Underrated 4E-Original D&D Monsters!
While Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition had many flaws when it came to integrating narrative and gameplay; on some pretty fundamental levels; one advantage of the system was that the simplified monster-creation allowed for a dickton of really interesting brand-new monsters to appear in a small space.
Sadly, due to both a lack of art for many of them and a fundamentally fluff-lite narrative approach for most of its run, almost nobody remembers them.
And that’s what we’re here to talk about today, with the name, a brief description, and the book they come from! So, in no particular order:
Banderhobbs- A horrible vore-frog that lives in the plane of Shadows. They take people away to work in their horrible shadow-mines until they turn into more Banderhobbs! [Monster Manual 3, tho they did come back in 5e’s Volo’s Guide]
Dreambreath Dracoliches- Dragon liches who root their immortality in the plane of Dreams and generally look like something that should be painted on the side of a van [Draconomicon: Chromatics]
Star Spawn- Horrible eldritch monster-avatars of the Stars, summoned by a giant planet that got fucked up by spending too long in the Cthulhu-dimension passing in front of them. They have stats so you can fight the giant planet. [Monster Manuals 2 & 3]
Filth Hags- A type of hag who always comes accompanied by a son she made out of poop. Yes I know they just give it as nonspecific “filth,” but we all know it’s poop [The Book of Vile Darkness. Yes there was a 4e version.]
Accipitridae- A centipede-thing made of grave-dirt and bone, part of a series of undead monsters created from grave-detritus known as Dethritus. There is also the Offalian who is a snake-thing made out of guts. [Open Grave]
Voracia- A giant starfish that eats fairies. Made as one of the edition’s Abominations; giant living weapons designed to fight in the war between the Gods and the jotun-like elemental Primordials. [The Plane Above]
Astral Renders- Another abomination, this giant silver/gold blob monster that doesn’t just eat flesh, but also the barriers between dimensions. To teleport. [The Plane Above]
Bonewretch Skeletons- Literal dead-baby skeletons [Open Grave]
Orium Dragons- Metallic dragons obsessed with ancient civilizations, their history and lore, and with an obsession with bringing said ancient civilizations back. They breathe acid which turns into snake-vapor monsters. Which then stay around to keep attacking you. [Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons]
Apocalypse Spells- The remnants of apocalyptically deadly/powerful spells that have gained sentience, like shards of the chains of a trapped god or colorless fire from a massive war-ending spell [Monster Manual 3]
Larval Snipers/Larval Assassins/Larval Warmasters- Variants on the basic worm-that-walks monster including snipers made of wasps, assassins made of centipedes, and warlords made of beetles [Open Grave]
Chillfire Destroyers- 4e had this thing where they condensed the Elemental Planes into one big Elemental Chaos, and one of the byproducts of that was that all the elementals (at least at first) were combinations of elements. The Chillfire Destroyer; which is literally an elemental made of ice with fire inside; was one of the cooler; more iconic (In my eyes at least) manifestations of the idea. [Monster Manual 2]
Dragonscale Sloughs- Piles of dead skin and shed scales from dragons that’ve come to undead life. The dragon doesn’t even have to be dead for it to happen, as it mentions they tend to form naturally in the lairs of elder dragons [Open Grave]
Consumptive Swarm- A “demon” that’s actually a swarm of Slaad/chaos-frog larvae mutated into demons by the energy from shard of evil that formed The Abyss (Basically Chaotic Evil Hell). There’s also versions for Efreet and Djinn and a weird thing called a Writhing Crag supposedly made from Ropers and Xorn with a great design and the ability to embed you in stone. [The Plane Below]
Unrisen- People who came back very, very wrong after a Raise Dead spell. You know Pet Sematery? It’s basically Pet Sematery. [Open Grave]
Swarmtongue Worms- While the old gold-coin-mimicking Hoard Scarab came back, they also added another parasite for draconic hordes, grotesque stomachlike wormy-tongued parasites the size of a dwarf. They come in multi-headed versions called Swarmtongue Hydras and are implied to be either relatives of Carrion Crawlers or the result of what happens when the parasites feeding on a dead dragon’s body get bathed in energy from the Cthulhu dimension [Draconomicon: Chromatic]
Dragonclaw Swarms- An “advanced” version of the Crawling Claw enemy that is literally hundreds of severed dragon feet coming to attack you. D&D is silly sometimes [Open Grave]
Quom- Bald-headed two-faced people who were pretty chill until their goddess got exploded by the God/Primordial war. Now they’re searching for all the shards of their Goddess, which is a problem given how many of those have wormed their way into magic weapons or sometimes even people. [The PlaneAbove]
Flesh Cults- One of the coolest new ideas that got only one entry, they’re basically a cult not dedicated to immortality like most undead cults but rather to ˆephemerality, being in the here and the now and that everything ends eventually, with their rituals giving themselves regeneration that makes too much flesh, with it being described as a “perpetual cascade of flesh and organs,” which they then use as weapons and reanimate as temporary quickly-decaying undead servants. Because waste not want not I suppose [Open Grave]
Oubliviae- A new demon lord who looks bland at first, basically a pretty lady with an HR Geiger-armor-body, but her backstory is fascinating. Basically she is the lord of the end of all civilizations; with her layer made from a platonic “perfect” city that she ruined to turn into a reflection of the ruins of every civilization there ever was or will be; and she’s implied to come directly from the Shard of Evil at the heart of the Abyss rather than just being mutated Primordials/other creatures like the rest of the Demon Lords [Demonomicon]
Solkara- One of the few Primordials statted up that isn’t an Elder Elemental Evil with a new coat of paint, she’s suitably honked-up looking; given she’s a humanoid eel-monster with amongst other things three arms attached to two torsos connected at the shoulder and hips, which have two necks that connect to a singular four-eyestalked head. She’s stuck in an iceberg and really, really wants out. [The Plane Below]
This probably isn’t near all of them, so if I missed some, please tell me!
Man I ‘d love to see @bogleech do an article on some of these…