, what about monsters; both animals, undead creatures and savage creatures can be classified as monsters. A monster is per definition a creature that hunts people for food, or for the sport of it. Most common predators, like lions and wolves, are not monsters, even though they can kill people, but it’s not their first choice of prey. Dragons are animal monsters; they enjoy hunting people and don’t mind eating them. Gnolls are savage creatures, but also monsters; they attack and capture people for food. Zombies are undead monsters; they have a great appetite for human (and other people’s) flesh.
This is a quick introduction to creatures, taken from the Insight Fantasy – GM’s Compendium. Insight Fantasy was successfully funded on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1Qdhjog