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4e D&D’s Most Disgusting Monsters

Written by Janna - Published on October 21, 2008

Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.

"If I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out."
— Stephen King

Heroes face all kinds of scary creatures. (They have to; it’s in their job description.) While many of us players have grown accustomed to enemies that fight with claws, teeth and talons, we’re still a little creeped out by monsters who use their intestines as a weapon.

Yeah, you read that right. Viscera, snot, and paralytic saliva are the weapons of choice for some of the most unseemly creatures in the 4th edition Monster Manual. Without further ado, let’s take a stomach-churning look at the worst of the worst.

(4th Edition MM, page 8)

They’ve been around for a long time, so they’re not technically 4e creatures. But still, I’ve got just two words for you, straight out of the 4e Monster Manual: mucus haze. These slimy otherworldly amphibians can send an aura of mucus in all directions. Enemies treat the affected area as difficult terrain. That is, they have to spend one additional square of movement to wade through the Aboleth’s snot field. That’s pretty disgusting!

Even worse, Aboleth slime mages can create orbs of slime that burst over their enemies, slowing them down or even immobilizing them. It takes a special kind of adventurer to willingly do battle with something that can drown them in extraplanar fish mucus.

Larva Mage
(4th Edition MM, page 175)

When an evil spellcaster is just too mean to die, his spirit can take control of the worms and maggots that feast on his corpse. The worms then rise up in a hideous, wiggling, humanoid form. Thus, the Larva Mage is born.

This writhing horror is so disgusting that a glimpse of its visage can paralyze enemies with fear. Its touch inflicts necrotic damage, and its powers of illusion can convince opponents that they are being eaten alive by burrowing worms. Grossest of all, this medium-sized creature can reduce its size and squeeze through spaces as if it were tiny. Have you ever watched a worm-man collapse into a pile of vermin and wriggle through a sewer grate? I hope, for your sake, you never do.

Viscera Devourer
(4th Edition MM, page 68)

So you’re strolling along through the Shadowfell, just minding your own business, when all of a sudden you notice this cadaverous fellow standing adjacent to you. You raise your holy symbol, but it’s too late. The thing’s intestines shoot out of its abdomen and wrap around you. Worse, the intestines have mouths on the end. The mouths bite into your flesh and start sucking the life out of you like high school government class. Heroes, meet the viscera devourer.

At this point, your PC might start to wonder if their god has forsaken them. If they’re agnostic, they might rethink their stance. Either way, the Viscera Devourer is a totally gross undead humanoid made from the remains of a ravaging murder’s soul and lots of leftover fleshy bits from the Shadowfell. Oh yeah, it eats its enemies guts after they’re dead, too. What a nice guy. Avoid at all costs.

Honorable Mention
Maggot Golem
(2nd Edition: Monstrous Compendium Annual 4, page 46;
3rd Edition: Dragon Issue #339)

This was the first D&D monster that ever made me go, "Eww!" As the name suggests, it’s a walking golem made of maggots. Ever so often, the maggots that form the golem turn into flies, which buzz in clouds around the horrible creature. Imagine the wiggling! Imagine the smell!! Again I say, "Eww!"

Not content to let this repulsive critter stay in 2nd Edition Ravenloft where it belonged, Sean K. Reynolds updated its stats for 3.5 in Dragon Magazine #339. This golem’s nastiness is the gift that keeps on living. Err, giving. I meant giving.

There you have it: your handy guide to some of the most vile and nauseating monsters D&D has to offer. Which one is your favorite? Have you ever pitted a party against something that would gag a maggot golem? Let’s hear about it!

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Written by Janna

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Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.



9 Responses to “4e D&D’s Most Disgusting Monsters”
  1. Ha! Very well-written article.

    Not sure that I’d use any of these in a campaign. What’s the point of grossing out players?

  2. Arkhein says:

    The point of grossing out the players would be . . . the sheer fun of it?

  3. Steve-o says:

    This one is fun! I’ll have to insert some of these into my game to celebrate Halloween..BBbwwwwhahahahaha

    I always forget about these monsters and always go for the more traditional horror, unless I’m doing Cthulhu Mythos. these should definitely throw my players for a loop.

  4. Martin Hazel says:

    Not things I’d use everyday, in my 4e campaign but in Ravenloft these are ace creatures :D

  5. Maggot golem is pretty bad!

    Larva Mage is better known in third edition as the Worm that Walks.

  6. Yax says:

    Maggot Golem’s got my vote!

  7. Craig says:

    I dunno if I wanna pway anymore..Moooommmmyy!! I’m going home! :(

  8. Ken says:

    Personally, my best friend and DM would use gross-out characters just to mess with us.

  9. AlgaeHydra says:

    The Larva Mage is actually straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft story, which makes it all the more awesome.

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