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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Top Favorite Monsters

Okay, so I've taken you through the first Monster Manual showing you all my favorite monsters.  However, there are four that I left out because they are just so damn cool and fun to run that I had to give them their own entry.  Seriously, if you ask my players they will tell you that I will almost always throw these monsters up against them.  They also will be ranked in order of awesomeness in my opinion.

Here are my top favorite monsters:

4. The Beholder

I would say the biggest disappointment of moving over to the Pathfinder rule set is the fact that certain licensed monsters are unable to be used.  Mindflayers and Beholders are the two that immediately leap to mind.  And damn what a disappointment it is to not have access to these guys.

I love beholders mostly because they are floating eye death machines.  And it really has to be some damn impressive powers to make the players scared of what is basically a giant floating eye with even more eye stalks poking out of it.  I mean, at least the artwork got a lot better as time went on...first edition beholders looked like this:
And yeah, I know that a lot of the artwork in the original books weren't the best ever, but that's not anywhere near as scary as the 3.5 design.  And there are a lot of different beholders.  The first monster manual has the basic one, plus the minor smaller one called a gauth.  But in lots of various supplements and articles they introduce many different variations of the beholder, some more deadly then others.  Some are admittedly lame, like the Eyeball or Gouger, but still the Beholder is still a fun and deadly monster to throw at your party to watch them die screaming horribly.

3.  Giants

Ah, the giants.

By Zues' beard, I enjoy giants.  Just going off of the original giants in the monster manual, there is some good variation and also various levels of power.  From the brutish and stupid Hill Giant to the intelligent and noble Storm Giants, you have a great range to pull from.  And again, this is only just pulling from the original book.  Giants are almost always included in every new monster manual that Wizards ever puts out.

And I'm glad for every single one that I can read about.  Seriously, the list for giant variants is pretty damn long.  Some I'll admit I'd rather not bother with, but hey they can't all be gems.  My favorites are the frost giants though.  In the long running campaign setting my DM refuses to run all the way from the beginning for our new group (I'll never let that die, sir.) there is one section that involves frost giants.  Deadly, deadly frost giants.  Like, frost giants that killed my wizard in one hit.  Yeah, it was pretty bad...but hey, what can you do?  Oh yeah, include them in the game that I'm running and have them hurt and destroy my players.

Giants are big, bad and always a lot of fun to play.  As I mentioned, it is a lot of fun to play the different intelligence levels of the different giants.  And their different power levels are always good to throw in for variation.

2.  Golems

I get excited about golems, I'll admit it.  They are just too much damn fun to use!  Seriously, if you are ever lacking on something to guard a treasure or a random dungeon room, use a golem!  They don't need food or water, they never need sleep and will last forever.
It's the magical power that keeps your golems going.
Clay golems are some of my favorites, mostly because they hold to the original myth of the golem.  They are made by clerics and have one of the coolest abilities, cursed wounds.  Basically, any damage down by the clay golems require a caster level check to heal.  It's fantastic as a DM when your cleric tries to heal the party and fails their caster level checks.

Golems are kind of like giants too that they also have a ton of variations that pop up in various monster manuals and supplements.  And I really love every one.  I don't care how dumb or silly the concept (I'm looking at you stained glass golem) they are cool and fun.  Powerful and dangerous, they are also fun cause the party can potentially get their own golems to control.

But even the awesomeness of the golem pales in comparison to the number one monster on my list.  Seriously, when I started reading fantasy books if this monster was on the cover I would read it.  Didn't matter how lame or stupid the book was, I loved it for no other reason then:


I love dragons.  There is absolutely no way I will ever run a campaign without dragons showing up at some point.  If it is a published campaign that has no dragons, by Odin's Hammer I will insert it into the game.  It will be a random encounter if it has to be there will be dragons!

Okay, so again, this is another monster that gets a lot of variation throughout the various books and supplements.  I'm a big fan of the original two types, chromatic and metallic, personally and rarely use the different types.  They do have their uses though so they aren't too bad.

But my favorite thing about dragons is their versatility.  As I mentioned in other lists, you can always add different templates if you want to make them even more dangerous then before.  The other fun thing is that you can either play them as big brutish beasts that swoop in and destroy through physical means, or you can play up the intelligent/magical side of the monster.  A powerful red dragon makes a great scheming villain for the party to be pitted against throughout an entire campaign.  Especially since you can use their change shape ability to have them appear to get defeated and then come back to harass the party as a different villain.

So there you go, my absolute top favorite monsters.  This is wrapping up my last look at 3.5.  I will miss you, but my group pretty much plays Pathfinder now.  But fear not, readers.  That just means we can go through the three Bestiary books for silly and stupid monsters.  I will leave you with this:

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