Beholders, nasty, mean, ugly, a party killer
right? Well maybe not. I got an email the other day that needed
What traps, tricks, and tactics would you use
to make a Beholder a more memorable encounter? How would you design
its lair to take advantage of its strengths (those eye beams) and
minimize its weaknesses (slow movement)? In too many adventures
Beholders are supposed to be simply waiting around for a group of
adventures to sneak up and attack it.
Always remember that beholders are intelligent
and can come in groups or use other beings. Some ideas to use are
For starters you can place the Beholder in an
area with a high ceiling. Then the little fellow can fly upside
down up near the top blasting at the PCs with his beams. Of course
he is about 20'-25' up or more so fighters can't really hit him
Have the beholder use ogres, or some other big
dumb strong creature, to fight the PCs while it stays back and uses
its anti-magic ray to disrupt spell casting and those nasty magical
weapons fighters use. Only when the henchman are dead or just about
dead would he drop the field and begin blasting.
With 3E its easier to charm a fighter with an
eye and have him beat the snot out of everybody. Use other eyes
to disrupt surroundings, for example disintegrate the roof causing
a cave in.
Add a room with plenty of mirrors to bounce those
colorful beams at different angles. All the while the small round
fellow can hide among the mirrors giving the appearance of many
Mix him up with some gas spores, have him maneuver
around them constantly taking pot shots with his eyes. "Will
the real beholder please stand up..."
Make him tiny in size from some curse or magical
effect, more AC equals harder to hit.
Last and most interesting is to alter the eye
stalk's powers. Replace the beams with other spell effects like
prismatic spray, mirror image, fear, curing
spells, illusion spell effects, or any other magic that would challenge
Who says you can't teach an old Beholder new
tricks. Try it and watch the look of confusion in the PC's eyes.
Perhaps those high level characters will again have some respect
for the Eye Tyrant.
Al Sousa, firstname.lastname@example.org