D&D General Monster ENCyclopedia: Otyugh

This is a series of articles about specific monsters from D&D’s history. Each entry takes a look at the origin of one D&D creature, and tracks its appearances and evolution across different editions. The otyugh is the fifteenth entry in an alphabetical browse through a hypothetical Utterly Complete Monster Manual. Origins The otyugh does not seem to have one particular mythological...

This is a series of articles about specific monsters from D&D’s history. Each entry takes a look at the origin of one D&D creature, and tracks its appearances and evolution across different editions. The otyugh is the fifteenth entry in an alphabetical browse through a hypothetical Utterly Complete Monster Manual.​

The otyugh does not seem to have one particular mythological inspiration. Researching possible origin stories online turns up some interesting theories. On his The Lands of Ara blog, Carter Soles speculates that the otyugh may have been inspired by the Star Wars trash compactor monster (a dianoga) based on the proximity of the release dates of A New Hope and the Monster Manual. Certainly there are some physical similarities between the two creatures.​


Dianoga (2001), image from Wookieepedia

There is also a Dragonsfoot thread which points out some interesting visual similarities between some early D&D creatures and the monsters in the 1960 film Battle Beyond the Sun (a re-edited version of the original Soviet film Nebo Zovyot).​


Battle Beyond the Sun (1960), image from Ayay Images

Both of these are appealing theories, but the Star Wars hypothesis is slightly undermined by the presence of a little-known creature called an aurotyugh in the relatively obscure D&D product Dungeon Geomorphs, Set Two: Caves & Caverns. This was published in April 1977, one month before A New Hope first appeared on screens.

So what does Dungeon Geomorphs have to say about the aurotyugh? As the name hints, it is made of metal. It is pretending to be a pile of gold; indeed, as the name hints, it is apparently made of metal. It is a powerful creature with 18 hit dice and an armor class of 3, and it attacks as soon as it is approached. Each attack does 3-18 hp of damage and reduces its opponent’s AC by one. This is because the aurotyugh has a special ability to soften hard things. The creature itself is worth more than its weight in gold, a whopping 25,000 gp, plus an additional 30,000 gp if its diamond teeth are carefully extracted (but only 5,000 gp if the teeth are hastily pulled).

Although the aurotyugh’s name suggests that it is related to the otyugh, from the above description it seems as if it has more in common with a rust monster or a mimic. The aurotyugh’s appearance in the Dungeon Geomorphs is the only time this creature is mentioned in any D&D product, so it is quite possible that Gygax developed the Monster Manual’s otyugh independently and simply reused the name (or part of it) because he liked the sound of it.​

1st Edition
Both the otyugh and the neo-otyugh made their first appearance in the Monster Manual, but if you rushed out to buy a copy in December 1977, you’d have gotten a copy without a picture of the otyugh. A number of illustrations were only added to the Monster Manual in later printings, so while the first print included two illustrations of the neo-otyugh, the otyugh illustration was only added to the fourth print in August 1979.​


Otyugh, Monster Manual (1979)​

An otyugh has a roundish torso, with three stumpy legs, two tentacle arms and a sensory stalk which houses its eyes. The tentacles have sharp ridges and are capable of delivering forceful blows. It has a large sucker-like mouth on one side of its torso, and this is filled with many teeth. Someone bitten by an otyugh is very likely to contract typhus, an infectious bacterial disease.

Otyughs are omnivorous scavengers, eating dung, offal and carrion, as well as fresh meat when it is available. Only rarely will more than one otyugh be encountered at the same time, but they are frequently found partnered with more powerful creatures, living in their piles of rubbish and droppings. They have no interest in treasure, but sometimes guard the valuables of others.​


Neo-otyugh, Monster Manual (1977)​

Otyughs’ sensory stalks have sensitive eyes which they hold above the piles of offal they typically lurk in. They are never surprised, but are averse to sunlight or other bright light, and are consequently usually found underground. As well as being able to speak their own unique language, otyughs are “semi-telepathic” and can communicate with other species when they want to.

Mechanically, an otyugh is a medium to large, uncommon monster, with an armor class of 3, and 6-8 hit dice. It has three attacks: two tentacle attacks which do 1-8 damage each, and a bite attack which does 2-5 damage and inflicts disease 90% of the time. An otyugh has low to average intelligence, neutral alignment and is slow moving (6”).​

Neo-otyugh, Monster Manual (1977)​

The neo-otuygh is a rarer, bigger, more powerful otyugh. It is large in size, reaching eight feet in diameter and three feet or more tall. This seems quite short for a large creature, and doesn’t match its apparent size in one of the illustrations. It has 9-12 hit dice and a tougher hide, giving it an armor class of 0. The tentacles of a neo-otyugh do 2-12 damage each, but it seems to have a smaller mouth, so does only 1-3 damage with a bite. Like its smaller sibling, the neo-otyugh is never surprised. It is more intelligent and has better telepathic skills, but is reportedly more aggressive than the otyugh.

The first set of Monster Cards reveals the color of a neo-otyugh, and it is an unsurprising murky brown. There is what looks like a more pronounced sucker at the end of its sensory stalk, and the damage done by the tentacles is described as both smashing and lacerating. The creature’s size has been adjusted to be between nine and twelve feet tall.​


Neo-otyugh, Monster Cards, Set 1 (1982)​

Dragon #93 pegs the pronunciation of otyugh as “AT-yug”. According to Treasure of the Wilds in Dragon #137, the value of an otyugh hide is 500 gp, while that of a neo-otyugh is worth 700 gp. The encounter tables in the Monster Manual II indicate that otyughs can be found in cold, temperate and tropical mountains.

Ed Greenwood authors The Ecology of the Gulguthra in Dragon #96. Gulguthra (meaning “dung-eater”) is the collective term for otyughs and neo-otyughs. Most of the article is the story of a minor lord who disposes of family enemies by pushing them off a balcony into the kitchen refuse pit where an otyugh dwells. A half-page of notes at the end provides more detail of the otyugh’s anatomy and abilities.

An otyugh’s body is described as lumpy and primarily brown in color with mottled purple and green shades. The tentacles are flesh-coloured and terminate in heart-shaped gripping ends. They can grow up to fourteen feet long. A tentacle can either be used to make a slapping attack (1-8 damage) or alternatively, can grab an opponent and do constriction damage (2-4 damage until the hold is broken). Otyughs are terrifically strong (equivalent to a human strength of 18), capable of flinging aside even armored warriors. Neo-otyughs like to use grappled opponents as shields against attacks from other opponents. Groups of four or more people might give them pause, but they will happily attack three or fewer opponents.

An otyugh’s mouth serves both as the entry point for food, and as an exit point for waste, which it spits back out. This explains the high chance of disease resulting from the creature’s bite. Otyughs themselves seem to be either immune or at least highly resistant to diseases.

The sensory stalk is segmented and constantly swivels, ensuring that the two yellow-purple eyes located on the same side of the stalk detect anything nearby. An otyugh has both ultravision and infravision out to 90 feet. The sensory stalk continues to operate even when the otyugh is in a semi-dormant sleep state. Bright light causes the creature discomfort, and its eyes narrow to mere slits.

Perhaps thankfully, given their habitat, otyughs have a poor sense of smell. This leaves them unable to track prey. The range of an otyugh’s telepathy is 40 feet, and that of a neo-otyugh is 60 feet. The neo-otyugh’s higher intelligences facilitates more sophisticated communication, but it is unusual for either creature to initiate a conversation.

According to the Ecology article, otyughs mate every seven years during winter, usually in ancient bone pits deep underground, where many otyughs gather to reproduce. They are hermaphroditic creatures producing a jellylike “eggmass” as well as being able to fertilize the eggs of another otyugh. It expels its own eggmass from its mouth, and takes in the eggs of another otyugh to fertilize them. An otyugh certainly gets a lot of use out of its large orifice.

The eggmass hatches into a miniature otyugh after only a week, and it immediately sets off into the world. The type of otyugh depends on the eggmass. An eggmass produced by an otyugh grows into an otyugh, and that produced by an neo-otyugh produces a neo-otyugh, but any type of otyugh can fertilize any eggs, just not its own. A young otyugh has only 3-5 hit dice, weaker tentacles (equivalent to 16 strength, doing only 1-6/1-6 damage) and a weaker bite (1-4 damage) but has all of the other abilities of an adult. It will grown to adulthood in four months, and will return to its birthplace again when the time comes for it to produce offspring of its own.

Otyughs appear fairly infrequently in 1st Edition adventures. They are mentioned in passing as a creature that might be encountered in an extended campaign using I1: Dwellers if the Forbidden City, and otyughs and neo-otyughs are both listed in the random encounter tables for the Black Abyss in I5: Lost Tomb of Martek.

The adventure L3: Deep Dwarven Delve, released as part of the Silver Anniversary TSR Collector’s Edition set, includes an otyugh encounter which is unremarkable except for the fact that the stench from the garbage pit in which it resides is strong enough to have the same nausea-inducing effect as a ghast’s aura.

R4: Doc’s Island gives us the first otyugh with a name, as the fire giant family living on the island affectionately refer to the one living in their bathroom as “Thing”. Thing isn’t hostile and will only attack if threatened.

In I8: Ravager of Time, a neo-otyugh silently patrols a swamp during the night with only its eye-stalk visible as it hunts for prey. The sirines living on the bank of the adjoining lake call the creature “Kli-Qwerg”. The Lands of Deepearth detailed in the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide include otyughs and neo-otyughs living in the Cathedral Caverns and scavenging in the Outpost of the Illithids. In one of the adventures in I13: Adventure Pack I, there is a young otyugh. It has made a fairly poor choice of lair, near to a colony of giant ants, and while it snacks on an occasional slow ant, hunger forces it to regularly leave its cave to hunt for other food.

The most detailed encounter with otyughs in 1st Edition is in REF4: The Book of Lairs II which dedicates a two page spread to a family of three living in a city’s waste system. Adventurers following one of the suggested plot hooks down into the sewers will reach an area notable both for its stench, and for the absence of other vermin. The rat population has learned to avoid the otyughs, each of which occupies its own cesspool. One of the otyughs extends its eye-stalk into an empty helm, creating the impression that the helm itself has eyes. The largest of the otyugh uses both treasure and telepathy to lure explorers to their death. If the sight of a glowing sword in its heap doesn’t bring someone closer, it will broadcast telepathic messages of distress, pretending to be a badly injured human. The three otyughs will work as a team if necessary, coordinating their efforts telepathically. They will improvise ranged attacks by flinging dung at spellcasters to disrupt spells, and they even have one of the tunnels rigged to collapse behind them, if they need an escape route.

One final amusing factoid from the AD&D era is that the Official AD&D Paints produced by Polly S in 1979 included “Otyugh Brown” as one of the colors in the paint set. On the chart below it is the green-brown color swab fifth down in the second column. (Also available: “Carrion Crawler Light Green” and “Beholder Eyestalk Violet”.)​


Polly S AD&D Color Series paint chart (1982), image from WorthPoint

2nd Edition
The otyugh and neo-otyugh appeared in the looseleaf Monstrous Compendium Volume Two as well as being reprinted in the Monstrous Manual. They share a page, and get an expanded description which incorporates most of the material from the Ecology article. There are a few changes and many additions to the otyugh’s lore, but its statistics are exactly the same as they were in 1st Edition.

In color, they have brownish gray skin, but may appear dung-coloured because that’s what constantly covers them. Their size is now given as six to seven feet in diameter (otyugh) or eight feet in diameter (neo-otyugh). They still have three legs (despite the picture) so can pivot quickly, even with their slow speed. Their tentacles are covered with rough thorn-like projections. The otyugh’s sensory stalk now has three eyes (instead of two), and the text clarifies that the stalk serves as the receiver/transmitter for the creature’s telepathy.​


Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989)​

The otyugh’s grab attack, and the neo-otyugh’s use-an-adventurer-as-shield tactic mentioned in the Ecology article are given their own little subset of rules and modifiers in typical 2nd Edition fashion. The otyugh’s bite now inflicts a non-specific debilitating (80%) or fatal (20%) disease.

The language of the otyughs is described as a mixture of sounds and non-verbal communications—eye-stalk movements or emission of particular smells. Telepathic conversation is usually limited to simple feelings and emotions. Typical topics include the current temperature and how uncomfortable that makes the otyugh, how annoyingly bright that light is, how hungry the otyugh is feeling, and the possibility of imminent death for its conversation partner.

Their habitat is varyingly specified as “subterranean”, “ruins and dungeons”, and “under piles of offal”. They will attack if they feel threatened, or if they get hungry. Otyughs might now be persuaded not to attack in return for promises of friendship and food, and they still frequently team up with other dungeon denizens. Their reproductive cycle has dropped from seven years to mating annually. The pronunciation of “AT-yug” given in Dragon #93 is contradicted by a new pronunciation given as “Aw-tee-ug”.

Some 2nd Edition pictures of otyughs take liberties with the creature’s appearance. The illustration in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (above) gives the otyugh only two legs, and instead of a sensory stalk with two or three eyeballs, there are two small individual eyestalks attaching the eyes to the top of the otyugh’s head.​


1992 Trading Card set #254 (1992)​

The color picture on card #254 of the 1992 Trading Card set is also of a bipedal otyugh, and this specimen appears to have a single combined stalk protruding from the top of its head, splitting into two short, spiked tentacles and a central spiked eyestalk housing three eyes. The Monstrous Manual gets the eyestalk, number of eyes and tentacles consistent with the text, except possibly for the number of legs, and the sudden appearance of what look like long claws as toes.​


Monstrous Manual (1993)​

The Complete Ranger’s Handbook lists an otyugh as a potential unique follower for an underdark ranger, and rates it as having “medium” trainability. The Complete Paladin’s Handbook confirms that a paladin’s immunity to disease includes the effects of an otyugh’s bite. Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics gives an otyugh as an example of a creature without a rear or flank when using the optional threatening rules.

CR5: Deck of Encounters, Set Two describes a neo-otyugh who has progressed from using an adventurer as a shield, to using an adventurer as a striking weapon, thus injuring two people at once (for 2-12 damage each).

In Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, the goblins living in Radruundar have a neo-otyugh as an ally. Brought by the goblins when they moved into the stronghold, this is an exceptionally powerful neo-otyugh of huge size. The variant statistics are perhaps a nod to the greater range of monster sizes supported by the 3rd Edition rules, which were in development at the same time this adventure was being produced.​


Huge neo-otyugh, Axe of the Dwarvish Lords (1999)​

The otyugh in Return to the Keep on the Borderlands lives in a pool warmed by natural springs. It eats decaying mosses and lichens that fall into the pool, as well as refuse tossed into the water by other residents of the cave system. It has grown quite large (7 feet in diameter, the upper limit for ordinary otyughs) and while it will take the opportunity to snatch someone from the edge of the pool, it doesn’t like leaving the warm sludge and will not pursue targets outside of its reach.​

3rd Edition
The 3rd Edition otyugh appears in the Monster Manual. Most of the changes from 2nd Edition are minor and mechanical in nature: slightly less damage (1-6/1-6/1-4 down from 1-8/1-8/2-5), an improved grab with 1d6 constriction damage, alertness (replacing “never surprised”), and—reversing earlier lore on poor olfactory abilities—the scent special quality.​


Monster Manual (2000)​

A quick check on the numbers of body parts gives these results:​
  • Illustration: three legs, two tentacles, one sensory stalk, three eyeballs.​
  • Text: three sturdy legs, two long tentacles covered in thorny protrusions, one vinelike sensory stalk, two eyeballs.​
Consistency verdict: Close enough. To be fair, the text specifies that the sensory stalk also includes an “olfactory organ”, so we might generously conclude that an otyugh’s nose looks exactly like an eyeball in some subspecies.​


Three eyes or two eyes plus an olfactory organ?, Monster Manual v.3.5 (2003)​

In 3rd Edition, otyughs are classified as aberrations. A typical otyugh is six feet in diameter, and weighs 500 pounds. The disease they inflict is now called filth fever, and it causes Dexterity and Constitution damage. Gone are the otyugh’s telepathic skills; now they just speak Common. Otyughs are found underground, solitary, in pairs or in a cluster of up to four.

The Monster Manual v.3.5 upgrades the otyugh by adding darkvision (60’), toughness (for a few additional hit points), and weapon focus (for a +1 improvement to tentacle attacks). Ominously the otyugh’s alignment also shifts from “always neutral” to “usually neutral”.

As Skip Williams points out in Dragon #276, there is no neo-otyugh in the 3rd Edition Monster Manual. This edition involved a lot of fairly sensible rationalization of monsters like the neo-otyugh which differed only in size. An otyugh is a large, 6 hit dice creature with advancement of “7-8 HD (Large), 9-15 HD (Huge)”, and both the Monster Manual and Monster Manual v.3.5 use the otyugh as an example of creature advancement.

The size of a 15 hit dice otyugh increases to huge. The larger otyugh has 115 hp, instead of 36 hp. Its base attack score jumps from +4/+8 to +11/+23, and its tentacles are +14 attacks for 1d8+4 damage. An advanced otyugh’s bite does 1d6+2 damage, and its constriction damage is 1d8+4. It gains the great fortitude, improved initiative and multiattack feats, as well as higher Strength and Constitution, but slightly lower Dexterity.​


An elf uses the Arcane Strike feat to deal extra damage to an otyugh, Complete Warrior (2003)​

The Monsters With Class article in Dragon #292 pegs the otygh’s Effective Character Level (ECL) as 9. In case you are keeping track, that compares to a nightmare’s ECL of 10, the drider’s 11, the lamia’s 12, the ettin’s 15, the barghest’s 25 and the kraken’s 28. Basically playing almost any other monster covered so far in the Monster ENCyclopedia is better than playing an otyugh.

Urban Druids in Dragon #317 suggests an otyugh as an alternative companion for a high level urban druid. The beast heart adept prestige class in Dungeonscape has an option for an otyugh monstrous companion. The fleshwarper prestige class in Lords of Madness includes the secret of the otyugh as one of the elder secrets available to the class. The secret grants immunity to disease. Sage Advice in Dragon #318 rules that creatures that carry diseases are generally immune to those diseases, so an otyugh cannot be infected with filth fever by a dire rat, for example. However, Tome of Battle implies that otyughs are not immune to rabies, as one adventure seed involves chasing a rabid otyugh through sewers.​


A trio of orcs battle to rescue a gnome from the clutches of an otyugh, Races of Eberron (2005)​

Life’s Bazaar was the first module in Dungeon’s Shackled City adventure path series, which began in Dungeon #97. The main opponent in this adventure is Kazmojen, the product of a mad wizard’s attempts to crossbreed dwarves and trolls. One of his servants is an otyugh named Xukasus, who has been polymorphed into an ogre by a magical trap. Xukasus has taken to his ogre form and learned to fight with a falchion. He lives in a room spattered with disgusting remains. Some of the older rubbish has hardened into the rough shape of a chair.

A petrified otyugh pops up again in the seventh module in the series, Lords of Oblivion (Dungeon #111), in the art treasury of the beholder Vhalantru.

The second Dungeon adventure path was the Age of Worms. An advanced otyugh features in the third module in that series, Encounter at Blackwall Keep. This otyugh has been reared by a tribe of lizardfolk since it was small, and some parts of the lair have since become a tight fit. It has learned to speak the Draconic tongue of the lizardfolk rather than Common. In the Age of Worms adventure path’s Free City, “otyugh” is the name given to a set of three ones in the popular dice game Spellbones (described in Dragon #336). Also in the Free City, there is a stuffed otyugh outside Ret’s Taxidermy. Ret is good at his craft, and would charge 300 gp to stuff another otyugh.

Heroes of Battle suggests that otyughs can be found scavenging ancient battlefields. The Player’s Handbook II mentions that the Restenford Guild of Insurers, Solicitors, and Beggars employs an otyugh assassin. Complete Scoundrel details a legendary site known as the Otyugh Hole below the cells of Saint’s Cudgel prison. Surviving a prolonged period in the Hole grants a special boon, but despite the name, Otyugh Hole doesn’t actually contain any otyughs.​


A Practical Guide to Monsters (2007)​

A Practical Guide to Monsters is one of a series of books published at the end of the 3rd Edition era. They were products by Wizards of the Coast, but under its Mirrorstone imprint and were targeted at children. The otyugh entry in A Practical Guide to Monsters notes that they are 8 feet tall and weigh 500 pounds. A suggested tactic to defend oneself against an otyugh is to toss it food and run past.​

4th Edition
The 4th Edition otyugh depicted in the Monster Manual is consistent in appearance with 3rd Edition, but it is a physically more powerful and less intelligent beast. Not only does the otyugh have no telepathic abilities, but it has lost even the ability to speak.

Otyughs are said to never cooperate with other otyughs. They do still ally with other monsters, but only rarely. Somehow the description makes them sound even more disgusting than previously. Otyughs that manage to capture live prey as an alternative to eating carrion will now bury the fresh meat, and only dine on it once it has started to rot.​


Monster Manual (2008)​

Mechanically, the otyugh has gained a stench aura, a +10 bonus to stealth checks while lurking in refuse, and for the first time, a swim speed equal to its walking speed. The otyugh attacks with a tentacle or its diseased bite. The bite still inflicts filth fever, but there is now a 4th Edition style disease tracker included in the otyugh’s entry and the disease affects armor class, fortitude, reflex and healing surges.

Otyughs feature significantly in The Radiant Morn (Dungeon #183). The adventure involves a cult of the Archdevil Baalzebul, and the first encounter is an ambush with two otyughs hidden in pits. The final encounter also features otyughs, two ordinary ones, plus the leader of the cult (Theran of the False Truth), whose human appearance turns out to be an illusion. The features of the area in which the cult leader is found include a stinking river of offal, pouring from a large pipe, and a statue from whose mouth an endless stream of slugs slithers. The fake leader is a charnel otyugh, a variation we’ll cover later. The text suggests that when he is first revealed, the DM should “provide a suitable description of tentacles bursting through clothing, the head reshaping into a gaping maw, and the body swelling into a bloated monstrosity, all accompanied by a burst of terrible stench, questionable fluids, and thousands of biting insects which swarm around him”. Enchanté!

Dungeon #183 (2010)​

The Essentials series Monster Vault contained an updated otyugh, as well as detailing the charnel otyugh variation, and even adding back the neo-otyugh. Changes to the vanilla otyugh are more damage (tentacles do 2d8+6 instead of 1d8+6), the replacement of the spying eye special ability with a simple +5 bonus to stealth, and a change to the way the otyugh’s bite inflicts disease. Instead of automatic infection, the target only contracts disease on a failed saving throw at the end of the encounter. The disease inflicted is now called lesser otyugh filth fever, to differentiate it from the neo-otyugh’s greater otyugh filth fever.

The 4th Edition neo-otyugh has 232 hp, tentacles that do 3d6+9 damage, and maw damage of 2d6+7. It also includes some throwbacks to earlier otyughs, gaining a limited range of telepathy, and an ability which lets it use a grabbed opponent as a shield. The neo-otyugh also has a power called disgusting lure, which forces enemies to come closer or suffer psychic damage. The alignment drift that began in the Monster Manual 3.5 continues here, with neo-otyughs classified firmly as evil. In 4th Edition, a neo-otyugh is formed when an otyugh eats the flesh of an aberrant creature. This causes it to rapidly morph into a more powerful form. A slightly more powerful variant called a neo-otyugh servitor appears in the Living Forgotten Realms adventure SPEC4-2: The Writhing Obelisk.

The Monster Vault dedicates more than a page to otyugh lore, but a lot of the text is just a list of disgusting homes for otyughs: squishy nests of decaying matter, heaps of moldering plants, piles of maggot-ridden bodies, pools of unidentifiable slime, pits brimming with excrement, stagnant swamps and manure-filled animal pens. More interesting is the description of the otyugh’s ambush hunting style. With a great splash, it is said to leap from hiding to smash two well-muscled tentacles, equipped with claws, into its prey. Disoriented and sickened foes struggle to overcome their nausea for long enough to fight. Wait, what was that about tentacles equipped with claws?​


Claws or spikes?, Monster Vault (2010)​

The utility of using an otyugh as a guard beast is also covered in the expanded description. Apparently some otyugh owners underestimate how much carrion and waste is needed to sustain an otyugh’s attention. Even a so-called “trained” otyugh might eat its master if its wallow has become bland or tasteless. The adventure included in the Monster Vault set, Cairn of the Winter King, has an otyugh living in the garbage pit of the Winter King’s kitchens. There’s no indication that it has eaten any of the staff recently, so the kitchens are presumably producing enough waste.

The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond, mentions that otyughs inhabit the Oblivion Bog in the Shadowfell. Armies of otyughs serve the powerful myconid lord Amasutelob, detailed in the 4th Edition Underdark book.​

5th Edition
The first glimpse of the 5th Edition otyugh came in the Bestiary from the December 2012 D&D Next Playtest packet. There, the otyugh is a large aberration with 84 hit points and three attacks per round. Both tentacle attacks and the otyugh’s bite are +6 attacks, doing 1d8+4 damage. The bite does an additional 1d8 poison damage but no disease and it can grab one person in each tentacle. Grabbed opponents can be slammed into submission with bludgeoning damage and a chance to stun, or used as a shield. The otyugh has limited telepathy and can communicate simple ideas to creatures within 100 feet able to understand a language.

The Playtest packets contain only crunch and no lore, but Wizards of the Coast published a number of web articles during the lengthy development of 5th Edition which provided insight into monster development. In James Wyatt’s Wandering Monsters column from March 2013 he covers a number of dungeon denizens, including the otyugh. He describes the otyugh as a low-level aberration found in urban and underground environments. It is a disgusting creature that lives in sewers or refuse and eats offal, rubbish and fresh meat when it can get it. It sometimes lives with other creatures serving as a guard in exchange for food. An otyugh has a bloated body with brown-gray rocklike skin (previously only the gulguthydra—see below—had “rocklike” skin). This version has three legs, the standard gaping maw full of sharp teeth and three tentacles, two ending in thorny pads and the third with three(!) eyes.​


Monster Manual (2014)​

The otyugh’s attacks are a little confusing. The tentacles are used both to grab and slash. A grabbed creature might be smashed against the ground, bitten, squeezed to death or used as a shield. This paints a good mental picture of the otyugh in action, but is unlikely to translate well into clear mechanics. Otyughs are surprisingly smart but don’t know any languages (something taken from the 4th Edition version). They have limited telepathy but apparently have alien minds that can make those they communicate with recoil in horror.

The March 2013 D&D Next Playtest packet Bestiary, released the same day as the Wandering Monsters column, updated the mechanics from the earlier Playtest Bestiary slightly, dropping the body shield ability. By the time the otyugh appeared in the D&D Next adventure Dead in Thay it had been tweaked further, with slightly lower strength, a shorter range of darkvision, and lower damage on tentacle attacks (1d6+3). It had also gained immunity to disease.​


Monster Manual (2014)​

The otyugh that ended up in the 5th Edition Monster Manual is mechanically similar to the D&D Next playtest version(s), but quite a bit more powerful. It is, in fact, the most powerful otyugh across five editions, clocking in at 114 hit points (more than three times 1st-3rd Edition). Assuming all three attacks hit, the otyugh does an average damage of 37 points per round, has two grabbed opponents and a chance to inflict disease on whomever it bit.

The errata for the Monster Manual changes the saving throw for its tentacle slam from a Strength to a Constitution save.

The disease caused by their bite requires daily saving throws until the victim loses all of their hit points, or is cured by a successful save. In temperament, these otyughs are closest to their recent 4th Edition Monster Vault ancestors, with a penchant for ambushes and the same text about “trained” otyughs eating a keeper if not kept sufficiently plied with food.​


Monster Manual (2014)​

The Monster Manual illustration reflects the beefier otyugh of 5th Edition and the description does a much better job of detailing the otyugh than the Wandering Monsters column. An otyugh typically lurks under mounds of offal and garbage with only the sensory stalk exposed. Any edible creature is snatched up by its rubbery, spiked tentacles and then eaten. Otyughs sometimes lure in prey by pretending to be something else (perhaps a privy as shown in a picture hidden in the Monster Manual index). The number of eyes isn’t specified in the text, instead the sensory stalk is described as vine-like and containing the creature’s eyes and nose. The illustration has three eyes, so we’re back to assuming that one of those is actually an olfactory organ.​


An otyugh pretending not to be an otyugh, Monster Manual (2014)​

This otyugh is faster than its ancestors (speed 30 ft.), and has darkvision out to 120 feet. Otyughs can speak the otyugh language once more, as well as having limited telepathy, also extending out 120 feet. This is broadcast-only telepathy, not permitting the recipient to reply. The idea of the otyugh having an alien mind has been abandoned. Otyughs are averse to bright light and the only treasure they accumulate is that left over from their victims. In case you are wondering about the official pronunciation of “otyugh” in 5th Edition, click here.

In 2019, Wizards of the Coast released an adventure activity book for kids titled Adventure with Muk in support of Extra Life. This includes a hangry otyugh variation, but also adds several additions to otyugh lore. According to the book, it is a little known fact that otyughs like to dance, and that by playing music and dancing with one, it will follow you anywhere. Another way to befriend an otyugh is to bake it a magical pie made with the nectar of fairy fob lily, spit nettles and gobnobs. Finally, otyughs are apparently frightened of vampires, and can be scared away even by someone dressed up as one.

The otyugh’s love of music does not extend to gongs, it would seem. The otyugh in Return to the Glory, a 2020 charity release in support of Red Nose Day, dives into a pile of junk and hides if a nearby gong is struck.

Another Extra Life release for 2019 was Infernal Machine Rebuild. This takes place in a Temple of Moloch, involves the Infernal Machine of Lum the Mad, and features Thessalar, the infamous inventor responsible for the creation of (amongst other creatures) the owlbear. There is an otyugh in the adventure, and because the adventure also involves time manipulation, the otyugh is fairly likely to evolve into a neo-otyugh, so this unusual 5th Edition release updates the otyugh’s closest relative for the latest version of the game.​


Dragon+ #28 (2019)​

Huge in size, the 5th Edition neo-otyugh has 150 hit points, an armor class of 16, and improved Strength, Constitution and Intelligence. It has gained immunity to poison. All three of its physical attacks are more likely to hit and do slightly more damage, so the neo-otyugh averages 46 points of damage per round if all of its attacks hit (compared to the otyugh’s 37 points). Anyone using D&D Beyond to reference the neo-otyugh might want to note that the tentacle damage is missing the additional piercing damage.

The neo-otyugh also has access to some low-level psionic powers, giving it a strategic advantage. It can detect thoughts at will and can cast command and hold person once per day. Described as a stronger and more intelligent version of an otyugh, the neo-otyugh’s improved intellect and psionics makes it particularly effective against humanoid opponents susceptible to hold person. It will try to separate a straggler from the rest of the party and then attack.

The appearance of the neo-otyugh in Infernal Machine Rebuild was previewed in Dragon+ #28 which revealed that the creature was designed during a livestream. Apparently an even larger version called a neo-er was also created. This is a challenge 20 monster with unlimited telepathy, either 99 or 100 tentacles, and immunity to all conditions except prone. It lives in a city’s entire sewer system which it uses as a vast neural network. It is probably fortunate that no official version of the neo-er was ever published.​

Otyugh variations
The lifeleech otyugh, introduced in the Monster Manual III, has been warped by arcane magic. It is a buffed version of the normal 3rd edition otyugh (9 hit dice instead of 6) but with an aura that leeches all healing magic within 60 feet, giving the otyugh the same benefit as if it had been the target of the spell. It has a sickly gray skin naturally, but it is infused with magical energy. According to the illustration, this makes it a golden yellow color. Lifeleech otyughs are favored companions of evil divine spellcasters. They have an innate cruel cunning and try to wound divine spellcasters early in an encounter.​


Lifeleech Otyugh, Monster Manual III (2004)​

In the adventure Vile Addiction in Dungeon #145 the lifeleech otyugh is allied with a group of spriggans. A web article provided a few variations of lifeleech otyugh: a lifeleech otyugh jelly (using the gelatinous template from Savage Species), a shadowy spellwarped lifeleech otyugh (using the shadow template from Lords of Madness), and an ice fairy lifeleech otyugh (using the half-fey cold element template from the Fiend Folio).​


Charnel Lord, H3: Pyramid of Shadows (2008)​

The 4th Edition adventure H3: Pyramid of Shadows introduced a unique otyugh known as a charnel lord. Likely descended (at least in design) from the lifeleech otyugh, the charnel lord has a number of unusual abilities, including a necrotic lifeleech attack and a rotting bite. It has been corrupted by long term exposure to evil magic, and is more intelligent than a typical otyugh. It is malignant in nature and evil in alignment. In Dungeon #183, and in the Monster Vault, this earlier unique individual is treated as simply one of a variation known as a charnel otyugh.​


Gulguthydra, Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two (1994)​

To point out the obvious, the gulguthydra is a cross between a hydra and some sort of gulguthra. It first appeared in the City of Splendors, but was reprinted in the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two with the Forgotten Realms references filed off. That’s a pity because the Realms-specific creation story (they are the product of wild magic surges during the Time of Troubles) helps explain how such a bizarre crossbreed came to exist. Even mad wizards have their limits.

The gulguthydra is huge, with the three legs and two tentacles of an otyugh, but six hydra heads in place of the sensory stalk and maw. The creature has a rocklike skin, which gives it a good armor class (AC 0) in addition to 15 hit dice and eight attacks (2 x 2d6 tentacles and 6 x 1d8+4 heads). Gulguthydras will eat nearly anything - animal, vegetable; alive, dead; fresh, rotten. They are aggressive hunters, but only when driven by hunger, and they keep the otyugh’s neutral alignment.

As noted in the Forgotten Realms section below, the gulguthydra received a 3rd Edition update in Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. The following year, they played a major role in the adventure The Porphyry House Horror, which was published in a special sealed Book of Vile Darkness adventure in Dungeon #95. This was sealed because the adventure contained adult content; the gulguthydras have been polymorphed into human form and employed as prostitutes in the eponymous Porphyry House. Even the process of getting the gulguthydras into human form is disturbing. Captured by yuan-ti, the monsters are infected with the deathsong disease, left until the infection reduces their Strength, Dexterity and Constitution to the point of death, and then polymorphed into human form, released, cured with remove disease and finally trained to entertain the brothel’s clientele. Not surprisingly, this process leads to some rather confused gulguthydra prostitutes!

As well as the boisterous relatives covered above, there have been a number of more minor otyugh variants in D&D history. The 1st Edition Manual of the Planes lists flame otyughs—otyughs made of elemental fire—on the encounter tables for the Plane of Fire. Similarly, the 3rd Edition Manual of the Planes lists water half-elemental otyughs as Elemental Plane of Water encounters.

The Night Below boxed set has an aquatic cave otyugh, which is just an otyugh that lives in an cave, underwater. The 4th Edition equivalent is the amphibious otyugh, found in FR1: Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. The adventure Tears for Twilight Hollow in Dungeon #90 features two otyugh zombies. The more recent Out of the Abyss has two plant-like otyughs, created as duplicates by the great fungal mind known as Araumycos.

Diseased!, a short online adventure, has two advanced otyughs descended from specimens obtained to guard a chasm a thousand years earlier. During the intervening time, the otyughs have inbred, grown in size and become mentally unstable. Fortress of the Yuan-ti has an otyugh named Gophodros who has mutated because of his long term exposure to elder evil. Mechanically, Gophodros has the spellwarped template from the Monster Manual III. The Living Forgotten Realms organized play adventure SPEC4-5: Rising Darkness includes a shadow otyugh.

The Living Greyhawk scenario KET3-06: Burned Flour in High Dough has a female half-fiend otyugh. Assuming that 3rd Edition otyughs are still hermaphroditic, we must conclude that the half-fiend part is female. Another half-fiend otyugh known as “the Server” appears in COR5-14: All Roads Lead to Rauxes. Half-farspawn otyughs feature in ONW5-03: The Unplumbed Depths and GEO8-02: A Whisper in the Wind has an otyugh cleric of Nerull named Spiral, who apparently identifies as male. More unusual otyugh variants can be found in VEL8-01: One Dirty Job (a gravetouched ghoul advanced otyugh (rot grub hivenest) and a twice-evolved gravetouched ghoul advanced otyugh (rot grub hivenest)) and in PER9-01: Rational Fear (a mutilated weakened otyugh and an advanced spellwarped otyugh).

Dragon #176 has an article on Playing the Paleozoic which suggests that a giant version of an opabinia, a Cambrian period segmented arthropod with five eye stalks and a proboscis could be a distant relative of the other gulguthras.​

Otyugh parts
According to the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two, otyughs are so disgusting that no alchemist or wizard would want to touch their parts, so a dead otyugh has no value and no known uses. This is contradicted by the hide value of 500-700 gp mentioned in Dragon #137, so perhaps they simply have no magical value. On the other hand, Dungeon #121 includes “the stretched skin of an otyugh” on a list of One Hundred Useless Items. Seven years later, in Dungeon #206, that useless otyugh hide has been turned into a rug, which shows up in the eastern gatehouse of Lanador’s Lair in Skullport.

By 3rd Edition, some use has been found for otyugh parts. In Dragon #309, the spell plague cloud includes dried otyugh blood as part of the material component. This is mixed with 3,000 gp of powdered amber and sealed inside a small flask. There’s no indication how much the dried otyugh blood (or the small flask) costs. Alchemical Charms in Dragon #331 notes that the tongue of an otyugh is one of the ingredients for an alchemical anti-disease tonic which sells for 100 gp.

Unearthed Arcana lists “specially prepared otyugh dung” (worth 1,700 gp) as a metamagic component for empowering an awaken spell. In the undercity of Skullport in the Forgotten Realms, the Street Scrapers gang has figured out another way to profit from otyugh dung. Merchants not willing to pay the gang’s fee for keeping the surrounding streets clean will find heaps of rancid otyugh dung piled outside their shops until they have a change of heart.

Otyughs seem to have low nutritional value. The Book of Vile Darkness notes that a disease known as blue guts is contracted from eating the flesh of creatures like otyughs and gibbering mouthers. The disease turns the area of the body around the intestines a blue color, as well as giving a bluish complexion. It also causes Strength damage. The mystery farmstead serving “otyugh thighs soaked in brine for a year and tenderized with a warhammer before roasting” in Dungeon #133 didn’t get that memo. Neither did goblinkin; in the adventure CCC-BMG-MOON18-01: Phantom of Prophecy, otyugh sausage is one of the ingredients kept by the goblin king’s chef.

Dragon+ #29 offered the DMs Guild release Monster Loot: Tyranny of Dragons as a free download, and this delightful book provides us with a fresh selection of ways to turn otyugh parts into useful items. The hide of an otyugh can be crafted into leather or studded leather armor. Otyugh blood can be stored in vials, and when ingested imbues the drinker with limited one-way telepathy for ten minutes. An otyugh tentacle can be crafted into a maul that adds piercing damage when it hits. Finally, the teeth of an otyugh can be used to make weapons. Smaller teeth can be made into tips for projectiles, and add a small amount of poison damage on a hit. Large teeth can be crafted into daggers which have a chance of both poisoning and inflicting a disease on the target. Over the course of a few days, an infected person gradually loses hit points (and has reduced maximum hit points) until they are cured or die.​

Otyughs as pets
In some societies, an otyugh may have value whole and alive. Dragon #303 notes that otyughs are popular features in monster vs. monster arena fights. Despite its thorough disgustingness, there is something strangely endearing about the otyugh, and the idea of one forced to fight to the death in an arena is slightly depressing.

A less depressing career for an otyugh is outlined in the Arms and Equipment Guide. If caught and trained, it can function as a selective guard for the sewer of someone rich or powerful. An otyugh can, for example, be taught to allow only people who know a password to pass. The price placed on a young otyugh is 2,000 gp, and it costs 1,500 gp to train one. Dragon #326 suggests that some cities import otyughs into their sewers for waste control purposes, although they are clearly not always the trained sort. One person who might provide this as a service is the gnomish bard Alomann. He has an otyugh among his available exotic animals when we meet him in Dungeon #132.​


Dragon #326 (2004)​

In the Adventurers League scenario CCC-UCON-3: The Straw Bears, a retired half-elven adventurer keeps an otyugh named Rustle as a pet. According to Dragon #375, worshipers of Demogorgon sometimes keep otyughs as pets. Volo’s Guide to Monsters lists otyughs as potential pets for beholders.​

Otyughs and other monsters
The Ecology of the Gulguthra lists doppelgangers, ettins, will-o’-wisps and beholders as creatures with which an otyugh might partner. They have also been documented partnering up with dun puddings (Polyhedron #31), wererats (HHQ1: Fighter’s Challenge), kobolds (Dragon Mountain, Dragon #332), hobgoblins (Dungeon #74), grimlocks (Dungeon #107, Dungeon #215), derro (ULP3-03: Even Further Downward), zerns (Monster Manual IV), orcs (Dungeon Delve), and bog hags (The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond).

The neo-otyugh living with a group of bugbears in RPGA4: The Elixir of Life is aggressive and cunning, hiding until the adventurers pass it before moving to block their only means of escaping the area. T1-4: Temple of Elemental Evil has bugbears in a less amenable otyugh relationship. Their otyugh previously ate one of the tribe, so the bugbears now steer clear of it. Perhaps because this otyugh is a more aggressive individual, there is a fair amount of treasure in its heap. Some of the treasure is poking out and thus guaranteed to lure in any passing adventurers.

The illithids in Thunder Under Needlespire in Dungeon #24 keep a neo-otyugh in the midden to keep the trash level under control. The duergar in the adventure Train of Events (from Dungeon #44) have an affectionate relationship with their otyugh, whom they have creatively named “Dungheap”. Dungheap gets on well enough with the dwarves that it will fight with them (and not eat them) when they are under threat. The otyugh in the Sargauth level of Undermountain is friends with the goblinoids of Azrok’s Hold, who keep it well fed (Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage).

According to issue #15 of the Advanced Dungeon & Dragons comic, an otyugh is quite prepared to eat a troll, if given the opportunity. Vajra, a slave-warrior fighting a troll in the Arena of Blood, lops off one of its arms and then shoves the troll into a cage containing a hungry otyugh, where it is (presumably) eaten.​


AD&D comic #15 (January 1990)​

The mad chefs in The Mad Chefs of Lac Anchois in Dungeon #64 are a pair of cloud giant brothers. They have a pact with a neo-otyugh which provides waste-disposal services for their unusual restaurant. More recently, Volo’s Guide to Monsters suggests that otyughs would be attracted to the stench of a hill giant den, but notes that hill giants do not domesticate the creatures. This contradicts Storm King’s Thunder, where a hill giant named Slub has a fiercely loyal otyugh pet.

According to The Ecology of the Rust Monster in Dragon #88, otyughs will eat rust monsters, but in H2: The Mines of Bloodstone, there is a neo-otyugh in an alliance with two umber hulks and four rust monsters. In the Adventurers League scenario DDEX2-14: The Sword of Selfaril the PCs stumble into an encounter—an otyugh and two black puddings versus a svirfneblin expedition. As they arrive, the otyugh has just swallowed the svirfneblin leader. If they act quickly to free him before he is digested, he and his group will become allies.

In the 4th Edition Monster Manual, otyughs are encountered with carrion crawlers, hydras and troglodytes. According to Into the Unknown, troglodytes are also the only creatures that smell worse than otyughs. By 5th Edition, carrion crawlers are said to avoid contact with otyughs by scurrying across the ceiling.​

Otyughs, archfiends and gods
According to The Book of Vile Darkness, Asmodeus has cursed Baalzebul so that “stinking piles of rotting garbage and feces” accumulate wherever he spends time. Consequently, the Lord of Flies tolerates the presence of a number of otyughs in his palace, and they are rewarded with a constant odiferous banquet.

The Monster Manual V details the lesser, greater, and elder spawn of Juiblex. Appended to this is a description of the Demiplane of Filth, which provides many otyughs a home. In 4th Edition, the close relationship between spawn of Juiblex and otyughs remains in place (Demonomicon), but Juiblex now rules the Stinking Realm, a layer of the Abyss known as Molor (The Plane Below). Otyughs inhabit this filthy decaying place, and anywhere else Juiblex’s spawn are found.​


Gargmanethka, Exarch of Turaglas, Dragon #376 (2009)​

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv in Dragon #376 details Gargmanethka, a mutated otyugh who serves as exarch for the demon prince Turaglas. Gargmanethka resembles an ordinary otyugh, but is much larger and has oversized tentacles even in relation to its immense size. Eye of its three (!) eyes has a greenish luminescence as does the copious quantity of drool dripping from its jaws and tongue.

As a level 27 elite controller, this is one of the most powerful otyughs appearing to date. Gargmanethka has 496 hit points, and does tentacle damage of 3d8+9 along with several special attacks. There are said to be other mutated otyughs like Gargmanethka. They serve the demon prince Turaglas because they believe he is best placed to bring about the end of the world. According to this fanatical belief, after the world’s destruction, otyughs will feast eternally on the decaying remains.

According to Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook, priests of Torog, god of the Underdark, have an affinity for otyughs.

As detailed in Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage there is a kuo-toa colony in Undermountain’s Grotto of Madness where a petrified otyugh was once worshiped as the god Bulba-Slopp.​

Otyughs and magic
One of the many creatures into which a paddleboard of wondrous transformation might transform its target is an otyugh (Dragon #134).

Dragon #171 has a list of 101 beans from a bag of beans, one of which grows into a pyxis when planted. A pyxis is a powerful wooden box that, once opened, spews forth 1-4 grotesque monsters (such as otyughs, beholders, aboleths and ropers) per round until 10-100 have escaped, at which point the pyxis grants one wish.

The otyugh swarm spell, first published in Defenders of the Faith, creates 3d4 ordinary or 1d3+1 huge otyughs, manufactured from a significant pile (at least 6,000 pounds!) of rubbish or filth. The created otyughs will serve actively for seven days, or as guards for seven months. The spell is part of the Pestilence domain, and was reprinted in Complete Divine, and again in the Spell Compendium complete with an illustration.​


You smell an otyugh swarm before you see it, Spell Compendium (2005)​

Otyughs and artistic works
In the adventure ’Til Death Do Us Part in Dungeon #29, the deceased mage Julius’s spellbook includes a “truly dreadful” poem entitled Ode to an Otyugh. In a similar vein, one of the servants in the adventure Quelkin’s Quandry in Dungeon #47 owns an entire book titled Odes to an Otyugh.

An anonymous merchant is selling glove-puppet otyughs in Dungeon #123.

The Living Greyhawk scenario CORS6-02: Pits of Azak-Zil contains a stone water basin in an alcove that is designed to look like an otyugh. The open maw is the basin, and water comes out of three tentacles, pumped from a reservoir by pushing one of the otyugh’s eyes repeatedly. The other eye is pushed to create a vacuum which draws the water back. (Aside: This is clearly an otyugh sculpture with just two eyes.)

In The Night Thelva Clovenaxe Flew, an Ed Greenwood short story in Dragon #425, the fortune teller Jhalang the Crazed uses a deck of unusual cards to tell the fortune of the dwarf Ruthgulur, in return for a little of his life force. One of the cards depicts an neo-otyugh with ambitions to attend college and become a bard.

Otyughs themselves can also aspire to be artists. An otyugh in the Curse of the Azure Bond video game is shaping dung into artistic features when encountered.​

Otyughs roam the underground waterways beneath the city of Huzuz, detailed in City of Delights. According to Cities of Bone, they also dwell in the Catacombs below the city of Moradask. The adventure The Assassin Within from Dungeon #47 is set in the city of Qadib. There, in the cellar of the philosophy teacher Hakim ibn Rashad, dwells a lone otyugh.​

The Birthright Campaign Setting Rulebook includes the otyugh on its list of Monstrous Manual creatures that might be encountered in Cerilia.​

An otyughs lurk in a filth strewn pit on the fourth level of Castle Blackmoor’s dungeons (The Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor). In the Blackmoore setting’s city of Vesthold, one of the merchants responsible for the removal of garbage and waste dumps it in a hole to a cave inhabited by an otyugh (The Wizards’ Cabal).​

Council of Wyrms
In the Council of Wyrms boxed set, otyughs are listed on the table for arctic subterranean encounters, and both otyughs and neo-otyughs on the tropical subterranean table.​

Dark Sun
Although there don’t seem to be any otyughs in printed Dark Sun sources, they do make an appearance in the Dark Sun: Shattered Lands video game. Apparently, otyughs of Athas have four tentacles.​


Otyugh, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (1993), image from ganje.de

Although the Heroes of the Lance didn’t encounter any otyughs during the course of their adventures, the creature do occur on Krynn. According to DL15: Mists of Krynn, a neo-otyugh resides in the tomb of Pahkar-Ran Theremikos in Silvanesti. DL16: World of Krynn places an ordinary otyugh in a garbage pit in Dargaard Keep.

According to the Dark Queen of Krynn computer game, the setting also has greater otyughs. These are the same as ordinary otyughs, but with 14 hit dice and attacks that do 2d10/2d10/1d6 damage. This makes them more powerful than the 2nd Edition neo-otyugh, so “greater neo-otyugh” might technically have been a better name.​


Greater Otyugh, Dark Queen of Krynn (1992), image from RPG Codex

The Dragonlance Campaign Setting for 3.5 Edition reprints the 2nd Edition otyugh swarm spell but adds a material component (1,000 gp of ruby dust). The spell comes from the pestilence domain of cleric spells, which is used by followers of Morgion.

In Holy Orders of the Stars, the sample Aspect of Morgion is an advanced otyugh (it has 15 hit dice). Otyughs also defend the Bronze Tower, Morgion’s keep in the Abyss (Legends of the Twins). The kuo-toa living in the Coral Citadel in Spectre of Sorrows possess an otyugh.​

Otyughs can be found in Undersharn (Sharn: City of Towers), and in the offal pits of the Sea Caves, a remote town somewhere on the Khorvaire coast (Dragons of Eberron). Scavenging bands of Carrion Tribe barbarians roam the Demon Wastes near Ashtakala, some of them accompanied by pet otyughs (Explorer’s Handbook).

Whispers of the Vampire’s Blade details an ancient ziggurat in the wilderness of Thrane. An otyugh lives in one of the ziggurat’s long-abandoned prayer rooms. It hides behind mossy tapestries, and eats passers-by to supplement its usual diet of fungus.​


Eberron Campaign Setting (2004)​

The Mark of Heroes series adventures EMH-05: Gambit at Dreadhold and EMH-11: The Graywall Incident feature otyughs (and lifeleech otyughs) in the sewers of Dreadhold and ridden by mongrelfolk in the city of Graywall. In the Xen’Drik Expeditions adventure CVN-7: Dark Fugitive there is a hungry otyugh living in an abandoned dockside storage building.​


EMH-05: Gambit at Dreadhold (2005)​

According to the Monster Manual III, the lifeleech otyugh variants are most commonly found in Droaam, where they serve under the Daughters of Sora Kell as guardians and mounts. Dhakaani magic is blamed for their origins.​

Forgotten Realms
Otyughs have been present in the Realms since the initial Forgotten Realms boxed set. There is an otyugh living in the privy in The Halls of the Beast-Tamers, one of the sample adventures. Even before that, the otyugh story in Ed Greenwood’s Ecology article was set in the eastern Dalelands.

Other locations in the Forgotten Realms with documented otyugh or neo-otyugh inhabitants include Waterdeep, both in the sewers (FR1: Waterdeep and the North) and the city itself (City System), Undermountain (City of Splendors, Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage), the nearby Rat Hills (Dragon #128, City of Splendors), in Castle Naerytar in the Mere of Dead Men (Hoard of the Dragon Queen), Dragonspear Castle (FRQ2: Hordes of Dragonspear), the shattered sewers of Neverwinter (Neverwinter Campaign Setting), the Zhentil Keep dump (Ruins of Zhentil Keep), and the Surmarsh in Thay (Spellbound, Unapproachable East).

In Dead in Thay there is a chained otyugh in the pig farm’s abattoir disposing of offal. It is willing to share information about the other otyughs in the Doomvault of Thay, and its opinion of the Red Wizards (not favorable). If this otyugh is released, it goes to the other otyughs, who seem to be a relatively happy family of three adults and four young otyughs living in a large, putrid cavern fed by twenty skeletons hauling garbage. The adventure suggests that one outcome is to free the otyughs and give them a key to access the rest of the dungeon, which they will promptly rampage through, eating Red Wizards. When Dead in Thay was reprinted as part of Tales from the Yawning Portal, it used “reduced threat” rules for the young (half hit points, -2 on most rolls, can’t be bigger than large). Sadly the number of otyugh has dropped to two adults and two young, so the population lost an adult and two kids between 2014 and 2017. It’s hard not to feel at least a little sorry for them.
“This band of ruffians is so unwashed and uncivilized as to make a pile of otyugh dung seem pleasingly noble.” — Mintiper Moonsilver, bard and Harper, Year of the Worm​

While traveling through a bog forest en route to the mines of Dekanter in the Greypeak mountains, the protagonists of the novel The Nether Scroll encounter an otyugh. Delightfully described as “manure with a grip of iron” after grabbing one of the party members, the otyugh projects its anticipation of a delicious meal into the mind of its captive as it bashes him against rocks. The group eventually drives it back into the bog whereupon it is promptly dragged down into the murk by some other creature.

In Chult, an unknown number of otyughs live in Port Nyanzaru’s refuse pit. A lone otyugh dwells in the oubliette in the Tomb of the Nine Gods beneath the ruined city of Omu (Tomb of Annihilation).

In the north of Faerûn, the People of Claw Hollow have a crippled otyugh they call “the Devourer” trapped in a natural cavern, to use for waste disposal (Silver Marches).

According to Forgotten Realms Adventures, Scornubel is home to Phiraz of the Naturalists, a recognized expert on otyughs. Phiraz is the sage who provided parts of the information for the Ecology article, but it should be noted that some of his observations and understandings were described as “vague”. The revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting includes “otyugh/neo-otyugh” in its list of spoken languages of the realms. Demihumans of the Realms suggests otyugh as a possible starting language for dark elves, shield dwarves, gold dwarves, and deep gnomes.

FRC2: Curse of the Azure Bonds makes heavy use of gulguthras. Otyughs are random encounters in the Tilverton sewers, and one can be found below the kitchen in the Fire Knives’ hideout. There is also a neo-otyugh named Happy Hogun living in the sewers. Not too far away there are three otyughs and a neo-otyugh living on Moander’s Mound, a giant hill of debris. The lingering remnants of Moander’s essence also permeate the destroyed city of Yûlash on the western edge of the Moonsea. There, two otyughs have grown large, tinged with evil. They have a symbiotic relationship with the great shambling mound inhabiting the dread altar (Mysteries of the Moonsea).

Faiths & Avatars includes otyughs, neo-otyughs and gulguthydras as creatures which the goddess Talona, Mistress of Disease, might use to do her bidding. The 3rd Edition web enhancement Deity Do’s and Don’ts lists otyughs as preferred monsters for both Talona and the orc god Yurtrus.

The article The Athalantan Campaign in Dragon #228 details the historical land of Athalantar. The youngest prince of the land, Nrymm Aumar, was turned into an otyugh by the magelords of Athalantar and then kept in the middens of Athalgard, where he was eventually slain while still an otyugh.

The greater otyugh from the Dark Queen of Krynn game originated in the Forgotten Realms, appearing first in Ruins of Undermountain and then in the Pools of Darkness PC game. It is a huge, 14 hit dice monster which inhabits the monstrous dung heaps of the Underdark. Ordinary otyughs also prowl the Upperdark wilds (Underdark).

The most recent depiction of an otyugh in the Forgotten Realms is on card #249 of the Magic: The Gathering set Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate which is titled Predatory Impetus.​


Predatory Impetus, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate #249 (2022)​

The gulguthydra was covered in the section on variants above, but it originated in the Forgotten Realms. In its first appearance in City of Splendors the gulguthydra had a much more hydra-like depiction than it did in the subsequent Monstrous Compendium Annual. In this era, the creatures had only been reported in the Rat Hills and the Mere of Dead Men since their magical creation during the Time of Troubles. The fire from the recent Rat Hills Conflagration drove two gulguthydra out of the garbage dump, possibly into the Waterdhavian sewers.​


Gulguthydra, City of Splendors (1994)​

The gulguthydra was updated to 3rd Edition in Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn, where it is described as coated with a foot-thick layer of greasy slime and excrement so that when it moves, it slides along a cushion of its own hideous mess. It is noted that at least two gulguthydras inhabiting the Farsea Marsh are surrounded by colonies of eyeball beholderkin. According to City of Splendors: Waterdeep, gulguthydras have now spread into Undermountain.​


Gulguthydra, Monsters of Faerûn (2001)​

Although there is a pair of mated otyughs in WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, the idea of otyughs pairing off to spawn seems to have been mostly dropped after this mention.

In the 1st to 2nd Edition transition adventure WG8: Fate of Istus, the vampire Nerlax keeps two otyughs as pets. Otyughs and neo-otyughs are listed on the Underdark encounter tables in MC5: Monstrous Compendium: Greyhawk Adventures Appendix, and they can be found in the sewers under the City of Greyhawk (WGA1: Falcon’s Revenge). In the follow-up adventure, WGA2: Falconmaster, there are two otyughs living symbiotically with a large number of jermlaine and even a group of trolls. The ruins of Castle Greyhawk house a small otyugh in the Tower of War and a blissfully gleeful neo-otyugh in the Tower of Power (WGR1: Greyhawk Ruins). The small otyugh in the Tower of War has become 1d3 otyughs by 3rd Edition’s Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk.

According to From the Ashes, otyughs nest in the dungeons of Maure Castle, swamp otyughs are found in the Rushmoor Marshes and acid-squirting otyughs in the Vast Swamp. The mage Belszane keeps neo-otyughs in the Wailing Halls, located in the Gnarley Forest. In the same forest, there are rumors of a deep temple of Tharizdun, said to house neo-otyughs horribly altered to have tentacles, pincered beaks and a displacement ability.

Bigby’s Modest Home, detailed in WGR2: Treasure of Greyhawk has a monster summoning spell protecting the basement. When triggered, it summons a neo-otyugh. According to WGR4: The Marklands, an otyugh was recently sighted in the deserted village of Blackwell in the Gold Country. Another otyugh (now slain) killed a dozen men near Callistor on the Gnatmarsh. Otyughs are said to live in the ruins below the city of Oldred.

WGR5: Iuz the Evil notes that otyughs live in the Undercity of Dorakaa. There are two tough neo-otyughs guarding Iuz’s sewers in WGR6: The City of Skulls. WGR7: Ivid the Undying mentions escaped otyughs living in the sewers of Rauxes. There are two otyughs living in the Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, and according to Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff the “world’s happiest otyugh” lives at the bottom of the privy in Castle Thrasmotnir, in Pest’s Crossing. Slavers mentions otyughs living in the Catacombs, southwest of Nyr Dyv.

The 3rd Edition Living Greyhawk Gazetteer mentions otyughs dwelling in the Rushmoors and the adventure The Stink in Dungeon #105 features a disease-ridden dungeon inhabited by creatures loyal to Incabulos, including both otyughs and advanced otyughs. The town of Saltmarsh, first featured in U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, gets an update in the Dungeon Master’s Guide II. There we learn that the previous high priest of the Cathedral of Kord was killed by an otyugh a few years earlier.

The Living Greyhawk scenario GEO3-01: A Small-Knowing Soul features a half-human/half-flesh golem who once had a pet otyugh named Niff. The golem would like nothing more than to return to the sewage lagoon outside Midwood to play “hide the honeypot” with Niff.​

Historical Reference
Dragon #176 suggests that otyughs and neo-otyughs could be suitable swamp encounters in a fantasy version of the paleozoic. DMGR5: Creative Campaigning lists the otyugh on a long list of creatures appropriate for an African flavored campaign. On the other hand, HR6: Age of Heroes Campaign Setting disallows otyughs in a Greek setting.

They are not really D&D settings, but otyughs also feature in a few futuristic sources, including the post apocalyptic d20 Omega World in Polyhedron #153 and on the list of appropriate monsters in d20 Future. The Urban Arcana Campaign Setting for d20 Modern has a half-page otyugh write up in the Creatures chapter, including stats for an advanced version and, in a later section, an otyugh as an example of a liquified zombie.​

Otyughs are found on the island of Jakandor, according to the random encounter charts in Jakandor: Land of Legend.​

In the Grey Wastes region of Akari Island lies a temple known as Opawangchicheng. According to OA3: Ochima: The Spirit Warrior, an otyugh dwells in the temple’s junkpile. Otyughs also live in the eastern land of Shou Lung (FRA2: Black Courser) and in the city of Alashan (FRA3: Blood Charge).​

Kingdoms of Kalamar
Otyughs are found on the rocky Island of Ucea, near the city of Saaniema in Reanaaria Bay (Player’s Guide to the Sovereign Lands), and are sometimes kept on board larger ships to keep waste under control (Salt and Sea Dogs: The Pirates of Tellene).

According to Divine Masters: The Faiths and Followers of Tellene, in Zazahni the followers of the Rotlord have a ritual known as the Feast of the Otyugh. This requires worshippers to dart in and out of a captive otyugh’s tentacles, snatch food from inside its mouth and eat it.

Otyughs live in caves in the Edros Bay two miles south of the city of Inolen in the Kingdom of Eldor, according to the Kingdoms of Kalamar Campaign Setting. The same source places otyughs in a fenced off quarry in Shyta-Thybak, capital of Thybaj and on the rocky Island of Icea in Saaniema.​

Otyughs are among the strange creatures living in the Streetsweeper’s Yard in Sigil’s Clerk’s Ward (The Great Modron March). In the Lady’s Ward is an abandoned mansion known as Nontegue Manor. It is abandoned because the previous residents (the Nontegues) were eaten by a cunning and stealthy group of otyughs, lead by a roper (Faction War).

On the layer of the Abyss known as Vudra lies Kaliva’s Island. In the island’s Yuan-ti Caves there is an otyugh dwelling in the refuse pit (Dungeon #60).

The Inner Planes describes the Paraelemental Plane of Ooze as a place viewed as paradise by otyughs and neo-otyughs. Lucky gulguthra finding some way to reach this plane defend their new home fiercely so that they can wallow forever in the infinite filth.​

One of the more obscure of Ravenloft’s domains is Nosos. Originally appearing in RR4: Islands of Terror, the island represents the horrors of runaway industrialisation and pollution. The description of Nosos in Domains of Dread suggests that otyughs dwell in the city’s filth.

There is a neo-otyugh living in the refuse room in Azalin’s crypt-lair in RM1: Roots of Evil.

There is a new creature called a sewer fiend in Children of the Night: Vampires. It looks a bit like a legless variation of an otyugh and has two arms and an eyestalk. The text suggests it might be the result of attempts to cross a neo-otyugh with a bear.

The 5th Edition Adventurers League title DDAL04-11: The Donjon is set in Barovia, although not necessarily exactly the same Barovia as in previous editions. An otyugh nests in the marshy ruined tower of Muskeg Hill.​

Otyughs creep and slink through Ravnica’s undercity, according to the Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica.​

According to Rock of Bral, both the leading and trailing jettisons of the Rock are crewed by otyughs. A sarcastic neo-otyugh leads the otyughs at the front, and this band occasionally targets approaching ships with stinking, fetid missiles. A neo-otygh also leads a larger group of otyughs at the back. They operate a quiet and efficient waste removal service, and use a powerful device to expel unwanted garbage from the Rock’s gravity plane.

In Greyspace, Otyughs inhabit the small, crescent-shaped planet known as Ginsel (SJR6: Greyspace).​

In Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, the third and final exam in Magical Physiologies is a test of the students knowledge of otyughs. Some of the facts that the students are required to memorize include that hearing a belch coming from a pile of trash is a sign that there is an otyugh in it, and that otyughs wait for carrion to ferment before eating it. They are also required to write a short essay on which intelligent creatures might use otyughs as guardians. The Otyughs and other Monsters section of this article would certainly come in handy for that.

There is an otyugh that calls itself Garbage King living somewhere in the Strixhaven campus. It shows up on the random encounter tables in the book’s Hunt for Mage Tower adventure.​

In Journeys through the Radiant Citadel, in the Yun Dynasty Ruins of the land of Great Xing, a hungry otyugh uses its telepathy to pretend to be a hungry ghost in order to get fed. If it is fed, it provides some useful information about some of its neighbors.​

The otyugh is surprisingly well represented in miniatures, despite its unusual shape. The first otyugh miniature of any description was a plastic neo-otyugh Official AD&D action figure, released in 1983. Amusingly, the packaging gives the pronunciation of “NE-O-OT-YUG”, which will later be contradicted in 1985 (“AT-yug”) and again in 1989 (“Aw-tee-ug”). Also, the eyestalk has only two eyeballs!​


Neo-Otyugh, Official AD&D action figures (1983), image from TransFormerLand

The first attempt at a more traditional miniature was a lead neo-otyugh produced as part of a short-lived line of TSR produced AD&D minis in 1983 and 1984.​


TSR5610: Neo-Otyugh and Azer and Korred, image from Lost Minis Wiki (1984)​

The next otyugh mini came along more than a decade later. It was a pewter mini produced in late 1996 or early 1997 by Ral Partha, just before their license to make D&D figures ended.​


Ral Partha 11-529: Otyugh, image from Lost Minis Wiki (1996)​

During its time as the custodian of the D&D brand, Wizards of the Coast has produced three different otyugh miniatures. The first was a metal miniature released in 2002 as part of the Chainmail line.​


Chainmail #88400: Otyugh, image from Battle Sheets!, WotC website (2002)​

This was followed by two prepainted plastic miniatures, figure #27 in the 2004 Giants of Legends set and a lifeleech otyugh as figure #44 in the 2007 Night Below set.​


Otyugh, D&D Miniatures: Giants of Legend #27 (2004), image from Wizards of the Coast


Lifeleech Otyugh, D&D Miniatures: Night Below #44 (2007), image from MinisGallery

The article Minis in the Game (in Dragon #376) provides an interesting side-by-side picture of the 1984, 2002, and 2007 minis, to demonstrate scale creep over time.​


Otyugh minis, Dragon #376 (2009)​

In March 2021 WizKids released the most recent otyugh miniatures as part of the D&D Icons of the Forgotten Realm line. It is figure #25 in the Boneyard set. An unpainted otyugh is available as part of the Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures line.​


Otyugh, D&D Icons of the Realms: Boneyard #25 (2021), image from MinisGallery


Otyugh, D&D Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures (2021), image from WizKids

Board games
To celebrate the re-release of the Dungeon! board game in 2012, Wizards of the Coast published No Rest for the Wicked, an adventure using the Dungeon! map. It includes an encounter with a ravenous charnel otyugh that has waddled into a kitchen and is now devouring everything it can. The kitchen also houses two horrified mimics, who usually prey on humanoid visitors, but who don’t view the otyugh as remotely edible, and are now watching in distress as it rampages through their home.​


Wrath of Ashardalon (2011)​

The otyugh also features as an enemy in the co-operative Adventure System board game Wrath of Ashardalon. The miniature included with the game is an unpainted version of the otyugh from the Giants of Legends set.​

Video games
Otyghs have appeared in many D&D video games, likely because most city-based stories eventually involve a sewer visit, and otyughs fill the niche of tentacled sewer monster so perfectly. The earliest digital otyughs seem to be in 1989’s Curse of the Azure Bonds.​


Curse of the Azure Bonds, image from CRPG Notes (1989)​

Although Curse of the Azure Bonds features both otyughs and more powerful neo-otyughs, Pools of Darkness introduced the even more fearsome greater otyugh.​


Greater Otyugh, Pools of Darkness (1991), image from Gold Box Companion

This is the same greater otyugh that appeared in the 1992 Dragonlance game Dark Queen of Krynn (covered earlier). We’ve also already looked at the four-tentacled otyughs from 1993’s Dark Sun: Shattered Lands.​


Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000), image from Baldur’s Gate wiki


Icewind Dale II (2002), image from SuperDave17


Neo-otyugh, Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear (2016), image from Baldur’s Gate wiki

Neo-otyughs and otyughs featured in Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn in (2000), Icewind Dale II (2002), and Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear (2016). When Baldur’s Gate II was re-released in 2010 as Baldur’s Gate II Complete, it was bundled with a collection of concept art, including a striking illustration of an otyugh.​


Otyugh concept art, Baldur’s Gate II Complete (2010)​

It is probably only fitting that we close out this Monster ENCyclopedia entry by noticing that this last otyugh’s sensory stalk has not two, not three, but no less than eight eyeballs. Or, just maybe, it has only two eyeballs, and a whole lot of noses!​

Otyugh names
Dungheap, Feaster, Garbage King, Gargmanethka, Gophodros, Happy Hogun, Kli-Qwerg, Lashgul, Niff, Nrymm, Rustle, the Server, Spiral, Theran of the False Truth, Thing, Xukasus.​

Otyugh comparative statistics

Neo-otyugh comparative statistics

Dungeon Geomorphs, Set Two: Caves & Caverns (April 1977)
Monster Manual, p73, 77 (December 1977, August 1978)
Dungeon Masters Guide, p208 (August 1979)
I1: Dwellers if the Forbidden City, p23 (November 1981)
Monster Cards, Set 1 (May 1982)
WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, p24 (July 1982)
R4: Doc’s Island, p22, 25 (July 1983)
RPGA4: The Elixir of Life, p6 (July 1983)
I5: Lost Tomb of Martek, p16 (July 1983)
Official AD&D action figures: Neo-Otyugh (1983)
Dragon #88, p23, The Ecology of the Rust Monster (August 1984)
Monster Manual II, p140, 141, 144, 145, 148, 150 (August 1984)
TSR5610: Neo-Otyugh and Azer and Korred (1984)
Dragon #93, p28, Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd, p28 (January 1985)
Dragon #96, p20-22, The Ecology of the Gulguthra (April 1985)
T1-4: Temple of Elemental Evil, p70 (August 1985)
I8: Ravager of Time, p18 (April 1986)
Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide, p79, 84 (June 1986)
Polyhedron #31, p17-18, Ravager Part 2: Lord of Dust and Death (September 1986)
H2: The Mines of Bloodstone, p29 (December 1986)
OA3: Ochimo: The Spirit Warrior, p41 (January 1987)
REF4: The Book of Lairs II, p7-9 (April 1987)
I13: Adventure Pack I, p10-11 (May 1987)
Manual of the Planes, p39 (June 1987)
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, DM’s Sourcebook of the Realms, p48 (July 1987)
FR1: Waterdeep and the North, p27 (October 1987)
Dragon #128, p14, Welcome to Waterdeep (December 1987)
Dragon #134, p44, Bazaar of the Bizarre (June 1988)
DL15: Mists of Krynn, p79 (June 1988)
City System, p25 (July 1988)
Dragon #137, p18, Treasure of the Wilds (September 1988)
Dragon #138, p11, Through the Looking Glass (October 1988)
DL16: World of Krynn, p61 (November 1988)
WG8: Fate of Istus, p79-80 (February 1989)
FRC2: Curse of the Azure Bonds, p21-22, 28, 36 (March 1989)
Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (August 1989)
Curse of the Azure Bonds (1989)
Advanced Dungeon & Dragons comic #15: Cat and Mouse, p10-11 (January 1990)
WGA1: Falcon’s Revenge, p29 (March 1990)
Forgotten Realms Adventures, p102 (March 1990)
MC5: Monstrous Compendium: Greyhawk Adventures Appendix (April 1990)
WGA2: Falconmaster, p27-28, 30, 32-33 (June 1990)
FRA2: Black Courser, p58 (July 1990)
Dungeon #24, p53, Thunder Under Needlespire (July 1990)
WGR1: Greyhawk Ruins, p14, 48 (July 1990)
FRA3: Blood Charge, p53 (November 1990)
Ruins of Undermountain, Campaign Guide to Undermountain, p54, 99, 127 (February 1991)
Ruins of Undermountain, Undermountain Adventures, p26 (February 1991)
Dungeon #29, p56, ’Til Death Do Us Part (May 1991)
Pools of Darkness (June 1991)
Dragon #171, p118, 101 Surprises in a Bag of Beans (July 1991)
Dragon #176, p84, 90, Playing in the Paleozoic (December 1991)
HHQ1: Fighter’s Challenge, p15 (January 1992)
WGR2: Treasures of Greyhawk, p39 (June 1992)
1992 Trading Card set, #254 (June 1992)
SJR5: Rock of Bral, p48, 78 (August 1992)
From the Ashes, Atlas of the Flanaess, p36, 61 and Campaign Book, p30, 48-49 (October 1992)
FRQ2: Hordes of Dragonspear, p23 (October 1992)
SJR6: Greyspace, p49 (November 1992)
Dark Queen of Krynn (1992)
Dark Queen of Krynn, Adventurer’s Journal, p23 (1992)
DMGR5: Creative Campaigning, p25 (January 1993)
WGR4: The Marklands, p31, 70, 73 (January 1993)
WGR5: Iuz the Evil, p26 (March 1993)
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (April 1993)
Dragon Mountain, Book II, p24 (April 1993)
RM1: Roots of Evil, p68 (April 1993)
WGR6: The City of Skulls, p19 (May 1993)
City of Delights, Golden Huzuz, p89, 91 (June 1993)
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, A Grand Tour of the Realms, p25 (June 1993)
Monstrous Manual, p283 (June 1993)
Dungeon #44, p71, Train of Events (November 1993)
PHBR11: The Complete Ranger’s Handbook, p34 (December 1993)
HR6: Age of Heroes Campaign Setting, p63 (March 1994)
Cities of Bone, Campaign Guide, p32 (May 1994)
Council of Wyrms, Card 9: Encounter Tables and Card 10: Encounter Tables (May 1994)
PHBR12: The Complete Paladin’s Handbook, p12 (May 1994)
Dungeon #47, p26, Quelkin’s Quandry and p67, The Assassin Within (May 1994)
CR5: Deck of Encounters, Set Two (June 1994)
City of Splendors, Campaign Guide, p63, 66 and Monstrous Compendium sheet (July 1994)
WGR7: Ivid the Undying (March 1995)
Ruins of Zhentil Keep, Campaign Book, p102 (March 1995)
Birthright Campaign Setting, Rulebook, p89 (June 1995)
Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics, p12 (June 1995)
Spellbound, Campaign Guide, p22 (June 1995)
Night Below: An Underdark Campaign, Book II: The Perils of the Underdark, p10 (November 1995)
Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two, p68 (December 1995)
Faiths & Avatars, p153 (March 1996)
Dragon #228, p28, The Athalantar Campaign (April 1996)
Dungeon #60, p49, Nemesis (July 1996)
Children of the Night: Vampires, p83 (November 1996)
Ral Partha 11-529: Otyugh (1996)
Domains of Dread, p92 (August 1997)
Dungeon #64, p74, The Mad Chefs of Lac Anchois (September 1997)
The Great Modron March, p118 (October 1997)
Empires of the Shining Sea, p171-172 (September 1998)
Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, p27, 44 (October 1998)
Jakandor: Land of Legend, p31 (October 1998)
Faction War, p84, 86 (October 1998)
The Inner Planes, p84 (November 1998)
FOR12: Demihumans of the Realms, p6-8, 10 (January 1999)
Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, p73-75 (April 1999)
Dungeon #74, p52, Night of the Bloodbirds (May 1999)
Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, p47-48 (June 1999)
Skullport, p21 (June 1999)
Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff, p77 (August 1999)
L3: Deep Dwarven Delve, p6, 20 (August 1999)
Slavers, p16 (April 2000)
Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (September 2000)
The Nether Scroll (September 2009)
Dragon #276, p12-13, Profiles: Skip Williams (October 2000)
Monster Manual, p14, 147-148 (October 2000)
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, p153 (November 2000)
Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn, p58-59 (February 2001)
Defenders of the Faith: A Guidebook to Clerics and Paladins, p88 (May 2001)
Manual of the Planes, p80 (September 2001)
Dungeon #90/Polyhedron #149, p100-101, Tears for Twilight Hollow (January 2002)
Dragon #293, p54-55, Monsters With Class (March 2002)
Deity Do’s and Don’ts: A Faiths and Pantheons Web Enhancement, p14-15 (May 2002)
Silver Marches, p127 (July 2002)
Icewind Dale II (August 2002)
Dungeon #94/Polyhedron #153, p42, Omega Word (September 2002)
Book of Vile Darkness, p30, 160 (October 2002)
Dungeon #95/Polyhedron #154, p69-71, 85, 92-94, The Porphyry House Horror (November 2002)
Chainmail #88400: Otyugh (2002)
Dragon #303, p36, Glory and Triumph (January 2003)
Arms and Equipment Guide, p75 (March 2003)
Dungeon #97/Polyhedron #156, p81, Life’s Bazaar (March 2003)
Unapproachable East, p156 (May 2003)
Urban Arcana Campaign Setting, p227-228, 247 (June 2003)
Dragon #309, p50, War Spells (July 2003)
Monster Manual v.3.5, p204-205, 292 (July 2003)
Dragonlance Campaign Setting, p104, 109 (August 2003)
Salt and Sea Dogs: The Pirates of Tellene, p131 (September 2003)
Underdark, p114 (October 2003)
Complete Warrior, p96 (November 2003)
Dungeon #105/Polyhedron #164, p47, 51, 54, 55, The Stink (December 2003)
KET3-06: Burned Flour in High Dough, p11-12, 16 (2003)
ULP3-03: Even Further Downward, p13, 15, 16 (2003)
GEO3-01: A Small-Knowing Soul, p26, 38 (2003)
Dungeon #107/Polyhedron #166, p28, Mellorn Hospitality (February 2004)
Unearthed Arcana, p141 (February 2004)
Dragon #317, p33, Urban Druids (March 2004)
Dragon #318, p102, Sage Advice (April 2004)
Complete Divine, p172 (May 2004)
Dungeon #111/Polyhedron #170, p64, Lords of Oblivion (June 2004)
Eberron Campaign Setting, p44 (June 2004)
D&D Miniatures: Giants of Legend set, figure #27/72 (June 2004)
d20 Future, p211 (August 2004)
Monster Manual III, p119 (September 2004)
Whispers of the Vampire’s Blade, p28-29 (September 2004)
Sharn: City of Towers, p177 (November 2004)
Dragon #326, p50, 54, Down the Drain (December 2004)
Dungeon #121, p101, One Hundred Useless Items (April 2005)
Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations, p191 (April 2005)
Races of Eberron, p103 (April 2005)
Heroes of Battle, p40 (May 2005)
Dragon #331, p32, Alchemical Charms (May 2005)
City of Splendors: Waterdeep, p127 (June 2005)
Dungeon #123, p98, 100 Market Stalls (June 2005)
Dungeon Master’s Guide II, p126 (June 2005)
Dragon #332, Ecology of the Kobold, p67 (July 2005)
Spectre of Sorrows, p78 (July 2005)
Explorer’s Handbook, p111 (August 2005)
Dungeon #126, p30-33, Encounter at Blackwall Keep (September 2005)
Holy Orders of the Stars, p102-103 (September 2005)
Dragon #336, p68, Wormfood (October 2005)
Dungeon #128, p66, Backdrop: The Free City (November 2005)
Spell Compendium, p151-152 (December 2005)
COR5-14: All Roads Lead to Rauxes, p26 (2005)
EMH-05: Gambit at Dreadhold, p20-22, 24 (2005)
ONW5-03: The Unplumbed Depths, p27, 45, 51, 57-58, 65 (2005)
The Wizards’ Cabal, p98 (2005)
Legends of the Twins, p81 (February 2006)
Dungeon #132, p97, Down at the Docks (March 2006)
Dungeon #133, p101, One Hundred Meals (April 2006)
Player’s Handbook II, p177-178 (May 2006)
Mysteries of the Moonsea, p149-150 (June 2006)
Monster Manual IV, p196 (July 2006)
The Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor, p50, 62-63 (August 2006)
Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords, p23 (August 2006)
Player’s Guide to the Sovereign Lands, p187 (October 2006)
CVN-7: Dark Fugitive, p14-15 (2006)
EMH-11: The Graywall Incident, p13 (2006)
CORS6-02: Pits of Azak-Zil, p15 (2006)
Complete Scoundrel, p151-152 (January 2007)
Dungeonscape, p49 (February 2007)
FR1: Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave, p18, 34-35 (March 2007)
Diseased!, p18-19 (April 2007)
Dungeon #145, p36, Vile Addiction (April 2007)
Wizards of the Coast website, Elite Opponents: Variant Lifeleech Otyughs (May 2007)
Monster Manual V, p165 (July 2007)
D&D Miniatures: Night Below set, figure #44/60 (July 2007)
Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk, p47 (August 2007)
A Practical Guide to Monsters (August 2007)
Fortress of the Yuan-ti, p14, 34 (September 2007)
The Grand History of the Realms, p132 (September 2007)
Dragons of Eberron, p94-95 (October 2007)
Divine Masters: The Faiths and Followers of Tellene, p181 (January 2008)
Dungeon #153, p50 (February 2008)
Kingdoms of Kalamar Campaign Setting, p28, 114, 133 (June 2008)
Monster Manual, p40, 165, 211 (June 2008)
H3: Pyramid of Shadows, Adventure Book One, p20 (August 2008)
GEO8-02: A Whisper in the Wind, p17-18, 22, 24, 26, 30, 33 (2008)
Dungeon Delve, p24 (March 2009)
Dragon #375, p129, Monster Month (May 2009)
Dragon #376, p16-17, Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Turaglas, the Ebon Maw (June 2009)
Dragon #376, p78, Minis in the Game (June 2009)
The Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos, p120-121 (December 2009)
VEL8-01: One Dirty Job, p7, 31-32, 37-38 (2009)
PER9-01: Rational Fear, p14, 22-23, 32-33 (2009)
Underdark, p109 (January 2010)
Demonomicon, p148 (July 2010)
Dungeon #183, p28-30, 35-27, The Radiant Morn (October 2010)
Monster Vault, p230-233 and Cairn of the Winter King, p15, 26-27 (October 2010)
Baldur’s Gate II Complete (November 2010)
SPEC3-2: Roots of Corruption - Dark Seeds, p15-60 (February 2011)
Wrath of Ashardalon (February 2011)
The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond, p3, 6-7 (May 2011)
Neverwinter Campaign Setting, p163 (August 2011)
SPEC4-2: The Writhing Obelisk, p19-25 (April 2012)
Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook, p94-96 (May 2012)
SPEC4-5: Rising Darkness, p34-35 (August 2012)
Dungeon #206, p13, Eyes on the Ball (September 2012)
D&D Next Playtest Packet, Bestiary, p76 (December 2012)
D&D Next Playtest Packet, Bestiary, p72 (March 2013)
Wizards of the Coast website, Wandering Monsters: Dungeon Denizens (March 2013)
Dungeon #214, p14-16, No Rest for the Wicked (May 2013)
Dungeon #214, p38, The Last Slave Lord (May 2013)
Dragon #425, p49, The Night Thelva Clovenaxe Flew (July 2013)
Dead in Thay, p35, 45, 94 (April 2014)
Hoard of the Dragon Queen, p52 (August 2014)
Monster Manual, p37, 248, 352 (September 2014)
DDEX2-14: The Sword of Selfaril, p13 (August 2015)
Out of the Abyss, p212 (September 2015)
Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear (March 2016)
DDAL04-11: The Donjon, p21 (May 2016)
Storm King’s Thunder, p144 (September 2016)
Tales from the Yawning Portal, p137 (May 2017)
Tomb of Annihilation, p20, 168 (September 2017)
Volo’s Guide to Monsters, p16, 29 (November 2016)
Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, p187 (November 2018)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, p52-53, 66, 68, 276 (November 2018)
Dragon+ #28, Creature Feature: Neo-otyugh (October 2019)
Adventure with Muk, p33 (November 2019)
Infernal Machine Rebuild, p37, 75 (November 2019)
Monster Loot: Tyranny of Dragons, p25 (November 2019)
Return to the Glory, p9 (May 2020)
CCC-UCON-03: The Straw Bears (of the Peculiar Village of Basht), p13 (December 2020)
D&D Icons of the Realms: Boneyard set, figure #25/45 (March 2021)
Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, p86, 97 (December 2021)
D&D Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures: Otyugh (May 2021)
Magic: The Gathering, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate #249, Predatory Impetus (June 2022)
CCC-BMG-MOON18-01: Phantom of Prophecy, p12, 45 (June 2022)
Journeys through the Radiant Citadel, p191 (July 2022)​


Monster Manual concept art (2000), image from Wizards of the Coast

Other ENCyclopedia entries
Visit the Monster ENCyclopedia index for links to other entries in this series.​


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Shirokinukatsukami fan
More gulguthras! More information about otyugh dance parties! More dung! This article is an updated version of the original. It has been moved to a new thread because the old one got mangled during one of ENWorld’s software updates. All of the images that were missing from the article have been rescanned and restored and a bunch more pictures have been added. Extra information has been added from older products, including comics and video games. The article was also updated with otyugh appearances in D&D products since the article was first published.​


A suffusion of yellow
Kudos again. I love Otyugh and use them regularly, often in the bottom of city sewers and dumps (the trash heap has spoken!).

Inspired by their telepathy I also used an aquatic life leech Neo-Otyugh psion as a major antagonist during my 3.5e campaign.

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