Saturday, October 29, 2011

B is for Beholder

The beholder unlike many other monsters found in fantasy games is unique to D&D. The creature was first thought up by Terry Kuntz an early employee of TSR in the mid 70s.

The Beholder has been included in every edition of the D&D game and is seen as an iconic monster to the brand. Unlike many other monsters that come from folklore and myth the beholder is not available under the open gaming license from wizards of the coast which sees the monster as a trademark of the D&D brand.

The Beholder, also known as the eye tyrant, is a floating sphere with multiple eyestalks that protrude from its surface and a large centralized eye on the sphere as well as a mouth. Beholders possess many varied magical abilities ranging from telekinesis to disintegration beams. Each of the eye stalks possesses a different gaze attack and the beholder can bring multiples of these attacks to bear on a foe. Beholders are lonely monsters fearing and even attacking others of their kind.

Beholders will often dominate lesser creatures as slaves, it is not uncommon to encounter a beholder with drow, orc, or goblin servants that it has mind enslaved for its purposes.

Beholders sometimes appear in popular culture references to D&D. In the Futurama episode follow that tube, the beholder makes a cameo appearance as a bureaucrat rank 11 sleeping on the job. He appears again briefly in the episode lethal inspection (watch as they enter the building the beholder is floating in the background)


Some other pop culture beholder references:

  •  In the Xbox 360 Arcade game Castle Crashers, a beholder is one of the animal orbs players can collect.
  • The original Japanese Final Fantasy had creatures called beholders and eyes that looked like the traditional beholder. However, for the US release and later editions, the sprite was changed and the beholders were renamed.

An lastly the beholder was one of the Launch video previews for 4th edition

This article is part of an ongoing series The Alphabet of D&D click here to see the rest


  1. There was also a boss in WoW that seems to have been based on a Beholder.

  2. Interesting post, cool pictures!

  3. In doom game you can find those

  4. Good post it brings back some memories.

  5. Hah, yeah, remember him from that Futurama Episode!

    No idea it was actually a DnD original creature.

  6. I don't think I remember ever hearing about these things before but they seem pretty cool I guess, nice post man.

  7. There is another episode of Futurama that has the beholder in it. I think its in the 2nd season, not sure though.