Epic Level Handbook
The Epic Level Handbook was a Splatbook for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition that gave rules for over level 20 play as well as many suggestions for Dungeon Masters wanting to run games over level 20. Think, 3e Master Set. Blame Bruce Cordell for this one (Andy Collins is co-author).
For several reasons, this book was a big disappointment.
Unfortunately, just as how 3rd edition had serious balance issues in the normal levels, the Epic Level handbook was also extremely poorly balanced and gave very disappointing abilities to several classes. See the page for Epic Levels for the full details.
Most of the monsters in this book have been forgotten in later editions but there were a few good ones.
- Abomination: The discarded mistakes of gods.
- Anaxim: A battle robot built by a god and thrown away due to it's ridiculously bad design. Look like something a Tinker Gnome would make if they tried to construct an evil robot and ended up giving it too many weapons and then tried to turn it into a helicopter. Can summon iron golems. Challenge Rating 22.
- Atropal: A stillborn god fetus returned as an undead. One of the few monsters in this book to appear in later edition. Can summon nightcrawlers Challenge Rating 30.
- Chichimec: Born from gods of air and sky. Except for a visible tail, it appears to be made entirely out of a large number of bird or bat wings stuck together. Can summon elder air elementals. Challenge Rating 21.
- Dream Larva: Born from gods of dreams. The first time you see on it looks like your worst fear, which may cause you to die of fright. If you survive this it looks like an eight-armed demon made of worms. Can summon nightwalkers. Challenge Rating 31.
- Hecatoncheires: Born from proto-deities in the early multiverse. Has fifty heads and one hundred arms that each hold a sword or a boulder and stands on tentacles instead of legs and wears plate armor. Has one hundred attacks per round. Can summon another Hecatoncheires. Challenge Rating 57. What
- Infernal: The child of a god and a demon or devil. Can summon balors or pit fiends depending on its alignment. Challenge Rating 26.
- Phaethon: Born from gods of fire. Can summon elder fire elementals. Challenge rating 34.
- Phane: Born from gods of fate or time. Can summon copies of its enemies from the past that are two levels lower. Challenge rating 25. Phanes reappeared in 4th edition with different abilities, though still time related.
- Xixical: Born from gods of evil, chaos, or ice. Can summon white dragons. Challenge rating 36.
- Behemoth: An outsider in the form of a giant animal. Strangely the only examples are Behemoth Gorilla (Challenge Rating 19) and Behemoth Eagle (Challenge Rating 18), and it doesn't have any template rules for making behemoths out of other animals.
- Brachyurus: The common ancestor of all wolves. Challenge Rating 23.
- Colossus: Colossal sized constructs similar to golems but way bigger.
- Stone Colossus: Challenge Rating 24.
- Flesh Colossus: Challenge Rating 27.
- Iron Colossus: Challenge Rating 33.
- Devastation Vermin: Colossal sized vermin.
- Devastation Centipede: Challenge Rating 39.
- Devastation Spider: Challenge Rating 41.
- Devastation Scorpion: Challenge Rating 42.
- Devastation Beetle: Challenge Rating 50.
- Advanced Dragon: New rules for dragons above great wyrm size.
- Epic Dragons
- Force Dragon: Breaths force and is immune to force effects. Its body is covered in crystal scales that bend light, which make it harder to see as it gets older, and completely invisible at great wyrm size. Challenge Rating 13-59
- Prismatic Dragon: Has the prismatic spray spell for it's breath weapon and is immune to all light based attacks and also has a number of powerful light based powers and attacks. Challenge Rating 14-66.
- Primal Elementals: Colossal sized elementals of all four of the standard elements. All of them are Challenge Rating 35.
- Genius Loci: A living piece of landscape. When tricking your players with monsters like mimics isn't enough, it is time to trick them into walking into a place where everything is part of a monster. Challenge Rating 30.
- Gibbering Orb: Possibly the common ancestor of both Beholders and Gibbering Mouthers. Has the gibbering attack of the gibbering mouther, plus several nasty eye rays and can extend mouths from its body on the end of pseudopods to bite from a distance. Challenge Rating 27.
- Gloom: A monstrous humanoid assassin that can step through shadows, walk completely silently, and has some abilities of the Rogue class. Challenge Rating 25.
- Mithral Golem: Challenge Rating 21.
- Adamantine Golem: Challenge Rating 25.
- Ha-Naga: Like Nagas but way bigger and nastier. Loves to cause the downfall of civilization and then live in the ruins left behind. Challenge Rating 22.
- Hagunemnon (Protean): The ultimate shapeshifter. They are constantly changing shape and copying parts of bodies of other creatures. They are racist against any creature that can't shapeshift. Challenge Rating 29. (They're also taken from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series, which is probably a bonus)
- Hoary Hunter: Icy fae creatures that hunt down targets to take them back to their realm as prisoners. Any blow from its sword that crits, knocks out, or would kill its target traps the victim inside of the sword. If you manage to kill it, it will come back to hunt you again, but will bring a buddy with it. You must escape from it five times before it will leave you alone. Challenge Rating 25. Rides on an icy horse called a Hoary Stead (Challenge rating 9)
- Hunefer: The Mummy of a demigod that wants to reclaim its divine power, but likely never will. Challenge Rating 25.
- Lavawight: A skeleton with flaming hair and most of it's flesh replaced with magma. Has the infamous Blazefire ability, which can inflict damage that can't be healed by anything, thus rendering your character permanently crippled. Challenge Rating 23.
- Legendary Animal: Another giant animal type that looks like it should be a template but isn't. Examples are legendary bear (Challenge Rating 9) and legendary tiger (Challenge Rating 10).
- LeShay: What elves are to humans, these are to elves. They are survivors from a civilization that was erased from history. Raymond Feist's Valheru, then; bring them when and where the local elves are getting uppity. Challenge Rating 28.
- Living Vault: A powerful construct designed for containing and protecting valuable magic item. It can imprison foes inside of itself. Challenge Rating 33.
- Mercane: A race of tall blue-skinned beings who travel the multiverse as merchants. Challenge Rating 5.
- Mu Spore: A walking mushroom with a giant mouth on top that breaths deadly spores. Challenge Rating 21.
- Neh-thalggu (Brain Collector): A powerful incorporeal aberration from the Far Realm that often allies with Illithids. It has the ability to teleport people's brains out of their skulls and into itself. Looks like a big yellow tentacle monster that walks on twelve spider legs. Challenge Rating 26.
- Prismasaurus: A dinosaur with the abilities of the prismatic spray spell. Why did we need this when the book already had the prismatic dragon? Challenge Rating 28.
- Ruin Swarm: A swarm of insects of biblical proportions. Challenge Rating 23.
- Shadow of the Void: An incorporeal undead made of freezing black flames. Those it kills turn into Winterwights.
- Shape of Fire: An incorporeal undead made of extremely hot flames. Also has the terrible Blazefire ability that Lavawights have. Those it kills turn into Lavawights.
- Sirrush: A cat like monster covered in silvery scales instead of fur. Challenge rating 24. Sometimes has 3 heads and Challenge rating 28.
- White Slaad: The evolved form of a death slaad. Challenge Rating 21.
- Black Slaad: The evolved form of a white slaad. Challenge Rating 25.
- Tayellah: A gargantuan three-headed cat monster: Challenge Rating 24.
- Thorciasid: Human sized insect creatures that drain abilities and energy with a touch. Challenge Rating 22.
- Elder Titan: Bigger Titans. Challenge Rating 30.
- Elder Treant: Bigger Treants. Challenge Rating 25.
- Umbral Blot (Blackball): A Sphere of Annihilation with a mind of its own. Challenge Rating 32.
- Uvuudaum: A bizarre creature that has 8 human like arms but no legs and giant spike where it's face should be. Challenge Rating 27.
- Vermiurge: Looks like a giant scorpion but with wings and an extra pair of pincers. Is always surrounded by a swarm of bugs. Challenge Rating 24.
- Winterwight: A skeleton with cold flames for hair and most of it's flesh replaced with ice. Cordell raised this one up from his own 2e Return to the Tomb of Horrors, beefing its Challenge Rating - 23.
- Demilich: Another Tomb of Horrors promotion. The next stage in the evolution of a Lich. It is reduced to a single body part (usually a skull)) encrusted with gems that can trap souls inside of them. Challenge rating +6.
- Paragon: An infamously powerful template. Represents a perfect example of the base creature's species. Challenge Rating +18, +16, or +12 depending on the base creature's HD.
- Pseudonatural Creature: A horrific tentacle monster that has taken on a form resembling a more familiar creature. Challenge Ratting +16, +13, or +10 depending on the base creature's HD. A less ridiculously powerful version of this template was later included in the 3.5 edition book Lords of Madness
- Worm That Walks: An evil wizard or sorcerer whose spirit possesses the worms that fed on their corpse. Challenge Rating +3.