- Dragons, not the pissy way they’re laid out in AD&D like big fire-breathing lizards, but the God-like beasts of yore, the ones you see in A Wizard of Earthsea. I have only ever had one as an adversary in my campaigns, it was 100′ long and roared into the characters’ castle from nowhere. By the time they killed it it had torn their skyship apart, knocked off half their castle, and even the Hungarian Fire Lances they used (which can knock down a building at 50 yards) just dented it; it slaughtered half of them in the battle, and even after they “killed” it, it mesmerised one of them when he approached the dying corpse, and the other characters had to take him out as well. Rolemaster dragons are the coolest I have seen in an official system – I can’t imagine a party powerful enough to actually take on fully grown one.
- Orcs, because they are the quintessential swarming, nasty adversary and they’re fun for a large part of the early parts of one’s campaign. How would we get fulfilll our secret genocidal wishes without this race of evil-by-birth losers to wipe out at every turn?
- Trolls, because they really are a lot more trouble than they should be with the regeneration thing, and in Rolemaster they were actually really scary.
- Vampires, and all other forms of magic-using super-Undead, because they make excellent NPCs and really dangerous adversaries.
- Spectres, because ghosts are stupid but Spectres aren’t. In fact I am a big fan in general of Undead, which you can always pile a fresh new supernatural ability on, and which are preternaturally tough on account of not feeling fear and not being stunnable. In Rolemaster the more powerful Undead are also very very dangerous, having fear and magic and a plethora of special nasty attacks.
- Demons and Devils, either of the looks-human-but-isn’t or the massive-scaled-bastard ilk, because they are literally the quintessence of evil, and that’s good
- The Huron, who are the current bogeyman in my Compromise and Conceit campaign, and even though the PCs haven’t fought any yet, they live in fear of the time they do.
- Githyanki, a kind of silver-sword wielding exceptionally xenophobic straight-edge punk from Beyond Hell. That’s likeable!
- Giant Spiders, because they are excellent to describe (how can they not be scary?) and if you are ever in doubt for a bad monster to use, you can choose one of these and just adapt the size.
- NPCS, who always seem to be the most powerful adversaries. They can be as powerful as you like, they always seem to get away to fight another day, and all players hate it when you backstab them they way they are used to backstabbing others. Oh the sweet, sweet pleasure!
But unlike the other websites mentioned above, I’m not a big fan of mind flayers. They have their place, sure, but physically are really weak (just as well!) and look stupid and kind of unbelievable. But they do eat brains, which is a plus. And in Baldur’s Gate they were real trouble.
Maybe I should make a list of my 10 least-favourite monsters…