First Level D&D Monsters

I don't always want to use kobolds, goblins, and giant rats for first level adventures. Let's see what else I can dredge up out of the 2e Monstrous Manual, not including psionics or good creatures:

Bat, Common 1-2 hp
Bat, Large 1/2 - 1 HD
Beetle, Fire 1+2 HD
Bird (various)
Bullywug 1 HD
Cat, Wild 1 HD
Centipede, Giant 2 hp
Crawling Claw 2-4 hp
Dog, Wild 1+1 HD
Dwarf, Duergar 1+2 HD
Fish (various)
Frog (various)
Fungus, Gas spore 1 hp
Gibberling 1 HD
Gremlins (4/6 listed are 1-1 HD or less)
Grippli 1+1 HD
Hatori (sand crocodile), Lesser 1-5 HD
Hobgoblin 1+1 HD (yeah, a goblin, but it may be considered a change still)
Human (various)
Insect, (various, each with interesting abilities)
Insect swarm
Ixitxachitl 1+1 HD
Leech, giant 1-4 HD
Mammal (various)
Merman 1+1 HD
Mold Men 1 to 6 HD
Mongrelmen 1-4 HD
Muckdweller 1/2 HD
Myconid 1-6 HD
Piercer 1-4 HD
Plant, Intelligent, Obliviax 1-2 hp
Poltergeist 1/2 HD
Skeleton 1 HD (don't forget animal skeletons 1-1 HD)
Snake, Heway 1+3 HD
Spider, Hairy or Large 1-1 to 1+1 HD
Tasloi 1 HD
Urchin, Black 1+1 HD
Worm, Bookworm or Rot Grub 1/4 HD or less

Those are just 1 HD or less creatures. I'm sure a small party could take on some 2 HD creatures as well. That would significantly expand the list. Let's give kobolds, goblins, and giant rats a rest for a while.

Comments

I only play 1e but I recognize most of the monsters on this list. I encourage bandits and berserkers, also inventing or just reskinning monsters. On my first level I have bird headed monsters that are basically bandits.
I only play 1e but I recognize most of the monsters on this list. I encourage bandits and berserkers, also inventing or just reskinning monsters. On my first level I have bird headed monsters that are basically bandits.
JB said…
I find that 1st level characters are still fully capable of taking down creatures of 3 and 4 hit dice, if they are encountered in small numbers (like singly for ogres). Likewise, large numbers of small creatures (giant rats, goblins, kobolds, etc.) can be decidedly deadly...the key is the number of attacks that the encounter is generating every round. More attacks = more hits = more damage that the party has to soak. One ogre or bugbear hits pretty hard, but still needs a 13+ or 14+ to hit AC 2 (at least, in the edition I play). Check out the math:

Average damage of 1 ogre vs. AC2 = (40% to hit X 5.5 (d10) damageX 1 attack) = 2.2 damage/round
Average damage of 6 goblins vs. AC2 = (20% to hit x3.5 (d6) damage) X 6 attacks) = 4.2 damage/round

And, of course, six opponents means a good chance that they will not be forced to fight front-line (heavily armored) fighters, but rather the "softer" members of the party (thus equating a better chance to hit and more damage potential). In practice, I've found the math to be borne out...which is why the lower caves of The Keep on the Borderlands are so deadly for low-level parties, and why a handful of B/X troglodytes (2HD, 3 attacks, at D4/D4/D4) are the equivalent of tyranid genestealers in WH40K.

Don't even get me started with ghoul packs.
: )
Roger said…
Great points all around.

Timothy: Humans are always good adversaries. The DM can increase or decrease HD to desired levels. The three bandits the party is up against could each be level 3 fighters.

JB: Exactly! Fighting an ogre may actual put the party fighter in jeopardy, if he's hit, but until he's hit, he has support from the magic user throwing spells, others firing arrows, etc. A large number of creatures could put the entire party at peril because the soft mage and the archers have some nasties flanking them, too.
Jerramy Doughty said…
It would also depend if they characters are using the Skill & Powers books or other player supplements. Those tend to make the players a bit more powerful than the standard character out of the Players Handbook. Of course a GM can use those same tricks it just takes more prep time. I have never been one to stick with things strictly from the books anyway. I like to play around with "homegrown" monsters and such.

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