One of the things Dungeons and Dragons is famous for is the menagerie of awesome, terrifying, and sometimes, weird monsters. In fact, monsters are half of the game! What's a grand adventure without some thrilling combat against monstrosities and beasts from strange places? Just how difficult a monster is to fight is determined by their Challenge Rating or CR. However, sometimes a monster with a low Challenge Rating can prove to be a near-death experience. Remember, everything in combat is determined by rolling dice. If a character rolls poorly, their power and skills could all count for nothing and they can easily fall prey to a “weaker” monster. So, here are ten monsters from the 5th edition core Monster Manual book that would make for a crazy fight.
A remorhaz is classified as a huge monstrosity that lives in cold, snowy environments. It has a centipede body, a cobra-like frill towards the head, and an insect face. Its body produces incredibly high temperatures to keep warm while waiting for its prey to happen by. The adults have a Challenge Rating of 11 with 195 hit points while their young are rated at five with 93 hit points.
In addition, because of how hot the remorhaz get, anyone touching or near the creature takes fire damage every turn. One last threat that an adult remorhaz poses is that if it bites you, it will try to keep ahold, and swallow you whole.
At first glance, a rust monster might seem like a strict beginner monster with measly Challenge Rating of ½. It is a medium monstrosity that resembles a large termite or louse and its primary mode of attack is biting. With 27 hit points, a rust monster should be an easy kill for any adventuring party. However, any non-magical weapon made of metal that touches this monster instantly is turned to rust.
If that's not bad enough, the rust monster can use its antennae to rust weapons, armor, and shields from a small distance. Even a fairly strong party, no matter what their classes are, is nothing without their weapons and armor so this seemingly weak bug could pose a huge problem.
An intellect devourer is classified as a tiny aberration with a Challenge Rating of two. Don’t discount it for a moment though. The intellect devourer is a brain (yes, a literal pink and wrinkly brain) with four animal-like legs equipped with large claws. While it sounds gross enough, it gets worse.
There is little chance to hide from this monster as it can sense sentient creatures within 300 feet of it and once it finds you it will claw at you and attempt to sap your intelligence. If it succeeds, you are stunned. Then the real danger kicks in. If allowed to continue, the intellect devourer will then eat the victim's brain, teleport inside their skull, and take over their body!
This is essentially Frankenstien’s monster except you have the potential to throw in the parts of fantasy humanoids as well. For a shambling, stitched together mess, it's surprisingly sturdy with a Challenge Rating of five and 93 hit points. It can be a tough fight as it has several immunities and is even healed by lightning damage.
On top of that, once you weaken it below half of its health, the golem enters a berserk mode that cannot be stopped until it is destroyed. So if the party is going up against this creature, be sure to pack magical weapons as well as anything that can do fire damage as this will increase the chance the golem will miss its attacks against you.
A gibbering mouther is a horrible sight to behold; it's a goopy looking mass dotted with beady eyes and several large, gaping maws full of sharp teeth. Classified as a medium aberration with a Challenge Rating of two and 67 hit points, this monster has three particular abilities. First, the ground around the monster turns into doughy mush that can hold a character in place. Second, it can spit flash bomb-like globs that can blind everyone within 15 feet. Lastly, it utters gibberish of madness that can drive an affected creature to either stand in a daze, move in a random direction, or attack a random creature within reach, even if it's your allies.
A gas spore is but a simple fungus that grows from the corpse of a fallen beholder. It has a laughable Challenge Rating of ½ and a single pathetic hit point. It merely floats in place, bearing the resemblance of the body it infested. However, it is imperative that a party of heroes tread carefully because the consequences could very well mean death. When a gas spore loses its hit point, it explodes and releases its death burst. Every creature within 20 feet has a chance to take substantial damage. The target is then afflicted with a poison-based disease that kills the victim in a matter of hours. This fungus is the pivotal example of how one should never judge a monster by its Challenge Rating or hit points.
One of the most feared and infamous monsters in D&D is the beholder with 180 hit points and a Challenge Rating of 13. These large aberrations are round creatures with one large eye in the center, a large mouth full of sharp teeth, and nine eyestalks, each with their own beady eye. Beholders are smart and powerful; they build complex lairs to trap and confound foes and when they finally fight, they do not go down easy. It has ten eye powers that all do something different. The main eye can project an area of anti-magic and the eyestalks can do anything from charm to outright kill. All of these effects can make the battle overwhelmingly difficult as it randomly uses three of them per turn.
In our world, ghosts generally are merely a disturbance that frightens us rather than harm us. In the D&D world, ghosts pose much more of a threat. They have a Challenge Rating of four, 45 hit points, and a few abilities that make for an interesting encounter. First, the ghost can make itself impossible to hit by crossing over to the Ethereal Plane.
Its second ability doesn’t deal with actual damage; instead, it frightens creatures within 60 feet and the creatures may age a minimum of ten years! Its third ability is that it can try to possess a foe and take over its body. Overall, ghosts can make for great combat that could potentially crossover into roleplay opportunities as well.
An encounter with a rug of smothering could serve as a painful lesson for an adventuring party. It has a Challenge Rating of two and has 33 hit points. For starters, the rug of smothering lies in wait for someone to step on it before wrapping itself around the victim and squeezing it to death. Every turn, the trapped creature is suffocating and is taking damage and on top of that, as their teammates strike the rug to save them, half of the damage is taken by the rug and the other half is taken by the victim! Some low-level characters, especially certain classes, don’t have a ton of hit points to spare so this encounter could very quickly turn deadly.
Saving the most lengthy and scary for the end of the list, slaad are a group of monsters known as aberrations that range from medium to large in size with health regeneration and resistance to magic and most elemental damage. Each color of slaad has a unique ability and their challenge ratings vary as well depending on the type, of which there are five. There is the red, blue, green, grey, and lastly, the death slaad. The red slaad is the weakest of the bunch with 93 hit points and a Challenge Rating of five on down to the death slaad with 170 hit points, wields a greatsword, and has more spells to cast at more potent levels, thus earning it a CR of 10.