D&D 5E Here's Our Favourite (and least favourite) D&D Monsters!

Last week I took a poll to determine which D&D monsters were the most loved, and which languished unliked in the back of the cupboard. The poll was limited to the D&D 5E Monster Manual, specifically the main monsters section (so not the NPCs or animals).

Aboleth - Kim Van Deun.jpg

Aboleth from Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition, by Kim Van Deun

Let's start with the monsters that nobody liked. Well, to be accurate, there were none that scored 0 votes, but the poor empyrean only squeezed in with a single vote. If there's any monster in need of some love, the empyrean is it. It's the least-liked monster in the Monster Manual.

Joining it at the bottom, though, are some other unpopular critters -- the magmin (spellchecker PLEASE let me type that word - even my OS doesn't like the magma .. err.. magma ... umm .. magmin!), darkmantle, sprite, satyr, quaggoth, and merrow.

The top of the chart was a little more predictable. The iconic mind flayer led the pack, followed closely by dragons and beholders. A little way behind those three, we had some other D&D staples in the form of skeletons, the lich, goblins, and the troll.

Demons are more popular than devils. Liches are loved more than vampires. Death knights are in the middle of the pack, neither loved nor disliked. The 'iconic' D&D monsters (i.e. the mind flayers and beholders, which D&D created) are very well loved.

Anyway, I should stop talking about it and just show you it. Here's the full list, in descending order.
  1. Mind Flayer
  2. Dragons
  3. Beholders
  4. Skeletons
  5. Lich
  6. Goblins
  7. Troll
  8. Demons
  9. Ghouls
  10. Giants
  11. Owlbear
  12. Ogres
  13. Zombies
  14. Vampires
  15. Devils
  16. Displacer Beast
  17. Kobolds
  18. Wraith
  19. Rust Monster
  20. Gnolls
  21. Orcs
  22. Elementals
  23. Hags
  24. Umber Hulk
  25. Carrion Crawler
  26. Golems
  27. Wight
  28. Death Knight
  29. Hobgoblins
  30. Lycanthropes
  31. Mummies
  32. Minotaur
  33. Lizardfolk
  34. Rakshasa
  35. Bugbears
  36. Bulette
  37. Manticore
  38. Wyvern
  39. Shambling Mound
  40. Yuan-Ti
  41. Elves (Inc. Drow)
  42. Gargoyle
  43. Shadow
  44. Hydra
  45. Mimic
  46. Oozes
  47. Dracolich
  48. Griffon
  49. Modrons
  50. Aboleth
  51. Chimera
  52. Flameskull
  53. Hell Hound
  54. Purple Worm
  55. Medusa
  56. Oni
  57. Roper
  58. Basilisk
  59. Otyugh
  60. Stirge
  61. Intellect Devourer
  62. Ankheg
  63. Dinosaurs
  64. Ghost
  65. Hook Horror
  66. Doppelganger
  67. Genies
  68. Harpy
  69. Pseudodragon
  70. Demilich
  71. Drider
  72. Gibbering Mouther
  73. Animated Objects
  74. Grell
  75. Nightmare
  76. Thri-Kreen
  77. Banshee
  78. Behir
  79. Bullywug
  80. Nagas
  81. Revenant
  82. Will-O'-Wisp
  83. Dragon Turtle
  84. Faerie Dragon
  85. Flumph
  86. Gith
  87. Mephits
  88. Sahuagin
  89. Slaadi
  90. Tarrasque
  91. Treant
  92. Cockatrice
  93. Kuo-Toa
  94. Myconids
  95. Scarecrow
  96. Specter
  97. Sphinxes
  98. Ettin
  99. Nothic
  100. Remorhazes
  101. Succubus/Incubus
  102. Water Weird
  103. Gorgon
  104. Roc
  105. Troglodyte
  106. Unicorn
  107. Angels
  108. Couatl
  109. Kraken
  110. Peryton
  111. Crawling Claw
  112. Helmed Horror
  113. Salamanders
  114. Yugoloths
  115. Centaur
  116. Dryad
  117. Duergar
  118. Grick
  119. Kenku
  120. Lamia
  121. Shield Guardian
  122. Xorn
  123. Cambion
  124. Cloaker
  125. Cyclops
  126. Fomorian
  127. Gnome (Inc Svirfneblin)
  128. Hippogriff
  129. Invisible Stalker
  130. Yetis
  131. Ettercap
  132. Fungi
  133. Jackalwere
  134. Grimlock
  135. Half-Dragon
  136. Homunculus
  137. Azer
  138. Chuul
  139. Merfolk
  140. Pegasus
  141. Pixie
  142. Aarakocra
  143. Blights
  144. Galeb Duhr
  145. Piercer
  146. Merrow
  147. Quaggoth
  148. Satyr
  149. Sprite
  150. Darkmantle
  151. Magmin
  152. Empyrean
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

JEB

Legend
Thank you for doing this! Very interesting. I defer to someone cleverer to figure out some patterns...

Also, a follow-up poll for the monsters from Volo's Guide to Monsters/Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes/Monsters of the Multiverse would be neat! Especially since it would let us compare vote counts for core vs. expanded monsters.
 

Hey I think that was me who voted for Empyrean! I think they’re cool… but they aren’t my favourite either. It was open-ended poll, so I’m quite sure I checked like 30 or more boxes.
 


beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
Thank you for doing this! Very interesting. I defer to someone cleverer to figure out some patterns...

Also, a follow-up poll for the monsters from Volo's Guide to Monsters/Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes/Monsters of the Multiverse would be neat! Especially since it would let us compare vote counts for core vs. expanded monsters.

And the Fiend Folio too.
 

RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
The Empyrean’s concept is incredibly cool, children of the gods who’s emotions are charged with their divine power. The execution is lacking though. The forms and powers of the gods are so varied, yet all the Empyreans look like large statuesque humans/giants with a singular standard stat block. They are the same regardless of who their parents are and that seems really strange. You are telling me that an Empyrean child of Bahamut will look the same and have the same exact powers as an Empyrean child of Corellon or Moradin?
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
While the results aren't exactly surprising, it's interesting to see how much an outlier I seem to be. For example, I use magmin and azer all the time, largely because I run Al-Qadim games that feature a disproportionately high amount of elementals.

Nice to see my all time fave, the mind flayer, holding down the #1 spot!
 
Last edited:

The Empyrean’s concept is incredibly cool, children of the gods who’s emotions are charged with their divine power. The execution is lacking though. The forms and powers of the gods are so varied, yet all the Empyreans look like large statuesque humans/giants with a singular standard stat block. They are the same regardless of who their parents are and that seems really strange. You are telling me that an Empyrean child of Bahamut will look the same and have the same exact powers as an Empyrean child of Corellon or Moradin?
Yeah these were literally just called “Titans” in prior editions, and were clearly meant to represent ancient Greek (non-deified) “gods”.
 
Last edited:

Displacer Beasts are the best but are not done well mechanically in 5e so I getvwhy they didn't win. I mean that's the only reasonable explanation.

I love Trolls but theyvare not as fun in 5e as cantripa can give a party unlimited fire attack acid attacks..

I get why goblins are the highest rated humanoid, they are fun to use as a DM and anoying even at higher levels if the hit and run from the shadows with advantage due to stealth. My players fear goblins more than Trolls.

Gnolls have some good flavor but like the displacer beast mechanicaly are a little flat because there special ability rarely comes up. Advantage on melee Attacks against creatures with less than full hit points would be a better fit for them.
 



steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Cool list.

Not really surprising to see creatures that are neutral or good, the potential npc ally or helpful creature types: pixies, sprites, merfolk and pegasi, and tita-I-mean-"empyrean"...hell, even a unicorn doesn't come in until #106 (with actual Angels [!] following up at 107), all fall in the bottom of the list.

Faerie Dragons are something of an outlier, all the way up at 84?! But I suspect that's more to do with the,"they're so qwoot!" response and can be "pesky/disruptive annoyances," than "they're good guy monsters!"

I don't think I was under the impression the poll was asking what monsters we "liked/don't like."

It asked what we used [often?] in the games. "...returned to..." I believe was part of the query. So, seems obvious, "things the party can/will need to fight" are going to have outsized responses over the "beneficial encounter."

In that respect, I guess, it is the list of monsters we "like... to throw at PCs." :)
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I don't think I was under the impression the poll was asking what monsters we "liked/don't like."

It asked what we used [often?] in the games. "...returned to..." I believe was part of the query.
"What are your favorite D&D monsters? The ones you go back to time and time again? The ones you love to use to terrify your players, or the ones you love to slay with wild abandon? They don't have to be the biggest, or the most awe-inspiring; they might just be something you find incredibly useful, thematic, or which appeals to you directly. Perhaps they've been the ones you use from every edition. Perhaps you used one recently and just had so much fun with it."
 



Yora

Legend
I imagine a good portion of the ettercap, grimlock, quaggoth votes are from my picks. Bit surprised these guys are such outliers. But I guess that will make them more memorable when I use them prominently as the main underworld humanoids.

But big respect for all the skeleton love. Really didn't expect that. Super generic and pretty bland bare bones by default, but they can be so much fun when you make an effort to go crazy with them.
Diablo-2-Intro.jpg
 


Omand

Hero
I cry for the Darkmantle. I love those little guys.

I know the lore got changed around in either 4E or 5E making them part of the life cycle of the Piercer (along with the Roper), which is a bit goofy. But I loved when they were introduced in 3E. I had some nice battles with them, and almost killed a PC in the first encounter I ever ran with them. In 3E they had an envelop attack where they could cover the head of a PC and strangle/suffocate them. That. paired with their ability to create magical darkness, was pretty potent. Got a PC down to single digit HPs when they were 3rd level If I am recalling correctly, the player was shocked, but we had fun with the encounter and laughed afterwards.

Cheers :)
 

Omand

Hero
1. Mind Flayer
3. Beholder
50. Aboleths

What's wrong with people?! Seriously, it's the eldritch trinity!
Not a fan generally of these three. Perhaps like the Beholder the most (and I have used it maybe twice since the 1E days).

I have also used the Mind Flayer, it showed up in several official modules back in the 1E days. Psionics were never quite my thing (and we did use the random tables in 1E at first, before deciding not to). So, the concept is OK, but not something I follow up on.

As to the Aboleth, far too Lovecraftian for my tastes. I generally don't go for the horror side of the genre, so body horror (mucus changing you to Skum et al) and eldritch evil is just off the table.

YMMV of course.

Cheers :)
 


Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top