Under your bed. In your closet. Is it better to out-monster the monster or to be quietly devoured? This tag covers questions relating to monstrous antagonists.

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50
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1answer
2k views

What's the inspiration for the owlbear?

The standard explanation for the owlbear in-universe is "A Wizard Did It." Which is fine, as far as it goes, because the trope of "madman tinkering with bizarre mutations" is part of our speculative ...
48
votes
26answers
4k views

What alternatives are there to replace orcs, kobolds, and hobgoblins in low-level encounters?

In your average "generic D&D" campaign and setting, orcs, kobolds, and hobgoblins are frequently used to stock low level adventures and dungeons. These are usually nice for 1st/2nd level ...
32
votes
11answers
1k views

What are some dangerous non-fantasy creatures?

We're running a fantasy game where the adventurers frequently travel through the wilderness. Too many of the threatening encounters they have are with fantasy creatures (like goblins, orcs, etc.). ...
32
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is Survival not a class skill for animals?

Question in title. Seems odd that an animal isn't naturally inclined to get bonuses to Survival, which typically involves dealing with the wilds and it's associated difficulties (an animal's natural ...
23
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4answers
2k views

Monster Manual 1 - Is it balanced? Should I balance it?

I've been DM'ing a little lately 4 edition D&D and of course I'm confused again: My first adventure was a big question mark, I didn't use the exact guidelines for creating an encounter and ...
22
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6answers
6k views

Is it possible to actually kill a Tarrasque?

I've seen a good bit of conflicting information on this creature. Is it possible to actually kill it? Permanently? Is the answer to this something that varies from edition to edition of D&D?
22
votes
6answers
913 views

How can I make monster knowledge checks fun?

By now most players know, or should know, that a monster knowledge check can make all the difference when you’re fighting a monster for the very first time. But how can we make them both fun and not ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

A medusa and a beholder look at each other. What happens?

What happens when a medusa and a beholder look at each other? Will the beholder petrify, or will the medusa lose her power?
19
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I play monsters and NPCs up to their potential?

In many cases discussions about balance in 3.5 will, inevitably, involve one side or another invoking an anecdote of the time they fought this monster, or a member of that class, and they didn't ...
19
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2answers
1k views

How do I use minions effectively?

I'm a newbie DM. It seems that minions in an encounter benefit the PCs more than they benefit me: The Barbarian can kill them for free THP and a Swift Charge (I thought they were supposed to slow ...
18
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3answers
2k views

Does a summoned monster's alignment matter?

I am playing in a 3.5 game recently, and a question has come up that none of us could really answer. Does the alignment of a summoned monster (as per the Summon Monster I-IX spells) matter at all? For ...
18
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4answers
763 views

How can I make combat more challenging without making it too frustrating?

My fellow DMs and I have come across a problem. It feels like the party has been doing a good job of dispatching our monsters with relative ease. We are not upset about this part, our party has done ...
17
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3answers
26k views

Calculating and balancing challenge ratings

Are there standard rules for calculating CR of groups? For example, in my Pathfinder bestiary, a single Stirge is listed as CR 1/2, and a group of 2d4 (average 5) of them is listed as an average CR 4. ...
16
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2answers
1k views

Were Illithids inspired by Cthulhu?

Mind Flayers seem to look a whole lot like Cthulhu. Is there any relationship/inspiration between the two?
16
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2answers
2k views

Creating solo monsters

One thing I haven't found in 4th edition online is a plethora of solo monsters. The idea of these fights are fascinating! Sadly though, all the products in 4th focus on multiple opponent fights (with ...
15
votes
6answers
506 views

What would clever creatures do to protect their lair?

(This question is for fantasy worlds like in D&D and other such games.) Usually, as the adventuring party goes up in ability, they end up facing stronger and more powerful characters. Let's say ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

What updates should be done to older monsters to bring them in line with MM3 era monsters?

I know that to better balance paragon and epic level players against similar level monsters, WotC changed the math used for monsters for MM3, and I believe that they changed some of the types of ...
14
votes
3answers
692 views

Is an Ooze a living creature?

Is an Ooze or something with Ooze traits a living creature for the purposes of things like Vampiric Touch?
14
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2answers
1k views

Do fire spells cast underwater still affect creatures vulnerable to fire?

Related Question: Can magic items that deal fire damage function underwater? As mentioned in the above question: From the DMG p93: Spells or spell-like effects with the fire descriptor are ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Are there any Animal Companions that are not actually Animals?

I’m just curious if any supplement out there includes an Animal Companion that is not, in fact, an Animal. As in the type. I mean that just any Druid of sufficient level can take; there are ...
14
votes
1answer
346 views

Are there guidelines for creating & customising MM3-style monsters?

I've heard that Monster Manual 3 came with an improved design philosophy for monsters (particularly solos), and there are questions about updating pre-MM3 monsters for MM3. I want to create and ...
13
votes
8answers
463 views

How do I use the same type of creature as characters level up without using more of them?

Is there a good formula/strategy for making monsters harder as characters level up without just throwing more of them? My kids, for example, love Kobolds but I just don't want combats of 30 of them.
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What happens when Zombies are Slowed?

I'm referring to the specific system of DnD 3.5 and to Zombies being slowed with the spell Slow. Zombies already have "Partial Action" in that they only have a standard action per round. I understand ...
13
votes
2answers
601 views

Does Petrifying Gaze special ability still work posthumously in D&D 3.5/Pathfinder?

Meaning can a PC use the severed head of a medusa or basilisk as a weapon to petrify his opponents?
13
votes
3answers
449 views

What does a Troglodyte actually smell like?

In 1st Edition AD&D, the Monster Manual states that Troglodytes ...emit a secretion which smells extremely disgusting to humans... If I want to keep the party on their toes, I would like ...
13
votes
7answers
629 views

How much should characters know about encountered creatures in 4e?

The shift from 3.5e to 4e in D&D has meant a big shift towards emphasizing tactics during combat. While I was apprehensive about this at first, it turns out it's quite entertaining, and a good ...
12
votes
11answers
2k views

How do you make a vampire cleric stay dead?

In our current D&D 3.5 campaign we have made enemies with powerful drow vampire clerics. They have an annoying habit of resurrecting as their god is one who brings people back from the dead to ...
12
votes
8answers
815 views

Inter-planar Merchants of D&D

What race best fills this role? I'm mostly looking for someone who does this in a Planescape-style setting. Neogi kinda do this, but they're a little too specialized for what I'm looking for. Ditto ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Is there a creature half dragon and half horse?

Is there a specific such creature, with a name for it and description, in any lore or game?
12
votes
1answer
483 views

Killing Elementals

So, you've got, let's say, an air elemental you want to kill, and it's basically made of air. How do you kill it? Simply by hitting it with any weapon seems a little bit illogical to me - it's air and ...
12
votes
3answers
956 views

Where does the distinction between “Mindflayer” and “Illithid” come from?

I know that a Mindflayer is an Illithid and visa versa. And, I know in some of the D&D fiction, like Forgotten Realms and the like, that Mindflayers refer to themselves or their race as Illithids, ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Flanking and swarms in 4e

Can swarms be flanked by two PCs? What if the swarm is occupying the same square as a PC? Does a PC grant combat advantage to a swarm if a regular mob is adjacent in a flank? Does it matter if the ...
12
votes
7answers
391 views

What would be some good monsters for Planet of the Apes D&D?

A while back I got the idea of Planet of the Apes as an classic D&D game with "ape as class". Gorillas would be fighters, Orangutan clerics, Chimpanzees magic users, and Humans thieves making ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Do Druid animal companions go up in size with HD and gain size-based stat increases?

I have an animal companion which has just gained its 5th HD. On page 291 of Monster Manual 1, the Improving Monsters section says that an increase in Size also changes stats. Do animal companions ...
12
votes
4answers
793 views

Would flying monsters ever land during combat?

Spooney asked this question in one of his podcasts, and I've started wondering about it myself. In a D&D 4.0 encounter, why would an at least moderately intelligent creature (including, but not ...
12
votes
2answers
413 views

Can you heal a split black pudding?

In 3.5, black puddings possess: Split (Ex) Slashing and piercing weapons deal no damage to a black pudding. Instead the creature splits into two identical puddings, each with half of the ...
11
votes
8answers
443 views

10-100 Troglodytes is too many!

I'm picking on troglodytes as an example. In MMI, the number of troglodytes appearing in their lair(cave system/dungeon) is 10-100. Troglodytes are a nice, not-too-tough, HD2 monster with some ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there “Good” goblins?

Plain and simple: Are there "good" goblins? Every goblin I've seen is always evil aligned in the DnD 4e Monster Manuals. I know this could apply to other RPGs but as DnD is what I'm familiar with, ...
11
votes
9answers
10k views

Is there a playable undead race?

Is there a playable race of undead in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5? I would prefer a race that isn't a vampire or lich. If possible, please share their stats.
11
votes
2answers
459 views

Can an Ogre-Mage cast invisibility on others?

The Ogre Mage can cast Invisibility at will as a spell-like ability. Can he cast it on his allies? I'm looking mostly for errata or precedent (FAQ/Sage/Module/Whatever) about whether the Ogre Mage's ...
11
votes
1answer
503 views

Are size bonuses already incorporated into large races' attribute modifiers?

I have a friend who is playing a Trox. In the listed description we have the bonuses for being that race. All trox have the following racial traits. + 6 Strength, –2 Intelligence, –2 Wisdom, –2 ...
11
votes
2answers
301 views

Yummy, I love the taste of ghosts..?

The SRD says An incorporeal creature has no physical body. Do incorporeal creatures have matter - any at all? If one argues that ectoplasm is matter (with some supplements such as Ghostwalk), ...
11
votes
2answers
434 views

Reducing a monster below CR 1

There are many instances in Pathfinder and other 3.5 based systems when you might need to reduce a monster below 1 or 1/2. For example, if I'm using a CR 1/2 monster from a 3.5 source in Pathfinder, ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Need help finding a mind-controlling parasite

I need help finding a creature to play as a player in D&D 3.5. The idea is that it inserts itself into the brains/head/control center of other creatures. I was not able to find any stats for such ...
10
votes
5answers
589 views

Sources for officially published GURPS monsters

When I recently purchasing the Dungeon Fantasy collection of monsters, I noticed that most of the listed monsters are not "every-game" monsters. It seems to be lacking simple goblins, harpies, etc. ...
10
votes
4answers
240 views

Do I need to stat out & measure everything?

I am preparing a session that contains a fair amount of absurdity. Many of the creatures and situations that my players will encounter will probably not be encountered again. On the one hand, I know ...
10
votes
5answers
436 views

Where can I find good 2D representation of AD&D 1st edition monsters

I am looking for a good source of images of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition monsters from the Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II. Sure, there are drawings of most of ...
10
votes
3answers
586 views

What is the correct way to calculate the Knowledge DC to identify a creature?

Something that has always confused me about the Knowledge skill in D&D 3.5 is that identifying a monster with advancement is more difficult only because the HD increase. The DC of the knowledge ...
10
votes
3answers
938 views

How can I convert monsters from 4e back to 3.5?

For Christmas this year, I got the Monster Manual Three. Only problem is, this one is for 4e and I play almost exclusive 3.5. However, I started flipping through the pages anyway out of curiosity. ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How to make monsters with class levels?

Say I was trying to make a 3rd level Harpy bard. Do I remove its seven hit dice, feats, BAB and skills etc and start from scratch? Or do I add the class levels on top of all that? How does level ...