D&D General One Piece of Art II (Monsters)- What D&D Art Inspired You to Love a Monster?


CR 1/8
Invisible Stalker from the 2e Monstrous Compendium. Tell me that isn't the most amazing art you've never seen!
Brings to mind the phantom fungus picture* in 3.5e MM. "It's completely invisible! You can't even see it with invisibility purge. Oh, and here's a full color picture of it!"

* To be fair, I really digged that picture, and phantom fungus, in general. But yeah.

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Ok, have to go back to Tony Diterlizzi for this one...



I mean come on!
Planescape Campaign Setting (1994)

Story: Honestly I could post any picture from the campaign setting or any of the PS monster compendium. Seeing this art one page after another is what made me and many others fall in love with this setting. It is weird, whimsical, sinister, and smart. It conveys how this setting isn't about kicking the door down weapons drawn.


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Some of the first visual representations of orcs I was exposed to were from the original Warcraft RTS games. So to me, orcs were hulking green-skinned dudes with tusks. Never cared for the pig-faced style of orcs seen in early D&D. Until I read Delicious in Dungeon.

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This is my absolute favorite depiction of orcs in any media I’ve seen (my current forum avatar is also an orc character from the series). Now I love pig-orcs (porcs?) and this is what they look like in my setting.

Have you read ORCS! by Christine Larsen? I love it.



Castle amber's colossus. Not only did I experience that during my formative D&D-kid years of the 1980s, it went to show the raw power of PLOT in a campaign. The players see it and say, "holy naughty word I hope we don't have to fight that." Then when you play the adventure and realize that there is a necromancer jarred in a little basket on it's back and that it's part of all the things going on in the WORLD OF AVEROIGNE demiplane, it gets the mind going on all the cause-effect surrounding such things.


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Artist: Ron Spencer
Source: Dragon #270, "The New Adventures of Volo: The Ardeep"
Monster: Reluraun
Story: Similar to a wichtlin, the restless spirit of the elven hero, Reluraun, manifests as a pair of floating eyeballs and skeletal arms clutching a magic sword. Twisted by dark magic and completely insane, Reluraun guards his tomb along with three baelnorn assigned to keep intruders away. More than one "insistent band of adventurers has seen the hero's blade burst through the chest of a baelnorn who's sadly remonstrating with them to be gone. Then the sword darts about flashing and stabbing at empty air, forest birds, and leaping bunnies while its insane wielder screams wildly, wordlessly, and endlessly (a faint, faroff sound that one warrior described as a 'mournfully despairing whistle, like a kettle gone mad')."

I used this guy in my first run-through of Scourge of the Sword Coast, when the PCs decided to cut through the Ardeep Forest to get from one location to the other. I also used some of the other (less lethal) locations in the forest detailed in that same article, like the Green Glade and the Dancing Dell.


I got a love of frost giants from another source, but I'm not sure if posting real art would break the rules or not. I mean, the Invisible Stalker! It's so amazing to gaze upon!
Posting real art doesn't break the rules, but posting more than one piece of art does! :p


5e Freelancer

Artist: ? Couldn't find it listed on D&D Beyond or the Forgotten Realms Wiki, so I'm not sure.
Source: D&D 5e Monster Manual
Monster: Illithid (aka "Mind Flayer")
Story: The 5e Monster Manual was the first D&D book I ever owned. I got it for Christmas when I was 15, and was instantly inspired by all of the monsters in it. However, the Mind Flayer art in particular made me fall in love with the amazing monster and its variants (shout out to the Gnome Ceremorph from Rime of the Frostmaiden).


Fiend Folio had some truly awesome B&W art. This is one of my favorites, and crystalized my picture of Githyanki - ruthless and darn scary.

Artist: Russ Nicholsen
Source: 1e Fiend Folio
Monster: Githyanki

The Fiend Folio and TSR-UK artwork was LEVELS more scary than any other D&D art. You had people getting eviscerated in really scary dungeons with actually-scary monsters. I love that art!

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