The top 10 most terrifying monsters of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition

Dungeons and Dragons: The Curse of Strahd is out! Lets see what nightmare fuel we can collect for our campaigns in this new dark realm.

Dungeons and Dragons: The Curse of Strahd is out! Lets see what nightmare fuel we can collect for our campaigns in this new dark realm.

Dungeons and Dragons’ most recent adventure book, The Curse of Strahd was released just last week. This is an early level adventure written by the great Chris Perkins of DnD fame and is set in a dark, fantasy gothic theme.

In celebration of this dark new adventure, let’s count down a list of all the scariest, creepiest, and downright most villainous monsters we can assemble to help you give your fellow role players the fright of their lives.

10. Slaadi

Slaadi are basically frog men with some pretty horrifying attributes. While you’re in danger of them just outright gobbling you up, that’s probably not what’s going to happen to you. Instead, it’s more likely that you’ll be injected full of tadpole babies by glands under their claws. These tadpoles eventually nom their way out of you and then go on to become more Slaadi. Other times, they can infect you with a disease called chaos phage, which promptly turns you into a full fledged member of their species.

These chaos beasts can also shape-shift into just about any sized humanoid, meaning that your best friend could actually be a toad demon. This theory actually explains a lot about my friends…

  9. Gelatinous Cubes (and other oozes)

Oozes are pretty creepy in general, as they don’t really have any type of malicious purpose, they just exist to break down matter and gain nourishment from doing so. What makes gelatinous cubes so scary, however, is not their intent, but their inevitability.

Say you’re doing your normal Monday-to-Friday thing, raiding tombs or whatnot, and suddenly you walk face first into a cold jelly substance. Most gelatinous cubes are made up of a substance so clear its near invisible. Once you’ve made contact, they pull you inside of them to prevent your escape, if no one is around to help you, then it’s not likely you’re ever getting out again. A lot like spider webs.

8. Ropers

Much like their name implies, ropers enjoy roping things — mainly you. They are often silent and stoic, waiting inside of a deep forest or dark cavern disguised as a tree trunk or stalagmite. When you’ve gotten close enough, they whip out at you with their tendrils in an attempt to drag you into their cavernous maw. Once caught by their tentacles, tiny hairlike growths on their limbs sink into your skin and suck the strength from you. They can digest nearly anything, and their digestive juices fetch a high price on the market, so there’s a plus!

7. Cockatrice

You may be familiar with these guys from the Final Fantasy series. The Dungeons and Dragons variety are pretty similar in terms of how dangerous they are. They’re described as some sort of hideous lizard-bat-bird, and are well known for their ability to turn victims of their attacks to stone.

What’s interesting is that besides the fact that getting scratched by one turns you into a human gargoyle, they’re actually not too scary. Their diet is not to dissimilar to a normal uhh…bat…lizard…bird thing. It’s just that when they get riled up they go completely bonkers on you, and it only takes one small scratch to begin the petrification process.

6. Peryton

Perytons are some pretty creepy bird monsters. First off, let me direct your attention to the fact that they have teeth. Super useful for them, considering they have a diet consisting of humanoids, like humans or elves. Once downed, the peryton pulls out its prey’s heart and brings it back to its mate to feed. This is how they mate.

Apparently some bards spread rumors that there was once a woman who ate the heart of her husband’s mistress in an attempt to gain his love. Carrion birds ate her corpse after she was hung for the crime, and these peryton are an embodiment of her vengeance. Then again, bards romanticize everything.

5. Carrion Crawlers

Oh wow, that is one big bunch of nope.  Carrion Crawlers have a lot going for them in the creepy factor. First off, they prefer to hunt in dark environments, and will follow their prey for hours on end. They will find blind corners to hide behind and attempt to surprise their soon-to-be meal, often dropping from above or pulling you into their nests with their dexterous tentacles. As their name implies, they are often drawn to areas permeated with death, such as cemeteries or battlefields. You don’t want to be found by these guys.

4. Skin Kites

We’re cheating a little here and going to Forgotten Realms to discuss this monster, but no list of terrifying Dungeons and Dragons enemies would be complete without discussing something as awful as skin kites. They are literally kites of skin. I don’t know what you expected, but the point is they’re just awful.

Their bodies are made up of the skin types of their recent prey, and they fall slowly from the sky onto their victims, tearing off sections of skin and absorbing it into their rotting bodies. This is how they keep themselves alive, and there are no real limits to how big they can get — it’s all dependent on how often they feed. See? Creepy.

3. Yochlols

Yochlols are shape-changers, so what you see is just one form of many. They are a form of demon that happens to also be telepathic and extremely sadistic. When you encounter a Yochlol, it may present itself as a beautiful man or woman to gain your sympathies, before transforming into a poisonous mist to engulf its prey, or a giant spider to consume any unfortunates found to be too trusting.

If you escape, they will gladly whisper their name into your mind, so you know that somewhere out there, this particular servant of Lolth remembers you, and is hunting you down. 

Speaking of Lolth…

2. Lolth, Queen of the Spiders

Spider queen of the Drow race, Lolth is considered to be cruel even among her followers. Vicious and depraved, this demon lord chooses to visit the material plane more often than most others of her kind. This is to make sure that her intricate webs of secrets and her maniacal and calculated plots are still proceeding as she desires, or simply to transform into her vicious spider form to terrorize her subordinates. Lolth is both merciless and equitable in her destruction, tearing apart those who displease her with spiked appendages and razor-sharp mandibles.

1. Mind flayers

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Mind flayers? That’s an anti-climactic ending, we know all about mind flayers.” I’m going to go ahead and take this opportunity to remind you what mind flayers can do. They literally flay your mind

The nomenclature of these things is pretty simple, and they live up to it in a pretty horrible fashion. Several races of countless worlds have been enslaved by this species, and they have a diet subsisting of brain tissue. What’s worse, is they gain an almost euphoric sensation while consuming you: eating your hopes, dreams, fears, where you left your keys…it’s all delicious to them. They can even harvest brains and turn them into a whole new type of monster. It’s pretty easy to see why they’ve become so well known, even among those who have never picked up a 20-sided die. 

Well that’s our list for now, hopefully you now have some fun ideas for how to terrorize your unsuspecting party, or maybe just came for the fun and scary pictures. Either way, that Yochlol from earlier still remembers your name.

Sleep well!

About the author

Joshua Potter

Joshua Potter (AmeNemA) is an avid video game player, having been hunting ducks and collecting coins since he was a toddler. Now he applies his years of knowledge to writing about the games he's come to love.