Spooky season is in full swing and it’s the right time to introduce somewhat terror into your Dungeons & Dragons recreation! Whether or not your adventures lean extra into fight or roleplay, you’ve gotten loads of D&D monsters to torment your gamers with. Listed below are just a few to carry into your video games and the best way to increase the stakes.
Setting limits on horror in D&D
Strategy your gamers earlier than exploring horror themes in your video games. Ask them what genres of horror they like and any arduous strains they may have. The sibriex, for instance, is a gory monstrosity that leans closely into physique horror and will make some gamers uncomfortable — or straight up nauseous — by advantage of simply how gross it’s!
Zombies seem as they did in life, exhibiting the injuries that killed them. Nevertheless, the magic that creates these vile creatures typically takes time to run its course. Lifeless warriors may rise from a battlefield, eviscerated and bloated after days within the solar. The muddy cadaver of a peasant might claw its manner from the bottom, riddled with maggots and worms. A zombie may wash ashore or rise from a marsh, swollen and reeking after weeks within the water.
Supply: Participant’s Handbook
Let’s kick issues off with a horror traditional: zombies! There’s a purpose why these monsters have captured the hearts and minds of horror followers for over 50 years. The very concept of an enemy that may’t be stopped by regular means is frightening sufficient, however when that enemy may be the reanimated corpse of an expensive buddy or beloved one? That’s when the fear actually begins to kick in.
Mechanically, zombies won’t seem to be a lot. They’ve a problem score of 1/4, just a few hit factors, and a gradual pace. However there are a selection of how you’ll be able to boost this horror traditional to assist this brain-eating creature have your gamers fleeing.
Methods to carry the horror
As any zombie fan will let you know, these monsters are at their deadliest when shifting in teams, so take into account overwhelming your social gathering with a zombie horde. (If the characters select to struggle, maintain fight flowing by utilizing the foundations for dealing with mobs within the Dungeon Grasp’s Information.) Alternatively, you may lure the adventurers to cursed floor, the place you’ll be able to grant a small group of zombies benefit on Structure saving throws made for Undead Fortitude. This might assist them survive longer in fight, higher emulating a zombie’s cussed unwillingness to die.
To actually carry the ache or simply add selection to the zombies the characters encounter, you’ll be able to tweak the zombie stat block or pepper in other forms of zombies:
- Sprinters: For fast-moving zombies, permit them to take the Sprint motion as a bonus motion.
- Rampagers: Tack on Multiattack for really ruthless zombies.
- Hiders: Get the leap on the characters by giving zombies the False Look trait. Whereas they continue to be immobile, the zombies can be indistinguishable from corpses.
Setting the stage is essential, too. For instance, if the characters are in the course of a dungeon crawl, you may describe the rising stench of rot and the distant sound of shuffling ft. Because the characters spherical a flip into a big cavern, they uncover a mob of zombies that slowly flip of their route. You may increase the stakes by putting the social gathering’s vacation spot — just like the exit to this hellish dungeon — on the far facet of the cavern.
If you happen to favor extra narrative horror, do not shrink back from pulling at your gamers’ heartstrings. A zombie within the crowd could possibly be the undead corpse of a beloved NPC, a personality’s member of the family, or perhaps a former member of the social gathering themselves.
By experimenting on the slimes, jellies, and puddings that infest the depths of the Underdark, thoughts flayers created a particular breed of ooze, the oblex — a slime able to assaulting the minds of different creatures. Crafty hunters, these swimming pools of jelly stalk prey, looking for the recollections they so desperately crave. When oblexes feed on these ideas, generally killing their victims, they’ll kind bizarre copies of their prey, which assist them to reap much more victims for his or her darkish masters.
Supply: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
What’s extra terrifying than a foe disguised as a buddy? The elder oblex collects recollections and creates excellent simulacrums of its victims utilizing gooey tendrils that may prolong as much as 120 ft away.
Although not essentially the most cell of monsters, the elder oblex is ever-evolving, taking over not solely the recollections and languages of the creatures it consumes however their proficiencies as properly. Its means to impersonate anybody it has devoured on this manner, together with a bevy of innate spellcasting choices, makes it a very crafty predator that may cover within the shadows till it’s able to strike.
Methods to carry the horror
Although the simulacrums the elder oblex creates are excellent in each manner, they do have two noticeable weaknesses: the slimy tether anchoring the false face to the pile of ooze itself, and the faint odor of sulfur the simulacrum offers off. Make the most of the elder oblex in a setting the place it has house to cover however can nonetheless attain out with its tendrils to tempt new prey. Maybe household or associates which were consumed awaken your adventurers within the evening, begging them to comply with to an deserted warehouse or into the sewers.
Alternatively, you may have the elder oblex run its personal tavern. Capable of impersonate 2d6+1 of its victims, the elder oblex might be the tavernkeeper, the drunkard and different patrons, and the bard who sings a joyous music from a dimly lit nook of the room. The simulacrums might feed false data to the characters and be none the wiser to the truth that an elder oblex is hiding within the floorboards beneath their ft.
The elder oblex’s innate spellcasting permits it to be a grasp manipulator, complicated and confounding the social gathering. Their means to solid attraction particular person, detect ideas, and maintain particular person at will permit it to totally put together the stage earlier than shifting in for the kill. Extra spells like confusion and hallucinatory terrain pressure the characters to query their very actuality.
Considered as previous because the Abyss itself, sibriexes hang-out distant elements of the airplane, the place they use their vile talents to breed new horrors and apprehend forbidden lore. Rivulets of blood and bile cascade from a sibriex’s physique. The place these noxious fluids hit the bottom, the panorama turns into polluted.
Supply: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
For D&D teams that get pleasure from physique horror and gore, the sibriex is a demonic fiend that may change the bodily make-up of its enemies, finally warping them into unrecognizable abyssal wretches totally underneath the sibriex’s management.
A sibriex is so disgusting, even being inside 30 ft of it’s dangerous in your well being. It’s really some of the horrific monsters in D&D and, ought to your social gathering select to face it head-on, presents a destiny worse than dying for these it overcomes.
Methods to carry the horror
Simply let your gamers see it. No, severely, the sibriex is completely hideous. Lean into your narration of the monster’s mangled, bleeding, and bile-dripping flesh and watch as your gamers’ eyes widen in horror.
To guide as much as the social gathering’s encounter with a sibriex, drop clues of its affect by detailing corrupted vegetation and the stays of its victims. A sibriex fills the lands it presides over with demonic monsters like rutterkins and abyssal wretches, which may soften up the social gathering earlier than they meet this supremely vile creature.
In fight, the sibriex’s Warp Creature means is the last word worry generator. The characters will not be as involved with being bludgeoned to dying as they are going to be at being reworked right into a gibbering demon — a destiny that may solely be undone by want.
As scary as monsters are, the actual terror comes from the way you weave them into your story and hang-out your gamers with them till the ultimate fateful encounter. If you happen to’re in search of extra creatures to terrorize your characters with, take a look at different monsters present in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.
For concepts on the right setting to spook your gamers, the domains of dreads present in Van Richten’s Information to Ravenloft are an amazing place to start out. Or you’ll be able to create your individual area of dread, as we did with Essential Function’s Taliesin Jaffe!
Andrew Strother (@RollPersuasion) is a advertising and marketing advisor and tabletop content material creator. He’s the host of the podcast Roll for Persuasion, the place he interviews creators and entertainers in regards to the nerdy issues they love, in addition to being the co-creator and a co-star on Second Star to the Proper: A Neverland Journey; a D&D actual-play recreation set within the magical world of Neverland.