Minotaur: Every Barbarian’s Inspiration

Back with Best of the Bestiary, and what do we have? Another monster of Greek mythology! Hopefully this one will fare a little better than the last few have.

Lore: Labyrinthine Predators of a Demonic Cult

Born via demonic ritual, a minotaur is a savage monster that lives for the thrill of the hunt. Solitary carnivores, they can usually be found in maze-like dungeons or caves, ancient forests, or sometimes even within complicated city streets. While a normal creature might become lost within these domains, a minotaur is capable of determining every possible route it can take to reach its prey. Aside from ambushes, it cares little for tactics, instead letting the scent of blood and the sound of tearing flesh and breaking bones drive it into a blood frenzy.

Minotaurs descend from humanoid cultists who long ago rejected an oppressive authority and used ritual magic to, quote, ‘return to nature.’ These cults are often confused for druidic circles, a mistake which few live to regret as they enter their ceremony of entering a labyrinth while wearing ceremonial animal masks. Within these labyrinths, cultists wildly enjoy killing and hunting right until the end, where a human sacrifice is made, often of one who realized the cult’s true nature.

Baphomet, the Horned King and a demon lord, is the ruler of these cults. He resides within a gigantic labyrinth deep within the Abyss. Sometimes, he will answer the prayers of his followers by transforming them into a minotaur. From there, he will enjoy listening to their wails of bloodlust and agony.

That was… surprisingly horrific. And surprisingly interesting! You can make one hell of a horror session with this! Imagine: the players are lured into a maze by a friendly-seeming druidic circle; within, they slowly descend deeper and deeper into darkness, finding more and more gore and horrors until ultimately a minotaur comes upon them for the climactic finale! Or you could come up with a way to integrate this into a Baphomet-themed campaign. Either way, this lore has some pretty good storytelling potential!

Design: Exactly What You Expect

You know, given how horrific the lore was, I was kind of expecting something… I dunno… Interesting?

What you see is what you get here. Surprise! It’s a minotaur. Mr. Bull-Man. Nothing new or unique is done with it. While the lore is a massive departure from the monster’s Greek roots, the design sticks to those like glue.

God dammit, it’s Medusa all over again!

Stats: A True Barbarian

If one of your players is a Barbarian, they are required to have a dick-measuring contest with the minotaur in-game. That’s a D&D law. Don’t look it up, just trust me, it’s totally legit.

As that crass joke might imply, the minotaur is a very straight-forward monster. It hits you until you die so you need to hit it until it dies. Not an easy task; while its AC is low, it’s HP is fairly decent, and its two attacks each hit like a freight train going full speed.

Not to mention that it has a few abilities to help make it a bit more interesting than the average slugfest. For one, its Charge ability gives the minotaur’s already monstrous hits even more power and can knock the victim prone, provided they fail the saving throw; all he needs to do is get a running start. With Reckless, the minotaur gains advantage on all melee attacks it rolls that turn, but at the cost of giving the players advantage on all of their melee attacks (again: this thing is literally just a Barbarian). And finally, its third ability, Labyrinthine Recall: this allows it to perfectly recall the layout of any path it has traveled, making escape from the monster rather difficult.

Those three abilities save this from being a mindless slugfest and make it a fairly interesting and dynamic fight. Suddenly, the players need to be mindful of their spacing in regards to the minotaur, take advantage of opportunity attacks should it leave their range to charge another player, and puts the maze-like terrain against them trying to flee. If executed properly, it can make for a super cool boss fight!

*Fun little story: I was playing a Lizardfolk Barbarian in a campaign a while back, and we had to steal a minotaur horn for a quest. After the minotaur took me to single digit HP in one attack, everyone started panicking. So my character goes straight for the horn with his gator-jaws, rolls a nat-20, and snaps the horn right off. From there, we all went into ‘get-the-hell-out-of-there’ mode and made a terrified escape. This isn’t important to the ranking in any way, I just thought I’d share that.*

Placement

The minotaur is a surprisingly interesting monster. It’s lore is downright horrific and its stats can make for a straight-forward but dynamic and engaging boss fight. However, its design is a massive letdown and definitely drags this guy down the ranking.

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

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Green Dragons
  6. Red Dragons
  7. Blue Dragons
  8. Black Dragons
  9. White Dragons
  10. Silver Dragons
  11. Couatl
  12. Behir
  13. Aboleth
  14. Sea Hag
  15. Lamia
  16. Bronze Dragons
  17. Brass Dragons
  18. Copper Dragons
  19. Gold Dragons
  20. Chuul
  21. Kuo-Toa
  22. Gibbering Mouther
  23. Kraken
  24. Intellect Devourer
  25. Chimera
  26. Death Knight
  27. Fomorian
  28. Bone Devil
  29. Dracolich
  30. Faerie Dragon
  31. Lich
  32. Magmin
  33. Kobold
  34. Kenku
  35. Hobgoblins
  36. Night Hag
  37. Green Hag
  38. Ankheg
  39. Hook Horror
  40. Storm Giant
  41. Hill Giant
  42. Empyrean
  43. Efreeti
  44. Grimlock
  45. Minotaur <——————–
  46. Dao
  47. Cloud Giant
  48. Manticore
  49. Drow (all four of ’em)
  50. Shadow Demon
  51. Marilith
  52. Drider
  53. Aarackockra
  54. Azer
  55. Demilich
  56. Spectator
  57. Hydra
  58. Marid
  59. Harpy
  60. Werejackal
  61. Half-Dragon
  62. Cambion
  63. Fire Giant
  64. Animated Armor
  65. Banshee
  66. Basilisk
  67. Yochlol
  68. Bulette
  69. Cloaker
  70. Darkmantle
  71. Doppelganger
  72. Ghoul and Ghast
  73. Ettin
  74. Medusa
  75. Pit Fiend
  76. Erinyes
  77. Chain Devil
  78. Bearded Devil
  79. Barbed Devil
  80. Spined Devil
  81. Ice Devil
  82. Mimic
  83. Djinni
  84. Merrow
  85. Nalfeshnee
  86. Glabrezu
  87. Chasme
  88. Grell
  89. Barlgura
  90. Horned Devil
  91. Balor
  92. Shadow Dragon
  93. Werebear
  94. Lizardfolk
  95. Vrock
  96. Dretch
  97. Gnolls (all three)
  98. Goristro
  99. Hezrou
  100. Manes
  101. Frost Giant
  102. Weretiger
  103. Werewolf
  104. Duergar
  105. Quasit
  106. Dryad
  107. Flumph
  108. Goblin
  109. Wereboar
  110. Wererat
  111. Githyanki
  112. Planetar
  113. Imp
  114. Clay Golem
  115. Flameskull
  116. Displacer Beast
  117. Carrion Crawler
  118. Githzerai
  119. Grick
  120. Invisible Stalker
  121. Rug of Smothering
  122. Bugbear Chief
  123. Bugbear
  124. Flesh Golem
  125. Vine Blight
  126. Twig Blight
  127. Needle Blight
  128. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  129. Bullywug
  130. Hellhound
  131. Ettercap
  132. Gas Spore
  133. Cockatrice
  134. Lemure
  135. Homonculus
  136. Merfolk
  137. Solar
  138. Deva
  139. Gorgon
  140. Hippogriff
  141. Griffon
  142. Cyclops
  143. Centaur
  144. Ghost
  145. Fire Elemental
  146. Water Elemental
  147. Air Elemental
  148. Stone Giant
  149. Deep Gnome
  150. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  151. Iron Golem
  152. Stone Golem
  153. Earth Elemental
  154. Galeb Duhr
  155. Helmed Horror
  156. Flying Sword
  157. Crawling Claw
  158. Violet Fungus
  159. Shrieker
  160. Gargoyle
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