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    Default Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Playgrounders, I beseech your great expertise in all things D&D to help me find out answers to the question posed in topic title. Some clarifications first, though:

    1. a D&D unoriginal monster would be one that has real-world mythological precedent and isn't sufficiently removed from it by modifications and D&Disms added to it by various D&D authors
    2. or one that has similar widespread fictional precedent


    So, 1) would disqualify vampires, werewolves, faeries, zombies, angels, demons, devils etc.
    and 2) would disqualify orcs, dragons, Tolkien-style elves and dwarves etc.
    Well, some would fit both, as the line between 1 and 2 isn't always clear, but it is of no matter to this question.

    Also, I'm mostly interested in richly described and innately diverse D&D original monsters - ones that could serve as a basic for a whole campaign, instead of a single encounter or - at most - 1 adventure. For example aurumvorax AFAIK is quite original to D&D, but for how long could you make a gold-eating, six-legged weasel interesting? Not very long, not by itself.

    However, things like Drow, Illithids and Beholders certainly qualify. What else?

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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Well Beholders and Illithids are certainly the poster childs.

    Which isn't such a suprise, as the early editions cranked out a huge amount of original monsters. But somehow these two became cool while all others are still laughed at 30 years later.

    Another candidate would be Githyanki. I don't think there is anything like them anywhere else.
    And actually, their backstory is as stupid as the worst out there: A race of space pirates that live in a void without time and build their cities on the petrified bodies of dead gods. And their queen is a necromancer who kills everyone who could become stong enough to threaten her rule. And they have Red Dragons as pets.
    But somehow, they are still cool!?
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    I would say Kobolds are far enough removed from their mythological origins to be considered "original." The myths have them as invisible humanoid tree or water sprites who play tricks on humans. D&D (3.5 at least) has them as small, scaly, murderous, rat-like dragons with a fondness for traps.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Another candidate would be Githyanki. I don't think there is anything like them anywhere else.
    And actually, their backstory is as stupid as the worst out there: A race of space pirates that live in a void without time and build their cities on the petrified bodies of dead gods. And their queen is a necromancer who kills everyone who could become stong enough to threaten her rule. And they have Red Dragons as pets.
    But somehow, they are still cool!?
    I thought your description of the Githyanki was cool right up until the part where you said they keep red dragons as pets (Because really, it should be the other way round.)

    and as for a unique D&D invented creature, the humble mimic, and the huge variety of similar beings that disguise themselves as objects deserve a mention.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    In modern Germany, Kobold can be almost everything, as long as it's a small person of supernatural origin. Leperchauns, Brownies, Tomtes, and Gremlins could all be called Kobolds as well.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    If you're looking for originality in D&D you're not going to have a whole lot of luck except with aberations.

    Almost every creature of any other type has its origins in some mythological body or other. Drow for instance, hail from norse mythology.

    Even aberations are generally a nod toward the works of H.P. Lovercraft and his circle of author-friends, though none of the actual creatures of the type seem to be direct ports from that mythos.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Wasn't there a thread like this a while back? Ah, no matter.

    I have a fondness for the remorhaz. A polar insect thing that generates intense heat. It's not an incredibly intricate concept, but I think it's cool.

    Similarly, the ankheg. Acid-spitting whack-a-mole. Always cool.

    Can't really diversify these two all that much, though. Not like, say, the githyanki and githzerai. Those two races feel like they should have a whole series of novels dedicated simply to their history.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    I agree on the entire Gith/Githyanki/Githzerai/Illithid myth complex. That entire story is seriously cool, especially if you take Planescape sources and Planescape: Torment into it. The Unbroken Circle makes for an awesome read.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    How widespread does widespread need to be?

    The humble Rust Monster - A simple creature that exists solely to put the fear of Og (and Rustoleum) into metal-clad warriors.

    I'm partial to owlbears.

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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Interesting. Githyanki were actually invented by Charles Stross, when he was 15. Which excuses that he took the name for them from a George Martin novel.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-09-19 at 09:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Interesting. Githyanki were actually invented by Charles Stross, when he was 13. Which excuses that he took the name for them from a George Martin novel.
    And that's why the original Fiend Folio is fun. All creatures people who played the game sent in. I think Slaad came from there too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Yes, they are also from him.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe the Rat View Post
    The humble Rust Monster - A simple creature that exists solely to put the fear of Og (and Rustoleum) into metal-clad warriors.
    Seconded. This is one of THE best monsters. I'd also like to mention Gelatinous Cubes.

    There are some that are hilarious, but not really GOOD. Duckbunny, Armadillephant, Giant Space Hamster, really any from here.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Drow for instance, hail from norse mythology.
    Scottish mythology, actually. The word 'trow' or 'drow' refers to a type of troll, goblin or malevolent elf in the folklore of the Shetland Isles, which are part of the north-east of Scotland. They do also take a degree of influence from the ideas of 'svartalfar' in Norse mythology.



    As to the topic, beholders all the way.

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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    Scottish mythology, actually. The word 'trow' or 'drow' refers to a type of troll, goblin or malevolent elf in the folklore of the Shetland Isles, which are part of the north-east of Scotland. They do also take a degree of influence from the ideas of 'svartalfar' in Norse mythology.
    Which may very well just be dwarves.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Flumph, ..., only kidding.

    Worms of Kyuss - so innocuous and harmless, until they kill you.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by prufock View Post
    Seconded. This is one of THE best monsters. I'd also like to mention Gelatinous Cubes.

    There are some that are hilarious, but not really GOOD. Duckbunny, Armadillephant, Giant Space Hamster, really any from here.
    I love these double-animals. I've introduced a few of my own making in my games. There was a really memorable one with a group of aquatic ogres herding Squeep (Colossal squid/sheep) with their trained Whogs (Sperm whale dogs).
    Last edited by Eldan; 2012-09-19 at 10:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    I've always been fond of Displacer Beasts and Blink Dogs. No clue if those have any mythological background, but I don't think I've encountered them in any other setting.

    The Tarrasque is also pretty iconic of D&D, I think.

    As for intelligent races that are notable in D&D, I'd like to add Yuan-Ti and Elan to the list.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Even aberations are generally a nod toward the works of H.P. Lovercraft and his circle of author-friends, though none of the actual creatures of the type seem to be direct ports from that mythos.
    I think Gibbering Mouthers are Shoggoths. A bit small for shoggoths, but still shoggoths.

    As for original monster; I like Stirges. Well, I like killing stirges, because I hate mosquito's.
    Last edited by some guy; 2012-09-19 at 11:50 AM.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    There is one picture by Vinod Rhams, that made me want to cross a hyena with an auroch. It's awesome.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edge of Dreams View Post
    I've always been fond of Displacer Beasts and Blink Dogs. No clue if those have any mythological background, but I don't think I've encountered them in any other setting.

    The Tarrasque is also pretty iconic of D&D, I think.

    As for intelligent races that are notable in D&D, I'd like to add Yuan-Ti and Elan to the list.
    I agree with the above, although I'm not sure the Tarrasque is completely iconic, since everyone I know says "You mean that thing that's essentially Godzilla?" whenever I bring it up.

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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edge of Dreams View Post
    I've always been fond of Displacer Beasts and Blink Dogs. No clue if those have any mythological background, but I don't think I've encountered them in any other setting.

    The Tarrasque is also pretty iconic of D&D, I think.

    As for intelligent races that are notable in D&D, I'd like to add Yuan-Ti and Elan to the list.
    Displacer beast are one of my favourite D&D original monsters, thri-kriin are also quite cool.

    AFAIK the Tarrasque is a french myth or something like that.

    Edit: Yep according to wikipedia, the Tarrasque is based on the French myth of the Tarasque
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Tarrasque is the name of a French dragon. But it isn't that close to the D&D version, really.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Tarrasque is the name of a French dragon. But it isn't that close to the D&D version, really.
    Their physical descriptions are very close, as well as certain other mythological elements (coming from the gods, being practically unkillable, causing ruin and devastation).

    Also, a favorite of mine is the Ethereal Filcher.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    If you're looking for originality in D&D you're not going to have a whole lot of luck except with aberations.

    Almost every creature of any other type has its origins in some mythological body or other. Drow for instance, hail from norse mythology.

    Even aberations are generally a nod toward the works of H.P. Lovercraft and his circle of author-friends, though none of the actual creatures of the type seem to be direct ports from that mythos.
    Well, yeah, but as I wrote in the OP, I'm not looking for stuff that has no precedent in anything that came before. For example, as far as I can tell from quick googling after later poster's post, while Drow's source is in Shetland folklore and Norse mythology, D&D has took those two influences, mashed them into a ball and ran with it so far that it would be hard to pinpoint them if not for the name (and in fact there are many more entries in Monster Manuals that resemble those mythological influences much more closely). Unlike, say, Kenku, which aren't very far from Tengu (unless there's some spiffy sourcebook with an in-depth look at Kenku that I haven't heard about).

    Also, I remembered another one that qualifies quite well - the Sahuagin. Another one could be Kuo-Toa, but they seem to have moved towards being indistinguishable from Deep Ones during the history of the game.

    In fact, pursuing this line of thought I've remembered about the list of WotC's "Product Identity" monsters and that's
    beholder
    gauth
    carrion crawler
    displacer beast
    githyanki
    githzerai
    kuo-toa
    mind flayer
    slaad
    umber hulk
    yuan-ti
    and umber hulks and carrion crawlers haven't been mentioned here (and are quite fun).

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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hel65 View Post
    In fact, pursuing this line of thought I've remembered about the list of WotC's "Product Identity" monsters ...
    Actually, are we even allowed to type the names of these things ?
    Perhaps we ought to genericise them ?

    • Flying eyeball, with more eyes on sticks.
    • Flying eyeball, with more eyes on sticks, and long tongues.
    • Slithering thing which eats dead adventures, and live ones too.
    • Big cat with 6 legs and a couple of tentacles which isn't quite where you think it is.
    • Weird humans who live in space
    • Weird humans who live in space who are cousins and enemies of the other Weird humans who live in space
    • Fishmen
    • Man with a squid for a face
    • Big talking toadman.
    • Err, that thing which eats rocks for starters, adventurers for main course, and their treasure for pudding.
    • Snakemen
    Last edited by nedz; 2012-09-19 at 04:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    • Weird humans who live in space
    • Weird humans who live in space who are cousins and enemies of the other Weird humans who live in space
    Hey! I'll have you know that the Githzerai are a very fine people who live on the humble planet of Limbo, not in space itself!
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    Well, the word pre-dates the game, and means something very different. But the gazebo as a beast that wakes up and eats PCs is absolutely original to D&D.

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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    No, it doesn't. It is never said it wakes up and eats anything.
    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    • Fishmen
    • Snakemen
    And here we have the proof that Kuo-toa and Yuan-ti are not original monsters. They are just Deep Ones and Naga with a different name. Some individual touches, but that doesn't change it.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-09-20 at 05:00 AM.
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    Default Re: Best D&D original monsters out there?

    No one's mentioned the Bulette yet? My favorite for those times when you really need to eat your PC's. Whole.
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