Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Mt. Rushmore of D&D Monsters

"Mt. Rushmore", in this blog's context, means the four most iconic or important items from a particular D&D topic. Today's topic is Monsters. The previous topics were Spells and Magic Items.

What would your Mt. Rushmore of D&D Monsters look like? You're only allowed four and for this exercise make the list without consulting any D&D books. After making your list, proceed to comments to see mine.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


Sham aka Dave said...

Here's mine: Gelatinous Cube, Umber Hulk, Mind Flayer, Beholder.

Also considered: Rust Monster, Purple Worm, Carrion Crawler, Green Slime, Troll, Dragon, Giant, Hell Hound, Lich.

JB said...

My votes for ICONIC monsters:

orc, red dragon, troll, owl bear

I wish you cared about our choices should SOOO be on the mountain!

Oh...and that's the PIG-FACED orc, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Orc, Owlbear, Red Dragon, Kobold.

I come from more of a B/X background so iconic AD&D monsters like Mindflayer and Beholders didn't really figure in our games much.

Norman J. Harman Jr. said...

Orc, Beholder, Owlbear, Stirge, um oh yeah Red Dragon (preferable drawn with blue ink, represent!)

Roper, Troll, Hill Giant, Gnoll, Grey Ooze, Rot Grubs, Mind Flayer, Githyanki, Hydra all possibilities.

Stirge, That one B/W drawing of flocking stirges and possibly some forgotten dramatic character deaths I have had irrational fear of those big eyed, proboscised flying fluff balls. Even the word proboscis gives me the heebee geebees.

Joseph said...

I've got to go with orc, beholder, mind flayer, and gelatinous cube.

Timeshadows said...

Beholder, Mind Flayer, Owlbear, Umber Hulk

FASERIP said...

Orc, Gelatinous Cube, Rot Grubs, Beholder.

Darn close to Joseph's.

tussock said...

Troll, Kobold, Orc, Ogre.

Weird, but true. They're what I use, over and over again, year after year. Love 'em to bits, humanoids. Honorable mention to Gnolls, Svirfneblin, and, well, I could go on at length.

But the iconic D&D monsters are the Red Dragon, the Illithid, the Beholder, and the Sahaugin. TSR said so.

Robo said...

Orcs, skeletons, giants (hill, if I must be specific), and drow.

Tacoma said...

Dragon (obviously)
Green Slime
Giant Toad

Chris said...

Kobold (dog-faced)
Orc (pig-faced)
Umber Hulk

Seems there's a hivemind thing going on...

Sham aka Dave said...

Great picks. I'm probably in the minority that considers Goblins more interesting than Orcs. I truly think it's because I never liked the pig-faced 1e Orcs.

To echo Tussock, I'm more of a humanoid-using DM...humanoids, undead, demons. I just like things with two legs, or none at all (slimes).

BUT when I think D&D Monsters, the images I see are those on my list.

JB: It's not that I don't care about reasons, I just don't feel anyone should feel as if they have to explain. The Mt. Rushmore thing is personal feel...what springs into your head when you think of those categories. So, feel free to explain!

Owlbear getting lots of love. And Red Dragon.

I'm surprised no one else listed Purple Worm or Green Slime though.

Popular picks so far: Beholder and a few tied at three lists.

Clear leader: ORC!

First time I missed the mark, if there's one to be hit. :-)

Sham aka Dave said...

Sham wrote: I just don't feel anyone should feel as if they have to explain. The Mt. Rushmore thing is personal feel...what springs into your head when you think of those categories. So, feel free to explain!

Hmmm, I need more coffee. What can I say, words escape me when reading that again. I'm all touchy-feely this morning.

Christopher B said...

Lich, beholder, red dragon, green slime, and - of course :P - rust monster.

The Badger King said...

So many choices.....

carrion crawler, owlbear, bugbear, remorhaz

Michael said...

Lizardman, Red Dragon, Ogre, Orc

I've always been partial to Lizardmen, since I wrote a sci-fi story about lizardmen when I was in grade school. It was way before I had ever heard of D&D. Although, truth be told, I was probably influenced by the Sleestaks in Land of the Lost which I was a hugh fan of in elementary school. I would have to give honorable (or dishonorable) mention to goblins, kobolds and Gnolls.

Anonymous said...

Black Dragon, Kobold, Orc, Skeleton.

jdebetolaza said...

My votes are:


I had to leave out some of my own favorites, but these feel more iconic :)

P_Armstrong said...

Mind Flayer

Unknown said...


It was a toss-up between Beholders and Iron Golems, but a pair of Beholders caused my first character death (and TPK) ever, so they won out in the end.

My dice were so hot on the saving throws that night that even after all the other characters in the party had died, they had to *bite* my ranger to death.

Sham aka Dave said...

after all the other characters in the party had died, they had to *bite* my ranger to death.

Ha! Thanks for the chuckle. I've never seen or heard of that in 30 years of D&D. Bravo!

Alan said...

Orc, rust monster, mind flayer, beholder.

Steve C said...

Top 4: Dragon, beholder, rust monster and gelatinous cube.

Orcus is a close fifth (cause I love demons), followed by purple worm, green slime and carrion crawler.

Sham aka Dave said...

purple worm, green slime. Yes indeed. Poor things have still not made the Mountain yet, though.

I agree about Orcus, he was always a favorite, along with Jubilex and pretty much all of the Demons and Devils in the MM.

Blotz said...

Orc, Beholder, Dragon (any kind), And Skeleton.

BTW, whilst Green Slime is evocative, how exactly do we "sculpt" it?

Sham aka Dave said...

Artistic interpretation maybe? Perhaps having the other three being visibly turned into green goo would do it. :-)

Adam C. said...

Goblin, dragon, gelatinous cube, and orc.

I considered kobold, but my personal experience has had far more interesting goblins. Dragons are kind of a given (they're in the game's name, and battles with them are just iconic), Gelatinous cubes are easily the most iconic of the weirder D&D monsters, and orcs, well! I don't think I've been in any game without a few around.

I don't think I've ever seen a beholder in a game, outside of Neverwinter Nights and such. Illithids have been rare as well.

Drow might be a possibility, but I don't like them that much, probably because I wasn't allowed to play D&D when I was younger, and by the time I did, every appearance of them was subverting the traditional drow roles. I've seen lots of friendly Drow Drizzts, African tribal and Incan-tinged reimaginings... no proper drow, though.

Anonymous said...

Mine is Red Dragons, Mind Flayers, Beholders, and Liches

Anonymous said...

1. man
2. red dragon
3. orc
4. blink dog

1. Nobody listed man, the most dangerous game? No level limits (or ridiculously high ones, depending on your edition). A party that can swat dragons (or even dragon turtles) like flies can still be stopped short by a magic user a few levels higher, or a duke with a huge army at his disposal. Plus, Bargle will somehow conspire to make sure it's his face.

2. Red dragons are on the cover of multiple versions of the game, and they're in the name of the game.

3. Orcs are obvious. Even people who've never played an RPG (real or computer) know they're about killing orcs.

4. No love for blink dogs? They're super-intelligent, but they still act like dogs. Like hyperactive little yappy dogs, in fact, turned up to 11 because they don't just run in circles around your leg, they teleport behind you. And then there's the epic enmity with the dispoacer beasts that's been in every edition of the game but has never been explained. Who's a good doggy?