Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Centaur: Exactly What You’d Expect (Best of the Bestiary)

I hear centaurs make excellent mounts! -Batley Summerfoot, a Halfling adventurer who never read ‘Hooves of Fury’ By Irvil Grayborn of Sundown

I have sat here for twenty minutes now, trying to come up with some kind of clever joke to open this review up. But there is no joke to be had here! I mean, what could I possibly say?

Out of all the monsters we’ve discussed thus far, this one may very well be the least creative. All the designers did was say “Hey, centaurs are a fantasy thing! Let’s put those guys in the game!” Then they went out to the bar, got drunk, and designed the Flumph (which we won’t get to for another hundred pages, unfortunately).

I don’t care much for the centaurs. They’re good fodder, but that’s about it. Their lore is simple, their designs are uninteresting, and their stats and abilities don’t make for a very creative encounter. I am hugely disappointed by this creature.

Lore: Live in the Wild

Credit where it’s due: they didn’t go for the low-hanging fruit by making these guys rapists.

Unfortunately, their lore is still completely devoid of any depth. There are five paragraphs of flavor text, explaining that centaurs live in warm to hot climates, then migrate in the winter. When a centaur can’t keep up with the pack, they either disappear forever or abandon their reclusive nature and join society.

There is no storytelling potential with these guys. At best, it serves as a decent backstory for a centaur NPC. If you want to spin these guys off as villains for your campaign, or at least for a side-quest, then you’ll need to get creative.

I guarantee that whatever you come up with will be deeper and more interesting.

Design: The Horsemen Before Bojack

It’s a centaur.

There is no joke. There is nothing to say. It is a horse-person. There is no creativity to be had here. There is nothing to discuss. Moving on.

Stats: Charge

In terms of a fight, these guys are as simple and straightforward as you can get.

They have a variety of weapons with which to kill your players. From a range, they have a longbow, as well as a charge ability that can close the distance and add some extra damage to their attack. At close range, they can stab you with a pike or simply kick you to death with their hooves.

They do decent damage, enough to make any wizard in the party tremble. Unfortunately for them, most monsters have that praise to them. So, in terms of fear factor, there isn’t much to be had with a centaur.

If you want to put the party up against a monster that will test their creativity, this is the wrong monster to do it with. These guys are fodder through and through.

But again, to give credit where it’s due: breaking a party member’s face with a centaur’s hooves is always a ton of fun!

Conclusion

Centaurs are one of the least imaginative monsters in the entire manual. Their lore is lacking any depth, their design is generic and uncreative, and there is no creativity to be had in fighting them. They are incredibly underwhelming.

With all that said, let’s put them on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Behir
  4. Aboleth
  5. Ankheg
  6. Aarackockra
  7. Azer
  8. Spectator
  9. Cambion
  10. Animated Armor
  11. Banshee
  12. Basilisk
  13. Bulette
  14. Planetar
  15. Carrion Crawler
  16. Rug of Smothering
  17. Bugbear Chief
  18. Bugbear
  19. Vine Blight
  20. Twig Blight
  21. Needle Blight
  22. Bullywug
  23. Solar
  24. Deva
  25. Centaur <————
  26. Flying Sword

They only manage to get just above the Flying Sword thanks to them having more than no lore. But they are so lacking in anything else that they are doomed to remain near the bottom of the list.

But hey! At least they aren’t at the bottom! That’s something, right?

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