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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47
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26answers
3k 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 ...
42
votes
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 ...
31
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.). ...
26
votes
3answers
912 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
votes
6answers
842 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 ...
23
votes
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
4k 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?
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
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 ...
17
votes
4answers
662 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
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 ...
16
votes
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 ...
16
votes
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
votes
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
479 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
21k 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. ...
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
604 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
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
395 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
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
7answers
534 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
897 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
754 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
votes
8answers
427 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.
12
votes
3answers
911 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
397 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
837 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
346 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
1answer
274 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 ...
11
votes
8answers
426 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
9answers
8k 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
424 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
2answers
263 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
4answers
649 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
354 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
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 ...
10
votes
6answers
917 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
4answers
232 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
416 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
336 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
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
272 views

Can a succubus fly when in another shape?

A succubus has the ability Change Shape (Su): A succubus can assume the form of any Small or Medium humanoid. It also has the natural ability to fly (50 ft, average maneuverability). Does it lose ...
10
votes
2answers
510 views

Is that blackguard riding a dragon? Nope, but their pony sure looks evil

In Elder Evils, there is a bodak blackguard who has a really cool mount. It's a flying construct with a nightwing's essence bonded to it. Very reminiscent (perhaps borderline steal?) of the Hobgoblin. ...
10
votes
2answers
923 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Standard monster tactics for 4E D&D combat

In a similar vein to a question on tactics sources, I'm interested in knowing what are common tactics for monsters to use. The DMB and the MV mention monster groups, which are very useful, but I want ...
9
votes
3answers
519 views

How can I acquire Charm Person/Charm Monster as an SLA for my NPC?

So, I'm creating the overarching villain for a campaign I intend to run - an Osyluth with class levels known as Molkor the Quartermaster - and I want to get him into the Fiend of Corruption prestige ...
9
votes
1answer
179 views

Where are a monster's skills?

If you grab a goblin for example, and the goblin test to escape it says to have it make an acrobatics or athletics check but I can't seem to find where it says there skills? Any help?
9
votes
3answers
665 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. ...