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D&D General Nominate your favourite D&D monster and why

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The gelatinous cube:

Silly yet deceptively dangerous and as much a hazard as a monster. They were not drawn from mythology or literature but were designed by Gygax to prowl along the typical 10 x 10 dungeon corridor. Had a soft spot for them since my early gaming days.


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Vampire - wishes in as viable for late tier-2 and early tier-3 with its minions kicking in earlier in tier-2. A wide variety of approaches and threats, exploitable limitations and usually intelligent with resourcess.

Just too good.

If I think about this too long I might, nay I most certainly would, change my mind. But the first thing that came to mind well before reading any of the other posts is the owlbear. There are others that are more scary, others that are more iconic (to me). But owlbear is core to the formation of several characters I have played through the years. From Keep on the Borderlands to modern campaigns (and the barbarian of mine who proudly wears an owlbear cloak). Sure, the owlbear is something of a... well, they have never really been the same have they? Depending upon the edition and the artist, they might be ridiculous looking, or cuddly and cute, or just dangerous looking, but perhaps that lack of definition is part of what makes them D&D. Each table plays D&D a bit different, just like every owlbear is a bit different. Usually they are all recognizable for what they are (a table of D&D players or an owlbear), but each is unique.


Lost in Dark Sun
Black Dragon.

It goes back to the very first time I watched the animated Disney film Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent’s transformation, the accompanying music, the green flames with enough force to knock prince Philip off his horse, her sheer cruelty and unrelenting power . . . I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Gary Gigax drew inspiration for the Black Dragon from Maleficent.

And even though in D&D they breathe acid instead of fire, because of Sleeping Beauty, the Black Dragon was and will forever be the definitive dragon in my mind.

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Cyan Wisp


Being a recovering arachnophobe, spiders have always been one of my monster go-tos. They are perfect amoral predators and come with aeons of cultural emotional baggage, for good or ill. My first exposure to the Aranea was through Module X1: Isle of Dread, but it wasn’t until 3.5e that I really came to appreciate their potential as antagonists - intelligent, shapechanging magical spiders with a plan. They were aligned “usually neutral” in 3.5e, so they’re not obviously “bad guys” and may even have trading links (if a little unnerving) with civilised society. I like to use them in a secret society aspect; working away in the background infiltrating society or conducting Dr Moreau-esque breeding experiments - always trying to further the superiority of Aranea.



Gelatinous Cube.

There are a few monsters which scream D&D to me. The cube is the one that represents the essence of D&D the most. I have not encountered anything else like it in other fiction. Oozes aren't an uncommon thing for sure, but they usually, ooze. That is, they flow a bit like liquid. Encountering a cube is a classic D&D exploration encounter. No other single encounter gets to the heart of the game (well...maybe dragons :p but they're common in fantasy in general).



When they appeared the Otyugh instantly became a feature of nearly every dungeon for me. Natural sewer systems that clean up after the denizens. A significant challenge for lower level PCs and sometimes even a hassle for high level parties, the Otyugh seemed to be one of the underground denizens happy to be there. Part of my fascination with them, particularly during 1e but even to this day, stems from StarWars. I loved the scene of the heroes falling in a trash compactor and strange tentacles rising up out of the muck to attack. Plus in a bizarre kind of way they're cute.



Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I nominate the Umber Hulk.

Unique to D&D as far as I know, it was one of those what was a great equalizer even as you got more powerful - and was feared because of that. Subterranean, burrowing out of the tunnel walls to ambush you, confusing your party members or maybe yourself. Sure, everyone ran from the sheer destructive might of a beholder or a dragon, but you never knew when a group of umber hulks were waiting just on the other side of that cave wall.

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