What do you think the second most common monster in D&D is? That’s to say if someone was dedicated enough to look at dozens and dozens of D&D books, which monsters appear the most often?
Dragons, of course, are most popular.
It’s a tie for second place. Dragons appear 42 times in 50 popular D&D books (which you can see listed below), and then Goblins and Zombies each appear 28 times.
You can find these figures in the “Impossible Bestiary: 66% threshold” section of the remarkable Average Fantasy Bestiary 2.0. It’s average by name, not nature.
The public Google Sheet is the work of LibraryLass.
Lass went through 50 books, and imagine how long that took to categorise every monster that appears.
In addition to filters for the Lax tier (appears in at least 10% of books), Average, Strict, Super and the previously mentioned Impossible Tier, there are extra for The Close Calls: D&D Influenced books that add a few more qualifying monsters. Or, flip it, dodge the D&D and look at The Close Calls: D&D-Null and find monsters that appear in other books (at least 20%) but not these popular D&D titles!
What next for LibraryLass’s project? Lass clarifies this is a labour of love, a project to pursue a scholarly interest in a hobby, but suggests a peer review. If you can help then Reddit is the place to communicate.
Another development could be with more but different specialist lists.
Sourcebooks for the Average Fantasy Bestiary
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1e
- BECMI D&D
- D&D 4e Essentials
- D&D 5e
- 13th Age
- Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2e
- Barbarians of Lemuria Legendary Edition
- Barebones Fantasy Roleplaying Game
- Beyond The Wall and Other Adventures
- The Black Hack 2e
- Blue Rose AGE
- Chivalry and Sorcery 5e
- Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of
- The Dark Eye 5e
- Dragon Age
- Dungeon Crawl Classics
- Dungeon World
- Earthdawn 4e
- Exalted 3e
- Fantasy AGE
- Fantasy Craft
- GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (Boxset edition)
- Hackmaster 5e
- HERO system 6e
- Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy RPG
- Ironclaw Omnibus: Squaring the Circle
- Legend of the Five Rings 4e
- Mork Borg
- My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game
- The One Ring Roleplaying Game 1e
- Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game 2e
- Pathfinder 2e
- Pendragon 5.1
- Rolemaster Classic
- Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha (7e)
- Ryuutama Scarlet Heroes
- Shadow of the Demon Lord
- Shadowrun 5e
- Sword World RPG
- Talislanta: The Savage Land (D&D5e version)
- The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition
- Tunnels and Trolls 7.5 Edition
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 4e
- The Witcher Pen and Paper RPG
- Zweihander Grim and Perilous RPG Revised Edition
Creative Commons credit: Werewolf by sandara.
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