Day 16 of the 30 Day D&D Challenge!
16. What is your Favorite Aberration?
This is a real challenge, because this is one of the places Dungeons & Dragons shines. The Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II excel at giving us bizarre monstrosities to torment our players with. Owl Bears, Hook Horrors, Shambling Mounds, and so many iconic creatures skulking in the darkness just waiting for the chance to pounce.
For a long time the Mind Flayer was my favorite, but they became played out. Partially because they became more prominent in D&D lore, partially because I played a lot of Call of Cthulhu, the mind-blasting tentacled horrors lost their allure. The Githyanki also captured my imagination from the moment I first saw the cover of the Fiend Folio. Russ Nicholson’s byzantine illustrations of these powerful corpse-like foes of the Mind Flayers was very compelling. Combined with their silver swords and history as former thralls of their ancient foes, they were wonderfully horrible beings. Their cousins the Githzerai never held as much appeal, being too human in appearance.
These days picking my favorite aberration means going back to basics and there is nothing more basic that the dragon. Dragons and their kin invoke powerful reactions, they’re part of our common mythology and their arrival on the scene is guaranteed to be a game changer. Players never say, “oh, it’s a dragon.” Instead they start checking their stash of magical weapons, preparing their spells, and hoping they have enough healing to get the job done. Dragonfear sends hirelings scattering to the winds and their breath weapons are so dangerous they have their own dedicated saving throw. I have a definite affinity for the different colored dragons and their various breath weapons. I also love the dragon’s cousins; wyverns, hyrdra, basilisks, behir, and the others. They provide a tremendous and lethal variety to throw at your players.
There’s a reason the game is named after them.