Twenty Essential Monsters by Challenge Rating

By Challenge Rating..

  1. Kobold, Warrior 1st (1/4)
  2. Dire Rat (1/3)
  3. Skeleton, Human Warrior (1/3)
  4. Goblin, Warrior 1st (1/3)
  5. Hobgoblin, Warrior 1st (1/2)
  6. Orc, Warrior 1st (1/2)
  7. Zombie, Human Commoner (1/2)
  8. Gnoll (1)
  9. Ghoul (1)
  10. Wolf (1)
  11. Dire Wolf (3)
  12. Ogre (3)
  13. Owlbear (4)
  14. Vampire Spawn (4)
  15. Wraith (5)
  16. Troll (5)
  17. Red Dragon, Very Young (5)
  18. Wyvern (6)
  19. Red Dragon, Young Adult (13)
  20. Red Dragon, Very Old (21)

(Stats taken from the 3.5 edition System Reference Document, licensing applies, etc)

Note – it hasnt passed me by that so many of these Monsters are actually Templates. Thats intentional, because if theres one thing that pushes consistency in a game its consistency of critters. Throw a load of skeletal nasties at the party, and they know what to expect and equip accordingly. See the fear and satisfaction in their eyes when they unloop their bludgeoning weapons for the final showdown with the Skeletal Red Dragon. Theyll thank you for it – honest.

Id like more templates, given the choice. Dire should have been a template from the start (thank you to Tome of Horrors for fixing that glitch), as should Ghoul, Wraith, and any other Undead type. Again, subsequent books and authors have fixed that too.

Ive also included three different ages of Red Dragon into the list. Thats intentional too, as each one is at a certain experience level for a party. Theres nothing wrong at all with reprising the monsters to give them a second chance!

Monsters outside the SRD but should be on the list include the Beholder and Mind Flayer. Theyre missing because of Wizards decision, not mine. Shame.

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