Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition loves categorizing aspects of itself, especially in the new OneD&D Playtest, as they are categorizing the classes into groups (like Expert Classes). This makes it so that a spell, feature, or some other rule can affect an entire group of similar creatures, and they don’t have to list them all out. A spell like Turn Undead can affect every creature in the Undead category.
There are 14 categories, with each creature in only one:
Last week, @SpicyEncounters on Twitter tweeted this:
This made me think of Pokémon, where many different Pokémon had multiple types. There are just Electric-type Pokémon, like Pikachu, but there are also Electric/Steel type Pokémon, like Magnemite.
And of course, I had to follow that train of thought.
While some people in the Twitter thread above said that previous editions of the game already allowed that, I couldn’t find any in my (albeit brief) research. However, someone else pointed out that in an Unearthed Arcana for Centaur and Minotaur playable races, there is a Trait:
Hybrid Nature. You have two creature types: humanoid and monstrosity. You can be affected by a game effect if it works on either of your creature types.https://media.wizards.com/2018/dnd/downloads/UA-Centaur.pdf
So even though this is only playtest, it’s not against the idea of the game to have multiple creature types.
The benefit of this is that mechanical features should match the narrative of the game. If there is an undead dragon (like a Dracolich) does that count as Undead, or as Dragon? It should count as both.
Below are some creatures that exist in the 5e canon that should absolutely be given two creature types.
Dragons and Giants are already inherently Elemental by nature, so ruling them as such I think would be fair.
- Aberration + Beast = Intellect Devourer
- Aberration + Dragon = Elder Brain Dragon
- Beast + Construct = Steel Defender
- Beast + Fey = Unicorns, Owlbears, etc
- Beast + Fiend = Hell Hound
- Beast + Giant = Giant Beasts (Giant Wolf, Giant Shark, Giant Spider, etc) or a Tarrasque
- Celestial + Construct = Modron
- Celestial + Dragon = Bahamut
- Celestial + Fiend = Archdukes of Avernus, like Zariel or Asmodeus
- Construct + Elemental = Iron Golem, Gargoyle
- Construct + Giant = Warforged Colossus (from Eberron)
- Construct + Humanoid = Warforged Playable Race and creature
- Construct + Undead = Flesh Golem
- Dragon + Fey = Faerie Dragon
- Dragon + Fiend = Tiamat
- Dragon + Humanoid = Dragonborn Playable Race
- Dragon + Giant = Dragonflesh Abomination
- Dragon + Monstrosity = Dracohydra
- Dragon + Undead = Dracolich, Shadow Dragon
- Elemental + Fiend = Mephit
- Elemental + Humanoid = Azer
- Fey + Humanoid = Hag
- Fey + Monstrosity = Displacer Beast
- Fey + Undead = Will-o’-Wisp
- Fiend + Giant = Balor
- Fiend + Undead = Shadow Demon
- Giant + Monstrosity = Roc
- Humanoid + Monstrosity = Centaur, Minotaur (as according to the UA above)
- Humanoid + Plant = Blight
- Humanoid + Undead = Zombie, Skeleton, Dhampir playable race, Reborn playable race
- Plant + Undead = Corpse Flower, Yellow Musk Creeper
Easily Homebrew-able Monsters
There is a lot of fun to be had there, but there are also new category combinations that can be useful for coming up with new monsters yourself.
Aberration + Celestial = some kind of Lovecraftian Horror, perhaps a Great Old One can be these.
Aberration + Ooze = Make a version of Dragonblood Ooze from Fizban’s but for a Beholder. Maybe it moves toward you like Black Pudding, but once it touches you, instead of the Pseudopod attack, it’s just the Paralyzing or Slowing ray action.
Construct + Dragon = MechaGodzilla
Dragon + Ooze = Jelly Dragon?
Dragon + Plant = Maybe like the Dragon Lily flower, but it breathes Poison if you get too close, and only grows in a Green Dragon’s Lair.
Fey + Plant = Giant Venus Flytrap monster would be cool.
Undead + Anything = A necromancer of high enough level could raise anything, like maybe a Frost Giant Zombie! The Monster Manual does have Ogre Zombie and Beholder Zombie listed next to standard Zombie, so that you can compare the two stat blocks side by side, to see what happens to a Beholder when it goes Zombie-fied. (AC -3, HD -8, DEX -6, CON -2, INT -14, WIS -7, CHA -12, lose Saves, +poison immunity, -Legendary Action)
Some people in the Twitter thread said that Construct + Fiend = Infernal War Machines from Descent into Avernus, though that’s technically Equipment and so I think that a demonic automaton would be fun. Well, I guess Flying Sword, Animated Armor, and Rug of Smothering could all be called Equipment as well, and the War Machines have stat blocks with Ability Scores, Actions, Reactions, and Abilities.
Monsters Beyond My Imagination
Now I am not a big Homebrew monster creator myself, so I’m sure some of these other unused combinations could spark your imagination.
- Aberration + Construct, Elemental, Fey, Fiend, Giant, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Plant. Any of these would basically imply that a Mind Flayer or Beholder created or merged with some other thing.
- Beast + Celestial, Dragon, Elemental, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Ooze, Plant. This is tough because “Beast” really just means real world creature.
- Celestial + Elemental, Fey, Giant, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Ooze, Plant. I guess you could just do the God of [Other Type] is both. Not sure how helpful that would be, but in 4th Tier adventures it might help.
- Construct + Fey, Monstrosity, Ooze, Plant. I’m sure someone who plays Artificer could come up with monsters that fit these combinations.
- Elemental + Fey, Monstrosity, Ooze, Plant
- Fey + Fiend, Giant, Ooze
- Fiend + Giant, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Ooze, Plant
- Giant + Humanoid, Ooze, Plant
- Humanoid + Ooze
- Monstrosity + Ooze, Plant
- Ooze + Plant
If some of these spark off an idea in your head, let me know, and I’ll credit you and add it to the list. Otherwise, I hope this reminds you that not only should some effects affect creatures beyond the RAW, but also for more fun monster inspiration.
What monsters do you think should/could have multiple tags? Let me know in the comments below!