I really like beholders and I do know most Dungeons & Dragons followers share my affection, however fights towards beholders are inclined to fizzle into disappointment. At first, the attention beams incapacitate a personality or two, so the monster feels threatening even when concern or paralysis idles a few gamers who cease having enjoyable. However beholders can’t harm reliably sufficient to threaten level-appropriate foes, so the battle turns right into a collection of rolls to see if unhealthy luck kills a personality who suffers random disintegration.
On the desk, beholders disappoint, however some much less glamorous monsters show extra higher than they appear at a look. The lowly twig blight provides my favourite instance. As foes for brand new characters, blights boast a number of benefits:
- They’re creepy.
- They’re supernatural, in contrast to the mundane foes that have a tendency to look a low-levels.
- Even new characters can combat a number of.
- Needle blights and vine blights group to ranged and particular assaults.
- Nobody worries about their households.
- Not rats.
Blights might lack flash, however they make helpful foes.
For related causes, I really like giants. Except for giants, the D&D monster toolkit contains few foes capable of problem higher-level characters with out complicating battles with a bunch of particular assaults and talents. Plus giants logically seem in teams that hardly make sense for beholders, dragons, or different extra unique monsters. The simplicity of giants isn’t a bug; it’s a function.
Gith boast related virtues: They logically seem in numbers, threaten larger degree characters than different humanoids, and don’t sluggish fights with complexity. Geoff Hogan writes, “I at all times current them as being pleasant however with a tradition and historical past that’s arduous to grasp, so gamers are at all times terrified of breaking a taboo.” Plus, elite kinds of Gith give DMs extra choices for adventures.
Once I requested D&D lovers to call their favorites, John touted animated armor as easy troops. “Their blindsight makes them good guards, however as programmed automatons with Intelligence 1, gamers may invent enjoyable tips to keep away from battle.”
“I really like ghouls as a result of they’re harmful for a lot of ranges,” writes Eric Stephen. The ghoul’s look within the Superior Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Information instance of play “scared the shit” out of him at age 12. “You see a sickly grey arm strike the gnome as he’s engaged on the spike, the gnome utters a muffled cry, after which a shadowy kind drags him out of sight. What are you others going to do?” I really like describing ghouls with milky eyes and ragged dagger nails, scuttling to tear and feast on dwelling flesh.
Dave Clark recommends wyverns as a lower-level different to dragons. Wyverns give a style, however save an actual dragon showdown for later in a marketing campaign. When a wyvern stings and gamers be taught the excessive harm complete, I really like the concern and shock on the desk. Does that make me a imply DM?
Different surprisingly scary monsters embody shadows and skulks. Marty Walser favors shadows. “Gamers begin crapping their pants after shedding a number of factors of Power, which is principally the brand new dump stat in 5e since few individuals go together with Power fighters.” “I believe skulks are nice as terrifying tier 1 foes, and so they scale effectively into tier 2 in giant numbers due to invisibility and benefit,” writes Graham Ward. Graham notes that gamers who analysis and put together for skulks can overcome their invisibility and prevail. That provides a rewarding story thread.
After all many monsters shine as a result of they function particular assaults and talents that, in contrast to the beholder’s eye rays, are inclined to create enjoyable battles. I’ve run a number of entertaining fights towards bulettes. Their burrow pace lets them hit and run, leaving anxious gamers to surprise the place the land shark will subsequent erupt from the bottom and crash down.
Ropers gained suggestions. Ropers seize and reel characters, whereas gamers fear concerning the nearing maw and attempt to determine how greatest to flee. “Each roper encounter is hilarious,” writes ThinkDM.
Creatures that swallow characters often create enjoyable encounters. When characters get swallowed after which minimize their method out, gamers really feel badass and like it. Teos Abadia’s listing contains froghemoths, behirs, and big toads. Teos additionally favors creatures that deal harm on contact, making a remorhaz a double win.
Jeffrey S. Mueller recommends manticores for difficult, low-level fights. “Just a few of them can actually create quite a lot of enjoyable eventualities for an encounter apart from the standard stand and bang it out fights.”
Some monsters flop when miscast in a typical, three-round D&D fight, however they excel in different roles. Arithmancer Ken suggests hobgoblin iron shadows as spies capable of solid appeal particular person and disguise self. If caught, powers like Shadow Jaunt and the silent picture spell give them a very good probability of escaping.
Eric Menge casts doppelgangers for related roles. “They make nice spies, thieves, and grifters.” He additionally takes a web page from the Unbelievable 4 comics the place one among Physician Doom’s robotic doubles takes the autumn. “You killed the villain! Oh no! It’s only a doppelganger! Wahwah!”
As mere fight foes, nothics by no means dwell as much as their creepy look, however as story items they excel. Earlier than working a nothic, learn the recommendation from Keith Ammann in The Monsters Know What They’re Doing. Eric Menge additionally likes nothics as patrols. “They’re higher watchdogs than critical threats. Use them in creepy search events or in patrols round targets to provide PCs a problem.”