My Favorite d20 Monsters revised

Derek Holland

Considering all the new products that have come out in the last three year, it should be no suprise that I have some additional critters for this list. Most are for Pathfinder but there is one additional 3.5 monster.

Ironically I have fewer d20 favorites than D&D even though there are a great deal more of the former. This list includes one template I forgot was a template when I was writing up the blog post on templates and one very non-standard creature. So in alphabetical order:

The arcane evolutionary is found in the Nemesis Bestiary from Otherverse. Is is a flying fish man-thing that has a lot of magical abilities. If it is slain by an arcane caster, its death energies mutate them, providing a physical change and magical ability.

Bosch fiend from Creature Weekly 4 (Octavirate) is an evil outsider based on the artwork of Bosch. It is built like an astral construct, by using a few menus to customize the resulting monster. I think there should be more creatures like this, especially creatures of chaos (something to replace slaadi). Or those suffering magical or alchemical pollution.

Deadgems are from Creature Weekly 1. They are the template. A deadgem is a skeleton embedded in either red (arcane powers) or green (psionic) gemstone. When a deadgem sees something alive with a skeleton, it attacks until it gets a hit. It then ignores that creature and wanders away. When the deadgem hit, it sent slivers into the victim's flesh. These stay there until the creature dies, upon which the flesh is replaced and a new deadgem is born. What makes this a favorite is that it made me realize that corpses can't resist. Curses and transformations that wait until the victim dies are sure to function unlike most spells that require a save.

The dungeon warden is from Creatures of the Archduchy (Green Ronin). It is a construct that protects a location. In some ways it is very much like an AI that controls a building or starship. All the traps, doors and other obsticles in the location are under its control.

The exete is a magical pet found in the Oathbound Bestiary (Epidemic). They are more diverse than cats or dogs and resemble ermine with one or more tails. The coat length, color and softness as well as the number of tails indicate the breed. Each breed has its own complement of spell-like abilities. Not only are they diverse and make good pets, they are also becoming more intelligent as a side effect of the breeding projects people are subjecting them to. Of all the monsters on this list, they are the best for open use in city adventuring. People of all stations in life may have one as a pet (obviously the wealthy have the most powerful and/or rarest breeds).

Fungus crawlers are from the second PF Bestiary. They are aggregates of cave crickets and fungus. My guess is that the designer saw Attenborough's Planet Earth. The jungle segment has several insects that were killed and consumed by fungi. What makes the crawlers most interesting is their reproduction- they use spores. That means a cave that has been dead for decades could hold spores that need some organic material to germinate and grow. The PCs could carry this spores out of the underdark and into almost anywhere on the surface. Fortunately they are individually weak creatures but they are rarely found alone.

Green nodes are from the Nemesis Bestiary. They are humanoid plant monsters that can use the plant and fungal life around them to capture and kill their prey. This is a bit different from treants using trees. A node uses poisonous spores, entangling roots and vines and can alter the battlefield, making movement difficult. I am thinking of basing a robot for Mutant Future on them.

Gremlins are in all three PF Bestiaries. The six species are specialists, each destroy something different. I was never much of a fan of D&D galltrits, synads and mites. PF made gremlins interesting and dangerous.

The gurrangath is from Creepy Creatures (Allura) and is a fish-like crocodile. It magically digs and in doing so undercuts or floods the land and makes streams, canals or ponds. An invasion of just one can redraw a map significantly.

The hundun are my new absolute favorite d20 monster and overall second only to the deepspawn in all games. It is from Dark Roads and Golden Hells from Open Design. This creature is an outsider that represents inspiration and creation. It can make or modify anything. It is also a Good creature and occasionally allies with lawful outsiders. The hundun provide the raw materials and the others provide the form (and tools?) so that both add to the creative process. You can think of the latter as editors. Sadly the hundun have body parts that are valuable and evil people could do horrible, wonderous things with their blood and hearts.

The hyperangler is from Kobold Quarterly 8 (Open Design) and is the new 3.5 critter I mentioned. It is a plant that lives in the 5th dimension and preys on 3rd dimensional creatures. The whole article is awesome and provides an entirely new ecology (or more) to play with.

Leshy are a group of plant critters that druids can grow. They are found in the 3rd PF Bestiary. Now druids have their own monsters to grow and use. And they aren't that hard to modify or create new versions of.

The molesti have a terrible name for such an interesting critter. They are powerful insectoids found in the Oathbound Bestiary. What makes them terrifying is their ability to spawn every day and they can customize their offspring. Sadly there is only three official kinds (more armor, more limbs and standard) so I took some time and came up with the idea of using spelltouched feats. They allow for an abundant variety of molesti that can invade almost any habitat.

Night-blooming lotus is from Monsters of the Mind (Green Ronin). If this psionic plant is cut down but the roots remain intact, it regrows stronger with additional psionic powers. This monster has had an impact on my plant designs.

Night crawlers are oozes made of insane flesh. They spontaneously generate in the dark parts of the Forge (Oathbound Bestiary) and are powerful enough to consume whole villages. Rip off bits of them and the bits can grow into new crawlers. What makes them more horrific is their innate nature to try to grow new organs which allow them new powers. As they see the world differently from humanoids, the resulting parts can be very different from what they are called (the example is eyes that lure prey to them as well as provides sight).

Pacynka are intelligent insects that live for centuries. They are also found in the Oathbound Bestiary. They parasitize humanoids and slowly over write their hosts' minds. It takes two years and others can watch the slow change (decline?) of their friend or family member as the unseen critter takes control.

Paean are from Creepy Creatures. They are evil fey that feed by healing. The more they heal, the more hit points they permanently consume. As high level healing spells can restore lost hit points, I can see some people becoming addicted to being used as food ala an episode of Buffy.

Plague riders are in the Nemesis Bestiary. They are plague ridden, mutated goblins with four legs. Killing them with melee weapons isn't enough as their body is so ridden with disease, after they die, the riders simply contaminate the soil and water, potentially for miles around.

Seeders are from Minions (Bastion). These insectoid monstrous humanoids alter human males so that their offspring become seeders. A simple idea that has so much roleplaying and setting skewing potential.

Seedkin are from Penumbra Fantasy Bestiary (Atlas). They are parasitic plants that reproduce in huge numbers. I did the math and with enough hosts, they can produce more than 1 million reproductives and ~8 million sterile warriors within 100 days. Even with only 2 or 3 hit dice, that is a lot of plant monsters.

Soultrappers are from Denizens of Avadnu (Inner Circle). These plants turn souls into magical power. The resulting spells mostly deal with survival (rock to mud, control weather and the like). A group of soultrappers could turn a rocky desert into a forest if given enough souls. And there is no description of what does or doesn't have a soul so the plant could be fed animals to maintain the altered climate.

Wyldegeist are from the first Monsternomicon (Privateer). They are aberrations that animate corpses to defend woodlands. They can be slain, but as long as the forest stands, more can be created. In someways it is like the feyr (see my post on favorite D&D monsters) but it has much broader applications. It doesn't have to be created by nature. Graveyards (human, dragon, elephant, other), wizard towers, construct cities and dragon lairs could defend themselves with something like wyldegeists.

I also want to mention Giants in the Earth from Otherverse. It is a 3.5 pdf that takes real dinosaurs and gives many of them twists- new extraordinary powers that the animal may have actually had (for the most part). Makes for dinosaur hunting more exciting and hazardous.