How do you re-imagine classic monsters?

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After following an extremely terrifying thread about Mind Flayers and hearing things that I had never thought of before, I got the idea of asking you guys if there are any monsters you use that are just as classic as Mind Flayers, but that you feel you play completely different in your games than anybody else does. Do you have any ideas that you think other people would be interested in?

Here are some of mine:

Elementals: don't want to be here. At all. Why would they? A world where the chemistry that they grew up believing comprised the entire real world is mixed haphazardly with 3 completely absurd, nonsense substances would be the most Eldritch Abonination world un-imaginable.

A sparse few might look at the fact that they're somehow surviving in such an Eldritch Universe and think "Challenge Accepted." However, most would either be desperate to find any a portal back to their world, whatever the personal cost, or else go mad from the revelation that such a universe can possibly exist - when by no reasonable definition of matter should it be allowed to - and feel that they have to destroy as much as possible (or at least as many portals as possible) lest anything in it escape to infect the "real world."

Rust Monsters: biological WMD created by unusually evil Druids to bring the more advanced civilizations to their knees, hoping to force them to return to the "real world." 

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.


I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"


than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

My view on elementals is unquestionably influenced by Warcraft and Adventure Time more than anything. They exist and have personalities, sort of like 4E Archons, but I've never put too much thought into how or why manifestations of pure elements end up having that. Tend to be more concerned with the Firelord trying to slam a hammer through your everything

They hate every other element that isn't theirs, though. Also Fire elementals have a somewhat feudal society, because Firelord, Baron Geddon, fellows like that.

Illithid and Aboleth hate each other. See, Illithid come from a distant star, the Void, or wherever else, which a piece of crashed deep into the ocean long ago. The Aboleth thought, hey, new amphibious race, let's try menetally dominating them and sending them up to go wreck havok on land!

I'll let you guess how well that went for them. (Hint: Poorly), and the Illithid promptly moved mostly all out of the water to further insult and annoy the Aboleth, with their inability to leave the water. Relationship wise, Illithid do trade with Derro and Drow though, because Derro are complete psychopaths, and Drow are just that arrogant to assume it'll work. Plus, something to do with slaves you don't need

Drow have Rothe ranchers who ride their lizard steeds into rounding up Rothe