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Kuo-toa depicted in the original Fiend Folio.
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In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the kuo-toa are fish-like monstrous humanoids that dwell in the Underdark, and in the sea.

Publication history[edit]

The name "kuo-toa" was created by Gary Gygax, co-creator of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. In their original appearance, kuo-toa are described as having once lived on land, but were driven underground by humans and other land-dwellers. However, their presentation has evolved to be more similar to the Deep Ones, creatures that appear in H. P. Lovecraft's novella "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". For example, the kuo-toa were first described as worshiping a lobster-headed sea goddess named Blibdoolpoolp; later versions have them worshiping a being called Dagon, a being that is also associated with the Deep Ones.

The kuo-toa are considered "Product Identity" by Wizards of the Coast and as such are not released under its Open Gaming License.[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

The kuo-toa first appeared in dungeon modules D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa,[2] and D3 Vault of the Drow.[3] The first D&D manual that the kuo-toa appeared in was the original Fiend Folio.[4]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The kuo-toa appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[5] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[6]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

The kuo-toa appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[7]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

The kuo-toa appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The kuo-toa was presented as a player character race for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting in Underdark (2003).[8]

The voice of Dagon was detailed in Dragon #349 (November 2006), in the "Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Dagon."

The kuo-toa monitor and the kuo-toa whip appeared in Drow of the Underdark (2007). The crazed kuo-toa, the kuo-toa exalted whip, the kuo-toa harpooner, and the kuo-toa monitor appear in Monster Manual V (2007).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2013)[edit]

The kuo-toa appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).[9]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014–)[edit]

The kuo-toa appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2014).


Kuo-toa have scaly, bipedal bodies with fish-like heads.


Kuo-toa often raid seaside settlements for human victims. Most worship the goddess Blibdoolpoolp, though a few remote tribes worship Dagon.

Kuo-toa in various campaign settings[edit]

Kuo-toa in the Forgotten Realms[edit]

In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting kuo-toans maintain friendly relations with drow, their Underdark neighbours. Blibdoolpoolp is the focus of the kuo-toans' lives, and even has her own monstrous, deformed kuo-toa breed—the giant kuo-toa leviathan. They have total hatred for the sahuagin, another aquatic race.

In The Sellswords book series, Jarlaxle comments to his drow compatriots that a monk (referring to Grandmaster Kane) fights in the same manner as the kuo-toa, using their body as a weapon.

Kuo-toa in Greyhawk[edit]

In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting, kuo-toa settlements are known to exist in the Underdark, near the Vault of the Drow beneath the Hellfurnaces.


Additional reading[edit]