D&D General Obscure one hit wonder monsters


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Lidgar

Legend
I always loved the Xag-Ya/Xeg-Yi from the 1e MMII, although they appeared in other editions too.

1644972252338.png
 

Hm. I don't remember the name of it, but in the Epic Level Handbook for 3e there is a sentient sphere of annihilation. It's special attack is to start annihilating the atmosphere, which creates a vacuum like gale drawing everything into the sphere. I've used this at the end of Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil since it looks like one of the symbols of the imprisoned god Tharizdun. I made it draw all the PCs into the sphere, but instead of destroying them it transported them inside Tharizdun's prison... which I decided was Ravenloft.

Edit: Ah, it's open content. It's an umbral blot

There's also a kilometer tall ice elemental, with white dragons swarming about it's head like gnats over a gorilla. I've used one of these as a dungeon on the Plane of Ice or Cold.

Lots of good ideas from that book.
 
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dave2008

Legend
Hm. I don't remember the name of it, but in the Epic Level Handbook for 3e there is a sentient sphere of annihilation. It's special attack is to start annihilating the atmosphere, which creates a vacuum like gale drawing everything into the sphere. I've used this at the end of Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil since it looks like one of the symbols of the imprisoned god Tharizdun. I made it draw all the PCs into the sphere, but instead of destroying them it transported them inside Tharizdun's prison... which I decided was Ravenloft.

Edit: Ah, it's open content. It's an umbral blot
These originally appeared (IIRC) in BECMI as the "blackball:"

Master Set Entry
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Immortals Set Entry:
1644975013260.png


EDIT: I guess the 3e entry confirms it:
1644975469687.png
 
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Omand

Hero
Another vote here for the Eye of Fear & Flame. Loved using them in 1E.

I have seen them in at least one monster manual since, but for the life of me cannot remember which one.

Cheers :)
 



Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
The Gingwatzim and Feral Slasher from C3 - The Lost Island of Castanamir (1984) - at least I don't think they ever did.
Gingwatzim made it into 5th edition in Candlekeep Mysteries.
Also, I used to really enjoy the Eye of Fear and Flame from the Fiend Folio. I don’t recall having seen it appear in any later monster collections.
The Eye of Fear and Flame made it into D&D 3.0 in the Book of Vile Darkness.
 



Yora

Legend
Great to see so many replies here, but the goal was to share recommendations for monsters who barely got any coverage, rather than checking which ones actually appeared only once and no more.

Another interesting one I don't even remember the name of: It's an undead created by the priests of the drow goddess of necromancy as guardians, which is the corpse of a drow that has its skin removed and its blood turned to acid. Not sure how interesting they are to fight, but their appearance is certainly memorable.

The 3rd edition Monster Manual has shocker lizards. Small blue lizards that aren't very interesting on their own as they can deal a nonlethal electricity attack instead of a bite. But as a group, they can combine their electric powers to let one of them deal all their combined nonlethal damage as an area burst with lethal damage. Since this power can work only inside a 20 foot sphere, this has the potential to create quite interesting tactial situations with players trying to avoid being near a large group of them while taking down their numbers.
 

JEB

Legend
Random memorable monsters that have only appeared once:

Avalancher (Monster Manual III, 3.5)
Monster that creates avalanches to kill passers-by so it can feed on their corpses. Just seems mean.

Crawling head (Fiend Folio, 3.0)
What's scarier than a crawling claw? A giant crawling zombie head!

Egarus (Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix III, 2E)
Fungus from the Abyss that made it to a world in the Material Plane, threatened to wipe out everything on the planet, and was only stopped by exile to the Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum... and adapted to survive there, too. I don't know if I'd ever use this in a game, but I love the lore here.

Facet (Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix III, 2E)
Creatures from the Quasielemental Plane of Salt that want to invade the Plane of Water. Also, up to five can combine together into a bigger, more powerful facet (which my brain incorrectly visualizes like something from Transformers). Shame the Quasielemental Planes don't get any love in 5E.

Hypnosnake (Creature Catalogue, BECMI)
Technically this first appeared in Curse of Xanathon, and was reprinted in the Creature Catalog, but since the latter is just a revised reprint and the former is an adventure, I'm counting this as a one-off. Anyway, I think this one only stuck with me because of an appearance in the Spellfire card game back in the 1990s. But I'm surprised "hypnotizing snake" hasn't been in D&D more often.

Infernal (Epic Level Handbook, 3.0)
An abomination created when a god and a fiend have a baby. I feel like there's a lot of untapped potential in this idea.

Oard (Creature Catalogue, BECMI)
Technically this first appeared in an adventure (Where Chaos Reigns); also, they were dropped from the Creature Catalog update. Anyway, they're cyborgs from the future, very Borg in design (but without assimilation). Admittedly, if you aren't cool with science fiction in your fantasy, these probably won't appeal.

Tiger fly (Fiend Folio, 1E)
I think I only like them because they look like something from The Outer Limits. But even the folks behind the Tome of Horrors didn't think they were worth converting...
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Gingwatzim made it into 5th edition in Candlekeep Mysteries.

So weird. Gingwatzim were such bad monsters that I swapped them out immediately, even when running C3 back in like 1986 for the first time - and definitely when I ran it again in 1996.
 

Stormonu

Legend
The bipedal picture of the assassin bug (FF) and the pernicon (MM2) always intrigued me and inspired me to use them from time to time and make some custom creatures based off them. I don’t remember seeing them in later editions.

Another one I always found fascinating was the Dune Stalker (FF), but I rarely ran adventures in area where it would seem appropriate to use them.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
Great to see so many replies here, but the goal was to share recommendations for monsters who barely got any coverage, rather than checking which ones actually appeared only once and no more.
Sorry about that, Yora. I will contribute one that I think fits that bill. From 3.5E's Miniatures Handbook, I present the Mad Slasher:

1645030526966.png

That were not very exciting, combat-wise, but man, I love the illustration of them and used them as creepy fodder. Not sure if they showed up in 4E, but I'm pretty sure they have not shown up in 5th edition yet.
Another interesting one I don't even remember the name of: It's an undead created by the priests of the drow goddess of necromancy as guardians, which is the corpse of a drow that has its skin removed and its blood turned to acid. Not sure how interesting they are to fight, but their appearance is certainly memorable.
I think you mean the Quth-Maren, from 3.0's City of the Spider Queen?

1645030584332.png

The 3rd edition Monster Manual has shocker lizards. Small blue lizards that aren't very interesting on their own as they can deal a nonlethal electricity attack instead of a bite. But as a group, they can combine their electric powers to let one of them deal all their combined nonlethal damage as an area burst with lethal damage. Since this power can work only inside a 20 foot sphere, this has the potential to create quite interesting tactial situations with players trying to avoid being near a large group of them while taking down their numbers.
Hear, hear! These little guys need to be brought into 5th edition.
 

From 2e, the Stwinger and Burbur spring to mind. I think I actually used both - the ranger got a burbur for one of his animal companions. In hindsight, compared to all the other things you could get, I can't help but laugh that younger Ralif thought it'd be fun to give out what is essentially a caterpillar the size of a small loaf of bread.

I could see adding a Stwinger to Wild Beyond the Witchlight if someone plays a dwarf.
 

JEB

Legend
The bipedal picture of the assassin bug (FF) and the pernicon (MM2) always intrigued me and inspired me to use them from time to time and make some custom creatures based off them. I don’t remember seeing them in later editions.

Another one I always found fascinating was the Dune Stalker (FF), but I rarely ran adventures in area where it would seem appropriate to use them.
The assassin bug returned in the Monstrous Manual (under Insect) and was updated for 5E in Mordenkainen's Fiendish Folio.

The pernicon returned in the 2E Fiend Folio Appendix and was also included in the Monstrous Manual under Insect.

The dune stalker also returned in the 2E Fiend Folio Appendix, and again in the 3.0 Monster Manual II.

That all said, I liked their designs in the 1E Fiend Folio best as well.
 

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