Monsters in Dungeons & Dragons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A pair of gnolls – hyena-headed humanoids

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the term monster refers to a variety of creatures, some adapted from folklore and legends and others invented specifically for the game. Included are traditional monsters such as dragons, supernatural creatures such as ghosts, and mundane or fantastic animals.[1] A defining feature of the game,[2]: 5  is that monsters are typically obstacles that players must overcome to progress through the game.[3] Beginning with the first edition in 1974, a catalog of game monsters (bestiary) was included along with other game manuals, first called Monsters & Treasure and now called the Monster Manual. As an essential part of Dungeons & Dragons, many of its monsters have become iconic and recognizable even outside D&D, becoming influential in video games, fiction, and popular culture.[4]

Origins[edit]

While many "bizarre and grotesque creatures" are original creations of Dungeons & Dragons,[2]: 5  the inspiration for others includes mythology, medieval bestiaries, science-fiction, fantasy literature, and film.[4] Mauricio Rangel Jiménez goes so far to say that a basic knowledge of mythology, religion and fantasy is required to keep pace with the game,[5] although the "creatures were unbound by time or place" of their original sources and co-creator Gary Gygax "made them coexist in a single aggregate world".[6] With regard to pre-modern sources, scholar Laurent Di Filippo remarked that game creators often do not rely directly on original texts. Rather the material undergoes "cultural processes of transmission which go from medieval sources to the productions of contemporary cultural industries [...]. These transformations may be the result of translations or adaptations. This process of continuous evolution which involves both permanence and change is called "work on myth [Arbeit am Mythos]" by the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg."[7][8]

Because of their broad, inclusive background, D&D monsters have been called a pastiche of sources.[1] In some cases, this has resulted in legal battles, such as when names taken from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien had to be changed due to copyright disputes.[4]

In game books, monsters are typically presented with illustrations, game statistics,[8] and a detailed description. Monsters may be adapted to fit the needs of the game's writers and publishers, such as by describing combat abilities that may have been absent or only implied by an original source. Artistic renderings of various creatures have been a central tool for immersion in the game from the point of its creation.[2]: 5, 19–28 

Influence and criticism[edit]

The monsters of Dungeons & Dragons have significantly influenced modern fantasy fiction, ranging from licensed fiction to how monsters are portrayed in fantasy fiction generally. The scope of this influence has been compared to the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.[4] In a 2005 interview, author China Miéville stated,

"I use AD&D-type fascination with teratology in a lot of my books, and I have the original Monster Manual, and the Monster Manual 2, and the Fiend Folio. I still collect role-playing game bestiaries, because I find that kind of fascination with the creation of the monstrous tremendously inspiring."[9]

References and homages to Dungeons & Dragons monsters can be found in works such as Adventure Time, and the game's monsters have inspired tributes that both celebrate and mock various creatures. A 2013 io9 retrospective detailed memorable monsters,[10] and in 2018 SyFy Wire published a list of "The 9 Scariest, Most Unforgettable Monsters From Dungeons & Dragons",[11] and in the same year Screen Rant published a list of the game's "10 Most Powerful (And 10 Weakest) Monsters, Ranked".[12] Other writers have highlighted the game's more odd or eccentric creations, such as Geek.com's list of "The most underrated monsters of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons",[13] The Escapist's list of "The Dumbest Dungeons & Dragons Monsters Ever (And How To Use Them)",[14] and Cracked.com's "15 Idiotic Dungeons and Dragons Monsters".[15] The number and variety of different monsters contributes to keeping the game interesting and forces players to think about employing diverse strategies.[16][17]: XIV–XI 

The monsters of Dungeons & Dragons have received criticism from multiple sources. In addition to other game elements, the presence of magical or demonic monsters has provoked moral panics among religious conservatives.[18] The game's emphasis on slaying monsters has also elicited negative commentary. As monsters have traditionally been defined by the number of "experience points" they award when killed, the game has been said to promote a "sociopathic" violence where the dungeon master "merely referees one imagined slaughter after another."[19] Nicholas J. Mizer, in contrast, suggested that experience through combat was an in-game variation on Thorstein Veblen's theory that application of the "predatory spirit" of humans to warfare could lead to high standing in society.[20]

Some female monsters, such as the nymph and succubus, were seen by Philip J. Clements as an instance of the sexist tropes the game draws on which presented female sexuality as inherently dangerous.[21]

Monster types[edit]

Many kinds of monsters can be classified into typologies based on their common characteristics, and various books and game guides have been produced focusing on specific kinds of monsters.[22]: 134 [23][24] Such groupings include humanoids, monstrosities, dragons, giants, undead, aberrations, fiends, celestials, fey, elementals, constructs, oozes and plants; and beasts.[17]: V–VII  There is some flexibility within these groupings. For example, many kinds of creatures can become undead or can be used to form magical constructs.

The 3rd edition of the game also used a broader type named "outsiders", encompassing any creature from the Outer Planes[25] or Inner Planes.[26]

Notable monsters[edit]

Monster Manual (1977)[edit]

The Monster Manual (1977) was the initial monster book for the first edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game, published by TSR, Inc. in 1977. Gary Gygax wrote much of the work himself, having included and expanded most of the monsters from the previous D&D supplements. Also included are monsters originally printed in The Strategic Review, as well as some originally found in early issues of The Dragon and other early game materials. This book expanded on the original monster format by including the stat lines on the same page as the monsters' descriptions and introducing more stats, expanding the length of most monster descriptions, and featuring illustrations for most of the monsters.[27] The book contains a treasure chart and an index of major listings.[27]

Creature Page Other appearances Variants Description
Beholder 10 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974), Dragon #76 "The Ecology of the Beholder" (1983), D&D Companion Rules (1984), MC1 – Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991), Monstrous Manual (1993), I, Tyrant (1996), Monster Manual (2000), Monster Manual v.3.5 (2003), D&D Miniatures: Deathknell set #32 (2005) Hateful, aggressive, avaricious spherical monster that is most frequently found underground
Bulette 12 Dragon #1 (1976), Dragon #74 "The Ecology of the Bulette" (1983), MC2 – Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989), Monstrous Manual (1993), Monster Manual (2000), Monster Manual v.3.5 (2003), D&D Miniatures: Giants of Legend set #67 (2004) This "slow-witted, roughly bullet-shaped" monster also known as landshark[2]: 66  burrows underground and feeds on humans, horses, and halflings. Originally inspired by a cheap plastic toy,[4][2]: 66  the bulette was one of the first monsters specifically created for D&D,[28] and has been included in every edition of D&D, although various aspects of the monster have changed from edition to edition. Author Keith Ammann called bulettes "brutes tailor-made to give your players jump scares" and found its preferences and aversions for the meat of different humanoid races "ludicrous".[17]: 157–158  BoLS writer J.R. Zambrano found it "kind of goofy" and a "really fun monster to fight".[29] It has appeared in several other media.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36]
Devil 20-23 Don Turnbull considered the devils the most prominent among the new monsters introduced in the Monster Manual: "they are all pretty strong and compare not unfavourably in this respect with the Demons we already know".[37]
Displacer beast 28 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974), D&D Basic Set (1977), D&D Expert Set (1981, 1983), Dragon #109 "The Ecology of the Displacer Beast" (1986), MC 1 – Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991), Monstrous Manual (1993), Monster Manual (2000), Monster Manual v.3.5 (2003) (also includes a Pack Lord), D&D Miniatures: Harbinger set #41 (2003), D&D Miniatures: War of the Dragon Queen set #29 (2006) (Displacer Beast Pack Lord), D&D Miniatures: Unhallowed set #37 (2007) (Displacer Beast Manhunter) Panther-like beast, that always appears to be three feet away from its actual position
Gelatinous cube 43 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974) Cubic scavengers, who cleanse living organism and carrion from the floor and walls of underground passageways
Hell hound 51 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974) Not from the material plane, breathes out scorching fire. Don Turnbull noted that the breath weapon of the "much-feared" hell hound has been altered from its previous appearance.[37]
Ki-rin 57 Eldritch Wizardry (1976),[38] Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[39] Monstrous Manual (1993),[40] psionic variant of the ki-rin in The Complete Psionics Handbook (1991),[41] third edition Oriental Adventures (2001)[42] Race of lawful good aerial creatures that will aid humans if the need to combat evil is great
An obituary to Gary Gygax specifically highlights the Ki-rin as an example of the way in which D&D embraces world culture and folklore.[6]
Lich 61 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974) Created with the use of powerful and arcane magic, formerly ultra powerful magic-users now non-human and non-living
Mimic 70 Subterranean creatures that are able to perfectly mimic stone and wood
Mind flayer 70 Eldritch Wizardry Evil subterranean creature that considers humanity as cattle to feed upon, draws forth brains with its tentacles
Mummy 72 Dungeons & Dragons set (1974) Undead humans that retain a semblance of life and seek to destroy living things. Don Turnbull noted that the mummy was revised from its previous statistics, and could now cause paralysis on sight (as a result of fear).[37]
Night hag 73 Rule the convoluted planes of Hades, form larvae (see above) from evil persons they slay, and sell to demons and devils. Don Turnbull referred to the night hag as "splendid" and notes that the illustration of the night hag is the best drawing in the book.[37]
Otyugh 77 Weird omnivorous scavengers whose diet consists of dung, offal, and carrion, always found underground. Don Turnbull referred to the otyugh as a "most interesting creation".[37]
Owlbear 77 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974) Horrible creatures that inhabit tangled forest regions, attacks with great claws and snapping beak
Rust monster 83 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974) Large armored tick-like monster which devours metals. An original invention for the game and its artificial underground world, the appearance of the rust monster was inspired by a plastic toy from Hong Kong.[43][2]: 66  It was ranked among the most memorable as well as obnoxious creatures in the game, terrifying to certain characters and their players not due to their ability to fight but to destroy their items.[4][44][10][2]: 91, 93 [45] Chris Sims of the on-line magazine Comics Alliance referred to the rust monster as "the most feared D&D monster".[46]
Shadow 86 Supplement I: Greyhawk (1974) Horrible undead creatures that drain strength merely by touching an opponent. Don Turnbull noted his disappointment that the shadow in the Monster Manual is of the undead class and thus subject to a cleric's turn undead ability: "I used to enjoy seeing clerics vainly trying to turn what wouldn't turn, when Shadows were first met".[37]

Fiend Folio (1981)[edit]

The Fiend Folio: Tome of Creatures Malevolent and Benign was the second monster book for the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, published in 1981. The Fiend Folio consisted mostly of monsters submitted to White Dwarf's "Fiend Factory" column. The monsters in this book are presented in the same format as those in the previous Monster Manual work, and most featured illustrations of the monsters[47]

Creature Page Other appearances Variants Description
Al-mi'raj 11–12 MC14 – Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992) Based on Al-mi'raj "in Islamic poetry, a yellow hare with a single black horn on its head."[48] Counted among the saddest, lamest creatures in Fiend Folio by artist Sean McCarthy, a hybrid creature with physiology resulting from maladaptation rather than evil.[49]
Carbuncle 17–18 White Dwarf #8 (1978), Best of White Dwarf Scenarios (1980), Tome of Horrors (2002) Armadillo-like creature with a jewel in its head, counted among the saddest, lamest entries in Fiend Folio by artist Sean McCarthy, a hybrid creature with physiology resulting from maladaptation rather than evil.[49]
Frost man 40 Frostburn (2004) (as Frost folk) Geek.com included this humanoid in its list of "most underrated monsters" and commented referring to the Fiend Folio image: "with his ability to radiate Frost, well manicured beard, magnificent head of hair, hatchet, eye patch, caveman style outfit, and comfortable shoes, the Frost Man is the entire package".[13]

Monster Manual II (1983)[edit]

Monster Manual II was the third and final monster book for the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, published in 1983, and has the largest page count of the three. As with the Monster Manual, this book was written primarily by Gary Gygax. This book contains a number of monsters that previously appeared in limited circulation and a large amount of its contents was entirely new at publication. The monsters in this book are presented in the same format as the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio.[50]

Creature Page Other appearances Variants Description
Bat, giant 14 D&D Basic Set (1981), D&D Basic Set (1983), MC1 – Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991), Monstrous Manual (1993) The giant bat in the Fiend Folio is exactly what its name would suggest—a giant form of bat with a 6' wingspan. White Dwarf reviewer Jamie Thomson commented on the giant bat, noting that it "seems an obvious choice for D&D".[51]
Death dog 23 White Dwarf reviewer Jamie Thomson commented on the death dog, which is "rumored to be a descendant of Cerberus".[51]
Executioner's hood 64 Hood-shaped monster that functions as a trap which "envelops a victim's head and slowly strangles them". Included in Geek.com's list of "The most underrated monsters of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons": After pouring alcohol on the creature as a creative way to defeat it, it may make "the coolest party mascot/drinking buddy in all the realms".[13]
Grue, elemental 72–74 Described are the chagrin, harginn, ildriss, and verrdig. White Dwarf reviewer Megan C. Evans referred to the grues as "a collection of terrifying beasties from the Elemental Planes".[51]
Stegocentipede 114–115 Lawrence Schick described the stegocentipede as "a giant arthropod notable for its twin row of back plates (wow!)"[22]: 106–107 
Stench kow 115 Monstrous Manual (1993), Polyhedron #133 (December 1998), Tome of Horror (2002), pp. 243–244 from Necromancer Games Lawrence Schick described the stench kow as "a monstrous bison that smells real bad".[22]

Fiends[edit]

Fiend is a term used in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game to refer to any malicious otherworldly creatures within the Dungeons & Dragons universe. These include various races of demons and devils that are of an evil alignment and hail from the Lower Planes. All fiends are extraplanar outsiders. Fiends have been considered among "D&D's most classic monsters".[52]

Demons[edit]

Demons are a chaotic evil race native to the Abyss; they are rapacious, cruel and arbitrary. They are also portrayed as more widespread than other races of fiends, as the Abyss and its population are both theoretically infinite in size. The dominant race of demons is the tanar'ri (/təˈnɑːri/). "True" tanar'ri such as the balors (originally called Balrogs) and the six-armed serpentine mariliths push other weaker tanar'ri around and organise them into makeshift armies for battle. Demon lords and demon princes such as Orcus, Demogorgon, Juiblex, Zuggtmoy, Graz'zt,[53] and countless others are said to rule over the demons of their individual layers of the Abyss, as much as the chaotic demons can be ruled over.

Devils[edit]

The devils, of which the ruling type are called baatezu (/bˈɑːtɛz/),[54] are lawful evil natives of the Nine Hells of Baator; they are said to subjugate the weak and rule tyrannically over their domains. Pit fiends are the most powerful baatezu, though even the strongest pit fiends are surpassed by the Lords of the Nine, or Archdevils, whose ranks include Baalzebul, Mephistopheles, and Asmodeus. Unlike the demons, the devils are described as arranged in a strict hierarchy. Like the demons, the devils are scheming backstabbers; while a demon only keeps its words when it is convenient for it, a devil keeps its word all too well—they are said to be used to exploiting repressive bureaucratic machinations to the fullest and thus always know all ways around the letter of a contract to begin with. The tanar'ri and the baatezu hold an eternal enmity for one another and wage the Blood War against one another.

Yugoloths[edit]

The yugoloths (called daemons in 1st edition D&D) are neutral evil natives of the Bleak Eternity of Gehenna and the Gray Wastes of Hades; they are neutral to the affairs of the other fiendish races, interfering only when they see a situation that may be profitable or a potential for the advancement of their own schemes. The yugoloths are portrayed as manipulative, secretive, and mercenary by nature, often acting as soldiers for deities in their own private wars, or even at times aiding both sides of the Blood War. In 4th Edition, the yugoloths are considered to be demons, and their previously standard naming convention of "loth" is replaced by "demon" (Ex. the Mezzoloth is the 4e Mezzodemon). In fifth edition, yugoloths are listed as neutral evil fiends under their original names.

Other fiends[edit]

Demodands[edit]

The demodands are race of evil fiends that live on the plane of Carceri (Tarterus in 1st edition D&D). Demodands were introduced in the 1st edition supplement Monster Manual II, renamed as gehreleths in the 2nd edition Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix, and reintroduced as demodands in the 3rd edition sourcebook Fiend Folio. In 1st edition D&D, the three types of demodands from weakest to strongest were tarry, slime, and shaggy. In 2nd and 3rd editions, the three types are farastu, kelubar, and shator.

Hordlings[edit]

The hordlings are fiends that form the hordes of the Gray Waste of Hades. They first appeared in the 1st edition supplement Monster Manual II. Hordlings wander the Gray Waste preying upon everything they come across, even other hordlings. Hordlings vary greatly in appearance. It is said that hordlings evolved from larvae whose hatred was so unique, their souls became individual. The hordlings can be summoned using an artifact known as the Bringer of Doom, which was created around the time of the Invoked Devastation of Greyhawk. Hordlings are the most common inhabitants of the Gray Waste. They also occasionally roam the other Lower Planes as well.

Kython[edit]

The kythons (not to be confused with kytons, which are chain devils Baatezu) are distinct from the other fiends in that they did not originate on any of the lower planes. When a group of fiends (the Galchutt, from Monte Cook's Chaositech and Ptolus) were trapped on the Material Plane, they tried creating more of their own kind through magical means. The results were eyeless reptilian creatures with insectoid traits and neutral evil traits. As the kythons matured, they took on varied forms. None of them were loyal to the fiends that created them. Because kythons originated on the Material Plane instead of the Abyss (or another lower plane), they are also called earth-bound demons. Kythons are only interested in eating and breeding. They have spread rapidly across the Material Plane. The current hierarchy of kythons, from the weakest to the strongest is: broodlings, juveniles, adults, impalers, slaymasters, and slaughterkings. Eventually, with more time, kythons will grow into newer and more powerful forms. Kythons closely resemble xenomorphs. They were originally created for Monte Cook's Ptolus campaign, based on some gaming miniatures he had bought, and were added by him to the Book of Vile Darkness absent the context of the Galchutt, who did not appear until later on in Chaositech.

Cook originally planned on perhaps renaming them so their name was not quite so similar to kytons, or chain devils, as well as other episodes of Cook's Ptolus campaign to see how they were originally used.[55]

Night hags[edit]

Night hags are fiends from the Gray Wastes of Hades that traffic in the souls of mortals in 3rd edition sources. In 5th edition they come from the Feywild and are exiled to the Gray Wastes of Hades.[56][57]

Rakshasas[edit]

Rakshasas are fiends (often tiger-headed) that may have originated on Acheron according to 3rd edition sources. In 5th edition they originated in the Nine Hells.[58]

Slaad[edit]

In the 4th edition game, Slaadi are chaotic evil and originate out of the Elemental Chaos. This is markedly different from the portrayal of Slaadi in all prior editions of the game, when they were chaotic neutral natives of Limbo and thus not fiends.

Half-fiends and fiendish creatures[edit]

The cambions (whose name comes from a different kind of mythological, demonic creature) are simply half-fiends; hybrids of fiends and non-fiendish creatures, often humans or other humanoids. Cambions are typically created through fiends raping mortals or seducing them after shape-shifting, although some of the most depraved beings actually participate willingly. Those cambions that actually survive birth typically look like grotesque, hellish variants of their mortal progenitors, having wings, claws, fangs and often many other features that reveal their fiendish origins. Cambions are usually outcast, being feared and hated in mortal societies for their fiendish origins and being derided by pure-blooded fiends for their impure heritage. A variant of cambion called durzagon is described in 3.5 edition of the Monster Manual II and is the hybrid of a devil and an unsuspecting duergar. The fiendish creatures are simply fiendish versions of other species in Dungeons & Dragons. They typically look like fearsome travesties of beings from the Material Plane. Most fiendish species are divided into a number of variants, usually in a hierarchy of increasing power and cunning.

Hecatoncheires[edit]

The hecatoncheires in the game is based on the creature with the same name from Greek mythology.[12] Like their counterparts, D&D's hecatoncheires were presented as giants with one-hundred arms and fifty heads in early editions. They also had the ability to throw a whole "barrage of boulders" at their enemies.[59] In later editions their description was changed to "abominations that are formed from the fusion of one-hundred beings."[12] In another version they were reduced in power, appearing as "a mere four-armed giant".[59] They were considered among the deadliest monsters of D&D by several reviewers.[12][59][60] Marley King from Screen Rant recommended the hecatoncheires for Dungeons Masters to pit against high-level parties as a monster that is not "too cliché". He commented that - aside from the monster's many attacks, and high perception - it was given "incredible martial prowess" in the game, hearkening back to the importance of skill in battle in the culture it was taken from.[61] Nicholas Montegriffo from The Gamer called them "worthy foes for epic heroes" and found the down-scaling of offensively usable arms sad.[59]

Controversy and related changes between editions[edit]

The inclusion of demons and devils proved controversial among critics of Dungeons & Dragons.[62][63] TSR eliminated most references to occult symbols, demons, and devils from the second edition of the game. When the creatures were reintroduced in the Monstrous Compendium supplement MC8: The Outer Planes, the terms "baatezu", "tanar'ri", "yugoloth", and "gehreleth" were introduced and were used exclusively in place of the terms "devil", "demon", "daemon", and "demodand", respectively.[64][65]

Following a more relaxed attitude towards the hobby, Wizards of the Coast reinserted many of these excised references in the third edition of the game. They kept intact the terms they had been replaced with, using both when applicable to appeal both to older players and those who played in subsequent editions of the game. While the 1st edition of AD&D used the term "Daemon", all subsequent editions beginning with 2nd edition have used the term "yugoloth" for the same creatures.

Reception[edit]

Fiends were considered among the "standard repertoire of 'Monsters'" in the game by Fabian Perlini-Pfister.[66][note 1]

Blood War[edit]

The Blood War concept was introduced as part of the new background for the outer planes in 1991's Monstrous Compendium Volume Outer Planes Appendix. The conflict is depicted as a bitter war of annihilation between the baatezu race and the tanar'ri; an absolute, all encompassing, and virtually eternal struggle.[67] Trenton Webb of Arcane magazine wrote, "the fate of all the planes hangs on its outcome".[68] The Blood War was thoroughly detailed in various books throughout the Planescape setting, particularly the 1996 boxed set Hellbound: The Blood War.[64] The 4th edition of D&D's Manual of the Planes updated the Blood War into a smoldering cold war that was formerly an all-out war.[citation needed]

The Blood War has been given various causes across different game books. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss attributes it to an offshoot of the primordial battles between law and chaos, continued out of violent and sadistic stubbornness.[69][70] Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells depicts Asmodeus as a formerly angelic being tasked with fighting an eternal war against the demons. When he and his followers take on demonic traits to better combat their foes, these angels, now deemed devils, are either exiled to or granted (depending on perspective) their own plane, where they fight the Blood War without disturbing the primordial lords of order. This is depicted as possibly being self-serving historical revisionism.[70] The Guide to Hell instead portrays the Blood War as a distraction by Asmodeus to hide his true goal of usurping divine power and reshaping the multiverse.[71] Later official materials claim Asmodeus possesses a piece of the pure elemental chaos Tharizdun used to create the Abyss. The demons are drawn to this and seek to reclaim it.[71]

Tarrasque[edit]

The tarrasque is a gigantic lizard-like creature which exists only to eat, kill, and destroy, "the most dreaded monster native to the Prime Material plane".[72] The tarrasque was introduced in 1983 in the Monster Manual II, in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.[50] It is very loosely based upon the French legend of the tarasque.[48]

It is very large, 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 70 feet (21 meters) long, and has a Tyrannosaurus rex–like form, although it is much more broad and muscular, with a differently shaped head, and with larger and more developed front arms. It has brown skin, with scabs and warts and bits of encrusted dung all over it which are grey in color. Protecting its back and tail is a thick, glossy caramel-colored shell or carapace. It has spikes coming from its chin, the sides of the mouth, the underside of its neck, the elbows of its front arms, and its shell. The creature also has two horns projecting forwards from the top of its head.

The tarrasque's skin is very hard and thick, and provides excellent armor. It is immune or resistant to most offensive magic, and regenerates damage quickly.

The second edition of the game included rules for extracting treasure from the creature's carcass. In the Spelljammer series, the accessory Practical Planetology suggests the tarrasques originate from the planet Falx. Several hundred tarrasques live there,[73] where they feed upon the native Imbul, a lizard-like creature.[74] In the 4th edition of the game, the tarrasque is listed as an "abomination" and classed as a "Gargantuan elemental magical beast"—a living engine of death and destruction created by a primordial race for use as a weapon against the gods.

The tarrasque has been called "a creature that embodies wanton destruction"[75] and "singularly deadly"[76] and been compared to a kaiju.[17]: 221  It was ranked No. 2 on the list of the ten best high-level monsters in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies.[75] Rob Bricken from io9 named the tarrasque as the 10th most memorable D&D monster.[44] Screen Rant compiled a list of the game's "10 Most Powerful (And 10 Weakest) Monsters, Ranked" in 2018, calling this one of the strongest, saying "There are a lot of giant monsters that roam the various Dungeons & Dragons worlds, but none is more feared than the Tarrasque. This creature is an engine of destruction and it can crush entire cities in a single rampage."[12] Backstab reviewer Michaël Croitoriu highlights the tarrasque among the monsters rated upwards from 2nd to 3rd edition, and wishes good luck to the adventurers having the temerity to attack it.[77]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fabian Perlini-Pfister uses the word "demon" instead of fiend, but uses "Asmodeus and succubi" as examples.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chrulew, Matthew (2006). ""Masters of the Wild": Animals and the Environment in Dungeons & Dragons" (PDF). Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies. 32 (1): 135–168. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-02-24. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Witwer, Michael; Newman, Kyle; Peterson, Jonathan; Witwer, Sam; Manganiello, Joe (October 2018). Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: a visual history. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9780399580949. OCLC 1033548473.
  3. ^ Di Filippo, Laurent (2018). "La mythologie nordique dans Donjons & Dragons - Entre réception et stéréotypes" [Norse mythology in Dungeons & Dragons - Between reception and stereotypes]. Les clichés dans l'histoire. Fest'Ain d'Histoire (in French). Chazey-sur-Ain: Didaskalie. pp. 75–90.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Forest, Richard W. (2014). "Dungeons & Dragons, Monsters in". In Weinstock, Jeffrey (ed.). The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters. Ashgate Publishing.
  5. ^ Rangel Jiménez, Mauricio (2021). Lanzando los dados: aproximaciones académicas a los juegos de rol (in Spanish). Universidad Iberoamericana. ISBN 978-607-417-763-3.
  6. ^ a b Jonathan Rubin, "Farewell to the Dungeon Master: How D&D creator Gary Gygax changed geekdom forever Archived 2011-09-21 at the Wayback Machine," Slate (March 6, 2008).
  7. ^ Di Filippo, Laurent (2018). "La mythologie nordique dans Donjons & Dragons - Entre réception et stéréotypes" [Norse mythology in Dungeons & Dragons - Between reception and stereotypes]. Les clichés dans l'histoire. Fest'Ain d'Histoire (in French). Chazey-sur-Ain: Didaskalie. pp. 75–90.
  8. ^ a b Duffy, William S. (2018). 20-sided monsters: The Adaptation of Greek Mythology to Dungeons and Dragons (PDF). Casting Die: Classical Reception in Gaming. CAMWS. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  9. ^ "An Interview with China Mieville". Believer Magazine. April 1, 2005. Archived from the original on October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "The 10 Most Memorable Dungeons & Dragons Monsters". io9. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 28 October 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  11. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (October 24, 2018). "The 9 scariest, most unforgettable monsters from Dungeons & Dragons". SYFY WIRE. Archived from the original on April 29, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e Baird, Scott (May 20, 2018). "Dungeons & Dragons: 10 Most Powerful (And 10 Weakest) Monsters, Ranked". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on February 5, 2022. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c "The most underrated monsters of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons". June 27, 2016. Archived from the original on October 2, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  14. ^ "The Dumbest Dungeons & Dragons Monsters Ever (And How To Use Them) | Tabletop | The Escapist". v1.escapistmagazine.com. 25 April 2014. Archived from the original on 30 September 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Cracked.com - America's Only Humor Site | Cracked.com". Cracked.com. Archived from the original on 2019-10-03. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  16. ^ Tessier, Philippe (November 2000). "Baldur's Gate II". Review. Backstab (in French). No. 24. pp. 90–91.
  17. ^ a b c d Ammann, Keith (2019). The Monsters Know What They're Doing: Combat Tactics for Dungeon Masters. Saga Press. ISBN 978-1982122669.
  18. ^ "Monstrous Futures: Dungeons & Dragons, Harbinger of the "None" Generation, Turns 40". Religion Dispatches. September 21, 2014. Archived from the original on March 26, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  19. ^ Erik Sofge (2008-03-10). "With Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax created a monster". Slate.com. Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  20. ^ Mizer, Nicholas J. (22 November 2019). Tabletop role-playing games and the experience of imagined worlds. Cham, Switzerland. p. 34. ISBN 978-3-030-29127-3. OCLC 1129162802.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  21. ^ Clements, Philip J. (December 2019). Dungeons & Discourse: Intersectional Identities in Dungeons & Dragons (PhD). Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  22. ^ a b c Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
  23. ^ Swan, Rick (April 1993). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR (#192): 86.
  24. ^ stylo (February 2001). "D&D: Monster Manual". Envoyer (in German). No. 52. FZ Werbung Hannover. ISSN 1433-2892. Archived from the original on 2002-05-30.
  25. ^ Clements, Philip J. (December 2019). Dungeons & Discourse: Intersectional Identities in Dungeons & Dragons (PhD thesis). p. 68. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  26. ^ Williams, Skip; Tweet, Jonathan; Cook, Monte (July 2003). Monster Manual. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  27. ^ a b Gygax, Gary (1977). Monster Manual. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR Hobbies. ISBN 0-935696-00-8. OCLC 4592523.
  28. ^ Hergenrader, Trent (2019). Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1-3500-1667-5.
  29. ^ Zambrano, J.R. (2016-12-16). "D&D: Monster Spotlight – Bulette". belloflostsouls.net. Archived from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  30. ^ Clinton Boomer, Jason Bulmahn, Joshua J. Frost, Nicolas Logue, Robert McCreary, Jason Nelson, Richard Pett, Sean K Reynolds, James L. Sutter, and Greg A. Vaughan. Dungeon Denizens Revisited (Paizo, 2009)
  31. ^ Allender, Jeff (1997). "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: TSR - 1991". Jeff Allender's House of Checklists. Archived from the original on 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  32. ^ "Mapventures Products". RPGNow.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  33. ^ "The Oath of Kortis" (PDF). Mapventures. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  34. ^ "Behind the Monsters: Bulette". Your Games Now. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  35. ^ "Bulette (Land Shark)". Joseph Wu Origami Inc. Archived from the original on 2010-10-09. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  36. ^ "Tricky's Complete Walkthrough for Eye of the Beholder II - The Legend of Darkmoon (PC)". GameFAQs. gamefaqs.com. 2007-11-25. Archived from the original on 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  37. ^ a b c d e f Turnbull, Don (August–September 1978). "Open Box". White Dwarf (8): 16–17.
  38. ^ Gygax, Gary; Blume, Brian (1976), Eldritch Wizardry (1 ed.), Lake Geneva, WI: TSR
  39. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  40. ^ Doug Stewart, ed. (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. TSR, Inc. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  41. ^ Winter, Steve. The Complete Psionics Handbook (TSR, 1991)
  42. ^ Wyatt, James. Oriental Adventures (Wizards of the Coast, 2001)
  43. ^ ONeill, John (2014-01-28). "On the Origins of the Rust Monster". Black Gate. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  44. ^ a b Bricken, Rob (2013-09-16). "The 10 Most Memorable Dungeons & Dragons Monsters". io9. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  45. ^ Ewalt, David M. (2013). Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. Scribner. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-4516-4052-6.
  46. ^ Sims, Chris (2012-10-19). "Ask Chris #125: The Greatest Monsters in 'Dungeons & Dragons'". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  47. ^ Turnbull, Don (1981). Fiend Folio. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR Hobbies. ISBN 0-935696-21-0. OCLC 11291023.
  48. ^ a b DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2011-12-30. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  49. ^ a b McCarthy, Sean (2011-11-06). Allison, Tavis (ed.). Panel Discussion. D&D in Contemporary Art. New York. Archived from the original on 2019-12-22. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  50. ^ a b Gygax, Gary (1983). Monster Manual II. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2873-5.
  51. ^ a b c Thomson, Jamie (Dec 1981 – Jan 1982). "Open Box". White Dwarf (review). Games Workshop (28): 14.
  52. ^ Biddle, Tyler (2016-11-15). "Volo's Guide to Monsters Review". Nerd Sourced. Retrieved 2024-01-17.
  53. ^ Colohan, Daniel (June 13, 2021). "D&D: Top 10 Demon Lords Your Party Will Fear". CBR. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  54. ^ LaFountain, J. Paul (1991). Brown, Timothy B. (ed.). Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix. TSR, Inc. p. 4. ISBN 1-56076-055-9.
  55. ^ Cook, Monte (2001-04-28). "Ptolus". Archived from the original on 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
  56. ^ Crawford, Jeremy, ed. (2014). D&D Monster manual (Fifth ed.). Wizards of the Coast. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7869-6561-8.
  57. ^ Stang, Sarah; Trammel, Aaron (2019). "The Ludic Bestiary: Misogynistic Tropes of Female Monstrosity in Dungeons & Dragons". Games and Culture. 15 (6): 730–747. doi:10.1177/1555412019850059. S2CID 181779195.
  58. ^ Crawford, Jeremy, ed. (2014). D&D Monster manual (Fifth ed.). Wizards of the Coast. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-7869-6561-8.
  59. ^ a b c d Montegriffo, Nicholas (December 25, 2020). "Dungeons And Dragons: The 15 Most Powerful Monsters From D&D History". The Gamer. Archived from the original on February 18, 2022. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  60. ^ Kantor, Jonathan H. (October 10, 2018). "13 Most Powerful D&D Monsters (And 12 Weakest)". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on February 21, 2022. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  61. ^ King, Marley (December 1, 2021). "Best D&D Monsters For High-Level Parties That Aren't Too Cliché". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on February 18, 2022. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  62. ^ Appelcline, Shannon (September 4, 2015). "Orcus: Demon Prince of Undeath". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on April 4, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  63. ^ Laycock, Joseph P. (2015). Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds. Univ of California Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 9780520960565. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  64. ^ a b Appelcline, Shannon (November 17, 2014). "Monster Mythology". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on April 4, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  65. ^ Applecline, Shannon (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '70s. Evil Hat Productions. pp. 83–84.
  66. ^ Perlini-Pfister, Fabian (2011). "Philosophers with Clubs: Negotiating Cosmology and Worldviews in Dungeons & Dragons". In Bornet, Philippe; Burger, Maya (eds.). Religions in play: games, rituals, and virtual worlds. Theologischer Verlag Zürich. p. 282. ISBN 978-3-290-22010-5. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  67. ^ Brown, Timothy B. (January 1991). "The Game Wizards". Dragon (165): 89.
  68. ^ Webb, Trenton (October 1996). "Games Reviews". Arcane. Future Publishing (11): 71.
  69. ^ Jacobs, James, Erik Mona, and Ed Stark. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  70. ^ a b Laws, Robin D., and Robert J. Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006).
  71. ^ a b Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
  72. ^ Doug Stewart, ed. (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. TSR, Inc. p. 339. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  73. ^ Findley, Nigel D. Practical Planetology, p. 8, (TSR, 1991)
  74. ^ Findley, Nigel D. Practical Planetology, p. 56, (TSR, 1991)
  75. ^ a b Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Richard; Mearls, Mike (January 2009). "32: The Ten Best High-Level Monsters". Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470406397. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
  76. ^ Wischstadt, Bryon (April 2003). Faeries. Bastion Press, Inc. p. 119. ISBN 9781592630011. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
  77. ^ Croitoriu, Michaël (November 2000). "Monster Manual". Backstab (in French). 24: 76. Retrieved December 22, 2021.

Further reading[edit]