Composite Monster
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Basic Information

A Composite Monster is a fictional or mythological creature that has features or body parts from a variety of animals.

More modern creations tend to try to roughly emulate biology, but many of the older mythological versions happily disregard aspects of science that weren't obvious in the era before the internet and readily-available anatomy lessons. A great example of this is the classic Chimera. Modern depictions usually show the Chimera with three heads side-by-side on one set of shoulders. The earliest Chimera drawings show the mythological creature with a lion head on its shoulders, a goat's head protruding awkwardly from the middle of it's back, and a serpent's head at the end of its tail. Picture that for a moment, and then try to reverse-engineer what the creature's digestive tract must look like. A simpler example is the good ol' Centaur. It's a man's body atop the shoulders of a horse. If you think about what humans and horses look like on the inside, you'll quickly realize that the centaur must have two rib cages, two hearts, etc. The old myths are full of madness… and it's kinda awesome.

Compare and contrast with Additive Monster, a creature with extra body parts. Some Composite Monsters are also Additive Monsters, like our ol' buddy the Chimera.

Probably the epitome of the composite monster - especially in regard of contempt for anatomy - is the occasional fantasy trope of the wall (or similar structural feature) that adsorbs anything that touches it, spawning a horrific mass of groping arms and screaming, gnashing heads, some of which may plead for rescue to draw victims into range.

Random Animal Hybrid - We can build one for you!

Check out our Random Animal Hybrid page. Every time it loads, it generates a series of Composite Monsters in various configurations on the series of tabs in the middle of that page.

Mythological Examples

Example Composite Monsters from Mythology include:

Ancient Greece and Mesopotamia in particular really seemed to like to drink from the composite monster well.

Relevant Tropes:


Random list of hybrid critters


Game and Story Use

  • In D&D or a game based on Classical Mythology you can pretty much improvise a new composite monster for any encounter. Our Random Animal Hybrid Page will help you do it.
  • Recombinant DNA or a freak Teleporter Accident could create a new Composite Monster in the middle of a scene.
  • Like the Composite Wall, a Composite Monster might be able to attach new parts to itself.
    • You might make a species of Composite Monsters that work like this: the "root creature" is something fairly weak, but it can assimilate severed appendages and gain abilities connected to them.
    • Be warned, though, this could easily be a major headache to run in a game. Cut-and-pasting part of one statblock into another is difficult to balance and can result in Pun-Pun-like power takeoffs, aside from the issues in figuring out what bits do what for the creature and how they work in combination.
  • Wizards are a common source of these, as are mad scientists.
  • Orthogenesis and Transmutation of Species might generate these sorts of things all the time. There might not be a crocoduck in evolution, but a different system might produce them.
  • What kinds of animals went into the Composite Monster can be a clue as to its abilities or behavior, especially if you have animals behave like their fable or heraldic versions.
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