It is no secret that I — like Lord Chillycock (Ryan), Lord Acuto (Aaron), Lady Charmagaryen (Amanda), and others — enjoy getting my dork on. A chance conversation recently with my sons led to a discussion of monsters available to people playing various games using the online RPG software Roll20 (Roll20.net). They were looking for one monster and its “token” particularly, without success: the Beholder 5e (and later, as it turned out, the Pathfinder Beholder).
They were looking for something like this:
Beholder 5e – the Eye Tyrant
“One glance at a beholder4 is enough to assess its foul and otherworldly nature. A beholder’s spheroid body is covered in chitinous plates, scales, or leathery flesh. Its great bulging eye sits above a wide, toothy maw, while the smaller eyestalks that crown its body twist and turn to keep its foes in sight. A beholder channels extraordinary levels of magical power. Its central eye emits a broad field of energy that can nullify the magic of its foes, while its eye stalks blast those foes with a host of powerful effects.”
I don’t (well, didn’t) know much about Roll20, but leaving out an iconic critter so quintessentially D&D out of any such game menagerie is, well…
That started me down a deep, dark rabbit hole of abject nerdery, research, and Photoshop work.
Now, being a nerd, I know lots of useless Beholder trivia and I burned up way too many of the few recreational hours I had available — but I had a pretty good time doing it.
D&D and Pathfinder Beholder Tactics
According to the main Wizards.com monster page,
“A beholder’s central lair is typically a large, spacious cavern with high ceilings, where it can attack without fear of closing to melee range. Some beholders manage to channel their pervasive xenophobic tendencies into a terrible despotism. Rather than live in isolation to avoid other creatures, the aptly named eye tyrants to enslave those other creatures, founding and controlling vast evil empires. An eye tyrant sometimes carves out a domain within or under a major city, commanding networks of agents that operate on their master’s behalf.”
If played properly by a savvy GM an Eye Tyrant will be difficult to defeat. You beat a Beholder by having melee characters get in close, within its anti-magic field. Archers and ranged spell effect “artillery” should be poised to give it the good news as soon as it drops the field to use its various eye rays on the brawlers and meat shields. If it does.
There is no guarantee a melee hitter will be able to close with the Eye Tyrant, unfortunately. They’re as smart as they are dangerous, as Keith Amman so ably relays in The Monsters Know What They’re Doing. Another good source to consult (from the DM’s perspective, that is), can be found on Nerdarchy, “bringing Beholders to life“.
See more in D&D Beyond’s Beholders: Bad Dreams Come True.
5e Beholder Roll20 Token
This is the .png I made for them to use in Roll20.net. It’s something of an homage to a miniature my friend Mike (#plumbtactical) painted for me years ago. I used an image I found on Pinterest for a template, but I can’t relocate it to give credit (a dumbass move, I know). Apologies for that.
I’ll put high-resolution versions of the art on the Nerdalcon board on Pinterest.
Looking for a Beholder Miniature?
There are some great custom miniature painters out there, especially on eBay, Etsy, and Amazon (and by no means just for D&D miniatures, either).
Below are just a couple of good examples of some of the custom work you can find.
Creative Miniature Co.
White Crow Curios
While you’re here, take a look-see at what’s happenin’ at The Bazaar.