Dungeons and Dragons is overflowing with all kinds of creatures to fight. In addition to multiple variations of its titular creature, there is undead, fiends, ghosts, celestials, orcs, and countless other types of monsters to battle in this fantasy tabletop RPG. In time for Halloween, here’s a list of thirteen of some of the scariest beings D&D has to offer. Players, be warned! Your Dungeon Master can have a great deal of fun with these.
Bodaks are creations by the demon lord of undeath himself, Orcus. The cultists of Orcus can carve his symbol over their heart to have their body, mind, and soul wiped from them, leaving behind only a ghastly husk. Bodaks seek to suck the life from everything around them, and will even hunt down both friends and enemies from their former life before the transformation. Sunlight burns away their skin, forcing them to do their dark work at night. A Bodak possesses an Aura of Annihilation strong enough to damage any around it, as well as a Death Gaze that has the potential to drop a player to zero Hit Points immediately if they fail their Saving Throw by more than five.
Devourers seek to create more undead. Standing at eight feet tall with a hollowed rib cage, Devourers hunt humanoids to satiate their hunger for souls. When players drop to zero Hit Points, a Devourer can teleport the adventurer inside its own ribcage and torture them with telepathic noise. If Dungeons and Dragons players die in this manner, their characters become a form of undead dependent on how strong they were (a zombie, a ghoul, or a wight). Devourers also can create a necrotic vortex called Soul Rend, dealing 8d10 damage to all creatures within a 40-foot diameter.
A swarm of disfigured humanoid heads glides through the skies, carried by wings that sprout in place of ears. They are Vargouille, and they seek to spread their fatal disease through a kiss. When a Vargouille kisses a creature, they become cursed. While safe in the sunlight, as soon as night falls a grisly transformation begins. There is only enough time to intervene with magic so long as the player has a high enough Charisma score. Each hour, they lose one point of Charisma. When there are only two points left, the character’s head will detach from their body as wings unfold from their ears, creating a new Vargouille. These fiends have the ability to emit a shriek that can stun those around it, giving it an opportunity to kiss another.
Atop the grave of evil necromancers, a flower begins to grow. If not burned while still a seedling, within a few months it will grow to an enormous size and rip free from the ground. Now lose and hungry, the Corpse Flower will hunt down corpses to digest to sustain its own life. Each dead humanoid that is digested by it will cause it to regain Hit Points. It also has the ability to turn these bodies into zombies that fight on its behalf. Corpse Flowers have an ability called Stench of Death, causing characters affected in your Dungeons and Dragons game to become incapacitated as they violently wretch.
The Dungeons and Dragons plane of existence known as the Shadowfell takes a toll on any unlucky visitors. Creatures known as the Sorrowsworn are embodiments of the emotions and desperation adventures feel in such a place. One of these creatures is known as The Lost. The Lost is born of fear and anxiety. They attempt to embrace any creatures they meet, but it is not a comforting one. A victim of the embrace takes psychic damage as feelings of fear and panic are transferred. The harder the player’s allies fight to free them, the harder The Lost will squeeze, making it a race against time before the adventurer’s mind is destroyed completely.
Known for their horrifying wail that can drop players to zero Hit Points instantly, Banshees were once female elves that used their beauty to control others. Now cursed in their undeath, Banshees still covet all things beautiful and haunt their old homes. They can glide through walls and even people, but steer clear of any mirrors so as not to see what they’ve become. Banshees can sense all life within five miles of them, and possess a Horrifying Visage that can cause adventures to be frightened if they fail a Saving Throw, making them easy prey for an attack.
The dark spellcasters of the world use the severed hands of murderers as their servants. Binding the spirit of the murderer into the hand, it will continue to kill and follow the orders of its creator. Still able to pick locks and turn doorknobs to creep from room to room, a Crawling Claw will go on an indiscriminate killing spree. Unaffected by Turn Undead abilities, the Crawling Claw will continue to kill all around it until stopped permanently.
Yochlols serve the Dungeons and Dragons spider goddess Lolth, acting as her personal servants and taskmasters to carry out her evil will. Yochlols can disguise their true demonic forms by taking on the guise of a female drow elf, a giant spider, or even mist. No matter what form they take, they have the Spider Climb ability to walk along walls and ceilings and their touch inflicts poison upon their victims. Cunning and manipulative, Yochlols can cast Detect Thoughts and can also cast Dominate Person, forcing their enemies to carry out the will of the spider queen.
Jailers and torturers of the Nine Hells, Chain Devils delight in causing pain and horror. The hooked chains that are continually wrapped around their bodies are used to grapple and bind their enemies. A Chain Devil can also magically manipulate other chains around it to increase its attacking capabilities. In addition to causing physical pain, Chain Devils can cause mental pain as well, using their Unnerving Mask ability to appear as a player’s departed loved one and cause the frightened condition.
Composed of stitched-together body parts, Flesh Golems serve the will of their creator in a macabre service. Resistant against magic, Flesh Golems also can take any lightning attacks thrown at them, using the power to heal themselves. Serving as containers for elemental spirits, when the body of a Flesh Golem begins to break down its likely to go berserk, flying into a mindless rage that only the golem’s creator has the ability to pacify.
Of all the hags that roam the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons, Night Hags are, perhaps, the most evil on the list. They seek to corrupt all around them and can use their ability to change form to accomplish these ends. Night Hags can use the Ethereal plane to straddle a humanoid on the other side and give them dreadful vision and nightmares. The purpose is to steer their victims into committing vile acts, and Night Hags can even use their own magic to put someone to sleep. Becoming weaker and weaker each day, when the victim dies the Night Hag is able to take the soul for themselves.
Created by the intelligent but evil race known as Mind Flayers, Intellect Devourers seek out other creatures with their intrinsic ability to Detect Sentience within 300 feet. Created from vile rituals with the brains of thralls, Intellect Devourers can reduce a player’s Intelligence to zero and can then teleport inside their head and magically consume the brain. Taking control of the body, the Intellect Devourer keeps all of its own abilities as well as all of the body’s abilities, including magic use.
Shadows resemble what is cast by humanoid bodies, but are actually undead creatures sentient on their own. They stalk the darkest places and seek the purest souls to attack. Draining the victim of all strength, the victim’s shadow then detaches itself and becomes a new undead creature. If the victim is brought back to life through magical resurrection means, they are still without their shadow, and the Shadow being created from them will hunt them down until destroyed.
Ashley is the author of the Thread of Souls book series, an avid traveler, and a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast!