The Dungeons & Dragons pen and paper roleplay game has been around since the 70’s. Since then, the game has seen many changes in its rule structure and to the campaign settings. My introduction to the Forgotten Realms, one of D&D’s many worlds, was through my dad. I played my first game at the young age of five on a church retreat in New York. I’ve never been big on pen and paper roleplay, but I found myself invested in that world again as a teenager when I read a few excellent novels set in the Forgotten Realms universe. Its a world full of magic and mystery with the promise of adventure at every turn. And what in an adventure without its share of challenges to conquer? Those challenges often come in the form of monsters, of which there is a plethora in D&D.
This list is based on my personal opinion. For the D&D fans out there, if you have a personal favorite, not on the list, tell me about your favorites in the comments section or on twitter @EvilGeekCult and we’ll do a special commenter’s edition!
Before the pop culture phenomenon, Stranger Things, introduced the world to its monster from another dimension, another kind of Demogorgon was terrorizing adventurers who dared step into its dominion. Because the show was set in the 80’s, the Demogorgon miniature they used to represent the beast was an outdated model. Back then, it was a goofy, spindly, snake-like beast that looked like an H.P Lovecraft reject. These days, the Demogorgon looks way more menacing with its twin baboon heads and tentacle arms. There’s also the fact that its a self-proclaimed demon prince from the hellish realm known as the Abyss and suck the life out of you with its withering touch.
An iconic staple of the D&D game, Beholder’s are just plain strange to… behold(I’m not proud of that joke). They are often depicted as a giant, floating cycloptic head with tentacles sporting smaller eyes. They look like the love child of Clive Barker and the aforementioned Lovecraft. While not menacing physically, experienced adventures know that Beholders can wreck you with their magical spells, dampen magic in a given area, or put its massive jaws to use.
Balor’s belong to a class of demon known as Tanar’ri, demon lords, and are among the most powerful demons in the Abyss. Similar in appearance to the Balrog from Lord of the Rings, these massive demons sports giant bat-like wings, a whip of fire in one hand, and a giant lightning sword in the other. A 12-foot tall, 4,500 pound demon is hardly the type of thing you’d want to run into.
I’m honestly surprised we don’t see more dragons in horror. They are the iconic fantasy creature across every medium. Fighting a dragon is the most classic tale going back to antiquity. The closest thing I’ve seen to “horrifying” dragons (in film) are the dragons from the movie Reign of Fire, Smaug from The Hobbit, and Falkor from The Neverending Story(he likes children a little too much). They come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from petite to colossal. They are reptilian grim reapers, reigning all manner of elements from the sky. You don’t fuck with a dragon.
In the Forgotten Realms, there are many types of dragons, but there is one that looks straight out of a nightmare…
Dracolichs are a form of undead dragon that has willingly tied their soul to a magical reservoir know as a phylactery. If their corporeal body is destroyed, they can possess another reptilian corpse. This makes them extremely powerful and virtually immortal until their phylactery is destroyed. Whatever might the dragon had in life, whether spell or breath weapon, remains available to it plus the abilities of an undead being. They are often depicted as dragons in various states of decay, with some of their skeletal structure showing while clumps of rotten flesh still cling to the bone. Their smell is overbearing and to be in the presence of one is the true meaning of fear.
D&D fans! If you have a monster that didn’t make the cut let me know in the comments below or on twitter @EvilGeekCult.