Dungeons & Dragons used character archetypes and creatures from other works of fantasy literature, folklore and mythology, but TSR created a number of unique monsters, that have since embedded themselves in popular culture to some extent – and rather than that sort of immaculate reality that Tolkien was going for, we get adversaries that are created solely to present interesting things for players to fight – some are downright surreal. So alongside orcs, dragons and werewolves we also get the following:
Rare. That’s pretty lucky
The Beholder is a gigantic evil floating ball covered in eyeballs, that each shoot death rays. A chilling premonition of surveillance culture, or a goofy monster that looks like something dreamed up by an eight year old? Brought to a mainstream audience in the “classic” Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series, but it’s appeared elsewhere, in Big Trouble In Little China, and Futurama. Pretty much the mascot of D&D, it’s like Mickey Mouse, but lethal and insane.
Some of the original D&D monsters were based on a set of bizarre plastic toys from Japan that belonged to Gary Gygax’s kids. The Owlbear is, as the name might suggest, a bear with the head of an owl, for the simple reason that it’s the nearest thing that resembled a particular model.
Owlbear – hopefully if there’s a “Revenant 2″…
A Gelatinous cube is perhaps inspired by the 1958 sci-fi “classic” movie The Blob. It roams around dungeons, dissolving people. Presumably related to The Black Pudding, The Yellow Ochre and that thing that killed Tasha Yar.
I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly
Fighters clad in chainmail or full plate needed to look out for the Rust Monster, a big tentacled armadillo termite thing, which loves metal more than Jack Black. At least the wizards were safe.
It’s hard to imagine how The Mimic evolved in any universe, but in all likelihood, a wizard probably did it.