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A beholder's lair is made up of several chambers and...

The farthest chamber from the entrance is the beholder’s personal quarters, where the creature sleeps and studies any magic treasure it has accumulated. (Lords of Madness 50)

...but that's pretty much all it says. I know that, given their iconic status, far more than what's in the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 accessory Lords of Madness (2005) has been written about beholders, especially in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Second Edition, so someone must've been tasked with writing about a beholder's sleeping habits and its choice of furnishings.

According to Dungeons and Dragons canon, do beholders sleep in beds? If so, what sort of beds do they prefer? Do beholders make use of other furniture?


Background: While designing a beholder's lair, I realized I had no idea what furnishings a beholder would require. (No, I didn't get very far. Thanks for asking.) Specifically, I didn't know if a beholder would have a bed or if it would need a bed. Further, I don't know to what degree a beholder relies on its at-will 325-lb.-capacity telekinesis to manage its belongings. I know I would a lot.

I've tagged this question both and because, while this is question concerns a Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign, canonical information from other editions of Dungeons and Dragons is acceptable if information from that edition is unavailable.

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4 Answers 4

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While the general section on beholders in Lords of Madness doesn't give any particulars of the furniture in the beholder's lair, there is an example lair detailed later in the chapter (page 56). I won't reproduce the whole thing here, but the important room for our purposes is the beholder's personal chamber:

This large chamber is quite impressive; the walls and ceiling are covered with intricate carvings depicting beholders eating humanoids, and vast fields of mushrooms with writhing tendrils. On the ceiling above, the image of a single immense beholder watches everything. Two large, uneven stalagmites protrude from the floor along the northeastern wall, and to the south stand several well-made statues of powerful-looking adventurers and fearsome monsters. In the center of the room sit numerous desks, each of which is covered with mounds of papers and books.

This chamber is Sekarvu’s personal lair, and where it spends the majority of its time.

There is no mention of a bed, or indeed any furniture beyond the desks. So either the beholder sleeps on a desk (face it, we all have occasionally), or it continues to levitate while it sleeps.

A possible source of further details on beholders would be the AD&D 2e book I, Tyrant, which was the book in the Monstrous Arcana series dedicated purely to beholders.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I must've overlooked that. (There's no mention there of sleep, see?) Thank you. However, if this description could be compared to at least 1 other canonical beholder lair, that'd be awesome. (I'm suspicious of any sample size of 1.) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 30, 2015 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ IIRC, "I, Tyrant" mentioned that beholders float because of a gas filled organ of some sort, and that they still float during sleep. Beholders are also very fond of specially made mirrors (can't remember the details, I don't own the book) that allow them to see throughout their lair with their reflected 360 degrees vision, as well as shoot their eye rays from one room to another. Their lairs often end up a cross between "richly decorated" and "hall of mirrors". \$\endgroup\$
    – Dungarth
    Apr 30, 2015 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I completely understand that - I'll have to keep looking. I almost bought I, Tyrant from drivethrurpg, but I decided I shouldn't start buying things to answer questions on SE (it's a path that leads to me being poor). \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Apr 30, 2015 at 22:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan In 'Eye of the Beholder I' the beholder, Xanathar, had a pretty plain lair. It was polished stone with arcane orbs sitting on pedestals, and carved patterns in the walls. Of course, that is a video game over 20 years old. There is a book about him for 2nd Edition entitled, "Waterdeep and the North." \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    May 23, 2015 at 6:11
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There is another example lair, from Mysteries of the Moonsea.

It seems beholders have nests,

each one a bowl-shaped indentation atop a stone pillar, holds fluffy piles of feathers, fabric, and other soft materials

So in the Moonsea, these three sleep on fluffy pillows.

Personally, I'm kind of disappointed with how mundane the lairs are in these examples. I'd rather treat a beholder as an aberration with an "alien mindset" (per MM) - despising humanoids and their ways of life.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Or can at least. ("Must" depends on stronger evidence.) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 30, 2015 at 19:50
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What worked great for our campaign is the Xanathar's cabinet description from Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

There is a scrying mirror, two fishbowls, bookshelves with random weird stuff, a table with some secret documents and a book, a table with a map showing some evil plans, also there is a memory changing device. I also included a private teleportation circle. There are also some mushrooms with magic spores.

enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Fishbowls? Like with fish in them? Does Xanathar mock them for their imprisonment or something? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2023 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yes, a fishbowl with the fish in it, Sylgar to be precise. This fish thing is actually one of the coolest things about Xanathar, imho! Basically the idea is that Xanathar is SUPER paranoic and he trust only his pet fish 😁. In our campaign, a party member sneaked into his cabinet in a wild shape, then turned into a giant toad and ate the fish from that bowl on the picture. Slowly... Making Xanathar super mad 😁 Here is more info: forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Sylgar \$\endgroup\$
    – Lisa
    Jan 15, 2023 at 21:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ There also was a magic mirror with a scrying function in our playthrough, connected to a shop in the city. I think you can see it on the left-hand wall on the image. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2023 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin yes, I actually mention this in the list of items in my answer 👆. Actually, for our campaign I though that scrying 24/7 on some small shop is not so logical. So I made it so that Xanathar is SUPER paranoid and he wastes 80%+ of his time looking at that mirror and "swiping" through his minions' scrying views. Cause he doesn't trust anyone. It seems that one detail REALLY helped to paint a picture of a paranoid Beholder for my party 🙂. They liked it! \$\endgroup\$
    – Lisa
    Jan 19, 2023 at 1:04
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I've done some looking and found some information on Beholders.

Firstly, it seems that when a Beholder sleeps, only their main eye closes and the rest blink intermittently, allowing the Beholder to maintain awareness. Because Beholders are highly intelligent and it seems that levitation is their natural form of movement, it would make sense that a Beholder would be able to use its levitation while sleeping. I also want to add that in the episode of Futurama that has a beholder, he is sleeping while floating. I found this info here.

As for what kind of furnishings a Beholder would have; they are generally greedy and lust for both wealth and power. So, it's likely that a Beholder would have slaves within his lair along with large amounts of gold, gems, magical implements, or anything else that may increase their power. The lairs of Beholders are often Carved by the Beholder that lives there itself, or parts of it would be. Since Beholders are rather large creatures - 5-8 foot floating orbs - they wouldn't be able to fit in smaller passages of the Underdark, so they instead carve out where they need to go. This would likely result in passages that might be easy for a beholder to move through, but hard for most PCs: such as completely vertical passages. For the beholders actual chambers, I imagine it would be a circular or spherical chamber at the top or bottom of a vertical passage.

As for what kind of furniture they might have, I'm assuming it wouldn't be a whole lot or it would be very specific to Beholders or even that specific Beholder. A place to look might be the Spelljammer books - which I don't have - as they have beholder ships and could very well explain the kind of stuff they keep on these ships.

I found this information on a few pages located here, here and here

If you'd rather beholders didn't sleep floating in the air, another idea I thought of was that they could just sleep in a nest or something made out of their dead enemies.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is almost entirely conjecture. It also displays very poor grammar. Your points about vertical tunnels into beholder's chambers is possibly your strongest, but it's lost in the general mess. Please clean it up a bit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff
    Apr 30, 2015 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I spruced up some of the grammar and formatting. As @Jeff points out, it's not entirely clear how much of this is based on research and how much is conjecture. For instance, I skimmed the pages you linked, and see that information about vertical chambers came from there. Could you make your citations clearer? \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Apr 30, 2015 at 20:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure that Futurama counts as D&D canon, either \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    May 1, 2015 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus I dunno, Gygax voiced himself on Futurama (season 2, episode 29); that might be association enough to count. \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2015 at 18:03

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