Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

16 April, 2012

Five of a Thing: D&D Monsters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

One of the things I like about D&D is the ridiculous number of monsters it has accumulated. There are whole pages dedicated to some of the sillier critters the game has now left behind. There are still some really weird ones in the mix, but I think most of them have some cool feature at this point. Leafing through my 4th edition Monster Manuals, I certainly find plenty to love. So here’s five of them. I’m not even going to say these are favourites, they’re simply five monsters I think are cool.

5 – Rust Monster

Way, way back, when I read my first D&D book (a red one), I remember this monster being in it. I think it was encountered in the solo adventure in that book, and it might even have rusted away my weapon. Or maybe I’ve invented that whole memory. Either way, the rust monster is such an unashamedly obvious “screw you” to the players, I can’t help but love it. It’s a monster specifically designed to destroy you stuff!

4 – Owlbear

Yeah, that’s right, I said owlbear, the poster boy for ridiculous combinations of creatures. This isn’t so much for what the owlbear currently is, as for what it could be. Look at these things, and tell me this creature that leaves people with no other recourse than to draw comparison to killers of land and air can’t be terrifying.

3 – Aboleths

A.K.A evil fish. Huge amphibians that come from the cuthulu-esque Far Realm, swimming in unknowable patterns beneath subterranean seas, spewing an incomprehensible hate throughout their surroundings. I have a weakness for that sort of Lovecraft-inspired monster, I guess.

2 –  Rakshasas

Humanoid big cats. What makes these cool are their backstory. There’s a player race called Devas (neither of these have much to do with the thigns they’ve taken their names from, just as an aside) which are basically angelic spirits who have decided to hang around in the world and fight evil. Every time they die, they reincarnate in a new body. Unless they’ve turned to the dark side, in which case they become rakshasas, compelled by their new nature to continue a life of depravity and violence. Good concept. A+.

1 – Weavers

To be honest, what I’m really responding to here is the look. While the concept of a people who claim they existed in the previous universe and work endlessly to end the current one to restore their own is pretty cool, what really sells it is the image of a slender six-armed creature with no mouth. I don’t know what it is, but picturing these things move in my head makes me love them. They’d be all graceful and calm and never make a sound, and then just throw an opponent through a wall. Awesome.

Honourable mention goes to the destrachan, which is a raptor with sonar. I repeat, it is a raptor with sonar.

My head is in a bit of a D&D space right now. Maybe I’ll write more about that later. For now, them’s the monsters.


  1. I had (well, have) that red book too! And the blue one. Somewhere. And outside of the game you ran, they’re my sum total D&D familiarity beyond general cultural osmosis. And even so, I think I recognise most of these from memory.

    And the owlbear gets an ill deserved bad rep. I’ve always found the notion of a bear with an owl’s head to be somehow perfect and appalling in equal measure. The notion seems haphazard at first glance, yes, but of all the animals they could have combined, it strikes me as one of the more grotesquely fitting ones.

    Comment by Loki — 16 April, 2012 @ 11:48

  2. Yeah, I have the blue one as well. I rediscovered them last summer, after having thought them lost for several years.

    After leafing through them again, I decided I prefer 4th edition.

    Comment by Obdormio — 18 April, 2012 @ 19:03

  3. My only real complaint with the old ones, really, was the stupidity of the race system, wherein “Elf” and “Dwarf” were both class and race. That bit I hated.

    Comment by Loki — 19 April, 2012 @ 10:23

  4. Agreed, and I love the post, many monsters were impractical at best and laughable at worst. D&D is my creative outlet but I am hard pressed to find any appropriate space for some monsters that were better off not conceived.

    I found your blog by typing in “rust monster” in a nostalgic mood. It was actually one of my favorites. More than a “screw you” to the players, it was a “let’s give this a second thought, shall we?”

    If you’re interested, I’m running a 2nd edition AD&D mystery adventure game twice monthly. Contact me privately for details.

    Comment by B.Silvey — 15 December, 2013 @ 05:03

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