As many of you know, all of us in the Aphesis camp are avid gamers! Between us we cover just about the entire gamut of the gaming world, however there is one game we hold above the all else... Dungeons & Dragons. Truly a better game has never existed. I (shaggy) have been playing D&D for the better part of two decades and have been a dungeon master on and off over the last 15ish Years. Here is a list of my top 5 creatures I use to make my players sweat.
- it should be noted that I exclusively play Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. Accept no substitutions!
#5 Balor (mm 3.5 pg. 40)
Ah the Balor! Powerful, classic, and a potential tpk (total party kill) machine! Coming in at a challenge rating 20, this demon is crazy powerful. The 3.5 Balor is stacked with: Damage resistance 15, spell resistance 28, immunity to electricity, fire, and poison, resistance 10 vs acid, and cold. It also has a plethora of spell like abilities, carries a vorpal sword, and can even summon other demons! Oh wait did I forget to mention that the Balor also has true seeing always on, telekinesis, and a huge stat line! Kiss those hide checks and invisibility spells good bye! This demon can rip through whole parties leaving nothing but blood and viscera in its wake. AO help the party that crosses this demon.
#4 Cadaver Collector (mm 3 pg. 22)
Ah very few monsters clock in as bad ass as the Cadaver Collector. Aside from it’s metal AF appearance, this creature is also a construct. That means it boasts some innate immunities and resistances that can really throw a wrench in your players plans. The Cadaver Collector is completely immune to magic, which means that your spell casters will likely scream and run as they try to escape their potential demise. Good thing you’ve got a tank or two in your party right? Well you might want to say your good byes to them as well as this construct is incredibly tanky as well. In addition to the Cadaver Collector’s whopping Armor class of 29, it also has damage resistance 10, and an effective breath weapon! Don’t let the CR 12 fool you, in the right circumstances this construct could take out a higher level party no problem.
#3 Rage Walker ( mm 3 pg. 132)
Oh it’s time to remind the party of their mortality? Ive got just the thing! Coming in at challenge rating 14 we have the Rage Walker! Now despite the obvious construct stylings, this creature is actually a fey being. This means that this creature is an aspect of nature itself. This creature is nature’s representation of maddening war and as such, Rage walkers tend to spawn in war torn lands that have a history of bloody conflict. Woe to any travelers whom haplessly stumble into this fey creature, as it sports some crazy abilities. First off this creature is constantly surrounded by a cloud of weapons that prevent anyone from coming too close. On the off chance you do manage to get close, Rage walkers can also induce a blood frenzy to anyone within 10’, causing them to become a mindless killing machine. Ok no problem we’ll just blast it with spells! Wrong! Aside from the massive Spell resistance 26 the Rage Walker also has the ability to repel missiles and projectiles. Oh also it can control sentient living spells. If all of this wasn’t enough rage walkers also have: damage resistance, fast healing, armor class 28, and a wicked +5 spiked chain. My advice to you is run....or maybe fly.... fly you fools!!!
#2 Mindwitness (und pg. 90)
It’s a beholder. It’s an illithid. It’s a half illithid, half beholder hybrid known as a mindwitness! Clocking in at an impressive challenge rating 16, this aberration is truly powerful. The mindwitness has the full power of both of its parent creatures. This means that like a beholder the mindwitness has: all around vision, a massive central eye that produces an anti magic cone, and 10 eye stocks that each produce a different spell like effect as a free action. Let’s not forget about the illithid abilities like: the ability to use psionic powers, telepathy, a powerful mind blast that causes a stunning effect, and the ability to extract the brain of a creature with its four tentacles. Add in an armor class of 27 and spell resistance of 21, and you got yourself a creature that should make even the strongest parties shake in their boots!
#1 other hand built characters
There are a vast many creatures is the universe of Dungeons & Dragons, however none have as much depth as the characters built by the the players and the dungeon master. I implore every budding dungeon master to spend time actually creating antagonists as if they were player characters. This allows you really dig into the narrative aspects of role playing. It’s easy to get caught up in the math and mechanics of D&D but I truly believe that the real enjoyment comes from the story. So build the enemies, give them a rich background, motivations, personality traits, flaws, desires, and ambitions. The more real they feel, the more your players will be immersed, and more engaging the game will become. This also allows the dungeon master more control over the challenge rating and is also an avenue for giving the part specific loot items
That’s my current top 5 list of D&D creatures to make your players sweat! This list changes from time to time and I’ll do my best to update it as it does. Remember the dungeon masters job is not to kill the players. The job is to tell a good story, challenge your players, and have a good time with friends!