The idea for this post comes from my son Evan, who DMs a weekly game for his friends. He noticed that the gem stalker from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons has a Protective Link feature that enables the creature to absorb damage meant for another target. The ability means that a challenge rating 5 gem stalker can serve a protective role much like a CR 7 shield guardian. DMs writing adventures with a part for a less-powerful bodyguard could cast a gem stalker in place of a shield guardian. Evan suggested an article listing different creatures, at different power levels, able to fill the same game role.

Gem StalkerThis led me to think of other monster jobs that a dungeon master could fill for a particular adventure. Many campaigns need masterminds to plot evil schemes, guards to defend hoards, and perhaps assassins to attack when the meddling do-gooders become a nuisance. DMs creating dungeons often need undying foes that can survive a vault for a 1,000 years until foolhardy treasure hunters invade.

These lists come from the Monster Manual and  Monsters of the Multiverse and all the categories that I thought would prove useful. But I consider them a work in progress. What other jobs deserve lists? Each monster includes a short list of aspects, including types, terrain, and typical allegiances.  For now, I’ve omitted most humanoid type monsters.

Creatures that carry messages or conduct strikes and other missions for masterminds and other leaders.

CR Creature
0 Homunculus (Construct wizard)
1/4 Pseudodragon (Dragon wizard)
1/2 Jackalwere (Shapechanger lamia Graz’zt)
1/2 Magmin (Elemental fire)
1 Imp (Devil)
1 Quasit (Demon)
2 Spined devil (Devil)
3 Deep Scion (Monstrosity aquatic)
3 Redcap (Fey hags mages)
3 Wight (Undead)
4 Deathlock (Undead warlock)
4 Succubus/Incubus (Fiend shapechanger)
5 Banderhobb (Monstrosity hags)
5 Cambion (Fiend)
5 Mindwitness (Aberration telepathic)
7 Draegloth (Demon Lolth)
7 Oni (Giant)
9 Hydroloth (Yugoloth aquatic)
10 Yochlol (Demon Lolth)
12 Boneclaw (Undead)
12 Death Knight (Undead)
13 Devourer (Undead Orcus)
13 Narzugon (Devil)
17 Dragon Turtle (Dragon aquatic)

Creatures that attack from hiding to gain surprise.

CR Creature
1/2 Darkmantle (Monstrosity Subterranean Shadowfell)
1/2 Piercer (Monstrosity Subterranean)
1 Choker (Aberration)
2 Ankheg (Monstrosity)
2 Mimic (Monstrosity)
3 Cave Fisher (Monstrosity Subterranean)
3 Grell (Aberration Subterranean)
3 Trapper (Monstrosity)
5 Bulette (Monstrosity)
5 Otyugh (Aberration Garbage)
5 Roper (Monstrosity Subterranean)
5 Shambling Mound (Plant Forst Swamp)
11 Remorhaz (Monstrosity Cold)

Protectors of other creatures.

CR Creature
2 Shadow Mastiff (Monstrosity)
3 Displacer Beast (Monstrosity)
4 Clockwork Stone Defender (Construct)
4 Flameskull (Undead)
5 Gem Stalker (Monstrosity Gem Dragon)
5 Unicorn (Celestial Forest)
7 Shield Guardian (Construct)
12 Gray Render (Monstrosity)

Creatures that find and hoard secrets and magical lore.

CR Creature
2 Berbalang (Aberration)
2 Nothic (Aberration)
4 Bone Naga (Undead)
8 Spirit Naga (Monstrosity)
10 Guardian Naga (Monstrosity)
11 Gynosphinx (Monstrosity)
17 Blue Abishai (Devil Tiamat)
17 Androsphinx (Monstrosity)
17 Nagpa (Monstrosity)
18 Sibriex (Demon)
20 Morkoth (Aberration)

Creatures that lead groups into battle.

CR Creature
3 Chordrith (Monstrosity Lolth)
5 Wraith (Undead)
7 Mind Flayer (Aberration Illithid)
9 Flind (Fiend Gnoll)
9 Drow House Captain (Humanoid Lolth)
12 Death Knight (Undead)
13 Nalfeshnee (Demon)
14 Ice Devil (Devil)
16 Marilith (Demon)
18 Aminzu (Devil),
19 Balor (Demon)
19 Red Abishai (Devil Tiamat)
20 Pit Fiend (Devil)

Creatures that support other fighters with tricks or magic.

CR Creature
1/4 Kobold Inventer (Dragon)
1/4 Kobold Scale Sorcerer (Dragon)
1 Firenewt Warlock Of Imix (Elemental Imix)
5 Kraken Priest (Monstrosity Aquatic Kraken)
8 Green Slaad (Aberration)
9 Gray Slaad (Aberration)
10 Death Slaad (Aberration)
12 Arcanaloth (Yugoloth)
12 Oinoloth (Yugoloth)
15 Skull Lord (Undead)

Brutish thugs and enforcers for masterminds and other leaders.

CR Creature
6 Chasme (Demon)
7 Elemental Myrmidons (Elemental)
8 Chain Devil (Devil)
9 Bone Devil (Devil)
14 Cadaver Collector (Construct)

Creatures likely to help or guide adventurers.

CR Creature
1/8 Flumph (Aberration Underdark)
1/4 Pixie (Fey Forest)
1/4 Sprite (Fey Forest)
2 Centaur (Monstrosity)
2 Pegasus (Celestial)
3 Dolphin Delighter (Fey Aquatic)
4 Couatl (Celestial)
5 Unicorn (Celestial Forest)
5 Werebear (Shapechanger Forest)
9 Treant (Plant Forest)
10 Deva (Celestial)
10 Guardian Naga (Monstrosity)
10 Stone Giant Dreamwalker (Giant)
11 Gynosphinx (Monstrosity)
12 Ki-Rin (Celestial)
16 Planetar (Celestial)
17 Androsphinx (Monstrosity)
21 Solar (Celestial)
23 Empyrean (Celestial)

Protectors of treasure or locations.

CR Creature
0 Shrieker (Plant Underdark)
1/4 Flying Sword (Construct)
1/4 Skeleton (Undead)
1/4 Zombie (Undead)
1 Animated Armor (Construct)
1 Scarecrow (Construct)
1 Stone Cursed (Construct)
2 Gargoyle (Elemental)
2 Guard Drake (Dragon)
2 Rug Of Smothering (Construct)
2 Shadow Mastiff (Monstrosity)
3 Basilisk (Monstrosity)
3 Displacer Beast (Monstrosity)
3 Hell Hound (Fiend Fire)
3 Owlbear (Monstrosity)
3 Spectator (Aberration)
3 Water Wierd (Elemental)
3 Wight (Undead)
4 Chuul (Aberration Aquatic)
4 Clockwork Iron Cobra (Construct)
4 Flameskull (Undead)
4 Girallon (Monstrosity)
4 Helmed Horror (Construct)
5 Barbed Devil (Devil)
5+ Golem (Construct)
5 Clockwork Oaken Bolter (Construct)
6 Galub Duhr (Elemental)
8 Canoloth (Yugoloth)
10 Guardian Naga (Monstrosity)
10 Yochlol (Demon Lolth)
11 Gynosphinx (Monstrosity)
12 Eidolon (Undead)
16 Stone Giant Quintessent (Giant)
17 Androsphinx (Monstrosity)
18 Demilich (Undead Tomb)

Creatures that bring chaos or corruption to locations and people.

CR Creature
1/8 Boggle (Fey)
1/2 Skulk (Monstosity Shadowfell)
4 Dybbuk (Demon)
4 Succubus/Incubus (Fiend Shapechanger)
5 Allip (Undead)
7 Bheur Hag (Fey)
6 Annis Hag (Fey)
9 Glabrezu (Demon)
11 Alkilith (Demon)
11 Balhannoth (Abberation)
13 Wastrilith (Demon Aquatic)

Creatures that can disguise to infiltrate.

CR Creature
3 Doppelganger (Monstrosity)
4 Succubus/Incubus (Fiend Shapechanger)
7 Maurezhi (Demon Gnoll)
7 Oni (Giant)
8 Green Slaad (Aberration)
9 Gray Slaad (Aberration)
10 Death Slaad (Aberration)
10 Yochlol (Demon Lolth)
13 Rakshasa (Fiend)
15 Green Abishai (Devil Tiamat)

Creatures that lead and plot, often while avoiding direct action.

CR Creature
2 Sea Hag (Fey Aquatic)
4 Deathlock Mastermind (Undead Warlock)
4 Lamia (Monstrosity Desert Graz’Zt)
5 Night Hag (Fiend Planes)
7 Mind Flayer (Aberration Illithid)
7 Oni (Giant)
8 Spirit Naga (Monstrosity)
10 Aboleth (Aberration)
10 Alhoon (Aberration Illithid Wizard)
10 Death Slaad (Aberration)
11 Genie (Elemental)
12 Death Knight (Undead)
13 Beholder (Aberration)
13 Rakshasa (Fiend)
13 Vampire (Undead)
13 Ultoloth (Yugoloth)
14 Death Tyrant (Undead)
14 Elder Brain (Aberration Illithid)
15 Mummy Lord (Undead Tomb)
15 Skull Lord (Undead)
17 Nagpa (Monstrosity)
18 Sibriex (Demon)
19 Balor (Demon)
20 Pit Fiend (Devil)
21 Lich (Undead Wizard)
23 Empyrean (Celestial)
23 Kraken (Monstrosity)
V Dracolich (Undead Wizard)
V Dragon (Dragon)
CR Creature
1 Hippogriff (Monstrosity)
1 Steeder (Monstrosity)
2 Griffon (Monstrosity Cliffs)
2 Pegasus (Celestial)
3 Nightmare (Fiend)
6 Wyvern (Dragon)
11 Roc (Monstrosity Mountain)

Creatures that defend natural places.

CR Creature
1/4 Sprite (Fey Forest)
1 Dryad (Fey Forest)
5 Unicorn (Celestial Forest)
5 Wood Woad (Plant Forest)
9 Treant (Plant Forest)

Creatures who follow orders to fight in number.

CR Creature
1/4 Skeleton (Undead)
1/2 Chitine (Monstrosity Loth)
1/2 Nupperibo (Devil)
1/4 Zombie (Undead)
1 Firenewt Warrior (Elemental Imix)
1 Sea Spawn (Monstrosity Aquatic)
3 Bearded Devil (Devil)
3 Bulezau (Demon)
3 Wight (Undead)
4 Merregon (Devil)
5 Barlgura (Demon)
5 Mezzoloth (Yugoloth)
5 Red Slaad (Aberration)
5 Salamander (Elemental Fire Efreet)
5 Tanarukk (Demon)
6 White Abishai (Devil Tiamat)
7 Armanite (Demon)
7 Blue Slaad (Aberration)
7 Dhergoloth (Yugoloth)
8 Hezrou (Demon)
8 Howler (Fiend)
11 Horned Devil (Devil)
14 Fire Giant Dreadnought (Giant)
V Giant (Giant)

Creatures that spy or assassinate using stealth.

CR Creature
0 Cranium Rat (Aberration Illithid)
0 Homunculus (Construct)
1/4 Pseudodragon (Dragon Wizard)
1/2 Darkling (Fey)
1 Clockwork Bronze Scout (Construct)
1 Imp (Devil)
1 Quasit (Demon)
2 Darkling Elder (Fey)
5 Cambion (Fiend)
5 Oblex Adult (Ooze Illithid)
7 Black Abishai (Devil Tiamat)
10 Oblex Elder (Ooze Illithid)

Creatures that typically augment other troops.

CR Creature
1 Half-Ogre (Giant)
2 Ogre (Giant)
2 Ogre Bolt Launcher (Giant)
2 Ogre Howday (Giant)
2 Ogre Zombie (Undead)
3 Hell Hound (Fiend Fire)
3 Manticore (Monstrosity)
3 Ogre Chain Brute (Giant)
4 Ogre Battering Ram (Giant)
5 Troll (Giant)
8 Shoosuva (Demon)
9 Nycaloth (Yugoloth)
11 Horned Devil (Devil)
12 Erinyes (Devil)
17 Goristro (Demon)

Creatures that seek targets for termination.

CR Creature
3 Slithering Tracker (Ooze)
4 Yeth Hound (Fey)
5 Revenant (Undead)
6 Chasme (Demon)
6 Invisible Stalker (Elemental)
8 Canoloth (Yugoloth)
10 Orthon (Devil)
14 Retriever (Construct Lolth)
16 Steel Predator (Construct)

Creatures that work better as story elements than as combat foes.

CR Creature
1/2 Gas Spore (Plant)
2 Nothic (Aberration)
4 Ghost (Undead)
25 Marut (Construct Inevitable)

Dangers that lair underground.

CR Creature
1/4 Grimlock (Humanoid Illithid)
1/2 Gray Ooze (Ooze)
2 Quaggoth (Humanoid Lolth)
3 Hook Horror (Monstrosity)
4 Black Pudding (Ooze)
5 Umber Hulk (Monstrosity)

Creatures that can perpetually survive in a location until disturbed

CR Creature
1/4 Mephit (Elemental)
1/4 Skeleton (Undead)
1/2 Shadow (Undead)
1 Specter (Undead)
2 Gibbering Mouther (Aberration)
2 Will-O’-Wisp (Undead Desolation)
3 Deathlock Wight (Undead Warlock)
3 Mummy (Undead Tomb)
4 Banshee (Undead)
4 Shadow Demon (Demon)
5 Spawn Of Kyuss (Undead Aquatic)
5 Wraith (Undead)
6 Medusa (Monstrosity Ruins)
8 Sword Wraith Warrior (Undead)
6 Bodak (Undead Orcus)
8 Sword Wraith Commander (Undead)
14 Cadaver Collector (Construct)

Creatures typically met in cities.

CR Creature
2 Wererat (Shapechanger)

Creatures that roam, often seeking to slake their hunger.

CR Creature
1/2 Jackalwere (Shapechanger Lamia Graz’Zt)
1/2 Rust Monster (Monstrosity Subterranean)
1 Ghoul (Undead)
1 Meazel (Monstrosity)
1 Vargouille (Fiend)
2 Carrion Crawler (Monstrosity)
2 Gelatinous Cube (Ooze Subterranean)
2 Intellect Devourer (Aberration Subterranean Illithid)
2 Ochre Jelly (Ooze Subterranean)
2 Ogre (Giant)
2 Meenlock (Fey)
2 Merrow (Monstrosity Shore Aquatic)
2 Rutterkin (Demon Abyss)
3 Displacer Beast (Monstrosity)
3 Flail Snail (Elemental)
3 Vampiric Mist (Undead)
3 Yeti (Monstrosity Cold)
5 Xorn (Elemental Subterranean)
5 Tlincalli (Monstrosity Desert)
6 Drider (Monstrosity Underdark Spider)
6 Vrock (Demon)
8 Cloaker (Aberration Subterranean)
8 Hydra (Monstrosity Shore Aquatic)
9 Abominable Yeti (Monstrosity Cold)
10 Death Kiss (Aberration)
11 Roc (Monstrosity Mountain)
13 Devourer (Undead Orcus)
13 Neothelid (Aberration Subterranean)
15 Nabassu (Demon)
15 Purple Worm (Monstrosity Subterranean Mountain)
17 Dragon Turtle (Dragon Aquatic)
20 Leviathan (Elemental Aquatic)
20 Nightwalker (Undead)

Dangers that appear in wild places often in or near a lair.

CR Creature
1/8 Stirge (Beast)
1/2 Cockatrice (Monstrosity)
1 Harpy (Monstrosity Cliffs)
1 Hippogriff (Monstrosity)
2 Ettercap (Monstrosity Spider)
2 Giffon (Monstrosity Cliffs)
2 Merrow (Monstrosity Shore Aquatic)
2 Peryton (Monstrosity Mountain)
3 Basilisk (Monstrosity)
3 Manticore (Monstrosity Pack)
3 Owlbear (Monstrosity)
3 Werewolf (Shapechanger Pack)
4 Wereboar (Shapechanger Orc)
4 Ettin (Giant Solo)
4 Girallon (Monstrosity)
4 Weretiger (Shapechanger Jungle)
5 Catoblepas (Monstrosity Swamp)
5 Gorgon (Monstrosity)
5 Troll (Giant)
6 Chimera (Monstrosity)
6 Wyvern (Dragon)
8 Corpse Flower (Plant)
9 Frost Salamander (Elemental Cold)
10 Froghemoth (Monstrosity Swamp)
11 Behir (Monstrosity)
11 Remorhaz (Monstrosity Cold)

Creatures that cause unnatural disasters.

CR Creature
16 Phoenix (Elemental)
23 Elder Tempest (Elemental)
23 Kraken (Monstrosity)
30 Tarrasque (Monstrosity)

Creatures that favor mischief over battle.

CR Creature
1/8 Boggle (Fey)
1/4 Pixie (Fey Forest)
1/4 Mephit (Elemental)
1/2 Satyr (Fey)
1 Quickling (Fey)
1+ Faerie Dragon (Dragon)
2 Will-O’-Wisp (Undead Desolation)





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