D&D General Obscure monsters that you got great use out of


D&D has a big and well established stable of famous classic monsters. Can't shot a magic missile into the darkness without hitting an ogre, or a dragon, orc, carrion crawler, or frost giant.
But with the just staggering amount of monster books that came out in 2nd and 3rd edition (and those scattered throughout the whole 3rd edition catalog), the amount of published monster that barely ever made any further appearances in later appearances is even considerably greater than that.

The question is mostly addressed at GMs who have used any of those monsters, but of course also to players who had them appear as important forces in campaigns they played.

What's some critters that are not much talked about that played big roles in your campaigns, or at least particularly memorable appearances? How were they used to make them stand out as more as just another demonic dog, evil ape, or variant ghoul?

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I like using lizardmen, but mine are mostly appropriated Neanderthals. I'm rather vanilla in terms of strange monsters.

The strangest things are beholders and gibbering mouthers, things from the monstrosity heading / far realm. I like undead, elementals, constructs since they can be in anyplace and live in a forgotten dungeon for years and not need to make up something on how they got there.

I did make a dungeon of oozes with several forms and modified versions. It was an old wizards lab that got out of hand and formed caverns underneath. The leader was some sort of caster ooze.


I've taken quite a liking to mohrgs. I think using just one as a main monster of a mystery adventure for a low-level party should be really cool.
Random zombies appear in the town, and people who have been savagely murdered at night start rising from their graves. It's a bit like a corporeal wraith.

the Jester

So I'll speak to several different obscure monsters that I've gotten great use out of.

First, the avolakia, from 3e's Fiend Folio (originally from a Dragon Magazine). These guys are wormy, Kyuss-linked aberrations that feed on undead flesh and like to forge alliances with mind flayers. They can shapechange and pass as a human to infiltrate human societies. I have used them on several occasions and have converted them to both 4e and 5e.

Second, the dharculus, from Gates of Firestorm Peak (a 2e adventure). This is my favorite monster and I have used it several times.

Finally, the 4e osteopede- basically a centipede of bones, a nasty undead skirmisher. From the 4e Open Grave book, this thing was nasty, and I tried to be faithful in my 5e conversion.


A suffusion of yellow
I had a Fiendish Aquatic Otyugh who was a major villain

Nightwings are great leaders of undead armies

and I used lots of insectoid goblins and ettercaps

and yeah will also endorse Avolakia, theyre terrifyingly great abberations
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Nightwalker leading an undead army makes me think of Death Stranding.
Second, the dharculus, from Gates of Firestorm Peak (a 2e adventure). This is my favorite monster and I have used it several times.
I had to look it up, and I think I remember a picture. But the description makes it so much more interesting as a monster.


5e Freelancer
Interesting thread. I have a few obscure monsters that I'm pretty fond of.

First, in my Eberron setting, Husk Zombies (from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount) play a fairly important role in the Mournland. Long story short, the Mourning created a disease that only Warforged can get, and it turns them basically into rusted "Robot-Zombies" if they die with the disease. (All Husk Zombies in my campaign are Warforged "Rust Zombies" found solely in the Mournland, and their claw attack is reflavored as them having two rusty Armblades.) At one point in my campaign the Lord of Blades tried to infect the party's Warforged Battle Smith Artificer with the disease to get an undead artificer under his command on his side, but it didn't quite work out for him.

Second, in my Spelljammer campaign, Star Spawn are one of the main antagonists that the PCs faced. They party ran into multiple cults in Realmspace that worship the various Elder Evils (mainly Atropus the-World-Born-Dead, Kyuss the-Worm-that-Walks, and Dendar the Night Serpent), many of which had Star Spawn amongst their ranks (mostly Star Spawn Grue). I also wanted to drive home the alien-ness of the Star Spawn, so I gave them extremely weird physical appearances and strange uses of certain parts of their bodies that they could harvest. (Star Spawn Grue blood draws oxygen out of the air, spoiling it. Star Spawn Hulk mucus makes you resistant to psychic damage if you smear it all over your body. Star Spawn Mangler claws can make deadly weapons.)

Third, in my homebrew world, Archons (the M:tG version, where they're humanoid celestials that ride winged animals) have a fairly important role; they're in charge of leading the Giants in a war against the Aboleths (who have dominated the Krackens and taken over the oceans). Some giants have began to emulate them in behavior and will occasionally team up with Adult/Ancient Dragons that they ride into battle against the Krackens and Aboleths.


Dragon Lover
Another set of creatures I’m trying to figure out for my world are Lindworm, the flightless dragons from older D&D editions. I like the idea of making them more primal dragons to be a counter balance to the other types of dragons.

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