D&D Monsters of Neverwinter, Part 2: Speculating on the Weird Stuff

We hazard a guess at what freakish abominations from the depths of the darkest rulebooks might slither their way into Neverwinter.

D&D Monsters of Neverwinter, Part 2: Speculating on the Weird Stuff

Perfect World Entertainment has just released
a video
for their forthcoming Dungeons & Dragons-based MMO,

showcasing the Icespire Peak region. The video shows off some
winter-themed monsters - Ice Trolls, Frost Giants, Winter Wolves and Ice
Golems. Last
, we speculated on the inclusion of giants in Neverwinter, and
this video confirms it.

This week, we'll engage in even more outlandish speculation, looking at
the weirder side of D&D monsters. Some of these are awesome and iconic
monsters we want to see in Neverwinter. Some of them seem more like the
fevered brain-doodles of an over-tired DM trying to find new ways to screw
his players over.

Slimes, Fungi and Mold

D&D Monsters in Neverwinter Part 2: Ooze, Slime, Mold

Much of Dungeons & Dragons takes place in subterranean locales -
crypts, catacombs, tunnels, caves, et cetera. Green plants cannot grow in
these spaces since there is no sunlight, but the dank, dark and often
humid nature of underground spaces create ideal growth conditions for
lichens, mold, fungi and other slimy, nasty things. And in the grand
D&D tradition, if something is gross, it is often also deadly. Even
when they don't make any real sense as adversaries.

D&D Monsters in Neverwinter Part s - Ooze

src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/248663">Though they have
fallen in prominence in recent years, there were once vast swarms of
slime-monsters creating deadly environmental hazards in 2nd Edition
dungeons. They ranged from transparent slithering slime and psionic Grey
to the mighty Gelatinous Cube, a
nightmare serving of evil Jell-O that swallowed adventurers whole and
dissolved everything but their magic items. Fungus and mold was
anthropomorphized into the Myconid and Vegepygmy,
respectively - humanoid monsters with varying degrees of intelligence,
composed entirely of non-meat organic matter.

Of the huge assortment of oozes, slimes, puddings, fungi and molds, the
Gelatinous Cube is perhaps the most likely to slither and jiggle its way
into Neverwinter. It was originally designed by Gary Gygax as a sort of
robo-vac for dungeons - 10 feet per side, the same as a standard dungeon
passageway, it would slither down the hallways and dissolve any organic
material (read: dead adventurers and monster corpses) it came across, the
ultimate in self-cleaning dungeon technology.

D&D Monsters of Neverwinter, Part 2: Speculating on the Weird Stuff

Deadly Jackalopes and Wolpertingers

D&D Monsters in Neverwinter Part 2 - Griffons

The Monster Manuals have always been filled with a huge range of
creatures, many of them drawn from myths and legends and others created to
fill ecological niches. But there are also a huge number of weird monsters
that all sort of fit into one generic category: "An X with the Y
of a Z and the A of a B." Like the Jackalope
of North America or the Wolpertinger of Bavaria, these bizarre cryptids
are Frankensteined assemblages of various creature parts kit-bashed into
one body.

D&D Monsters in Neverwinter - Catoblepas


Some of these are ripped directly from
ancient myths. The Griffon, for example, has the body of
a lion and the head, wings and talons of an eagle, and has been used as a
heraldic emblem for hundreds of years. Some of these monsters are
interpretations of old myths - the Catoblepas, for
example, is an exaggeration of a creature described by Roman naturalist
Pliny the Elder, who may have been attempting to describe the gnu or some
other kind of unfamiliar wildebeest. Others are entirely new creations,
like the Grell (a giant floating brain with the beak of
a parrot and the tentacles of an octopus) or the ManBearPig
Owlbear (a monster created by Gygax for the 1st Edition,
which was inspired by a Chinese toy).

D&D Monsters - Owlbear

Many of these mashups are likely to make an appearance in Neverwinter.
Griffons are industry-standard aerial mounts, the Grell is featured rather
prominently in the 4th Edition Monster Manual and is a strong contender
for late-game underground encounters, and the Owlbear is one of those
wilderness encounters that makes D&D the game it is.

D&D Monsters of Neverwinter, Part 2: Speculating on the Weird Stuff

Revenge of the DM

Occasionally, the dungeon master needs to correct a mistake introduced in
a previous session. Characters become too powerful and no longer fear
death by Hit-Point-loss, so a new form of danger must be introduced that
once again gives them pause and makes them cautious. A player with a
powerful magic item has been using it to annihilate his enemies at every
corner, so a new enemy with immunities to that item's effects comes into
play. Or perhaps the DM simply wishes to exercise his sadistic streak and
punish and abuse his players. Either way, the Monster Manual provides the
means to achieve these ends. 

Neverwinter D&D Monsters - Mimic


A good storyteller will add clever twists to his tales to keep the
audience guessing, and lazy DMs can accomplish this with deceptive
monsters. Mimics look like treasure
chests until they chomp off the hand that reaches in to loot them. That
sweet dark garment hanging on a hook by the door might not be a real
magical cloak, but a Cloaker that will attempt to
strangle and eat anyone attempting to wear it. Those perfectly
normal-looking stalactites? Some of them are alive and will impale you
when you walk below them. That puddle of water? Actually it's just
water... but at the bottom is a crystal-clear slime-monster
indistinguishable from the puddle above. Even perfectly ordinary clear air
can be hostile if an Invisible Stalker is in the
neighborhood. The Monster Manuals give the DM loads of tools to help him
be a player-hating dick.

Neverwinter D&D Monsters - BansheeA
number of monsters have particularly deadly, impairing or deleterious
effects on the players. Instant-death attacks have become less common over
the years, but the Banshee's wail has always been
instantly lethal. Even worse than that was the Rot Grub,
a worm that would burrow into the victim's flesh until it reached the
heart, killing the host. This was particularly cruel because the victim
needed to make a successful Wisdom check to even notice the infestation,
and the "cure" involved burning the worms out with fire... within the
first 6 or so rounds of infection. After that, the only solution was a
Cure Disease spell. 4th Edition rules have more or less eliminated the
instant-kill monster, but these guys are nasty even in their nerf-y 4E

There were only ever a small handful of monsters with instant-death
attacks. But there are loads of monsters with incapacitating attacks -
especially petrification and paralysis. Medusae, Cockatrices,
Basilisks, Catoblepases and Gorgons,
among many others, all have attacks that permanently turned their victims
to stone. Paralysis is another very common type of incapacitating attack
occuring in loads of monsters (including the previously-discussed
Gelatinous Cube). Powerful demons, devils, dragons and other large
beasties have a fear aura, which can cause anyone just looking at them to
freak out and flee in a panic.

Neverwinter D&D Monsters - Rust Monster


One of the douche-iest DM-Revenge monsters ever created is the
Rust Monster
, a creature that destroys any metal objects it
touches. Fighter types with razor-sharp enchanted swords and bunker-like
plate armor, who can take on most any powerful foe without fear, are
reduced to quivering bowls of angry Jell-O when faced with a Rust Monster.
In older editions, the Rust Monster was relatively peaceful, only
interested in consuming the metal worn and carried by adventurers and not
in their meaty bodies. 4th Edition has beefed the Rust Monster up a bit,
giving it a stronger bite attack and increased movement speed from 3rd Ed,
but nerfing the rust effect so that it only happened as the result of a
successful bite attack.

Mimics have already brought their brand of cruel deception to Neverwinter,
but hopefully none of these other creatures find their way in. Avoidable
instant-death attacks are to be expected as a part of boss fight
mechanics, and temporary, non-lethal incapacitating attacks are a major
part of any game system using magic. But any kind of balancing issues that
might otherwise require the introduction of a Rust Monster can be avoided
by standardizing gear and loot drops, which is sort of central to any MMO.

D&D Monsters of Neverwinter, Part 2: Speculating on the Weird Stuff


Neverwinter D&D Monsters - Beholder

Beholders are the stuff of nightmares and the terrors of
the Underdark. The Beholder is a large floating head with a giant, glaring
central eye, a massive fang-filled mouth and a varying number of creepy
eyestalks instead of hair - the standard beholder had 10 eye stalks,
lesser variants had fewer, and some weird offshoots have more. Each eye
has a different magical ability. In the old days, the central eye of a
standard beholder was an anti-magic cone, but that has been replaced by a
daze attack in 4th Edition. Beholders are egotistical and xenophobic,
believing themselves to be the pinnacle of creation and everything else to
be lesser beings. They hate everything that is different from themselves,
including variant sub-species.

Neverwinter D&D Monsters - Beholder


While a massive part of the Dungeons & Dragons bestiary is derived
from folklore and the works of other writers, the beholder is a wholly
original creation, created by Terry Kuntz, one of the earliest employees
of TSR. It was first published in the original Greyhawk rules supplement,
appearing on the cover and detailed inside.

Neverwinter D&D Monsters - Beholder

Beholders are late-game monsters, even in the tabletop version, and have
made many video game appearances over the years. There is no guarantee
that they will be included in late-game Neverwinter. But, as one of
Wizards of the Coast's most recognizable unique properties, they damn well
should be. At the very least, they should be made available in the Foundry
toolset so creative players can include them in their own adventure

D&D Monsters of Neverwinter, Part 2: Speculating on the Weird Stuff

The Tarrasque

Neverwinter D&D Monsters - Tarrasque


The Tarrasque is a perfect engine of raw destructive
power. It is enormous, violent and very nearly unkillable, and it exists
only to destroy. There is only one Tarrasque (per world) but that is a
good thing. It is powerful and destructive enough to bring ruin to the
earthly works of the gods themselves, and it can only be defeated by the
equivalent of an army (but not killed - that requires powerful magic and
possibly divine intervention). From its conception, the Tarrasque has
always been an epic boss fight, the last thing an adventuring group would
fight on the Prime Material plane before challenging the gods themselves.

The Tarrasque has gone through a number of changes since its 1st Edition
introduction. The early edition versions were immune to basically
everything and regenerated Hit Points at an absurd rate (and could even
regenerate from instant-death spells), but could be slain by reducing it
to negative hit points and using a Wish or Miracle spell on the gooey
remains. The 4th Edition version is less expansive - it's only a sub-entry
of the Abomination category. It is less physically resilient, with no
regeneration and immunity only to charm and fear effects, but it
technically cannot be killed. When reduced to 0 Hit Points, it sinks back
into the world's core and takes a nap. 

Neverwinter D&D Monsters - Tarrasque


The Tarrasque is based on a legendary French beast of nearly the same
name (minus one R), which was said to have six stumpy legs, a turtle's
shell, a scaly tail tipped with a scorpion stinger, and the head of a
lion. Unlike the D&D monster which is immune to charm effects, the
Tarasque was tamed by Saint Martha, who charmed it with hymns and prayers
and then led it to the nearby city. The people there freaked out when they
saw it and attacked it, but the creature, charmed by Saint Martha, offered
no resistance and died. Saint Martha cussed all the heathens out for being
dumbasses and converted them to Christianity, and the name of the town was
changed to Tarascon in honor of the slain beast.

The Tarrasque has not appeared in any game to date. There is only one
(per realm), after all, and slaying it would run contrary to most canon.
At least, it would prior to 4th Edition. In 4th Edition rules, the
Tarrasque simply resets when it reaches 0 Hit Points. The 4E Tarrasque is
a natural MMO boss fight., and since Neverwinter is the first 4E MMO, it
would make sense to build an endgame raid around this. It is very unlikely
that the Tarrasque will make an appearance, but the logic of the system
supports his existence, and we can always hope for the best.

Neverwinter's second beta event starts this weekend on March 8. What
weird, unlikely monster would you like to see in the game? Let us know in
our comments!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Neverwinter Game Page.

Last Updated:

Around the Web