The Top 10 Most Versatile Monsters in D&D 5E

Looking for some quick monsters to fill almost any encounter in any location? Great! I have 10 excellent suggestions for you!

Hey there aspiring and seasoned DM's! I wanted to compile a list of great versatile monsters to help you build encounters and adventures for your players. What do I mean by versatile? These monsters are not region specific and can be found in most areas players will go, from haunted manors to dusty dungeons. These creatures are also low-level, so they can be used for new characters or made into mobs for more experienced ones.

10. Giant Rat - A staple in many urban encounters, giant rats are exactly what they sound like: bigger-than-normal-sized rats about the size of a raccoon. They prowl the streets, attack villagers brazenly, and are a general scourge on urban settlements. Giant rats are a perfect foe for 1st level characters.

9. Bandit - While not a monster per se, bandits are commonplace ner do wells that permeate every city and town across the land. A bandit’s stats can be used to represent highwaymen, thieves, pirates, or even hired goons.

8. Stirgie - These blood-sucking creatures look like a cross between a bat and a giant mosquito. They are a bane to adventurers everywhere, preferring to lurk in dark caverns and dungeons. When you least expect them, they swoop out from the shadows to drain a creature dry of its precious red life source.

7. Animated Armor - In the setting of a fantasy game plate armor is pretty commonplace. Animated armor, as the name suggests, is an ordinary suit of armor given life by magic. Most of these creatures are used to guard their owners whether they be paranoid noblemen or reclusive wizards.

6. Stone Golem - while golems are high-level enemies in D&D, the stone golem is quite versatile. These creatures are created from statues carved in a vaguely humanoid visage. This means they can be found nearly anywhere in society modern or ancient. While they are not very intelligent, they are extremely strong, durable, and resistant to many forms of magic. While golems are created through complicated rituals and alchemy, a “stone golem” can simply be a statue made living through transmutation magic.

5. Rug of Smothering - just as the name suggests these monsters are magically animated rugs that try to, well... smother you to death. They can exist in any area owned by a person looking to keep out intruders. That could be a baron, barkeep, king, or alchemist. While people of means are usually the ones to purchase or create a rug of smothering, theoretically even a pauper could get his hands on one if desperate enough to protect himself.

4. Goblins - As far as monsters go goblins are some of the most iconic baddies in fantasy fiction and in D&D they are commonly encountered as the evil servants of villains or warlords. But, as of late D&D lore has been portraying these humanoids as a marginalized race of beings. Goblins can be viewed as a group who have had notoriously vile ancestors giving them a bad name. Most modern goblins are just like everyone else... not saints but also not automatically villains. Regardless of all that they exist almost anywhere humans do and in a few places they don't. Goblins normally have a reason to act hostile toward other people, whether it's to gain wealth or it’s the order of a larger creature.

3. Shadow - These frightening undead monsters lurk anywhere dark and seek to suck the life force from the living in order to multiply. Shadows can be used to add a challenge in any place where darkness overwhelms and death is prevalent.

2. Gnoll - These hyena-like humanoids are violent and chaotic beings of evil. Gnolls are a race of creatures created by the demon lord Yeenoghu by warping the forms of regular hyenas. Gnolls are good adventurer fodder as they are low-level, nomadic pack hunters with no goals other than wanton bloodshed, hunger, and destruction.

1. Mimic - And now for the most versatile monster as well as one of the most iconic: The mimic. Mimics are shapeshifting amorphous creatures with adhesive skin and a knack for hiding as ordinary objects in plain sight. While they like to dwell in urban areas, where humanoids are prevalent, they can literally be anything, anywhere at any time. This makes them the bane of every adventurer's existence. The right (or rather the wrong) encounter with one at the start of a campaign can really mess with a player's mind for the remainder of an adventure.