The Five Most Hated Monsters in D&D

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rust monster header

Dungeons and Dragons has a ton of cool monsters. But these five are just the worst…

There’s no shortage of monsters in Dungeons and Dragons. You’ve got your kobolds, orcs, goblins, dragons, beholders, giants…no shortage of awesome adversaries to slay. And then there are the ones that, when you see their minis hit the table, you groan, roll your eyes, and prepare for an hour and a half of torture and tedium.

Rust Monster

rust monster header

Because if there’s one thing that every player loves, it’s losing all of their hard-earned equipment. Sure, some editions tried to make it so that they only affected non-magic weapons, but, even so, they were one surefire way to get any party of players up in arms. Did you invest a lot of money in buying a suit of plate mail for your character? Hope you roll well on your save, or all that gold is basically gone.

Ghouls

Ghoul_-_David_Griffith

But wait, you might be shouting at your screen, ghouls are a staple of undead encounters. They are a viable threat–well, A) you don’t have to be so loud, I’m right here. It’s okay, I get it, ghouls are a classic undead baddie, but they’re annoying as all get out. Fighting ghouls can repeatedly go like this:

DM: Alright, Player A, your turn, make a save.

Player A: Nope. Still paralyzed.

DM: Player B?

Player B: Same here.

DM: The ghouls make their attacks. Player C

Player C has stopped playing and instead is just writing murder the gm over and over and over.

After all, there’s nothing like monsters whose innate abilities are robbing the players of their turn to drag out the pace and flow of a fight to needless levels of agony.

Ghosts

g-g-g-ghost

On a similar note, let’s talk about Ghosts. The big reason they’re here is that you can effectively lose your character in a single save. It’s not even a save or die effect, it’s save or age by 1d4x10 years. Unless you’re playing like an Elf or a Dwarf this is a huge impact on the character, even if you’re not immediately thrust into old age, you’re still going to have the entire core of the character changed in a flash.

And if you’re playing something like a half-orc? Man, one bad roll and you’ve aged out of existence. Which, don’t get me wrong, D&D is a deadly game, but this one feels like insult to injury.

Anything that drains levels

Gauntlet2-3

This has been a thorn in the side of players for the longest time. I think even the designers knew that this kind of ability would really earn players’ ire–after all that’s one of the big reasons that you have spells like lesser restoration in the first place. They’re there mostly to deal with ability score and/or level drain. There’s a whole host of monsters whose goal is basically to take your character and make them get objectively worse. I am singling out level drain in particular, because it messes with the tempo and balance of the party–put yourself in this scenario, you are a 10th level party, and you get unlucky and earn 4 negative levels. Which then go away. Now you’re 6th, while the party is 10th. Good luck feeling like you’re contributing.

Fortunately, this is gone from 5th Edition. I think the reduced hp maximum mechanic is a great replacement–it is still in keeping with the theme, and it makes the fight harder, but it doesn’t leave characters feeling like they’ve just wasted the last few sessions in a single roll.

Sea Monsters (All)

kraken-1

Are you on a boat? You’re getting attacked by Kraken. Or giant sharks. Or sea serpents. Or aquatic hydras. Or Lacedons (aquatic ghouls). And then you’re fighting in the water and in addition to fighting literally every sea monster the gM could find in the monster manual, you are also drowning.

Bonus: Gnomes

Nebin

Adam Harry hates gnomes enough for us all.

What’s the monster you love to hate? Least favorite monster? Ever had an encounter that made you flip the table in frustration, let us know below!

  • Krizzab

    the old trick “skull with two HUGE gems in his eyes”, work wonders vs groups what think “we are powerfull”

  • SilentPony

    Pretty sure the most hated monster is an a*hole DM

    • As a DM i’m pretty sure the most hated monster is an a**hole Player.

      • euansmith

        And there are potentially more of them 😀 This is why I like games where the players have to describe their own successes and failures.

        “Players, you want Agency? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE AGENCY!”

        • SilentPony

          Eh? DMs are God, players are just players.
          A snotty player who wants to do X or Y is just a snotty player.
          But a DM can just go “Oh, you died. Yeah, you stepped on a lava spike, it went into your brain, and your character is dead. So sorry. Guess you shouldn’t have asked that Elf where the Tavern is.”

    • polyquaternium7

      Have met three of those in my life.

      One DM liked unsolvable puzzles. He enjoyed how we tried everything while there was no way to solve it. for clarity the whole adventure was about that puzzle dungeon. (thanks for wasting a day of gaming).

      The second DM lied about everything rules wise To the point, we even pointed it out with the actual book in front of him (he still lied, at that point I just got my stuff and left)

      The last one was a control freak with megalomania and anger issues (yes he even tried to control everybody outside of the game). and went on a yelling spree when I got up and left.

      As a DM and player I really, really hate a*hole DM’s

  • Jim

    Gelatinous cubes were f’ing annoying.

    • dave long island

      But they’re so helpful. They clean the floor of debris, bones, bugs, goblins, and weak party members. They leave the dungeon floor sparkly clean… lol

  • Graham Bartram

    Oh stop whining and play some Call Of Cthulhu. Then you won’t have to worry about your characters precious trinkets and stuff… ..complete madness and an agonising death on the other hand.

    But seriously, CoC is great training for players to accept that the story drives the game, not collecting trinkets. You die so often it becomes much more about what is passed on by the players story than the individual him/herself. It’s about the continuity of the group over the ego of the individual. I’ve seen a lot of D&D players up the game after experiencing a different perspective on RPGs.

    • dave long island

      Rule #1 when playing CoC: Your player characters must never read any of the books that they inevitably will find. In fact, it’s best to have your PCs completely illiterate, just to be sure… lol… Knights of the Dinner Table taught us that much, over the years… lol

    • ChubToad

      While I agree with you, CoC also creates a sense of disinterest from the players after a few adventures. The “we’re all going to die” philosophy takes out much of the interest towards the game for a few players. My gaming group want from euphoria playing Mansions of Madness collection, to “sure, whatever gimme the book so I can roll another character” during The Masks of Nyaralthothep. Loosing a PC is always something intimate but I think CoC goes over the top on the mortality of the characters. For a few games that is quite challenging but it gets pretty boring in the long run.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love CoC, but dying or going mad not so much.

      • Graham Bartram

        OK, I’ll paint the scene. So a new player gets stamped on, I mean literally, his character just gets squished, this is CoC after all and that kinda stuff can happen. Anyway a few sessions later, several more dead PC’s and the current PC’s push the mad sorcerer cultist loony tune into a Yithian mind-swapping machine. Trapped in the machines auric field (or whatever) the characters get a few seconds to dial in the coordinates for the mind swap. Now if the Keeper has lined this up right they will realise that this is an opportunity to save a squished friend. The result being a PC resurrected into the sorcerer’s body, a dead sorcerer in the players squished body and a realisation that the Keeper is maybe not as cruel as the players thought. Add some time travel portals (Stonehenge, cultists, you know the drill) and things get very confusing, though rather fun with players re-apprising a dead character before they died.
        Remember at all times; That PC is not dead which can eternal lie in the Keepers documents…. ..and for goodness sake, let them have a “DOOM” scenario occasionally. By that I mean let the PCs go nuts on some minions to feel a bit of payback at times, that’s what minions are for. Anyway, I will concede that CoC is a hard game to campaign with well and it requires a hell of a lot of planning and at times, some serious dice fudging because the mortality rate is, as you say, over the top, but done right it’s an amazing game. I started playing D&D 37 years ago and was that kid who became the DM by default (as I had the books) and I’ve run a lot of games in a lot of systems. If I’ve learnt anything about games mastering it’s that the buck stops with the GM. If the balance is out, you didn’t prepare and adjust enough or you didn’t know the system/campaign well enough. Full disclosure, I’m so OCD with my game preparation that I will source the correct paper types and reproduce all player aids as authentic props whenever possible (I’ve even sold some of them afterwards), I use audio soundboards and mood lighting too…..
        …..must get a dry ice fogger, that would be handy. XD

  • Crevab

    You say Gnomes but not the Halfling variation that should not be?

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      Kender?

      • Crevab

        *hiss*

  • There are no Gnomes in our D&D world.

    Oh, right, I play D&D with Adam Harry. Suddenly it all makes sense.

    • adamharry

      It’s true. I have a hatred of gnomes….

      And Joe, the best part about the game is that the “no gnomes” rule was in place before we starting playing – the Original DMs know how I roll.