Least favorite monster

Fallen a little behind on the challenge, but here’s the 23rd: my least favorite monster.

There are plenty of monsters I never use, and don’t care for; there some monsters I use and regret introducing.

Starting with the second type — monsters I regret using — the answer there is vampires.

You’d think they’d be great monsters — they are a classic, a staple of horror movies, Halloween, and folklore.  There are lots of weird variants so if you don’t like the (now) vanilla Bram Stoker version you can do the Philippine flying head with a tail of guts or any of a number of different things.

My problem with vampires is that they take way more planning than most monsters, and their vulnerabilities and dependence on a coffin make them fairly easy pickings for a party of adventurers that is tough enough to face them in combat.  So, due to either my incompetence as a DM or my player’s excellence (or both), the vampires that have appeared in my campaigns have always been duds, and never prove to be as challenging as they should be.

Vampires as I intend them to be…

…vampires as I actually run them.

Regarding monsters I just don’t like and never use, I spend a lot of time thinking about them, but having just had a question about dragons I am reminded of the “good” metallic dragons which I kind of hate.

In principle, a good dragon could be a problem or foe for a party since they will have their own agendas and possibly stand in the way of the party’s goals.  But in my experience, mainly as a reader of adventures more than as a player or DM, good dragons are usually handled as powerful NPCs that railroad a party or just show off how awesome they are.  There is no reason to have a good dragon in an adventure unless it is there to be defeated.  Yet when I see them in old magazine articles, published adventures, etc. they are usually just “Mary Sue” NPCs that are there to hog the limelight and waste my time.  So screw good dragons.

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Published in: on September 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good dragons… yeah. I put dragons down as my least favorite in general, but good dragons are the worst of the lot. If we’re not supposed to fight/kill them why do you continue giving me stat blocks for them? It’s a dragon, I already know it’s awesome… because it’s a dragon.

    I can see vampires. Like you said it’s all about implementation. I think monsters like that work better the longer you can hide what it is. Now the crazy guy in the castle on the hill demanding virgins of the local town for ‘dark ritual sacrifices’ is a vampire. The problem is the party is already in the castle thinking crazy cult leader and no one thought to bring along a mallet and wooden stakes.

  2. I’ve written extensively on these. Vampires don’t work unless you are planning on using the Vampire as some sort of ‘boss’ character, who is developed as a significant villain. No good for dungeon stocking, no good for random encounters, and you kind of have to plan your story around them. They’re good to use as bosses of undead themed campaigns where you don’t want your players gaming at the stupid high levels necessary to fight a lich and want something more interesting than a necromancer. For a little extra fun, make your vampire an elf and give him magic. Level draining fighter mages can make for wicked tough opponents.


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