5 monsters that scare RPG players out of their armor

Cthulhu is scary. So is Tiamat. And facing an undead horde would make just about anyone run in fear.

But in any RPG, those monsters are somewhat expected. A room full of zombies may not freak out your PCs since they’ve seen their ilk before, but dropping freaky monsters that drain levels with their unbeatable powers will scare your players straight out of their armor (or, in one case, dissolve it for them).

If you’re ever looking to challenge your players, drop one of these five freakshows into your game.

Have you ever faced one of these horrible foes? Tell us about it in the comments.

5. Swarms

rotgrubsAn old-school D&D concept that has translated to many an RPG, a swarm is basically a large group of insects or other tiny creatures that completely overwhelm a player. They often can’t be attacked in a normal way (there’s too many tiny things to hit) and players are left to figure out how to kill the damn things while one of the players rolls around in terror as he’s swarmed with rats or bats or spiders biting every bit of exposed flesh.

The grossest and scariest is the rot grub swarm, depicted above. (The miniatures are even more gross.) They basically swarm you and chew through you all while dealing damage as well as depleting your hit point total. I’ve seen players get taken down hard and fast by a measly rot grub swarm.

4. Slidikin
slidikinHave you seen the evil that is the Slidikin? A creation of Monte Cook’s Numenera, the all white, many-mouthed demon envisaged in our nightmares is a complete horror show.

As the Slidikin preys on you, it’s many gaping mouths also talk about “the hideous game.” What? The? Hell?

I don’t want to be anywhere near this thing. I hope my consciousness doesn’t ever get uploaded to a computer and saved for 1 billion years because I never want to see a Slidikin.

3. Kraken
krakenIf you’re like me, you love swashbuckling and sea-faring adventure. You are also terrified of some tentacles horror emerging from the depths to not only smash your ship and kill you and your pals but that’s aiming to wrap you up with purple, slimy, suctiony tentacles and pull you into the cold, unforgiving abyss that is the sea.

Once during a sailing-based campaign, our DM told me my character spotted a large eye break the surface of the water for a moment before descending back down to the depths. That eye still haunts me.

2. Pugwampis
pugwampiThese creepy little gremlins really screw with players. Aside from being creepy little goblin/dog hybrids (shudder), they also cause anything around them to be unlucky.

What does that mean? In terms of game mechanics, they make you roll any attack or save twice and take the lower number. For every single roll.

For anyone who has played D&D 5e, it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but Pathfinder has many rules friendly to players in terms of high rolls and achieving crits. That’s all fine, but you’ll be screwed when you’re constantly rolling a 4 on your second d20.

1. Rust Monsters
rustmonsterGot a powerful magic weapon? Is it made of metal? How about that plate male you spent several levels trying to obtain? Well, then these stupid things will destroy your priceless artifact. Or your armor. Or literally anything metal on your person.

Man, screw those stupid bugs. Rust monsters are pure evil — a monster designed to ruin all the precious items you have spent years gaming to acquire for your character.

But as a DM, they’re a useful tool for players who start bragging about their high armor class or unstoppable weapons. Cue the maniacal laughter…

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