The Dumbest Dungeons & Dragons Monsters Ever (And How To Use Them)

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

The Dumbest Dungeons & Dragons Monsters Ever (And How To Use Them)

30 years of D&D and Pathfinder have given us some, uh, questionable critters. Here's our favorites - and how to redeem them.

Read Full Article

To be fair, I've used a paeliryon as is in a campaign. It was a second in command, and I played up its absurd apperance to the disturbing level. holding hand to the side of its mouth, doing the 'dohohohohoho!' laugh, etc. And despite looking 'silly' from an outside perspective, when they're towering over you, razor sharp nails extending feet long...they can be quite terrifying.

You mentioned Flumphs, but not their number one use: As cushions for falling adventurers

the high pitched war cry of the Vegepygmys has invoked terror ever since I first ran Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

Good times.

Eh, problem with this is that some of those are too famously bad, and people have made fun of some of them already in much the same way, more than once. Was expecting to see the rabbit on the tree stump thingy.

Having said that, the Flumph is only a few steps away from a Tyranid Spore Mine (or Mycatic Spore, perhaps), and the Flail Snail is close to a sort of Beast of Nurgle. OTOH, calling it the Flail Snail is a massive problem by itself, like the Vegepygmy, which, as noted, is wrong mostly due to it's name.

...

I don't see why making a creature less like Lady Gaga makes it more scary. Like, if you were walking along a dark alley at night and found yourself surrounded by Ladies Gaga, and they were all staring at you without saying anything, and once you got past them and started to relax you heard them starting to walk after you...that'd be scary.

Falterfire:
You mentioned Flumphs, but not their number one use: As cushions for falling adventurers

Came here for this, was not disappointed.

Well said good sir.

Clearly this the author has never thought how terrifying a stench Kow stampede can be.

Falterfire:
You mentioned Flumphs, but not their number one use: As cushions for falling adventurers

Gah, I was hoping I could get the honour of being the first to mention that, but I'm always happy to see other people like something I like.

Very good article, there are quite a few books to go through to find that selection. I might even use a few of those ideas myself. And I do have a suggestion for a use of number 10 (the stench kow), which I might just use: if your players have
1) a place to live (room at an inn, house, apartment, keep, or other, doesn't matter much as long as it's not completely warded beyond everyone's capacities)
and
2) have accrued some rivals that don't necessarily want them dead
and
3) been out
then...
"As you return to your home, vary after your noble quest/dastardly schemes/binge drinking/other [select appropriate option], you are startled to find what looks like a cow in your [select whichever room is most inconvenient, embarrassing and/or expensive]..."

Should have some effect, methinks...

My two favorites were always the blink wooly mammoth (http://www.lomion.de/cmm/woomambl.php) and the killer spruce (http://www.lomion.de/cmm/killspru.php).

On a REAL note, I see potential in the Stench Kow. Make them into bulls from the abyss. They're born from the flesh of humans killed by demons and used for food by the demonic hordes. Their stench can be the smell of rotting human flesh. Probably an undead outsider type. Maybe have them covered in faces of those the demons killed, constantly muttering about their unknowable pain and begging for death. Maybe have a former party member who was killed by a demon appear on the side of one to add to the horror of the creature.

The monster I want redeemed is the Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing

image

Pathfinder tried for this one, but I don't think it worked.

I think the problem with a lot of hated monsters in D&D is that they tend to have been used as straight-up opponents in fights. There's a lot of the D&D bestiary that doesn't work like that, but as creatures that live in the world to be interacted with in manners other than "stab with sword, loot". Even iconic things like changelings and illithids aren't great in a stand-up fight, because they aren't supposed to be fighting every adventurer head-on. Used right, everything can be cause for terror. Look at Tucker's Kobolds.

Flumphs are a perfect example. The 1e Fiend Folio didn't do a great job talking about their ecology, but Pathfinder actually did a decent job. They are Lawful Good, which means they are normally expected to be working with players rather than against them. They know they're fragile and hideous to our eyes, so the seek to secretly recruit adventurers and help them defeat abominations from the Far Realms. "Quest-giver or ally" is exactly what the average flumph should be for most games.

Similarly, the Ragamoffyn may seem silly, but task the adventurers with investigating a haunted house and have one of those jump out of the closet at them. They can win the fight pretty easily if they keep their heads, but it's still a nasty scare, especially if they were alone.

Also, at one point there was a psionicist (PC) who was causing trouble in Baldur's Gate, so the word was put out by the city's government that they would pay whoever could bring the vigilante to justice. He fought off the first couple with ease. Then a pair of elves arrived with magic versions of Magneto's helmet, and a starved thought eater in a cage...

Don't agree with changing the Raggamoffyn, magical rags or clothing that can posses someone is a rather unique monster and the options for changes are ooze, mist or a swarm of things? You know, the kind of things every single other piece of media ever will use to represent some unknown possessive force or entity? At least the Raggamoffyn has some kind of reasoning behind it albeit silly.

GothmogII:
Don't agree with changing the Raggamoffyn, magical rags or clothing that can posses someone is a rather unique monster and the options for changes are ooze, mist or a swarm of things? You know, the kind of things every single other piece of media ever will use to represent some unknown possessive force or entity? At least the Raggamoffyn has some kind of reasoning behind it albeit silly.

Raggys always seemed to me to be 'miss-described' in how they should function. They shouldn't be just roving bands of attack clothing, they should wait for some hapless fool to put them ON, and then take over. Not inspired by kill-la-kill strictly, but it did show how you can take 'evil mind controlling clothing' seriously. to a degree.

Thought eaters are actually terrifying, more so in the original version than the modern one imo, because the original could attack while ethereal. Steadily draining your characters intelligence until they lay down and die, and the thing behind it all is the deformed thoughtless beast that you normally can't see or fight. The appearance can detract from the horror somewhat but anything that can invisibly and silently kill your mind is terrifying in my book, much more so than the modern incarnation that's basically some skeletal wolf thing that attacks you with claws and maybe drains int in the process.

At one stage I became obsessed with ecology, hygene and waste disposal in my dungeons, and invented a number of monsters to deal with the problem. Some were quite cool - for example, the Giant Fan Spider, which lives in long tunnels and spins in a circle to cause a strong gust of wind, drawing prey into its web (and coincidentally acting as a useful ventilation system), and the Oxygen Root, a plant which grows strong roots that exude oxygen, which causes CO2 to build up above ground (protecting the plant from grazers), but also causes a serious fire risk nearby when the roots find their way into cave systems - as they often do, since intelligent dungeon dwellers cultivate them.

On the other hand I also invented the Trinie (pron. 'treenie'), a hard bowl-shaped creature that exudes digestive fluids and is often used by dungeon dwellers as a toilet. It needs to be used with care, though, because if disturbed, it spits acid.

I was rather proud of another occasion when the players encountered what a sign declared to be a bathroom, but it turned out that the H had been added as graffiti, and it was actually a bat room.

Uratoh:

GothmogII:
Don't agree with changing the Raggamoffyn, magical rags or clothing that can posses someone is a rather unique monster and the options for changes are ooze, mist or a swarm of things? You know, the kind of things every single other piece of media ever will use to represent some unknown possessive force or entity? At least the Raggamoffyn has some kind of reasoning behind it albeit silly.

Raggys always seemed to me to be 'miss-described' in how they should function. They shouldn't be just roving bands of attack clothing, they should wait for some hapless fool to put them ON, and then take over. Not inspired by kill-la-kill strictly, but it did show how you can take 'evil mind controlling clothing' seriously. to a degree.

I always thought it would be cool to play a character who had developed a symbiotic relationship with a Raggamoffyn, feeding it small animals and the occasional Hat of Disguise in return for its service as magical armor. They're even intelligent enough to use some interesting tactics, like leaping off the player to immobilize a dangerous spellcaster while the party deals with other threats. It's got all the cool RP potential of an intelligent magic item, plus the potential danger of working alongside a monster who would usually think of you as food.

On the subject of useful creatures, I had a section of a story that took place in a newspaper office, and came up with a couple of rather nice monsters for them.

The Ink Mite lives on paper, particularly printed paper, and stores ink in a special sac to use as a weapon, spraying it in attackers' eyes. It can also inject the ink directly if it lands on an opponent. Ink mites are considered valuable because their ink is high quality and they are used in the tattooing trade.

The Scribbler reproduces by means of spores which are secreted in a sticky ink-like resin. Most of the year the spores are an infertile waste product and Scribblers can be trained to use the 'ink' to make copies of paper given to them - which they do with such dedication that any disturbance will cause them to react in a fury, spraying ink and emitting bright flashes of light.

(The same campaign also included some great magical items, my favourite of which was Ronay's Magic Spicer, an item a bit like a peppergrinder that produces a spice that if produced in just the right quantity turns any food into the equivalent of a low-grade healing potion. I miss Dungeon Mastering :) )

For those who don't know about it, I highly recommend reading "Misfit Monsters Redeemed"; I'd be highly surprised if the Author didn't get the idea to do this article from that Paizo-published work.

http://static1.paizo.com/image/product/catalog/PZO/PZO9227_500.jpeg

To be honest I'm half expecting I missed the credit to that work in the article itself since I didn't see one and it's probably better safe than sorry with those things even if you did come up with it all by yourself. (Believe me, I know first-hand the problem of the end game of monoculture and innovation; convergent memetic mimesis is gonna happen more and more the less cultural isolation there is so don't take this the wrong way and it's gonna step on a lot of toes until we take steps to correct either IP law or the monoculture. Not dissing monoculture either, just giving a straight prognosis.)

GothmogII:
Don't agree with changing the Raggamoffyn, magical rags or clothing that can posses someone is a rather unique monster and the options for changes are ooze, mist or a swarm of things? You know, the kind of things every single other piece of media ever will use to represent some unknown possessive force or entity? At least the Raggamoffyn has some kind of reasoning behind it albeit silly.

I'd use it as a scare in a game honestly. Have the players be attacked by some monster and hack it to pieces, only to have the pieces be pulled back together by the clothes and brought back. Or have the monster screaming "Stop, don't kill me, I don't want to hurt you!" The whole while apparently fighting its hardest to butcher the players.

Really any monster here can be really effective in a horror setting as long as the DM has a little creativity and keeps a sense of mystery to every encounter. Never flat out tell your players what they are fighting, just describe it and their imaginations will do the rest.

The Catoblepas is still pretty hard to redeem though. A creature that has a hard time lifting it's own head, even when they head has a petrifying gaze is pretty sad.

Anyone else notice that the duckbunny bares a striking resemblance to the Platypus?

I'm gonna add something a touch unorthodox and say that the Tarrasque in all its monumental and catastrophic splendor is irredeemable. I mean has anyone ever successfully ran a campaign where this monstrosity appears and is actually killed? And if so did it take the intervention of a god or multiple gods? It just seems too unwieldy and unbalanced to be employed in a serious game.

The article on the flail snail is amazing. I shared it with my DM and he's probably going to work one into the dungeon somehow lol.

For me, the Ragamoffyn was a good excuse for an oldschool wizard's-tower-gone-wrong adventure. The players were a little wtf when they got to the top and found out what was causing it all, but I figure if you're going to find one of those things anywhere, a wizard's house would be it.

Dirty Apple:
I'm gonna add something a touch unorthodox and say that the Tarrasque in all its monumental and catastrophic splendor is irredeemable. I mean has anyone ever successfully ran a campaign where this monstrosity appears and is actually killed? And if so did it take the intervention of a god or multiple gods? It just seems too unwieldy and unbalanced to be employed in a serious game.

My brother played a game where the DM threw one at them just to get them out of the town they were in. Turns out, they had a wizard with a dagger that makes you pass out or something and the Tarrasque passed out. Then they buried its head in dirt and it suffocated.

Wish I could've seen the DM's face.

I kind of want to use a Ragamoffyn now. It'd be perfect for a haunted house adventure.

Paeliryons are described as schemers that work behind the scenes, running spy rings and playing puppet master. Why does it have to look the way it does?

Maybe it's just powerful and influental enough that he/she/it doesn't have to give a crap what people think of its makeup.
Or rather, anyone who is dumb enough to voice their opinion out loud gets quickly disappeared.

10 stupid creatures and no mention of a gelatinous cube? The most stupid creature of them all?

I could never take beholders seriously. I know they're supposed to be powerful magical creatures, but they just look so stupid.

image

D'oih, I'm a silly ball and have so many eyes that I don't know where to put them.

Skeleon:
I could never take beholders seriously. I know they're supposed to be powerful magical creatures, but they just look so stupid.

image

D'oih, I'm a silly ball and have so many eyes that I don't know where to put them.

That reminds me of the Gas Spore

image

This is a fungus that looks like a beholder but explodes into spores when attacked. It's a plant creature (note, not a magical plant, just a plant)

That means that, through the process of evolution, this fungus created a reproductive strategy that revolves around adventurers attacking beholders. Adventurers are so common and have been around so long that nature has had a chance to evolve to take advantage of them. The world of D&D is insane.

This is a very fun article, but I can't see leaving the piercer off of any 'dumbest d&d monsters' list.

Xpwn3ntial:

Dirty Apple:
I'm gonna add something a touch unorthodox and say that the Tarrasque in all its monumental and catastrophic splendor is irredeemable. I mean has anyone ever successfully ran a campaign where this monstrosity appears and is actually killed? And if so did it take the intervention of a god or multiple gods? It just seems too unwieldy and unbalanced to be employed in a serious game.

My brother played a game where the DM threw one at them just to get them out of the town they were in. Turns out, they had a wizard with a dagger that makes you pass out or something and the Tarrasque passed out. Then they buried its head in dirt and it suffocated.

Wish I could've seen the DM's face.

I kind of want to use a Ragamoffyn now. It'd be perfect for a haunted house adventure.

I call BS on this.

First, the wizard would have to get within melee range. The Tarrasque has a +7 initiative modifier (equal to 24dex) so it's far more likely the wizard would have ended up a bloody smear on the ground before they could do anything. But they may have got lucky...

Second, the wizard would have had to hit the Tarrasque. Assuming the dagger was Epic to overcome the damage reduction to inflict damage to trigger special abilities, the Tarrasque still has 35ac which would require a natural 20 for a Wizard to hit. But they might've given the dagger to a higher BAB party member...

Third, the Tarrasque would have to fail its saving throw. Considering its worst saving throw is +20will (vs. mind affecting), it would still require an Epic Sleep spell (which starts at DC20, and takes an additional +2spellcraft or 2levels per additional +1DC) to have a shot at consistently overcoming the will save. But the Tarrasque might've rolled a 1...

Fourth, they'd have had to excavated enough dirt to bury the head. The Tarrasque is 70ft long, and standard body proportions indicate that this would give a head of around 9.3ft, meaning the party would have to excavate an volume of ~810cubic ft. Using the 6th level spell "Move Earth" takes 10minutes to remove the dirt, 10minutes to replace the dirt (bury the head), and another 9 minutes for the Tarrasque to suffocate (2 rounds per con at 35 con, and an extra 20 rounds to "Take 20" and fail the suffocation saving throw, then 3 rounds to "die"). This is well beyond the time limit of a standard sleep spell, and any "slapping or wounding" (i.e. stabbing with the dagger additional times) will break the Sleep. But they might've been able to quickly and quietly perform the task in less than 30minutes...

Fifth, the Tarrasque has a special form of regeneration which states states that ANY death effect due to failed saving throw instead inflicts 868hp of non-lethal damage. This overrides the normal "regeneration does not heal suffocation damage", and means the Tarrasque has another 93 rounds before "suffocating" again - plenty of time to regen at 40hp per round. No matter what, eventually it's going to wake up. But they might have a Wish ready for when it hits -10hp from the suffocation failure...

Sixth, you have a 1 round (6 second) window to cast that Wish spell so it stays dead (and even then you have to beat the Spell Resistance for an unwilling target). It's got a heavy carapace, which masks visible signs of breathing, and the head is buried so the airflow can't be checked. It's possible to use Sense Life, but that would assume the Wizard prepared it that day - which is pretty unlikely. But maybe the Wizard DID prepare sense life so they could detect the round the Tarrasque "died"...

Seventh, the use of a Wish when the Tarrasque hits -10 assumes that the characters know this information. Since the Tarrasque is unique the characters wouldn't know what's required to kill it - because no-one has ever done it before. As far as they know, just burying it should be enough to keep it dead (because that would overcome any non-Tarrasque regeneration). Even if someone in the world has attempted to bury it before, any observer of the previous failed attempt would assume (incorrectly) that the Tarrasque doesn't breathe so the characters wouldn't try that method.

The combination of suffocation plus Wish within the 6-second window is just too obscure for the characters to work out before they become a bloody smear on the ground.

Besides, the Tarrasque shouldn't be used by DM's as an opponent that players have to work out how to kill - it should be used as a force of nature that players have to work out how to divert. It's a living natural disaster that was invented because "Godzilla" is trademarked, not an intelligent archrival that drives a varied campaign story.

Korskarn:
Snip

Buddy, that's what he told me. I wasn't there.

All I know is he said their wizard had a dagger that knocked stuff out, they buried a tarrasque's head underground so it would suffocate, and that a tarrasque is a big deal. I don't know if the wizard used the dagger or if the fighter/thief did. I don't know the rolls necessary or the rolls they made. I don't know what levels they were. I don't know how the tarrasque specifically works, only that it's supposed to be nigh-unstoppable.

But the DM didn't intend them to fight the tarrasque, only for them to get the hell out of dodge because it showed up. I specifically remember my brother saying they weren't actually supposed to fight the thing and instead run away. I'm guessing all the stuff you said is why.

Is it me, or does the Paeliryon seem like a jab at Goths to anyone else?

Xpwn3ntial:

Korskarn:
Snip

Buddy, that's what he told me. I wasn't there.

All I know is he said their wizard had a dagger that knocked stuff out, they buried a tarrasque's head underground so it would suffocate, and that a tarrasque is a big deal. I don't know if the wizard used the dagger or if the fighter/thief did. I don't know the rolls necessary or the rolls they made. I don't know what levels they were. I don't know how the tarrasque specifically works, only that it's supposed to be nigh-unstoppable.

But the DM didn't intend them to fight the tarrasque, only for them to get the hell out of dodge because it showed up. I specifically remember my brother saying they weren't actually supposed to fight the thing and instead run away. I'm guessing all the stuff you said is why.

Eh... rules-wise it's relatively straightforward to kill - beat it into a bloody pulp with a weapon, Wish it to stay dead. There's plenty of cheesemongering ways to deal hundreds of HP damage per round to do the first, and just having enough money gives access to the second.

There's many more ways to incapacitate it or otherwise avert its threat (it's just a giant lizard after all, just one that comes back from the dead). In terms of a campaign it's pretty much the equivalent of a mobile volcano, earthquake or tsunami, and DMs should encourage "delay" tactics (and even if they do manage to "kill" it when it shows up, congratulations they just pissed off its Elder God creator who just opens the gates of the underworld so it can come back). Having it show up just to try and get the players out of a town... *Psyduck*

I am the only one I think most of the creatures are perfect for a creative adventure?

Example, the DuckRabbit.

After you get inside the Wizard's Shop, immediately your eyes focus to one of the strangers things the wizard had: A rabbit? No, a duck? No,no,no,no,no.......a DuckRabbit.

Another Example: The Flail Snail.

You get ready for battle, after the short aggresive talk you had with Lord Helekton.
"Guards!!! Bring my weapon out from it cage!!! said with a joyful scream Lord Helekton
All of you get confused. You wondered why Helekton have his weapon inside a cage.....unless....
Suddendly before you complete your thought, the floor trembles and after that opens hearing merchanicals sounds. from the hole rise a cage and inside the cage is...ooooohhhhh yeah, this make sense.....a Flail Snail. Of course it is his weapon...."

How funny and cool this sound? :)

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here