D&D Creature Type: 5e Monstrosities, Photo Sketch of Evil Cat and Dog

Your Guide to the Monstrosity Creature Type in D&D 5e

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition has a lot of monsters. Some of those monsters are more…monstrous than others. And, they get a creature classification all their own.

This post covers what Monstrosities are in 5e because they’re kind of a weird creature type.

Let’s start things off with what 5e’s monstrosities are.

What Monstrosities Are in 5e

5e Monstrosities, Photo Sketch of a Griffon
Monstrosity is one of D&D 5e’s many creature types; it serves as kind of a catch-all classification for weird creatures

Monstrosity is one of the creature types found in D&D 5e. It works as a sort of catch-all category for monsters that don’t quite fit in with other creature types. That said, monsters included in this category are usually some kind creature that could be described as "monstrous."

Basically, monstrosities are any sort of monstrous creature…that’s about it, honestly.

Page 7 of the Monster Manual describes this creature type as follow:

Monstrosities are monsters in the strictest sense–frightening creatures that are not ordinary, not truly natural, and almost never benign. Some are the results of magical experimentation gone awry (such as owlbears), and others are the product of terrible curses (including minotaurs). They defy categorization, and in some sense serve as a catch-all category for creatures that don’t fit into any other type.

Source: DnD Beyond | Basic Rules – Chapter 12: Monsters

See, Wizards of the Coast explicitly stats that the monstrosity creature type serves as a catch-all for monsters that don’t make sense in another. As such, they vary wildly from each other.

For example, monstrosities include the likes of the evil-chicken-like creature the cockatrice and the shapeshifting, humanoid-like doppelganger. Two wildly different creatures classified under the same creature type.

5e Monstrosity Traits

Photo Sketch of a Giant Octopus in the Ocean
Monstrosities rarely share traits between each other because they vary so greatly

Since the monstrosity monster type serves as a catch-all, the creature share very few traits with each other.

Creatures included in the monstrosity monster type share almost next to now common traits, abilities, or features. About the only thing they have in common is they don’t fit in the other creature types.

Monstrosities vary in shape, size, capabilities, strength, intelligence, and on and on.

They even vary in their origins. For example, Cockatrice are natural-born creatures and apparently always have been in-lore while the original Minotaurs resulted from a curse perpetuated by cultists turned into their bull-like form by the Demon Lord Baphomet. The latter can still breed, but their origins remain as a created (of sorts) creature. As another example; Owlbears resulted from an ancient experiment by a mad wizard and became a monster all its own while Griffons after natural creatures.

So, it’s almost impossible to lump monstrosities according to their traits because they’re all so different from each other.

Using Monstrosities in Your D&D 5e Game

Photo Sketch of a Yeti on a Mountain
Monstrosities work well as random encounters or minions, but some of them work as villains or allies

Due to their variety, monstrosities can serve a myriad of uses in your game. Even better, since they run the gamut of difficulty, you can use them as enemies and allies at almost any point of your game.

Honestly, monstrosities are typically used in random combat encounters or as the minions of a villain. Their monstrous appearances and natures makes it easy to just use them as enemies for your player characters.

Owlbears make great attack creatures for an evil wizard. A Chimera is a great random combat encounter for a mountain adventure. A Purple Worm would be great as a powerful fiend’s pet.

You get the idea.

Now, certain monstrosities also work as end-game villains and threats. For example, a Kraken could wind up the main villain of your campaign as the player characters spend the game investigating and stopping cult activity dedicated to massive aquatic beast. Or, a group of fiends strive to awaken the mighty Tarrasque to wreak havoc across the mortal realm and send their souls to a level of the Nine Hells.

This all said, some monstrosities make for fantastic allies for the player characters too.

Creatures like a clan of Centaurs or a Gynosphinx have a level of intelligence on a level with or exceeding non-monstrous creatures. This means they can be reasoned with for assistance or as guides. It’s just a matter of thinking out of the box and not viewing monstrosities as simply "monstrous".

D&D 5e Monstrosities by CR

Photo Sketch of a Three-Headed Hydra

Since they’re so varied and due to the fact that this creature type serves as a catch-all category, there are quite a few monstrosities in 5e.

Even the Basic Rules include a wide selection of monstrosity creatures. So, you have a myriad of choices of these monsters for a variety of themes and adventures.

Here’s a list of 5e monstrosities by Challenge Rating (CR) available in the Basic Rules. For a full list, you’ll need to get the various sourcebooks out there.

  1. CR 1/2
    • Cockatrice
    • Darkmantle
    • Rust Monster
    • Worg
  2. CR 1
    • Death Dog
    • Harpy
    • Hippogriff
  3. CR 2
    • Ankheg
    • Centaur
    • Ettercap
    • Grick
    • Griffon
    • Merrow
    • Mimic
  4. CR 3
    • Basilisk
    • Doppelganger
    • Manticore
    • Minotaur
    • Owlbear
    • Phase Spider
    • Winter Wolf
    • Yeti
  5. CR 4
    • Guardian Wolf
    • Lamia
  6. CR 5
    • Bulette
    • Gorgon
    • Roper
  7. CR 6
    • Chimera
    • Drider
    • Medusa
  8. CR 8
    • Hydra
    • Spirit Naga
  9. CR 10
    • Guardian Naga
  10. CR 11
    • Behir
    • Gynosphinx
    • Remorhaz
    • Roc
  11. CR 15
    • Purple Worm
  12. CR 17
    • Androsphinx
  13. CR 23
    • Kraken
  14. CR 30
    • Tarrasque

5e Monstrosities FAQ

Photo Sketch of a Woman Centaur

What Language Do Monstrosities Speak in 5e?

Monstrosities speak a variety of languages and there is no singular "monstrosity" language.

Are Monstrosities Animals in 5e?

Monstrosities are not technically animals in 5e. Animals in D&D fall under the Beast creature type which is separate from monstrosities. They may appear as animals, like the Winter Wolf looks like a fairly standard wolf, but they are not the same.

Can You Tame Monstrosities in 5e?

There are no rules for taming monstrosities in 5e. Since they aren’t technically animals, the Animal Handling skill doesn’t explicitly apply but it possibly could for the less intelligent monstrosities. Whether you can tame a monstrosity creature or not will be up to your Game Master.

Can Druids Become Monstrosities?

No. Druids cannot become monstrosities in D&D 5e. They can only use their Wild Shape feature to turn into Beasts or possibly Elementals depending on your subclass.

Are Monstrosities Humanoid?

No. Monstrosities are not humanoids. Humanoid is its own separate creature type in 5e. That said, some monstrosities may appear humanoid like the Doppelganger does.

Why is a Winter Wolf a Monstrosity?

The reason the Winter Wolf counts as a monstrosity is most likely due to their Cold Breath attack. Normal Beasts don’t have magical or elemental abilities like this. So, since the Winter Wolf has an unusual ability as well as above-average capabilities, it qualifies as a monstrosity.

 

Summary of 5e Monstrosities

That about covers 5e’s monstrosity creature type.

Monstrosity works as a kind of catch-all category for creatures that don’t quite fit in with the other types. Since they cover such a variety of creatures, there really aren’t any shared traits among monstrosities. And, you can use this creature type in a myriad of ways because you have so many different options available to you.

What’s your favorite monstrosity to throw at your players? Leave a comment below to share your best/most horrific ideas.

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