There are a plethora of creatures that dominate the D&D multiverse. Some haunt your nightmares, while others inspire your dreams. They pour from beyond the stars and leak from the depths of the underworld. And I love them all.
And, not unlike Pokemon, there are many different types (though I wouldn't recommend catching all of them).
Aberrations are creatures that are utterly alien. Many of them have innate magical abilities drawn from their psionic mind rather than the mystical weave of the world. Iconic Aberrations are Aboleths, Beholders, and Mind Flayers.
Beasts are non-humanoid creatures that represent the natural part of this fantasy world's ecology. Some of them have magical powers tied to the complex natural weave, but most are unintelligent and lack any frame of society or language, aside from pack dynamics and simple ideas. Beasts include all varieties of ordinary animals, dinosaurs, and the giant versions of animals (yes, there are giant deer; don't hit them with your cart).
Celestials are creatures native to the Upper Planes. Many of them are the servants or hands of deities, employed as messengers, voices, or agents in the mortal realm and throughout the planes. Celestials are good by nature, so the exceptional celestial that strays toward the fallen path is a horrifying threat. Obviously, iconic Celestials are Angels, Couatls, and Pegasi.
Constructs are built for the job, not born. Some are programmed by their creators to follow a simple set of instructions, while others are imbued with sentience and capable of independent thoughts and feelings. Iconic constructs are usually Golems, but there are others native to the plane of Mechanus, like Modrons, that were constructed by the raw will of other powerful creatures.
Here they are, ladies and gentlemen: the staple of the game. Large reptilian creatures of ancient origin and tremendous power. True dragons, good and evil, are highly intelligent and have innate magic. Also in this category are creatures that are distantly related to true dragons, but are less intelligent and much less magical, such as Wyverns and Pseudodragons.
Elementals are creatures native to the Elemental Planes (Earth, Fire, Water, and Air, usually). Some creatures of this type are little more than animate masses of their element, including creatures simply called elementals. Others have biological forms infused with elemental energy. The races of genies, including djinn and efreet, form the most important civilizations on the elemental planes. Other elemental creatures include Azers, Invisible Stalkers, and Water Weirds.
**DM Note: The elementals in Io are considered one of the Primal Forces responsible for the birth of the universe, so the four main Elemental Planes have transitional planes (making 8 in total), and thus there can be "hybrid" elementals, but that is unique to my world.**
Fey are magical creatures closely tied to the forces of nature. They dwell in twilight groves, mystical bogs, and misty forests. In some worlds, they are closely tied to the Feywild. Some are also found in the Outer Planes, like Arborea and the Beastlands. Iconic Fey can include Dryads, Pixies, and Satyrs. There are also very powerful Fey, called Archfey, that can rule over the Feywild and may make deals with mortals in exchange for arcane power (see: Warlock).
Fiends are wicked creatures native to the Lower Planes. A few are servants of deities, but most labor under the leadership of archdevils and demon princes. Evil priests and mages sometimes summon fiends to the material world to do their bidding (but such tethers of subservience are often haphazard). If an evil Celestial is a rarity, a good Fiend is almost inconceivable. Iconic Fiends are Demons, Devils, Hell Hounds, and Rakshasas.
Giants tower over humans and their kind. They are humanlike in shape, though some have multiple heads (Ettins) or deformities (Fomorians). The six varieties of true giant are Hill Giants, Stone Giants, Frost Giants, Fire Giants, Cloud Giants, and Storm Giants. Besides these, creatures such as Ogres and Trolls are also considered giants.
Humanoids are the main peoples of the D&D world, both civilized and savage, including humans and a tremendous variety of other species. They have language and culture, few if any innate magical abilities, and a bipedal form. The most common humanoid races are the ones most suitable for player characters: humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings. Almost as numerous, but far more savage and often evil are the branches of goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears), orcs, gnolls, lizardfolk, and kobolds.
Monstrosities are monsters in the strictest sense - frightening creatures that are not ordinary, not truly natural, and almost never benign. Some are the results of magical experimentation gone haywire (like owlbears), and others are the product of terrible curses (like minotaurs). They defy categorization, and in some sense serve as a catch-all category for creatures that don't fit into any other type.
Oozes are gelatinous creatures that rarely have a fixed shape. They are mostly subterranean, dwelling in caves and underground spaces and feeding on waste, carrion, or creatures unlucky enough to get in their way. Black pudding and gelatinous oozes are probably the most recognizable.
Plants in this context are vegetable creatures, not simply ordinary flora. Most of them are ambulatory, and a few are carnivorous. Most think of the shambling mound or the treant, but fungal creatures like the gas spore or myconid also fall into this category.
Once-living creatures brought back to a horrifying state of undeath through the practice of necromantic magic or some wicked curse. Iconic undead include walking corpses, such as vampires and zombies, as well as bodiless spirits, like ghosts and spectors.
Before we delve into our individual monsters, we'll first identify and define what makes them special in how they move and sense, and then understanding what makes some of them LEGENDARY. After that, we'll start moving through nearly 30 years of lore. Let's get cookin'.
I'll see you at the table.
...With a cup of coffee.
Game On! Director, musician, music teacher, game designer, and professional game master. In short, I'M A BIG NERD.