Pirates and Kobolds and Bugbears, Oh My!
A Guide to DDO's Monsters
For those of us waiting to face beast and bad guy in Dungeons and Dragons Online, here is a quick guide on the nature of the foes we're likely to see, and how they're dealt with in the pen-and-paper (PnP) role-playing game (RPG) Dungeons and Dragons.
Hobgoblins, Bugbears, Kobolds, Troglodytes, Pirates:
These guys are the foot soldiers, brawlers and sword wielding enemies
you will be meeting in DDO. They can take classes as rogue,
fighter, bard, whatever, just like you can, so you can expect them to throw spells, wield any sort of weapon, or even heal each other.
The nice thing about these monsters is that they count as a “person”...
meaning that as a humanoid race they can be affected by charm, hold,
dominate, reduce, sleep and other spells that would affect a
“person.” Other types of monsters are not affected by these
Kobolds are smaller than most humanoid races, except perhaps Halflings,
and have a tendency to rely on ambushes and attacking with 2- or
Hobgoblins, relatives of their larger cousins, Bugbears, are of the goblinoid race. They are a martial group, take good care of their weapons, and are known to be organized, and warlike. In Eberron there are hobgoblins that are much less warlike than others; their race is ancient, and has a rich history.
Bugbears are larger goblinoids, and have a habit of adopting stealth and ambush in their tactics. Be prepared for them to come at you from unexpected directions, or pounce upon you just as you fall into a trap they've laid.
Troglodytes are lizard like beings, and have cold, reptilian natures. They are unique among humanoids in that they shed a scent when afraid or angry that will make you weaker and sick, which makes fighting them difficult.
Pirates are vicious sea dogs, and often these vicious thugs will have races other than humans, elves and other demi-humans among their ranks. They only care about loot and plunder, so expect them to kill first and ask questions later.
Wights, Wraiths, Spectres and The Undead
All sorts of reasons can bring a dead soul back to the land of the living as undead. The most common reason is that a powerful cleric of an evil god, or a vile necromancer, created them to do his bidding. But one can also return from the dead when cursed, when suffering a great sadness, or even when dying in a place of great evil. Either way, undead are dangerous creatures that have unique abilities related to their cursed nature.
Mindless Undead are animated corpses or skeletons. These do not think for themselves, generally, but instead are like robots, doing the bidding of their master. Skeletons are not easily harmed by sharp or piercing weapons, because these weapons tend to slip off or between their bones. Blunt weapons such as maces are much more useful for these foul things. Zombies are another story: since they are not vulnerable to smashed or broken bones, a blunt weapon is less effective; you will want to cut them to pieces with sharp weapons.
Ghouls and ghasts are two forms of undead endowed with a great hunger toward the flesh of the living. Occasionally, if one of their victims is killed but not fully eaten, their victim will rise as a ghast or ghoul themselves. Their touch will paralyze, though the slightly weaker ghoul cannot paralyze elves, due to elves timeless nature. Ghasts however, can paralyze anyone equally well. Ghasts are also distinguished from
ghouls by their horrible scent. Similar to the scent troglodytes exude, this scent will weaken one's ability to fight.
Wraiths, spectres and wights are very powerful undead. Each of
these creatures will actually feed upon your soul when they hit
you. When fighting them, with the exception
of the wight, you'll need a magic weapon to harm them.
Even then, they will switch from insubstantiality to solidity, making
them more difficult to hit.
The wraith drains your vitality, causing your health to lower until you
die. The wraith and spectre, being insubstantial, will ignore
your armor, so only your ability to dodge and your magical protections
will prevent their foul touch. If a spectre or wight touches you,
your soul itself will be fed upon.
The only way to restore you vitality or heal your soul from the attacks of these creatures are a lesser restoration spell (in the case of the attacks of a wraith) or a restoration spell (in the case of the attacks of all 3). It should be noted that you can shake off the attacks of the creatures over time, but this can take quite a while, and is not always certain to occur.
The best way to fight these creatures is to place whatever protective magic you can, and have a priest ready to turn them with their faith in their god.
Ogres, trolls and giants are all related; all of a kind. They are humanoid in shape, but, of course much bigger. Of note is that spells that affect persons will not affect them. They are too different from the humanoid and similar races for these spells to compensate.
The giant races, as a rule, are not particularly intelligent. You might see a rare giant shaman, but overall you can expect them to approach you with a club and try to squash you flat. Don't let yourself get hit by them; these creatures are strong enough to grind stone, imagine what they can do to you! It is worth noting that the larger giants can throw boulders, and while these are not as painful as their fists and clubs, they hurt just the same.
The best way to fight them is to keep them out of reach, and pelt them
with missiles and spells. If you cannot do that, or are dealing
with the “lesser” giants such as ogres and trolls, you probably can
approach them if you are seasoned warrior in good armor. Of note
with Trolls is that they are extremely durable and healthy creatures;
they will actually heal damage done to them almost as fast as it is
done. To compensate for this you must damage them so quickly.
Once dead, they will stay dead. Another option is to use fire or
acid; since this sears the flesh, it will not regenerate afterwards.
Of note are fire and frost giants. These creatures are especially
adapted to their
environment, and will not be affected by that
element. Don't fireball a fire giant; he will merely laugh as he
walks through the ball of flame. The best approach with these
creatures is to use the opposite element. That is, cold against
fire giants, and fire against frost giants. Hill giants are not
immune to any particular element, and do not have special
vulnerabilities, unless you count their animal intelligence.
Minotaurs are also giants, though of a different nature. It is thought that they are descended from humans put under a curse long ago. Either way, while dangerous, they are lesser giants, a little more dangerous than an ogre, but not as much as hill, fire or frost giants.
Slimes and Oozes
Slimes are simple enough to deal with, under certain rules. They are easy to hit with a weapon; and they tend to destroy your equipment. Different types of slimes and oozes can do different things to your equipment, some will destroy organic matter, some will burn weapons and metal with acid.
Sharp and piercing weapons tend to split these simple creatures into separate creatures. It's much preferable, if you have to approach them, to use a blunt weapon. I suggest you carry around a mace you can spare to be decayed for the times you meet these creatures.
A much better choice when dealing with these creatures is to blast them with spells, such as fireballs or something similar.
Elementals are spirits or creatures formed from the elements of other planes. Their toughness and abilities are based upon the materials they are made of. An air elemental might be hard to see, move very fast, and be able to create small tornadoes to harm their foes. Earth elementals are durable and hard to hurt, but ponderous and slow.
To deal with elementals you can approach them in two different
ways. A cleric can
attempt to dismiss them, using the magic available to
their class. Or you can fight them. Make sure to protect yourself
against fire if you're fighting a fire elemental! If you fight
them, expect a tough fight. They are brought to this plane for
fighting because they are so tough.
And keep in mind that there can be more than just earth, air, fire and
water elementals. They can come from planes of frost, or anything
else, though these are less common.
Aberrations are just that… freaks of nature that somehow have survived and thrived in the lands. There are whole breeds of aberrations, such as the rust monster, that can be found commonly. The best way to deal with them is quickly and out of reach of their attacks, since you never know what the abilities of each type of aberration will be.
Rust monsters are a good example. While dangerous on their own, a simple touch of their tentacles will turn your steel armor or sword to rust. Carry around a club, or let your wizards handle it while you hide cowering behind them, concerned about your magical axe and plate mail. Keep in mind that it still is a physical threat, so you might just have to wade in to protect your wizard, and hope it cannot touch your metal equipment with its rust causing tentacles. Carrying a wooden weapon is a good idea if you're planning to fight a rust monster.
Outsiders are the angels, devils, and demons of the world. They are the creatures that live in heaven, hell, or any place other than the world you live in. They are brought from those places by magical happenstance, or summoned by spell casters from this world to do the caster's bidding.
They are noteworthy in their defensive ability. Often they are resistant to various types of attacks, such as fire, cold, lightning or other things. Furthermore, they are formidable foes in combat, often having magical abilities similar to spells, or powers that are needed by them in their home plane to survive. A good example of an outsider is the Tharaak hound with its acid breath.
To deal with them, best protect your warriors as well as possible and let them wade into combat. Often outsiders are very resistant to magic, and spells will wash off them like water. If one can penetrate their resistance to magic, a priest might dismiss them similarly to dismissing elementals from this plane.
Giant Vermin are just that, giant spiders, scorpions, centipedes and similar. Their poisons and web-spinning abilities are proportionately more formidable relative to their size. A priest with a lesser restoration spell to deal with poison damage, and a group of stout warriors are a good idea here. Spells such as free action, to protect against webs and similar bindings, wouldn't go amiss either.
Constructs are made creatures. Unlike warforged, these creatures are not intelligent. Like skeletons and zombies, they are simply objects that are able to follow orders given to them, although constructs are much, much tougher. Made of steel and stone, these creatures are difficult to harm with weapons, and the more powerful ones are resistant or even healed by spells. Don't expect to simply beat these down while the cleric heals in the back, though. Often constructs are able to use unique abilities engineered into their forms by their creators. Some constructs have immunity to all but very powerful magic items.
An example of a construct is the Iron Golem; able to breath poison gas and immensely strong. Fire will heal an iron golem, and electricity will slow but not harm one. Other spells will simply wash off an iron golem with no effect.
There are many strategies for fighting the various foes you could meet in DDO. The most important thing to do is understand creatures you are fighting and pay attention to what works and what doesn't. They all have weaknesses and strengths, and understanding them will turn difficult fights to successes.