B is for Beholder!
Don’t think I’d heard of a beholder before, or outside of the confines of Dungeons and Dragons, and perhaps now some other fantasy based role-playing games but it is one of my favorite monsters. The variety of eye ray powers gives a dungeon master lots of options during combat, and the power level of the beholder gives player characters good reason to try to avoid that combat.
And if your players like to memorize every ability and weakness of every creature, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t change a few of the powers to match the beholder’s powers to the party’s.
The only problem with the beholder is its power level. I’ve always leaned towards lower level campaigns, and so I haven’t used them as frequently as I’d like.
I’ve got an inkling in the back of my mind for my next campaign to place a beholder behind the scenes as the true power behind the Merchants’ Guild. Early in the campaign I want the characters to discover this fact, leaving them less likely to want to work along with the public leaders of that guild later in the campaign. This lack of cooperation makes them outsiders, or perhaps even places them on the wrong side of the law for part of the campaign.
While they may eventually face off with the beholder in battle, I want them to encounter him a few times where their only choices will be to parlay or flee the encounter. The downside of this is that they may foolishly attempt to fight the beholder too soon, and so I’ll have to have a plan that doesn’t involve him simply killing them, though I haven’t come up with a definitive idea for that situation yet.
Through parlay or battle, I’m looking forward to the look on my players’ faces next time I get to set a beholder onto the table.