Bosses in Dungeons & Dragons are usually hard to miss when they are encountered. Often they are huge dragons, beholders, or some other dangerous-looking creature. Some boss creatures buck this trend and have an appearance that belies the danger they pose to a group of adventurers.
These are the types of bosses players should fear the most. The danger of an adult red dragon is apparent for all to see, but the dangers posed by the creatures in this list are not immediately obvious. Here are ten bosses in D&D that may look like an easy fight, but can destroy a party.
A demilich is the final stage of a lich’s existence. The soul has all but left the body, and all that is left is a skull with gems fastened to it. This creature is often initially overlooked – that is until it rises from the ground and attacks. Even well-armed, high-level parties can be brought down by this monster.
They may not have many hit points, but actually dealing damage to a demilich is the problem. They are immune to nearly every spell, and even weak magical weapons do no damage to them. To make matters worse they have abilities, like their Howl ability, that can kill an entire party immediately.
A vampire can appear as just a thin, pale humanoid that doesn’t seem to pose much of a threat. However, they are probably as strong as the party’s front-line fighter, and they also run the risk of possibly being a better spellcaster than the party’s wizard. Only magical items can harm them, and to truly kill a vampire requires finding its resting place and driving a stake in its heart or beheading it.
They have numerous magical abilities; such as the ability to charm, and shape change. If all this wasn’t bad enough, vampires also regenerate at a rate that would make a troll jealous.
These tiny little flying creatures hardly appear dangerous, but a fairy used as a boss can quickly kill a party of adventurers. Fairies have some innate abilities that make them dangerous. First, their natural state is to be invisible – they remain unseen unless they wish to be.
Second, faeries have access to a potent sleep poison that they use on their weapons. Lastly, faeries can have levels in a particular class. So that harmless looking little fairy might actually be a powerful sorcerer, or a high level priest of Titania. Do not underestimate these creatures based on their diminutive stature.
Alright, a Rakshasa may not look weak per se, but it is easy to confuse them with a much weaker foe – like a weretiger or a tabaxi. Rakshasas are in fact fiends – denizens of the Lower Planes. This makes them an inherently dangerous opponent. They have immunity to all spells of 6th level and lower, as well as attacks from nonmagical weapons.
In addition to these abilities, Rakshasas have an impressive list of spells; some of these include dominate person and fly. The worst part is even if the party does kill it, a Rakshasa is merely returned to its native plane – so be ready to possibly fight it again at some point in the future.
It is unlikely a party would want to fight a nymph, but should they do they will discover they are not an easy fight. The very sight of a nymph can cause permanent blindness, and can even stun opponents. This has been severely nerfed from previous editions of D&D, where the gaze of a nymph could kill.
Apart from their gaze, nymphs also have a plethora of spells and innate magical abilities at their disposal. Some of the more potent of these include; dimension door, call lightning, and rusting grasp. Nymphs also have incredibly good saving throw bonuses, so spells may not be as effective as planned.
5 Zombie Lord
The party enters a room and sees a group of zombies milling around. Their first thought may be, “Here’s some easy experience.” Unfortunately for the party there is a zombie lord among the shambling dead. Zombie lords are not the mindless creatures that regular zombies are – they have alacrity of the mind that most of the stronger undead creatures possess. Zombie lords have some scary innate abilities.
The worst of these is the ability to reduce a character’s maximum hit points by 1d6 – that’s maximum hit points. Unless a killing blow is a critical hit, or from a radiant weapon, a zombie lord is instead reduced to 1 hit point.
4 Living Wall
This horror is about as weak as a monster can look – it is a wall. Upon first encountering a living wall it will probably be indistinguishable from the other walls in the room. These monsters have the nasty ability to absorb living creatures into themselves. Living walls also have a ton of hit points; so a fight against one is not going to be a short affair.
It can also be a shock how much damage a living wall can deal with its standard attack (2d6+5). They are also immune to many forms of magical attacks – such as mind controlling or necromantic spells.
These weird-looking creatures can quickly kill even a high-level party of adventures. A group of players who have never encountered a phaerimm might assume it is a barely intelligent monster. They are, however, smarter than most gods, and match famed wizards, such as Elminster, in arcane power.
Their magic resistance is not only high, but a phaerimm can choose to absorb spell damage to heal themselves. Lastly, a phaerimm can implant eggs into those they hit with their tail. If these eggs are not dealt with immediately it will require high-level spells, like remove curse, to get rid of them.
These large fish looking creatures do not look like they would pose much of a threat. Aboleth are fiendishly intelligent, and have a large list of spell-like abilities they can use against opponents. Three times a day aboleth can cast a powerful charm that it permanent- it last until the aboleth dies or the target is transported to another plane of existence.
An aboleth can also use its poison that after only one minute will prevent healing unless the victim is underwater; curing this poison is not a simple matter either. An aboleth can also inflict lethal amounts of damage with their regular attacks.
1 Lamia Noble
At first glance an party of adventurers might mistake a lamia noble for a yuan-ti abomination, but they are far more deadly. The noble variety of lamias possess all of the illusionary and charm abilities of the lesser lamias. The noble lamia can charm person at will; so in only a few rounds half the party may be its allies.
They can also shape change, and are the equivalent of 6th level mages. Lamia nobles can also remove any bonus from Wisdom with a touch attack; in previous versions of D&D they could drain Wisdom from a target. These creatures also have a lot of hit points (16d10+48) – so be prepared for an extended battle.