Literally any humanoid that can change into something else. Shapeshifters, changlings, were-critters (wolves, cats, bears, salmons, roaches, whatever), vampires, incu/succubus etc. The ability to change into something else is ridiculously enjoyable. #DnDecember
Incubus/succubus from Savage Species (same rules & abilities for both).
Want a powerful natural attack? You got it.
How about charm monster at will? Sure, why not.
Alternate form? Just throw that on there.
Perfect flight? Why stop now? Add it.
Mad stat bonuses? I thought you’d never ask.
Want a 1/10 chance of summoning a balor once per day? Have it! (BTW, the demon is not under any obligation to aid the creature that summoned it. But it’s still fun to try and convince them to).
Wanna play an incubus or succubus as a player? You can! It’s a total of 12 racial levels, and you get 6d8 hit dice, 8+int skills every other level, +9 natural armor, acid, fire, and cold resistance, electricity immunity, spell resistance, bonus feats, the ability to speak any language (tongues), and a few more things I didn’t bother to write down? Who would turn that down?
See spryte from favorite day 1. How can you not love the ability to play a balanced, size tiny fairy?!?!
This is an easy tie. I can’t choose one over the other.
Brainstealer dragon. Take a dragon, make them also a mind flayer. Epic, massive, brilliant, and a devastating NPC or villain.
Draco Lich. Take a dragon, make them also a fully decked out lich. How is that not the most intimidating dragon in the multiverse?
The power and roleplay possibilities with those two dragons are seemingly limitless. Also, they look badass.
While I try not to use them too often, vampires are easily one of my favorite creatures to throw my PCs against. They can have complex morals and motivations. They could still run on a draconian law or mentality that they refuse to release. They could be privy some secrets that influences their decisions, giving them insight that makes their seemingly wrong decisions gray. They can use clever lies or honeyed-truthful words to sway others into a decision. They can also be feral- either switching from civil to monster in a flash or always being that instinct-driven beast.
The versatility and their easily hidden but still complex motives make vampires my favorite creature in DnD. This can also apply to many creatures that share a vicious but mindful duality, creatures such as mind flayers, beholders, and driders.
(also they can be a player race, which adds to their potential complexities and fun)
I’m a size tiny sprite witch.
Our party is in the fifth straight hour of battling cultists in a dungeon.
I’m low on spells.
Enemy mage casts a spell.
I roll spellcraft and recognize what the spell is. It will make ice spikes rise from the ground and impale all creatures in its radius.
Myself and our damage tank (Ji-Gon) are within the spell’s radius. We’re both dangerously low on hit points.
I knew the spell required a reflex save. Take no damage on save. Full damage on failure.
I spend a hero point to act out of turn, interrupting the mage’s action for one action of my own.
I need to get us both out of the spell’s radius. I’m a 12-inch tall sprite. Ji-Gon is a size large giant in full armor. I can’t dive tackle him and get us both out.
My reflex save is better than his.
I spend my action and cast a telekinesis spell, pushing him out of the spell’s area of effect.
The spell goes off.
I grit my teeth and roll my reflex save.
I have decent saves but bonuses for my size and high dex.
I roll a 3.
That’s not good enough.
A pillar of spike impales me, pinning me to the ceiling of the cave.
Massive damage, around 20 points into the negatives.
Ji-Gon lived, slaying that mage a few turns later.
The other mage used spell slots each day to preserve my body so they could bury me at home after they completed the quest.
It was a beautiful death. It was a sad death. It was an epic moment in the story.
The BBEV (big bad evil villain) stands before me, one other player, and an NPC ally. All of the other players had a way to escape/hide/avoid this confrontation.
My PC friend and I decided to try and negotiate with the BBEV instead.
As one might expect, the negotiations don’t go well. He is out sass’d, but we are out classed.
The BBEV ends negotiations by one shotting our NPC friend who is well-established as being far more powerful than any of us.
PC pal decides he should attack. I disagree, saying I never liked that NPC anyway, and we could still solve this diplomatically if we don’t antagonize the antagonist.
PC pal attacks the BBEV.
BBEV turns and attacks/one shots my PC pal.
RIP PC pal.
During the attack, I roll stealth, saying I slip out the door, get in our car, and floor it.
GM “He is very powerful. His notice skill is extremely high. Are you sure you don’t want to try something else?”
Me “I love that car. Me and her are getting out of here and driving into the sunrise together.”
We both roll.
BBEV botches roll. Adding bonuses, it’s still a high number.
I roll high. With my marginal bonuses, I just cross the threshold.
I drive my Studebaker to safety, living to eventually fight the BBEV another day.
My character in that game ran on luck, distractions, and motivating other people. He was a blast and a half to play, and every “this should kill me” situation he survived just made him more fun. And he did survive the whole campaign. He was one of only two characters who started the campaign and survived it.