I feel like I’ve made my feelings about Dungeons and Dragons abundantly clear over the course of this blog. But in case you’re new or you’ve missed those posts, I’ll repeat myself once again: this is my favorite tabletop game. Ever. The sense of creativity, freedom and adventure you can get with a solid group and Dungeon Master are an unparalleled dopamine rush.
One of the biggest aspects being, at least for me, the creatures that occupy these worlds. Sure, you’ve got your elves and dwarves and tieflings, but they pale in comparison to my favorite inhabitants of these fantasy realms: the monsters.
To me, a monster is a unique and fascinating opportunity to explore one’s imagination. Creatively designing a beast that has evolved due to it’s harsh environment and unique prey/predators to make something surreal and terrifying is incredibly fun and interesting. From brain-eating Mind-Flayers to the titular Dragons, each creature in D&D is fun, unique and a ton of fun to fight.
Today, I’m going to explore some of my personal favorite creatures held within the manuals. For those wondering, we’ll be focusing on the Fifth Edition of D&D, as that’s the one I have the easiest access to at the moment.
And if one of my players is reading this… don’t expect any of these guys to show up anytime soon. I’m not an idiot, I know you fuckers read this.
Let’s start off with something basic, but amazing: the Tarrasque.
This guy can very well be considered the most deadly monster in all of Dungeons and Dragons. His stats are nuts, his abilities are absurd, and his power is on another level. With a challenge level of 30 and an experience gain of 155,000, any party that manages to conquer this monster have clearly climbed to the top.
The lore for this monster is also very good. Simple, but interesting. His destructive power is so great that many races incorporate it into their religious practices. Put simply, they consider him to be a god, in both it’s power and the fact that it is a one-of-a-kind monster. Yes, this guy is also the only one of his kind.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for giant monsters.
Speaking of which, let’s step away from the land and into the sea with the next monster: the Aboleth.
Just look at this guy! If you saw this shit in an underwater cavern (that’s where they live, by the way) I’m pretty sure you’d die of fright before anything else. It also has some of the coolest and scariest abilities, such as it’s spell ‘Enslave‘, which allows it to brainwash a member of the party.
He’s not as powerful as the Tarrasque (not by a fucking long shot) but he’s frightening nonetheless. If you want to provide your players with a decent level 5-10 challenge, a boss fight with an Aboleth is a good choice.
But if you want a monster that easily and effectively integrates itself into your plot, none could do it better than the Doppelganger.
Armed with the ability to transform into anyone and the power to read your mind, the Doppelganger is the perfect weapon for an espionage/impostor plot. You could use one of these guys to replace a member of a royal family without the players suspecting a thing, easily setting up for a twist that could change their expectations of the plot. Plus, they’re low enough level to make for a good early game enemy.
Though they pale in comparison to the last one on our list: the Intellect Devourer.
For such a low-level monster, this guy is fucking terrifying. It’s ‘Devour Intellect‘ ability is capable of reducing your character’s intellect stat to 0. No I’m not joking; this thing can literally reduce your character to a vegetable.
He also has the equally terrifying ability ‘Body Thief‘, which is exactly what it sounds like. What happens to your character? They die. Seriously, if no one else can cast a spell that restores the brain, such as ‘Wish‘, then the body simply drops dead.
Did I mention how this guy’s challenge level is 2?
I could continue, but I think I’ll leave it there. I can’t rant about every single monster, after all. There are three separate books filled with these guys, for god’s sake. But maybe I’ll make a follow up post later to talk about more of them.
I can’t leave out the Beholder, Demigorgon or the Mind-Flayers, after all.