If there's one thing Dungeons & Dragons is known for, it's monsters. After all, the name of the game has the word "Dragons" in it so you know there are some serious threats lurking around every corner. In most cases, a Dungeon Master might throw one or two big creatures at a party, but for those DM's who have a party who is more annoying than they are entertaining, it might be high time to peruse the Monster Manual and throw something truly big at them. Usually, these gigantic monsters are the ones you get to after an incredibly long quest, but every now and again, a mini-boss of sorts shows up to terrorize even the most advanced of players.
For those nights sitting around a table throwing dice and playing with your pals, it would be wise to learn which monsters in D&D are the most threatening. As any player will tell you, the game features pretty much any and every monster you can think of. If it terrorized people back in ancient Greece, it's probably in the Monster Manual and if it has been dreamed up and rests in the public domain, you might stumble upon it at one time or another. D&D features some of the biggest and nastiest monsters ever conceived in the realm of fantasy... these are just the most powerful ones a DM might throw at a party. Shout out in the comments with your favorite mega-monster from one of your D&D plays and let us know which one you absolutely never want to run into!
Most people know about Minotaurs and how it's probably best not to be locked in a labyrinth with one, but there's a Minotaur you truly don't want to cross called Bathomet. If the Minotaurs had a king, it would be him. Baphomet is an archdemon whose many names include the Prince of Beasts and the Horned King.
He is the Lord of the Minotaurs who resides in a vast labyrinth of his own making called the Endless Maze, which is set at the 600th layer of the Abyss. It is said to be infinite in size and hosts a palace within called Lyktion.
29 ELDER TEMPEST
There are many types of elemental monsters spread throughout the realms of D&D, but the most powerful of them is the Elder Tempest. The Elder Tempest is an Elder Elemental of Wind and was created from the rain, lightning, wind and clouds.
When an Elder Tempest is around, expect a severe thunderstorm surrounding it. Not only will it bring the rain, it controls the storm as well and can rain down lightning on anyone who gets too close. Ultimately, fighting one of these is like battling a dragon made of wind who prefers to strike out with lightning... all the time.
Beholders are some of the most well-known D&D monsters thanks to being on the cover of most versions of the Monster Manual. These monsters are essentially floating enlarged heads with a huge gaping maw, but their eyes are the main attraction.
In the center of its "face" is a giant eye, but surrounding its body are ten stalks, each with an eye at the end. Each eyestalk holds a different magical ability allowing the Beholder to cast and block a wide variety of spells. Beholders were an original creation for the game back in 1975 and weren't based on mythology like most of the original monsters.
Fraz-Urb'luu, otherwise known as the "Prince of Deception" is a gigantic beastly demon standing some 18 feet tall. He is not well liked among the Abyssal lords thanks to his penchant for summoning lesser demon lords to humiliate them in some disturbing way to please his many minions.
He is aptly named thanks to his incredible abilities in the realm of illusion magic. Most of his work is meant to deceive others into serving him, but he can also conjure up some ghastly nightmares to terrify his victims if looking at an 18' demon isn't enough to sen shivers down their spines.
26 ELDER BRAIN
D&D has a monster called a Mind Flayer, which has the ability to psionically paralyze anyone who stumbles near one. Mind Flayers are generally hated by party members, but they are nothing in comparison to their leader, the Elder Brain.
An Elder Brain is exactly what you might think it is: a gigantic brain suspended in a glass sphere or jar that is far more powerful than its underlings. Elder Brains are equivalent to a 20th level psionicist and are impossible to approach via stealth of other magical means without it knowing long in advance.
While most people fear swimming in the ocean because of sharks, they are absolutely nothing in comparison to the Kraken! These mythical beasts have permeated most marine mythologies for millennia and D&D is no different. Krakens lurk deep within the ocean, slumbering until called upon.
These aren't just enormous beasts capable of swatting away ships, they are intelligent and powerful. Krakens have complete control over the water and weather, which they can use against anyone who approaches. They aren't limited to living undersea and can just as easily breathe water and take out an entire coastal city.
In D&D, a Lich is a powerful magician who refused to die when the time came. The hide their souls in an object and transition into an immortal undead thing, but retain all of their memories from their life as well as their magical abilities, but with a significant boost in power.
This transition isn't limited to humans or other races, dragons can also become a Lich and when they do, they transform into some of the most powerful creatures in the world. A Dracolich can control the undead and use all of their magical abilities they had during life.
You know that fungus that infects ants and turns them into zombies whose only purpose is to get as high as possible and explode to release more spores? That's a real thing, but over in the realm of D&D, the version there exists in the form of Zuggtmoy, an archdemon known as the Demon Queen of Fungi.
While she does hold a humanoid-ish form, she is little more than a vast collection of fungi (mushrooms) whose only purpose is to corrupt the mortals who come close. She infects them with spores and turns them into a mindless minion.
There are Lich's spread throughout D&D, but only a scant few are so well known and feared they get their own page in the Monster Manual. Acererak was once a powerful wizard, but when the time came to shed his mortal coil, he abandoned that notion and became one of the most powerful Lich's in the universe.
Acererak is easily one of the most powerful spellcasters in the entire game and comes pretty close in terms of power to an Ancient Dragon. His control of and use of magic make him an impossible foe and someone you don't want to have to fight or you might just have to roll for a new character...
A Lich can exist indefinitely in their skeletonized form, but sometimes they grow tired of living in a body made of bones. When this happens, they have the option to transfer what power they have into their skull, which turns a Lich into a far more powerful creature called a Demilich.
A Demilich has their power boosted far beyond their previous incarnations and has the ability to float about terrorizing parties. It has an incredible amount of immunities and is seriously difficult to damage. It can not only destroy a character, it can swallow their souls.
20 MAEGERA THE DAWN TITAN
Some of the most dangerous Elementals in the game are also the most useful. Maegera the Dawn Titan is a fire primordial elemental who was trapped long ago b the dwarves of Gauntlgrym. While entombed with their powerful rune magic, she releases enough energy to power their forges.
This makes Maegera incredibly useful, but that doesn't mean she isn't dangerous. She is guarded by the dwarves, but were she to be released, a serious fight would certainly happen. She is one of the most powerful elementals in the universe so fighting her is ill advised.
There are some disturbingly powerful and dangerous monsters in the game, but you can't get much crazier than Jubilex, the Faceless Lord and Oozing hunger whose only purpose in life is to consume and grow larger. It does this in a rather nasty way, which is why few people are crazy enough to worship it.
In order to grow larger, Jubilex absorbs its followers who willingly give themselves to their Lord. It absorbs their living matter and grows larger leaving piles of oozing goo that was once its followers. They continue to exist as an extension of its body though their identities are consumed by Jubilex over a long period of time.
Under normal conditions, an Empyrean is a Good creature and isn't maligned evil in any way, but like many others, these can "fall" and become Evil. Normally, they reside in the Upper Planes and are ridiculously powerful beings, but when they fall, they fall hard.
An Evil Empyrean is insanely powerful whose former Good nature shifts to completely and totally evil. They enjoy ruling over the lesser beings of the Material Plane and go on to rule kingdoms as horrible tyrants intent on causing misery to their subjects in whatever way pleases them.
On the Material Plane, there exists a beast called a Gnoll, which players often stumble upon in combat. They arose from their leader/god known as Yeenoghu, the Beast of Butchery. While roaming the Material Plane, Yeenoghu left his kills behind, which were consumed by his pack of ravenous hyenas
After eating his leavings, the hyenas transformed into gnolls as a result and remain his followers in his absence. Unlike other archdemons, Yeenoghu doesn't have a thirst for power, but only for blood. He leaps into battle regardless of the situation and can be trusted only to increase the bloodshed wherever he goes.
Long before the multiverse of Dungeons & Dragons arose, there existed another universe populated by a race of beings known as the LeShay. When their universe came to an end, a few LeShay managed to claw their way into the D&D Multiverse where they settled themselves as intensely powerful beings.
A LeShay is a powerful combatant capable of casting high-level spells, but that's not the only trick up their sleeves. They are also highly-skilled in the use of any and every type of weapon, which they generally keep close in a massive arsenal. Taking one out leaves a lot of loot behind, but it isn't easy.
There are monsters that get involved in direct combat whenever antagonized and there are those who prefer to charm and corrupt their foes. Graz'zt is definitely the latter thanks to his role as the archdemon known as the Dark Prince of Pleasure. This is the monster who will show you all the "pleasures of Hell" to bring you under his control.
Graz'zt will alter his form into whatever is pleasing to the eye... either for his gratification or to attract more followers. While he prefers to stay out of combat, that doesn't mean he can't hit players with incredibly powerful enchantments, but for most, seeing him will be enough to fall victim to his influence.
14 ANCIENT DRAGONS
In the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons there are many different types of the beasts whose name is in the game. Dragons are hugely powerful magical creatures but their powers change over time. Their longevity means that the longer they live, the more powerful they become and the most powerful a dragons in the game are ancient.
The oldest dragons in existence are, by far, the most powerful standard dragons in the universe. In terms of which is the most dangerous, Gold and Red dragons are easily more powerful than their differently-colored cousins, but the difference is slight. All Ancient Dragons are powerful, dangerous, intelligent and loathsome of adventurers.
In any mythology, a god is a powerful entity who can pretty much do whatever they want. Sometimes, a god doesn't come into being in exactly the right way and when that happens, a stillborn god becomes a monster known as an Atropal. An Atropal is essentially a stillborn undead fetus, but comes with a ton of powers.
After all, they are still gods... of a sort. They can fire off negative energy and drain the levels from characters. Even touching an Atropol will permanently reduce a character's Constitution points by five so if you do happen upon an Atropal, it's best to keep your distance.
We humans have lawyers who come into play to make sure our contracts are fulfilled by all parties, but those monsters don't exist in the world of D&D. In the game, there are creatures known as Marut who were created by Primus for the express purpose of upholding contracts between powerful beings like demons and gods.
Seeing as they deal with powerful creatures to arbitrate various agreements, they are powerful in their own rite. A Marut has the ability to travel anywhere in the Multiverse at will and can take on just about any threat with intense justice.
Hecatoncheires is a monster that comes straight out of Greek Mythology. Originally, the Greek version of the Hecatoncheires was an enlarged monster with 100 arms, but the one introduced into D&D lore is a bit different. For D&D, Hecatoncheires is made up of 100 different people all merged into a single being.
This means that an attack from the Hecatoncheires comes 100 times each turn, though the number of attacks that land depend on the size of its target. When trying to take one of these on by yourself, they might hit only 15 times a turn. You better take it out quickly because it can summon a copy of itself into the fight.
Most people who have never played the game know of the Demogorgon thanks to the kids of Stranger Things. If you recall the first episode, they were playing a game of D&D when they came across their most feared monster, which eventually led them to name the demon from the underside a Demogorgon.
In the games, the Demogorgon is an archdemon known as the Prince of Demons and the Master of the Spiraling Depths. Its only purpose it to create chaos and drive the world insane. Even looking at one can lead a person to insanity meaning the Demogorgon should be avoided at all costs...
The aforementioned Acererak may be the most powerful named Lich in the game, but that doesn't mean he's the only named creature deserving our respect. For dragons, there exists one above all and his name is Klauth. Not only is Klauth a Red Dragon, he is the oldest and most ancient of them all, which also makes him one of the largest.
Being an Ancient Red Dragon is enough to make for a fearsome creature, but that's not all Klauth has to his name. He has destroyed any other Ancient Dragon who came near to his level of power, which leaves him relatively uncontested in his position as the most powerful of them all.
Getting a mention in the monster manual under a class of creature pretty much means danger. We already know the Krakens are a race of creatures who mean business in the high seas, but when it comes to Krakens, you can't get much more horrific than Slarkrethel, a unique critter capable of great destruction.
If Klauth is the king of the Ancient Dragons, Slarkrethel is the king of the Kraken. It is master to a large chain of islands and has more spellcasting powers than most wizards might ever dream of attaining. It is highly influential and has an army of minions and worshippers.
7 ELDER TITAN
Giants are easily a big concern to any party trudging around the mountainside, but dealing with a giant is simple when compared to an Elder Titan. Not only are Elder Titans gigantic creatures capable of stomping on a castle and flattening it, they are giants... to the giants!
They often wield a hammer bigger than most large houses, which they use to ruin any party's day. Not only are they immense brutes, they are powerful spellcasters capable of keeping most parties at a distance, which is good... you don't want to get anywhere near an Elder Titan.
There is a race of beings in D&D called Solars, which are equivalent to Angels in most mythologies. It doesn't happen often, but a Solar can fall and when they do, it's not good for anybody. Zariel was one such Solar, but when she fell, she fell as far as she could and became one of the most powerful beings in all of Hell.
Originally, Zariel was tasked with keeping an eye on the eternal war raging between the demons and devils of Hell, but after she fell, she took on a more direct role. She is one of the most dangerous physical combatants in all the realm and should be avoided at all costs.
The final and most powerful archdemon on this list is pretty much the top of the line bad guy fro Hell. Orcus, otherwise known as the Blood Lord or the Demon Prince, is the lord of the undead who exist in his realm or outside of it. His only desire is to turn all of reality into a vast necropolis of the undead.
Not only is he a powerful archdemon capable of swatting away most parties with the back of his hand, Orcus is a powerful spellcaster as well. He carries the Wand of Orcus and has the entire discipline of necromancy as well as an army of the undead at his command.
Athas is a world where dragons don't exist, but that doesn't mean people aren't constantly trying to become one! In Athas, a powerful, yet evil wizard can commit themselves to becoming a dragon, but the process is painful and incredibly difficult. Becoming a dragon this way means power, but there is another creature that can challenge them.
An Avangion is the result of a Good person making the transformation into a creature capable of defeating a dragon. They are intensely overpowered beings who start out life as a level 40 character (equivalent) and come equipped with an impenetrable shield.
3 PRISMATIC DRAGON
Dragons are classified based on their color and age. The older a dragon gets, the larger and more powerful it becomes, but each color has its own unique characteristics. Among all dragons, the Red and Gold are usually the most powerful, but the one dragon more powerful than all the rest is the Prismatic Dragon, which was first introduced in the Epic Level Handbook.
A Prismatic Dragon's power far exceeds that of an Ancient Dragon. Their stats are off the charts and instead of breathing regular old fire from their mouths, they shoot off a prismatic spray spell. They are equivalent to a level 38 spellcaster and are almost impossible to defeat.
Pretty much anyone who has ever played D&D knows of the Tarrasque. It is one of the most feared beasts in the game and there's a good reason for that. Tarrasques aren't very intelligent and are little more than gigantic animals who wreak destruction everywhere they go. Basically, they are like Godzilla, but 10,000 times more dangerous.
Back when they were first introduced, it took a wish or miracle spell just to keep them from coming back to life after they were defeated, but that has since changed. Now, these are almost impossible to even damage and players are more adept at keeping out of their way than engaging with them.
Tarrasques are certainly feared in the Material Plane, but there's a creature feared across the multiverse. Imagine a Prismatic Dragon, but think of the god it worships and you have what amounts to Tiamat. This unique creature is the Goddess of Chromatic Dragons and is the most powerful monster in all of D&D.
Tiamat is more than a five-headed dragon. Each head is unique and forms attacks few parties could manage singularly. She is cunning and evil, but worst of all, she can't be destroyed...at least not completely. Defeating her just takes her out of the game for a bit, but she always comes back as a final boss for the most ruthless of DMs.