The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons History

Stranger Things has made Dungeons & Dragons cool again, even if the show does take place in an era when playing it meant risking getting your head shoved into a toilet. Back then, denying you were a D&D player was futile -- bullies could smell it on you. But would the popular kids have mocked us if they truly understood the rich, expansive universe detailed in D&D manuals? Yes, they would have, because said manuals were full of shit like ...

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15
The Roving Mauler

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

A visual approximation of Mufasa infected by The Thing.

Where It Went Wrong:

Besides looking like a microbrew beer mascot created by a designer who badly misread the instructions, the Roving Mauler is little more than a biological liability. Does his head stay still while the rest of his body goes pinwheeling around the desert? What's to keep his neck from snapping? If his head goes spinning around with the rest of his body, how the hell does he see where he's going with the horizon whirling around his field of vision like a kaleidoscope?

And where is his lion dick during all this? We're assuming it's between one of those pairs of legs, so given the options, he's either going to have a dick-chin-beard, a dick-earring, or a dick-devilock. And that's just awkward.

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14
The Gelatinous Cube

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Gelatinous Cube is an enormous block of ooze that roams through the perfectly square hallways of D&D, devouring anyone foolish enough to walk directly into it.

Where It Went Wrong:

Unless an encounter plays out exactly like the steamroller scene in Austin Powers, we fail to see how the Gelatinous Cube ever kills anybody who's not either glued to the floor or fast asleep. In fact, we're pretty sure the Dungeon Master's Guide reads: The first player to ask "Can't I just get out of the way?" automatically defeats the Gelatinous Cube.

13
The Knell Beetle

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Knell Beetle is a nine-foot-long flesh-eating insect with a giant trumpet on its head that kind of makes it look like Snidely Whiplash.

Where It Went Wrong:

Clearly this is an example of miscommunication between the writers and the art department.

"We need to make him a bit more menacing. Put a huge horn on its head."

"Huge horn, got it."

12
The Senmurv

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Senmurv is a wolf/eagle hybrid, invented without question by someone with a dreamcatcher hanging from the rear-view mirror of their pickup truck. Each successful attack deals 1d6 of freedom.

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Where It Went Wrong:

The Senmurv is what Toby Keith becomes every full moon, and as such, it fails to impress us on any conceivable level. The only thing more ridiculous than picturing this beast clawing feebly through the sky like a Technicolor ValueJet is imagining it trying to stand upright on two hind legs never meant for the task. Actually, more ridiculous still is imagining this beast's conception, which apparently involved a wolf, a giant tropical bird, and painful screeches from within a cloud of neon feathers.

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11
The Demi-Lich

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Demi-Lich is a soul-eating floating skull which bides its time on a galleon full of treasure waiting for the Goonies to show up.

Where It Went Wrong:

Besides looking like a Pirates Of The Caribbean alarm clock, the Demi-Lich seems to possess no tactical advantages of any kind. It just kind of floats around, waiting for a party of heroes to smack it out of the air like a pinata. We suppose it could try to bite you, but the illustration above kind of makes it look like the jaw is fused in place. Man, now we feel sorry for it.

10
The Brain In A Jar

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

As its name suggests, the Brain in a Jar is a brain in a jar. This is a compromise of its original name, "Brain in a Gnarly H.R. Giger Phallus."

Where It Went Wrong:

... It's a brain in a jar. Just kick it over, who's going to know?

9
The Digester

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Digester is a man-sized creature that sprays its digestive juices onto its victims, like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly or the lunch crowd at a Golden Corral.

Where It Went Wrong:

We admit that spitting acid in someone's face is pretty brutal. However, the Digester seems to be in desperate need of a head, and one or two arms. So if that initial blast of bulimic rage goes wide, it's probably screwed. Those talons look nasty, but again, with nothing but two hind legs to support it, the thing is going to go toppling over with the first kick, hilariously sending gastric acid raining down its own torso.

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8
Moon Rats

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

Moon Rats gain fierce intelligence as the moon becomes full, for reasons that are not adequately explained.

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Where It Went Wrong:

Rats that become super smart under the full moon are only useful as villains on Chip And Dale's Rescue Rangers. Sure, they may hatch an ingenious plan to conquer the entire city while sitting around smoking cigars and drinking scotch, but once the sun comes up, they're back to eating diapers out of the garbage. Freeze frame and roll credits.

7
Ash Rats

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

Ash Rats are rats that are on fire, all the time, for no explicit reason. This somehow makes them even less dangerous than their aforementioned non-flaming brethren.

Where It Went Wrong:

Walking into a battle while already engulfed in flames puts you at a pretty hefty disadvantage. Realistically, all the heroes have to do is wait a few seconds for the rats to burn down to gristle, or merely kick the damn things out of the way because they're fucking rats.

6
Grell

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Grell is a floating beaked brain with jellyfish tentacles.

Where It Went Wrong:

So the D&D world really uses the whole "floating" thing as a crutch to make ridiculous-looking monsters that would never be able to travel on land unless they were strapped into a car seat in the back of a Chevy Malibu. Also, while the Grell is undoubtedly suited for the task of scaring nine-year-olds, we don't feel it would pose a serious challenge to a seven-foot-tall barbarian warrior that drinks the blood of the fallen. That head has the look of something he could incapacitate by poking it really hard with his finger.

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5
Atropal

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Atropal is a stillborn god-fetus risen from the dead to confuse everyone at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Where It Went Wrong:

Despite possessing godlike powers and being metal as fuck, the Atropal is, at its core, still nothing but a dead fetus. Here's a general rule for undead creatures: If the thing wasn't any kind of threat when it was alive, it's probably not going to be any more of a problem in its slower, decomposing form.

4
Hippocampus

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

When you were a little kid and somebody mentioned "seahorses," this is what you pictured in your mind.

Where It Went Wrong:

The Hippocampus simply doesn't seem like it would pose much of a threat. It sort of looks like an ancillary character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, like its name would be "MerMare" or "Aquaestiran," and it would help the Turtles reach Atlantis before the city gets plundered by Bebop and Rocksteady. That makes us think this creature was intended to be one of the good guys, but would something working for the forces of good have that douchey chin beard?

3
Porcupine Cactus

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Porcupine Cactus explodes whenever something gets near it, blanketing the surrounding area with a layer of thorns and internal organs. This is gross.

Where It Went Wrong:

Aside from the pointlessly redundant combination (How about an "eel snake"?), the freaking thing blows up at the first sign of activity. Just hide behind a tree and toss a squirrel at it or something.

2
Anguillian

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

Anguillians are a breed of humanoid eels which live in a patriarchal society under the sea. Judging by the spear and Sarlacc mouth, things down there aren't quite as whimsical as Sebastian the crab would have us believe.

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Where It Went Wrong:

Buddy, you've got a mouth lined with thousands of razor-sharp teeth and huge terrifying crab claws for hands. You do not need to try to jab people with a sharpened stick.

1
Gelun

The 15 Most Idiotic Monsters In Dungeons & Dragons HistoryWizards of the Coast

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What Is It?

The Gelun is a creature that has to live in the desert to avoid completely freezing into a block of ice, sort of like the exact opposite of Mr. Freeze.

Where it Went Wrong:

Being encased in something that isn't a giant robot suit really limits your combat potential (see Brain in a Jar, above). Really, the Gelun's best hope is that passing bands of adventurers carve its ice prison into an angel or a swan or something instead of chopping its exposed head off.

Note: This article was originally published in June 2009!

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