Do you wish you could recreate that original feeling players get when they encounter something "new" and "scary". From a PCs perspective, especially a veteran D&D player, there is not much that can beat that feeling. Well here are a handful of tweaked and modified enemies for you to throw at your experienced players to instil that raw feeling of awe when they meet new enemies that they have never seen before.
I believe a fundamental reasoning behind modifying and homebrewing new monsters is to keep your sessions and campaigns “fresh” without ever feeling mundane. Even the most experienced players will start to tire of fighting basic orcs and goblins week in week out. It’s the insertion of a few unique or new monsters like the ones below that can really inject some excitement into your sessions as even your veteran players don’t fully know what to expect!
1). Blue-Orc Berserker
I once was under the impression that all orcs love violence equally. I was mistaken. I've seen an Orc work up into such a frenzy his skin turns blue, and he revels with every bone he breaks, or every joint he shatters. Other orcs seem rather docile in comparison now.
Blue-orcs are orc offspring that, while in the womb, are exposed to an excessive amount of hormones from their mother. When a pregnant orc is forced to defend her life with axe in hand, she goes through such an adrenaline rush that it changes the baby. The orc is born with blue-skin, and has an insatiable bloodlust and abnormally active adrenal gland.
In battle, blue orcs go into a frenzy with multiple mace attacks. They don't care much about pain or fear. They only want blood. They will choose their target at the start of combat, and will relentlessly bombard them attacks, stopping at nothing to break every bone in their body. When bloodied (half hit points), a blue orc fights at its hardest, with powerful swings enough to smash stone and fell trees.
2). Swamp Troll
I thought I had escaped the worst of the creature when I sidestepped it's tree-trunk club. That's when I heard a deep rumble coming from inside of it. I had no time to react to the acidic vomit spewing from its mouth. It destroyed my shield and damaged my armour. I tried to plunge my spear into his side, but the creature twisted and I impaled myself on a three-foot venomous barb sticking out from his elbow. My companions finished the creature off, and when the cleric found me where I lay, I was more dead than alive.
Swamp trolls are hideous, disgusting, lumbering beasts who reek of vomit. They are covered in barbs, snot and pus. While they aren't the smartest of creatures, they have been favoured by evolution massively. They have a powerful form of regeneration, and venomous barbs located at their elbows, knees and running down their back. They are able to vomit at a whim, drenching anyone nearby in acidic bile straight from the beast's foul digestive system. They will eat pretty much any other creature they can, except for other trolls (can you blame them? Trolls taste awful!)
In combat, Swamp trolls are ruthless brutes who use a mixture of hard-hitting clubs and disgusting sprays of vomit to defeat their foes. They usually fight the closest target first out of laziness, but if an enemy uses fire attacks, the troll will try and avoid that person. A group of trolls might, however, swarm a fire-wielding target in an attempt to overpower it.
3). Goblin Assassin
Goblins have a short life expectancy. They mature, learn, and usually die very quickly. However, be wary of the goblin that lives for a long time. Their speed of learning does not slow down. A goblin who has learned to kill from the shadows can continue to do so, getting more and more deadly with each passing day. If a true Goblin Assassin ever has you in its sights, there is little you can do short of praying to the Gods.
Goblin Assassins are extremely dangerous foes, who can kill enemies of all sizes with poisoned blades or deadly archery. They lurk in the shadows; waiting for the perfect time to go in for the kill. If a goblin assassin does not see a window of opportunity that they fancy, they will silently slink away, and kill another day.
In combat, a goblin assassin will spend the first few rounds assessing the situation from a hiding point, before charging in on the weakest or most vulnerable member of the party. They will use their black daggers if they are protected by minions in a melee, but will otherwise be content to use their short bow from a distance.
4). Polarity Wraith
It seems that some wraiths are not only masters of the incorporeal, but also have a domination over anything that isn't. It was quite an experience to witness the wraith using telekinesis to turn my own weapons deceiving me.
Polarity wraiths are exceptionally powerful beings who can control corporeal creatures and objects with telekinesis. They can disarm opponents, push them around the battlefield, or pull them into a group of the wraith's allies. Polarity wraiths usually fight alongside other undead, but will sometimes strike a bargain with a devil or demon.
In combat, a Polarity wraith stays just behind the frontline defence of their allied companions. They use their powers to manipulate the battlefield in their favour. They will either push their allies into advantageous positions, or push enemies into dangerous positions. They also enjoy possessing the weapons of a frontline fighter and using it to wreak havoc on the wraith’s enemies.
5). Necradai Skeletons
In all my adventuring days as a Paladin, I have never seen an undead creature that could absorb radiant light. I was mortified when they proceeded to use that radiant power against me.
Necradai skeletons are ancient beings from a culture that revere the sun as a god. They have a natural resistance to radiant power, as they absorb it into their enchanted helmets, armour, and blades. They can then use this power to enhance their own offensive capabilities.
In combat, Necradai skeletons will often stand in the back of the fight, soaking up sunlight, if possible. They fight conservatively until they start absorbing radiant light. Once they have some power at their disposal, they will enchant their allies’ or own attacks to wreak some real havoc for the players.
6). Scythe Wraith
There's a truly unsettling feeling that you get when death stares you in the face. You can feel its weight on your shoulders. You can feel your soul being weakened, as if it's preparing itself for when it is to be taken from you.
Scythe wraiths are death seekers who prey upon the living with the intent to steal their soul. They will work for powerful undead masters, but also have been known to lurk freely in the dark places of the world.
In combat, Scythe wraiths gang up on a single target, using their Mark of Death attacks to allow them to deal more and more damage to their targets. They prefer to pick targets who are isolated from their allies, and will be happy to phase through walls and other obstacles to reach this target.
7). Crypt Fiend
I have never seen a ghoul so large before. It was well over ten feet tall, and it had claws like swords. I saw what they did to Grimhide; tore out his organs through his rib cage with one mighty swing of those claws.
Crypt fiends are troll-sized ghouls, undead monstrosities that have dangerous claw attacks and a thirst for blood. In combat, Crypt Fiends tear their opponents apart with their huge claws. Many of them also enjoy skewering their target and bringing it to their mouth to bite into the raw flesh of their prey. Groups of crypt fiends will prefer to swarm a single target that is bleeding badly, as they tear their foe apart in a mindless rage of endless hunger.
Peter is an avid dungeon master, role-player, and story teller. When he's not running homebrew campaigns, he is creating new worlds, or he is reading and writing fantasy stories, forever immersing himself in the gaping black-hole known as the fantasy genre.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.