The rise of geek culture has lead to wider exposure and acceptance of one of geekdom’s fondest hobbies: tabletop role-playing. Now you’ve got Vin Diesel playing Dungeons & Dragons to promote a film and prolific voice actors rolling dice online every week.
Even if you don’t know your beholders from your mind flayers, D&D’s latest Monster Manual is a treasure trove of mythological beasts and horrific nightmares. But some are just plain silly.
13. RUG OF SMOTHERING
The Rug of Smothering begs the classic question: what if the magic carpet from Aladdin was a murdering psychopath? Its powers include being completely indistinguishable from a normal rug. Unleashing one of these fun little surprises will quickly lead to your fellow adventurers burning every single fine rug and welcome mat they see, just to be sure.
12. TWIG BLIGHT
Those giant walking trees from Lord of the Rings could kick some serious ass. It would’ve been a tad less impressive if they were the size of a shrub, like our poor Twig Blight here. Blights are evil tree-creatures that come in all shapes and sizes, including hilariously tiny and ineffective. Few heroic battles end with our heroes covered in a bunch of dead twigs.
In D&D there are dragonborn, merfolk, lizardmen, and even jackalweres. Chances are if it’s an animal there’s an anthropomorphic tribe of ‘em somewhere—including the adorable Bullywugs. Bullywugs are cranky frog-people that live in swamps and ride giant frogs. Which is kind of like if we rode around on Gorillas—totally awesome.
10. CRAWLING CLAW
I love the Addams Family and I just can’t picture the lovable Thing crawling around murdering people. To drive home this undead creature’s evil tendencies, they’re formed from the severed hands of murderers. Not just any old hand will do. You can’t have your Crawling Claws going around giving out free handshakes! Though the world’s creepiest Thumb War would make for a memorable encounter.
9. BEARDED DEVIL
Dungeons & Dragons has a full variety of awesome demons and devils. The Bearded Devil is not one of them, unless you suffer from Pogonophobia. That’s a fear of beards. These cuddly chaps sport a literal Beard Attack as they sling their barbed, poisonous facial hair at you. Don’t beard me, bro.
The Underdark is teeming with some of the craziest, scariest creatures, but the Flumphs are actually good guys. I mean, sure they siphon off mental energy, but it totally doesn’t hurt. They’re magical floating jellyfish, and sensitive to other creatures’ emotions. Their color even changes depending on their mood. Yeah, I don’t feel bad about killing them either.
7. INTELLECTUAL DEVOURER
The Intellect Devourer is a walking brain with paws. It uses its brain power to unleash psychic hell on its victims. True to its name it can even devour a victim’s brain and transplant itself inside of a host body. When used on a player, this is generally considered a total dick move by any Dungeon Master.
D&D has a whole pantheon of lycanthropes outside of the classic werewolf. On paper a werebear sounds like a great idea. Bears are stronger than wolves! Yet its biggest asset is that it’s given a big ol’ axe. I presume the greataxe is standard issue in every werebear curse. __
Modrons are a strange hive-mind mechanical race. They’re incredibly goofy-looking, with adorable names like Monodrone and Tridrone. They’d be right at home in a Tim Burton or Neil Gaiman world as giant puppets and animatronics. No doubt they’re full of childhood whimsy and adventure. The cubey one has an eyepatch and a monocole for Mechanus’ sake.
A piercer is a living stalactite. This incredibly patient, phallic-shaped creature waits for an adventurer to pass underneath before unleashing its attack. Whether it hits or misses it drops to the ground, then just sort of lies there while you hack it up. A cluster could prove problematic, or you could just look up every once in awhile.
3. RUST MONSTER
Rust Monsters are straight up assholes. They look like a cross between a big bug and an armadillo. They’re not particularly powerful. The problem is they corrode any metal that touches them, melting your poor fighter’s sword, shield, and armor right before his eyes. Adventurers quickly learn to fear these metal-crunching bastards more than anything.
Did you know Dungeons & Dragons had its very own Godzilla? Meet the Tarrasque, a fifty foot tall wrecking machine that eats dragons for breakfast. The titan can swallow adventurers whole. You then get to witness your Dungeon Master gleefully roll dice to see how much stomach acid damage your character takes every round as you are slowly digested. Kids, be nice to your DM.
1. AWAKENED SHRUB
Druids can cast a lot of cool spells, from conjuring a plague of insects to calling down bolts of lightning. The Awaken spell lets them breathe life into a tree or plant. After watching Guardians of the Galaxy who wouldn’t want a big tree friend? Or you could choose to animate a tiny houseplant, like the one in this picture I took. What they lack in usefulness they make up for in portability!
Eric Watson is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.
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