I don't know about you, but I started reading the article and Chris's words very quickly became a buzzing sound in my head. I couldn't finish it.
In the game I play, I can create monsters in under 5 seconds. By my math, that's 24 times faster than Chris. :)
Of course, I do spend time on making monsters, but it doesn't feel like a lot of time. I spend time thinking about monsters and encounters; I don't spend much time at all creating monsters. These complicated statblocks are kryptonite/wolvesbane to me. Ugh.
Here's what I do.
In advance of actually needing the monster, I:
- Think about the history of the game so far
- What have they fought in this area? Is this monster a "repeat" or continuity encounter?
- What haven't they fought? Is this a "new" encounter?
- Is this monster "unique" or is the monster part of a theme or culture; some kind of group?
- What kind of power level is required
- Is this an area that the PCs can handle or are they in over their heads?
- Big single monster, small group of monsters or a horde?
- What kind of damage will it do?
- Number of attacks?
- Special attacks?
- What kind of defenses does it have?
Having all of that in my head, I:
- Think about how I would like to handle the combat
- Minis? Battlemap?
- Tactical? Abstract?
Then I write down little squares/circles on my GM Adventure Log, one for every "hit" the monster has (gargoyles below; roughly HD but I tweak that up/down depending upon my whim) or for their HPs (megalocentipedes below) and then I roll "old yeller" for initiative. As the players roll init, I might scribble down the AC or other notes so I don't contradict myself during the game.
The battle has begun. 5 seconds.
In a related vein, although I'm working on a comprehensive Monster Manual, I discovered this post, and I've been inspired to work on a "One Page Monster Manual". The idea is this, you roll a few dice to make a random monster and then you throw it at the players. Easy peasy. We'll see how that turns out...