10 Best D&D Monsters Not In The Core Books

There are two sides to any encounter in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. Players and their characters struggle through deadly obstacles and vicious enemies to achieve their goals, driving the story. However, to do their heroism, they need antagonists.

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As such, 5th has a large number of books containing monsters. Although the basis Monster Manual has enough variety for countless campaigns, additional books have been released to give DMs even more choice – most recently Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse. Among these monsters not in the Monster Manualsome stand out because of their design, lethality, or potential.

ten The Elder Tempest is an apocalyptic day in a creature

Tome of Mordenkainen’s Enemies adds in the Elder Elementals to 5th, creatures embodying the most destructive potential of the four elements, closer to living natural disasters than real beings. The most fearsome of the four is the Elder Storm, a living embodiment of an almost unstoppable storm.

The Ancient Storm doesn’t have to be a single encounter, it can be the overarching threat to an entire campaign. With the potential to level almost any city, it’s a very high level threat to anything in its path, rather than just something the PCs can fight and forget.

9 The Gauth lets lower level parties discover an iconic monster

The Spectator is one of the most iconic monsters in J&D, something almost every party will want to overcome at some point in their adventuring career. With their random eye rays and distinctive appearance, few creatures can create a similar experience for the viewer.

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The gauth is a weaker spectator last published in monsters of the multiverse. With the power of the spectator, many groups of adventurers may not reach a high enough level to have much hope of facing one. As such, the gauth can let similar combat occur at lower levels, creating the same terror and anticipation of random eye-beams without the certainty of death.

8 The Elder Brain Dragon is both horrifying and fascinating

One of the most infamous J&D the monsters are mind flayers, parasitic underground schemers and imperialists. Mindflayers are ready antagonists for any game, and the leaders of their hiveminds are the psionic-powered Ancient Masters. However, older masterminds can be disappointing in a fight as they are easily defeated by a more physically inclined party.

To compensate, Treasure of the Fizban Dragons features the Elder Brain Dragon. An annoying and unpleasant parasitism of one of the J&Dof the most iconic creatures, it combines the psionic power of the Elder Brain with the physical presence of a dragon to create a deadly encounter the PCs won’t soon forget.

seven The Deathlock is a suitable low level caster antagonist

It can be difficult to strike a balance at the lower levels of a J&D campaign between creating a memorable and powerful villain and overwhelming the PCs with special abilities and spells. A creature that fits the bill, included in both Tome of Mordenkainen’s Enemies and monsters of the multiverse, is the lock of death.

The Deathlocks are the perfect in-between villain when players aren’t quite ready to fight an arc’s toughest antagonist yet, but need to kill more than just henchmen. Dangerous while being well balanced for their level, they can squeeze a low level game without overwhelming them.

6 Vecna ​​The Archlich is an iconic D&D villain

Some published monsters 5th the books aren’t just generic species, but individual villains of some impact. Of all the countless villains across many J&D adventures, few have become more iconic than Vecna. One of the oldest villains of all J&Dhe appeared on shows like critical role and supported his resemblance to a monster in stranger things.

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Given a statblock in a free D&D Beyond show-related file, Vecna ​​lives up to its fearsome reputation with its 5th stats, showing powerful spellcasting and an unprecedented ability to punish player character casters. A fitting threat for the end of a campaign, only the most powerful parties can dream of winning against Vecna ​​the Archlich.

5 The Astral Dreadnought is an air patrol threat

The astral plane is one of the easiest planes to reach in Dungeons & Dragons, and which many adventurers will pass through, at the very least, at some point in their journey. Aside from its natural inhabitants like the githyanki, however, adventurers should be incredibly wary of one iconic creature: the astral battleship.

A hulking juggernaut designed to keep people from accessing the Outer Planes, the Astral Dreadnought is up to a whole pack. Along with their immense physical abilities and natural spell cancellation, they have the unique ability to transport those they swallow into a demi-plane prison. It comes with countless plot hooks baked in for any DM to enjoy.

4 Anathema Yuan-Ti Is A Good Midgame Villain

Too often, books can focus on giving players monsters to fight at the start of their adventure, or truly stunning late-game enemies for characters to fight when they’re at their peak. There are many levels between these two extremes and many obstacles for players to overcome, which reinforces the need for mid-level creatures.

The anathema of the yuan-ti, recently given a statistics block in monsters of the multiverse, is one of the tops of the genre. As manipulative infiltrators and underground cultists, the yuan-ti can fit into most campaigns, and anathema makes them a suitable leader. Directing his minions against player characters before engaging them himself with his magical and physical power, he can be a threat on many levels.

3 Orcus is one of the biggest threats in the multiverse

The endless chaos of the abyss and the demons that inhabit it are among the most infamous antagonists of all Dungeons & Dragons, and the demon lords at the top of the hierarchy have been the villains of many adventures and campaigns. The most notorious have statblocks in Tome of Enemies and monsters of the multiversewho describe them all as almost unstoppable.

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Orcus is one of the most powerful, matching his status as one of the most dangerous in the Abyss. While most parts are likely to die to him in direct combat, Orcus can serve as a campaign’s greatest villain, or a truly epic endgame threat.

2 Sword Wraith Commanders Are A Change Of Pace For The Undead

Undead creatures are common to J&D, able to challenge players from the very first adventure of a campaign to the very last. However, they can easily fall into two categories: stupid minions and bullies or high-level schemers who never want to get the party started on equal footing.

Sword Wraith Commanders split the difference, being tactical and intelligent military officers who lead from the front. Able to be used as tragic villains or obnoxious lieutenants, they have good storytelling potential that is matched only by their fun mechanics. In addition to being capable warriors themselves, they can also summon a small army once combat begins, quickly turning the tide against players.

1 Zariel is a tragic and dangerous villain

Archdevils of the Nine Hells are the flip side of the diabolical coin and equally popular choices for villains and demon lords alike. One of the best known is Zariel, the Archduke of Avernus, due to its particularity both mechanically and in its traditions. Unlike many of his kind, Zariel was once an angel who wanted nothing more to defend himself against the Abyss.

However, her fanaticism and love of battle caused her to fall and become an archdevil, still determined to fulfill the duty she once performed as an angel. Besides being oddly friendly for an Archdevil, it also affects Zariel mechanically, with her statblock containing elements of angels and demons. It has a lot of potential both in storytelling and in gameplay, so much so that a large part of the campaign Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus is centered around it.

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Colin L. Johnson