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D&D General Monsters from secondary Monster Manuals you got a lot of fun out

Yora

Legend
In the thread about giants, a mention of the Monster Manual 2 for 3rd edition came up as a side note, and there was some insistent rebukes of my claim that nobody ever seemed to use it, or any additional monster books for that matter.

D&D has had a long and well established stable of primary monsters for decades, most of which have been classic default monsters for over 40 years. Goblins, orcs, giants, owlbears, beholders, winter wolves, gnolls, ankhegs, carrion crawlers, and so on. We all know and at least somewhat love them. I believe almost all of them have been in the primary Monster Manual since at least 2nd edition, and the most famous ones even from day one. Their considerable number also means that the primary Monster Manuals are already near capacity with little room for anything else, though the occasional yrthak or nothic manages to get in.

But in 2nd and 3rd edition in particular, there have been a lot of Monster Manuals, Monstrous Compendiums, and Fiend Folios, and even the original AD&D edition already had three of them.I would bet there's been over a thousand different monsters in the official monster tomes alone. Yet we always see the same, I don't know... 100?, creatures again and again.

Which creatures that are not part of the typical roster that makes it into each new primary Monster Manual for every edition have you seen playing a significant role in campaigns that you have played or run? Or even just led to an exceptionally memorable single encounter?
 

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Voadam

Legend
I tend to use modules but also to modify and expand upon them so I get a good base of standards with a mix of module specific ones and things I throw in from a lot of different places.

I started tracking monsters I used a while ago here and so while I know I have not used everything from any source, I have used a lot of sources, particularly in the d20 era.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I don’t have @Echohawk’s excellent spreadsheet in front of me, but its several thousands of monsters that exist for D&D.

Leucrotta (Volo’s Guide) are one I use somewhat commonly. I’m also a big fan of catoblepas, but because of their deadly abilities, I don’t get to use them very often.
 

Yora

Legend
Leucrottas are one of those creatures that I have never encountered in the wild, but which have always struck me as a critter that has everything going for it to be elevated to MM1 status.
They look sleek, they are mean, and at a power level that makes them great enemies for parties that have stepped out of the wolves and goblins league.
 



My favorite was the Goldbug from 1E. It looked exactly like a gold piece, but ate precious metals. When left alone in a container, it would begin to eat all the other coins within, leaving only the goldbugs. This often left the PCs thinking they got robbed, since they seldom check their loot mid-adventure. The only time my players figured it out was during a long adventure, having put goldbugs in a portable hole. Since the portable hole hadn't been opened yet, there was no obvious explanation, leading to a careful investigation of the portable hole and remaining "coins." My players were furious, realizing how much they'd lost over time, thinking I was just having them be the targets of thieves. Afterwards all gold coins were treated with fire before added to the loot pile!
 

ccs

41st lv DM
My favorite extra monster book is the 1e Fiend Folio. Open it to just about any page. Odds are very high that I've used the critter more than once. :)
Several particular favorites (that aren't Drow) are:
*Osquips
*Death Dogs
**Hook Horrors
**Grell
*Crypt Thing
*Oriental Dragons
But the list just goes on & on & on.

One very memorable adventure was with Bullywugs + a Pan-Lung Dragon.
It all started out as a purely randomly rolled encounter as we were playing the Saltmarsh series. The players had completed Danger at Dunwater (and not totally botched it up :)), thus learning of the Sahuagin threat to the area. So they'd reported back to Saltmarsh, rested, re-equipped, leveled up, etc. & the town council sent them back out to scout this new threat. They could've taken a boat down the coast. They decided to make the journey on foot though so the the Sea Devils wouldn't see them coming. Wich meant they passed through the Hool Marshes.
All along the way I'm dutifully making the random encounter checks as prescribed in the module - and nothing of any real interest or note is occurring. One of the non-interesting encounters rolled was with a # of Bullywugs. Things were pretty dull so I had the frogmen ambush the PCs - even though this was, at best, only mildly challenging for the group. To no ones surprise they repelled the ambush & banked some xp.
Eventually they get to the Sahuagin lair, scout it a bit, determine there's a sizable threat present, & withdraw in order to plan.

It was at this point that one of the players suggests they go seek out the aid of the Bullywug King!
(I, the DM, thinking: "Um, what Bullywug King?? Those were like six random dudes that attacked you.... And why in the world do you think Bullywugs would want to help you??)
My response? "Uh, OK...."
And so the party set out searching the Hool Marshes for the Bullywug King....
The rest of the evening was spent exploring miles & miles of D&D Everglades, dealing with random swamp encounters, & hoping to run into more Bullywugs - to talk with.
I had no plan for how this would go. I figured that eventually one of two things would happen: A) The session would end & I'd go home and write something up proper for next week, B) Bullywugs would be rolled up again, they'd be the lead to their "king", & I'd end things for the week with the PCs approaching a Bullywug lair.
No more bullywugs were rolled up. BUT, towards the end of the session I did roll up a Pan-Lung. WT* is a Pan-Lung?? Looks in the FF - "Oh, a Chinees(?) water dragon." Second thought upon reading it - "MY GOD! That's nowhere near what these characters could handle. WHY is this thing on this random chart??"
So I had them encounter it polymorphed into human(?) form as a non-combat encounter. She gave the PCs the location of the Bullywugs they sought. She also warned the PCs that Bullywugs are vicious evil creatures that shouldn't be trusted....
End of session.

I then went home & wrote some stuff up.
*The Bullywugs would help the PCs by committing 50 warriors IF:
*The PCs rid them of an evil Pan-Lung that had taken up residence in their territory & was killing them off. It's lair was in the ruins of a sunken temple complex sacred to the tribe. Directions provided. Return with proof.

The PCs readily agreed to these terms. Though they never once asked what exactly a Pan-Lung was. And I know none of the players knew.
So the next several sessions were spent delving a sunken ruin (using the Xax-Tsaroth maps from DL), fighting the Pan-Lungs Xvart minions - who appeared to be rebuilding the place, & having great fun. Eventually they came to the attention of the dragon herself.... (she came home to find work disrupted, her minions being killed, and her stuff being looted) The players were surprised to find out it was the woman they'd met the previous week. They had no idea she was a shapeshifted dragon, but talking to her they were aware that all was not as it seemed.... and she readily admitted to having driven the Bullywugs out of this temple and killing any who dared return.
They were just entering negotiations when the parties barbarian declared that no deals would be made with the evil Pan-Lung who was oppressing the Bullywugs & attacked.

The players learned what a Pan-Lung was as she dropped the disguise & ate the barbarian.

Negotiations resumed.
And again the party did the unexpected. They'd just met a dragon who had no qualms about wiping out Bullywugs & eating barbarians. You would think this would be a great ally to recruit vs the Sahuagin.
Instead they worked out a deal to take false proof of success to the Bullywugs to secure the 50 warriors deal.
And again they were warned that Bullywugs are vicious evil creatures & NOT to be trusted.

About 1/2 way back to the Sahugin lair? The Bullywugs carried out Order 66 vs the party.
The ONLY reason this was not a TPK was because rather than run 50 Bullywugs myself in combat I gave the Barbarians player control of half of them. Rolling in the open, the only thing he managed to kill was a single wolf belonging to one of the PCs. Yes, his dice rolls really were that awful. I witnessed it. The PCs ended up killing just over 1/2 the attackers & broke the frog guys morale. (I mean, when you have the prey outnumbered 10-1 {counting their dog!} and half your force gets killed....)

*The Barbarian player, outraged that it was possible to encounter a Pan-Lung at this lv, dropped out of the game.
*The remaining PCs went on to deal with Module U3 without Bullywug or Dragon support.
*The surviving bullywugs reported back to their king that the adventurers had been killed, eaten, & had been delicious. And hoping that the PCs wouldn't return.
**In a later campaign it was learned that the Bullywugs, believing the PCs had dealt with the Pan-Lung, had returned to the sunken temple. They were quite surprised by a very much alive PL & quickly killed.

All of this stemmed from two rolls on a random encounter chart in a classic 1e module & used creatures out of one of my favorite 1e books.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
My table regularly uses additional MMs. In 5e we use Volo's, The Tome of Beasts, Creature Codex, and both Monster Manual Expanded 1 & 2. Creatures from the various hardcover adventures sometimes also see play.

This was also true back when we played 3.x. We used all the MMs, as well as some 3rd party books, like the ones for Scarred Lands (which were notably good, as I recall).

I don't recollect any particularly notable encounters or enemies, though I'm certain there were. What I recall was from 3.x, when the DM allowed us to use the book Savage Species to make playable monsters. There was a Maug (who died an ignoble death falling into lava in the first session). A Desmodu (who made it fairly far into the campaign). And a Feyre Eldarin - probably didn't spell that right, they're the fire angels whose name is pronounced fear. That last character made it almost to the end of the campaign (taken out by standing too close to an ally's magic item that caused a retributive strike upon death), and has even made appearances in other campaigns.

While we've undoubtedly enjoyed many great encounters from the varied MMs we've used, the creatures that have left the greatest impression were the ones we played.

Edit: Almost forgot the cowardly Annis Hag raised by kobolds. She was the only member of the original party to make it all the way to the end of the campaign. Probably the strongest character in that campaign.
 
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Larnievc

Explorer
In the thread about giants, a mention of the Monster Manual 2 for 3rd edition came up as a side note, and there was some insistent rebukes of my claim that nobody ever seemed to use it, or any additional monster books for that matter.

D&D has had a long and well established stable of primary monsters for decades, most of which have been classic default monsters for over 40 years. Goblins, orcs, giants, owlbears, beholders, winter wolves, gnolls, ankhegs, carrion crawlers, and so on. We all know and at least somewhat love them. I believe almost all of them have been in the primary Monster Manual since at least 2nd edition, and the most famous ones even from day one. Their considerable number also means that the primary Monster Manuals are already near capacity with little room for anything else, though the occasional yrthak or nothic manages to get in.

But in 2nd and 3rd edition in particular, there have been a lot of Monster Manuals, Monstrous Compendiums, and Fiend Folios, and even the original AD&D edition already had three of them.I would bet there's been over a thousand different monsters in the official monster tomes alone. Yet we always see the same, I don't know... 100?, creatures again and again.

Which creatures that are not part of the typical roster that makes it into each new primary Monster Manual for every edition have you seen playing a significant role in campaigns that you have played or run? Or even just led to an exceptionally memorable single encounter?
I really like using Obyriths in my game.
 

Yora

Legend
I really like using Obyriths in my game.
While I haven't gotten around to it yet, I really want to use Tsorchars from Lords of Madness in one of my next campaigns.
Some of the really interesting monsters are not even from full monster books.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I use (and have encountered) creatures from beyond a 1st MM quite a bit over the years. Some repeated cameos (or found in other people's games) include:

from the 1e MM2: Behir (a personal favorite that I've used often), Bodak, Barghest, Firbolg, Derro, Magmin ("Magmen")...I recall fighting an Obliviax once...so, apparently we won. ;)
from 1e FF: Retrievers, Hook Horrors, Grell, Crabmen, Ice Trolls (don't forget Drow and Svirf's both appeared here, first, too), et al.

Soooo many. Those are just once that immediately come to mind.

Also, just as a side note for historical accuracy and general public knowledge: the Leucrotta was actually in the original 1e MM(1). So, it has been in a primary MM before/was originally.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
While I haven't gotten around to it yet, I really want to use Tsorchars from Lords of Madness in one of my next campaigns.
Some of the really interesting monsters are not even from full monster books.
Lords of Madness is a great book. I love me some far realmesque plots.
 

the Jester

Legend
Oh man, so many.

Tabaxi have been a mainstay of my campaign since 2e, and I don't believe they've ever made a MM1. The avolakia from 3e's MM2 are amazing. Most of the not-MM1 demons, devils, and yugoloths are awesome. The aurumovorax. The son/spawn of Kyuss. Death knights (though they're in 5e's MM1!). Wrackspawn from 4e (first in 3e, yeah yeah, but they got a really cool update and great lore in their Torog connection.)

There are just so many cool non-MM1 monsters in every edition!

So to organize a bit by edition/book- and this is just off the top of my head:

1e- Fiend Folio: Tabaxi, death knight, slaadi, daemons, lizard kings, lamia nobles, sons of Kyuss, apparitions, astral stalkers, oriental dragons, carbuncles, al-mi'raj, algoids, aleax, svirfneblin...
1e- MM2: gloomwings, tenebrous worms, stegocentipedes, afanc, aboleths, bigger vermin (megalocentipedes), quicklings, fomorians, myconids, cloud dragons, shadow dragons....

2e- various MC appendices and the like: dharculus, demons and devils (by whatever name), many dragons, beholder kin, illithid kin, etc. Hard to remember what was in what since I put them all in the same set of binders.

3e- MM2: Gravorg, avolakia, death knight, mountain giant, etc.
3e- FF: ulgurstasta, various fiends, hullathoin, grafts and symbionts (!), more inevitables, etc.
3e- MM3-5: Lots of cool but not very developed things. Harpoon spider, the proto-foulspawn, tirbani, the name escapes me- the blue centaurish like things that bellow and bully, etc.

4e- Generally, the later the book the better the monster design. Banderhobbs, various awesome composite elementals, fell taints (evil flumphs!), pod demons, osteopedes, various dragons from Draconomicon, etc.

Also, let's not forget monsters from adventures or other weird sources- for instance, the steel predator (3e) is great, as is the chagmat (1e).

Man! So many.
 



Yora

Legend
Huh, I am actually surprised how little replies this got. 6 in two days is basically nothing.

I wonder if this is indicative of my assumption that monster books other than the default Monster Manual get very little actual use, or if this might even be not enough data for that.
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
I don’t have @Echohawk’s excellent spreadsheet in front of me, but its several thousands of monsters that exist for D&D.
My best estimate is that there are approximately 9000 distinct D&D monsters, but it obviously depends heavily on what you count as "distinct".
 

aco175

Legend
I had a series of fomorian caves that housed a portal to a fey/elf court. They were usually evil but one was more an outcast that could be dealt with kind of like a black market.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
In the thread about giants, a mention of the Monster Manual 2 for 3rd edition came up as a side note, and there was some insistent rebukes of my claim that nobody ever seemed to use it, or any additional monster books for that matter.

D&D has had a long and well established stable of primary monsters for decades, most of which have been classic default monsters for over 40 years. Goblins, orcs, giants, owlbears, beholders, winter wolves, gnolls, ankhegs, carrion crawlers, and so on. We all know and at least somewhat love them. I believe almost all of them have been in the primary Monster Manual since at least 2nd edition, and the most famous ones even from day one. Their considerable number also means that the primary Monster Manuals are already near capacity with little room for anything else, though the occasional yrthak or nothic manages to get in.

But in 2nd and 3rd edition in particular, there have been a lot of Monster Manuals, Monstrous Compendiums, and Fiend Folios, and even the original AD&D edition already had three of them.I would bet there's been over a thousand different monsters in the official monster tomes alone. Yet we always see the same, I don't know... 100?, creatures again and again.

Which creatures that are not part of the typical roster that makes it into each new primary Monster Manual for every edition have you seen playing a significant role in campaigns that you have played or run? Or even just led to an exceptionally memorable single encounter?
The Elemental Vermin from Al-Qadim (technically not from the AQ Monstrous Compendium Appendix but from one of the boxed sets) have seen tons of use in my games over the years.
 

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