Surprise!

A new “classic ‘gotcha!’ monster” for you today; those are beasties that jump out at the unwary as an unexpected menace, a surprising foe a quick encounter.

Personally, I like “gotcha!” monsters. They’re a nice break from the routine, a nasty little surprise: not every monster should charge at you howling a battle cry. They can slow down the game as players check chests, poke floor and walls, prod the ceiling, and unleashed ranged weaponry on every bunny resting on a tree stump. Which is a sure-fire way of guaranteeing a DM will not use a “gotcha!” monster as they’re only really fun when they’re unexpected and then never appear again.  I also enjoy the understated narrative of such creatures, how this perfect dungeon-based adventurer-hunter might have evolved or been created. It says something about the world.

The only real problem with “gotcha!” monsters is that everyone knows about them. They’re not a surprise as every player who has been playing for longer than a year has likely heard of the mimic or the lurker below or any of the others. This might encourage DMs to get a little… creative.