D&D General Monsters you love to hate, and monsters you hate to love.


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Richards

Legend
The party halfling had opted to sleep under a wagon after being attacked by flying creatures the night before when sleeping on the wagon. After being swallowed whole in the initial attack and barely surviving the party destroying the ankheg to release the halfling, the player opted to have his character sleep in a tree, after tying himself to a branch.
And that's when he found out it wasn't a normal tree he had tied himself to, it was an evil treant....

Johnathan
 

DrunkonDuty

he/him
All my referents are from PF 1e or DND 3.5 and earlier but not that much has changed, right?

As a GM I tend to go through phases of loving different things. There was a time in the long ago I tried to work in Shadow Mastiffs and Yeth Hounds every chance I got. Much more recently Hags have featured very regularly. Giants are a perennial favourite.

I like Mind Flayers, but I would only want to use them in rather specific types of campaigns. I'm not even sure I know what I mean by that, except to say that I'd want to use them right.

I haven't gotten anywhere near the same amount of time as a player that I've had as GM so I haven't had the chance to meet many monsters more than once. I think it's hard to build up a good "love to hate" with only one encounter. I did once play about 2/3rds of the Age of Worms AP and I got heartily sick of (in a good way) Kyuss Spawn.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Well dragons are a given; they're literally the name of the game. Of course I'm gonna have dragons in my D&D campaign setting. That aside:

No matter the campaign setting, I will find a way to incorporate at least one lich, displacer beast, and mimic. They are probably my absolute favorite monsters in the book.

And I won't use mind flayers anywhere in my campaigns; they might as well not be in the Monster Manual. They're great for a Lovecraftian horror game like Call of Cthulhu, or maybe as an alien villain in a sci-fi game like Stars Without Number...but I don't care for them in D&D. They clash with my hobbit haflings and canine kobolds.
 
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Tutara

Adventurer
My favourite ‘monsters’ are bandits/pirates, simply because of the vast variety of tactics and variations you can put into a raiding party.

That said, I also like leucrottas, froghemoths, weird beholder variants and bodaks because they all have interesting mechanics beyond multiattack and some hit points.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
One of the people in my playgroup mentioned another critter that they despise, and I agree: the Bezekira or Hellcat. I don't know if they have current 5e stats, but as of the last time I had to deal with one, it was invisible in areas of bright light. Obnoxious!

Also I'm not particularly fond of Hags.

A monster I really have always liked, but rarely get a chance to use is the mighty Marilith. I'm also partial to Gynosphinxes.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Effin' scarecrows!

Once our DM made us do a long-ish quest about a farmer who delved in necromancy to put the ghost of his daughter and wife in 2 scarecrows (the object). So, as a a lvl 1 abjurer I put Protection against Evil on our tank only to have my DM says ''aha, it does nothing 'cause its not an undead, its a construct''. So I wasted a spell there.

Then the damn things could call for swarms of raven. In the description, I thought we were facing 4-5 fat crows and that's it, so I cast my remaining spell ''Sleep'' to put them to out of combat. But noes! It's not 4-5 1 hp ravens, its actually a swarm of ravens, as per the MM, so it has a boat load of hit points and my spell is wasted, again. The next turn they killed my wizard...

To this day I still call BS. If a thing is animated by a necromantic ritual to bind a ghost, its an Undead!
There's a bit of this occasionally with constructs, I remember back in the olden days when Golems were animated by Elemental spirits. A neat creature I've only used once, the Grisgol, is a special construct that is animated by the Phylactery of a Lich, but nope, it's not Undead either.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I remember back in the olden days when Golems were animated by Elemental spirits
That's still true in 5e. This is from the 5e Monster Manual:
Elemental Spirit in Material Form. The construction of a golem begins with the building of its body, requiring great command of the craft of sculpting, stonecutting, ironworking, or surgery. Sometimes a golem’s creator is the master of the art, but often the individual who desires a golem must enlist master artisans to do the work.

After constructing the body from clay, flesh, iron, or stone, the golem’s creator infuses it with a spirit from the Elemental Plane of Earth. This tiny spark of life has no memory, personality, or history. It is simply the impetus to move and obey. This process binds the spirit to the artificial body and subjects it to the will of the golem’s creator.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
There's a bit of this occasionally with constructs, I remember back in the olden days when Golems were animated by Elemental spirits. A neat creature I've only used once, the Grisgol, is a special construct that is animated by the Phylactery of a Lich, but nope, it's not Undead either.
I mean, let's be honest, the creature types in the MM dont make much sense.

Construct should be a subtype, like:
Flesh Golem, Undead (construct)

Same thing for ''monstrosities''. If they the creature breeds true and have a natural place in the (fantasy) natural order, they should be beast, not ''monstrosities''. It's like saying some types of dogs or vegetables arent an animal or plant because they were bred by science at first. Monstrosities should be for creature outside the natural order, a one off of evolution created by magic, such as yuan-ti anathema.
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
I mean, let's be honest, the creature types in the MM dont make much sense.

Construct should be a subtype, like:
Flesh Golem, Undead (construct)

Same thing for ''monstrosities''. If they the creature breeds true and have a natural place in the (fantasy) natural order, they should be beast, not ''monstrosities''. It's like saying some types of dogs or vegetables arent an animal or plant because they were bred by science at first. Monstrosities should be for creature outside the natural order, a one off of evolution created by magic, such as yuan-ti anathema.
D&D's absolute terror at making fantastic but non-magical creatures just plain animals is one of it's more annoying foibles.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I mean, let's be honest, the creature types in the MM dont make much sense.

Construct should be a subtype, like:
Flesh Golem, Undead (construct)
Yeah, the definition of Undead has been wildly confusing and inconsistent throughout D&D. The difference between Flesh Golems and Zombies is pretty arbitrary and confusing. Especially when some corporeal undead used to be people while others are animated by some spirits that happen to come from the Negative Energy Plane . . . somehow.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I'd actually forgotten that encounter. It wasn't that bad for the group I ran the adventure for, because as I recall, the Roper was all by it's lonesome. Now the dragon fight, hoo boy, was that a hot mess...

This does bring up a big pet peeve, monsters I truly despise. "Gotcha" monsters. Things that are either perfect at pretending to be other things, or things that have special abilities that there is no way to avoid without knowing what you're up against in advance.

Oh look, it's a little bunny rabbit on a tree stump...nope, sorry, it's a horrible monster! These things are so prevalent in D&D that any experienced player is suspicious of everything. I still remember a few months in a row, where Dungeon magazine had adventures featuring beautiful maidens who weren't as innocent as they appeared. I didn't think much of it until I ran an adventure and I said "a lovely nymph, a triumph of nature, steps out into the path ahead of you, and pleads with you for help", and a player said "I shoot her with an arrow."

"Why would you do that?!"

"She's probably a succubus or something."

I was flabbergasted (she was a Hag who had been polymorphed into a Nymph) and struck speechless. "You don't know that!"

"Are you telling me she's not evil?"

I walked away from that session having learned a good lesson. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you...
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
The only gotcha monsters I like are mimics... who are bad at what they're doing.

The party will sometimes wake up to noises in camp and find their left boot trying to cram their apparent other left boot into a cleft in the rocks, the room they enter has a chest hurriedly pushed to the side and covered in a rug while there's a clearly newer, more blinged out chest with a clearly open lock sitting in a prominent space, or they come upon an inn in the middle of the woods with a sign on the door that says 'FRI BOOZ' on it.

I use them as less a trap and more a piece of fun world building. If you feed a mimic and treat it nice, it will turn into useful things for you if asked politely.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
. . . I'm also fond of the Aurumvorax. . .
"Despite being only the size of a large badger. . . the aurumvorax is an incredibly dangerous creature." Um, the honey badger is also incredibly dangerous. See the Youtube...documentary.

I love to hate: bards and kender. I keep one poisoned arrow in my quiver at all times for these.

I hate loving: dragons.
Well dragons are a given; they're literally the name of the game.
But the problem is, artistically, if you throw a dragon at your PCs, then you're basically saying "I can't be bothered to come up with something non-cliche." You're the GM who provides vendors of healing potions. You're the GM who starts the campaign in a tavern, no backstories required - just greed and alcoholism. And you're the GM who probably has an arch-lich all drawn up, ready for combat with 3 uses of Wish all planned out for the campaign's grand finale, when the PCs have barely reached level 2.

But there's something to be said for a walking flamethrower that will smack you down with its tail without caring if you were back there in the first place.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I love to throw really big monsters against the characters. I think it's just fun and cinematic. Giant animals, giants, big constructs, awakened trees... Sometimes I'll even take a medium or large creature and just make it huge or gargantuan for fun.

I hate using Mind Flayers. The reason is that they are so frightening to the players that their characters unload absolutely everything they have, holding nothing back, and so the Mind Flayers gets destroyed without doing anything cool.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Please do not disparage the fine names of greed and alcoholism.

Also, my use of dragons is nothing cliche at all. My players are currently just skirting the realm of Iron Kin Halyus. He's a white dragon... who specializes in elemental metal. And recently acquired a new toy by commission: a shotgun sized to be mounted on his tail. Which is to say a repeater cannon loaded with grapeshot.

You know that scene in X-men 2 with Magneto and the three metal balls?
 

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