View Full Version : Urban Monsters Suggestions?

2009-09-08, 02:53 PM
I plan to run a campaign set in a large city and I need more monsters than just giant rats. The city has a population of approximately 20.000, a seaport, river and average sized sewer/storm drain system. I need monsters that could survive and maybe even thrive in such an environment.
Since were using a homebrewed rule system, general descriptions and abilities will be enough. Pictures would be appreciated as well. And maybe you have some adventure ideas involving them too?
Thank you in advance for the help.

2009-09-08, 02:56 PM
Not only are 'people' generally the best enemies to use in an urban environment, they also tend towards being the greatest monsters.

Human Paragon 3
2009-09-08, 02:56 PM
The undead make good foes in an urban environment. Underneath a temple or in the catacombs or sewers, in that old mansion at the top of the hill, or even in the Mayor's office, vampire lords and necromancers find the city a very attractive locale. Lots of fresh human bodies (and corpses) around, anonymity among the populace, powerful politicians to blackmail and cover up their dirty deeds all help.

Walking in a dark alley at night, are you passing by a cut throat or bum, or a ghoul or vampire spawn? Can't miss.

What is the economic climate of the city like? How much magic in the campaign setting? Is there a wizard school or something there, or is it just a big medieval coastal city?

2009-09-08, 02:58 PM
Not only are 'people' generally the best enemies to use in an urban environment, they also tend towards being the greatest monsters.

On the other hand, human people don't have a pregenerated 1st level Warrior in the Monster Manual, for some arbitrary reason.

2009-09-08, 03:05 PM
What edition is this?

How about kenku? Vicious little birdlike thugs that form gangs and control the city's criminal underworld.


Or gargoyles that haunt the towertops of the city and descend during the night to feast on lone travellers through the city.


Oytughs are ideal for sewer adventures. Hell, they can be part of the city's disposal system.


Blood-sucking stirges could occupy an abandoned building or two.


Also, doppelgangers (changelings that can take any form), rakhasas (tiger-headed monsters that produce any illusion), mind flayers (squid-headed psychics that feed on brains), yuan ti (snake-headed madmen that specialize in poison), wererats (like werewolves, but with rats), wereboars (like werewolves, but with boars), vampires, spiretop drakes (small reptilian creatures that nest in tall buildings), snakeblood cultists (madmen who worship the yuan ti), hags (witches) and good ol' bugbears (shaggy goblinoids with a prediliction for strangling people).

If this is a seaside city, you could also have sahaugin (underwater fish-like humanoids). They need not be invading the city (maybe they decided it was too strong); they could be traders.

And if nothing else, there's always g-g-g-ghosts.

2009-09-08, 03:07 PM
Oooh, seedy bars. Seedy bars full of bugbears and minoutars and other humanoid oddities.

2009-09-08, 03:09 PM
Whether scheming wererats with a lycanthropic bite, dire rats, moon rats who just scheme, or just a good old fashioned rat swarm, rats scream 'city'.

2009-09-08, 03:22 PM
My Favorite Urban Monsters, in no particular order.

Lycanthropes, Undead, Fiends-Elementals-Nature's Allies-or anything else that can be summoned, Golems, Gargoyles, Goblins, Mimes, Vermin Swarms, Chokers, Bugbears, Dopplegangers, Animated Plants, Purple Worms, Drow, Dragons (at least the shape changing types), sewer sharks-alligators-oytughs, escaped circus animals, and oozes-slimes-molds.

Admiral Squish
2009-09-08, 03:26 PM
Doesn't cityscape have a lot of options about such things? Races of Destiny has some nice rules for cities and city-related things...

2009-09-08, 03:28 PM
Rats. Whether scheming wererats with a lycanthropic bite, dire rats, moon rats who just scheme, or just a good old fashioned rat swarm, rats scream 'city'.

Rats he got. What he needs are other monsters and quest ideas.

Here's a quick sidequest: the PCs are walking down the street when a spiretop drake (I mentioned them in a previous post) snatches a valuable item out of one of the character's hands. (Alternatively, you could have some fat merchant running down the street after a drake screaming "STOP THAT DRAKE! IT HAS MY COINPURSE!" Or a beautiful girl, if that'll motivate your characters.) Anyways, the drake gets away and the PCs track it to a ruined tower in the middle of the city; they have to climb the treacherous tower (either on its vine-covered surface while harried by drakes or using the crumbling stairs inside) to recover the item. They not only have to deal with the drakes and their sharp little teeth, but the thieves who trained the drakes to steal items for them. Defeating the thieves brings the party into conflict with one of the local criminal gangs.

Alternatively, you could hook the PCs by having them hired by the local guard.

Another is the classic "find my son" adventure. Let's say the PCs are hired by a nobleman they know and trust to recover his wild-drinking son, who disappeared in the rough quarter of the city. They hunt for information and soon discovered the son was kidnapped after letting slip that he was rich; he's currently being held prisoner by some disreputable thugs wanting to ransom him off.

Or what if he was captured by some local beastie? What if his body is resting in the chapel prowled by a gargoyle? What if he was kidnapped by a cult? Or pressed into service by a chain gang by a ship JUST ABOUT TO SET TO SEA? The PCs could storm the ship and recover the boy by force, or they could try to barter for him.

Also: a local landmark is being haunted by the ghost of a young noblewoman, supposedly killed by her lover nearly fifty years ago. The stories say her body is buried nearby with a small fortune in valuable jewelry. She wants her killer brought to justice and is willing to reveal the location of her body. But can the party bring her ex-lover to her? What if he's dead, and all that remains is his innocent grandson?

What if she was not killed by her lover at all, but a doppelganger assassin sent by another nobleman who wanted her for her own and sought to frame the young man?

Here's another one: a contact of the party (preferably a less-than ethical one) learns that his brother was killed in a barfight and he hires the PCs to avenge their death. There's a problem: the target is effectively invincible, rumoured to heal any blow recieved within seconds. The party has to figure out how to beat that. (My idea is that he's a carefully-concealed wereboar and the party must purchase silver weapons from an extremely disreputable merchant in a dangerous part of town ...)

I'm ripping off a Fighting Fantasy book here, but what if the PCs were strolling down the street and suddenly a group of men in robes come running past. "FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!" they shout, and the reason becomes evident: a demon is barging down the street, killing as it goes. After a tough fight, the PCs trace the demon's path (or possibly the trail of the summoners) and learn that not one but TWO demons were summoned that night, and the other is now loose in the city ...

2009-09-08, 03:54 PM
Hmm OK, already got rats. How about, someone been turning the undead of an unpopular factory owner who has been using unintelligent undead as basically all day, all night, workers. Is it the Guilds trying to put him out of business? Is it someone working for the Temples of the Good Gods? Or is it a more personal enemy?