Thursday, February 26, 2009

Top 10 D&D Monsters By A Fan of Science Fiction

So the flavor of the month among my fellow RPG Bloggers is to list their top 10 favorite monsters from Dungeons & Dragons.

While I am primarily a Science Fiction RPG fan, I've played enough D&D to wax nostalgic about the various oddball fantasy beasties I've slain and (more often) sent to slay player characters. I've left out some classics such as Dragons, Giants, Goblins and Trolls, since mine have very little to do with the way they are traditionally portrayed in D&D. That said, drum roll Paul Schaffer...

10) Roper: I mean seriously, what is this thing? Is it an animal, a plant...its like that Pokemon creature Sudowoodo with vicious whips for arms. Just a crazy creature that you can't forget.

9) Leucrotta: I'm not certain why I like this creature other then it appeals to the folklore and mythology fan in me. While I'm not a fan of traditional high fantasy or sword and sorcery, I am fascinated by fairy tales, folklore and mythology. Go figure.

8) Lurker Above and Lurker Below: There was no such D&D creature called a Lurker Above. The proper name for this creature was a Trapper but having encountered a Lurker Below first only a few moments earlier my friends and I immediately referred to it as a Lurker Above and the name stuck.

7) Rust Monster: Every GM loves ol' Rusty and every player hates him. His unusual lineage, inspired by a Japanese plastic Kaiju toy and his appearance on an episode of Futurama just makes him that much cooler.

6) Blink Dogs: A big time dog lover I can't help but adore intelligent, good aligned, pack animals that can teleport. Can you imagine playing fetch with a Blink Dog? The moment the stick leaves your hand your pup is sitting right in front of you with it in his mouth. Awesome.

5) Umber Hulk: Its the Hulk and an insect mixed together. That's just a dozen kinds of sick. We used to play up the strength of these things to where they were lifting wagons or horse over their heads and throwing them at people. My D&D had heavy comic book influences.

4) The Eye of Fear and Flame: The name alone defeats you. Surrender or I'll repeat it.

3) Displacer Beast: Another 'what was Gary smoking' creature, this one I later found out had some resemblance to an East Asian mythological creature the name of which escapes me right now. It was also used as the initial design for Mughi, the cat-like creature that was the mascot of the Japanese sci-fi vixens 'The Dirty Pair' . Mughi's appearance in the animated versions was very different but on the original novel covers he looks just like a Displacer Beast.

2) Gelatinous Cube: As a visually mind person and an artist the Gelatinous Cube just always spoke to me. I could easily see it, moving slowly, silenty down dungeon corridors absorbing and eliminating refuse like old bones, dirt and adventurers.

And the number one favorite D&D creature of all time...

1) The Bullette!: Big, powerful, armor plated landsharks just trump pretty much anything else I can think of. Add to this the fact that many first edition illustrations seemed to imply that the Bullette had a car trunk-like depression on its back complete with a dorsal fin 'hood'. So its not just a landshark its a hatchback landshark! How cool is that? One group of PCs actually captured one and rode around on it (and occasionally in it) while keeping some of their gear in its back.

Good times, good times...

Barking Alien


  1. Great list. I love all of those monsters too - especially the Umber Hulk.

    If you like the Bulette, check out Jeff Rients's "Incomplete Pictoral History of the Bulette", which there's a link to on his blog.

  2. "4) The Eye of Fear and Flame: The name alone defeats you. Surrender or I'll repeat it." -- You

    That almost made me launch Gummi Bear bits out my nose I laughed so hard. :D

  3. I've always imagined that the Gelatinous Cube was inspired by a transparent d6 sitting on a dungeon map, just about big enough to cover the width of a corridor.