- Giant Spider: I am quite arachnaphobic, so I tend to agree with Gygax's assessment of the alignment of these creatures (Chaotic Evil). There are few things I find more viscerally terrifying than the idea of a man-sized spider.
- Ghoul: I'm a big fan of the undead generally, but the ghoul stands out, because, at 2 Hit Dice, it's an appropriate low-level challenge. And, given its paralyzing touch, it is a challenge. Plus, that poor gnome in the Dungeon Masters Guide example of play was devoured by ghouls ("You see a sickly gray arm strike the gnome as he's working on the spike, the gnome utters a muffled cry, and then a shadowy form drags him out of sight.").
- Hell Hound: Not sure why but something about fire-breathing mastiffs really appeals to me.
- Hobgoblin: I've always consider hobgoblins "the thinking man's orcs." In my games at least, these guys are organized, disciplined, and clever. They're not a just a bunch of faceless minions and I love using them to show that even 1+1 Hit Dice monsters can hold their own against a band of seasoned adventurers.
- Lich: While I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever actually used a lich in my games, I still count these creatures among my favorites. Though they have their origin in Fox's "Kothar" stories, if I recall, I play them with a Clark Ashton Smith vibe -- spellcasters so fearful of death that they've willingly cursed themselves into fate far worse than it. My liches are not happy people.
- Mind Flayer: What's not to like about psionic Cthulhoid alien beings? I learned how to use the AD&D psionics rules primarily so I could use this monster "properly" and my players never forgave me for it. Heh-heh.
- Owlbear: There's something whimsically malevolent about this creature, as if it were some mad archmage's stab at black humor while experimenting with magical genetic engineering.
- Rakshasa: One of my favorite TV shows as a kid was The Night Stalker. I still have an autographed picture of Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak that my aunt got for me. Even though the rakshasa in the show was nothing like the one in the Monster Manual, I still have an incredible soft spot for them. When I learned from Gary that he first heard of the creature because of The Night Stalker, I loved it even more.
- Wererat: By far the most interetsing lycanthropes in my opinion. That they're inspired by Fritz Leiber doesn't hurt their appeal either.
- Wight: More undead? Yep. The wight really hits a sweet spot with me. Their level drain is scary enough that players treat the creature with respect, but not so scary that I'd ever hesitate to throw a wight at them, even as a wandering monster. Plus, I find the Barrow Downs section of The Fellowship of the Ring very well done.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Over at Monsters and Manuals, noisms posted a list of his 10 favorite D&D monsters last weekend. I'd meant to post my own list earlier in the week, but it somehow slipped my mind. So, without further ado, I present my favorite monsters (in no particular order):