Chapter 8: Enemies

          This chapter gives brief descriptions of the behavior and notable qualities of most types of creatures you are likely to encounter in the game—most of which will try to kill you. Not all potential enemies are listed here, and I try not to reveal too much about certain creatures, because in some cases that would be too much like telling you precisely how to defeat them. This list is confined to racial traits & behavior, so creatures defined primarily by their character class (such as Thief or Mage) are omitted. Creatures are listed here in roughly their order of difficulty, from easiest to most difficult. While BG2 was designed and built on the rules of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, it does not always adhere to the canon lore of AD&D, especially when the source material itself changes from edition to edition (BG is mostly a mish-mash of Editions 2.0 and 3.5). In areas where BG and canon AD&D disagree, I tell things the way you're likely to encounter them in-game.

Gibberlings / Tasloi / Xvarts / Kobolds / Goblins
          These creatures, though completely unrelated, are usually grouped together because of their small size and their shared status of "roadkill" enemies: In general, you'll steamroll right over them almost without even noticing. Only Kobolds and Goblins carry ranged weapons, and Gibberlings use no weapons at all, as they're little more than feral beasts. All of them live (and hunt) in groups. Packs of Kobolds are sometimes supplemented by a Shaman or other low-level spellcaster. All types can be encountered in just about any terrain, although Gibberlings, Xvarts, and especially Tasloi prefer to live in forests, grasslands, and hilly areas, while Kobolds and Goblins more frequently dwell underground.
          Despite being roadkill for most of the game(s), Kobolds can be a significant threat in the early stages of BG1, especially when they're using their Bows: 5 Kobolds together means a 50% chance that they'll score a Critical Hit on somebody, and when you're only Level 1 or 2 a single Crit will cost you a significant chunk of hp. There are also Kobold Commandos, who are slightly tougher than regular Kobolds and shoot Arrows of Fire, which again can be especially deadly against low-level party members.

Zombies / Skeletons
          The lowest tier of Undead, both types are always found in groups. Zombies never carry weapons and move rather slowly; they never even resemble a danger to you. Skeletons are sometimes unarmed, but usually carry a combination of both ranged & melee weapons—due to their "transparent" body shape, they are fairly resistant to Missile & Piercing attacks. They'll get in the lucky hit now & then, but otherwise aren't much of a hazard.

Dogs / Wolves / Bears
Art by Richard Sardinha           Wild animals foraging for survival—Dogs and Wolves commonly hunt in packs (though a lone Wolf is not unknown), and will attack you on sight. Bears, however, usually prefer to live and let live, turning hostile only if you enter their cave (if they have one), or if you get to close to them while out in the open—and even then they tend to stay pacified if they can see an Elf, Druid, or Ranger. Bears come in many varieties, from the relatively unimpressive Black Bears to the ferocious Mountain Bears, which are also resistant to the cold weather of their chosen habitat. Types of Wolf are even more numerous: Of particular note are the Winter Wolves, which possess a breath weapon that allows them to project a blast of cold air capable of hitting a target a considerable distance away, and the especially dangerous Vampiric
Wolves: Not only are they immune to Normal weapons, but they also heal themselves with every successful attack they make on an enemy—and each bite has a chance to Hold that enemy as well.

Slimes / Oozes / Molds / Jellies
          Living puddles of gelatinous goo, these creatures typically live in dark, moist environments, oozing along the ground & filtering out food particles. They come in many varieties, all of which move slowly, have a ranged attack (a small chunk of their own flesh, spat out at you), and are immune to Backstab (because they have neither any vital organs nor any "back"). They are also resistant to Missile and Piercing damage. The only two types of note both pose a significant threat, especially in BG1: Mustard Jellies are immune to Normal weapons, as well as all Piercing/Missile attacks, and have extremely high Magic Resistance to boot. Their attacks are quite potent, causing both Slow and Disease in the victim. Green Slimes are even more dangerous: While otherwise unremarkable, their attacks force the victim to Save vs. Death or (after a delay of 1 round) suddenly die beyond Resurrection.

          These Undead are unusual in that they are not animated into Undeath by another being, but rather attain it through "natural" means: Any intelligent creature who voluntarily engaged in cannibalism can, after death and some decomposition, rise again as a Ghoul, a bloated, distorted corpse that waddles around, looking and smelling horrible. Individuals who died shortly after (or sometimes even during) an act of cannibalism will become a Ghast, more powerful than others of his type. Both kinds feed solely on meat, freshly killed if they can get it, if not they act as scavengers. Their only strength is in their melee attacks: Each hit can Hold the victim, while those in melee combat with Ghasts must also endure their horrible stench (i.e., Save vs. Breath Weapon) or become Nauseated. They can be encountered in just about any type of terrain, and either singly or in groups, depending entirely on the number of former cannibals who died or were buried nearby. Art by Brian Snoddy

Carrion Crawlers
          These are bizarre grubs/maggots swollen to gigantic size, presumably through magical means. They are easy enough targets for a party with enough skill at ranged weapons, but they may cause trouble if they get in melee range, as each hit can Hold the victim. Happily, their little mandibles do very small amounts of damage, so even if a party member gets Held, he may have enough hp to stay alive while his friends kill the Carrion Crawler munching on him. CCs commonly live in groups, favoring humid areas.

Hobgoblins / Orcs
          Both of these species speak (their own languages as well as Common), make their own homes, clothing & tools, and have a culture—Orcs even have their own pantheon of gods. Of course, both races' cultures are based on war and conquest, so it's not unusual for adventurers to find themselves at odds with them. Most members of these species become Warriors and use both ranged and melee weapons, but they still won't pose much of a threat to you; even Hobgoblin Elites, who dip each arrow in a weak Poison before firing it, are a relatively easy kill. In BG2, the presence of both species is augmented somewhat by the addition of spell-casting Shamans. The vast majority of individuals of both races are Evil, but as in most cases there are exceptions.

Gnolls / Flinds
Art by Sam Wood           They do speak, and make rudimentary attempts at weapons, clothing, and culture, but these tall, lanky beasts with dog-like heads are still only a couple of steps above animal intelligence & behavior. They live and hunt in packs, fighting among themselves almost as much as against others. Flinds are larger and darker-furred than Gnolls; in PnP, their favored weapon is a "Flindbar," a 3-section staff with which they try to entrap an opponent's weapon and yank it out of his hand. This occurs in-game only to some extent: BioWare decided not to implement actual weapon droppage, but when in melee combat with a Flind, you will still occasionally see yourself make a Save vs. Wands. Both groups shun the use of ranged weapons.

          There are many types of Spiders, most of which have a Poisonous bite that ranges in potency from "dangerous" to "spectacularly lethal." Most spiders move slowly, meaning you can usually shoot them down before they can close to melee, but there are 3 exceptions: Sword Spiders are physically the most dangerous combatants—they move at double speed and attack twice as rapidly—but happily, they are nonpoisonous. Phase Spiders have the bizarre ability to Dimension Door at will: Upon seeing an enemy, they prefer DDing to his location, rather than walking. They may randomly decide to DD two or three times during a fight, sometimes right into your back rank where they could eat your Mage. Lastly, "Baby" Spiders are physically the weakest type there is, but they move quickly, and curiously have the most potent venom.
          Spiders prefer to live in groups, either underground or in heavily wooded areas. All Spiders are immune to the effects of Web.

          The origin of Ettercaps is somewhat unclear; externally they have many spider-like characteristics, but possess a basically humanoid skeleton and musculature, so a popular theory is that they were the product of mages (possibly Drow) creating a crossbreed between humanoids and spiders, for the purposes of experimentation, punishment, or perhaps even entertainment.
          Regardless, Ettercaps are Evil and quite intelligent, although this is only evident in the facts that they can speak Common, they act as leaders for the communities of Spiders in which they tend to live, and they are quite skilled at placing Web traps for enemies to blunder into. Ettercaps have no ranged attacks and are unspectacular melee fighters, but they do have poisonous fangs, and are immune to Web. They are usually found singly or in pairs, although they will band together into small groups if they see an opportunity to take a larger prize.
Art by Wayne Reynolds

Ogres / Half-Ogres / Ogrillions / Orogs / Ogre-Magi
          Ogres and their kin (Half-Ogres are half Human, Orogs are half Orc) are respectable, even formidable melee combatants in BG1, but pretty much fall by the wayside in BG2. Although fairly intelligent, Ogrekin never use ranged weapons, but Ogre-Magi do cast a few low-level spells. Ogres can be found either on their own or in small groups—either way, they are best handled with caution. Just as with Orcs & Hobgoblins, most of these creatures are Evil.

          These small, winged, superficially reptilian creatures come from the Elemental Planes, as well as from smaller sub-planes where the larger ones merge. For instance, an Air Mephit naturally comes from the Plane of Air, while a Smoke Mephit hails from the mid-zone between the Planes of Air and Fire, and an Ooze Mephit was created in the merging of the Planes of Water and Earth. Regardless, Mephits can be pretty annoying; they're hardly ever a real threat and can be killed fairly easily, but not before they hit you with an unavoidable spell/attack concordant with their element/plane of origin.

Art by Todd Lockwood           A cross between a security system and a garbage-disposal unit, Otyughs dine primarily on feces, offal, decayed flesh, and pretty much any form of organic waste, although they are also not averse to killing their own food. They are smart enough to recognize faces and discern friend from foe, and therefore are not infrequently kept as useful additions to large complexes such as castles, prisons, and even public buildings: Not only do they function as something of a living sewer, but they are vigilant watchdogs as well, attacking intruders while allowing authorized persons to pass unmolested. In the wild, they prefer to inhabit caves and live as scavengers, and are sometimes found in a semi-feral state, roaming the sewage systems of major cities.
          Otyughs are slow-moving creatures with a squat, heavy body supported by thick, stumpy legs, a large mouth lined with sharp but small teeth, and their "arms" are actually tentacles, each with its business end studded with sharp, body ridges. Their thick skin is usually encrusted with the filth in which they prefer to live, and is highly resistant to missile weapons. In combat terms, they are rather unimpressive—a fact of which they are aware, and therefore will usually attack only in self-defense, if they are see prey that is alone and/or already injured, or of course if they have been trained to do so. Their attacks are most notable for causing disease, as an open wound inflicted with a weapon covered in dung pretty much means automatic infection. Few installations are large enough to merit the digestive capacities of more than one Otyugh, so they are usually encountered alone.

          Ankhegs are huge insects that tunnel through the earth in search of food, and not-uncommonly stick their heads topside to hunt in the open air as well. Their main form of attack, a glob of highly acidic saliva, is just as dangerous at range as their powerful bite. These creatures are very dangerous for a low-level BG1 party, but once you have a few levels under your belts you should be able to handle them fairly easily, and in BG2 they're little more than scenery. One unusual trait of Ankhegs is that they're invisible while moving from place to place: They're burrowing underground and you can see them only when they emerge to fight.
Art by Tom Baxa

Dryads, Naiads, Nereids, Nymphs, Sirenes
          These Faerie Folk are nature spirits, each permanently bonded to a particular tree / stream / glade / other wildland feature. Naturally, they choose to live as close to their bonding-place as possible. They are generally neutral in alignment and tend to be so in their behavior as well, but some may have been so angered by the destructive influences of civilization that they will attack trespassers on sight. When combative, they fight with Bows and spells (avoiding Evocation spells, as these harm the environment), and a kiss from one of these beauties can be either an attack or a way of Charming the recipient into wanting to follow the Faerie's every command.

          These bizarre creatures are most noted for their qualities of shapeshifting and mimicry: Their regular appearance is a humanoid of approximately five feet in height, hairless, with grey skin and silvery eyes . . . but at will, they can mold both flesh and bone to assume the form of just about any race of Small or Medium-sized humanoid, from Halfling to Half-Ogre. In combination with their intelligence and very keen eye for detail, they can use this ability to take on the exact likeness—in face, build, and voice—of any person they have met long enough for a casual conversation. In general, their purposes are not exactly nefarious, but they are always on the lookout for their own self-interests, and so are not infrequently employed as spies and assassins.
          Combat-wise, Doppelgangers can attack using the weapons and spells of the creature they are imitating (if any), with somewhat reduced proficiency, although in general they prefer to revert to their natural state, in which they can be a modest challenge to a BG1 party. Doppelgangers usually operate alone, but may be encountered even in large groups, depending on the purposes of the agency employing them.

Skeleton Warriors
          These Undead are typically created from the corpse of a relatively high-level warrior, and can be quite dangerous, especially in BG1. They are commonly completely resistant to magic and all nonmagical weaponry, and are formidable combat opponents. They fight using the weapons they were buried with—usually a Two-Handed Sword, but there are numerous exceptions.

          A very curious creature, Myconids are a race of animated fungi, essentially humanoid mushrooms. They live underground, and have arms, legs, and eyes, but no mouth: They eat by slowly absorbing nutrients through their feet, and do not speak at all (they are capable of learning other races' languages, but not speaking them). Communication is performed via individuals scattering some of their telepathic spores on nearby creatures. Old Myconids lose the power of movement and put all their energies into producing spores, which germinate in fertile ground and grow into new Myconids. They prefer working for the benefit of their colony to any warlike action, rising to hostility only when the colony itself is entered by an outsider, or when a friend or ally is directly threatened. In combat, they fight with their fists, although they also use their spores as a weapon, hurling them at an enemy who is then likely to become Confused by the many conflicting voices in his head.

          These creatures are the work of the Sauroids (reptilian creator gods) experimenting with magically combining humans with snakes. The resulting race of evil beings are roughly human in intelligence and size, with a serpentine body and head, and a pair of human-like (though scaled) arms & hands. They make their own weapons & armor, and have a complex society and pantheon. Most Yuan-Ti are melee fighters, striking with swords instead of their bite (apparently they lack fangs), although groups of them commonly include a Mage, casting a variety of low- and mid-level spells.
Art by Sam Wood

          Sahuagin are another strange man/animal meld; this time it's a mix between humanoids and sharks. Whether their origin was through divine action, arcane meddling, or (relatively) simple crossbreeding, I do not know. But the resulting species is highly intelligent (they have their own language, religion, and even architecture) and quite dangerous: Their culture is an evil, unceasingly violent one that pits them against the Sea Elves, their oceanic rivals, and their pantheon of gods demands constant living sacrifice—Sahuagin frequently raid coastal settlements to capture land humanoids for sacrifices when they can't get Sea Elves. Sahuagin have a sharklike trunk, including fearsomely-toothed jaws and a powerful tail, but also arms and legs, which are webbed for swimming but can also grasp the Spear and Crossbow, their favored weapons.
          Sahuagin tend to attack in small groups, sometimes supplemented by a low-level spellcaster. Most are fairly lackluster combatants, at least against experienced adventuring parties—their greatest advantage is probably the special stunning Paralytic Bolts that only they can make, and which come in very handy when they want to capture (but not kill) humanoids for sacrifice. Some Sahuagin are quite formidable fighters, but usually only those of the nobility can reach these levels of skill.

          This race shares many similarities with the Sahuagin, with whom they are sometimes allies and sometimes bitter enemies. They are human-sized and roughly humanoid amphibians, not fish, and they too favor the Spear and Crossbow, and make their own type of crossbow Bolt that can Stun the victim. They are probably less intelligent than Sahuagin, but they too have their own gods. They prefer to live underground—both underneath land and bodies of water. They are less physically violent than Sahuagin, but they make up for it by having more abundant and more powerful spellcasters: Kou-Toans typically move in small groups, most of which contain both a Priest and a Wizard. One unique feature of the Kou-Toans is that the entire species can see invisible creatures: With eyes adapted to centuries of living in near-total darkness as well as their highly-developed senses of smell and hearing, they are able to detect almost literally any movement or other sign of life.

Art by Sam Wood           Githyanki have their origin as a humanoid race (according to some legends, actual Humans) that were captured by the Illithids for use as servants and guards. It was during this period that they gradually acquired their psionic abilities; after centuries of enslavement, they managed to stage a revolt and kill off the majority of the Illithids. They might have exterminated the race completely, except that a schism of philosophy emerged among the Gith, and a sect broke off and became the Githzerai—the two groups are now rivals. Githyanki now occupy their own homelands somewhere on the Astral Planes, although they also frequently travel between the planes on their Spelljammer ships.
          Githyanki have a human-like form, but their musculature is very tight and shrunken, even more so than with Elves, giving them a gaunt, skeletal
appearance. Like Elves, however, they are physically no weaker than Humans. Githyanki wage a constant war with their ancient Illithid enemies, and are not on very good terms with most other races, either. Almost all are highly trained in swordsmanship, and studies of both magic and psionics are quite common as well.

Umber Hulks
          Another race that has developed its own language, Umber Hulks are large, insectlike beasts with mild psionic abilities: By locking all four of their eyes onto a single creature, they are able to fix it with a gaze attack that can confuse the victim. Despite these mental capacities, they are usually mistaken for being dumb animals, primarily because their physical form is not one that suggests intellect—their powerfully muscled and clawed forelimbs (adapted for digging the subterranean caverns in which they live) grant them a strong melee offense, their thick carapace shields them from most blows, and their incredibly tough mandibles are capable of chewing through solid stone. Add in the fact that they prefer to live in groups, and Umber Hulks can prove to be quite considerable foes. They tend to be Evil.Art by Todd Lockwood

          Wyverns are a species of lesser Draconic creature, and are sometimes mistaken for their larger, far more dangerous kin, but there are many obvious differences. Wyverns have only four limbs (2 wings and 2 clawed feet), a hooklike, permanently envenomed claw at the end of their tail, no form of Breath Weapon, and most importantly are nowhere near as intelligent as Dragons. Some do emulate them by gathering "treasure," but this is typically anything shiny carried by creatures they have killed. They live in heavily forested areas, preying on just about any type of animal they can find, commonly taking them by surprise by diving from above. They usually occur singly, in mating pairs, or a mother with her brood of hatchlings. They can be extremely dangerous in BG1, but in BG2 they're little more than a momentary hindrance.

Shadows / Shadow Fiends / Wraiths / Wights
          Although they are, in a sense, Undead, these creatures have the distinction of not being based on any sort of dead creature at all: They are more like animated fragments of the Negative Energy Plane itself. They most commonly occur near strong upswells of Necromantic or other magics that draw upon Negative Energy. They look like an absence of light, in a shape that is half animalistic, half demonic. They have a violent abhorrence for all sources of light, and thus vastly prefer to stay underground. As enemies, their normal combat stats are not particularly intimidating; it's the additional effects of their attacks that make them dangerous. Shadows have a melee attack that temporarily saps the victim's strength, Shadow Fiends can cause Hold with their hits, and both Wraiths and Wights have a touch that inflicts Level Drain. They also exist and attack in groups—sometimes very large groups, if they are created/summoned by a strong enough force.

Art by Dave Allsop           Trolls are quite strong & have decent combat stats, and some varieties are immune to Normal weapons and can even cast a few low- and mid-level spells, but they aren't famous for any of those reasons. Trolls are best known for their amazing powers of regeneration: Not only are their wounds (if any) constantly healing at a rather rapid rate, but when they are close to death, instead of dying, they collapse to the ground and enter into a state where they are completely immune to just about all forms of damage. At this point, they can actually be killed, but only by the application of something that can damage the Troll's body faster than the Troll can heal itself—the only things known to have this quality are acid and fire, though happily, even a small amount of either one is usually enough to slay the beast completely. If the killing blow is not applied shortly after the
Troll falls down, however, it will get right back up again—completely healed.
          Trolls can speak Giant, and some are intelligent enough to master several words of Common as well, though this is pretty much the extent of their society. They use neither clothing nor tools, and what buildings they do erect are usually no more than crude huts. Their primary interests appear to be eating and fighting. There are many varieties of troll, living in habitats varying from mountaintops to deserts to the open sea, so they can be encountered practically anywhere. Trolls are humanoid, with rather spindly limbs attached to a hunched, blob-like torso. Most are about six feet tall, but would be closer to nine feet if they stood up straight, which they almost never do.
          Note: Due to their in-game implementation, you can essentially make Trolls invincible by being too good at attacking them: Trolls cannot be killed until they fall down, and they can't fall down if they're too busy playing the "taking damage" animation. So if you have a Troll at Near Death and you're just bashing away at him and he still won't drop, just back off for a second or two.

          Basilisks are reptilian animals whose fat body largely resembles that of a crocodile, but with weaker jaws and eight short legs. Some Basilisks have a Poisonous bite, but mentioning this is a mere formality—by far their most notable characteristic is their Petrifying gaze attack: Simply by giving you the evil eye, Basilisks can attempt to turn you to stone once every round, as long as you're in sight range.
Art by Scott Fischer

          The provenance of these creatures is not known, but they seem to be extraplanar in origin. Psysically, they resemble a wisp of cloud that has a head and tendril-like arms. They can move quite rapidly, and attack (which they do with little to no provocation) by lashing out with their arms and body. Some varieties can create clouds of poisonous or other types of gases, seemingly by erupting them from their own body, and other varieties have an attack that Level Drains the victim. Two types of Mists, the Nishruu and its more powerful cousin the Hakeashar, are well-known to wizards: These creatures seem to eat magic, and love attacking arcane spellcasters for the express purpose of draining their spellslots—each melee hit from either of these creatures will cause a memorized spell to become un-memorized, as if the wizard had cast it.

Battle Horrors / Doomguards / Helmed Horrors / Grimwarders
          These powerful Constructs (beings created by magic from inanimate components) are made for the purpose of guarding a specific place, usually a burial site or temple, that their masters wish to remain undisturbed. Battle Horrors and Doomguards are animated suits of armor, equipped with flaming swords that serve both as weapons and torches to help protect against sneakthieves. Helmed Horrors and Grimwarders, on the other hand, have no physical components save a helmet and weapon (sometimes a shield as well), and otherwise are completely invisible. Regardless of their appearance, these creatures are very dangerous melee opponents in BG1, but hardly much of a threat in BG2. All types seem to be immune to Normal and ranged weapons.

Invisible Stalkers
          An Invisible Stalker is a type of Air Elemental commonly employed by wizards due to its highly desirable property of being, as the name suggests, completely invisible. These Stalkers are usually summoned for the purposes of acting as assassins or spies, although of course they will also act on their own accord if they or their interests are threatened. Divination spells and techniques are nearly useless against Invisible Stalkers, as their transparency is completely natural—these spells reveal only the creature's outline, or at best a cloud of mist. In combat, these creatures can be dangerous opponents: They are almost completely undetectable until they get the first hit, their melee attacks pack a substantial punch and are quite difficult to block, and the defender must swing wildly in hopes of hitting the thing.

          These entities are living fragments of the Elemental Plane from which they sprang. They are almost always neutral in alignment, and can resent being drawn to the Prime Material, although they don't much mind "serving" a summoner with the interests of their particular element at heart. The three elements which have the greatest in-game presence are Air, Earth, and Fire . . . Water is almost completely ignored. Each of the three types of Elementals comes in various stages of growth, each with different stats and immunities. At their weakest, Elementals are immune to Normal weapons, and at their strongest, they are invulnerable to all weapons of less than +3 enchantment. There are also Elemental Princes, which are even more powerful, but these visit the Prime only very rarely.
          All Elementals act as melee fighters, and that's pretty much it, although they are quite good it it. Fire Elementals, naturally, are completely immune to Fire damage, and add a good chunk of Fire damage to each blow they land. Air Elementals are similarly attuned to Electricity, and Earth Elementals are physically the strongest of the three.

          Despite their slow, shuffling walk and constrictive linen wrappings, this type of Undead is fairly powerful, mostly in terms of the weapons required to hit them: +2 is common, and some Mummies can only be touched by +3 or better tools. They have no ranged attacks, but their strength helps to counteract their slow reaction time, so their performance in melee combat is decent, and a hit from them can infect the victim with Mummy Rot, a type of decay that can do considerably more damage than the attack itself. Characters hit by a Mummy multiple times can literally putrefy to death, a rather nasty way to go.

Tieflings / Cambions
          The offspring of a demonic creature's mating with a humanoid is called a Half-Fiend, and Half-Fiends are capable of producing children with members of both of their parents' species. Creatures with at least 50% demonic blood are called Cambions (of which the females are sometimes called Alu-Fiends), while those whose fiendish ancestry accounts for less than half of their genetic makeup are known as Tieflings—strictly speaking, this term applies only to part-Human offspring (Elven, Dwarven, Orcish, and even Halfling versions exist, whose fiend-hybrids are called Fey'ri, Maeluth, Tanarruks, and Wisplings, respectively), though it can also be used as a blanket term for part-demonic creatures, regardless of their ancestral race on the Prime.
          Cambions commonly dwell in the Abyss or the Nine Hells, the home planes of their ancestors, and in appearance are mostly devilish, although they tend to retain a humanoid shape and have a few other human-like characteristics. Tieflings, however, usually reside on the Prime Material and closely resemble Humans (or whatever race they were from), but with certain abberations that vary from individual to individual. These may include horns, tails, cloven hooves for feet, and/or strangely-colored eyes, skin, or hair. Even though most Tieflings are not Evil in alignment, these physical reminders of their ancestry are impossible to ignore, so they are frequently mistrusted and outcast from society. Both Tieflings and Cambions carry some of the powers of their fiendish heritage, and the strength of these powers tends to be in proportion to their genetic makeup. These powers are usually defensive in nature, commonly manifesting as weapon immunities or resistances to certain elements (especially fire), but as they vary so wildly among individuals, a more detailed description would be impossible.

          Golems are magical Constructs built from nonliving matter; there are as many types of Golem as there are materials from which to make them. They are the creations of high-level wizards . . . usually Transmuters, but Necromancers also have a fondness for Flesh and Bone Golems. (Despite their skeletal appearance, Bone Golems are not Undead.) Golems are completely mindless, obeying only their maker's explicit instructions, and are commonly used as guards, or simply workers capable of doing menial tasks that require great strength. Golems are humanoid and usually have human features, but the similarity ends there—even Flesh Golems move their limbs by magical force, and not the flexing of their own muscles. All Golems are extremely strong, immune to Backstab (because their
homogeneous composition has no organs or other vital points) and poisons (because they aren't alive), and have 100% Magic Resistance. Almost all types of Golems are vulnerable only to weapons of +1 enchantment or better, and many varieties require +2 tools to score a hit—some very powerful Golem types can be struck only by at least +3 weapons. Also of note is the Clay Golem, whose soft, malleable nature gives it great resistance to weapons that cut or stab—as soon as the blade is withdrawn, the clay just slides right back together again. I should note that not all of these traits were implemented in BG1.
          In addition to their already formidable combat stats, certain types of Golems also have spell-like abilities that affect the area around them. The most noteworthy of these is Golem Slow, which is much like regular Slow except that it ignores victims' Magic Resistance.

          There are several subspecies of Elves, the more notable of which are the Sea Elves (who sport gills and other adaptations for oceanic life), the Avariel (who have wings sprouting from their shoulder blades and are now basically extinct) and the Drow (who have blue-black skin and white hair). Drow spend most of their lives deep underground, in the Underdark, but almost all of them ascend to the open air at least once in their lives, in order to kill and enslave members of surfacer races—this is called a "Blooding" and is a common rite of passage among their evil kind. Bloodings almost always take place at night, both because surfacers tend to be asleep at that time and the subterranean Drow are very accustomed to darkness (while daylight burns their eyes), and also because Drow are renowned for the armor and weapons they make out of the alloy known as adamantine, which is stronger yet more flexible than almost any other material—but which also crumbles into dust when exposed to direct sunlight. One of their most powerful traits, however, is the innate Magic Resistance that all Drow possess . . . most have around 50-60% MR, although this tends to fade away among Drow that leave the Underdark for extended periods of time (which almost never happens).
Art by Todd Lockwood           Even in their own cities, Drow are very tense and hostile, for they are arranged in Houses constantly locked in an intense rivalry to be the most favored of Lolth, their paramount goddess. Their culture is strongly matriarchal—only female Drow may assume positions of power, and males can achieve social status only by being useful to the females of his House. All Drow learn a few basic magic spells, usually harnessing the powers of the Underdark in which they live. Apart from these simple cantrips, only female Drow become Priests and only males become Wizards, though both genders train as Warriors. Drow and surface Elves hate each other with a burning passion, though actual contact (and therefore battle) between them occurs only rarely.

          There are two major classifications of lycanthropes: Wereanimals and animalweres. (As the "animal" in question is most commonly a wolf, that's what I'll be discussing.) Werewolves and Wolfweres are frequently mistaken for one another, but are actually quite different: Werewolves are individual Humans who have the power to take a wolf-like or wolfman-like shape (or upon whom the shape sometimes manifests itself, regardless of the Human's wishes), while Wolfweres are an entire species of creatures that were once Wolves, but somewhere down the line aquired the ability to take a man-like or wolfman-like shape. All Werewolves become so by being bitten by another Werewolf, thus passing on the "curse" of lycanthropy—no record of an "original" Werewolf is preserved. The origin of Wolfweres is similarly unclear; they might have been created by some mad Wizard, or possibly by a Werewolf biting or mating with a Wolf while in wolf form. Suspended halfway between the two races are the Loup Garou, the offspring of a Werewolf and a Wolfwere. These creatures seem to be able to shift from Human to Wolf form, and any point in between, at will, and combine all the wit and skill of their human lineage with the instinct and cunning of their lupine ancestors.
          Regardless of origin, all lycanthropes are dangerous foes, especially when in their heavily muscled wolfman forms. Their significant combat stats are supplemented by impressive weapon immunities: Most are immune to all weapons of Normal and +1 enchantment, and some (usually Loup Garou) require very specific weapons in order to hurt them. Their natural shapeshifting powers also allow them to regenerate lost hitpoints, sometimes at a rate that can make them very difficult to kill.

          These beings are like Elementals in that they are each linked to the Elemental Plane where they frequently dwell and from where they draw a significant part of their power, but they also do not mind staying on the Prime Material as well, sometimes for prolonged periods of time. What they do mind, however, is being insulted or placed in a position of servitude. There are several races of Genies, most notably the Dao, Djinni, and Efreeti (from the Planes of Earth, Air, and Fire, respectively), and each race jealously guards its pride and honor over nearly everything else. When a Genie answers a summon or otherwise does the bidding of a mortal being, it does this for reasons of enhancing its own honor: The action proves that the wizard greatly desires something (such as a Wish) that the genie can freely give away. This does not
mean that Genies are of Good alignment; some are, but the main characteristic of their alignments is that almost all are Lawful. They also enjoy poking fun at the shortcomings of lesser creatures, and therefore have a tendency to act Lawful Evil in their dealings with mortals, using any excuse to allow their "master's" plans to backfire on him. Wizards who pester their Genies with tasks in which there is no honor—or worse, try to capture and enslave them—risk incurring a great deal of wrath.
          All Genies are decent melee combatants, but are more noted for their spellcasting abilities, as each has full mastery of a fairly broad set of spells & abilities based on the Genie's own element. They are difficult to defeat, and even more difficult to actually kill; in most cases, "killing" a Genie merely breaks its link with the Prime Material, sending it back to its home plane.

          These creatures are rightly feared, not just for their combat skills (which can be quite formidable) but for their ability to create more of their kind directly from the living—or at least dying. While most types of powerful Undead are unable to multiply their numbers, Vampires can infect even unwilling humanoids with vampirism (a transformation which corrupts the mind as well as the body, making almost all Vampires as evil as the creature who turned them) in as little as a few undisturbed minutes. They can move surprisingly quickly, so attempting to run away from them is rather futile. Adventurers wishing to avoid Vampires would be wise to stay in areas well illuminated by the sun—all Undead shun daylight, true, but with Vampires keeping away from it is an absolute necessity.
          Vampires have no ranged attacks, although they do possess spell-like abilities that can cause Charm and Fear, and some individuals can even cast spells, but these are rare. (Apparently it is difficult for them to turn a powerful spellcaster, whereas low-level Warriors, Rogues and especially Commoners are much easier targets.) They much prefer to attack at close range, however, as only by clawing and biting their victim can they feed upon his blood and Level Drain him—the combat abilities of a Vampire depend greatly on each individual's status, but even a Fledgling has a fair chance of defeating a target unprotected from Level Drain, by weakening him to the point that he can no longer fight back. Also depending on their status, Vampires can only be struck by weapons of +1, +2, or sometimes even +3 enchantment, or of course better. Another self-defense tactic they sometimes exhibit is the ability to retreat from a losing battle by turning into a bat or cloud of mist and flying away, before their enemy can actually land the killing blow. The story about needing to drive a wooden stake through their heart to actually destroy them is also true, but only for especially high-ranking Vampires.

          Although they are reknowned as masters of shapechanging and illusion magics, a Rakshasa's natural form is very similar to a Human's, with the notable differences that their heads look exactly like those of adult tigers, their entire bodies are furred and colored like a tiger's, and their hands curl in precisely the opposite direction—when they hold their hands flat out in front of them with their thumbs together, their palms face up. Rakshasa society is practically based on pride and arrogance: Their species does have a nobility and other leaders, but these are scarcely more than nominal titles, because all Rakshasa detest the idea of taking orders from anyone else, including one of their own. Most are not happy unless they are the undisputed leader of something . . . thanks to their very keen minds, they do well in this role. Rakshasa are very ambitious and self-serving, however, and will consent to serve another being—temporarily—if the reward is great enough or the Rakshasa can fool its "master" by taking advantage of a loophole of which the master was unaware. Their pride, evil nature, and carnivorous diet lead them to prefer wearing nothing but the very finest of Human fashions, and eating nothing but the flesh of intelligent creatures (usually Humans) prepared by master chefs.
          Rakshasa are skilled sorcerers and very competent swordsmen, although they typically disdain to actually cross blades with a lesser creature, preferring instead to crush their foes with magic. Rakshasa are immune to all low-level and mid-level spells, and delight in flaunting this power by casting area-of-effect spells directly on themselves, laughing while all those around them suffer.

          Also called Death Knights, these creatures are the Undead forms of people who were, in life, prestigious and high-level warriors. They are created by evil gods, demon lords, or sometimes Liches, who usually choose a famous Fighter or Ranger as their starting point, although they also take great delight in being able to secure the corpse of a Fallen Paladin. Part of the reanimation process involves completely perverting the subject's soul and mind, so Demonknights are almost always extremely evil. They retain all the physical-combat abilities they had in life, and boast some additional demonic powers as well, such as being able to breathe fire and instill fear in their enemies, and cause Level Drain with a mere touch. They act as loyal servants and guardians for the being who created them, usually acting as their captain, supervising the rest of their master's minions. They are usually found in ruined fortifications that they have taken over for their own, although they are not bound to these places.

          There are many species of Giant, although according to their religion the progenitors of each race were all siblings of one another (and half-siblings to the Ogre and Troll races). Regardless of subtype, all Giants speak Giant, and all are of course huge and phenomenally strong. Taken as a whole, the various races display much the same range of Intelligence scores as Humans do, although some types of Giants tend to be smarter than others; most races are very capable of forging their own weapons and armor, some build and decorate very elaborate homes, and some—known as Eldritch Giants—are unique among their kind in being very competent spellcasters. Most species of Giant are Evil in their behavior, though the most powerful types (Cloud and Storm Giants) frequently contain Good individuals.
          Fighting a Giant is, in general, discouraged: Due to their immense size and strength, it's pretty much guaranteed that they WILL hit you, and do a hell of a lot of damage when they do. One relative weakness, though, is that they are not magical creatures and therefore typically vulnerable to Normal weapons, a rare vulnerability among beings this powerful.

          There are many types of fiendish creatures residing in the Lower Planes, but the most important distinction is between Demons and Devils. Demons are almost always Chaotic Evil in alignment and inhabit the Abyss, while Devils are Lawful Evil and dwell in the Nine Hells. These two great clans hate each other with a passion, and are locked in a brutal Blood War that has lasted ever since the creation of the Fiends themselves. Demons are by far the more numerous, but lack direction, preferring to lash out in a mindless lust for destruction. Some types of major Demons (also called Tanar'ri) are the Nabassu, Baalor, Glabrezu, and Marilith. The relatively outnumbered Devils (also known as Baatezu) survive through their cunning and skill at deception, andArt by Sam Wood
include varieties such as the Abishai, Pit Fiend, Erinyes, and Cornugon.
          Regardless of alignment or type, all Fiends (including their extremely weak puppets, the Imps and Quasits) are immune to nonmagical weapons, and depending on their power, various enchantment levels as well: Extremely powerful lords among Fiends may require +4 or even +5 weapons to score a hit against them. Most varieties attack exclusively in melee, but the Erinyes (technically Fallen Angels) usually use Bows, and all are dangerous opponents, even without taking into account their numerous and powerful special abilities: Several types are able to inflict Fear, Hold, and other effects, either on each hit or at range. Many Fiends also heal themselves during combat by draining health from their foes. Powerful Fiends are typically considerably larger than a Human, and most have six limbs: Two arms, two legs, and either two wings or another pair of arms, plus a tail and of course a head. Glabrezus sport a nasty pair of pincer-like claws on each of their upper arms, which are notable as they are capable of inflicting Vorpal hits, while Mariliths are serpentine, moving about using only their tail, a means of locomotion that frees all 6 of their arms to hold weapons.

Art by Wayne Reynolds           Despite their vast power and secretive nature, much is known about Illithids (colloquially named Mind Flayers), presumably through descriptions given by their escaped former slaves, who likely would want all other races to learn as much as possible about the Illithids' strengths and weaknesses. Legend has it that the Illithids originally came from a world beyond the planes, if such a place could even exist, and soon after arriving upon Toril, they quickly began subjugating and enslaving other intelligent beings. The revolt of the Githyanki broke their power, driving them into scattered lairs deep underground, from where they plan the re-conquest of the world. Illithids abhor sunlight, but they are not Undead but fully living creatures, and their life cycle is well documented. Each Illithid begins life as one of many tadpoles spawned by an adult; after several years of
swimming in the same tank of vitreous fluid as the Elder Brain (literally, a huge living cerebrum that serves and controls its Illithid colony) and basking in its psionic influence, the tadpole is given a host—a member of any intelligent humanoid race, ranging in size from Halfling to Gnoll. After the host is physically restrained, the tadpole is inserted into the host's eye, nose or ear, from where it burrows into and feeds upon its host's brain. The tadpole then expands to fill the braincase, and grows eyes, a spinal cord, and a digestive tract that all replace the host's own, and allows its flesh to grow out through the mouth and all the way around to cover the entire head. It also grows a ring of 4 tentacles that ring the Illithid's new mouth (which now has sharp teeth, even if the original host did not), and the creature is now an adult, looking like an octopus "riding" atop the body of its humanoid host, which has remained alive through the entire process, and will probably continue to live for many years to come. Slain or very elderly Illithids have their brains carefully removed and placed in the tank with the Elder Brain, where they merge with the entity and thus gain a kind of immortality. Illithids dine on nothing but brain tissue, and vastly prefer those of intelligent beings, as they can absorb a portion of their meal's thoughts and memories. Each Illithid colony usually keeps a stable of various types of intelligent creatures, breeding them in captivity as well as staging infrequent surface raids for more. Even those whose bodily forms make them unfit to serve as hosts for young Illithids (such as Umber Hulks) are still valued slaves, serving the colony both as workers and as eventual food.
          Illithids are irredeemably Evil, incredibly intelligent (probably the most intelligent race on Toril), and endowed with very strong powers of psionics. Their most feared is a blast of mind energy that can stun any intelligent creature within a large radius into complete immobility for several rounds. Their combat stats are unimpressive, but still extremely deadly, as each hit from one of their tentacles temporarily deactivates a significant part of the victim's brain. It usually takes only 2 to 4 hits (in relatively quick succession) before all 4 tentacles are able to latch onto the victim's head, at which point the Illithid is able to crack the victim's skull like an egg and lift out their entire brain, causing instant death. As if their psionics did not make the species dangerous enough, Illithids' vast mental capacities make learning arcane magic child's play for them. Still, the practice of magic seems to be discouraged by Illithid society, so few decide to become Wizards . . . although those who do typically become exceedingly skilled at it, even turning themselves into Liches, at which point they are called Alhoons, and are figures of great respect. All Illithids, whether they study magic or not, typically develop a moderate resistance to its effects.
          In PnP, Illithids are able to sense (and read) the minds of any intelligent creature that comes anywhere near them, so attempting to decieve or hide from them is absolutely futile. This particular trait was not implemented in BG2.

          Beholders appear to be just as alien to the Prime as the Illithids are, although much less is known about their origins and background, because almost all Beholderkin do not interact with members of other races any longer than it takes to kill them—which usually isn't long. There are many types of Beholderkin, including the seafloor-dwelling Eyes of the Deep, the undead Death Tyrant, and the blood-sucking Death Kiss, as well as "true" Beholders and the even more powerful Elder Orbs. Very few of these varieties are willing to coexist with one another: Apart from wishing to exterminate all forms of non-Beholder life, most Beholderkin even seek to wipe out their cousin races for being genetically impure. They are almost always extremely evil—the closest thing to a "neutral" Beholder is the extremely rare SpectatorArt by Scott Fischer
race, which will commonly allow intelligent beings to hold a polite conversation with them, and may even let them walk away alive afterwards.
          Regardless of subtype, all Beholderkin follow the same basic body shape: A large, round orb dominated by a large, Cyclopean eye in the center of its "face," and a mouth filled with sharp teeth directly below. 4 to 18 fleshy stalks grow out of the body, with each stalk terminating in a single, much smaller eye. The whole creature floats, apparently through magical means, a few feet above the ground. Some Beholder types have smooth, rubbery skin with snakelike eyestalks, while others have large, chitinous plates and stalks that are jointed like the limbs of arthropods. Beholderkin are carnivorous, and are able to dine on just about any creature because of the feature that makes the race as a whole so terrifying: Beholderkin are able to shoot spell-like abilities (such as blasts of fire or lightning, rays that mimic Charm and Hold spells, rays that drain life from a victim and heal the Beholder, etc) from each of their eyestalks—each eye can cast a single type of "spell"—literally at will, with no "casting" time or limits on how many times each ability can be used. The central eye fires a spell as well; in true Beholders, this is an Anti-Magic Ray that essentially means inevitable doom for enemy spellcasters: It instantly tears down and dispels any active enchantments currently on them, and also completely removes their ability to cast any spells for about 1 turn. Due to the fact that their many eyes are almost constantly scanning in all directions at once, all Beholderkin are immune to Backstab.

Art by Wayne Reynolds           Many types of creatures, even extremely long-lived species such as Elves, bemoan what they see as their short lifespans, and seek ways to extend them. Powerful spellcasters, however, have the means to actually do something about it. Most Liches are archmages capable of casting even the highest levels of spells, and thus have the power and control to cause themselves to die, and then re-animate a short time later. Naturally, this draws very heavily on necromantic magics, so many Liches are former Necromancers—although Lichdom can also be attained by mages of other stripes, as well as Cleric/Mages and pure Clerics, and perhaps even through non-magical means by exceptionally strong Psionicists, although the means for these latter classes to become Liches are still rather unknown. Liches retain the memories and personality they had in life, and can be of any alignment—although due
to the demands of the transfiguration process, the clear majority of them are Evil. The most common motive for attaining Lichdom is virtual immortality, coupled with freedom from the demands of a living body (such as sleeping), meaning the Lich is able to concentrate like never before on pursuing avenues of magical study. Liches also act as guardians/advisors for great houses (frequently their own relatives) or even small cities, or like all Undead they can also serve as sentinels, dedicating their undeath to protect or imprison powerful artifacts or other beings. As Liches can see invisible creatures perfectly clearly, they excel in this function.
          Regardless of the method of or intent for becoming a Lich, the resulting form is invariably extremely powerful: In addition to retaining all the abilities they had in life (which were already very formidable), Liches can be struck only by magical weapons, can easily detect all invisible beings, and display typical Undead traits such as being immune to Cold damage and poisons. Most notable, however, is the fact that they are completely immune to all low-level and most mid-level spells: These spells, when cast by another creature, will simply have no effect whatsoever on a Lich, which makes them extremely difficult to defeat . . . and even defeating them is almost never enough to actually kill them, because one effect of the Lich transformation is that their souls are no longer contained within their physical bodies. Instead, each Lich transfers his soul to a phylactery, which can be any object, though most phylacteries are small, covered in ornate runes of warding, and of course made of extremely durable materials. Phylacteries may kept (either concealed or guarded) many miles away from the Lich, although they are usually in a place where the Lich can easily check on their safety. A defeated Lich will retreat to his phylactery for a time, and then either reconstruct his sorely bashed and broken physical form, or slowly generate an entirely new one if he has to. (Even bodies "regenerated" in this manner take on the same appearance the Lich had upon re-animation, namely a skeleton covered with half-rotted flesh.) To truly kill a Lich, one must destroy both its physical body and its phylactery—destroying the phylactery itself would theoretically do the trick, but Liches are usually able to teleport directly to wherever their phylactery might be, if they sense it is in danger.
          A still more terrifying creature is the Demilich, which is a Lich so old and powerful that it transcends even Lichdom, and its soul is freed of all physcial constraints, including its phylactery. A Demilich commonly wanders the Planes without hindrance, seeking ever-greater knowledge and power, therefore spending much of its time in the realms of various gods and not troubling the Prime with its presence. Its physical body is left behind and abandoned, and its decay, suspended upon first becoming a Lich, resumes, until nothing is left of the Lich except some fragment of the skeleton, usually the skull. Whether or not Demiliches can be killed while astrally projecting themselves across the planes is unknown, but what is known is that they will fiercely defend their skulls. According to the few reports of those who have witnessed a Demilich in combat and lived to tell the tale, they can be struck only by weapons very high enchantment, and have demonstrated an immunity to extremely powerful spells, including 9th-level spells. In addition to their already-awesome feats of magic, they also have two spells that they are apparently able to cast at will: Demilich Howl, which can cause instant death to anyone standing nearby, and Trap the Soul, which can imprison single creatures inside miniature sub-planes, the gateways to which are seemingly located inside each of the Demilich's teeth (which, by this point, have usually been replaced with magical gemstones somewhere down the line).

          Dragons are creatures of such legendary might that I don't even have to describe them for you—you already know. Certain details with which you may be unfamiliar, however, are as follows: Dragons engaged in combat with much smaller opponents (such as Human-sized adventurers) frequently use their gigantic wings to create sudden sweeping gusts of wind that can knock these opponents clean off their feet and blow them a good distance away, dealing some considerable damage to them in the process. While it is generally wisest to fight a Dragon from as great a distance as possible (if, indeed, one absolutely must fight a Dragon at all), keeping that distance can be very difficult to maintain, as their large size and long legs enable them to cross battlefields quite quickly. Much can be determinedArt by Sam Wood
about a Dragon from merely a quick glance at them, as the color, texture, and albedo of their scales are a fairly reliable indicator of each individual's subspecies. Dragons whose scales are shiny and metallic are almost always Good in alignment, whereas those with relatively nonreflective, strongly-hued scales are Evil, and those whose hides glitter like jewels are the Neutral—and rare—Gem Dragons. Regardless of whether they are Metallic, Chromatic, or Gem, few Dragons will attack on sight (unless, of course, they want to), as they prefer to give other creatures a chance to prostrate themselves, beg for mercy, or otherwise stroke the Dragon's already-sizable ego. Most Dragons are affiated with an element, and will have a Breath Weapon that deals that type of elemental damage while the Dragon itself is highly resistant, usually even immune, to damage of that type. The power of a Dragon is a direct function of its age; hatchlings are of course nearly helpless, barely able to kill a single sheep unaided, but those of 1000 years of age or older are wyrms of titanic power indeed. Dragons possess very keen eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell, so any attempt to escape their wrath through stealth or invisibility would be a lost cause. They are immune to backstab for the same reason—and because most Dragons carry their vital targets so far off the ground that you couldn't reach them anyway. As they age, all Dragons gradually become attuned to the Weave, and gain the ability to cast a few low- and mid-level spells as natural abilities, as well as slowly building up a resistance to harmful magics cast at them. They can also study spellcasting just as humanoid mages do, and some even reach archmage status—a Dragon that manages to turn itself into a Lich is known as a Dracolich.
          All Dragons keep lairs, as a rule very secure places—sometimes abandoned fortresses or temples built by other races, but more frequently they are natural caverns or structures of the Dragon's own design. Dragons almost always hunt and travel alone, but as they keep a mating partner for very extended periods of time (sometimes even for life), it is possible to encounter two at once if you venture into their lair. Almost all Dragons gather treasure, sometimes great hoards of it, usually as a physical reminder of their own self-importance, although they are not averse to spending their wealth in exchange for things that bring them equal glory, such as employing an army of conquest or donating certain priceless items at the Temple of Io, the nine-faceted god of all Dragonkind. One ability that many Dragons attain is that of shapeshifting, and those that do sometimes take the form of humanoid creatures in order to blend in and visit their society—sometimes for the purpose of acquiring a certain valuable item to add to their hoard, sometimes to revenge a slight that may have occurred decades before, or sometimes for simple curiosity.
          Many types of Draconic creatures exist, such as Wyverns, Dragon Turtles, Elemental Drakes, and Landwyrms. Most of these lack breath weapons, several classes of them are wingless, and they are usually less intelligent than true Dragons. While true Dragons are of all alignments, almost all of the lesser creatures of Dragonkind are either Neutral or Evil—mostly Evil.

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