D&D: Tiny Monsters, Deadly Encounters
If you ever needed proof that size isn’t everything, here are five tiny monsters who can hold their own against a party of seasoned adventurers.
In Dungeons & Dragons there are creatures of all shapes and sizes, from gargantuan monsters like Purple Worms or ancient dragons, to the smallest of creatures. And for the most part, the bigger they are, the badder they tend to be. But size isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, as you’ll see with these five foes who are diminutive but deadly.
This small brain dog might not seem like it’s especially threatening as it only weighs in at around CR 2, but it has a lot going for it. It’s fast moving, with a speed of 40 ft, and it can detect the presence and location of a creature within 300 feet, so there’s no outrunning hiding from one once it’s on your trail. It doesn’t have eyes so you can’t stop it by blocking line of sight.
All it has to do is get within 60 feet of you and it can unleash a surprisingly deadly attack. It has a couple of claws that deal some minor damage, but with Devour Intellect, it can potentially consume a brain, stunning a target by reducing its Intelligence score to 0, which then lets it magically consume a target’s brain, teleport into its skull, and take over total control of the body. Just two actions and an unlucky saving throw can destroy even the highest level character, making these lethal in large number.
Flameskulls are one of my favorite monsters. These burning skulls are fashioned from the skulls of dead wizards by “dark spellcasters” and are eternally bound, intelligent guardians that are tasked with accomplishing a specific goal. Flameskulls are also sticklers for obeying the letter of their commads.
Flameskulls are also continuously aflame. Flameskulls also reform unless they are buried with holy water, or subject to a dispel magic. And once a Flameskull no longer can fulfill its intended purpose… it becomes beholden to no one and instead is its own autonomous being. Which is worth mentioning because in addition to shooting a fire ray, they can also cast fireball, magic missile, and flaming sphere and, when launched against an unsuspecting party can prove quite deadly.
Left Hand of Manshoon
This is a special magical hand found in Dungeon of the Mad Mage. The Left Hand of Manshoon (one of his clones, to be exact) has been transformed into a powerful guardian. It has the statistics of an archmage, meaning it can cast 9th level spells, has a flying speed of 30 feet, and blindsight out to a range of 60 feet. It can cast spells that will devastate a party and fly away to do it again and again and again.
Traxigor is an otter who was once a powerful archmage, but has instead been transformed into that of an otter. Unlike other otters, he can speak Common, Draconic, Dwarvish, Gnomish, Halfling, and Troglodye. This means he can be a powerful ally, or an even deadlier foe if threatened. Though, who’s going to threaten an otter?
Finally we have the Demilich. This is one of those iconic monsters from D&D’s storied past. It’s all that’s left of a Lich that runs out of souls to feed to its phylactery. After its bones turn to dust, the demilich–a malevolent skull, will rise through the air and assume a wraithlike form that will slay the weak-hearted and leave others trembling with fear.
But they’re sad, in a way, as these are ancient liches whose reason for being has faded, leaving them no longer able to channel the arcane power they wielded as a lich. They are wretches who can only exist to kill the living… unless you happen to become a demilich on purpose. In which case all bets are off. But this tiny skull is loaded with legendary actions, a life-draining attack, and if they’re truly powerful, the ability to steal your very soul.