Rating The Monsters Of Dungeons & Dragons' 'Monster Manual' By Dateabilty
The Monster Manual is Dungeons & Dragons' compendium of dastardly beasts and ghouls that you can choose from to add to your campaign. It doubles marvelously as a detailed, illustrated list of monstrous singles -- in your area!
Adult Green Dragon
A classic monster: a recognizable silhouette, with an iconic lair to boot. Exactly what you'd expect. [long, meaningful sigh] Adult Green Dragon is like returning to your hometown and hooking up with your graduating class' Homecoming King ten years later. Adult Green Dragon is the perfectly nice lawyer fiance in the rom-com who gets left at the altar. Adult Green Dragon is "Pepsi's fine" instead of Coke. Serviceable. Okay. 5/10.
According to the Monster Manual, a chimera is a vile combination of goat, lion, and dragon and features the heads of all three of those creatures. The Chimera is always a surprise. One day, they want to stay out all night, partying until the sun comes up. The next, they're super into home refurbishing and are putting up reclaimed shiplap because they saw it on HGTV, and it looked like, really great and so easy; I don't know why people pay contractors for this stuff. But if you can keep up with their many whims, sometimes all three heads vying for your attention at once, the Chimera is a good time all the time. 9/10.
Animated Armor has flown under the radar for far too long. Their common dependability has made them appear ubiquitous. Unspecial. But beneath that hard, enchanted exterior is a monster who is always there for you, whether stalking you slowly and silently with an ax or chasing you noisily through a never-ending series of hallways like in Scooby-Doo. In a world of chaos, cleave to what you can depend on: Animated Armor. 7/10.
OMG, Balor! Balor! Hey! I haven't seen you in years! Been keeping up with you on Insta and stuff -- extremely cool, mister Shadow and Flame. Lurking in the depths, felling great Wizards and stuff? Finding yourself awakened when populations delve too greedily and too deep ... What? Oh, that was your brother, Balrog? Phew. This is uh. This is a little uncomfortable. Um. Is he in town, though? 4/10.
"An air elemental is a funneling cloud of whirling air with a vague semblance of a face. It can turn itself into a screaming cyclone, creating a whirlwind that batters creatures even as it flings them away."
Commitment issues. 2/10.
An interesting fact about the Couatl from the Monster Manual: "A couatl can't lie, but it can withhold information, answer questions vaguely, or allow others to jump to the wrong conclusions if doing so is necessary to protect something, to keep promises, or to hide the secret of its existence." The answer to "how do I look in this new sweater" will always be "your appearance is of no matter to me -- how do you feel about the sweater?" For some, that might be ideal! For others, a nightmare. In honor of the Couatl, my rating is "I don't know - how do you think you should be rated?"
The Beholder is one of the most classic, recognizable aberrations found in the Monster Manual. Beholders have an orb-shaped body covered in eyes, giving them the ability to see in all directions at once. When you're in need of attention, the Beholder is your match. They're also deep in your social media, just casually wondering, "Who's that guy you're tagged in a photo with from four years ago? I dunno, I just think it's weird that you're telling me it 'wasn't a thing,' but you coordinated matching Halloween costumes in 2017." Yikes. 3/10.
The famed Sir Mix-A-Lot, Knight of the great house of Mack Daddy, once famously proclaimed: "when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face, you get sprung." He then disappeared into the forest, entangled with a Flesh Golem, fighting for his very life. To this day, we await his return.
All that is to say: If you like 'em little in the middle, but she got much back, the Drider is for you. I, however, saw the movie Arachnophobia on cable TV in the year 1996, and I'm still untangling that with my therapist every other Thursday. Not for me. 1/10.
The Monster Manual describes Bugbears as "hairy goblinoids born for battle and mayhem." But little do they know, that's just my type. The Bugbear is a perfect candidate for a long couples weekend away, camping and hiking, snatching passing birds right out of the sky to devour whole and raw. You brush his matted hair. He fells a tree in one blow for you to sit on when you're tired of walking. 10/10.
The Bullywug goes way back, first appearing in the Fiend Folio in the early '80s. A dependable companion; loud and territorial at times, but inherently adaptable -- I mean, who else is equally at ease in land and water? They know how to roll with the punches and can make any place feel like home. So long as you don't take their stuff. Or step on their moss. Or make loud noises. Okay, most things piss them off, actually. Nevermind. 3/10.
Kobolds date all the way back to D&D 1st Edition and are notorious for being weak creatures designed to get low-level players comfortable with battle. Therefore, the Kobold is easy to pass over as commonplace and dull. However, Kobolds make up for their brawny failings with an incredible cleverness for trap-making. I find something terribly endearing about the Kobolds' reputation as the robotics club nerds of the Monster Manual. Keep it up, lil buddies. Your day will come. 5/10.
The Harpy gets you extraordinarily drunk but also holds your hair back when you're throwing up later that night. The Harpy is ride or die and doesn't care that she's topless. The Harpy kills at karaoke -- literally, their singing has a charming effect, leaving you vulnerable to attack. No one serves up fun like the Harpy, so long as you can keep up. If you pass out at pregame, you may wake up discovering someone nicked all your shiny jewelry. 7/10.
Myconids are giant mushroom-people that live in the Underdark, which in the words of Gary Gygax is "a real snooze of a place." (Don't Google that -- just trust me, he said it.) Therefore, they've developed "a form of communal meditation that allows Myconids to transcend their dull subterranean existence." In groups, Myconids release hallucination spores that induce a "shared dream" for the purposes of entertainment and interpersonal connection. I used to follow Phish on the road. I get it. But I'm not sure I want to live in the D&D equivalent of Lubbock, TX, in order to get the hookup. 4/10.
Top Image: Wizards Of The Coast