DnD 5e Creature Types, Photo Sketch of Various Creatures

Creature Types in 5e

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DnD 5e Creature Types

What are monster types in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition?

If you’ve glanced through the Monster Manual or the end of the Player’s Handbook, you might’ve noticed the designations underneath a creature’s name. That is their creature type.

Creature types serve a couple purposes. But, they usually don’t have any mechanics or bearing on your game on their own. However, you should understand what they are so you know when they do become important.

Let’s start things off by defining what creatures types in 5e are.

What Are Creature Types in 5e?

Creature Types in 5e, Photo Sketch of Various Creatures
Creature Types in 5e are designations for the various peoples & monsters in your game

Creature types or monster types are a designation for the various creatures and peoples in DnD 5e.

Page 6 of the Monster Manual defines creature types as:

"A monster’s type speaks to its fundamental nature. Certain spells, magic items, class features, and other effects in the game interact in special ways with creatures of a particular type."

DnD Beyond: Basic Rules – Monsters

So basically, you use creature types in 5e to identify what a monster or other entity is.

On their own, creature types mean very little. They don’t have rules on their own. But, they do interact with features, spells, and other abilities.

For example, the Ranger chooses a creature type for their Favored Enemy class feature. Another example is the spell detect evil and good which reveals certain creature types to the caster within 30 feet of them.

Aside from mechanics, DnD 5e’s creature types give you the most basic information of a monster at a glance.

What do I mean by this?

Most of the time, you’ll know what a creature is by their name. We all know that an Ancient Copper Dragon is, well, a dragon. But, what about a Cloaker or a Bodak? If you have experience with older editions or in certain folklores, you might have an idea what these creatures are. But, you might not pin down exactly creature type they belong to.

5e’s creature types simplify this by including any given monster’s or person’s designation right under their name.

Knowing a monster’s type in 5e means you get better insight into how that creature thinks or acts. It informs for better roleplay and theming for your campaign.

List of Creature Types in 5e

So, how many types of creatures are there in DnD?

DnD 5e has 14 creature types. Each one represents a different theme or idea for your game.

  • Aberrations
  • Beasts
  • Celestials
  • Constructs
  • Dragons
  • Elementals
  • Fey
  • Fiends
  • Giants
  • Humanoids
  • Monstrosities
  • Oozes
  • Plants
  • Undead

While each creature type follows a general theme, they don’t have to share abilities, features, or other mechanics. Any two creatures in a given monster type could be completely different from each other while sharing the same general idea. For example, unicorns are completely different from empyreans (titans, basically), but they’re both celestials.

Aberrations

Photo Sketch of Tentacles

Aberrations in DnD 5e are completely alien creatures to most mortals. They’re so far removed from a typical society both in the literal and metaphorical sense.

These creatures often come from deep underground or other alien planes of existence. They often hold very little regard for other creatures. And, their motives often involve survival of the subjugation of others.

Many aberrations wield strange, psychic abilities and use these to manipulate the minds of their victims (or flat out eat their brains).

Example Aberrations

  • Aboleth
  • Beholder
  • Cloaker
  • Mindflayer
  • Slaad

Beasts

Photo Sketch of a Wolf

Beasts in DnD 5e are natural creatures native to the plane they call home. Basically, think animals. Any natural-born animal you can think of belongs to the beast creature type.

Like the real world, beasts come in many different shapes and sizes. Usually, beasts don’t have magical powers. But, as in any fantasy setting, that can be up to change.

Many DnD games have giant versions or swarms of beasts. So, you can still get fantastical even with the most mundane of animals.

Example Beasts

  • Ape
  • Brown Bear
  • Eagle
  • Giant Boar
  • Wolf

Celestials

Photo Sketch of a Sky Halo

Celestial creatures in DnD 5e are angelic or otherwise holy entities and monsters. Often, these creatures come from the upper or outer planes. But, that’s not always the case.

Basically, any sort of "angelic" creature is a celestial.

Usually, these creatures resist or wield radiant energy in some way. But, it’s not a requirement.

Most celestials are of the good alignment. But, again, this isn’t always the case. For example, there’s a chance for Empyreans to be evil.

Example Celestials

  • Couatl
  • Deva
  • Ki-rin
  • Pegasus
  • Unicorn

Constructs

Photo Sketch of a Clockwork Timepiece

Constructs in DnD 5e are build creatures. These are not natural-born monsters. Rather, they are made by someone or something.

Often, constructs come from some lab or plane where powerful entities shape the world into these creatures.

Many constructs are built for a specific purpose. Some are made to guard a location, some are the result of magical experimentation, and others arise from the wishes of desperate individuals.

The point is; constructs are built by someone or something. They often have no personality of their own (but, that’s not a hard rule). And, they usually have a damage resistance of some kind.

Example Constructs

  • Animated Armor
  • Carrionette
  • Flying Sword
  • Golems
  • Homunculus

Dragons

Photo Sketch of a Dragon

Dragons in DnD 5e are exactly what it sounds like; draconic creatures.

Perhaps the most recognizable and iconic creature type on this list (it’s half of the name of the game, after all), dragons cover every kind of big, scaly, or terrifying lizard-like creature. There are the obvious ones, but the dragon creature type also covers pseudo-dragons too like wyverns and dragon turtles. And, they run the gamut of sizes and power from lowly, helpful faerie dragons to viscous, animalistic wyverns.

Now, pure dragons compose the classic 10 colors and are divided into chromatic and metallic.

In base DnD, chromatic dragons (black, blue, green, red, white) are evil creatures that rule as tyrants or hunt as vicious predators. On the other hand, metallic dragons (brass, bronze, copper, gold, silver) are usually good-aligned and serve as benevolent (but still greedy) rulers and protectors of mortals. But, neither of these need to be hard-and-fast rules in your game.

True dragons have their iconic breath weapons and immunity to their respective damage type.

Example Dragons

  • Adult Red Dragon
  • Dragon Turtle
  • Faerie Dragon
  • Guard Drakes
  • Wyvern

Elementals

Photo Sketch of a Lit Match, Cracked Earth, Clouds, and a Drop of Water

Elemental creatures in DnD 5e are those monsters and entities that represent one of the elemental planes.

Basically, in base DnD, they’re creatures native to the Plane of Air, Plane of Fire, Plane of Water, or Plane of Earth. But, they may be born on the material plane through summoning or other, powerful elemental forces like a magical storm.

Often, elementals plainly represent their element. And, they wield powers and abilities that play into that representation. But, it may not be obvious like with gargoyles (which aren’t constructs for some reason).

Basically, if a creature represents air, water, earth, or fire, they’re probably an elemental.

Example Elementals

  • Air Elemental
  • Azer
  • Dust Devil
  • Efreeti
  • Gargoyle

Fey

Photo Sketch of a Fairy

Fey creatures in DnD 5e are usually mystical, fairy-like creatures based on real-world folklore. In DnD, fey usually come from the Feywild. But, that’s not always the case.

These creatures are usually connected to some aspect of nature. Even hags, most of which are fey creatures, make their homes in specific biomes (forest for green hags, mountains for annis hags, tundras for bheur hags, etc).

Many fey are capricious in nature. Meaning, they follow their own whims and love messing with other creatures. Mortals are often the victims of fey pranks…and worse.

A fey isn’t intrinsically good. Many fey love nothing more than tormenting and torturing mortals. And, they use manipulation and clever word play to trap mortals into owing them favors.

Example Fey

  • Dryad
  • Darkling
  • Eladrin
  • Green Hag
  • Yeth Hound

Fiends

Photo Sketch of a Demon

Fiends in DnD 5e are creatures native to the lower planes like the Abyss or Nine Hells, if you’re playing with the typical multiverse.

These are devilish and demonic creatures that are usually evil in nature.

Fiends are divided into three subtypes; Demons, Devils, and Yugoloths. Demons of the Abyss are usually animalistic, wild, and brutal with little discipline or structure. The Devils of the Nine Hells are more structured and disciplined but no less brutal. Yugoloths call Acheron home and serve as fiendish mercenaries with not loyalties to any singular entity.

Sometimes, fiends wield some elemental damage type (often fire) and they exists to cause pain and suffering for mortals at the behest of some archdevil or demon lord.

Example Fiends

  • Arcanaloth
  • Balor
  • Cambion
  • Hezrou
  • Imp

Giants

Photo Sketch of a Giant Head

Giants in DnD 5e are huge, humanoid-like creatures.. There are the true Giants and then other large creatures with humanoid appearances.

True giants belong to one of six subtypes; hill giants, fire giants, frost giants, stone giants, cloud giants, and storm giants. Each one of these represents some aspect of giantkind and is usually type to an element of some type. For example, fire giants often call the Plane of Fire home.

Now, not every giant creature is a true Giant. But, every giant exists as a towering, humanoid-adjacent creature.

Example Giants

  • Cloud Giant
  • Cyclops
  • Ettin
  • Ogre
  • Oni

Humanoids

Photo Sketch of a Warrior Woman

Humanoid creatures in DnD 5e include any human-like or human-adjacent person. Basically, if it’s sentient, naturally born, and vaguely person-shaped, it’s probably a humanoid.

Elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs, goblins, lycanthropes, gnolls, bugbears; the list goes on.

Because of the variance in humanoid and the range of possibilities, there aren’t any real hard-and-fast rules for humanoids. Usually, they’re medium-sized (too big and they turn into a giant) and are bipedal (not a requirement).

Just remember; if it looks like a human but maybe with slight variances, it’s probably a humanoid.

Example Humanoids

  • Drow (elf)
  • Githyanki Warrior (gith)
  • Goblin (goblinoid)
  • Orc (orc)
  • Werewolf (shapechanger)

Monstrosities

Photo Sketch of a Yeti

Monstrosities in DnD 5e are extraordinary, monstrous creatures that often don’t fit in with other creature types. This is the only "meta" creature type in that the Monster Manual flat-out says that this type will "…serve as a catch-all for creature that don’t fit into any other type."

So, these creatures…don’t really have any sort of theme to them aside from 1) they’re monstrous, 2) they’re usually frightening & malevolent, and 3) they’re unusual. But, they’re not so unusual to classify as aberrations.

Now, there are some weird examples that don’t quite fit in with the generalizations. Centaurs aren’t monstrous creatures. But, they’re classified as monstrosities in the Monster Manual instead of humanoids. So, as with any creature type, there are exceptions to the rule.

Basically, if it’s big, scary, wants to eat you, and can’t be reasoned with, there’s a good chance it’s a monstrosity.

Example Monstrosities

  • Ankheg
  • Basilisk
  • Chimera
  • Drider
  • Yeti

Oozes

Photo Sketch of a Glob of Ooze

Oozes in DnD 5e are animate slimes and other viscous liquids. You can find oozes in dank caves, laboratories, and other abandoned locations.

Usually, oozes aren’t sentient. They’re animate meaning they can move around. But, they don’t have a consciousness…in most settings. There are sentient oozes in some adventures.

Oozes usually wander their location absorbing various materials like metal, stone, or living or dead creatures. They also often come with a unique feature or ability that differentiates them from each other. For example, gelatinous cubes absorb their victims and dissolve the flesh while gray oozes dissolve metal.

Example Oozes

  • Black Pudding
  • Gelatinous Cube
  • Ochre Jelly
  • Psychic Gray Ooze
  • Slithering Tracker

Plants

Photo Sketch of a Venus Fly Trap Plant

Plant creatures in DnD 5e are sentient or semi-sentient flora.

Basically, any sort of plant that can fight back belongs to this creature type in 5e.

Now, this doesn’t mean that a plant needs needs to be ambulatory or be capable of free movement. Several plant creatures can move on their own, but this isn’t always the case. For example, the Shrieker is an immobile fungus that counts as a plant creature.

Plants vary wildly from each other. They don’t really share any particular features or mechanics like damage resistances or vulnerabilities.

That being said, plants usually come from a specific biome. Treants come from forests, myconids come from damp caves, blight come from corrupted woods, etc. So, remember that plant creatures should represent their natural surroundings.

Example Plant Creatures

  • Awakened Tree
  • Gas Spore
  • Myconid Adult
  • Needle Blight
  • Treant

Undead

Photo Sketch of a Skull

Undead creatures in DnD 5e are any creature that is risen from the dead but not revived.

Any creature that found itself dead and wasn’t the subject of some sort of magical intervention may resurrect as one of the undead. Some creatures also undergo transformations into the undead likes with liches or vampires.

The one thing undead creatures have in common is they’re not longer living. Aside from that, they differ greatly from each other.

Some undead lose their sense of self while others retain their personality. Some creatures exist only as shambling husks of their former selves while others gain great power after rising. And, some undead keep their physical form while others return as spirits.

About the only semi-consistency in undead creatures is their hardiness. The undead (usually) have decent Constitution scores and resist certain damage types like poison. Also, many undead come with a plethora of condition immunities like charm, exhaustion, fear, and so on. Which makes sense when you consider the less-sapient of the walking dead can’t really experience those emotions anymore.

Example Undead

  • Ghost
  • Ghoul
  • Skeleton
  • Vampire
  • Zombie

 

Final Thoughts on Creature Types in 5e

That’s about it on the different creature types in DnD 5e.

Creature types help inform you at a glance the basic ideas about any given creature as they relate to different spells, features, and skill checks. And, there are 14 monster types in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

What’s your favorite creature type to use in your game? I usually revert to featuring undead…a lot. Leave a comment below!

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