Shield Guardian: The Ultimate Defense

Lore: A Born Protector

A shield guardian is the ultimate protector, as it is specially created to be so. To obey the master who holds their amulet is their sole purpose. If their amulets are well-guarded, then they can continue to uphold that duty indefinitely. However, should it be damaged, the guardian will be left incapacitated until a new one is made. As these amulets are easily traded, shield guardians often trade hands, like hired mercenaries that require no pay.

And… honestly, that’s about it. There are a few more paragraphs, but they basically just expand upon everything already covered.

You’d think this lore would relegate this monster to being a support role for something else. Maybe the BBEG’s bodyguard. But with a little creativity, you can make some fun side quests with them. Perhaps the players discover an ancient shield guardian, just barely clinging to existence, searching for its master, thus beginning a cool mystery for them to solve.

Still, the lore is… okay. It works well as an addition to a story, but as the main focus? Its potential is limited. Not nonexistent, but limited.

Design: “Make him awesome!”

This dude looks like something I’d have drawn in my notebook back in middle school. Only, you know, much more professional and cool.


God, this design is so cool! There’s just something about robotic-monsters like this one that tickles the child buried deep inside me. I can’t explain why it’s awesome, it just is! I mean, look at it! It’s like something out of a comic book!

I love how sturdy the thing looks. Its thick arms and legs, those shoulder plates, the breastplate, thing looks like it could take a train head-on and win. Plus, the wood-like limbs add a nice splash of color and variety to it, making it feel like something a wizard would build.

A really cool wizard who never let go of his love of robots. Like Franky from One Piece, only magical.

Is it as creative or interesting as some other monsters? No. It’s just a simple robot, like you could find in any number of sci-fi or fantasy stories. But it being as cool as it is does pick it up a few notches.

Stats: Build a Robot

As you might expect from a bodyguard, this monster is built to be durable. Its AC is just shy of 20, making it hard to hit, and its got a strong HP pool. It also has the parry reaction, allowing it to give its AC a little boost should an enemy it can see make an attack on it. Finally, it’s immune to poison, as well as most conditions.

Oh, yeah. It also has Regeneration. This dude heals HP at the start of every turn. So… players better be doing pretty good damage.

However, it does have a weakness: it’s amulet. Break this, and the shield guardian will immediately be disabled. Thus, finding and getting hold of this item will be a key element to any battle involving this monster.

Now, as for its attacks, the shield guardian itself is fairly simple. It can punch. It doesn’t punch particularly hard, but it can punch.

Far more dangerous – and far more interesting – is its Spell Storing ability. With this, the person holding the monster’s amulet can store one spell within it for later casting. This can be a healing spell, an attack spell, even a spell that requires components (of which it needs none). With this, you can freely give this monster any spell you can think of, giving you free range to create an amazing final desperation move.

All of this combines to make for an excellent boss fight. What spell do you give it, and how does it implement it into battle? How do the players deal with the amulet; do they focus on finding it, leaving themselves open, or do they ignore it and focus fire on the guardian? If you play your cards right, this could make an amazing battle!


Honestly, I’m surprised by how much I like this monster. It’s lore is pretty barebones, but you can still write some fun stories with it. The design is simple and cool. Strongest of all is its stats; this thing can make for a badass fight! As a whole, it’s surprisingly strong!

With all that in mind, the Shield Guardian is going to #40 on the Best of the Bestiary!

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

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