Monster Manual

From 1d4chan
D&D's first Monster Manual

A Monster Manual (sometimes called a Monstrous Manual or a Bestiary) is a book (or set of pages you can put in a binder if you are a particularly crusty neckbeard) used in RPGs to describe the various kinds of monsters the PCs can encounter and fight. The Manual is intended for DMs to make encounters for the players. Though they are more often described in the DMG, these books can also contain descriptions for the more exotic kind of trap (no not like that). Some books may also include templates to apply to existing monsters to change them (read: make them deadlier) or ways to make your very own monster from the ground up.

If they are not bundled into the main manual, a new release of a game can see a new Monster Manual as well. This first Monster Manual is seen as a "core book" in the trinity of the Manual, the Handbook and the holy Guide. There have been times when the first monster manual preceded the rest of the core: this notably happened in 1977, so its Manual was compatible with the ancient rules that became BXCMI, up to which the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide had to catch. This also happened in 3e/d20 with Sword and Sorcery Studios' rushed-to-print Creature Collection, and with Violet Dawn's Denizens of Avadnu. If ever comes that published setting at all, as Eden's Liber Bestarius.

After the first Monster Manual of an edition the follow-up books are divided into two different camps. One is the list of Monster Manuals who will be named Monster Manual II, Monster Manual III and so on. The other are the more "themed" books that describe settings for adventures and monsters that fit in those settings, like books describing the Underdark having many Drow, spider and Aberration type enemies, or The Manual of the Planes describing Fiends like Tanar'ri and Baatezu, alongside creatures of Chaos like the Githzerai and creatures of Law like Modrons. Books in the latter category are not considered Monster Manuals despite their number of described creatures.

Then there are the "B Side Collections"... In the early 1980s TSR found itself with dozens of post-Manual monsters from early adventure-modules and especially from another country - Great Britain, in White Dwarf magazine. Gygax bundled the former with the best he could scrounge from the latter, birthing - or, perhaps, pinching off - the Fiend Folio. After this one's mixed reception, "fiend folio" is now a term for a holding-pen of niche monsters which you don't want defiling the mainline of Manual sequelae.

The problem with making a lot of Monster Manuals is that the monsters in the later books are split up into four groups: 30% will be reprints of monsters from older books of varying obscurity, 30% will be either upscaled animals or creatures made by slapping a number of templates together ending with creatures that lack the focus and originality of their progenitors, 30% will be 'Folio-bait (Three-headed hermaphrodites! Killer paper! Murderous hats!), and the final 10% being actually interesting creatures (either original or mythological) that could make an interesting addition to a game.

Theoretically the game can be played without the Monster Manual and just the PHB+DMG by making human(oid)s and traps the only enemies. In practice this is never done for long and the Monster Manual is an important part of any game, as a game with nothing interesting to fight is just as bad as uninteresting mechanics or classes.

The only two editions after AD&D to not start with a Monster Manual are 2nd Edition, which instead had the Monstrous Compendium series which were released in loose-leaf form instead of as books before they later released the Monstrous Manual, and 4th Edition Essentials, which instead had the short-lived Monster Vault series. Those ideas went down like Monica on the Hindenberg against the Washington Monument.

List of Monster Manuals and the Monsters within[edit]

(Under Construction)

Monster Manual (AD&D)[edit]

The basic monsters were the monsters which the English Speaking Peoples [TM, Churchill] grew up with, from such stories as Gary Gygax read in his childhood - which was a long time ago. (Note that E.G.G. was a "coot" even in Dave Arneson's eyes in the early 1970s.) You will see a lot of Europe in here, from Grimm and Greece. Where the critters aren't European - like the djinn - they are from Victorian-era translations of Egyptian and Syrian work. The most truly exotic here are the demons; perhaps as they should be.

Monster Manual II (AD&D)[edit]

The Fiend Folio was deemed a failure to which end TSR's marketing geniuses figured out its MAIN problem... branding. So here we got the third Manual sold to us as the second. As the Folio passed along 1970s-era monsters (and a lot of shit from the Fiend Factory), this "second" Manual packaged up early 80s monsters from the S- series and the A- series (alongside some shit from Dragon). The illustrations are better than Folio's grainy and gory horrors. The font is still awful, so a generation of gamers never did figure out if the orangutan demon was a bar-lgura or a bar-igura.

  • Aboleth
  • Afanc
  • Agathion: A good spirit from the upper planes that can take the form other good-aligned creatures or an incorporeal spirit bound to an item. In its natural form it resembles an elf with shining eyes. They have both psionic abilities and some of the powers of a Cleric and can cause positive energy damage with a touch in their natural form. In later editions it was renamed to Agathinon. The original name was recycled by Pathfinder for their version of the Guardinal.
  • Annis
  • Ant Lion: A giant antlion, an insect whose larva dig pits to trap prey.
  • Ascomoid
  • Aspis
    • Drone
    • Larva
    • Cow
  • Atomie
  • Aurumvorax
  • Azer
  • Baku: A tapir-like creature from Japanese mythology that consumes dreams. This version of the Baku does not eat dreams. It is a good-aligned monster with psionic abilities as well as being able to gore and trample enemies, and it also has a trumpeting roar that damages and frightens evil creatures.
  • Banderlog: An intelligent baboon-like primate.
  • Barghest
  • Barkburr: An animated plant that disguises itself as a burr on a tree. It jumps on people that it sees as a threat to the forest where it lives and injects them with a poison that turns the victim into a tree, which may stay a tree, or morph into a badger, a giant weasel, a Treant, or a level 1 Druid.
    • Direburr: A variant of the Barkburr that attacks people indiscriminately and only turns victims into lifeless trees.
  • Basidirond
  • Greater Basilisk
  • Bat
    • Mobat: A giant predatory bat with a painful shriek that forces people to cover their ears instead of fighting.
    • Ordinary Bat
  • Fire Bat: A bat from the elemental plane of fire. They can burn people and drink their blood at the same time.
  • Northern Bear (Polar Bear)
  • Giant Bee
    • Worker Honeybee
    • Soldier Honeybee
    • Bumblebee
  • Beetle
    • Death Watch Beetle: A monstrous beetle that camouflages itself with bits of debris glued to its back and has the ability to produce a sound that can instantly kill nearby creatures.
    • Slicer Beetle: A beetle that hunts by cutting a victim's arm or leg off and then running away with it. Its lair may contain mismatched pairs of magic gauntlets or boots from its victims and the book has rules for what happens if you wear a mismatch pair of boots or gauntlets.
  • Behemoth: A bigger and meaner version of a hippo.
  • Behir
  • Bloodthorn
  • Boalisk: A constrictor snake that also has a gaze attack that inflicts a rotting disease.
  • Bodak
  • Boggart: The immature form of a Will-o-Wisp that looks like a humanoid.
  • Boggle: Ugly humanoids that secrete a slippery oil and can cast dimension door through anything that vaguely resembles a door frame to a place only up to three feet away.
  • Boobrie: A massive marsh-dwelling bird.
  • Bookworm: A tiny but very fast-moving worm with the ability to camouflage itself that eats paper. It can't harm players but may attack anything they are carrying made of paper.
  • Bowler
  • Buckawn
  • Cat
    • Domestic
    • Wild
  • Cat Lord
  • Giant Catfish
  • Cave Cricket: This giant cricket is more annoying that dangerous. Its chirping sounds are loud enough to drown out speech and attract predators. If it is frightened it may do a jumping or kicking attack that does very little damage.
  • Cave Fisher
  • Cave Moray: A long slug-like ambush predator that lives in holes in the walls of caves and attack by stretching its body out to bite at prey before quickly retreating.
  • Centipede
    • Huge
    • Megalo-
  • Cheetah
  • Choke Creeper
  • Cloaker
  • Cooshee (Elven Dog)
  • Giant Crane
  • Crysmal: A six-legged crystal monster from the elemental plane of earth that feeds on crystal.
  • Crystal Ooze
  • Cyclopskin
  • Daemon
    • Arcanadaemon
    • Charon
    • Charonadaemon
    • Derghodaemon
    • Hydrodaemon
    • Oinodaemon (Anthraxus)
    • Piscodaemon
    • Ultrodaemon
    • Yagnodaemon
  • Dao
  • Crimson Death: A gaseous monster found in misty wetlands that attacks victims to drain them of body fluids.
  • Demilich
  • Demodand
    • Farastu (Tarry) Demodand
    • Kelubar (Slime) Demodand
    • Shator (Shaggy) Demodand
  • Demon
  • Derro
  • Deva
    • Astral Deva
    • Monadic Deva
    • Movanic Deva
  • Devil
  • Diakk: Evil birds from Hades with hands in place of wings and beaked humanlike faces. They come in two varieties. Tall Diakka are fast, look like storks, and attack with their long beaks while broad Diakka are tougher, look like pelicans, and attack with their clawed hands. Both types can also cast a few spells.
  • Dinosaur: Several of these are not actually Dinosaurs.
    • Ankisaurus
    • Camptosaurus
    • Compsognathus
    • Dacentrurus
    • Deinonychus
    • Dilophosaurus
    • Dimetrodon
    • Euparkeria
    • Kentrosaurus
    • Mamenchisaurus
    • Massopondylus
    • Nothosaurus
    • Ornitholestes
    • Phororhacos
    • Podokesaurus
    • Giant Pterosaur
    • Struthiomimus
    • Tanystropheus
    • Tennodontosaurus
  • Dracolisk: A hybrid of a black dragon and a basilisk.
  • Dragon
  • Giant Dragonfly
  • Dragon Horse: A magical scaly horse that can fly.
  • Dragonnel: A monster related to dragons that is smaller and less intelligent that can be trained as a mount.
  • Drelb: Also known as the Haunting Custodian. A shadowy creature from the negative plane that looks similar to a Wraith but is not undead. It paralyzes enemies with a chilling touch that has no save but only lasts for one round and can use illusions to make it look like it is retreating when it is actually coming at you. It can only be damaged by magical weapons and takes double damage from magic weapons that are also silver. Any psionic power or attack used against it bounces back at the user.
  • Drider
  • Duergar
  • Dustdigger: A starfish-like creature found in deserts that buries itself in sand and fills itself with air. When prey walks over it, it deflates itself to create a pit trap and then envelopes and eats the victim. Some of them can also use illusions.
  • Eagle
  • Eblis: Inteligent evil storkmen with spellcasting abilities.
  • Electric Eel
  • Elf
  • Elven Cat: A cat with magical powers that often acts as a sentry for elves and other secretive creatures.
  • Executioner's Hood
  • Falcon
    • Small
    • Large
  • Firefriend: A friendly giant firefly that can talk and shoot lasers. Definitely a friend you didn't know you needed.
  • Giant Fly
    • Bluebottle
    • Horsefly
  • Foo Creatures: A monster based on the guardian lion statues you see in China. In D&D they come in dog and lion varieties. They are stronger against evil creatures and are especially effective against lawful evil ones. Their abilities include turning invisible, travelling ethereally and astrally, and calling summoning other foo creatures with their barking.
    • Dog
    • Lion
  • Forester's Bane: A Carnivorous Plant that traps victims with its leaves and attacks with saw-like stalks, but does produce nutritious fruit.
  • Formian
    • Myrmarch
    • Warrior
    • Worker
  • Froghemoth
  • Galeb Duhr
  • Giant
  • Gibbering Mouther
  • Gloomwing: A giant carnivorous moth with a confusing pattern on its wings. In battle it produces pheromones that weaken non-insects and attract other gloomwings. The larva of a Gloomwing is the Tenebrous Worm below.
  • Goat
  • Gorgimera: A hybrid of a Gorgon and a Chimera.
  • Greenhag
  • Grippli
  • Grig
  • Grim: A guardian creature that takes the form of a giant animal at night and becomes ethereal during the day. They warn good creatures of the approach of evil and can turn undead.
  • Elemental Grue
  • Hangman Tree
  • Haunt: A spirit of a person who died with an important task unfinished that can't rest until it has done it. It attempts to possess people so it will have a body with which to complete its mission. It can't leave the area where it died unless it is possessing a body, and if that body dies it is then stuck haunting where that body died. If a haunt is defeated it will reform in a few days and can only be permanently removed by exorcism or letting it complete its purpose.
  • Hollyphant: A miniature winged elephant with golden fur from the upper planes. They may be small, but they are very powerful.
  • Hordling
  • Hybsil: It is like a centaur but much smaller, and instead of being a combination of a human and a horse, combines a small fey creature with a miniature antelope.
  • Jann
  • Mustard Jelly
  • Kampfult: Similar to a Roper but looks like a viny plant stump.
  • Kech: Evil forest-dwelling humanoids with leafy green skin and fangs.
  • Korredy
  • Kraken
  • Greater Lammasu
  • Land Lamprey: A lamprey that mutated to be able to live on land.
  • Luck Eater: A golden-furred cat that enchants people with the sound of its purring and stays with them for 2 to 5 hours, causing everything around it to have bad luck on rolls. If it goes for thirty minutes without any rolls being made nearby, it will force its victims to attack the first creature that they meet. If it goes for another thirty minutes without any rolls being made, it will then force the victims to attack each other, although the victims become able to attack the Luck Eater as well so it will hide itself it if it has to go that far.
  • Lycanthrope
  • Magman: A humanoid from the para-elemental plane of heat, which isn't the same thing as the plane of fire. They enjoy swimming around in lava and setting other creatures on fire for fun but will freeze if they stay out of lava for too long.
  • Mandragora
  • Giant Mantis
  • Mantrap
  • Margoyle
  • Marid
  • Shadow Mastiff
  • Mihstu: An elemental creature that looks like a cloud of mist that attacks either by forming razor-sharp tentacles or enveloping and causing constitution damage to victims.
  • Miner
  • Minimal: Miniature versions of animals created with magic.
    • Gorilla
    • Carnivorous Ape
    • Baboon
    • Badger
    • Black Bear
    • Brown Bear
    • Cave Bear
    • Wild Boar
    • Warthog
    • Buffalo
    • Bull
    • Wild Camel
    • War Dog
    • Wild Dog
    • Asian Elephant
    • African Elephant
    • Hippopotamus
    • Wild Horse
    • Hyena
    • Jaguar
    • Leopard
    • Lion
    • Mountain Lion
    • Lynx
    • Mammoth
    • Rhinoceros
    • Stag
    • Tiger
    • Wolf
  • Modron
    • Monodrone
    • Duodrone
    • Tridrone
    • Quadrone
    • Pentadrone
    • Decaton
    • Nonaton
    • Octon
    • Septon
    • Hexton
    • Quinton
    • Quarton
    • Tertian
    • Secundus
    • Primus
  • Russet Mold
  • Mongrelman
  • Moon Dog
  • Muckdweller
  • Mud-Man: Mud animated by magic-polluted water. They attack any creature more mobile than themselves by throwing globs of hardening mud to drown them. If they get close enough to a target they make a suicidal attack by throwing their whole body at the victim.
  • Myconid
  • Nereid
  • Narwhale
  • Obliviax
  • Aquatic Ogre (Merrow)
  • Oliphant: A elephant-like monster from The Lord of the Rings.
  • Ophidian: Snake people whose bite turns victims into more of them.
  • Opinicus: Chaotic Good magical creatures found in deserts that have the body and neck of a camel, the legs and tail of a lion, the face, hands, and feet of a monkey, and the wings of an eagle.
  • Otter
  • Owl
  • Para-Elemental
    • Ice
    • Smoke
    • Magma
    • Ooze
  • Pech
  • Pedipalp: A obscure clade of arachnids that includes whip scorpions and whip spiders.
    • Large (Schizomida)
    • Huge (Amblypygus)
    • Giant (Uropygus)
  • Phantom: A soulless entity created by a traumatic death that acts like a recording of a person's final moments. It cannot be damaged but also can't cause any harm. It can only frighten people that see it and can be destroyed by an exorcism.
  • Phoenix
  • Phycomid
  • Planetar
  • Pseudo-Undead
  • Deadly Pudding
    • Brown
    • Dun
    • White
  • Pyrolisk: A variant of the Cockatrice whose gaze causes creatures to burst into flame and can cause flames to burst into fireworks.
  • Lightning Quasi-Elemental
  • Quickling
  • Quickwood
  • Ram
  • Rat
    • Ordinary Rat
    • Vapor Rat: Giant rats that live the clouds with Cloud Giants and can turn into a gaseous form.
  • Raven
    • Ordinary
    • Huge
    • Giant
  • Retch Plant: A tree that produces fruit that produce a smell so horrible when they fall off and burst that it makes people vomit if the juice gets on them. The smell attracts predators and can only be removed by cleaning it off with alcohol. It has a small chance of dropping a fruit on anyone that walks under it and will always drop multiple fruit on anyone who strike the plant or tries to clime it. At least the supply of fruit it has is very limited.
  • Rock Reptile: A big lizard that camouflages itself as a pile of rock.
  • Sandling: A living mass of sand that kills anything that enters its territory.
  • Scorpion
    • Large
    • Huge
  • Scum Creeper: Small vicious slugs with teeth found in caves.
  • Selkie
  • Shade
  • Greater Shedu
  • Sirine
  • Animal Skeleton
  • Skunk
  • Slime Creature
  • Olive Slime
  • Snake
    • Constrictor
    • Poisonous
  • Solar
  • Solifugid: A type of arachnid known as camel spiders.
    • Large
    • Huge
    • Giant
  • Spectator
  • Giant Marine Spider
  • Spriggan
  • Squealer: A predatory beast found in forests. It has a head like a pig, a body like an ape, three fingers on each limb, and an extra limb on its back.
  • Squirrel
    • Giant Black: An evil squirrel that steels your stuff.
    • Ordinary
  • Carnivorous Flying Squirrel
  • Stegocentipede: A massive centipede with a spiky head, spiny ridges on its back, and a stinger at the end like a scorpion.
  • Stench Kow: Cattle from The Nine Hells. These beasts look like a deformed bison with extremely bad breath.
  • Stone Guardian: A specialized form of Stone Golem.
  • Storoper
  • Giant Sundew
  • Swan
  • Swanmay
  • Swordfish
  • Taer
  • Tarrasque
  • Tasloi
  • Giant Harvester Termite
    • Worker
    • Soldier
  • Thessalhydra
  • Thri-Kreen
  • Thunder Beast: A six-legged hippo-like beast from the abyss that generates fog with its breath.
  • Thunderherder: A desert-dwelling relative of the Purple Worm that is not aggressive but causes tremors as it travels below grown.
  • Time Elemental
  • Transposer: A featureless humanoid whose arms end in suckers. If it successfully hits an opponent with the suckers, then any damage that opponent does to the transposer will heal the transposer instead while also damaging the opponent at the same time, but if the opponent casts healing magic on the transposer, it will heal the opponent and damage the transposer. It can disguise itself as other humanoid creatures using illusions.
  • Tri-Flower Frond
  • Marine Troll
    • Fresh Water
    • Salt Water
  • Twilight Bloom:
  • Land Urchin: A land-dwelling version of a sea urchin that can shoot spikes and produce a dark cloud to help it run away.
  • Ustilagor
  • Vagabond: An extremely intelligent entity from another reality that takes the form of a creature native to whatever place it arrived in for the purpose of learning and exploring. If you take it on an adventure with you, it will give everyone in the party a reward.
  • Vargouille: An ugly flying head with wings and tentacles whose bite can inflict permanent damage.
  • Vegepygmy
  • Verme: A freshwater fish large enough to swallow an entire water buffalo.
  • Vilstrak: A rock-like bug person that can pass through stone.
  • Vulchling: Chaotic evil birds.
  • Vulture
    • Giant
    • Ordinary
  • Weasel
  • Webbird: A creature that looks like a beakless bird but is actually an insect or arachnid that entraps victims with webs and then injects them with quickly hatching eggs.
  • Wemic
  • Black Willow
  • Wolf-in-Sheep's-Clothing
  • Wolfwere
  • Worm
    • Tenebrous Worm: A baby Gloomwing, but don't let that fool you. They are much more dangerous than the adults. They have an acid bite and the upper section of their body is protected by paralyzing bristles.
    • Tunnel Worm: A giant centipede-like monster that attacks from its burrow in the wall or ceiling of a tunnel.
  • Xag-ya and Xeg-yi: Tentacled balls of positive or negative energy.
  • Xaren: A relative of the Xorn. A rocky creature with three arms and three legs that eats metal and gets stronger by eating magic metal.
  • Yeth Hound
  • Yochlol
  • Yuan Ti
  • Juju Zombie
  • Monster Zombie
  • Zorbo
  • Zygom

From 1984 on, Dragon Magazine published dozens of new monsters in three Creature Catalogs. These didn't make it into officially-bound texts at the time, but the Lillend and the Dark Naga will find some love in the next edition. You might consider the monsters in these three to amount to a Fiend Folio II.

Monstrous Manual (AD&D 2E)[edit]

This was an odd duck in the series, because post-Gygax TSR got it into its head that we didn't need no stinkin' manual. Their rationale was that every setting should differ, and where an Athas might not have orcs (anymore) another locale might be like Talislanta and short on elves. Even if they did have something called an "elf" it will be setting-specific. So they released "Monstrous Compendium" sheafs, each monster to fill two sides of a page, which the DM could put into a binder or a Trapper Keeper or something.

As usual, early 1990s TSR had failed to listen to their actual customers, lost demon-worshipping souls as we are. It turns out that plenty of settings agree on the same basic monsters, or at least like to leaf through the pages for inspiration. So, kicking and screaming, in 1993 TSR released the Monstrous Manual. It followed the same monster-to-a-page format, so you could detach these ladies and fill your binders with them as the Prophets demand. (Note: This list might be incomplete or incorrect as it was based on an online list and not the actual Monstrous Manual, I've noticed some error s in the list and will have to check the actual manual to see if this all correct. Also this list doesn't have any of the monster that were released in later Monstrous Compendiums such as the one for Planescape.)


Monster Manual (D&D 3E)[edit]

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Monster Manual II (D&D 3E)[edit]

The Monster Manual II for third edition did not get a rerelease for 3.5 but they did release a document on what to change if playing in 3.5. (You can help by filling in this list)

Monster Manual (D&D 3.5E)[edit]

Monster Manual III (D&D 3.5E)[edit]

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Monster Manual IV (D&D 3.5E)[edit]

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Monster Manual V (D&D 3.5E)[edit]

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Monster Manual (D&D 4E)[edit]

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Monster Manual 2 (D&D 4E)[edit]

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Monster Manual 3 (D&D 4E)[edit]

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Monster Manual (D&D 5E)[edit]

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