Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Duergar: Dwarves, But Angry

I was gonna try and come up with something clever to open this up with. But all that came to mind were racist jokes, and I really hope I don’t have to explain why I chose against that. Let’s just get right into it.

Lore: Slaves of the Dark

Duergar dwell in the Underdark, using their ancient knowledge (and myriad slaves) to expand their kingdoms. Once, they were normal dwarves who dug too deep to satiate their greed. This brought them to the mind flayers, who took them captive for generations. It wasn’t until the evil god Laduguer appeared that they earned their freedom. However, their time in slavery made them just as twisted as their captors, depriving them of all kindness and trust.

They often make war against others, particularly with other dwarfs and subterranean races. They’re quite manipulative, making alliances when it’s convenient and breaking them when it isn’t. However, they’re often manipulated themselves. Asmodeus, Lord of the Nine Hells, often takes the form of duergar gods to cultivate evil within them. He’ll often spur them into war, be it for gain or vengeance.

This isn’t the deepest lore ever, but you can still do quite a bit with it! Perhaps you could place the players right in the middle of a duergar rebellion against the mind flayers, or another foe in a war! Maybe an important NPC is made into a slave and they need to rescue them! Or a certain duergar made a valuable treasure that the party needs to collect! Or you could even bust out Laduguer himself as the main villain of the campaign! The possibilities with these guys are quite vast!

Unfortunately, their design isn’t as interesting.

Design: I don’t have anything for this

What a compelling looking monster.

Yup. These boys sure are gray dwarfs. They certainly earned that title.

I have literally nothing to say here. This might be one of the most boring designs we have ever looked at in this series. It’s just a fucking dwarf with gray skin. Boring. Next.

Stats: Both Impossible to Miss and to Spot

Alone, a duergar isn’t all that much of a threat. But put them in a group? Then you’ve got some trouble. Not because they have unique abilities that play well into those kind of tactics, mind you. Because, on their own, they’re super weak.

They really aren’t that hard to kill. With an AC of 16 an a below 30 HP total, you shouldn’t have that hard a time killing them. Sure, their resistance gives them advantage against spell effects. But you still won’t have a very difficult time putting them back into the dirt where they belong.

Ah, shit, is that racist?

Weapon wise, it isn’t very impressive, either. Neither its war pick nor its javelin do much damage. Sure, it would scare a low-level wizard! But here’s the thing: anything can scare a wizard!

To be fair, though: it’s two abilities can make it a bit more frightening. With Enlarge, it has an easier time hitting you or grabbing you. With Invisibility, it can easily slip away are catch you by surprise. With those two combined, it might actually be able to hit you!

For what little that’s worth.

Placement

Honestly, I found the Duergar to be pretty disappointing. It has some fairly interesting lore, but neither its design or stats make for a very interesting experience. They’re very much a fodder monster.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Duergar on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Dragon Turtle
  4. Green Dragons
  5. Red Dragons
  6. Blue Dragons
  7. Black Dragons
  8. White Dragons
  9. Silver Dragons
  10. Couatl
  11. Behir
  12. Aboleth
  13. Bronze Dragons
  14. Brass Dragons
  15. Copper Dragons
  16. Gold Dragons
  17. Chuul
  18. Chimera
  19. Death Knight
  20. Bone Devil
  21. Dracolich
  22. Ankheg
  23. Shadow Demon
  24. Marilith
  25. Drider
  26. Aarackockra
  27. Azer
  28. Demilich
  29. Spectator
  30. Cambion
  31. Animated Armor
  32. Banshee
  33. Basilisk
  34. Yochlol
  35. Bulette
  36. Cloaker
  37. Darkmantle
  38. Doppelganger
  39. Pit Fiend
  40. Erinyes
  41. Chain Devil
  42. Bearded Devil
  43. Barbed Devil
  44. Spined Devil
  45. Ice Devil
  46. Nalfeshnee
  47. Glabrezu
  48. Chasme
  49. Barlgura
  50. Horned Devil
  51. Balor
  52. Shadow Dragon
  53. Vrock
  54. Dretch
  55. Goristro
  56. Hezrou
  57. Manes
  58. Duergar <—————–
  59. Quasit
  60. Dryad
  61. Planetar
  62. Imp
  63. Displacer Beast
  64. Carrion Crawler
  65. Rug of Smothering
  66. Bugbear Chief
  67. Bugbear
  68. Vine Blight
  69. Twig Blight
  70. Needle Blight
  71. Bullywug
  72. Cockatrice
  73. Lemure
  74. Solar
  75. Deva
  76. Cyclops
  77. Centaur
  78. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  79. Flying Sword
  80. Crawling Claw

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