10 Classic Fantasy Monsters Originally From D&D

Many beings in the plans of Dungeons and Dragons have drawn inspiration from myths and folk tales, and much more from classic literature, but a few have become unique creatures to the game. While some could even make a mighty warrior tremble in their boots, others are come to rely on strength in numbers and cunning to survive.



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To describe every creature that Dungeons and Dragons But some have achieved such iconic status that they transcend the game itself, appearing in media from video games to anime and cementing themselves firmly in the zeitgeist of the fantasy genre to a degree that few others. monsters have reached.

ten The Kobolds acquired a split image

The modern image of a kobold can range from tiny draconic humanoids to dog-headed beasts, but both versions of the ancient Germanic goblin can trace their origins back to J&D. Whereas 2nd editionit is Monster Manual would describe them as “resembling dogs”, they would gain reptilian, then draconic, traits over time.

The presence of dog-headed kobolds in Japanese media like anime Recording of the Lodoss War is probably the result of their depiction in the early days of J&D. Meanwhile, other franchises, like the Warcraft series, play on ideas from the myths of kobolds as spirits of the deep. These creatures would take the form of a candle just as often as a more humanoid form, giving rise to the classic line “You don’t take a candle!”

9 Bugbears were once much more literal

Originally referring to a literal scarecrow of a bear believed to hide in the dark, deep woods, bugbear comes from the Middle English “bugge”, literally meaning “a scary thing” or general object of terror. The word bugaboo also owes its existence to such bugbear stories.

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While that explains their role as brutal monsters, their role as towering goblinoids is a J&D turn. Goblins and goblins aren’t the only “goblinoids” in J&D however, as the game also features alien races like the nilbogs that heal when injured and vice versa.

8 Gnolls have become an iconic bestial race

“Gnole” first appeared in The Book of Wonders by Lord Dunsany, but the creatures within were an unseen menace rather than the now familiar hyena-humanoids. Fast forward to 1974, and “gnoll” is printed in the first edition of J&Dalthough referring to a cross between a troll and a gnome.

This strange and vague shape won’t last long though, as it does. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons they became the anthropomorphic hyenas we see today. Between their intimidating visage and often savage culture, gnolls have become a classic monster in tabletop games and beyond.

seven Liches Codified Classic Undead Mages

Coming from Old English lych, which means corpse, liches have become something more than just a generic undead threat. While undead mages appeared earlier in fantasy stories, the soul-trapping artifacts and paralyzing touch that are now staples of the concept are inventions of J&D.

A normal lich is already a terrifying foe, possessing intense magical power and the ability to regenerate even if destroyed. But some have focused their power even further, abandoning their last vestige of mortality to become a gem-encrusted limb or skull known as a fearsome demilich.

6 Driders offer an even darker touch to Drow

Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, depending on how the individual looks at it, a drow can only become a drider through the direct interference of his dark goddess Lolth. Bloodthirsty and monstrous half-spider form, driders are outcasts even among the drow.

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While the concept of an elf crossed with a spider is pretty straightforward, the drider has served to inspire most “spiderfolk” ideas in media since they premiered in the 1980s. Pit Queen Demonweban adventure that saw heroes dive deep into the Abyss and face Lolth herself.

5 Displacement beasts have roots in classic sci-fi

Resembling a six-legged panther during the rare moments when it can be seen clearly, the other most notable features of a beast of displacement are the long, spine-tipped tentacles that grow from each shoulder, giving the monster reach much larger than its feline appearance suggests. .

The titular displacement effect of the displacement beast can be a J&D invention, but the creature’s overall shape was inspired by a monster known as a 1950s “coeurl” The Voyage of the Space Beagle. The Coeurl in the book possessed a haunting intellect beyond that of a mere beast, feeding on phosphorus and capable of controlling vibrational powers.

4 La Bulette is an underground terror

The bulette – correctly pronounced as “boo-lay” according to its creator Tim Kask – serves as a fairly literal take on the phrase “land shark”, a creature that can dash through the land as easily as it runs along from the ground and possessing an extremely powerful bite.

The bulettes, and their strange taste for halflings and horses, would become iconic, but their creation was purely coincidental. They are one of many J&D monsters inspired by a set of cheap plastic toys, all apparently based on various kaiju from the classic tokusatsu series Ultraman.

3 Rust Monsters offer a unique threat to an adventurer

Both a beloved and dreaded encounter, the Rust Monster inspires fear in a way few other creatures can match; it targets a character’s gear, not their life. A simple touch of its tail or a bite of its jaws can quickly reduce even the strongest armor to a worthless pile of rust in moments.

Inspired by the same toy package as the bulette, it owes its menacing ability to its unassuming appearance. Gary Gygax couldn’t think of anything that overtly threatened to give the cartoonish propeller-tailed lobster-monster, so he landed on rust powers.

2 Mind Flayers Plot the Lovecraftian Terrors

Mind flayers, or illithids, have always remained one of the J&Dthe most memorable monsters since their creation. Between their taste for brains and an array of mind-boggling physical powers, even a lone mindflayer can shake all but the most loyal heroes.

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Although the Mind Flayer is copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast, that hasn’t stopped them from appearing in a host of third-party games. The Final Fantasy the games in particular have seen them become a recurring foe throughout the series.

1 Spectators make iconic brains

Appearing in Gray Falconthe very first supplement book, it’s no wonder Spectators are now one of the most iconic monsters in J&D. Between their massive intelligences and a penchant for extreme self-absorption, they make an intimidating boss, whether in 1st edition or modern J&D.

With eleven eyes each with a different ability, the Spectators have unusually versatile skills and can accomplish a lot despite their spherical shapes. Using telekinesis to compensate for their lack of hands for example, or just using mind control to make their minions do the heavy lifting.

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